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Quick post – is it just me, or……. February 10, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Basics, contraception, disaster, error, foolishness, General Catholic, persecution, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, shocking, Society, Tradition.
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…..have a lot of good blogs and/or their authors either suddenly disappeared or gone off their nut of late?

What, do you think, is up?

I just read a post at a very popular conservativish mainstream site where the author, after bashing in very nasty, hurtful ways those who love the Church and strive to practice the Faith to the best of their ability, concluded that the BIG problem afflicting the Church today was contraception, and “our,” meaning faithful Catholics, inability to convince the vast majority of “Catholics” who reject that teaching to accept it.

Wow!  You can’t pay for analysis that good!  He also called various subsets of faithful Catholics, by which I am certain he means trads, “white trash Catholics” because they might need government assistance, “Jew-baiting cranks,” and “Inquisition re-enactors.”  Can you feel the charity?

I mean really, do you think people who reject Church Dogma on contraception are doing so because they haven’t experienced a sufficiently nuanced, teleological exposition on Aristotle and how all human rights and laws derive from the natural law?  Or do they maybe just want to get it on while imagining doing so won’t burden them with a child?  The author, Zmirak, also completely ignores the incredibly close coupling between contraception and abortion.  He acts as if contraception can be treated as a separate, stand alone action, whereas it is the entire basis upon which legalized abortion stands.

This same author seems to be going through one of those convulsive sea changes that afflict faithful Catholic bloggers/writers/media figures from time to time, where they suddenly seem to turn 180 from, say, raging traddy, to raging traddy basher.  He now seems to be laying the ground work for some magical revocation of Church Dogma on contraception, or at least a tacit revocation in it being totally ignored.

I have observed this phenomenon several times in the past few months, having only ever seen it occasionally before. I know one guy who has done such a 180 that he has now completely repudiated the TLM, while claiming the regular old Novus Ordo in a “large, suburban parish” is infinitely superior.  That, after he had spilled an ocean of ink claiming the diametric opposite over the past few years, including calling the Novus Ordo the “children’s Mass.”

What’s up with that?  I am also saddened that several good bloggers I know have chosen to shut down their sites. I need to update my blogroll to reflect that fact.

So what’s going on? I have a suspicion. It’s this pope.  Some are so scandalized by him they can no longer continue the fight, either due to demoralization or fear of causing scandal by seeming to be in opposition to the pope or critiquing him in various ways.  Others strive to define their orthodoxy based on their perception of the current pope’s leanings and emphasis, meaning they have swung hard left (that being the popular perception of Pope Francis).  One or two have just experienced blog fatigue, which happens. The average blog lasts 3 months and consists of 6 posts!

That’s not to say some faithful Catholics do not go to excess, nor that there isn’t some ugliness and deficiencies among traditional Catholics.  Sometimes we can get inured to our own sense of being offended and come off as mean and, as I clutch my pearls, pharisaical. But these sudden swings are troubling.  I hate to engage in blogfoolery, but I’ve seen this too much of late – it’s almost becoming a thing.  It makes me worry some people who have experimented with the traditional practice of the Faith and found it frustratingly difficult are going to turn around and become inveterate enemies.  They could do a lot of damage.

Out of time for the day.  No big conclusion, just some observations.


A disastrous worldwide poll shows almost universal apostasy February 10, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, catachesis, disaster, episcopate, error, General Catholic, horror, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, shocking, Society.
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It’s a poll, done by Spanish-language TV network Univision.  You can argue about the details and methodology endlessly.  But the numbers confirm numerous other polls we’ve seen, while adding extremely disconcerting information regarding the collapse of the Faith in Latin America.  In fact, it appears many Latin American countries have exceeded North America and Europe as bastions of the most disordered, leftist, modernist “practice” of the Faith worldwide. Mission accomplished, liberation theologizers!  You wrecked one of the most cohesive and vast bastions of the Faith in the entire world, all in the span of 30 years!  The devil must be very pleased.

Univision polled Catholics in the US, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Poland, France, Spain, Italy, the Philippines, Uganda, and Congo.  Of those countries, only Uganda and Congo, both in sub-saharan Africa, overwhelming accepted Church Doctrine.  The Philippines was pretty strong, but modernist influence there is causing the once stalwart faith to begin to break down, especially in the areas of divorce and contraceptive use. Historically, those two issues have been the “foot in the door,” so to speak, for those seeking to undermine Catholic belief and practice, with all the rest of the panoply generally falling into place over time once those two are accepted.

