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Good post: The Paramagisterium November 18, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Ecumenism, error, foolishness, General Catholic, priests, religious, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sickness, Society.
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I really like the way the author of this post at catholicism.org has conceptualized the way in which formal Doctrine has been attacked and undermined since Vatican II: the paramagisterium.  That’s a brilliant word summing up a sometimes difficult to explain phenomenon, the manner in which prelates and even popes may weaken Doctrine while never formally changing it, something that has afflicted the Church to a huge degree in the past several decades.  Paramagisterium also describes not only what many in the Church hierarchy seek, but how they go about achieving it, often in concert with forces outside the Church, many of which are openly hostile to orthodox Christianity.

First, I’ll quote a section describing the author’s definition of “paramagisterium” (I add emphasis and comments):

One undeniable hallmark of Catholic dogma has always been its clarity. The Church, as a good teacher, does not guide her children in halting speech. She is not vague or ambiguous. Indeed, to teach infallibly and thus bind the faithful under pain of grievous sin would absolutely require clarity. Since it is manifestly contrary to reason for a teacher to demand assent of the intellect to something ambiguous or vague, how can Christ’s faithful be bound in conscience to believe something ephemeral or given to a multiplicity of contrary interpretations? [Ahem, Guadium Et Spes, cough, Nostra Aetate, hack, Dignitatis Humanae, choke.  These documents are so often either unclear, self-contradictory, or apparently at odds with the prior Magisterium that we are now told it takes post-doctoral studies in systematic theology to begin to understand them]

The infallible magisterium of the Catholic Church is limited in its exercise, clearly recognizable when invoked, and serious in its expression. But these marks of Catholicity are all but lost in our day when a “paramagisterium” operates seemingly to supplant the authentic magisterium of the Church.

These thoughts came to mind upon hearing the news that Libreria Editrice Vaticana has published the book, Interviste e conversazioni con i giornalisti (“Interviews and Conversations with Journalists”), a collection of interviews with Pope Francis.

The author then outlines what the paramagisterium is and how it works by focusing on one very clear doctrinal belief of the Church – capital punishment – and how the constant belief and practice of 2000 years has been steadily attacked and eroded over the past 50 years or so:

For purposes of illustration, I would like now to consider a concrete subject upon which the paramagisterium has spoken frequently and loudly, even to the point of confusing some very good Catholics — especially champions for the pro-life cause. I speak of capital punishment.

Writing for Crisis Magazine some time ago, Christopher A. Ferrara asked the question “Can the Church Ban Capital Punishment?” He replied in the negative for very weighty reasons. In brief, the entire tradition of the Church advanced and defended the right of the State to administer the death penalty, not only as a means to protect the citizenry from a repeat offense, but also for reasons of justice, deterrence, expiation, and even the spiritual welfare of the guilty, whose frightful sentence could lead to his conversion, as it did over the years for many of the condemned. [I have argued the same on this blog.  While there may be valid prudential reasons to oppose the use of the death penalty in a given state at a given point in time (which reasons are of course arguable, see below), one cannot say that the Church is categorically opposed to the death penalty, that the Church teaches that its use is immoral, or that, God forbid, Church Doctrine has been “changed” by the less than careful statements by some recent pontiffs on this subject.]

Ferrara quotes the Catechism of the Council of Trent:

Again, this prohibition [of killing] does not apply to the civil magistrate, to whom is entrusted the power of life and death, by the legal and judicious exercise of which he punishes the guilty and protects the innocent. The use of the civil sword, when wielded by the hand of justice, far from involving the crime of murder, is an act of paramount obedience to this commandment which prohibits murder. The end of the commandment is the preservation and sanctity of human life, and to the attainment of this end, the punishments inflicted by the civil magistrate, who is the legitimate avenger of crime, naturally tend, giving security to life by repressing outrage and violence.

…….What a lot of Catholics probably do not know is that Vatican City State and the other Papal States themselves formerly used the death penalty.

In the nineteenth century, there existed in Rome the archconfraternity of San Giovanni Decollato (“Saint John Beheaded”), whose members did penance for those we now call death-row inmates. For them, part of being Christian also meant looking out for the spiritual welfare of the condemned. The Papal States were quite interested in man’s supernatural end, too. For this reason, execution days in Rome were days of prayer and penance. Saint Vincent Pallotti used to work with the archconfraternity of San Giovanni Decollato, and never complained that the popes, one of whom was Blessed Pio Nono, were “violating human dignity.”

