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Weakening the bond of human matrimony convinces people Christ’s marriage to the Church is similarly weak March 9, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Christendom, Ecumenism, episcopate, Eucharist, General Catholic, martyrdom, mortification, Papa, persecution, scandals, secularism, self-serving, SOD, the struggle for the Church.
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Some commentary about the efforts to pretend-regularize divorce by admitting divorced and remarried folks (with no annulment) to the Blessed Sacrament by Fr. Hunwicke.  I think I’ve put forth the same arguments before, but not with so much eloquence, and it is very good to drum this understanding firmly into our head in the face of the onslaught of error from within and without the Church.  I pray you find it as edifying as I did:

The Christian Faith is a coherent and integrated whole. Every bit fits in with every other bit. Drop just one single bit out, and you throw the whole complex unity into disarray. Perhaps you will allow me, in conclusion, to take a topical example of this; topical, because we are at this precise moment immersed in the fascinating if febrile period between last year’s Synod and this year’s Synod. And so Marriage is very much in the mind of each of us. And, of course, fallen human nature being what it is, when we say we’re thinking about Marriage, it seems to turn out to mean that we’re thinking about Divorce. That’s the way that Screwtape and his associates have adjusted our philology. And the Lord said that Divorce is impossible; in fact, he said it so clearly that the way He actually put it was that if you get divorced and then “marry again”, you’ll really only be living in adultery……. [It’s been clear for 2000 years, but modernists like Kasper even doubt, or reject!, that Christ is really God, really performed miracles, and was really resurrected.  For them, this is all just a bunch of ancient mythology and theological gobbledygook]

…….Now … side by side with the Lord’s teaching … let us set some remarkable words from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. He likens the nuptial covenant between husband and wife to that equally nuptial covenant, the ‘mystical union that is betwixt Christ and His Church’.

You see, I’m sure, the bearing of all this. If a valid and consummated Christian marriage is as indissoluble as the union between Christ and His Church, it follows that the union between Christ and His Church is as indissoluble as that between husband and wife. Or, to put it the other way round, the union between Christ and His Church is as soluble and it is as breakable as marriage. Advocacy of remarriage after divorce is constructively tantamount to saying that the Lord may desert His Church and could renounce His nuptial covenant with her. [Which is exactly what I have said many times, although with much less eloquence.  And I have been far from alone.  That is why many people looking at this matter of Communion for adulterers/fornicators, “normalizing” sodomy, and all the rest, see in that not just caves to individual items on the cultural left’s agenda, but an attack on the entire moral Doctrine of the Faith.  Should, and I know not how, there be some “pastoral solution” that permits those in manifest mortal sin to receive the Blessed Sacrament, it will be open season on the moral edifice of the Faith.  Already, there are a lot of doctrinal poachers hunting out of season, but should the unthinkable happen, it will be with “official” approbation.  That would represent an enormous shift and the damage would be incalculable.]  

I think I had better come clean. The point I’m making is, in fact, disgracefully plagiarised. I have lifted this exposition from a magisterial book called Marriage and Divorce by a very great pontiff, Kenneth Escott Kirk, Lord Bishop of Oxford between 1937 and 1954 and sometime Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology in this University, which he wrote in the context of the English Divorce Act of 1937. Bishop Kirk makes with concise precision the point I have laboured in this homily; a point which Cardinal Hume once made by saying that our holy Faith is not a la carte. We accept it table d’hote, because it is a perfectly integrated and interlinked whole. Tear out one element, and the whole cardigan unravels. I’m sure Bishop Kirk would have been an Ordinariate Man … we would have had to learn to refer to him as Monsignor Kirk … so I’ll end with his own words. [So even an Anglican from 80 years ago could understand that this doctrine is not negotiable.  He obviously lost the argument in his own sect and in his country, and look what has happened to Anglicanism/Episcopalianism since?  They stand for nothing but cozy lefty feel-good sentimentality and activism posing as “Christianity,” and they are dying as a result.  Check that, they are already dead, it is simply centuries of momentum that have blinded the few remaining adherents to that fact.  Cardinal Kasper and possibly even a higher authority would have us follow the same suicidal course?]

