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Powerful Sermon: Martyrdom on the Installment Plan February 22, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, martyrdom, priests, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
10 comments

Wonderful sermon below from that priest who, for nearly two years, was much missed online as his sermons were no longer posted, but who returned late last year with good, new, relevant catechesis.

Most of us will not “get” to be red martyrs like so many of the greats from the early Church.  Father relates the life and death of St. James Intercisus, a figure in the Zoroastrian court of Persia who became Catholic, apostasized under threat of loss of wealth and power, and then was martyred when he returned to the Church of Jesus Christ.  Few of us will face such a dramatic test (though, the way the world is going, who knows!).  One thing is for certain, those who have the strength of faith to be blood martyrs, almost universally were already experiencing many white martyrdoms in death to self as they grew in sanctity and self-denial on their path of sanctification through cooperation with God’s Grace.  For those of us who will never have the final test of a blood martyrdom, these white martyrdoms – smaller or larger acts of self-denial and overcoming of attachments on a daily basis (martyrdom on the installment plan) – are all we shall have to grow in virtue, reject sin and vice, and develop in sanctity.  They are thus everything for our salvation.

Put much more briefly, is something, like our faith, is worth dying for, is it not worth living for?

Men should pay particular attention to 20:30 – 23:40 where Father talks of common failures in virtue and attachments to sin, especially those men lost in addiction to porn.  Even numerous, regular Mass-going Catholic men have severe problems with impurity, self-abuse, and addiction to porn.  That addiction can be all but impossible to overcome if a man walks around with a little porn theater in his pocket (smart phone).  Far from fleeing it, he literally carries his near occasion of sin with him.

Father notes that such men, even if they go to Confession, likely do not receive absolution, because so long as he carries this deadly occasion of sin with him everywhere he goes, and sleeps with it next to his bed at night, perhaps, he is constantly involved in a near occasion of sin that, practically speaking, invalidates any act of contrition he attempts to make.

I should add, increasingly, this mass moral scandal afflicts not only men but even some women.  Exposure to porn and involvement in the moral sewer of the hookup culture and so much of today’s society has even reduced what was once the mighty bulwark of feminine propriety to the level of what would have been the most lust-addled, out of control man from a few decades ago.

As an aside, I think that is part of the reason why Trump’s “p*$$y” comment set so many women off it precipitated some of the largest demonstrations this nation has ever seen.  Trump did not say he does this, nor that he advocates others go about “grabbing” certain regions of the anatomy – he said women would even let him do that, because he is so rich and famous.  He was certainly bragging and probably exaggerating, but how many of those women out there demonstrating, if they found themselves alone with one of the richest, most powerful men in the world, would really reject his advances?  How many have already given themselves away at firesale prices (heck, often for free, nothing more than the cost of a brief phone call or a couple of texts) to just regular ol’ dudes, if not outright losers?  I think the reaction against that offhand, supposedly off-the-record comment reveals far more what women think of themselves, than it says of what they think of Trump. You could see this in the unhinged behavior at many of the protests and especially the proliferation of women, publicly, reducing themselves to nothing more than a small part of their anatomy.  But I digress.

Having said that, there is a line between a man struggling to come to terms with whether he has a porn addiction, or occasionally/rarely falling into the sin of porn viewing on his smart phone, and one who is so lost that he can no longer make a valid act of contrition so long as he keeps his smart phone.  There is a potential to err on the side of harshness, here, but I’m glad Father said what he did because very few men are aware of the fact that they could fall into a state this dire.

Also note, it is not simply sins against the 6th and 9th Commandments that create conditions where contrition is invalidated.  ANY severe attachment to a repetitive sin – drunkenness, contraceptive use, actual adultery, etc., – can involve such constant contact with sin/a near occasion of sin that it places great questions on having true contrition.  I wouldn’t freak out about this, but it’s something to be cognizant of and watch against.  Are our phones worth losing salvation? For many men, they may well be.

But it’s certainly not just the lay people with problems.  Priests, bishops, and most others with formal apostolates in the Church do not act as if they believe any substantial part of the Doctrine of the Faith.  They don’t act as if Christ is really present in the Eucharist, nor that damnation can happen to lots of people, that hell exists, that God is really concerned about all of our individual acts, etc.  They believe a politically correct, politically motivated, societally-acceptable version of the faith.  And they lead souls to hell by their millions through their failures.