There are some who oppose capital punishment purely for prudential reasons, and in the present context. They believe that the modern state is so evil, so given to usurp rights that are not its own, and so callous towards human life in general (e.g., abortion), that it ought not to wield the sword. This position is not at variance with Church teaching, but it is certainly debatable. [Being based on prudential arguments, of course it’s debatable.]

Granted, the State does not have to resort to capital punishment. The question is may it do so. And the answer is yes.

But there is a new body of teaching today, part of the paramagisterium, which has it that the death penalty is an intrinsic violation of the dignity of the human person. We hear it from bishops, priests, and pious lay faithful engaged in the pro-life movement. The logical question presents itself: If this is so, why did Christ’s infallible Church, for the entirety of her history, teach and act otherwise until the late twentieth century? This cannot be justified as a legitimate “development of doctrine,” because these individuals negate capital punishment in principle and based upon fundamental anthropological truths that the Church has either not known or overlooked until the ascendancy of personalist philosophy in the twentieth century. [And personalism of a certain sort, not necessarily that of Dietrich von Hildebrand, but that of Karol Wojtyla – rather a different view of personalism]

Capital punishment is but one issue upon which we see confusion generated by the paramagisterium. Others would include evolution (no, it’s not a teaching of the Church!), Christ’s Social Kingship, Limbo, Biblical inerrancy, and, of course, sex. Lastly, the very nature of the Church herself, her necessity and divine constitution are constantly assailed by the paramagisterium[Dang right. And don’t forget the manner in which NFP is promoted, often as a moral obligation!, in that list, nor ecumenism/interreligious dialogue]

————–End Quote—————-

Certainly this paramagisterium has been immensely aided by the press carefully picking and choosing which papal statements or quotes from bishops it will publicize.  But at the same time, it must be noted that statements by recent pontiffs often serve as virtually the sole “doctrinal” support for Catholic acceptance of things like the evolution of species, even if those statements were often lacking in clarity (as stated above) and non-binding on conscience themselves.  They are often just enough to muddy the waters or convince well meaning people that the popular “modern” sentiment is acceptable from the point of view of the Church.

Cardinal Koch: Fall of Communism “not all positive” because revival of Greek Catholicism has hampered ecumenism November 18, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Ecumenism, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, history, Holy suffering, sadness, secularism, self-serving, the return.
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You have got to be kidding me.  On the surface, Koch’s statement might seem relatively innocuous (even if counter to the sensus fidei of most Catholics who understand the destruction of the Soviet Empire as a good thing), but given the history of horrible persecution, suffering, and abuse the “Uniate” and Orthodox Churches suffered under communism, it seems incredible to lament the passing of the old communist regime:

“The changes in 1989 were not advantageous for ecumenical relations,” Koch told Vatican Radio. “The Eastern Catholic churches banned by Stalin re-emerged, especially in Ukraine and Romania, and from the Orthodox came the old accusation about Uniate churches and proselytism.” [It was so much easier under the old regime, he seems to say!  “We could just dial up the Kremlin and demand a bishop show up at our Council and they would be there and say whatever we wanted!  No back-tracking, no mussing around, things are much more difficult today, it’s almost like these Orthodox and Uniate guys believe in all this Jesus stuff!  That makes ecumenism so much harder!”]

“Uniate” refers to eastern churches with Orthodox-style liturgies that recognize the pope as their spiritual leader.

Pope Francis will meet Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul late this month. The Orthodox spiritual head supports more cooperation with Rome, but cannot ignore the wary Russians, who make up two-thirds of the world’s 300 million Orthodox.

Koch, who spoke a week after the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s fall, and on the same day as Czechs marked the start of their democratic revolution, noted that talks on closer ties between Catholic and Orthodox theologians were suspended between 2000 and 2006 because of tensions between the two sides. [One major concern the Orthodox have – Lord knows the preponderance of fault is on their side – is on the tendency towards liberal worldliness they perceive in the Church today.  Relations improved under Benedict because they saw the Church as heading in a better, more traditional direction.  I bet the brakes are hot now.]