“To plead for divorce with the right to second marriage is to ignore the whole of this constructive theology which relates the union of the sexes to that of Christ and His Church, and thereby to deny the unity of purpose which runs through the whole scheme of God’s activity both in the natural and in the supernatural sphere. …

“The Christian tradition of the indissolubility of marriage does no more than give effect to St. Paul’s great teaching, in which our Lord’s precepts about marriage are set in the framework of the unity of God’s purpose. To deny that tradition, therefore, is to cast doubt upon the very nature of God, and the modes of activity in which He has manifested Himself to man.”

———End Quote———

Great points.  There is a great line in Deuteronomy XXX:19:  “I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse.”  That choice has been made by many schismatics and heretics for centuries.  Their choice led straight to death and the hell on earth we see around us.  The sole remaining beacon of light, dimmed though it has been these past 50 years, is the Church.  And yet it seems there are many within her bosom who are absolutely set on choosing death, to blow out, once and for all, the Light of the world.

Pray that they do not succeed.  Oppose their efforts publicly.  Decry error when you meet it.  Only support truly good and holy apostolates within the Church.  Send letters, e-mails, sign petitions, do whatever is possible to stand athwart this mad death run and shout “STOP!”

But prayer is the most important.  I know many have doubled their efforts, but double them again.  Will we be the generation that souls in the Church of the future will look back on and shake their heads, saying “What could possibly have been thinking?  What was wrong with them?”  Of course, we could be witnessing the Great Apostasy forecast by St. John in the Apocalypse, in which case, our prayers may not stop the headlong rush to error but they will do our souls a world of good should the Parousia be coming!

Either way, it’s the only way to win.

The Church needs the glorious Saint Thomas Aquinas today more than ever March 9, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Liturgical Year, manhood, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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A brief excerpt from Gueranger’s exposition on St. Thomas Aquinas below.  The Angelic Doctor’s feast day was Saturday.  While Dom Prosper Gueranger was writing about external enemies of the Faith in his time, at present, the gravest threats against the Church, and especially the integrity of Doctrine, come from within.  From pp. 330-331 of The Liturgical Year, Volume IV:

Thy life, alas, was short!  The very masterpiece of thy angelical writings was left unfinished. But thou hast not lost thy power of working for the Church.  Aid her in her combats against error.  She holds thy teaching sin the highest estimation, because she feels that none of her Saints has ever known so well as thou, the secrets and mysteries of her divine Spouse. Now, perhaps more than in any other age, truths are decayed among the children of men; strengthen us in our faith, procure us light.  Check the conceit of those shallow self-constituted souls, who dare to sit in judgment on the actions and beliefs of the Church, and to force their contemptible theories upon a generation that is too ill-instructed to detect their fallacies.  The atmosphere around us is gloomy with ignorance; loose principles, and truths spoilt by cowardly compromise, are the fashion of our times; pray for us, bring us back to that bold and simple acceptance of truth, which gives life to the intellect and joy to the heart.  [It’s like he’s writing this today!  I wonder how Gueranger would thunder against the errors that abound so in the Church today?  If he wrote thus in France 150 years ago – and there were many external threats and works in opposition to the Church – how would he size up those who have spent lifetimes working against the Doctrine of the Faith from within?  How would he rail against the very structures built up in the Church to assure that doctrinal orthodoxy is all but impossible to re-instill, en masse, again?  As for shallow self-constituted souls…….Cardinal Kasper, Cardinal Kasper, your ears are ringing!]

Pray, too, for the grande Oder which loves thee so devoutly, and honors thee as one of the most illustrious of its many glorious children.  Draw down upon the family of thy patriarch St. Dominic the choicest blessings, for it si one of the most powerful auxiliaries of God’s Church.

