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The Factual Case for Christ’s Crucifixion, Death, and Resurrection April 17, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Christendom, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, history, Latin Mass, priests, sanctity, Society, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Great sermon below.  I have a vague sense of posting this some years ago when I first heard it, but I can’t find it now.  Most likely, it will be new to you.

I really like how the priest points out the constant errors and failed declarations of modern science, which Dr. Edward Feser proved quite convincingly has evolved into a false religion of its own in his great book The Last Superstition.  Not only that, but Descartes, Bacon, and others, filled with rationalist hubris, deliberately contrived “science” as something which would always war against religion, since they posited, and managed to convince great scads of people with, the notion that “science” would, and could, only be concerned with the material, what could be weighed, measured, and/or directly observed.  In doing so, they set science on a radically different course from what it had held since ancient times, where theology was always regarded as the highest, or sacred, science.  Not only was this a radically different course, but one that would inevitably become hostile, and develop a cultus of its own that would demand acceptance of claims on faith from the vast, vast majority of people, including the scientists themselves.

Thus, while no one has ever come close to observing the “big bang,” it is held as a dogma today.  Evidence in support of the evolution of species is almost entirely inferential and open to argument, but argument is not permitted, lest one be called a science denier, or in a more ancient parlance, a heretic.  The almost constant failures of science, such as those described below, are conveniently forgotten, while evidence from thousands regarding religious events like the apparitions at Fatima are derided as mass hysteria or a pious hoax.

But the evidence, even in this proud, skeptical scientific age, for Christ’s life, death, and resurrection are overwhelming, as this priest notes below.  The vast preponderance of the evidence confirms that Christ lived, that He was crucified, that He was buried, and then rose again in spectacularly mysterious circumstances.  The Shroud of Turin continues to this day to be scientifically inexplicable, as no known technology today could have created the image of the Shroud, let alone that of 2000 years ago.  There is much, much more besides, in this excellent sermon which I believe dates (or is a repeat) from 2012 or 13:

Of course the tragedy of the Church today is that, to a degree never before seen in her history, the vast majority of self-described Catholics, whether lay, priest, or episcopate, doubt much or all of the Gospel account of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.  Most, no matter how scientifically illiterate, accept the claims of science as a matter of faith, but have severe doubts as to whether Christ instituted the Eucharist in a literal sense, commands obedience to the Doctrine He has given us, fed the 5000, was resurrected, or even lived.  I have heard or read “priests in good standing” in Holy Mother Church express their disbelief on all of those realities, and many more besides.  I could easily segue to another subject, but I won’t go down that rabbit hole today.

The Church has weathered innumerable crises in her long history, but never before has she been so afflicted with such an enormous lack of faith, and lack of belief in core matters of Doctrine, as she is today.  It is a crisis of limitless proportions and shows little sign of abating, let alone resolving.  But God has worked miraculous recoveries in the past.  May He have the mercy on us to do so again.

Saint John Eudes on the Admirable Heart of Mary                        April 10, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Our Lady, Saints, sanctity, thanksgiving, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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From one of the relatively few of the great mass of writings of the great Saint John Eudes that have been translated into English and survived to the present day (many were lost in the French Revolution against God), comes this excerpt of The Admirable Heart of of Mary.  We are in Holy Week, a very appropriate time for pondering on the wonders of our Immaculate Mother.  Saint John Eudes had enormous devotion to Our Lady and in some respects may be said to have pushed knowledge of Our Lady and veneration of her Immaculate Heart to new heights.  I can say with certainty that the ecumaniacal faction at Vatican II, which went to such pains to limit conciliar statements on the glory of the Blessed Mother, would find some of his statements quite objectionable.  But that says far more about them, than it does this holy man.

From pp. 4-5,7, an exegesis centering on a passage from the Apocalypse (and the amazingly efficacious apparition at Guadalupe) that reveals the wondrous nature of the Holy Mother of God and her admirable heart:

Among the divinely inspired passages of Sacred Scripture I select one from the twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse, which is a compendium of all the great things that can be said or thought of our marvelous Queen: “A great sign appeared in Heaven: A woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of 12 stars” (Apoc xii:1).

What is this great sign?  Who is this miraculous woman?  Saint Epiphanius, Saint Augustine, Saint Bernard, and many other holy doctors agree that the woman is Mary, Queen among women, the Sovereign of angels and men, the Virgin of virgins.  She is the woman who bore in her chaste womb the perfect man, the God-man. “A woman shall compass a man” (Jer xxxi:22).

Mary appears in Heaven because she comes from Heaven, because she is Heaven’s masterpiece, the Empress of Heaven, its joy and its glory, in whom everything is heavenly. Even when her body dwelt on earth, her thoughts and affections were all rapt in Heaven.

She is clothed with the eternal sun of the Godhead and with all the perfections of the divine essence, which surround, fill, and penetrate her to such an extent that she has become transformed, as it were, into the power, goodness, and holiness of God.

She has the moon under her feet to show that the entire world is beneath her.  None is above her, save only God, and she holds absolute sway over all created things.

She is crowned with twelves stars that represent the virtues which shine so brightly in her soul.  The mysteries of her life are as many stars more luminous by far than the brightest lights of the sky.  The privileges and prerogatives God has granted to her, the least of which is greater than anything shining in the firmament of Heaven, as well as the glory of the saints of Paradise and of earth, are her crown and her glory in a much fuller sense than the Philippians could be said to be the crown and joy of Saint Paul (Phil iv:1).

But why does the Holy Ghost call Mary “a great sign?”  It is simply to tell us that everything in her is wonderful, and that the marvels that fill her being should be proclaimed to the entire world, so that she may become an object of the admiration of the inhabitants of Heaven as well as for mankind on earth, and so that she may be the sweet delight of angels and men.

This is likewise the reason why the Holy Ghost inspires the faithful throughout the world to sing in her praise: Mater admirabilis.  “O Mother Most Admirable.” Moreover, according to the testimony of several trustworthy authors, a holy Jesuit who once asked the Mother of God to reveal to him which of the many titles in her Litany was most pleasing to her received this same answer: Mater admirabilis.

