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Readings from Requiem Masses explode protestant myths September 19, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Bible, catachesis, Ecumenism, error, foolishness, Four Last Things, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Latin Mass, the return, Virtue.
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One of the things I find most edifying about belonging to a traditional parish is the vastly increased focus on our last end: death, judgment, Heaven, and hell.  This focus takes many forms, but one of the most efficacious, to me, is the regular offering of Requiem Masses.  Contrary to critics of the Traditional Mass, this is not because TLM devotees are all incredibly old and dying in great droves.  No, it is because Requiem Masses are offered not just once the souls of the departed, but frequently on anniversaries of deaths.  I would say that I assist, on average, at at least one Requiem Mass every two weeks.  Thus, I have a frequent reminder that one day such a Mass will be offered for the repose of my soul, and I am reminded of how vital it is to pray for the souls of the departed.

I have been struck in recent months at some of the readings used in the Requiem Mass.  Obviously selected over the centuries through long use and saintly influence upon the Mass, these readings are not only edifying for those who assist at the Mass, they are also powerful reminders of the errors espoused by so many who take the name Christian.

From the readings for the Daily Mass for the Departed, some salutary lessons in the differences between our Catholic Faith and that of those who persist in the gravest of errors.  First, the Epistle, The Apocalype of Saint John, XIV:13:

In those days: I heard a voice from Heaven, saying to me: Write: Blessed are the dead, who die in the Lord.  From henceforth now, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, for their works follow them.

“Their works follow them,” a direct refutation from Sacred Scripture of the protestant idea that works avail nothing, that “faith” alone suffices.  But, even more substantially, who are the blessed who die in the Lord?  The Gospel from the same Mass, Saint John VI:51-55, tells us:

At that time: Jesus said to the multitudes of the Jews: I am the living Bread which came down from Heaven. If any man eat of this Bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is My Flesh for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat?  Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen, I say unto you: except you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His Blood, you shall not have life in you.  He that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood, hath everlasting life; and I will raise him up in the last day.

All well formed Catholics know that this famous discourse, the Bread of Life discourse from John VI, is the strongest, most obvious support – I would not say it is even a support, it is a command! – from Scripture for the Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament.  And those who do not eat that Bread worthily shall not have life in them.  Those who do so unworthily shall be “guilty of the Body and Blood of the Lord,” according to Saint Paul.  There is not a single protestant sect that professes to believe in the Real Presence, and even if they did, they would not have validly ordained priests to confect the Blessed Sacrament.  Thus, an extremely strong support for the traditional claim of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus, and a clear warning to all those who reject formal membership in the Church Christ founded.

There is another very moving passage used in the Epistle for the Mass on the Anniversary of the Death or Burial, from 2 Machabees XII:43-46:

In those days: The most valiant man Judas, making a gathering, sent twelve thousand drachmas of silver to Jerusalem to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection (for if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead): and because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.

Now, protestants, starting with Luther, reject all of Machabees, and several other volumes of the Old Testament, as supposedly “apocryphal.” Of course, Luther also wanted to exclude the Catholic Epistle of Saint James since it said some very inconvenient things, but was told there were no grounds to do so.  The grounds for the exclusion of the Old Testament books inconvenient to protestantism were similarly flimsy.  It was truly the height of effrontery for men to come along, 1200 years after great Saints and Fathers had settled the Canon of Scripture, to tell them they got it wrong.  And all to support the pretensions of those who rejected the constant belief and practice of not only the Catholic Church, but all the sadly heretical schismatic and heretical groups who had fallen along the way, the Eastern Orthodox and the Monophysites and the Nestorians.

This excerpt from Machabees is one of the strongest supports for the Catholic belief in Purgatory, a place after death distinct, in a sense, from Heaven and hell (although Purgatory is formally part of hell). Of course, Catholics should not fall into the protestant game of looking solely to Scripture to support our beliefs – the Church existed before Scripture was written, She has practiced the same Faith constantly since Her inception, and thus must look to Her own past, to the earliest days of the Church to see what the Church believed and did, then.  And all the evidence is clear that prayers for the dead have been a part of the Catholic religion since its inception.  It is truly a “holy and wholesome thought” to pray for the dead, which many protestants do, anyway, even if their various sects officially disbelieve such “nonsense.”