There’s so much here that I could write several thousand words but hopefully you’ve gotten a flavor for what’s in the sermon.  Let me know what you think.

People always ask me what this priest’s name is.  I won’t tell you, but folks, if you’re really interested and you listen to more than a few of his sermons with any degree of attention, he pretty much ID’s himself.  Don’t write it here, but you’re smart, I’m sure you can figure it out.

Fr. Rodriguez Gives Catechesis on the Message of Our Lady of Fatima February 22, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, family, Father Rodriguez, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, Our Lady, persecution, priests, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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I’m seriously behind so I have not been able to watch more than a little of this, but it’s Father Rodriguez, so I have no compunction about giving this a clear endorsement even though acting a bit from ignorance at this point. I will listen to it sometime this week, God willing.

This is another lecture intended for children but judging from the comments I’ve seen adults derive as much or more value from it than the kids.  I wanted to get this out while it was new and before I forgot about it.  I’ve literally got about 20 pages open right now on stuff I’d like to post, plus a whole slew of excerpts from a book on the writings of Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton, probably the best theologian this nation has ever produced.

So forgive me if I don’t provide an encapsulation of this video, I simply haven’t the time right now.

If readers watch it please leave comments and let us know what you think!  I’ll try to update the post once I do get a chance to watch more than the first few minutes.

Did an American Hermit Predict Donald Trump Would Lead a Great Spiritual Revival in the US? February 22, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in fun, General Catholic, huh?, priests, Restoration, Society, the struggle for the Church.
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I haven’t much time, but was sent this yesterday by reader D.  I’ve never heard of the priest before.  He claims, through rather providential circumstances, to have met at American hermit living in Loreto many years ago, a man who predicted decades before last year’s election that Donald J. Trump would lead a great spiritual or religious revival in this nation.  Take it for what you will, it’s certainly interesting, to say the least:

Look, I am grateful to have Trump.  Anybody but Hillary.  And he’s done some pretty good things so far, along with a few not so good ones, like letting the “Dream Act” illegals remain, apparently.  His undermining of the self-serving elitist uniparty of indifference and self-enrichment is a great achievement in itself.  But I do think people sometimes have exaggerated expectations for the man.  He’s never been particularly devout or Christian.  His personal morality is uninspiring, to say the least. So, I’m a bit doubtful about the great 21st century American Catholic Restoration being inspired by this man, but there is certainly nothing wrong in maintaining a pious hope that such may occur.  Lord knows, we need it.

I’m out for the day.  It always happens like this, I have a proverbial ton of great material for the blog and no time to share it!  Perhaps God may will that I may have more time tomorrow.  I tried to get a few things out today.

The Elites Got Their Scalp – Milo Yiannopoulos Resigns Brietbart February 22, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in asshatery, Basics, cultural marxism, disaster, Endless Corruption, error, horror, persecution, priests, sadness, scandals, secularism, sexual depravity, sickness, Society.
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While it may seem like a tempest in a teacup, or perhaps the well-earned and inevitable downfall of someone who created a name for himself by flaunting social (or elite) convention constantly and brazenly, I do have grave concerns over the rapid and seemingly near-total destruction of Milo Yiannopolous over the past two days.  He just announced his “resignation” from Brietbart a little while ago, but from what I have heard and read the resignation was forced and eagerly desired by some Brietbart staffers who had grown annoyed at Milo’s popularity and antics.  His lucrative book deal has been cancelled.  He claims he has many new projects in the works, but his name has probably been permanently sullied by this “high tech lynching,” to quote Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

For those unaware of what I am discussing, videos were published, first on sites very closely linked to several high-power establishment Repubniks, containing highly edited statements from Milo Yiannopolous – videos recorded many months to a year+ ago –  that gave the appearance that he either supported, apologized for, or had some sympathy for pedophilia.  When it was shown that his words were being completely twisted, slightly less edited versions were released that made it appear that Milo was at least of questionable judgment on this matter.  Milo maintains he was speaking of personal experience and that he is a bitter opponent of pedophiles.