Mary is truly admirable in all her perfections and in all her virtues.  But what is most admirable in her is her virginal heart.  The heart of the Mother of God is a world of marvels, an abyss of wonders, the source and principal of all the virtues which we admire in our glorious Queen: “All the glory of the king’s daughter is within.”  It was through the humility, purity, and love of her most holy heart that she merited to become the Mother of God and to receive the graces and privileges with which God enriched her on earth.  These same sublime virtues of her Immaculate Heart have rendered her worthy of the glory and happiness that surround her in Heaven, and of the great marvels that God has wrought in and through her.

Do not be surprised if I say that the virginal heart of the Mother of Fair Love is an admirable heart indeed.  Mary is admirable in her divine maternity because as Saint Bernadine of Siena says, “to be Mother of God is the miracle of miracles,” miraculum miraculorum.  But the august heart of Mary is also truly admirable, for it is the principle of her divine maternity and of the wonderful mysteries this privilege implies………

Now a prayer composed by the Saint for the blessing of Our Lady on his work, but which I thought many would find worth making their own:

O most holy Mary, Thy divine Son, Jesus, hath created thy heart, and He alone knows the great treasures He has hidden therein.  He it was who lit the fire burning in this furnace, and none but He can measure the heights reached by the flames which leap from its abyss.  He alone can measure the vast perfections with which He has enriched the masterpiece of His all-powerful goodness, or count the innumerable graces He has poured into this ocean of grace: “He created her in the Holy Ghost, and saw here, and numbered her, and measured her” (Eccl i:9).

And now I beseech thee, O most Blessed Virgin Mary, through thy heart and for the honor of that very heart to offer me to thy beloved Son and pray that He may annihilate my personality and set Himself in the place of my nothingness, so that not my voice but His may be heard.  May Jesus Christ be the author of all my works, and I but the instrument of His surpassing love for thee and of the zeal with which He watches over the honor of thy most worthy heart.  May He inspire the thoughts He wishes to see expressed by me and the very words I should use.  May His blessing rest in fullest measure on all who do the same, and may He transform so that hearts may be purified, enlightened, and inflamed with the sacred fire of His love.  In a word, may they become worthy to live according to God’s heart and to be numbered among the children of the maternal heart of God’s own Mother.

———–End Quote————-

What to Make of the Francis’ SSPX Marriage Imbroglio? April 6, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, cultural marxism, different religion, disaster, error, foolishness, Francis, General Catholic, horror, persecution, Revolution, scandals, Society, SSPX, the struggle for the Church, Tradition.
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I chose the word imbroglio, because gambit felt a bit critical, and indult seemed off the mark, too.

For those who do not know, Francis, Bishop of Rome, extended another “indulgence,” or a faculty with no formal juridical structure, to the SSPX, this time concerning marriage.  Readers will know that since Advent 2015 the SSPX has had faculties to hear Confession granted from Francis himself.  Originally intended for the Year of Mercy, those faculties have been extended indefinitely.  A few days ago, Francis, through the CDF and Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, granted permission to local ordinaries to grant faculties for the Sacrament of Marriage, as well, under some rather odd circumstances.  The “normal” means of doing this would be to have a Novus Ordo priest perform the actual marriage sacrament, or to oversee it somehow?, with the nuptial Mass following according to the ancient Rite and conducted by a Society priest.  But in addition – since this would surely be a huge burden to already overtaxed (or so we are told) diocesan priests – there is also a caveat allowing faculties to simply be granted without the involvement of local clergy.

That’s admittedly a rough summation of a fairly complex initiative but you can read all the details at the Rorate link.  The point of this post is not to haggle over details of this initiative, or whatever it is, and to talk aboutits implications.

I have seen two general reactions to this, and they have followed in line with sentiments folks hold towards SSPX regularization overall.  Some, like Rorate, are convinced that both this latest indulgence by Francis, and the overall process of regularization that now seems coming close to fruition, are unalloyed goods and something every faithful soul should be really excited about.  I would like to present some text confirming this optimistic view, but Rorate seems to have shifted much of their focus to Twitter and while I’ve seen tweets confirming their excitement at this development, such as this: “This is clearly a final step towards full regularization that will go away when the papers are signed. It’s a good thing.”

Others, like Michael Matt below, are far more skeptical.  In fact, in my very narrow experience, it seems a lot of folks who have had a long time association with the Society of St. Pius X are among the most skeptical of both this latest grant of faculties and the overall process of regularization.  The Remnant video:

“They are wrecking the Church, they are enabling heretics everywhere……They are raping our kids, physically and spiritually, and then they have the audacity, to demand obedience.  Oh so pious.  To demand OBEDIENCE, and to hold the threat of schism over the heads of little old ladies to prevent them from in any way standing in opposition to their diabolical agenda.”  Great rant.

Former Catholics are now the second largest “denomination” in the country. 70% of those baptized in Catholics in the US have fallen away. 80% of even those remaining American Catholics never go to Mass (and I bet it’s at least slightly higher than that).  Even the vast majority of “practicing Catholics” are heretics of one form or another.  Almost all of them support the use of contraception, and a large majority do not believe in the Real Presence, the very core, the essence, of our Faith.  And these statistics from the US are much better than one would find in Europe and other locales, the Church’s ancient home.

Matt brings up a key point and one that I have gradually, over the years, come to accept, not as a metaphysical certitude but as being supported by the preponderance of the evidence: that “full communion” is a term much bandied about by those who have wrought the destruction of the Church in this world while demanding obedience from all to go along with a project they can easily see is causing nothing but devastation for souls.   I am not sure what meaning that term means when bishops “in full communion” can declare, with the full backing of the pope, that adulterers can freely receive the Blessed Sacrament, re-crucifying our Blessed Lord over and over and over again in a horrid sacrilege. Given what is going on in the Church and world, as evidence by those statistics above and what we see and read every day, the arguments over the canonical regularity of the SSPX seem like a tempest in a teacup.  Even worse, these same Church leaders who constantly appeal to obedience while snarling at and denigrating all those who strive to practice the Faith as it has always been practiced are the very ones who have placed the Church in the direst straits of her 2000 year history!