Have a blessed weekend!

An easy way to support a wonderful religious order and get something in return! September 19, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Christendom, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Latin Mass, Liturgical Year, religious, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Many readers may already avail themselves of the Papa Stronsay religious calendar, but the video below is a reminder that the 2015 calendar is available for order now!  As far as male religious orders go, I can hardly recommend any more strongly than the Transalpine Redemptorists of Papa Stronsay.  They are a wonderful, faithful group of Redemptorists – Saint Alphonsus’ own dear sons!  They are growing steadily and re-seeding Tradition throughout the Church!

Thanks to TE for the link:

My favorite reminder, courtesy of the Transalpine Redemptorists:

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Flightline Friday: The RAW deal of the Century September 19, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Flightline Friday, fun, history, reading, silliness, Society.
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In the late 1950s, many NATO governments were looking for a supersonic fighter to replace the first generation jets then in service, like the F-86 Sabre.  Because so many countries were in the market for basically the same jet, and because NATO countries took their defense obligations much more seriously back then, there was potential for a very big sale.  As such, many aircraft manufacturers pushed their own types, but the competition quickly settled down on two American aircraft – the Lockheed F-104 Starfighter and the Grumman F11F-1F Super Tiger.

F11F

F11F

The Grumman aircraft started life as a carrier based day fighter/interceptor to meet USN requirements.  At the time the original F11F Tiger was developed – 1953-4 – the Navy was severely embarrassed that its jet aircraft lagged severely behind their Air Force counterparts.  They did so for several reasons, including Navy concern over using swept wing aircraft onboard carriers (they were afraid the swept wings would cause problems in the landing pattern, a problem obviated when the Navy switched from straight to angled decks) and the USN’s penchant for demanding its aircraft manufacturers use really, really bad engines.  The Tiger was an attempt by the Navy to narrow the performance gap, but once again, the Navy made a terrible choice for the engine – the Wright J65, a license built British jet.  Unfortunately, by the mid-50s, Wright was just about exhausted as a major player in aviation, and their J65 engine series never lived up to its expected potential.  So, the F11F wound up underperforming expectations badly, being barely supersonic (Mach 1.1), instead of equivalent to its contemporary Air Force counterpart, the F-100 Super Sabre, which managed Mach 1.4 with its far superior J57 engine.

However, Grumman felt their design was being poorly served by the J65, and on their own cost and initiative, installed the then very new and highly advanced General Electric J79 engine in a slightly modified F11F they called the F11F-1F (a mouthful!).  The J79 was very new, and not readily available, so it was mid-1956 before the installation could be completed.  However, once it was, the F11f_grumman_tigerSuper Tiger achieved Mach 1.44 on one early flight, and by late 1957 had reached Mach 2.04 through various minor improvements for better high speed stability.  This speed was fully equivalent to the highest performing USAF types of the day, and faster than any then-current Navy fighter.  Unfortunately for Grumman, the Navy had already selected THE GREATEST MILITARY AIRCRAFT OF ALL TIME!, the Chance-Vought F8U Crusader, for its supersonic day fighter requirement, so the Navy was no longer interested (and they were so for very good reasons – the F8U was almost as fast, but had far longer range and could carry a much larger load.  It was at least as maneuverable as the Super Tiger, and probably more so in most regimes).

But, Grumman was sitting on a really hot little fighter, with sparkling performance for its time, and it was sure someone would want to buy it.  As already mentioned, several NATO countries were looking to make several hundred aircraft buys of supersonic fighters.  The competition, as mentioned, quickly devolved in most countries down to the F-104 Starfighter, also Mach 2 capable and possessing even higher performance than the Super Tiger in a few areas of flight, and the F11F-1F.

Super Tiger

Super Tiger

Both aircraft were incredibly short ranged – the F-104, even with wingtip tanks, had a mission radius of less than 200 miles for most missions.  The Super Tiger was somewhat better – you could say about 50% better, on average, but it was hardly long legged.  Both aircraft were quite small, essentially being the smallest airframe wrapped around the biggest, most powerful engine possible.  That did give them high performance and made them a delight to fly, but did cost in terms of range and payload.