“There are always setbacks, but I’m convinced we can make more progress,” the Swiss-born cardinal said. [Always ill-defined…..”progress”. Oh yay]

Persecution of Christians in the Middle East has brought Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants there together, he said, but the Ukraine crisis has heightened tensions among churches.

“We’ve repeatedly heard major complaints from the Russian Orthodox,” he said. “This is unfortunate because churches are supposed to be a factor for unity and reconciliation.”

Metropolitan Hilarion, the number two man in the Moscow Patriarchate, used his guest presentation to a Vatican synod on the family last month to accuse the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church of trying to poach believers from Orthodoxy. [What a joke.  The Orthodox persecute the living crud out of the Ukrainian Catholics and Catholics of all stripes every chance they get.  They constantly proselytize Catholics while getting the government to try to prevent the Catholics from evangelizing Orthodox.  They almost behave as if they do not have the courage of their convictions, if one looks at the degree to which they rely on the state to run interference for them.]

Folks, Catholic/Orthodox relations have been incredibly complex and difficult for over 1500 years. Forgive me if I am dubious that the likes of men as Cardinal Kurt Koch or his hangers on are of a mettle to overcome this very thorny problem.  The Orthodox Churches are very screwed up, mixing in equal parts nationalism with religious fervor and, maybe even more, anti-Catholicism.  If there is one force that binds the many, constantly warring Orthodox Churches together it is their anti-Catholicism.  I used to dream about “progress” in Catholic-Orthodox relations several years ago, when my knowledge of Church history was much weaker, now I pretty much just leave it in the hands of God and pray for the conversion of individual souls.  I don’t see a reunion happening by human agency at all, it could only occur through a huge movement of Grace, a basically miraculous event.

What I do fear, and what has already occurred several times in the past, is that Greek Catholics will be thrown under the bus  and  made to suffer for some perceived or promised ecumenical “gain.”  The only gains the other side will permit are those which profit them and they would like nothing more than to see that little island of Catholicism in their Orthodox sea crushed.  So pray for the Church in Ukraine, it is under heavy pressure and will probably need our support. For one thing many of our bishops really don’t care for the Greek Catholics because they do not use the Novus Ordo and are thus suspect of having a different religious identity.

h/t reader CH

Great story about chaplain of Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles November 18, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Ecumenism, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Latin Mass, manhood, priests, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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I don’t know how much pub this story has gotten in orthodox Catholic circles but it’s a good one.  A priest recently assigned as chaplain for the great order of Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles in Missouri spends his time off walking around town in cassock and saturno, evangelizing souls he meets.  What great witness:54651d0500414.preview-300

Most afternoons, the Rev. Lawrence Carney can be found walking around St. Joseph. Dressed in black, carrying a crucifix and rosary, he can be hard to miss.

“The name of St. Joseph being one of the three of the Holy Family, a nun and I thought this would be a good town to allow me to walk around and pray,” the Rev. Carney says. “I think God has lots of ideas in mind for this idea of walking around and being a visible sign of the church, as kind of a missionary.”

The Rev. Carney moved to St. Joseph from Wichita, Kan., in January, where he had served as a pastor with the Diocese of Wichita.

“I was invited by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles to be their chaplain,” the Rev. Carney says. “From there, I asked if I could live in a city and pray the rosary around the town and meet people along the way. If they wanted to talk about God, I would help them.” [The prayers of holy nuns are so vital to the success of priestly apostolates.  The collapse in women’s religious life has wounded the Church more than we can know in this life.  I know one very holy priest who believes very strongly that every good priest requires what he calls “a little girl” or two praying in a convent somewhere for his sanctity and the success of his apostolate. I think he’s right.]

The Rev. Carney spends part of his day with the nuns of Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles in Gower, Mo., saying Mass and praying. Afterward, he returns to St. Joseph to walk, pray and attend Mass at St. Patrick’s Church, where he is staying.…..

…….While he walks in St. Joseph, the Rev. Carney prays the rosary and talks to people he meets.

