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North Texas Catholic Men’s Conference Feb 7 January 15, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, Domestic Church, episcopate, family, fun, General Catholic, manhood, sanctity, true leadership.
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The 2015 North Texas Catholic Men’s Conference will be held Sat. Feb. 7 at Hurst Conference Center in, uh……Hurst.  The conference runs from 8a-4p and features many speakers, including Bishop Michael Olson of Ft. Worth, Fr. Larry Richards, Michael Coren and others.  Mass (Novus Ordo) will be offered (not sure of the time) and there will be Adoration, Rosary, and Benediction. Confession will be available throughout the conference from many priests.

The organization Catholic Brothers for Christ is organizing the event.  I don’t really know much about them, nor about most of the speakers save for Michael Coren.  Anyway, here’s a video:

If you’re interested in a day of fellowship and reflection you can register here.  I don’t think I’ll be there but I do know a few who will be.  I think it was last  year’s conference that caused me to see Doug Barry at a local parish (can you guess which one he would choose to assist at Mass?).

Let me know how it turns out.

Speaking of men’s conferences, the men’s retreat last Saturday at Mater Dei was a very big success.  There were over 80 guys in attendance, about twice what was planned for.  I got some very good direction as both father and husband.  The only problem was that there was so much that the priests could have covered, but didn’t have the time. So the next one may be longer in duration.

I have been holding off posting on the retreat because there is a sermon video I’d really like to share that was just super-edifying, but it still has not come up online.  I keep waiting to see if it will make it on Video Sancto, but in spite of 27 other recent videos on marriage and how to be a good spouse, it hasn’t showed!

Patience, precious.

Another datapoint on Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus January 15, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Ecumenism, Four Last Things, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, history, priests, reading, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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I have done a couple of posts from a great book for Catholic men to read, The Life of Fr. de Smet.  I am also reading another book that I think would appeal to and edify many Catholic men, and that is The Autobiography of a Hunted Priest by Fr. John Gerard, SJ.  This is a book also full of adventure and fortitude, download (4)tales of daring and sufferings born gladly for our Savior.  Fr. John Gerard was an aristocratic Englishman who became a Jesuit and served, along with great martyrs like Fr.’s Walpole, Southwell, and Campion in Elizabethan England during the heart of the terrible persecutions of Catholics.  The society was so repressive, the environment so hostile, every single conversion these priests made was miraculous, as was the faith of the few who still adhered to the old Faith in the face of terrible sufferings. Most of the nobility who maintained the Faith lost their fortunes (and often their lives) to the evils of the Tudor and Jacobian regimes.

Much of the book is occupied with Fr. Gerard’s tales of conversion.  Most people had fallen away from the Faith by the time he came to England in the 1580s as a priest, so there were many conversions to make.  Because of his own aristocratic background, and due to their ability to influence others, Gerard’s apostolate focused sort of by default on the conversion of the aristocracy.  He was very successful, and almost all of his conversions were lasting – those converted persevered in the Faith even to the point of death.  He constantly disavows any virtue of his own, seeing himself as a pygmy among giants like his superior, Fr. Garnet (also martyred), and yet that only highlights his virtue all the more.  It is a most remarkable biography and one that I think should be download (3)read by many as our own society degenerates towards outright persecution of Catholics.

Now why would these men risk life, limb, fortune, and freedom to try to evangelize and convert souls in such a hostile land?  They were not going into the heart of darkness to find pagan tribes that had never heard the Word of God.  They were converting people who had been Catholic themselves, and who adhered to a religion that purported to be truly descended from the Church Fathers with valid apostolic succession and which retained virtually all the beliefs of the old Faith.  Surely those people were very close to God in their own “reformed” faith, were they not?  Were they not very likely to be saved?

A young peer just below the rank of a baron (a Marquis?) is presented to Fr. Gerard under the pretense of a friendly meeting between upper-crust Englishmen.  Fr. Gerard steers the conversation to religion, and it comes out that this young peer is a friend of many Catholics.  Fr. Gerard works on trying to convert the man, but he is comfortable where he is at.  Taking up the text right there:

At once he raised the question of whether he had to become a Catholic to save his soul, and I showed him that it was necessary.

Did not tell him, but showed him, from Scripture and the Fathers, that it was necessary even for a devout Anglican to save his soul by conversion to the ChurchGerard, Fr John SJ (1564-1637)_1 Christ established.  Needless to say, this is very much different from what most priests and bishops preach today: the vast majority pretend that virtually everyone is saved, that God is merciful but not just, that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity exaggerated, or got it wrong when He said most would not be saved, and that all those Fathers, Saints, popes and others before them were wrong as well.

I didn’t plan on going on a jag regarding Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus of late, but I’ve seen several excerpts in these biographies I’ve been reading that have brought it to the forefront of my mind.  I’m no theologian, but there sure seems to have been a radical change in how most in the Church view the desperate need for conversion of those outside the Church and their prospects for salvation outside it.

