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The Madonna of the rabbits January 21, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Art and Architecture, disconcerting, fun, General Catholic, Our Lady, Papa, secularism, silliness, Society.
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Our Lady goes by many monikers.  She is, variably, Our Lady of the Cenacle, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Our Lady of the Snows, Our Lady of Quito, and many, many more. The glorious, ahem, 21st century has gifted her with a new one:

rabbits

 

Our Lady of the Rabbits?  Take this Child from me, I’m hunting wabbits!

 

This was just too much fun.  Thanks D, sometimes, we need a laugh.

And good heavens I was productive today!  I managed 5 posts and you have no idea of the crisis I managed at work.  With a little help from above.  There were some prayers said today!  Thank you ATS for having stock when I really needed it.

The Church of Christ does not require worldly favor and ambitious men to sustain her January 21, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, episcopate, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, manhood, paganism, persecution, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, Tradition, true leadership.
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So said the great opponent of Arianism St. Hilary of Poitiers, as related in Dom Prosper Gueranger’s The Liturgical Year.  From an exhortation the great Doctor of the Church gave to the Arian eastern bishops about AD 350.  The problem then was that bishops said they had to become Arian heretics because the civil 350px-Hilaryofpoitiersauthority, the Emperor Constantius, was an Arian, and he demanded they be, too.  You might find that Hilary’s diagnosis of the problems facing the Church under Arianism are rather reminiscent of those facing the Church today, and that the good Doctor’s leadership has meaning still today:

We have a contempt for all the trouble that men these days are giving themselves; and I am grieved to see them holding such mad opinions as that God needs man’s patronage, and that the Church of Christ requires to be upheld by an ambition that curries favor with the world. I ask of you Bishops, what favor did the Apostles court, in order that they might preach the Gospel?  Who were the princes that helped them to preach Christ, and convert almost the whole world from hofpidolatry to God?  Did they, who sang hymns to God in prisons and chains, and whilst bleeding from being scourged – did they accept offices from the state?  Did Paul wait for a royal permission, to draw men to the Church of Christ?  Did he, think you, cringe for the patronage of a Nero, or a Vespasian, or a Decius, whose very hatred of our faith was the occasion fo its being more triumphantly preached?  These Apostles, who lived by the labor of their own hands, who assembled the Faithful in garrets and hiding places, who visited villages and towns, and well nigh the whole world, travelling over sea and land, in spite of the Senate’s decrees and Imperial Edicts – these men, according to your principles, had not received the keys of the kingdom of Heaven!  What say you to all this manifestation of God’s power in the very face of man’s opposition, when the more there was a prohibition to preach Christ, the more that preaching was exercised……..

….But nowadays we have to do with a disguised persecutor, a smooth-tongued enemy, a Constantius who had put on Antichrist; who scourges us, not with lashes, but with caresses; who instead of robbing us, which would give us spiritual life, bribes us with riches, that hilario13-1he may lead us to eternal death; who trusts us not into the liberty of a prison, but into the honors of his palace, that he may enslave us: who tears not our flesh, but our hearts; who beheads not with a sword, but kills the soul with gold; who sentences not by a herald that we are to be burnt, but covertly enkindles the fire of hell against us through temptations. He does not dispute with us, that he may conquer; but he flatters us, that so he may lord it over our souls. He confesses Christ, the better to deny Him; he tries to procure a unity which shall destroy peace; he puts down some few heretics, so that he may crush the Christians; he honors bishops, that they may cease to be bishops; he builds up churches, that he may pull down the Faith…….

———–End Quote————

That second paragraph describes many of the ways in which the modern culture slowly corrodes and ultimately destroys the Faith today, or at least, how it did for much of the latter half of the 20th century.  Souls were bribed with riches, and tempted in their hearts with things like contraception and fornication.  The whiff of “everybody’s doing it” was very much in the air.  Many governments bought silent complicity from the Church in vast immoralities like abortion by funding many Church activities (I’m looking at you still, Germany).  We have all been scourged by the caresses of a soft existence that encourages growth in vice and inhibits growth of virtue.

And in seeking to procure a false unity we may be destroyed by islam and leftism.