I have had many thoughts and been rather conflicted about all this.  First of all, this is obviously a carefully engineered takedown of someone who was a rising threat to the dominant uniparty elites.  The offending comments were made long ago and were the “juiciest” things that hundreds of thousands of dollars of oppo research could find.  And they were definitely not good. I think it’s confirmed now that Milo’s perversion is not an act and that it seriously affects aspects of his judgments, and not in a good way.

Amazingly, as all this has developed, it seems the Novus Ordo church played a significant role in Milo’s downfall, and I don’t mean just this week’s developments.  Assuming he is being truthful, Milo was first exposed to the sodomite lifestyle by an English Catholic priest.  That was his first “experience,” when he was 13.  What a tragedy.  What a scandal.  Even more incredibly, very few people have even batted an eye at this revelation.  “Oh yes another priest raped and morally ruined a young boy, yawn……”  I mean, that’s’ been the overall reaction.  That the Church has been involved in the moral corruption of a young boy yet again, something which not only ruined him but likely his entire family……..it makes me want to throw up.  And yes I know this went on before VII, but VII did not materialize from a vacuum. The very fact there were perverts of this type corrupting the priesthood was a significant factor in the phenomenon we call Vatican II even coming into being.

But this revelation brings two very important points to the fore: one, those who suffer childhood sex abuse are never quite right again.  Their ability to judge certain moral matters, especially those related to their own sexuality, are almost always forever compromised by the violent taking of their innocence. Secondly, a great many sodomites are sodomites because they were abused by men at a very young age.  Thus, this entire sequence of sorry events is not entirely surprising.

That is to say, I agree quite a bit with Sargon’s analysis below, which, while generally apologizing for Milo, admits that he probably had to turn his abuse into a “good thing” to mentally and emotionally deal with such unimaginably deep and hurtful wounds (LANGUAGE WARNING):

I’ll add a few more thoughts, sort of randomly.  First of all, the various ages of consent in differing nations are more or less arbitrary.  It’s 16 in England, 14 in Germany, generally 17 or 18 in the US,  etc.  Of course there is no such thing in muslim countries, where young boys are systematically abused with societal and religious approval and girls as young as 8 or 9 are sold as “brides.”

Is the US with relatively high ages of consent more moral?  But wasn’t Saint Elizabeth of Hungary married at age 14?  In fact, throughout the Age of Faith, the great and high Middle Ages, marriage at such ages was routine.  Of course, people generally died much younger, too, but I don’t think 13th century Spain or 11th century Italy was less Christian or less moral than these United States, or anywhere in the world today.  Not that I think such is appropriate today, nor would I want that for my 6 daughters.  I am merely stating that all these things are really just conventions and are almost wholly arbitrary.

The other things is, Milo is right, those who are carrying out this attempted destruction are not doing so out of moral outrage.  They are doing it to take out a target they don’t like.  The real target is not Yiannopolous.  It’s Steve Bannon, and more importantly, Donald Trump.  Milo was, whatever one may think of him, energizing an entirely new generation towards conservative/libertarian/populist beliefs, and there was a very strong cross-over between the thousands of kids who braved insult and injury to hear Milo speak on college campuses and support for Trump.  He was also, like Trump, extremely effective at bulldozing into oblivion the cultural marxist structures in the academia, media, heck, in the very language, which are such powerful tools of the Left.  He had been almost immune to criticism, with his “high on the victim pyramid” lifestyle and devil may care nature.  Until now.

My concern is that if the elite media complex/entrenched political powers can do this to a Milo Yiannopolous or a Mike Flynn, they can do it to any of us.  There has been a recent spate of what seem like vengeful attacks from the old media on the new, with targeted takedowns of rising new media personalities.  For some analysis of how and why this is happening, I think this is spot on (again, language warning).  And, of course, we have seen the media-government complex deign to destroy average Joes and Janes for exceedingly trivial sins against the sexular pagan orthodoxy on a number of occasions, from cake bakers in Oregon to photographers in New Mexico to bed and breakfast owners in Vermont to florists in Washington.  This is about power, and maintaining a narrow, undeserving oligarchy in the power and riches which it has arrogated to itself.  To me, it’s all part of a broader reaction against the little people who got a little too uppity and actually exercised their rights in a way the elites find annoying.