Poll questions included the degree to which Catholics agreed with Church Doctrine on:

  • abortion
  • contraception
  • womyn priestesseses
  • fake homosexual marriage
  • divorce
  • married priests (once again, confusing a Dogma with a discipline)

I was floored to find that support for contraception in Colombia, Argentina and Brazil now exceeds that of the US, and equals that of the worst nations of Europe, France and Spain.  Filipino Catholics are also overwhelmingly in favor of contraception, apparently.

I was also extremely disappointed to see that even the Congo and Uganda appear about to go over the edge on contraception, with only a very slight advantage towards those adhering to Church Dogma.

The rest is almost as bad – worldwide, country to country, vast majority of self-described Catholics (who knows whether they ever assist at Mass, pray, go to Confession, or do anything else) reject Church Doctrine on divorce, abortion, women pretending to be priests, priestly celibacy…..all the usual items.  I agree with Rorate, to which I tip my hat, that it is even more likely that these same respondents reject Church Doctrine on non-moral issues like the Real Presence, Christ’s literal Resurrection, and the Social Kingship.  I also agree, most fervently, that those who do not assist at Mass on a regular basis – if not every single week –  should be discounted from these surveys as actual Catholics.  If they can’t even be bothered to meet the most minimum requirements of the Faith, on what basis can they be considered Catholic?

On the good side, it was interesting to me that, outside the US, Spain is the only other country where a majority of Catholics think sodomite marriage should be magically created and made legal.  Pity Spain – once the most Catholic country in the world, now one of most militantly atheistic/secularist.  Opposition to fake homosexual marriage within the Church was universal, ranging from 99% opposing in Congo and Uganda to 48% – a plurality – opposing in Spain.  So…..yay.

I fully expect Mr. Voris to make some hay with this, and rightly so.

As Rorate notes, this poll does not simply mean lay people are bad.  It means they haven’t been taught, in vast numbers. As hundreds of commenters have noted here over the years, that is the experience reported by the vast majority of the faithful.  No one has taught them what the Church believes, and certainly not why She believes it.  Rare exceptions aside, the best the vast majority of the faithful can expect to get is a watered down semi-protestant Christianity-lite, and many don’t have it that “good.” Many are simply taught nothing regarding the Faith aside from “Jesus was good,”  Noah’s Ark, and “I’m ok you’re ok we’re ok, now try to maybe consider one day being slightly better in one tiny area.”  That, and left-wing bromides.

We are now entering the 3rd post-conciliar generation.  Not only do most Catholics today have no knowledge of the Faith before the revolution, they don’t know ANYONE who can remember the Church as it was.  Really destructive modes of thinking/practicing the Faith are becoming highly ingrained. For a large majority of Catholics, they’ve never known a Church different from the indifferentist, disinterested, worldly melange they confront in their few contacts with the Church.  This makes convincing them of error and getting them to change all the more difficult.  It is likely few if any of the apostate souls so polled can be reached and converted absent a minor miracle.  And yet the effort must be made, or the Church will only continue its slide into oblivion.

God, please grant us great shepherds!  Have mercy on us, give us not the shepherds we deserve but those we so desperately need!

This has been my daily refrain and will be even more so.  Please, Lord, give us great leaders who will instill in the souls in their charge the Light of Your Faith – all of it!

Books to introduce souls to the crisis in the Faith….. February 10, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Basics, Christendom, episcopate, General Catholic, Interior Life, Liturgy, reading, sadness, scandals, secularism.
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…..and the liturgical revolution.

A reader asked me for some book recommendations to help introduce souls to the crisis in the Faith.   These books would be for folks who are either unaware there is a crisis, or who only have a sort of nebulous understanding that things have gone wrong, but can’t really fathom how.

I immediately thought of Michael Davies.  His many short books, especially on the Liturgy, are simple, easy to understand, and convey in brief examples and clear imagery the cause, nature, and extent of the crisis.  A few books I recommend to that end are:

Liturgical Shipwreck

Liturgical Time Bombs

A Short History of the Roman Mass

The Roman Rite Destroyed

The list for books that discuss the general crisis in the Faith more broadly (that is, without focusing so much on the liturgical devastation) is a bit harder to define.  I would not recommend Iota Unum or Pope Paul’s New Mass to those who don’t have a pretty good understanding of both the Faith and some knowledge of the crisis.  Maybe the latter.  But Anne Roche Muggeridge’s The Desolate City might be pretty ideal.  It’s not too long, is more focused on real-world effects than theological arguments, and is written in a popular style.  Dietrich von Hildebrand’s two analyses of the crisis in the Church, The Trojan Horse in the City of God and The Devastated Vineyard might be good, depending on the individual, but they may be too detailed or erudite for some.