Brilliant rhetoric.  I need to read more Hilary.  Thanks to Fr. W for bringing this to mind. Just super.

55hilary6

 

 

Why did the Church respond less effectively to liberalism than She did to islam? January 21, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, catachesis, Ecumenism, General Catholic, history, paganism, persecution, secularism, Society.
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Reader and friend MFG sent me the following provocative question earlier, and we had an e-mail exchange discussing my thoughts on the subject.  It’s mostly a lot of scattershooting, but at the same time I thought might raise some points for discussion. That, and I’m really creamed for time today so I thought this might make a quick post of interest.

MFG’s question was:

Here’s a question not talked much among Catholics: what happens when the Culture of death crowd meets ISIS someday?

Presuming the culture of death forces suppress the Church, what happens when ISIS moves in to western societies (it’s only a matter of time) and begins to enact sharia law over places like San Francisco. They are already beheading homosexuals in Iraq.

So here is my initial response:

I have no comment on the last question, but on the former, the left will cave, they will quickly adopt sharia and become some of its most fervent adherents. Liberal sentiment cannot stand against religious conviction. The two belief sets are just not equivalent in terms of moral power of influence on souls. Sure, there will be some rebels, there will be some fighting by extreme liberals against the muslims, but it will be token and ineffectual.

We see it all over Europe today: when liberalism comes into contact with muscular, martial religion, it is crushed. All over Europe people, especially the elites, are self-censoring and already adopting a fawning attitude towards islam. In large swaths of Europe, sharia reigns and Westerners quickly acquiesce to the demands of sharia by doing things like covering women in the hijab and dressing much more modestly. That’s why I and others say islam is the de facto religion of the West. Islam gets special treatment and is never challenged or criticized by the elites as Christianity is.

So here’s the real question – given that liberalism fails in the face of very strong religious sentiment, how did it come to dominate the West? It’s a tautology, but something to meditate on. How did the Church fail to overcome liberalism, to date?

Theory: by adopting an overly pacifist practice of the Faith, informed perhaps by the great influence of Franciscanism, and eschewing the martial aspects of her Tradition? By not fighting the deadly enemy of liberalism with the same severity as she did islam?

I really don’t know. It’s a theory. Both islam and liberalism had sanctuaries from which to operate where the Church did not have any suzerainty. The protestant nations were the birthplace of liberalism. And liberalism is much more diabolical in its subtleness. I guess one huge historical difference is that liberalism became inculcated all through Europe, including great Catholic nations, by Napoleon’s armies. It’s like having had islam roll over all of Europe for a decade before being forced back. But then again, a lot of Austria and Hungary and other places were overrun by islam for decades or centuries and the population did not become majority Islamic. So why is liberalism so different? Or was the Church different, at a different time and place?

This could be a book, and a highly interesting one.

Then MFG responded:

It certainly could be a great book. You make some good points. While rank and file liberals will surrender what about the militant homosexuals? It seems to dominate their lives I can’t see them going quietly under sharia. Maybe you refer to these as token extreme liberals.

As for liberalism, would the blame be placed at the Church (or the Catholic kings) who failed to stop the spread of Protestantism in the 17th century? It seemed there was a religious war fatigue in Germany and a stalemate ensued allowing Protestantism to grow and move west to North America.

As for the Franciscan theory, are you referring to the Post Vatican II period or even before?

And I replied again:

My reading, limited as it has been, has led me to believe that Franciscanism did stress a more pacifist approach to the Faith from early on.  Not so much during St. Francis’ lifetime, but shortly thereafter.  But that could be wrong.  Wherever it came from, that trend has continued and spread.

I’m not so sure about same-sex attracted folks.  First of all, there aren’t very many of them. Secondly, I am fairly well convinced that a good percentage of those who have fallen into that lifestyle have done who may not have in a less permissive environment, in a sense, due to the ongoing cultural acceptance of that perversion of normal relations.  I think there are a goodly number – what percentage I don’t know – who would not be that way were the culture still extremely strongly against it. As for the really “militant” ones, I think they are mostly that way because they are allowed, or even encouraged, to be so.  They get a great deal of encouragement from the broader culture and the sexual left.  Were that to evaporate, I think a lot of those folks would fall away.  I suspect the really hardcore, truly feel “born that way” portion of that lifestyle would mostly go back to underground trysts and the rest.  I don’t think they would form a core of resistance. I would expect that to come more from the heterosexual communist-anarchist left.  There might be some “homosexuals” in that group, but I think they would mostly be on the periphery.