————-End Quote———-

Or used to be.  I was talking with a priest over the weekend, who relayed to me that while in a seminary for the secular priesthood, they got all of about two weeks on Aquinas, and most of that was covered in sort of sneering, dismissive attitude about his quaint theories of philosophy and theology.  You know, the very heart of Catholic Doctrine, just more or less dismissed out of hand.  That seminary experience was not local and it was 15 years ago, but I don’t think the attention Aquinas gets varies too much in seminaries today (with a few noted exceptions) by time or place.  I also know a young man with an STL from the Angelicum in Rome, who has to work as a youth minister down in San Antone because he has a reputation for orthodoxy and no Catholic college will hire someone as traditional as he is.

So……I would say those prayers for the intercession of St. Thomas Aquinas for the Church, against her enemies external but mostly internal, are well warranted.

Sorry for light posting today!  It’s been a busy day!

The Fewness of the Saved March 9, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Four Last Things, General Catholic, Grace, persecution, priests, Saints, sanctity, secularism, self-serving, Tradition, Virtue.
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I am certain many readers will recognize the voice, but keeping with Video Sancto’s policy, please do not identify the priest in the comments.  I can say it is always a pleasure for me to hear his voice.

This sermon is most worth listening to.  It discusses something very much of concern to me, for which I have coined the clumsy phrase “salvation potentiality,” or the likelihood that one may be saved.  As father notes below, even for Catholics, most will not be saved.  As for those outside the Church, while there salvation may be theoretically possible, it is, in practical terms, even more unlikely.  Father quotes from various Saints in supporting his claim, though he could have chosen from many more.  I personally know St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Alphonse Liguori, Saint Teresa of Avila, and St. Catherine of Siena all opined on the very low number of the elect – and each is a Doctor of the Church.

Quoting St. Leonard of Port Maurice: “The point of this instruction is to decide whether the number of Christians who are saved is greater or less than the number of Christians who are damned. It will I hope produce in you a salutary fear of the judgment of God. Brothers because of the love I have for you, I wish I could reassure you with the prospect of eternal happiness by saying to each of you, you are certain to go to paradise. The greater number of Chirstians are saved, and so you also will be saved.  But how can I give you this sweet assurance, if you revolt against God’s decrees as though you are your own worst enemies?  I observe in God a sincere desire to save you, but I find in your a decided inclination to be damned.”

I don’t think there is really a more important topic that priests could discuss, and yet the reality of of salvation and damnation is so little discussed. Today, most priests and even most prelates are invincibly convinced – I know not how, it is surely a rank novelty – in the idea of universal or quasi-universal salvation.  This belief is contrary to the guidance of almost all Fathers, Saints, Doctors, and, of course, the Blessed Trinity in Sacred Scripture. But as St. Leonard notes, our fallen nature causes us to have a certain inclination to disbelieve God and to pretend that He will not judge us harshly, or even barely at all, and that we shall skip into Heaven gleefully even if we die in the very act of committing a mortal sin.  Good luck with that.

I pray you find this very Lenten sermon edifying!  I certainly did.

And if you recognize the priest’s voice, please continue praying for him, especially.  We should pray for all our good, holy priests but please pray especially for him.

Is it just me, or WOW – how the Catholic Foundation Capital Campaign works March 9, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, foolishness, General Catholic, It's all about the $$$, Latin Mass, North Deanery, sadness, scandals, self-serving.
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So if you live in the Diocese of Dallas you are almost certainly aware of the ongoing heavy push to fund the Catholic Foundation Capital Campaign.  But you may not know how it works.  After perusing a number of parish websites, I can let them tell you for me.  From the website of St. Philip in Dallas:

The proceeds of the capital campaign will be placed in the Our Faith… Our Future Diocese of Dallas Capital Campaign Fund of The Catholic Foundation.* Bishop Farrell’s role as Advisor to the Fund allows him to make recommendations to The Catholic Foundation as to the expenditures of the Fund toward its philanthropic purposes.