Not that the canonical status of the SSPX is a hill I’m prepared to die on, nor something I’m overly concerned about.  I know there are fervent partisans on both sides, and I’ve always struggled to stay out of those endless squabbles where partisans stack up enormous piles of books and quotes from Fathers, Doctors, and Saints to support their favored side.  It just seems to me, practically speaking, all this concern over and focus on the canonical status of the SSPX is just not a huge issue, compared to all else that is going on.  The Church has fallen into the worst crisis of her history and the ostensible imperfect canonical status of the 0.05% of the Church (nominally speaking) associated with the SSPX just doesn’t concern me that much.

I do continue to be very ambivalent regarding this apparently unstoppable ongoing process of regularization.  I’ve been catechized to believe that this must and has to be a very good thing, but something – my own lack of faith, the temptations of satan, worldly experience, natural cynicism, something – keeps shouting in my interior spaces that this is a grave, grave danger, not just to the SSPX but to all the Ecclesia Dei communities and the entire human aspect of the Church.  It is also an opportunity, yes, but given how easily communities like the Franciscans of the Immaculate have been completely crushed by the modernist powers, it seems like the opportunity is far outweighed by the dangers.

If regularization comes to pass part of me will be happy and I’ll pray like mad – as I already have been – that everything will turn out for the best.  In the grand, grand scheme of things I know it will, that the Church will be restored and Christ’s reign recognized by all, but I cannot get over my concern for the millions of souls who will continue to fall into hell so long as the Church persists in this disastrous crisis.  Whether SSPX regularization will ultimately be a massive turning point in the restoration of the Faith, or simply another grim milestone in the chronicle of the Church’s long demise prior to the parousia, I do not know. None of us does.  So I’ll just keep hoping and praying that God will have mercy on His Church and raise up the leadership and laity we so desperately need, and not that which we and the world deserve.

If you want an even more detailed critical take on this initiative, sent in by reader D, read this.  I am concerned that it seems like the leadership of the SSPX is giving evidence of an attitude of appeasement towards the overwhelmingly modernist hierarchy in the Church and not rocking the boat, which bodes ill, I think, for their role in the Church after regularization, but we shall see.

The Revelations of Fatima Hold the Key to Our Salvation April 5, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Our Lady, Restoration, sanctity, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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UPDATE: See, when I type a post in Word instead of on the blog itself, sometimes I forget to put a title on the post.  Fixed.

From Fatima: The Great Sign, an excerpt that conveys the twin lessons stemming from Our Lady’s sharing a vision of hell with the three saintly children Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco: the reality of eternal damnation and the paramount need for all faithful souls to constantly practice prayer and penance.  This post would probably have been better placed towards the start of Lent, but that’s not how it worked out.  Nevertheless, the lessons below are not just for Lent, but for our entire lives.  Prayer and penance are the primary means by which we can escape the snare of the devil in this evil fallen culture and cooperate with Grace to obtain the only end that matters: spending eternity with God.

The excerpt starts after the three children have seen the vision of hell.  Little Jacinta was most affected by this terrifying revelation:

The vision of hell had the greatest impact on little Jacinta.  She became obsessed with the sight of those red, raging flames and the terrifying  sight and sound of millions of screaming demons  and lost souls.  “Oh hell!” “Oh hell!” she would wail, wringing her hands impotently.  “Mother of God have pity on those who do not amend their lives.”  “If men only knew what awaits them in eternity, they would do everything in their power to change their lives.” [But we do know. We have the Scripture and Tradition, and few men who refuse to listen to those would not even be moved by a direct personal revelation] Frequently she would call to her brother saying: “Francisco, are you praying with me? We must pray very much to save souls from hell.  So many go there.  So many.”  At other times she would ask Lucia: “Why doesn’t Our Lady show hell to sinners? If only they saw it, they would never commit sins again.” On one occasion she said to Lucia: “Look, I am going to Heaven soon, but you are to stay here.  If Our Lady lets you, tell everyone what Hell is like so that they won’t sin anymore and not go there.”

In the light of these and other heroic penances practiced by the children, it is not difficult to see why Our Lady requested that the revelation of hell be kept a secret.  Had it been divulged, no one would have believed it.  In the parable of Dives and Lazarus, Our Lord stated that even if someone returned from the dead to warn of hell, no one would pay any attention……..

……The three children undertook the most severe penances for the salvation of sinners.  They wore a rope tightly around their waists; they have their lunches to the poor, or even to their sheep; they didn’t drink during the furnace-like heat of August 1917 – an almost unendurable penance as anyone who has stayed in Fatima during that month will appreciate.  Later, Jacinta even wanted to drink water from a pond frequented by cattle.  However imprudent this would be, the thought of hell dominated every consideration of hygiene, discomfort or pain………

……….To the necessity of penance for sinners must also be joined that of prayer.  Our Lady constantly reminded the children to pray a great deal and they readily responded by spending long hours on their knees under a blistering sun, reciting the Rosary and the angel’s prayer over and over again.  Recently, Lucia, who is now a Carmelite nun in Coimbra [and of course since deceased], stressed the imperative need of prayer to counter the flood of evil today.  In a letter to a nephew (who is a Salesian priest) she wrote: “It is sad that so many are allowing themselves to be dominated by the diabolical wave that is sweeping the world and they are so blind that they cannot see their error.  Their principal mistake is that they have abandoned prayer…….What I recommend to you above all is that you get close to the tabernacle and pray.  In fervent prayer you receive the light, strength and grace that you need to sustain you……In prayer, you will find more science, more light, more strength, more grace and virtue than you could ever achieve by reading many books or by great studies………Never consider the time wasted that you spend in prayer. You will discover that in prayer, God communicates to you the light, strength and grace you need to do all He expects of you………

We all need to intensify our life of intimate union with God and this we can only attain through prayer…..Let time be lacking for everything else, but never for prayer…….The principal cause of evil in the world and the falling away of so many consecrated souls is the lack of union with God in prayer.  If we are not careful and attentive in obtaining the strength from God, we will fail because our times are very bad and we are weak. Only God’s strength can sustain us.