The reason I say all this is because we see instance after instance of the left caving to islam wherever the two elements come into contact.  That happens both here and abroad.  They may not like it, they may privately grouse, but I really don’t expect mass resistance. I would expect resistance to islam to come mostly from the most devout Christians; in this country, from hardcore evangelical protestants.  Not mega-church types, but the more severe Baptists,  Pentecostals, Adventists, etc.

As for why Catholicism didn’t more effectively fight liberalism at its inception, it’s probably a very complex history.  But I do find it strange that a place like Croatia could exist under the Islamic yoke for hundreds of years and remain pretty devoutly Catholic  until after WWII, while Napoleon holding Italy for ~15 years left a huge section of the Italian population committed militantly to the liberal cause and bitterly opposed to the Church and Christianity, generally.  The same occurred in Spain and Portugal.  All those countries were left completely riven by internecine strife between Catholic “traditionalists” and radical liberals.  And all those countries, over the course of a century or so, gradually fell into near-total liberalism.  Something was significantly different between the two occupations.  I think it may be due to the fact that islam is a declared and visible religion, while liberalism is an undeclared and stealth one.  Still, popes and others warned of the evils and even the religious nature of liberalism going back 200 years, but those warnings were not heeded, by and large.

It would take a lot of research to flesh this out. There is probably something obvious I’m missing in comparing Islamic to liberal occupation, if you will, but it’s escaping me at present.

Adding a final bit not in the e-mails, I think the stealth aspect of liberalism may have been at least part a key, and also a period of less-than-inspired leadership in the Church in the 17th and 18th centuries.  Liberalism grew somewhat by stealth, before it seemingly burst out into the mainstream of intellectual thought in the mid-18th century.  From Descartes artificially dividing “science” from Faith and obliterating the sense of the supernatural so prevalent in the Middle Ages, to Hobbes and Locke writing strange treatises in heretic countries,did the Church recognize the threads tying these elements together into a cohesive and very dangerous system of thought?  Very scandalously, many prelates and even some popes were quite given over to endarkenment philosophies and rejected vast swaths of the Faith.  By the time liberalism was really recognized for the existential threat it was, it was already solidly entrenched in large regions.

Still……why would 15 years of Napoleonic radicalism have so riven the Faith in countries as Catholic as any in the world like Italy, Spain, and Portugal?  It seems strange.  There is certainly something more poisonous in liberalism, then, than islam?  Or just different historical and societal contexts?

Fire away.

PS – Duh. She didn’t respond well because while there was never a 5th column of islam within the Church, there always has been of liberalism.

Examining the revolution in the Church in two novels January 21, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, disaster, episcopate, error, General Catholic, history, horror, paganism, persecution, reading, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sexual depravity, sickness, Society.
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My wife sent me another link today, to a post at First Things on a subject in which I have an intense interest.  That subject is diagnosing how the Faith managed to collapse to depths unseen in over a millennium in little over a decade.  Yes there were many reasons, and some of those have been explored previously on this blog.  Still, saving perhaps for the Arian heresy (which did not involve nearly so much a total rejection of the Faith and so many of its tenets as we see today), never before has the Church suffered such a calamitous loss of faith, the depth and breadth of which I fear is totally unprecedented in her long history.

The post examines two different books, one written in 1961, the other in 1968.  Both books use the practice of the Faith as more than a backdrop, more of like a moral canvas onto which they painted their stories. As such, the books are very revealing, because they could not be any more different.  While the first book Unconditional Surrender, written by Evelyn Waugh, presents an orthodox view of Catholic life and the moral struggles that entails, even to the point of evincing sublime virtue and great personal cost, the second book, Piers Paul Read’s Monk Dawson, evinces all the radicalism and worldliness of the post-conciliar Church at its worst.  The books exist in radically different moral universes, as the author at First Things notes.  While Waugh’s main character takes the Faith very seriously, practices mortification and lives a life of pronounced virtue, the anti-hero of Monk Dawson is a radical anti-Catholic Katholyc who swerves from one degree of radicalism to the next, from one immorality to the next.

