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Some biblical exegesis you might find helpful June 23, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Bible, catachesis, Ecumenism, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Our Lady, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, Virtue.
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The commentary in the Haydock Study Bible is sometimes criticized for being a bit too on the nose and obvious, but, at other times, it delves deeply into the sublime.  I found that to be the case in re-reading Acts of the Apostles Chapter 3, especially some of the commentary from verses 1, 6 and 21.

In the below, first the relevant verse (or verse plus a few preceding, for context) and then the commentary:

1 Now Peter and John went up to the temple at the ninth hour of prayer.

In Catholic countries, the toll of a bell at morning, noon, and evening, announces the time for the recital of the Angelus Domini, a short prayer, in honour of the incarnation. At these moments, all, however employed, whether at labour in the field, or at home, all cease from their employment, till they have recited the prayer. The repetition of this, and similar practices, cannot be too strongly recommended to Catholics of the present day. They are of singular advantage in recalling the soul, which is too easily dissipated and distracted, to God, her first beginning, and her last end. [oh that this tolling had not been forgotten in the awful changes that have overtaken the Church in the past century!  What a glorious and pious custom this was, and should still be!  I understand that in parts of Germany Angelus bells still toll, at least at certain times of year, though I’ve never seen/heard such.]

2 And a certain man who was lame from his mother’s womb, was carried; whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple, which is called the Beautiful, that he might beg alms of them that went into the temple.

3 *He, when he had seen Peter and John about to go into the temple, begged to receive an alms………

…..6 But Peter said; Silver and gold I have none: but what I have, I give thee: in the name of Jesus Christ, of Nazareth, rise up, and walk.

……Not without reason is this Name in the Canticles compared to oil, in its three-fold properties, of affording light, food, and medicine. When preached, it enlightens; thought on, it feeds us; and called on, it assuages our grief. Whence has such a sudden light of faith spread over the world, but in preaching the Name of Jesus? How did this light shine, and attract the eyes of all, when proceeding like lightning from the mouth of Peter, it strengthened the weakness of the lame man’s feet, and enlightened the minds of many spiritually blind? Did he not then scatter fire, when he exclaimed, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, arise and walk? This name is food too. Are you not refreshed, as often as you recall it to your mind? What is as powerful in consoling the mind? What so soon repairs our wearied senses, and gives new vigour to our strength; encourages virtues, cherishes chaste affections? All food is dry to me, if not seasoned with this oil; insipid, unless sprinkled with this salt. If you write, I relish it not, unless I read the name of Jesus. If your read, or speak, I take no pleasure in it, unless I hear the name of Jesus. Jesus is honey in the mouth, music to the ear, but ecstasy to the heart. This is also my medicine. Are you sad? let Jesus enter your heart, and thence ascend upon your tongue. And behold, at the rising of this star, every cloud will retire, and serenity return. Do you fall into a crime, or run on the brink of despair: call on this name of life, and you shall be restored to life, &c. [Most of the above taken from St. Bernard’s Sermon xv Cant. prope’ medium]

20 That when the times of refreshment shall come from the presence of the Lord, and he shall send him who hath been preached unto you, Jesus Christ,

21 Whom heaven indeed must receive, until the times of the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of his holy prophets from the beginning of the world.

Whom heaven indeed must receive, as also in the Protestant translation not contain: nor can any argument be drawn from hence, that Christ’s body cannot be truly at the same time in the holy Sacrament, especially after a different manner. The true sense of these words is, that heaven is the place of Christ’s abode, till the day of judgment, and that it was in vain for them to think that he would come to take possession of any temporal kingdom. (Witham) — The restitution of all things. Jesus remains in heaven, till his second coming to judge the living and the dead. That is the great day, when every thing shall be finally settled, and restored to its proper order. He shall avenge the injuries done to God; restore peace to the afflicted just men of the earth, and justice to their persecutors. He shall exalt his Church, and himself receive the homage of adoration, from every tribe of men. (Calmet) — See 2 Peter iii. 13. which text, together with what we read in this place, joins inseparably the last coming of Jesus Christ, with the universal re-establishment promised in both these passages, and completely excludes the Millennium, which some erroneously expect to take place between the accomplishment of the first and second of these events. See Bossuet’s reflexions on the 20th chapter of the Apocalypse, where the errors of many Protestant writers, especially of Dodwell, are refuted. To shew that the error of the Millennium cannot be assigned as a general cause which impelled the primitive Christians to martyrdom, it will suffice to produce this decisive passage of St. Justin, who after Papias, was the first supporter of that system: speaking to Tryphon concerning this temporal kingdom, which Christ was to enjoy here below, in the re-established Jerusalem with the saints risen from the dead, for a thousand years, he says: “I have already confessed that many others, with myself, were of this opinion; … but there are many others, and persons of sound faith, and exemplary conduct, who reject this opinion.” (In dialog. cum Tryph. n. 84.) — Clement of Alexandria, St. Cyprian, and Origen, lay down principles diametrically opposite to this system. It has also been expressly combated by Caius, and St. Denis of Alexandria, one of the greatest luminaries of the third century, as we learn from Eusebius, and St. Jerome. [So, the idea of a peaceful 1000 year long reign of Christ on earth after goofy things like “the rapture” and general tribulation by during the final days (Parousia) have been judged by the Church to be false, even though the idea did carry some currency among some early Christians.  Yet again, protestants have merely dusted off an ancient heresy and called it new, as they have in so many other places.]