I don’t think Fr. Gerard, God rest his soul, would have much truck with today’s ecumenism.

What the climate change encyclical should be about January 15, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, episcopate, General Catholic, Papa, secularism, self-serving, Society.
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Reader MFG sent me the document attached below, containing his thoughts on what a really good, virtuous, Catholic examination of environmental concerns should focus on.  Suffice it to say, it’s not worry about the end of the world or liberal hand-wringing, but using environmental degradation as a theme or symbol for the moral degradation that surrounds us in the culture.  MFG believes that to the degree that the encyclical contains the elements he outlines, it has great potential for success, but to the degree that it doesn’t, it will be a failure.

The document is here: Climate Change Encyclical I encourage you to read all this points, it’s not that long.  I may not agree in detail with everyone, but the overall thrust seems to me to bring up considerations one would find in great encyclicals of the past on different subjects, be they Mystici Corporis or Testem Benevolentiae.  Those encyclicals always reminded souls of their constant duty to virtue and the evils that can arrive in the broader culture when individual virtue is shirked.  That to me is the main point.  If you want to lament environmental degradation – to the degree it is occurring, which is certainly debatable (for instance, the general state of the environment is in many respects much better today than it was 50 years ago) – fine, but get to the real source: individual sin, disordered appetites, selfish thinking, and the rest.   That to me would be the key point.

Just sort of a thought experiment.  Below are a few of the items MFG suggested that I think best:

Does the encyclical address the underlying cause of environmental pollution: the lack of virtue among men? If people are engaging in impurities (especially against nature) why would they care about the environment and nature?

Does the encyclical address the causes of the worst climate change incident ever to occur on earth: the flood?

What led to the flood? What exactly was the wickedness of mankind?

Does it address the disordered industrial living arrangements that modern man lives in today such as modern suburbia, hyper freeways and mega-cities; does the encyclical offers any remedies back to a stable ordered community?

Does it address how the disordered suburban and mega-cities contribute (by isolation, materialism, high cost of living and lack of community) to sin and the culture of death?

Does it address the disordered industrial living arrangements that modern man lives in today such as modern suburbia, hyper freeways and mega-cities; does the encyclical offers any remedies back to a stable ordered community?

Does it address how the disordered suburban and mega-cities contribute (by isolation, materialism, high cost of living and lack of community) to sin and the culture of death?

If it follows these lines, there could be more potential for an encyclical on this subject than I originally considered.  Given that we are being assured that the document will address climate change specifically (and exclusively?), I would be fairly surprised if it includes discussion of such broad-ranging (and more significant) matters like the above, but maybe I’ll be surprised.

Probably won’t hold my breath, though.

PS – I am not a distributist, at least not in the practical sense.  Were society to collapse and we had a new Dark Ages, distributism would likely be a good model to try to rebuild upon, but we’re more likely to see a pope abrogate the Novus Ordo – and sooner – than we are to see distributism implemented as basis for economic organization in this culture.  But that’s not the point of this post, so move along.

Pope Francis, blasphemy, Charlie Hebdo, and the punch January 15, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Ecumenism, episcopate, General Catholic, huh?, Papa, persecution, sadness, scandals, secularism, Society, Tradition.
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So Pope Francis gave another in his interminable series of impromptu interviews while on an airplane flight yesterday.  He was asked about the Charlie Hebdo massacre and other attacks in France recently.  I haven’t spoken about Charlie Hebdo, because there has been nothing edifying in the whole affair.  A blasphemous, cretinous publication enraged muslims and suffered brutally for the privilege.  They had previously published cartoons and text as offensive against the Church and God as any I have ever seen.  I have no sympathy for them. But I also have no sympathy for the muslim murderers.  The reason I have no sympathy is because their religion is a demonstrably false one, deranged and diabolical.

The Church used to know these truths: you cannot blaspheme against the Church and the Lord, because both are true.  The second is, error has no rights.  Thus, both Charlie Hebdo and the islamic maniacs who attacked them are both violently wrong and to be repudiated. I, for one, have been sickened by this outpouring of support for a magazine few had heard of and few cared about. Our modern culture likes to pretend that freedom of speech is a sacred right, but when the knife comes to the throat, vague notions about liberty are not enough to sustain a person in resistance.  Liberals will inevitably fall before religious conviction, and that is why the West is in collapse: the West has rejected the religion that built her.  Dark ages seem to loom ahead.