Having said all that, Milo largely did this to himself.  I’d hate to have every off-hand or “boozy” (his words) comment I’ve ever made microscopically analyzed and held up for all the world to see, but that’s also what goes with the territory.  The old media and entrenched political powers are not nice people and have no scruples in destroying anyone they perceive as being in their way, or simply annoying.  Heck, it’s practically a sport to these people.  Milo should have known, having already experienced several attempted “lynchings” for his blasphemies against the state religion of sexular pagan cultural marxism.  I’m sure he’ll be back in some fashion, but he’s been permanently damaged by this, which takes away another important defender and ally from Trump.

I expect this to become far more cruel and ugly as we go along.  They want to destroy all those who publicly support Trump and ultimately go after him.

Father George Rutler Obliterates Leftist Furor over Mideast Travel Ban February 16, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, error, family, General Catholic, Immigration, priests, Revolution, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, the struggle for the Church, Tradition.
3 comments

This may be a bit dated – it was posted 10 days ago – but it’s very good.  I thought the comments linking universities to just extended-age day care centers especially prescient.  There’s a video at the bottom that ties in today’s “triggered,” screeching college students with their day care upbringings that I believe is spot on.  I add emphasis and comments:

In the margin of a public speaker’s manuscript was the notation: “Weak point. Shout.” Such is the rhetoric of those who place emotion over logic and make policy through gangs rather than parliaments. In Athens 2,400 years ago, Aristophanes described the demagogue as having “a screeching, horrible voice, a perverse, cross-grained nature and the language of the marketplace.” That marketplace today includes the biased media and the universities that have become daycare centers. [So what they really are, then, instead of being places of learning and development of independence, simply incredibly expensive extended day care for young adults?  Again, see the video at bottom, which I think is incredibly prescient.  I do think a fascinating study could be done to examine political ideology against method of upbringing.  I do wonder if a lot of the millennial trigger generation is not due to low-attention upbringing.]

The recent action of our government’s executive branch to protect our borders and enforce national security is based on Constitutional obligations (Art. 1 sec 10 and Art. 4 sec 4). It is a practical protection of the tranquility of order explained by Saint Augustine when he saw the tranquillitas ordinis of Roman civilization threatened. Saint Thomas Aquinas sanctioned border control (S. Th. I-II, Q. 105, Art. 3). No mobs shouted in the marketplace two years ago when the Terrorist Travel Prevention Act restricted visa waivers for Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya and Yemen. The present ban continues that, and only for a stipulated ninety days, save for Syria. There is no “Muslim ban” as should be obvious from the fact that the restrictions do not apply to other countries with Muslim majorities, such as Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Turkey. [Truth has no meaning anymore.  Not for the elites and their leftist allies, who are so one in essence I repeat myself.  They think “banning muslims” will turn people off Trump, but in reality a majority of Americans are in favor of completely terminating all immigration by muslims into this country.]

These are facts ignored by demagogues who speak of tears running down the face of the Statue of Liberty. At issue is not immigration, but illegal immigration. It is certainly manipulative of reason to justify uncontrolled immigration by citing previous generations of immigrants to our shores, all of whom went through the legal process, mostly in the halls of Ellis Island. And it is close to blasphemy to invoke the Holy Family as antinomian refugees, for they went to Bethlehem in obedience to a civil decree requiring tax registration, and they violated no statutes when they sought protection in Egypt…….

It is obvious that the indignant demonstrators against the new Executive Orders are funded in no little part by wealthy interests who would provoke agitation. [Because they seek to maintain the status quo that so enriches and empowers them even as it exposes Americans (and many others) to increasing danger and poverty.  But like Francis, being the perfect narcissists they are, they care for no one but themselves.] These same people have not shown any concern about the neglected Christians seeking refuge from persecution in the Middle East. In 2016 there was a 675% increase in the number of Syrian refugees over the previous year, but while 10% of the Syrian population is Christian, only one-half of one percent of the Syrian Christians were granted asylum. It is thankworthy that our changed government now wants to redress that. The logic of that policy must not be shouted down by those who screech rather than reason. 