Immediately after the vision of hell and Our Lady’s appeal for devotion to her Immaculate Heart, she outlined the future facing mankind if her requests were accepted, and alternatively if they were rejected…….

———End Quote———

Sadly, they have, by and large, been rejected.  The world, and in particular the former Christendom, have spun out of control and seem headed towards and inevitable crash.

As for our personal conduct, however, I don’t think anything else needs to be said.  Prayer and penance are vital. Only God’s strength can sustain us.  Hell or Heaven, it’s entirely our choice.  May God have mercy on us all.

Saint Aloysius Gonzaga – Model of Christian Youth April 4, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Restoration, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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A little excerpt from Saint Aloysius Gonzaga: Patron of Christian Youth by Fr. Maurice Meschler, SJ, which concerns the first great flowering of sanctity in the youth of 10 (pp. 34-5), when he made the decision to consecrate his purity to Our Lady for his entire life.  While this Saint certainly enjoyed the benefit of particular Graces and his example, while an incredible case of sanctity, is one that is vital for young people of all times to strive to emulate, especially in this fallen age.  Not all may be called to his very nearly perfect practice of chastity and purity, but all will benefit from attempting to conduct their lives in accord with his example, especially the young who face so many temptations, and who lack the experience of life that many wiser, older, sadder souls have obtained – much to their pain:

About this time a book on the Rosary, by Fr. Caspar Loarte, SJ, fell into the hands of Aloysius.  It so increased his love and devotion to Our Lady, tha this heart overflowed with consolation when he reflected upon the mysteries of her life, and he was seized with an ardent longing to do something that would please her and give her great honor, that he might thus win her love and favor.  One day, as he was kneeling in rapt devotion before the picture, he was inspired with the thought of consecrating his virginity to Our Lady, as the most acceptable gift that he could offer her.  Acting quickly on this inspiration, with a heart filled with love and joy, he solemnly consecrated himself to her by a vow of perpetual chastity.  Mary accepted the offering of his innocent heart, and in return, as he afterwards acknowledged to his confessor, obtained for him from God the extraordinary Grace of never experiencing throughout his entire life the slightest breath of a temptation against the virtue of holy purity.

This is a most unusual favor, seldom granted even to the Saints, and the more wonderful, seeing that Aloysius’ life was passed in the higher circles and at princely courts, where there are so many dangers and temptations.  it is true that he had had from his earliest childhood a natural aversion to the very shadow of anything impure, and even to any intercourse whatever with persons of the opposite sex; but this gives us all the more reason to wonder that, after taking his vow….he redoubled his precautions and had recourse to all kinds of means in order to guard his purity against the slightest shadow of danger.  It might be thought that he, who enjoyed such privileges, would have contented himself with the ordinary care prescribed to all Christians; on the contrary, he it is who most exceeds most, even of the Saints, in precautionary measures such as flight from the very slightest occasion of sin, and mortification of the flesh.  He, who was preserved by a special grace of God from any temptation of this kind, went on his way through life as though he had been threatened on all sides by special dangers.

From this time he accustomed himself to never raise his eyes, either in company or when going through the streets.  He not only avoided all intercourse with women more scrupulously than ever, but he withdrew from all games and amusements, although his father would have wished him to take part in them.  He now began to inflict all kinds of austerities upon his innocent flesh.  Aloysius’ vocation was that he should be a striking and a bright example for youth, in the preservation of angelic purity.  What was unnecessary for himself, was to be done by him for the sake of those who were to follow him – for the general welfare of Christian youth.

The young are not proof agaisnt danger as he was, and yet they often rush thoughtlessly into it; the fire of concupiscence burns within them, and they willfully add fuel to it; they are not so blameless as Aloysius, and yet they will not hear of mortification, vigilance, and seclusion.  The picture of this holy youth is a warning, an earnest admonishment to the world of frivolous, self-indulgent  young people, bent upon the enjoyment of sensual pleasures.

———-End Quote———

Raising children in the moral sewer of the fatally corrupted culture with which we are confronted is especially challenging.  In centuries past, there were cultural/societal norms in many places and times that helped keep many temptations to concupiscence in check.  Parents then did not have to deal with the mass availability of pornography and other destructive forces brought directly into the home.  They did not have to tell their children to avert their eyes from scandalously pernicious advertisements or scantily clad individuals.  There was no mass media bringing temptations to lust, perversion, self-abuse, and destructive behaviors of every kind into the home, the car, the school, etc., on a constant basis.  There were certainly temptations in those days, to be sure, but these past several decades have seen the attack on innocence rise to levels never seen before in history.

It can be a difficult line to walk, shielding children from dangerously seductive immoral influences, while at the same time not keeping them under practical lock and key.  There are certainly reasonable and prudent steps that can be taken: homeschooling, having a good internet filter/reporting system installed on ALL computers, not just the one(s) you think your kids access, not subscribing to cable or satellite TV systems, monitoring children’s friends and social engagements, carefully choosing what music kids are exposed to, etc.  All these things are good and reasonable.  Even more, parents should guard against perceptions of hypocrisy in frequently allowing for themselves what they deny their children.

One might think in this age it is not possible to go too far in efforts to preserve their innocence, but even here there can be danger. Tightening the apron strings too much can lead to its own form of rebellion.  I have seen this happen several times, and have heard numerous cautionary tales from priests, of parents who placed such a tight hold on their children they eventually rebelled and slipped through their fingers. In fallen creatures, protection can unintentionally turn to severity, good intentions can morph into forced submission to the parents’ will in all matters.

An absolutely vital step for parents to take is to engage in family prayer, especially prayer of the Rosary.  While preserving children’s innocence is absolutely vital, the preservation will not be successful unless buttressed with a vibrant interior life.  Parents must set the example here, demonstrating to children the great value of prayer and the concrete benefits such devotion provides in the formation of a devout, pious soul.

