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Bishop Schneider’s Twelve Steps to Keeping the Faith in Heretical Wasteland June 1, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, episcopate, family, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Restoration, sanctity, Society, Spiritual Warfare, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, Virtue.
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Via LifeSiteNews, Bishop Athanasius Schneider gives the twelve steps he believes Catholic parents/families must take to survive the rampant heresy and widespread abuse of a Church in grave crisis with their faith intact.  See what you make of these, via reader skeinster, with my comments:

  1. See persecution as a grace from God for becoming purified and strengthened, not simply as something negative. 
  2. Become rooted yourself in the Catholic faith through study of the Catechism. [I generally stay away from the 1990’s Catechism.  I recommend the Catechism of the Council of Trent, or reading Ludwig Ott and/or Denziger. ]
  3. Protect your family’s integrity above all else. [Not sure if this is simply a reference to avoiding divorce, for example, or something more broad, as in, homeschooling etc.]
  4. Catechize your children as your first duty. [Agreed.  Not the school.  Not the priest. YOUR first duty.  The problem today is, so few adults are catechized themselves, very few know where to start.  And apparently not many are ready to read 300 books over 8 years on the Church as I have.]
  5. Pray with your children daily, such as litanies and the Rosary.
  6. Turn your home into a domestic church. [More on that below]
  7. In the absence of a priest and Sunday Mass, make spiritual communion. [Not as much a problem here in the US, yet, but widespread in Europe]
  8. Withdraw your family from a parish spreading error and attend a faithful parish, even if you have to travel far. [Could not agree more!  I am very much in favor of this.]
  9. Withdraw your children from school if they are encountering immoral danger in sex-ed. [Or leftism generally]
  10. If you cannot withdraw your children, establish a coalition of parents to fight for that right. [Homeschooling is illegal in a number of countries, especially in Europe. Coming soon to the US?]
  11. Fight for parental rights using available democratic tools. [Are these effective at all anymore? I guess I’m kind of hypocritical,
  12. Be prepared for persecution in protecting your children (see first point).

A few words about that last item.  This is a really tough one.  What if the state’s response to homeschooling your children is to take them away?  What if the state’s response to being “too Christian,” whatever that means, is also to take them away?  Are your children served by being removed to foster homes or adopted out, where you will never see them again, at least as children?  I pray God I never have to face that situation, where the choice comes down to inculcating my children in the Faith, and being able to have them at all.  I pray for the families in Germany and Norway and other places who do have their children taken away, even little babies, because they observe Christian morality.  I don’t think those days are too far off for this country.

Finally, a bit about turning one’s home into a domestic Church; this means more than “just” praying the Rosary, litanies, novenas, and the like.   It means more than reading the Bible or homeschooling your kids, though all of the above are wonderful and necessary things.  It also means, possibly with greater importance than any of the above, structuring your family life in a manner that emulates the Church, with the father the true material and spiritual head of the family, the wife deferring to that leadership willingly, and instilling discipline in the children. I see this last bit missing in quite a few even very devout traditional families.  One of the most common failings is weak father figures (of which I fear I am guilty of to an extent)or men who try to shirk their duty, and mothers/wives trying, I’m certain unconsciously, to assume a bit too much of that leadership role, or perhaps undermining the father in subtle ways.  Kids pick up on so much even non-verbal communication, they can sense when the parents aren’t performing their roles properly, and the long term consequences can be devastating.

It’s a very difficult balance to strike, for both fathers and mothers.  Of course mothers have a leadership role, but it’s different from the father’s and should be ultimately subordinate to him, even if they think he may be wrong.  Our modern society has taught girls for decades now that a woman should and even must do everything a man does, and that has caused a lot of tension in many families.  Men have been taught to deal with this female assertion of authority by escapism.  Or perhaps it’s just a reaction to that undermining.

Anyway, I’m not trying to pick on any particular group, I’m merely reporting what I’ve observed, which of course comes from a male perspective.  But I know, from talking to priests, that the problems I outline above are real, and they are common.  Even among some people trying very hard to be faithful.

Unfortunately, satan knows us even better than we know ourselves, and he knows just how to trick us.  Pray for guidance from God in leading your family and in performing your proper role in the domestic Church!  It is so vitally important.

I do appreciate Bishop Schneider’s helpful list. The whole article is worth reading, as he does expand on the items above.  Unfortunately, such shepherds are exceedingly rare.  Which, of course, is the primary cause of the crisis in the Church, and always has been, whether today or 1600 years ago.

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Completely unpredictable!  Crime skyrockets in marijuana-legal states June 1, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, asshatery, disaster, error, foolishness, General Catholic, It's all about the $$$, sadness, scandals, secularism, sickness, Society.
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And not only that, it seems that contrary to all the legalization advocates promised, the black market for marijuana has not been eliminated by legalization, it has grown.  The main thing is that crime of all types has exploded in Colorado since marijuana was legalized a few years ago.  There is also evidence of increased crime in Washington state.  Even more, marijuana-related car accidents and related deaths have also dramatically increased.

According to the latest reports coming out of Colorado, marijuana is a major cause of homicides in the state, and the problem is only getting worse.

Regular readers will know that Colorado has seen a massive increase in crime since it legalized pot.  The numbers just keep getting worse.  Over the first four months of 2016, total crime in Denver is up 10% over the same period from 2015.  This rate of increase is five times the population growth rate and adds to equally large increases in 2015 and 2014, as well as the period in 2013, after which the state government signaled marijuana legalization was forthcoming.

The cops in Colorado knew this would happen.  They predicted it, and it has come to fruition.

Now a prosecutor in the state has gone on the record with his concerns.  Arapahoe County district attorney George Brauchler provides some disturbing statistics: 10 of the last 15 murders in his jurisdiction were connected to marijuana.