Some might suggest The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in the United States, but I have to say, I have tried reading that book twice and I just found it way off base on a number of topics.  I put it down again without finishing it, which is really saying something, because I am incredibly stubborn about finishing even lousy books.  It is definitely meant to have mass appeal, but the fact that the author fundamentally mistakes the crisis in the Church as an American, rather than a universal, problem completely undermines it, as does his reflexive Americanism (as in the heresy) and his acceptance of many modernist presuppositions.  I can’t recommend it.

Everything else I’m thinking of is either too detailed or too involved for the beginner.  The request included some specific details I won’t share here, so maybe I’m being too limited for a general audience, but I think the vast majority of Catholics would find The Second Vatican Council: an unwritten history baffling.

So what suggestions have you?  I’m sure I’ve missed some wing dingers, I’m going from memory.  Remember, this would be a book to introduce people to the idea that there is a crisis in the Church/Liturgy, and the what/where/how/why it came about.  I don’t think The Banished Heart (good as it is), for instance, is appropriate.

Loreto House in Denton needs your help February 10, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Basics, contraception, Dallas Diocese, Ecumenism, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sickness, Society, Virtue.
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One of the greatest blessings of our recent move is that my family has been able to get much more active in the pro-life movement.  My wife and kids, at least, are outside abortion mills at least once a week.  This past week they were outside Robinson’s again.  There was a mobile sonogram machine there, funded and staffed with evangelical-type protestants.  We Catholics do not have such a resource at present.  We badly need one, because the protestants use their sonogram van not only to stop abortion (for which all committed to life are, I’m certain, quite appreciative), but also to make converts.  Catholic hispanics considering abortion are some of their favorite “targets.”

Some readers may recall that Loreto House, a crisis pregnancy center in Denton, has been trying for over a year to get together funding to finish their own, Catholic, mobile sonogram machine.  I did a post to that effect over a year ago.  My wife spoke with a local pro-life coordinator and Loreto House apparently still needs more funds to get their sonogram unit operational.

My wife and I have seen how showing a woman pictures of her child in the womb has an extremely powerful effect in their thinking about whether to abort, or not.  Most women who view a sonogram of their child will choose not to abort.  To me, it’s a shame that Catholics, who make up the lifeblood of the pro-life movement, don’t at present have this kind of resource.

What Loreto House needs more than anything at present to complete the mobile sonogram unit is money.  They have a van and they have the sonogram machine, but there is a lot of other equipment and integration that is needed to make it all operational.  Would you consider, in your charity, making a donation to Loreto House?  I know there are so many worthy causes out there, but I really consider this to be one of the most pressing needs to support a corporal and spiritual work of mercy out there right now.  In addition to the obviously critical role this mobile sonogram unit, stationed outside area abortion mills, can play in saving the lives of others, having one staffed by Catholics would be an enormous benefit and could prevent some souls from falling away from the Faith.

It’s wonderful there is a mobile sonogram unit available at all, but it would be much better from the Catholic perspective if Loreto House could get theirs in service immediately.  Please pray and see if you can help Loreto House in meeting this pressing need.


Interesting video on one of the few desert anchorites remaining February 10, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Christendom, Ecumenism, General Catholic, Glory, Interior Life, manhood, martyrdom, religious, sanctity.
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1800 years ago, the deserts of Upper Egypt, then known as the Upper Thebaid, began to fill with hundreds of solitary and semi-solitary monks living in caves and hollows.  They sought escape from the world, its enticements and errors, and the practice of true sanctification and wholehearted devotion.  Among the most famous of these is St. Anthony of the Desert.  Out of these solitary monks grew the first  monasteries, when groups of novice monks would attach themselves to some wise old desert father.  This trend towards religious life was transplanted to the West by the great St. Benedict, and the monastic life that would sustain and preserve western civilization after the collapse of the Roman Empire was born.

There are still numerous Eastern Orthodox and Coptic monasteries scattered around the deserts that line the eastern Levant. But solitary practice of religious life has greatly diminished.  There are only a few – it is thought – monks living alone in caves or old mud huts in the desert.  But a documentary film crew found one of these, a Father Lazarus El Anthony, who was once an atheist and university professor who explicitly rejected religious belief (especially Christianity).  However, he was later to have a conversion experience and take up his solitary existence.

Below are two videos – totaling nearly 3 hours – on his life and the wisdom he has gained from decades of prayer and meditation.  Unfortunately, Fr. Lazarus is a Copt, and thus most likely accepts the Monophysite heresy that Christ has only a divine nature, and not the correct understanding that Christ was both fully human and fully divine.   I have not watched all the videos, and I tend to doubt this subtle theological point gets discussed, but since I can’t assure you he doesn’t go into that territory I thought I’d forewarn you.  Having said that, there is much to be gained here, and much to reflect on, in a life of such total commitment as to abandon the world and live a most rustic life full of hardship.