They screech because they have very little to reason with, either from supporting evidence, or even the ability to argue.  That’s much of the reason behind the outrage sparked by Milo Yiannopolous, if you’re unable to out-argue someone, shout them down.  These paid leftist rioters cannot argue with the will of the American people, so they are trying to subvert it in the streets.

Yes, the argument below is snarky and simplistic, but I do wonder if there may not be something to it:

Some Greatness from Fr. Michael Rodriguez January 31, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Father Rodriguez, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Latin Mass, manhood, persecution, priests, sanctity, Society, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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I’m very short on time, but here are two great videos featuring Father Michael Rodriguez.  The first is an exegesis on St. Agnus, the great Roman virgin and martyr whose intercession is invoked in the Roman Canon:

The second video concerns the three sins Father considers most offensive to God, blasphemy, heresy, and impurity.  Obviously, in these terribly dark times, all three sins are epidemic and seemingly growing worse all the time, even as many within the human element of the Mystical Body of Christ promote them increasingly:

Why are these sins so prevalent today? Because satan knows these are the three sins most offensive to God.  The decisive battle for the Church is underway.  The particular marks of satan, blasphemy, heresy, and impurity, have wreaked devastation within the Ark of Salvation, the Holy Catholic Church.  These sins are an attempt to offend God’s very nature – blasphemy against God’s perfect holiness, heresy against God’s perfect truth, and impurity against God’s infinite purity.

But that is only the beginning of this hour of powerful catechesis.  Just one example: from 7:05- 14:00 Father explains the theocentric nature of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the vast superiority of the Traditional Latin Mass in being theocentric.  All good Catholics must work towards the restoration of the TLM, as it leads us to God in every phrase, posture, and detail.  The New Mass is not theocentric.  It is “an unheard of protestantization of the Mass.” Father urges those who normally assist at the Novus Ordo to make every effort to assist at the TLM and to learn more about the TLM and Tradition.  I know this is not possible for everyone due to continued limited availability of the TLM and continued persecution of Tradition, but the exhortation is to make whatever effort possible.

If you find that moving and inspirational, I exhort you to take the time to watch and/or listen to the entire video.  It is very much worth your time.

For those wanting an update on Father’s status, nothing has changed.  He remains a priest in good standing in the Diocese of El Paso but without a pastoral assignment. This situation may well persist for years.  Nonetheless, Father remains very busy and continues various means of shepherding souls.  I try to post whatever content from Father Rodriguez that I can find.

You can support JMJHFProductions and the St. Vincent Ferrer Foundation below.  Both help bring Father’s excellent example and catechesis to a broader audience:

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Confession is A Most Vital Sacrament in this Age of Mass Sin and Grievous Error January 30, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Admin, Basics, Dallas Diocese, different religion, episcopate, General Catholic, priests, Sacraments, self-serving, Spiritual Warfare, the struggle for the Church.
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A few weeks ago, I  did a post announcing Cardinal Burke coming to the Diocese of Dallas to offer Mass on 01/22.  I received some hot criticism of this post, offline.  Those upset over the post were either involved in bringing Cardinal Burke in, or were particular admirers of the pastor of the parish that hosted him.

So, what is at issue in this little local imbroglio?  Confession, and whether I was unfairly harsh towards a local priest my local correspondents feel is very good.  Admittedly, I was pointedly critical in a post that perhaps should have been both happier and more bland, simply announcing the good Cardinal’s upcoming arrival and congratulating those who arranged for his visit (both were in the post, along with some other more critical thoughts).

Now, everyone’s definition of good is relative.  My definition of a good priest in these days starts with offering the TLM, or at least the Novus Ordo in Latin, or having serious aspirations to do either but being frustrated by episcopal obstinance/malfeasance.  Frankly, a handful of exceptions aside, all the extraordinary priests I know are members of explicitly traditional orders.

Taking Confession extremely seriously is requirement #2.  This is what separates the men from the boys in my mind.  Confession is the great ignored, even inconvenient Sacrament of our time.  It is inconvenient because it is a standing rebuke to much of the new theology and ecclesiology that has been imposed on the Church in the past several decades, beliefs that say that whether one is Catholic or not doesn’t count for much, that basically all men are saved, that virtually no one ever commits a mortal sin, etc.  These kinds of beliefs are the primary reason why Confession is so little available.