I could go on forever.  It’s an exceedingly difficult high wire act to perform, raising kids in this age.  And sometimes, even with practically ideal family life, kids still fall away.  But if they have been given the gift of a strong interior/devotional life, odds are for most that fall will be temporary, and, God willing, the kids will return to leading a morally upright life and the practice of the Faith.

The 16th Century Protestant Revolt And the Current Crisis in the Church April 3, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, catachesis, Ecumenism, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, history, persecution, reading, Revolution, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, the struggle for the Church, Tradition.
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History may or may not repeat itself, but historical situations do recur.  In this time of incredible crisis in the Church, it is helpful sometimes to review the history of previous crises.  The protestant revolt in the 16th century was a time when it appeared all of Christendom might fall into error.  The parallels between that disastrous period of time and our own are perhaps greater than many realize.  Whether the condition of the Church today is better or worse than that of, say, the dark year of 1560, when Calvinists very nearly gained France to their side through a narrowly foiled secret plot (endorsed by Calvin himself) to murder not only the French king but dozens of Catholic nobles, is difficult to say.  What has remained constant between that time and this is the tendency for bad Catholics to make up the lead ranks of the revolutionaries.  I guess the primary difference is that in the current disastrous state of the Church, as in the Arian crisis, the revolutionaries lack the honesty and decency to formally separate themselves from union with the Church, instead pretending they represent a “truer,” “purer,” “reformed” Faith.  Of course, much of the reason for that has been the fault of numerous timorous pontiffs, who have lacked the nerve to openly challenge the modernist-progressive cabal by excommunicating them as they, and the faithful, so richly deserve.

At any rate, in keeping with today’s focus on the current religion of leftist secular paganism and it’s historical antecedents, this excerpt from pp. 285-6 of William Thomas Walsh’s Philip II:

One of the biggest factors in causing all this corruption was the interference of the State, newly conscious of its unity and power, in the affairs of the Church.  Priests were badly disciplined because there were too many political bishops.  There were political bishops because kings, even in Spain, had seldom missed an opportunity to wring privileges from unwilling Popes when they had them in their power.  Often the Pope had to allow the King to name the bishops, as the price of having Christianity preached at all, and he chose the lesser of the two evils.  In view of all this, it is strange that men go on repeating cant phrases about the interference of the Church in the State in the Middle Ages.  Sometimes, yes; but more often the other way around. Philip took it as a matter of course that he was to be consulted before the Pope nominated a bishop in any of his dominions.  If any Pope had dared to dictate Philips appointments……..!!!!!!!

Three other facts about the corruption of the clergy are often forgotten: 1) Many of the accounts of church scandals originated with the enemies of the Church, who have been proved guilty of gross exaggerations or of downright lying.  Sometimes the scandalmonger is an exposed cheat, like Llorente; sometimes a scribbler in the pay of one of the Pope’s political enemies, like the lewd neo-pagan Pontano; or a credulous retailer of indiscriminate gossip or a disappointed office-seeker. Being contemporary does not make a man truthful or reliable.  In all ages there has been a continuous and curiously uniform propaganda to discredit the Church and all connected with her.   Documents of the Alta Vendita, made public by the papal government of 1846, disclosed a systematic and deliberate campaign of slander.  One letter said:

“Our ultimate end is that of Voltaire and of the French Revolution – the final destruction of Catholicism, and even of the Christian idea.  The work which we have undertaken is not the work of a day, nor of a month, nor of a year.  It may last many years, a century perhaps……….Crush the enemy whoever he may be; crush the powerful by means of lies and calumny………If a prelate comes to Rome from the provinces to exercise some public function, learn immediately his character, his antecedents, above all, his defects.  If he is already a declared enemy…..envelop him in all the snares you can lay under his feet; create for him one of those reputations which will frighten little children and old women…….paint him cruel and sanguinary: recount regarding him some trait of cruelty which can easily be engraved in the minds of the people.

If this was never formulated so concretely until the nineteenth century, it describes, with startling accuracy, what the enemies of the Church had been doing for centuries.  It describes what they did to the reputation of Philip II.

2) It is to be noticed that when the breach occurred, it was the ignorant and corrupt priest, monk, or nun who rushed forth to join Luther and Calvin in the liberty of the new dispensation.  Theodore Beza, as a Roman Catholic, is a glaring example of the too common corruption.  Though not even a priest, he enjoys the incomes of two benefices, through political influence, lavishes the Church’s money on his concubine, and generally leads a vicious and dissolute life.  When the Church is under attack, he hastens to join the enemy.  As Calvin’s lieutenant, this “righteous” man thunders against the corruption of the Old Church, of which he was partly the cause.  There is no doubt about the laxity of the monasteries of Sevilla and Valladolid, whose members embraced protestantism; nor of the degeneracy of the Augustinians in Saxony, who broke away from the Church almost to a man in 1521 (so much so that they may as well be called “Luther’s Own”).  In England it was the reformed Observantine Franciscans who withstood Henry VIII even to death, while the relaxed Conventuals and other badly disciplined monks and priests formed the nucleus of the Church of England.  The first protestants, as a rule, were bad Catholics. [very much as we have seen in the Church since the crisis exploded at and after Vatican II, the already soft and corrupted orders have fallen into total dissolution, while a few observant orders – and a number of new ones, clinging to the disciplines of the past – have maintained their own, or grown substantially.]

———–End Quote———-

So, contrary to what you have almost certainly been taught from both teacher and toob, the pre-Reformation Catholic Church was not simply a corrupt, effete, cynical, self-serving institution enriching itself off the enforced donations o f a benighted peasantry desperate to believe in any kind of Good News, no matter how falsely presented it may have been.  Or more accurately, to the extent that description was ever true, the Church was very often not to blame for that state of things.  The State had a great deal to answer for in whatever deficiencies were present in Christendom on the eve of the protestant revolt.