So, that’s it, a nice exhortation to the Angelus, some spirituality via St. Bernard, and refutation of a key protestant error.  All from one chapter of Acts of the Apostles!  Ahh, Scripture, the gift that keeps on giving.

Saint Francis de Sales on Popes and Error June 23, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, episcopate, Francis, General Catholic, Papa, reading, Saints, sanctity, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, Virtue.
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I am staking out no position by excerpting the below from St. Francis de Sales The Catholic Controversy (pp. 225-6).  I read this yesterday, it is interesting, it is topical, and I think it is at least somewhat helpful.  This is not an endorsement of any claim with regard to the status of the pontificate today or its present occupant.  This is in fact a very high-level overview of an immensely complex and nuanced subject, so please bear that in mind.  Those for and against claims of sede vacante can stack up piles of quotes from Saints and Doctors on both sides of the issue, and a combox on a blog is not a place where such issues can or will be resolved.  Nonetheless, I’ll be watching comments closely, or at least more closely than usual [my comments]:

[W]e do not say that the Pope cannot err in his private opinions, as did John XXII, or be altogether a heretic, as perhaps Honorius was.  Now when he is explicitly a heretic, he falls ipso facto from his dignity and out of the Church, and the Church must either deprive him of, or, as some say, declare him deprived, of his Apostolic See, and must say as St. Peter did, let another take his bishopric (Acts i).  When he errs in his private opinion he must be instructed, advised, convinced; as happened with John XXII………But when he is clothed in pontifical garments, I mean when he teaches the whole Church as shepherd, in general matters of faith and morals, then there is nothing but doctrine and truth.  [Until now?  Amoris Laetitia and Evangelii Gaudium are magisterial documents, and many judge them to contain error.  But not every word or phrase from even a magisterial document is magisterial.  Are footnotes?  These are issues beyond me.  It will likely take a future pope, in a better age, to make these determinations.  At least, that is my belief.  The wheat will have to be separated from the chaff, and necessary distinctions made, I am certain of that. Whether that means Francis is pope or not, who am I to judge?]

….So everything the pope says is not canon law or of legal obligation; he must mean to define and lay down the law for the sheep, and he  must keep the due order and form.  Thus we say that we must appeal to him not as to a learned man, for in this he is ordinarily surpassed by some others, but as to the general head and pastor of the Church.  And as such we must honor, follow, and firmly embrace his doctrine [when it is wholesome, I presume. At the very least, what the pope proposes as Doctrine cannot contradict what was held in the past, right?  And thus the problem.] , for then he carries on his breast…….doctrine and truth.  And again, we must not think that in everything and everywhere his judgment on a matter of faith in questions necessary to the whole Church, for in particular cases which depend on human face he can err, there is no doubt, though it is not for us to control him in these cases save with all reverence, submission, and discretion.  Theologians have said, in a word, that he can err in questions of fact, not in questions of right, that he can err extra cathedram, outside the Chair of Peter, that is, as a private person, by writings and bad example.  [So at some point Amoris Laetitia, or some of it, must be declared private, non-binding, or?]

But he cannot err when he is in cathedra, that is, when he intends to make an instruction and decree for the guidance of the whole Church, when he means to confirm his brethren as supreme pastor and to conduct them into the pastures of the Faith. For then it is not so much man who determines, resolves, and defines as it is the Blessed Holy Spirit by man, which spirit, according to the promise made by Our Lord to the Apostles, teaches all truth to the Church…….

———End Quote———-

Well, that had been quite safely the case for 2000 years, but now it is certainly open to question.  I don’t see anyone in a position of authority in the Church today willing to hold the current pope to account…….thus my belief it will be quite some time before the crisis of this pontificate is dealt with, probably long after I’m dead.  In the meantime, doctrine will suffer, millions will fall away, and hell shall be filled by so many lost snowflakes.

Well, at least there’s some good TV these days, so we have that going for us………

Steven Spielberg Set to Make anti-Catholic Diatribe as Next Film? June 23, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in asshatery, catachesis, disaster, Ecumenism, error, foolishness, General Catholic, history, It's all about the $$$, Papa, persecution, pr stunts, Revolution, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, unbelievable BS.
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A bit of history: there once was a Jewish boy living in the former Papal States of Italy named Edgardo Mortara.  This boy had a Catholic nanny. When the boy became extremely ill, the nanny secretly baptized him.  Several years later, she revealed her illicit baptism in the Confessional. This began a whole chain of events that eventually led to Pope Pius IX – temporal AND spiritual ruler of the Papal States – “seizing” Edgardo Mortara and raising him as his own personal ward.  While this “seizure” excited tremendous indignation at the time – the late 1850s – from the already dominant liberal ruling cliques of Europe,  Edgardo Mortara became a happy and convicted Catholic, refused reversion to Judaism as an adult, and became a religious priest with a blessed apostolate.  Mortara, for his part, remained grateful to Blessed Pius IX for his intervention for the remainder of his life (more details on the matter here).