There used to be a sort of rule of thumb in the Church, back in those dark unreconstructed manualist days before the “sainted” Council, that for every hour of Mass, there should be at least an equal number of hours of Confession.  In fact, most pre-conciliar parishes had priests (plural) in the Confessional before, during, and after virtually every Mass, along with other set times.  This was when the Church, and the souls within, took things like sin and Grace and damnation and redemption very seriously.

But today, in this Diocese as in almost every other, Confession is limited to perhaps an hour a week, if one is lucky, or “by appointment only,” if one is not.  This in spite of the fact that our former Bishop, now Cardinal, Kevin Farrell, repeatedly (and a bit uncharacteristically) exhorted his priests and especially pastors to have more REGULAR hours of Confession.  Many pastors responded to these exhortations, by adding one more hour weekly to the one they already had (such generosity!), while some did not. A few relative heroes did even more, adding maybe 2 or 3 hours more Confession, and staffing those hours with more than one priest.

In the dearth of Confession, the tyranny is in the numbers.  If there is only one priest hearing confessions for one hour a week, and each soul has only 3 minutes with the confessor and there are no gaps in people in the confessional, that one priest can hear 20 confessions a week or 1040  a year.  That may sound like quite a lot, but when you have numerous parishes with 7,000, 8,000, 10,000 souls ostensibly belonging, one can instantly see the problem.  Of course, the reality is different.  What tends to happen is that the same handful of relatively serious souls go to Confession with at least some regularity, while the great mass never go at all.

Couple this with what is known of Catholic belief, even among self-described regular Mass attendees, and the crisis grows into stark relief.  The vast majority of Catholics, regular Mass-goers or not, find nothing immoral in contraceptive use or fornication.  A near majority even think abortion is morally permissible in at least some cases. The large majority are fine with pseudo-sodo-marriage and think divorce and remarriage are perfectly acceptable.  The vast majority believe the Blessed Sacrament to be nothing more than a symbol.  The former, if engaged in personally, constitute grave sins requiring sacramental Confession before the Blessed Sacrament is received (recent emanations from Rome notwithstanding).  The latter places one outside the community of the faithful; reception of the Blessed Sacrament in this state constitutes the horrible sin of sacrilege and again immediate recourse to Confession is vitally necessary.

Taken together, what we have in the Church today is a great mass of people regularly receiving the Blessed Sacrament in a state that St. Paul decried perfectly in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29 (a bit of Scripture infamously and deliberately excluded from the readings of the Novus Ordo Mass), and with little to no means to correct this dire condition.  Adding to that, the very lack of Confession time communicates to the faithful that this is something that isn’t to be taken very seriously.  Writ large, this is very close to what Pope Saint John Paul II decried as the “fundamental option,” the idea that God is infinitely loving (and apparently no longer just) and that virtually no one, if anyone (short of evil right wingers like me) is damned.  That this is utterly contrary to our Blessed Lord’s clear Word as revealed repeatedly in Sacred Scripture and the guidance of vast numbers of Saints and Fathers seems to count for very little these days.  Confession remains generally  unavailable.

Not only that, but we have numerous warnings from the Blessed Mother and many of these same Saints about the number of souls condemned to hell.  While such warnings are widely viewed as quaint relics from a benighted age to most priests and prelates in the Church today, they have been so numerous, so consistent, and so emphatic that to doubt or deny them is a fool’s errand. I certainly do not.  I take these warnings deadly seriously, as I take the biblical types that reveal to us the very small number of the elect, and the great number of the damned.

So, yes, I take Confession very seriously, and its lack of availability as one of the greatest scandals afflicting the Church today.  In fact, lack of Confession and unwillingness to take its vital necessity seriously constitute very large elements of the present crisis in the Faith.  Thus, the great number of souls falling to hell like so many snowflakes, to quote Our Lady of Fatima.