“A lot of time, people want me to pray for them, for their general intentions, sicknesses or conversion. And then I teach them how to pray,” he says. “They ask about God and Jesus and Mary.” [Wonderful evangelization right there]

54651d04a7580.preview-300He doesn’t have a set route, but he enjoys visiting the soup kitchen and listening to people. While he walks, he carries a crucifix in his right hand and a rosary in his left, an act he calls “fishing.”

“One guy came up to me and said, ‘What are you doing?’ I said, ‘I’m fishing. The crucifix is my hook, my rosary is my line. Allow me to put the rosary around your neck.’ He allowed me, and I said, ‘You’ve just been caught by Jesus,’” the Rev. Carney says. [Corny, but cool]

Later, he saw the man again while walking. 

“A month later, I walked by, and there was like 20 kids and they all wanted to ask me, talk about questions of God. This young man just runs out of his house and says, ‘Father Carney, I want a rosary.’ I gave him a rosary. I blessed it and taught him how to pray it,” he says…….

……He wears a sacramental black robe, called a cassock, which represents the tunic the priests wore in the Old Testament. He also wears an Italian hat called a saturno, which means “half a Saturn.” It helps keep the sun out of his eyes and protect his face from sun damage.

“We stick to tradition. This hat was required by all clerics who lived in Rome. It was against the law not to wear one until several decades ago. It’s very fitting to the priesthood because it’s what we used to wear all the time,” he says.

 

————End Quote———–

There is quite a bit more at the link.  I think it fair to say that the coverage is quite positive.

So this is what comes of giving visible witness to our Faith through the wearing of clerical garb in public. I am always so pleased to see priests dressed as priests in public.  Of course, I strongly favor the cassock and other traditional wear as being most well ordered and most evocative of our Faith.  This priest’s experience seems to stress that being identifiable as a priest in public stirs people’s minds and imaginations and may have an impact beyond quantifying. I really endorse this kind of witness.

The walking is also brilliant, you can’t evangelize very well from a car, but on foot, the interactions are much more personal.  I really pray bishops give priests time in their schedules to perform these kinds of ad hoc apostolates, they may not have an immediately visible return but they could have enormous impact over time.  I’d say this kind of mission is of more benefit to souls than the myriad meetings priests seem to spend half or more of their time sitting in.  Or even less edifying activities.  I knew one priest who, from his constant talking about different TV shows including many daytime ones, obviously spent a great deal of time watching the tube.

May God support and protect Father Carney.

 

 

 

More data on the collapse of the Church in Latin America November 18, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, demographics, disaster, Ecumenism, episcopate, horror, paganism, sadness, scandals, secularism, Society, SOD.
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Probably most of my readers, if not all, read Rorate Caeli, but there was some very disheartening material posted there recently regarding the continuing collapse of the Church in Latin America.  As Rorate notes, this collapse cannot be blamed on ongoing secularization nearly to the degree that it can be in the “advanced” nations of North American and Europe.  The Church in Latin American was, in 1970, quite strong, cohesive, and going through (perhaps concluding is a better word) a period of great renewal that started well before the Council.  But ever since the mid-70s the Church in Latin America has been in free-fall on a scale that outpaces even the collapse of the Faith in some Western European countries.  There hasn’t been a period since the protestant revolt when so many have fallen away so fast in a given region.

Another difference between the secularization of countries like Canada, France, Germany, Spain, etc., and the Latin American countries, is that, for the most part, in the former countries people have tended to fall out of religious practice entirely, they have become atheist or agnostic.  In the Latin American countries, religious practice remains very strong, but a huge portion of the Church has found the “product,” if you will, so lacking in the post-conciliar environment that they have sought spiritual sustenance even in the separated and heretical sects. And as the data shows, they have done so in great numbers, tens of millions, over the past 4 decades:

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I have to look no farther than my own backyard to see witness of this phenomenon.  In my home zip code, the population is something like 70% Hispanic, many recent immigrants.  There is only one Catholic parish to serve both this and several other zip codes containing tens of thousands of Hispanic families, while one literally cannot drive a block without finding some Hispanic-oriented evangelical sect, many small, but some quite large, serving tens of thousands of former Catholics.  It breaks my heart to have to see this every day.  And my observation over the past year-plus is that this trend is accelerating dramatically, with new evangelical sects popping up almost weekly.