I cannot post the whole piece, so I’ll give you the author’s summary of Monk Dawson. I wish I could also share the summation of Unconditional Surrender, as it describes a beautiful story I am most interested to read, but I cannot fairly take so much context from First Things.  I had to make a choice, and I thought the description of the sordid state of the Church and mainstream religious life circa 1968 more relevant to the ongoing crisis in the Faith than the beautiful description of the way things used to be:

Monk Dawson, in contrast, was written with the heady ideas of liberation theology and social justice in the air after Vatican II. Its title character wants to do good, but confuses a desire for social justice with a religious vocation. Once ordained, Dawson is led astray by quasi-Marxist politics and sexual temptation. [that happened more than once] First, he believes the parish would be better for his social conscience [for HIS social conscience……] than the monastery because parish life is more attuned to “real” problems of injustice, but he is overwhelmed by the problems of his individual parishioners, and thinks the Church should be doing good works on a broader scale. [All about him?] He leaves his vocation entirely, enters into a couple of affairs and begins a new life as a writer, taking the nom de plume “Monk” Dawson to add authority to his attacks on the Church and traditional morality that he now disdains. [That occurred all too much, and still does.  Even worse, many hateful opponents of the Church today don’t even have the decency to formally leave the Church they so plainly repudiate]  Another brief fling with Communism ensues, as he wonders whether he could “change again? Could he say . . . that he had found the answer for a third time?” But the answers do not come. The book’s narrator, a friend named Robert Winterman who lost his faith much earlier, thinks their common Catholic schooling and the Church herself “mucked” Dawson, and its outdated notions serve merely to provide false hopes for the ignorant. [the atheist conceit, informed by leftism and primarily formal communism]

Read shows how the Catholic understanding of life that undergirds Crouchback’s [the hero of Unconditional Surrender] internal drama was shattered during the postwar years, especially in the late-1950s into the 1960s. In the enthusiasm for social justice, quantitative judgments were all; large-scale programs or revolution preoccupy Dawson, for whom the seemingly meaningless monastic rounds of prayer and the retail salvation of a parish church are not enough. [for him, in his pride] Recusant Catholics are portrayed, offhandedly, as faintly ridiculous and tawdry. Thus Jenny, a woman with whom Dawson takes up after he leaves the priesthood, has an affair with Jack, whose “family had been Catholic since before the Reformation.” Indeed, Read calls him simply the Recusant. Dawson himself seems to have lost all faith or residual fear of God; he presides over a mock Black Mass and it is Jenny rather than he who considers their affair adulterous. [nice. As informative as it may be, I won’t be reading this book]

Although it is unclear whether Read endorses Dawson’s path, the book is filled with complaints against the Church that one still hears: Prayer is useless in an unjust world; the Church is too rigid, or too rich, or does not understand human sexuality. [me, ME, ME!]  Arguments from the Church ring hollow in the face of Dawson’s anger at injustice. As Theresa, the daughter of a parishioner with whom Dawson has an affair, states, “I just don’t seem to need Faith. . . . There are so many straight-forward, intelligent people who don’t believe a word of it, honestly, who think that believing a bit of bread is the body of Jesus Christ is like thinking that babies are brought by storks” [Sooo……you let other people decide what you’ll think?  Such is pandemic on the left] Dawson, and the novel, has no response for her. Unlike the Crouchbacks, who move within a world touched by divine grace and separate from the secular society, Dawson’s England is a search for status and a rejection of the moral language and framework that Guy would have understood. [Yes, and most leftists are obsessed with status-seeking.  That’s something Ace of Spades has illustrated brilliantly of late] At the novel’s end, Dawson has retreated into a monastery, though from real faith or simple exhaustion at the world is unclear. [Ummm….while I pray for the former, if it is the latter, what poison will he spread inside the monasteries walls?  How many monasteries and convents were destroyed by such self-obsessed, disaffected souls?] One atheist commentator wrote to Read that his conclusion successfully portrayed the “insanity” of a religious vocation. Winterman, however, who still repeats the arguments against the Church, seems to have suffered no ill effects himself in casting off traditional doctrine, though he is almost the only one. The other characters in the novel, including Dawson’s two lovers, are broken people; Jenny loses herself in violent revolution and Theresa is a suicide. [Ah, the fruits of leftism]