Before I get to Pope Francis’ comments on Charlie Hebdo and the conflict between the rights of religion and the highly dubious “rights” invented in the endarkenment, I should add that I am not so much criticizing his comments, as I am using his comments as a hook on which to hang examinations of broader problems in the Church and culture:

I believe that they are both fundamental human rights: religious freedom and freedom of speech. [This acceptance of the “Declarations of the Rights of Man” stands in stark contrast to the approach the Church took towards the revolutionary novelties unleashed by the “enlightenment” for a looong time] We cannot…you are French, right? Well, then, let’s go Paris, let’s speak clearly. We cannot hide a truth today: each one has the right to practice his religion, without causing offense, freely, and we all wish to do this.

Secondly, we cannot offend, make war, kill, in the name of religion, that is, in the name of God. [Again, this is very different from what the Church knew and practiced for most of Her history.  And it reveals a hugely significant shift in thinking.  If the Church is the only One True Church, the only valid religion, and all others are false, erroneous, etc., then the Church possesses unique rights AND duties that other religions do not have. One of the most sacred duties is to oppose error and to assert those same rights.  When error arises, the Church has the duty to crush it, and when false religions wage war on the Church, She certainly has the right and many from times past believed the DUTY to engage in martial combat to defend the Body Christ established on earth.  And so there are many many Saints whose sanctity is associated with their martial prowess.  I also have to think how this kind of comment really besmirches the reputations of great popes like St. Pius V and Urban II.]

That which is happening today surprises us, but let us always think of our history: how many wars of religion have we known! Think only of the Night of Saint Bartholomew [St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre]! How can we understand that. We also have had our sinners regarding this, but we cannot murder in the name of God, it’s an aberration. To murder in the name of God is an aberration……. [Well, murder is very very different from waging just war in defense of the Faith.  It seems Pope Francis conflates warfare – even just warfare – with murder. That is a common line on the political left]

…..Freedom of speech…Each person has not only the freedom, the right but also the obligation to say what he thinks to aid the common good: the obligation! If we think that what a member of parliament or a Senator says – and not only they, but so many others – is not the good path, that he does not collaborate with the common good, we have the obligation of saying it openly. This freedom is necessary, but without offending. Because it is true that one should not react violently, but if Mr. Gasbarri [note: voyage planner, standing beside the pope], who is a great friend, says a swear word about my mother, he can expect to receive a punch! It’s normal… We cannot provoke, we cannot insult the faith of others, we cannot mock faith. [this is the comment that is causing exasperation among liberals. It does seem a bit inconsistent. On the one hand, Pope Francis is saying that violence in the name of religion is always and everywhere evil. On the other, he is saying that if you blaspheme someone, you can expect a punch, like 17 Parisians got punched recently, I guess.  It could just be a recognition of human nature, I suppose: perhaps these things are bad, but we know people are going to react that way, so maybe expect it?]

……There are so many people who speak ill of religions, who mock them, who play with the religion of others. They provoke…and it can happen that which could happen to Mr. Gasbarri if he said anything about my mother. There is a limit! Each religion has dignity, each religion that respects human life and man, and I cannot mock it…it’s a limit. I take the example of the limit to say that, in the matter of the freedom of speech, there are limits, as in the case of my mother. [It’s gratifying to see that Pope Francis does recognize free speech has limits.  For many supporters of Charlie Hebdo these days, freedom of speech is treated almost like a cult, like an absolute that can never be constrained for any reason at any time. So it is a bit comforting to see Pope Francis recognize these limits, but at the same time, now I think there is even more inconsistency, because Pope Francis said violence in the name of religion is terrible, but now seems to be excusing it a bit.  Or at least that blasphemy is wrong, which is certainly reasonable.]

The Church long recognized manifest problems with the radical thinking of the endarkenment. At some level, absolute freedom of speech will crush the rights of religion. We see this all the time with how sodomites and their allies are using their made up “freedoms” to cavort around to silence the Church. And we see how the federal government does the same in things like the HHS Mandate.

This is why the Church recognized the radicalism of the endarkenment ideals, and the threat to right religion they posed. And they are deadly threats.  More and more we are seeing freedom of speech and its amorphous twin, “freedom of expression,” to force the Church out of the public square.  I get back to the original points, there is only One True Faith, and error has no rights.  Thus, there can be no freedom of speech for error, because the duty to shield souls from error and blasphemy and all the other assaults on virtue and right religion are paramount for the good of souls.  Unfortunately, the modernist/progressive influence in the Church has deeply imbibed the humanism of the “rights of man,” rights which trump the rights of God.  We have been told that Guadium Et Spes was a “counter-Syllabus” to confirm this, because that great Syllabus of Blessed Pius IX was aimed primarily at refuting the errors of the endarkenment.

Accepting the ideas of the enlightenment leaves the Church almost unable to defend itself against the onslaught of secularism and militant islam.  You have to believe, really believe, your Faith is the only one and true one in order to fight threats of this magnitude, and very, very few Catholics – especially among our leadership – believe that today.  And so they will be swept aside by the tides of history, because liberal ideas are false chimeras that will not stand against convinced faith.