Even more devastating is the deep anti-Catholicism many of these former Catholic souls have imbibed.  There is a little restaurant I frequent on occasion, and the owners are recent Hispanic immigrants who are now evangelical. They were quite warm to me when they saw me reading my Bible in their restaurant, but when they found I was still Catholic they became less so.  Even more, there is anti-Catholic propaganda in their restaurant, not obvious, but there.  I have tried to engage with the owners but due to my poor Spanish speaking skills (especially when it comes to technical topics – I read much better than I speak) and their self-assured hostility, I have made precious little progress. When souls make a conscious choice to reject the Faith they were raised in, it is very rare for them to return. Please pray for these and millions of other souls falling away from the Church like snowflakes.

It is easy for the scale of this tragedy to get lost in the cold reality of numbers.  Each one of these souls falling away from the Church is an incalculable loss both to the souls themselves and to the Mystical Body of Christ. What we are witnessing is a tragedy that is beyond human reckoning, but with widespread erroneous understandings of notions like “ecumenism” and “universal salvation” even at the highest levels of the Church, there is little sense of crisis in response to data like this. To the extent many in the Church are concerned about this ongoing hemorrhaging of souls, the concern is only worldly: what will this mean for Church income, what will this mean for parish closures, how will we run a Church without priests?  There is little or no sense of urgency in dealing with this crisis: quite the opposite, so many in the Church and especially the hierarchy seem to be doing all they can to exacerbate the crisis?

These souls are falling away, by and large, because they felt spiritually starved. I know a good number of former Catholics who left for the exact same reason.  All the changes being discussed – Communion for adulterers, the gifts of sodomites, institutionalizing the travesty of US-style annulment mills, etc., etc. – none of this will attract souls back to the Faith.  The opposite is actually true, and I’ve seen comments all over the web to confirm this: souls already outside the Church or leading sinful/heretical lives will only feel confirmed in their errors by all these destructive novelties, and, even more, they feel that a Church that can be so wrong on so much for so long has nothing to offer them.

That is the true tale of the Church in Latin America over the past four decades: a Church without substance feeding worldly pablum to starving souls who then depart en masse.  This is so contrary to how the Church conducted Herself for centuries it is simply staggering.  The last five decades have proven, without doubt in my mind, that this “openness” to the world is destructive of the Faith and the good of souls.  The case of the Church in Latin America is a very strong argument that the collapse in the Faith is not something that just happened to the Church, but is a result of the deliberate direction the Church has taken.

Late Flightline Friday – CAG bird November 18, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Flightline Friday, fun, non squitur, silliness, SOD.
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I never got a chance to post Flightline Friday before the weekend. So depending on how you look on this, it being Tuesday, it’s either early or late.

Not much today, I just found a few photos I liked over the weekend.  Most feature a remarkable paint job applied to the “CAG bird” of VFA-81 Sunliners.  The CAG bird is the aircraft in a given squadron nominally reserved to the Commander of the Carrier Air Wing (CVW) to which the squadron is assigned.  Such aircraft get much more elaborate paint jobs.  Some of them are quite spectacular.

You might wonder how “Commander Air Wing” resulted in the acronym “CAG” – that’s because they used to be called Carrier Air Groups and the CAG was the commander of the air group, not air wing. Even after the change, decades ago, everyone continued to call him CAG.

I like the POW/MIA on the inboard sign of the starboard vertical fin.  I also threw in a totally unrelated pic of a Gator in some unique climactic conditions:

From last week

From last week

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That’s a great shark mouth.  The Hornet is a natural for it.

So I guess the Sunliners converted from the F-18C Hornet to the E model recently?  Because the video below from last year has them flying C model Hornets and not the Super Hornet I are dumb. The video was of two squadrons, VFA-94 Mighty Shrikes and VFA-81, the Shrike birds were C models but the Sunliners were E’s:

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The pic below shows LHD-7 USS Iwo Jima with fog right about flight deck level.  I’m sorry that is just too awesome:

1280px-US_Navy_060115-N-6282K-001_The_amphibious_assault_ship_USS_Iwo_Jima_(LHD_7)_shown_operating_in_dense_fog_in_the_Atlantic_Ocean