The campaign of deliberate smear by vituperation practiced by protestant-leftists then……is it much different from the epithets of “Nazi,” “racist,” “islamophobe,” “sexist,” etc., we hear now?  It seems Alinsky was far from the first Alinskyite – the protestants and masons of the Alta Vendita had him beat by centuries.

Walsh’s history is heavy, at times ponderous, and a bit too focused on minute details (do I really need 1 ½ pages – 700 words – on the exotic gowns worn by Philip II, his third wife Isabel, and their entourage at their wedding?) but it is undeniably Catholic in outlook.  He is very similar to Warren Carroll in that respect, but did not have some of the small, but still noticeable, baggage that Carroll carried with him (a too great deference to the post-conciliar ethos,  and a tendency to gloss over certain topics).  Philip II is Walsh’s magnum opus, but I look forward to reading other books by the author.  History has always been my first love, and even though this is a trying read at times, I am learning a great deal.  I plan on reading the rest of this author’s oeuvre as I can.

Meditation for the Annunciation: Love Our Lady in Her Sufferings March 21, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, Our Lady, reading, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Victory, Virtue.
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From The Victories of the Martyrs by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, one of my two “favorite” Saints, some excerpts from a sermon he gave  on The Dolors of Mary.  The excerpt is cut and pasted from pages towards the back of the book which are not numbered, which makes referencing them extra fun.  At any rate, with the “Little Christmas” of The Annunciation coming up this Saturday, I thought it timely to post this material, which closes with the four promises made to St. Elizabeth of Hungary by our Blessed Lord, concerning the benefits He would shower on those who develop a deep devotion of, and meditation on, the Dolors of Our Sorrowful Mother:

To understand how great was the grief of Mary we must understand, says Cornelius a Lapide, how great was the love she bore her Son.”  But who can ever measure this love?  Blessed Amadeus says that “natural love towards Him as her Son, and supernatural love towards Him as her God, were united in the heart of Mary.”  Those two loves were blended into one, and this so great a love that William of Paris does not hesitate to assert, that Mary loved Jesus “as much as it was possible for a pure creature to love Him.”  So that, as Richard of St. Victor says, “as no other creature ever loved God as much as Mary loved Him, so there never was any sorrow like Mary’s sorrow.”…….

…….St. Bernadine of Siena even says that “the sufferings of Mary were such, that had they been divided amongst all creatures capable of suffering, they would have caused their immediate death.”  Who, then, can ever doubt that the martyrdom of Mary was without its equal, and that it exceeded the sufferings of all the martyrs; since, as St. Antoninus says, “they suffered in the sacrifice of theri own lives; but the Blessed Virgin suffered by offering the life of her Son of God, a life which she loved far more than her own.”

………[L]et us be devout to the dolors of Mary, Saint Albert the Great writes, that “as we are under great obligations to Jesus Christ for His death, so also are we under great obligations to Mary for the grief she endured when she offered her Son to God by death for our salvation.”  This the angel revealed to St. Bridget: he said that the Blessed Virgin, to see us saved, herself offered the life of her Son to the Eternal Father; a sacrifice which cost her greater suffering than all the torments of the martyrs, or even death itself.  But the divine Mother complained to St. Bridget that very few pitied her in her sorrows, and that the greater part of the world lived in entire forgetfulness of them.  Therefore she exhorted the saint, saying: “Though many forget me, do not thou, my daughter, forget me.”  For this purpose the Blessed Virgin herself appeared in the year 1239 to the founder of the Order of Servites, or servants of Mary, to desire them to institute a religious order in remembrance of her sorrows; and this they did.

Jesus Himself one day spoke to Blessed Veronica of Binasco, saying, “Daughter, tears shed over My Passion are dear to Me; but as I love My Mother Mary with an immense love, the meditation of the sorrows which she endured at My death is also very dear to Me.”  It is also well to know, as Pelbart relates it, that it was revealed to St. Elizabeth of Hungary, that our Lord had promised four special graces to those who are devout to the dolors of Mary: first, that those who before death invoke the divine Mother, in the name of her sorrows, should obtain true repentance of all their sins; second, that He would protect all who have this devotion in their tribulations, and that He would protect them especially at the hour of death; third, that He would impress upon their minds the remembrance of His Passion, and that they should have their reward for it in Heaven; fourth, that He would commit such devout clients to the hands of Mary, with the power to dispose of them in whatever manner she might please, and to obtain for them all the graces she might desire.

———–End Quote———-

I have great appreciation for the all the writings of the Moral Doctor (Liguori), but I have found The Victories of the Martyrs the least best of the nine volumes of his ascetical writings that I have read to date.  Saint Alphonsus, probably due to limitations of time, focused exclusively on the early martyrs of the Roman Empire, and then skipped ahead to covering the 17th century martyrs of Japan, which he covered in detail one might describe as excruciating.  There is nothing in between, even with the martyrdom (white or red) of millions of Catholics at the hands of muslims, or Eastern Orthodox, or pagans in northern Europe, or wherever.

Certainly a volume attempting to category every major Christian martyr from every time would quickly turn into a library itself, but I was hoping that the saint might cover a bit broader range of martyrs both chronologically and geographically.  Perhaps my expectations were out of line.

Please understand, I am not saying I don’t like the book.  Only that compared to the sublime excellence of the other eight volumes I’ve read, this one was only very good.  So far, I still have probably 50-60 pages left (it’s hard to tell, with the inexplicable editorial decision not to number the last 100-odd pages).  Perhaps I’ll be blown away in the 10% or so remaining, but perhaps not.

I am looking forward to seeing other volumes by Liguori, who wrote torrentially, translated into English (or re-printed, since there are translations long out of print).  The twenty-two volumes of his ascetical works were only a small portion of his total output. Since good souls have taken on the project of translating much of Bellarmine’s writings into English (previously available only in Latin), I pray they consider delving into this saint, as well.

That is, if anyone at Mediatrix Press is listening reading.  Hint.