Bishop Farrell intends, with the consent of his Advisory Committee, unless otherwise restricted by a donor, to request that 30% of parish solicited funds raised by each parish up to the amount of its parish goal, and 70% of those funds over its goal, be distributed back to that parish for its own approved philanthropic purposes.  Our church’s target goal is $405,000.00, and we plan to request funds from the Fund to address the following needs:

Replace existing HVAC in Church Sanctuary, newer school wing and Activity Building.
Total Need                                                                                                                    $121,500.00

For those who are math-challenged, $121,500 works out to exactly 30% of $405,000.

Now, a cynic might look at this and say, how interesting! Almost sounds like a shakedown. You have a critical need for some capital outlay at your parish, and in order to provide the needed expense, you have to lay out over three times its actual cost!  What a great deal!

You might say, Tantum, that’s just one parish.  Surely that doesn’t apply throughout the Diocese, does it?  Well, from St. Jude in Allen:

St. Jude is pleased to have been chosen as a pilot parish for the Diocese of Dallas Capital Campaign Fund of the Catholic Foundation.  Our target goal was to raise $2,375,000, of which we will receive 30% (or a minimum of $712,000) that will go towards our parish needs.  Additionally, once we have reached our goal, the share will reverse and the parish will receive 70% of all funds raised over our parish target.

We surpassed our pledge goal in June and as of July 31st, the pledge balance is $2,700,402.

Our specific needs and anticipated costs:   

Remodeling of the Religious Education Building – $450,000……

….Construction of the Bell Tower – $350,000

Total Need    $800,000

In the above case, St. Jude has raised above it’s “need” and will receive roughly $940k from the 2.7 million raised, or about 35%.

Once again, being cynical – and thank goodness I’m not – you might say greatly desired and needed parish improvement/expansion/repair projects are being held hostage to this campaign, which takes an enormous cut- 70%!!! – off the top. That’s quite a haircut.  And yet, the campaign website makes the “return” parishes receive from the campaign sound like its some great example of largesse!  But is it really?  Would not these projects go forward in most cases (I have a particular one in mind, and I’m sure locals know what I mean) without this campaign, especially given that replacing the AC or re-roofing the school would be far, far cheaper for the laity if the campaign did not exist?

Now some may say – hey, this is just how these things are done.  And to some extent it is, although there have also certainly been many parish projects conducted outside these ongoing diocesan fund-raising campaigns (because, yes, this current one in Dallas follows others, including one that concluded just last year.  In fact, Bishop Farrell’s tenure has been one long fundraising extravaganza) and who did not have to pay the “penalty” or “overhead” or whatever you want to call it.  But if you are at a parish that has some really badly needed capital expenditures to make, isn’t this campaign more than just a bit coercive? The choice is either kick in 3X the cost or swelter in the heat for poor St.Philip in far east Dallas? Because it is plain that what this campaign means is that there will be no capital expenditures approved outside of it. Is it significant to you that the $1 million dollar parish remodel you’ve been dreaming of actually costs only $350k, but you get to kick the rest of the money upstairs, as it were?  But you’re so generous, I’m sure it’s no bother.

I’m sorry folks.  I let you down. I stopped reading local parish bulletins and doing much local muckraking about a year ago, about the time this thing got started in a number of parishes. And perhaps I’m alone in finding this campaign more than a bit coercive.  Did the chancery ever consider the point of view of those who have grave moral reservations at how funds are spent at the diocesan level?  I’m sure they’d say I’m deluded, that a Catholic Diocese could never fund any activities that are morally objectionable, but I think the scandals with CRS, Catholic Charities, CCHD, and many more at the local level (search: Seton Plano) put the lie to that defense.  As an example, as a “return” for the laity’s generosity in this matter, could we maybe get some assurances of doctrinal orthodoxy in return, like requiring Catholic school teachers to sign a statement affirming they accept the Doctrine of the Faith?  Could we have RCIA and CCD instructors do the same.  The problems with all three – schools, RCIA, CCD – are enormous in this Diocese.

Maybe everyone is aware of this and I’m just “catching up,” but I know I’ve spoken to a number of local Catholics who were not aware of how this campaign operated, nor in how it tied into their own parish’s improvement/repair projects and the tidy sums they were being asked to produce.

Well, now maybe you do.