The first major player in the competition for new supersonic aircraft was the German Luftwaffe, which wound up buying nearly a thousand.  As in every subsequent case, the judgment of the all the test flight personnel was that the F11F-1F was a far superior aircraft overall, even if the Lockheed bird could out climb it.  The problem with the Starfighter was its T-tail and its very small wing.  The small wing caused the Starfighter to have absolutely ludicrous takeoff and landing speeds – the aircraft  landed at about 250 mph.  It also had atrocious energy management, meaning the aircraft had to be kept going very fast until the last possible moment over the runway, when the aircraft would be quickly flared and then landed. It was really, really hard to land.  Given that the Luftwaffe had only been reconstituted in 1955 and had many inexperienced pilots, the combination of the Starfighter’s difficult landing characteristics, its tendency to stall when pitched up at too high an angle of attack, and all those inexperienced pilots, made the Starfighter a very dangerous choice.  The Luftwaffe strongly recommended the F11F-1F, but the F11F-1F_NAN12-56government overruled them and selected the F-104.  Why that occurred would later become a great scandal.

After the Luftwaffer, the Japanese Air Self Defense Force and the Canadians also compared the Super Tiger and the Starfighter.  Events developed much has they had before, with the services strongly recommending the Super Tiger and the government later overruling.  In the case of the JASDF, this was particularly egregious, as the government had actually formally announced the Super Tiger the winner of the competition, but later renounced its own decision and went with the Lockheed bird.

In every case, the Starfighter had an absolutely atrocious safety record.  In Germany, about 1/3 of the entire fleet of 700 Starfighters were lost to accidents.  In Canada, almost half were lost.  Even the USAF, which bought only a few Starfighters due to its short legs, and which had the best Starfighter safety record of all, twice as many Starfighters were lost to accidents as other contemporary types.  It was a very problematic design.

F-104

F-104

So why did the Starfighter win all those competitions, selling over 2000 aircraft, when the Super Tiger was bought by none?  When Lockheed won all those NATO contracts, they called it the “deal of the century.”  But it was later discovered that the reason they had won all those competitions was because Lockheed had spent tens of millions of dollars bribing government officials in almost every single country where the Starfighter was chosen.  It was called the Lockheed bribery scandal, and forced the resignation of both the CEO and Chairman of Lockheed, and almost resulted in the collapse of the company.  As Corky Meyer, Grumman’s chief test pilot for the Super Tiger said: “Grumman only knew how to build aircraft, Lockheed knew how to sell them.”

Only two Super Tigers wound up being built, and the type became an aviation also-ran, which was a worst fate than it deserved.  While limited in range and payload, it was relatively cheap and easy to maintain and operate, and would have served well in many smaller air forces around the world.

An interesting anecdote regarding the F-104.  It was the first service aircraft to exceed Mach 2 in level flight. One of the ways that speed was achieved was by having very small, very thin wings, which reduced parasitic drag (but also lift, hence the high landing speeds).  The wings are actually so thin, and the leading edge so sharp, that ground crew had to wear special gloves to keep from cutting their hands on them. I used to think that had to be an exaggeration, until I cut my hand on the wing leading edge of an F-104C at Cavanaugh Flight Museum.

The Navy did buy a couple hundred of the original F11F Tigers and they served until the early 60s in squadron service. They served much longer with the famous Blue Angels, who used the type until the late 60s due to its honest flying characteristics and good maneuverability.

The Tiger is mostly forgotten, even among many aviation enthusiasts.  I guess that’s why there aren’t many videos on Youtube.  I did find a few.  This first one is silent and shows F11F, A4D, F3H, and helicopter operations on CVA-19 Hancock in 1955!  See that huge A3D “Whale” takeoff @1:30!

Below see the Blue Angels performing in Tigers in the late 60s:

Last one, an F11F takes the barrier on CV-38 Shangri-La:

I don’t know what the last half is about, looks like someone’s home movies!

Ah, what the heck, one more – more flight deck action including F11Fs in heavy Pacific seas in the late 50s:

I am probably the only person who watched every bit of those.