Msgr. Fenton on the False Ecumenism Since Vatican II March 15, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Ecumenism, error, General Catholic, manhood, priests, Revolution, scandals, secularism, Society, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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While largely  unknown today, many consider Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton as the greatest theologian the United States has ever produced.  In the mid-20th century, he was a huge figure within the American Church, editing the premiere theological journal of the country and doing battle with the forces of modernism which were already becoming more and more bold in their efforts to redefine the Faith according to the “synthesis of all heresies” which they held.

Some of Fenton’s most pointed battles were against Fr. John Courtney Murray, SJ, a favorite of the Kennedy clan and the man who many consider to be the father of the Church’s post-conciliar ecumenical ethos.  Murray was especially influential in developing the Vatican II document Dignitatis Humanae, which discusses matters such as religious liberty and the necessity of the Church for salvation in truly unprecedented ways.  Unfortunately for the Church and millions of souls, while many observers felt that Fenton had clearly defeated Murray in their numerous theological engagements in the Catholic press, it was Murray whose influence was far more decisive at Vatican II. Once the Council turned decisively towards revolutionary sentiments in the first session, casting aside the years of previous work in the various schema that had been produced before the Council, and which had been championed by Cardinal Ottaviani and his staff of peritus (including Msgr. Fenton), Fenton’s influence on the Council waned as dramatically as did that of the deliberately publicly humiliated Ottaviani.

At any rate, the principle point of disagreement between Fenton and Murray, among others, was on the necessity of the Church for salvation and the paramount need for souls to be within that Church.  This spilled over into a closely related point: whether the American form of government with its “freedom of religion” (really, formally enshrined agnosticism as the state religion) was ideal, suitable, or even permissible for Catholics to support. Murray’s vision was much more Americanist in nature, not quite indifferentism but certainly close to what has become the reality in the post-conciliar Church.

In contrast, what we read below is fully in line with the Doctrine of the Faith as handed down through the ages, and fitted for the understanding of contemporary man.  I pray that one day the Church return not only to a full appreciation of Fenton’s work, but also to its implementation in a general reinstitution of classical scholastic theology.  The following excerpts come from The Church of Christ: A Collection of Essays by Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton, pp. 299-301. I add my own comments:

The anti-Catholic agitators are continually charging that Catholics are striving to do away with freedom of religion in the United States. [As for me, guilty as charged.]   In answering these men, some of our less skillful apologists [what a nice dig at Murray!]  become so confused that they actually give the impression that Catholics are completely and absolutely satisfied with the situation here in the United States today, that we believe it to be the best that many of our fellow citizens should remain as they are, apart from Our Lord, from His Church, and from His true religion.  Unmindful of the constant and devoutly sincere prayer of the Church that all of those who wander apart from ecclesiastical union and fellowship with Christ should be brought by God’s Grace into that fellowship, [A prayer repeated at every Good Friday in the TLM, but one which the vast majority of Catholics today have probably never heard] these writers describe as ultimately good and satisfactory a situation in which the nation itself takes no more cognizance of the true religion than it does of false systems of worship…….

……….We would by denying the force of that missionary charity within the Church, or misjudging the nature of the Church itself, were we in any way to give the impression that we do not care whether our fellow Americans enter the true Church or not.  The true religion is the great good which we desire for our fellow citizens and for our country.  The true Church, outside of which there is no salvation, is likewise a great and necessary good we seek for the men and the nation we love in the affection of charity.

………..The Vatican Council’s [That would be Vatican I] first dogmatic constitution, Dei Filius…..declares that “If anyone should say that the faithful and those who have never arrived at the only true faith are in a like situation, so that Catholics can have a legitimate reason for withholding their assent from and doubting, until they shall have completed the scientific proof of the credibility and the truth of their own faith, that faith which they have already received under the Church’s Magisterium, let him be anathema.” [Wow, a council that levels anathemas.  Wonders never cease.] The third chapter of this constitution declares that “those who have received the faith under the Church’s Magisterium can never have any legitimate cause for changing that faith or doubting it.” [Et tu, Francesco?]

………The thesis that the state or the civil society is objectively obligated to worship God according to the Rite of the Catholic religion thus stems basically from a realization of the fact that the debt of religion is a real obligation incumbent upon every human being and every social unit, and from a recognition of the truth that there is only one objectively acceptable religious worship, that which is paid to God within the framework of Our Lord’s Mystical Body.  This thesis is likewise in line with the fundamental principle of Catholic missiology, the truth that God wills that all men should enter His one true Church.  Thus it refuses to see as genuinely and ultimately desirable and good a situation in which some men, even though through no fault of their own, are not citizens of God’s supernatural kingdom on earth.

————End Quote————

Let me know if the excerpts don’t quite form a cohesive whole. I’m out of time and really wanted to get this post out but may have taken out a bit much “meat.”

The practical implementation of Dignatitis Humanae and the cult of false ecumenism it has engendered (for the only true ecumenism, contra the previous pontiff, is what he called “the discredited ecumenism of return” to the faith) is probably the second greatest wound to the Church unleashed in the decades since Vatican II, after Sacrosanctum Concilium.  The latter attempts to rip out her heart, the former, her mind.  No wonder the Church’s missionary efforts have totally collapsed in the years since.  They were intended to.  The revolutionaries – whether they intended to be or not – could not have chosen their targets better.  It is a bitter shame better men like Fenton did not succeed, but I have to accept that God allowed all this to come to pass, for some reason.

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis.

 

 

DON’T GO TO COLLEGE! March 15, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, It's all about the $$$, scandals, secularism, Society, Tradition.
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Interesting video by Stefan Molyneux below, and one that is most timely for my family.  To make matters bearable for my wife, we “paired up” my oldest and 2nd oldest daughters, born 18 months apart, into the same school grade when the started kindergarten many years ago. This made eminent sense, as the twins came after these two and would constitute their own grade.  So my oldest daughter started homeschooling at age 6 while the next was 4.

But what that also means is that I will have two girls graduating high school the same year, 2018.  For a long time, however, we have had the strong sense that our oldest daughter was not destined for college, while her younger sister was much more likely to go.  And that’s very much turned out to be the case.  Our oldest might go to community college or get a 2 year degree in some kind of artistic field.  Her sister, however, is taking the standardized tests and doing really very well.  She might wind up with a better score than any I was able to attain by the time she’s done.