———End Quote———–

Having read the review, I’m interested to read Waugh’s book, which is part of a trilogy called The Sword of Honor.  I do appreciate the synopsis of the other book, for its plain description of the death of the Faith in hundreds of millions of souls during that insane time from ~1960 – 1980 (or is that 2015?).

What I found most remarkable about the post was the almost unbelievable scope and scale of the changes that rocked the Church and the world during that period.  The aftershocks of course are still occurring, but most of the really bad things that occurred happened between 1962 and 1975.  By that time, the sexual revolution was an accomplished fact, contraceptive use was nearly ubiquitous, and abortion had been legalized almost everywhere.  In the Church, the revolution was an accomplished fact, more and more radical Masses were being rolled out almost annually, and the traditional practice of the Faith was almost totally exorcised from the Church, save for a tiny remnant.  It is almost impossible to conceive that so much could happen in so few years, that so few souls could remain anchored in their faith, but it did.

Incredible.  Satan has been having a field day for a very long time. I pray God may put him back in his cage and restore sanity to the Church and world.  If not, may He strengthen us to bear these most difficult and dismaying times.

Pope Pius XII on large families January 21, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Domestic Church, family, fun, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Papa, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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In very early 1958 – just months before his death – Venerable Pope Pius XII gave an elocution to the Directors of the Associations for Large Families of Rome and Italy.  It is very refreshing to hear large families and the generosity of spirit they normally entail lionized and extolled to the entire world.  The address is very generous in its praise of large families, which seems an appropriate response to the hostility such families often experience at the hands of the world.  My wife sent this to me, and I thought you might find it edifying, as I did:

“Large families are the most splendid flower-beds in the garden of the Church; happiness flowers in them and sanctity ripens in favorable soil. Every family group, even the smallest, was meant by God to be an oasis of spiritual peace. But there is a tremendous difference: where the number of children is not much more than one, that serene intimacy that gives value to life has a touch of melancholy or of pallor about it; it does not last as long, it may be more uncertain, it is often clouded by secret fears and remorse.” [Interesting comment given what I said here.  Pope Pius XII seems to have understood human psychology similarly to me, at least in this instance]

“It is very different from the serenity of spirit to be found in parents who are surrounded by a rich abundance of young lives. The joy that comes from the plentiful blessings of God breaks out in a thousand different ways and there is no fear that it will end. The brows of these fathers and mothers may be burdened with cares, but there is never a trace of that inner shadow that betrays anxiety of conscience or fear of an irreparable return to loneliness, Their youth never seems to fade away, as long as the sweet fragrance of a crib remains in the home, as long as the walls of the house echo to the silvery voices of children and grandchildren.

“Their heavy labors multiplied many times over, their redoubled sacrifices and their renunciation of costly amusements are generously rewarded even here below by the inexhaustible treasury of affection and tender hopes that dwell in their hearts without ever tiring them or bothering them.

“And the hopes soon become a reality when the eldest daughter begins to help her mother to take care of the baby and on the day the oldest son comes home with his face beaming with the first salary he has earned himself. That day will be a particularly happy one for parents, for it will make the spectre of an old age spent in misery disappear, and they will feel assured of a reward for their sacrifices.

“When there are many children, the youngsters are spared the boredom of loneliness and the discomfort of having to live in the midst of adults all the time. It is true that they may sometimes become so lively as to get on your nerves, and their disagreements may seem like small riots; but even their arguments play an effective role in the formation of character, as long as they are brief and superficial. Children in large families learn almost automatically to be careful of what they do and to assume responsibility for it, to have a respect for each other and help each other, to be open-hearted and generous. For them, the family is a little proving ground, before they move into the world outside, which will be harder on them and more demanding.”