……… This all wasn’t supposed to happen.  The pot legalization advocates told us that legalized marijuana would reduce crime and effectively eliminate the black market.  Now we have experienced and respected prosecutors saying they are seeing, firsthand, the exact opposite…….

….. A report by the AAA Foundation released Tuesday found that traffic fatalities involving drivers in Washington where marijuana was involved had doubled between 2013 and 2014. Marijuana became legal in the state in 2012.

Which only makes sense, and demonstrates the difference between marijuana and other drugs and alcohol.  One can have a single drink, possibly two, and experience only slight, if any, impairment.  And millions of people do just that every day.  But how many people can take just one drag off a joint?  And if it’s really powerful stuff even that one hit can leave one severely inebriated and completely unable to safely operate a motor vehicle.  Mexican skunkweed may not do that to an experience smoker, but there are many varieties that will.

Another important point is that marijuana is, contra the claims of legalization advocates, just as addictive as alcohol and many other drugs.  Actual physical dependence may be slight, but for the addictive personality, the drug poses as great a threat as Xanax or cocaine.  There is a member of my wife’s family that has struggled with marijuana addiction.  It is doubly difficult to overcome because such addicts will have numerous people telling them it’s impossible to be addicted to pot and that those who are concerned about them are just bothersome busybodies.  Nothing could be further from the truth, this individual was well and truly hooked on pot, and his only safe course from this point forward is total abstinence from all intoxicating substances.

Once an addict goes into active addiction, that’s it.  That gene or part of their personality is turned on, and it can never be turned off.  They can never be safe with any drug for the rest of their lives.  And addicts can get hooked on anything.  I know addicts who were hooked on Robitussin.  People get hooked on Benadryl, they get hooked on muscle relaxants that aren’t supposed to be addictive…..you get the idea.  The idea that only a “hard” addictive drug like cocaine or heroin or whatever is really addictive is BS.  If an addict likes the effect some drug gives, they can get hooked on it.  And that certainly applies to marijuana.  I know from people who live in Colorado that there are now a whole bunch of people there who have gotten hooked on the drug because it is so widely available.  Each one of these souls is a tragedy, one that may well not have happened absent legalization.

And I say all the above as someone who has serious reservations with the current “War on Drugs” and the negative effect it has had on individual liberty and the undermining of a nominally free society.  Knowing the human toll that addiction takes – and I am truly one of the blessed ones – I simply cannot support legalization, because I know it will lead to a huge increase in the number of addicts.

Some considerations on the practice of virtue for the lay person June 1, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, mortification, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
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A few days ago I posted some excerpts from St. Alphonsus Liguori on the subject of humility.  A commenter left a very thoughtful comment that I felt merited a lengthy response.  In brief, the commenter wanted to know how to properly understand, and put into practice, the very strong form of humility that St. Alphonsus recommends, with regard to her particular state in life as a wife/mother.

This is a big issue, and goes beyond just one particular Saint’s recommendations with regard to a particular virtue.  It applies to many Saints speaking on many virtues.  Sometimes, their language and recommendations seem extreme.  This “extremity” may seem ill-suited to a lay vocation, and may well be in fact, at times.  For me, I’ve never had a particular problem taking a call for, say, self-abasement as a furtherance to humility, and finding some small ways to try to implement this call in my life.  From there, I hope to do a bit more and a bit more as time goes on.  But to some, such a call can seem to stand in contrast to their vocation.

I think the key that needs to be kept in mind is that the practice of a virtue like humility needs to be much more internal than external.  Simply because one dresses nice, or, in the case of a woman, tries to be appealing to her husband (within the limits of modesty), there need not be any impediment to humility.  Most of us with lay vocations are not called to be “holy fools,” literal laughing stocks practicing a humility so extreme it is our primary virtue and literally our means of gaining Heaven.  We have roles to play in the world and extreme behavior intended to practice humility could well be a sign of pride, or could at least serve to distract others from their own call to holiness.  Again, the real practice of humility should be primarily internal, looking for ways to abase our pride and to put others first, for instance, rather than acting out in some manner that invites a lot of commentary.

I would also say, straight up, that if you perceive some incompatibility between the practice of a certain virtue, and your state in life, you’re doing something wrong.  God doesn’t ask the impossible of us, or require us to violate our duties as spouse/parent/employee/whatever in order to grow in virtue.  In point of fact, our state of life is the means by which He has chosen to perfect us.

To me, when I read an exhortation on a virtue like humility from a great Saint, I look on it as a guide star, a goal, perhaps distant, to be reached not by human effort but by cooperation with Grace alone.   I take what I can from the exhortation and try to implement it into my life in small steps.  Small steps are key, trying to suddenly radically change one’s life in huge leaps (absent a specific grace from God) is a good way to become discouraged.  I say this with regard to growth in virtue, with regard to escaping sin, the grace is always there.

If one has questions on the subject of how much, or to what degree, they are called to practice a certain virtue, I really recommend finding a good confessor/spiritual director.  It is really vital to take the “self” out of these kinds of decisions as much as possible, as there are so many ways in which our pride and egos like to fool us.  I know good confessors/spiritual directors are very rare, but their input is so vital to the right conduct of the interior life and practice of virtue, I would personally be willing to travel a long distance to meet with one.  If you are at a total loss as to who might be a good spiritual director near you, leave a comment with your rough location and I’m sure a soul will pop up who is willing to help with a recommendation.

Personal direction is really important because everyone is different.  We all have different details about our lives and we are all at disparate places in the practice of virtue.  It is preferable that a director be someone who already knows you and something about your state in life.  But this is not always possible.

Hope this helps, at least somewhat.