Right now, however, she’s leaning towards a natural science degree, in a “hard science” like biology.  While she’ll probably attend UD – which is her school of choice – I kind of view a BS in natural science as sort of the floor  for a major that makes getting a degree worthwhile, economically. Especially when you factor in the fact that UD is a private university. I’m also leery of biology as a degree, even at a fairly Catholic uni like UD, because the field of biology is eaten up with the cult of evolution.

The commentary from Stefan Molyneux plays into this thesis.  It makes me want to encourage her exploring engineering a bit more, perhaps biomedical engineering as a cousin she is close to is majoring in right now at UT-San Antonio.  But J really wants to stay close to home.  We’ll see.

I have been pretty upfront with my kids, however.  If they want to get a degree, it needs to be in some field where there is a reasonable payout for the hideous expense involved, be it finance, compsci, engineering, hard science, management information systems, or whatever.  Otherwise, they better get pretty close to a full ride scholarship, or it ain’t happening.  I am also hopeful that online degrees of low cost but sufficient gravitas really begin to emerge as my kids enter college. That might be another alternative.

It is a brilliant point to bring up the fact that making college “free” would have the direct effect of radically reducing the worth of having a college degree – about akin to a high school diploma today.  Then an entire new level of credentialization would have to emerge to replace what college is today – be it post-graduate degrees or something beyond PhD.

Interestingly, that is why my alma mater – The University of Texas – has fought for years to keep its enrollment below 50,000, with about 30-35,000 of those being undergrads (of whom maybe 60-70% actually graduate with a degree).  They have done this for several reasons – limitations of space as an urban university, funding limitations, etc., but also because they want the degrees to have a certain value.  At present, UT graduates about 7-8000 undergraduates a year.  There are typically about 300-400,000 living graduates at any one time.  If UT did what A&M is doing, which is expanding to 70,000-80,000 or beyond, they would produce twice as many graduates and potentially reduce the value of their degrees.

It is exceedingly odd for me to say this, though it is a sense I have had developing over the past several years (college not being worth the expense in many degree fields, in addition to being a source of very dangerous indoctrination).  My parents were the first people in both of their families to ever get college degrees, though my mom did not get hers until she was nearly 40.  My brother and sister and I all went to college as a matter of course.  My wife’s experience is similar.  And yet she only used her degree professionally for a few years before graduating to full time motherhood (which may well be the case for most of my daughters).  Here I feel like I am turning my back on something that has been taken for granted as a critical part of the ascent to the upper middle class in this country for generations.

Yet, there are fewer and fewer reasons to obtain degrees of exponentially increasing cost.  There are sources of learning available anywhere in the world today that were unimaginable when I was of college age.  The college experience is increasingly dangerous for souls.  I just had the lamentable tale related to me a few days ago of a father whose daughter was totally lost in the sexular pagan leftist zeitgeist, a zeitgeist she absorbed while a student at Oklahoma University, of all places.  There are very few intellectually and morally “safe” colleges.  I strongly recommend children either go to a college they can attend while living at home, or living with family that can be trusted implicitly.

Lots of factors. Lots of opportunities for soul-crushing mistakes.  Err on the side of caution.  Perhaps more specifically, err on the side of what is the safest route morally and ecclesiastically, even if that involves something of an economic penalty. Easy for me to say, however.

Matt: Don’t Give Up, Fight for the Church! March 10, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, different religion, Francis, General Catholic, Revolution, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, unbelievable BS.
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I really like this video from Michael Matt.  It makes a very good corollary to the two videos in the post below.  Sort of like diagnosis, and treatment plan.

I should never like to give the impression that I am hopeless or despondent over the state of the Church. Much aggrieved, certainly, outraged, definitely, but not hopeless.  I do know God will prevail in the end, and that all of this somehow ties in with a plan of Providence that may well forever elude human understanding.  I also know that situations, even extremely dire ones, can sometimes turn on a dime, that what appears a hopelessly lost cause can rapidly transform into unbelievable triumph.

So I really like the last several minutes of the video below, and the exhortation to fight.  I agree with Matt that I don’t know how to “define” Francis.  I have read and seen some of the same things he has: that Francis is antipope, that Benedict’s abdication was null because it was made under duress, that Francis is the false prophet, that the Chair of Peter has been vacant since ’63, or ’58, or whenever.  And while some of these arguments may have more merit than others, I have not –  I cannot – fully embrace any of them because I. Just. Don’t. Know.  Francis was elected.  He sits in Rome.  He is viewed by all the world as the pope.  He exercises petrine powers.  But he also attacks the Faith in ways never before seen, at least not from this most holy office.  So what is he?  I don’t know.  Scary.  Terrifying.  A destroyer. A fool. A knave. a weak, flawed, failing man.  All of the above.

All I know for certain is that he is wrong; dangerously, destructively, wrong.  And I know he must be opposed.  I have known that for a long time.  I also know he – and more importantly the cardinals and bishops who surround his office and who can either put his policy wholly into effect, or block and undermine it – must be prayed for with passionate intensity.  I have been doing that, too, for a long time.

As to whether “neo-Catholics” are “getting it,” I really have no idea.  I don’t have the time to read their thoughts much anymore.  I’m willing to take Matt’s analysis at face value, but I also know a lifetime of intellectual habit and deeply held belief – the pope must never be questioned or doubted, ever – is not an easy thing to overcome.  So we shall see.  As to whether there are portents to a mass resistance to Francis’ pontificate and the forces that elected, we shall have to wait for the future to see that, too.  I a way, I pray that is correct, but what will that mean?  Schism?  Or simply a formal recognition of the schism that has existed for 60 or more years, ever since the modernist forces that badly influenced, if not hijacked, a council, first started to reveal themselves en masse?

It’s all a bit much for me to figure out.  I shall be content to continue to do my part in bringing awareness, as Matt says, to how extremely radical and unprecedented this pontificate is.  All else I leave in the hands of Almighty God, whose Will shall eventually triumph.