All of these precious benefits will be more solid and permanent, more intense and more fruitful if the large family takes the supernatural spirit of the Gospel, which spiritualizes everything and makes it eternal, as its own particular guiding rule and basis. Experience shows that in these cases, God often goes beyond the ordinary gifts of Providence, such as joy and peace, to bestow on it a special call — a vocation to the priesthood, to the religious life, to the highest sanctity.

“With good reason, it has often been pointed out that large families have been in the forefront as the cradles of saints. We might cite, among others, the family of St. Louis, the King of France, made up of ten children, that of St. Catherine of Siena who came from a family of twenty-five, St. Robert Bellarmine from a family of twelve, and St. Pius X from a family of ten.

“Every vocation is a secret of Providence; but these cases prove that a large number of children does not prevent parents from giving them an outstanding and perfect upbringing; and they show that the number does not work out to the disadvantage of their quality, with regard to either physical or spiritual values.”

———-End Quote———-

I really like that bit towards the end.  What a charitable elocution on the family!  We hear very little from Church leaders today about the beauty of large families or the benefits they bring to children, the Church, and the world.  We generally hear, instead, about how children are expensive, about the threats people pose to the environment, etc.  So this is quite nice to see, even if is almost 60 years old.

I am also impressed with Pope Pacelli’s degree of understanding of family dynamics.  I have been waiting for a while now for a certain sermon to get posted online, but I was very impressed by the priest’s very subtle and wise comments on family life and spousal dynamics.  I had actually wondered for a bit if he really understood, but I walked away from that sermon knowing he really, really did.  Pope Pius XII seems to have understood quite well, too.

Required perversion on the way? January 21, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in catachesis, disaster, Domestic Church, error, family, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, paganism, persecution, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sexual depravity, sickness, Society, SOD.
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I think I’ve said in some past posts that eventually the extremity of rhetoric and practice from the radical left and its currently favorite wing, those drawn towards sins of sodomy, would eventually result in heavy pressure on everyone, including those not disposed to this most highly disordered lifestyle, to cave into their advances. Especially children.

So, I found it interesting when relatively mainstream blogger Ace of Spades had this to say today:

It is officially now the sexual left’s position that the only way you can not be homophobic is to be “gay” yourself, or to at least be open for some Gay Adventures.

I’m afraid that Ace is increasingly right.  That may well be the goal, or at least to create an environment where heavy pressure to submit to those kinds of desires is not just permitted but expected, and that to refuse may result in a public excoriation as a bigoted “homophobe.”  There are more than a few signs pointing in this direction.

But I don’t think they’re too interested in frumpy ol’ me. This group of activists has shown far too much interest in indoctrinating children into their lifestyle – same-sex or not – for me to believe that they don’t understand that gaining control of children is the ultimate way to introduce a culture-wide hedonist dystopia.  Their efforts are too focused and too consistent to be merely the product of a generalized desire to disseminate sexual education materials. They target children because they are malleable, and can be made to be just about anything dominant adults in their lives want them to be.

The next 20 years will be the critical time for the implementation of their diabolical project.  The legal barriers are all down, they have the entire weight of the government-media-entertainment complex on their side, and they have what they perceive as momentum after a long and uninterrupted string of “victories.”  Now is especially the time for parents to be exceedingly vigilant.  Does your kid really need internet access?  Do you have a really strong filter?  Do they need a smart phone?  Who are their friends?  Are they starting to keep secrets?  Is their interest in religion waning?  Are they rebelling in significant ways?

Pray and maintain a constant watch on  your children.  We shall be called to account for the incalculable gift and duty God has given us in raising them to by holy, virtuous souls, primed to devote their lives primarily to Him and to spend eternity with Him in Heaven.

I have to add, now is the time for the Church to be strongly reaffirming its constant belief and practice regarding fornication and all the other sins against the 6th and 9th Commandments, not flirting with the culture and watering down perennial teachings.  We should be hearing amplified calls to chastity and glorification of the family unit of father, mother, and children, not hand-wringing over divorce and leading questions regarding the “gifts” those lost in perversion may bring the Church.

But you knew that already.