Part 1:

Is that a Rosary around the statue of Our Lady that is adjacent to Father while being interviewed?

Part 2:

If you wonder why Fr. Lazarus speaks good English, he is originally from Tasmania in Australia.

One note, Father Lazarus speaks of how the British persecuted hindu religious practices in India.  He can only be referring to Thugee (a demonic cult) and Sati, the practice of forcibly murdering the widows of those who had died by throwing them upon their husband’s funeral pyres.  I have no problem with that brand of “cultural imperialism,” for as  General Sir Charles Napier said “Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property.”

I would also say that the Eastern Orthodox have probably rightly “persecuted” the Copts for holding heretical ideas, ideas which undermined Christianity in its most ancient home (Egypt), and paved the way for the successful muslim invasion.

So maybe this guy holds some kooky ideas.  I’m still putting it up because it is at least a fascinating window onto a historically important Christian practice.

Reader TB who kindly sent me the videos above, also had a number of quotes from early desert fathers.  I almost bought a book containing such quotes a couple of weeks ago but the book was very short and very expensive, so I skipped it.  But you can find compilations of such quotes online.  Nevertheless, TB sent some pretty good ones:

‘When self-will and ease become habitual, they overthrow a man.’ [And thus the collapse of faith in modern times, when we are so very, very comfortable.  That is why self-imposed penance is crucial, and also why the destruction of the ancient practice of Friday fast/abstinence instituted by Paul VI in the 60s was so devastating.  Nothing has taken its place.]

Abba Poimen said: “When David wrestled with the lion, he grabbed it by the throat and immediately slew it. If we, then, grab our throats and our stomachs — that is, if we flee from hedonism and gluttony — then we will overcome the invisible lion, with God’s help.”

Abba Ammonas said: “Without great vigilance, man does not advance in even a single virtue.”

Abba John the Short said: “If a king wants to capture an enemy city, first of all he deprives it of water and food (by laying siege to it), and in this way his enemies, perishing from hunger, are subjugated to him. So it is with the carnal passions: if a man spends his life in fasting and virtual starvation, the passions and the demons flee, enfeebled, from his soul.”

‘The desire for possessions is dangerous and terrible, knowing no satiety; it drives the soul which it controls to the heights of evil. Therefore let us drive it away vigorously from the beginning. For once it has become master it cannot be overcome.’

An Elder said: When you sit down to eat, vanquish the demon of gluttony by delaying; restrain him and tell him “Just hold on, you will starve.” Eat with decorum, and the more the demon of gluttony urges you on, be certain to eat all the more calmly. For, this is how he puts force on a man and goads him on, by making him eat everything at once.  [Try to delay your meals a little every day.  If you want a snack, put it off for half an hour. Little mortifications can over time become big ones]

[This one is great…..] From Gregory the Dialogist: A nun from the convent of which Equitius the Great was Abbot went to the garden, and seeing a head of lettuce, desired it. And without even making the sign of the Cross, she voraciously ate it. Immediately an unclean spirit entered into her and cast her to the ground. Those who were thereabouts, on seeing this occurrence, quickly called for Father Equitius to come to the aid of the endangered nun.  Now the Father having come immediately to the garden, the devil that was thrashing the nun began to cry out and say in his defense, “What did I do? I was just sitting on top of the lettuce when she came and bit into me.” [So these desert monks are not humorless rigorists!  They have a sense of humor!]

Hence the soul, deprived of suitable spiritual ideas, loses the strength to struggle against thoughts and babbles with anyone it encounters. Since in this way (through loquacity) the soul drives out the Holy Spirit, it cannot keep the intellect free from harmful fantasies; for the Good Spirit always flees from loquacity, which is the cause of every upset and fantasy. Timely silence is good, since it is nothing other than the mother of the wisest thoughts.

From Antiochos: Poverty indicates that the monk who applies it in his life is sincere. The monk who has no possessions resembles an eagle, who flies high above the earth. The monk who has not a single possession shows himself to be only temporarily on earth. Since he has acquired none of the temporary goods of this world, by this indifference to them it is obvious that he desires things eternal.

“We and our brother are two images; when a man is watchful about himself, and has to reproach himself, in his heart he thinks his brother better than he; but when he appears to himself to be good, then he thinks his brother evil compared to himself.”

“When your brother attacks you, whatever the insults are, if you get angry at him, you are getting angry without cause. Even if he were to pull out your right eye, and to cut off your right hand, if you get angry at him, you are getting angry without cause. Yet if he were to try to take you away from God, then be angry.”

Abba Isidore of Pelusia said, ‘To live without speaking is better than to speak without living. For the former who lives rightly does good even by his silence but the latter does no good even when he speaks. When words and life correspond to one another they are together the whole of philosophy.’