However much such an act may seem shocking to modern, leftist-influenced sensibilities, raising a non-Catholic child according to the Faith (meaning he could not be raised by non-Catholics) – once a baptism/conversion has been made – was something that occurred numerous times in Church history, and was a fairly regular part of Catholic life from the fall of the Roman Empire period to the 19th century. Indeed, given that eternity is forever and salvation infinitely precious (and fragile), such an attitude makes eminent sense in light of constant Church belief regarding Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus.

What changed was not Church practice, but the attitude of the world toward the Church, as the noxious ideals of the Bastille and the American Revolution sank deeper and deeper into the consciousness of Western Civilization, the same ideals that have now all but consumed and destroyed the civilization established by Christendom.  In reality, few of those supposedly so outraged at the time over the treatment the boy received cared a whit about him or his situation, he was simply a useful club with which to beat the Church in their grand project to overthrow Christendom and replace it with a secular liberal (ne: pagan) construct.

The Mortara case fell into obscurity shortly after the initial hubbub, except within Jewish circles, where it remained a cause celebre.  It was obscure, that is, until the anti-Catholic Jewish historian David Kertzer published a book many feel is badly biased on the subject in 1997.  This book, curiously timed with respect to the cause of beatification of Pius IX, which was finally consummated in 2000, caused an uproar of indignation in certain circles once that beatification was publicly manifested.  Kertzer has written other hateful screeds alleging that Catholic popes played a significant role in the “rise” of anti-Semitism in Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries and also in the rise in fascism in the 20s and 30s.  That’s an interesting claim, given how coldly Pius XI treated Franco and the nationalist effort in Spain.  I might also argue that since Jews frequently served as thought leaders and change agents for the liberal revolution of the 19th century, opposition to their ideals and policies indicates less anti-Semitism, than it does a zeal to preserve the moral, religious, and political order of Western Civilization in the first place!  But I digress………

This case is interesting, in a sense, because Jews represent it as a clear-cut case of anti-Semitism.  As the author of this piece notes, that’s a strange claim, since Blessed Pius IX hardly harmed or persecuted the boy, he committed the grievous “sin” of removing him from a false religion and gave him the opportunity to practice the One True Faith. In fact Pius IX served as a foster-father for the boy, insured his education, and was loved in return by Mortara.  There’s quite a bit of anachronism going on in the hostile coverage this matter has received (and many contemporary complaints were quite hypocritical), where actions from a different time and place are criticized based on (faulty) modern-day sensibilities.  At that time, the 19th century, it wasn’t unusual at all for a family to turn their children over to either a craftsman of some sort for training as an apprentice, or to a boarding school, or even service as an indentured servant (as several of my forebears experienced).  The family made this trade, often losing contact with their child for years, in order to increase their chances of having a decent occupation/income or receive an education.

The real source of this claim of “anti-Semitism” on the part of Pius IX is this: since WWII and the Holocaust, which certainly happened, the cultural diktat supplied by self-anointed elites is this: “thou shalt not question, challenge or in any way undermine the Jewish religion in any way.  Thou shalt also never seek to make converts of the Jewish faith or point out its faults and foibles.”  We have seen this play out in the Church in the horrific turnaround in Church-synagogue relations which have developed since the disastrous Nostra Aetate and numerous statements from worldly prelates like Kurt Koch who pretend the Old Covenant is somehow still operative, as if Jesus Christ never existed.

At any rate, it is very disturbing that Señor Spielbergo is basing his new movie on Kertzer’s text.  That almost insures a hostile attitude towards Blessed Pius IX in particular and the Church in general.  In some sense, it could hardly be anything but, for the world of mid-19th century faithful Catholicism is as removed from today’s sick and fallen culture as far as the Earth is from Pluto.  People today, especially those in elite liberal circles, are completely incapable of seeing the Christian religion as anything but an evil influence on society, or, at best, a quaint practice from a bygone day that must be forced into a small box of Sabbath services once a week.  Thus, I fear with very good grounds that the Church and the very holy and good Pius IX will get pummeled in this latest cultural attack.

Having said that, Spielberg has generally been at least somewhat nuanced in his presentations of Christianity in the past, but the source material here is really bad, so I don’t know.  I think we can rest assured Blessed Pius IX will not be cast as the hero.  He will almost certainly be the heavy in the kind of simplistic morality plays of which Spielberg is so fond.

Amblin Entertainment, Spielberg’s own production company, is financing the film.  No word yet on which studio will distribute the picture, which is set for release at Oscar season late next  year.