Several years ago, at the time when former Bishop Farrell was making his exhortations, I did a post that summarized the availability of Confession in the Diocese. I checked most every parish.  Some had zero regular hours for Confession.  Most had one.  A few had two.  A tiny handful had somewhat more.  Two parishes stood out as placing a great (or, one might say, adequate) emphasis on Confession.  I’m sure locals know which two those are (Mater Dei, and St. William in Greenville).

So, even as someone who has admitted mistakes and made public apologies in the past, I don’t feel particularly bad about the post announcing +Burke’s visit and Mass.  I didn’t criticize Cardinal Burke in the slightest (in fact I praised him quite a bit), all my critical comments were directed towards confession and the probability, the virtual certitude, that, on a daily basis, souls with unconfessed mortal sins receive the Blessed Sacrament – and the role the diminution of the importance of Confession plays in that.  Perhaps I erred in prudence in combining critical commentary in an announcement post for a happy event.  Perhaps I could have chosen more artful phrases. But if I erred in charity, it was for the souls of those in gravest risk of eternal damnation, preferring their eternal destiny over more human concerns like the feelings of my correspondents or the pastor of the parish I criticized.  Of course, even that may be argued as simply misplaced zeal, but that was my intent, nonetheless.

PS – There were claims I had erred in stating Mary Immaculate – the parish that hosted Cardinal Burke – had only one hour of Confession a week.  That was all that was listed on their website (in addition to “by appointment”). I also perused a few bulletins.  I saw no other times listed.  But apparently, there is a monthly meeting/confab called “Arise” (not entirely unproblematic in its own right) where priests hear Confession.  I have no details as to how many priests are present, or for how long Confession is available.  Whether this constitutes “regular” Confession or not is arguable.  But I thought I’d include this only substantive rebuttal of my arguments for completeness’ sake.

I certainly welcome your comments and appraisal of the matter, if you have any.  Thank you.

 

 

SSPX Close to Reconciliation with Rome – Wonderful, Yes, But Is This the Right Time? January 30, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, different religion, disconcerting, episcopate, Francis, General Catholic, Latin Mass, priests, Restoration, SSPX, the struggle for the Church, Tradition.
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There have been growing pronouncements from both the Vatican and the SSPX leadership that the two camps – if that is the right term – appear close to a formal accord regularizing the SSPX’s canonical situation.  Just today, the Secretary of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, Archbishop Guido Pozzo, said full communion is near:

We are working at this moment in the completion of some aspects of the canonical frame, which will be the Personal Prelature.” Archbishop Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Ecclesia Dei commission, charged with dialogue with the Society of Saint Pius X, confirms [SSPX Superior-General Fellay’s words] to Vatican Insider that the stage of full communion with the Lefebvrians is near. The accomplishment of the agreement is now in plain sight, even if some time is still needed

I am of two minds over this: I have prayed for this for years, and there would be tremendous potential for great benefit to the Church by this successful regularization.  However, I am exceedingly troubled that it is occurring during this most perilous of pontificates. Outbreaks of persecution against Tradition seem to be growing around the Church.    More and more regions are implementing Amoris Laetitia, and thus radically changing both public belief and practice, along the lines of Francis’ own interpretation of that document.  This means a crisis over doctrine appears to be inevitable.  While it would be wonderful to have the SSPX back in full, regular canonical status and thus adding a great voice to the defense of the Faith (not that they are not already doing this), I have great trepidation for the future.

I am curious what people affiliated with the Society think about this.  I am an outsider looking in, but I do have a great deal of interest in this matter, as I am convinced that there will be strong impact on the Ecclesia Dei groups no matter how SSPX “reconciliation” turns out.  Is there an element of regularization at any price in this?  Is this the pontificate under which it would really be optimal, even sensical, for regularization to take place?  What happened in Campos?  Was the SSPX-SO critique basically accurate, then?

What will the impact be to the Ecclesia Dei communities?  Once the SSPX is regularized, a major reason for their existence would seem to have been removed.  If Summorum Pontificum is truly under threat, as many feel, is it beyond reason to envision a perfect storm settling not only on  the availability of the TLM but on the entire traditional movement?  After the rape of the Knights of Malta and the crushing of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, is the risk in moving at this time warranted?

The question is not whether this is desirable.  Of course it is.  The question is whether this is wise now, with this pontificate, with this most underhanded and authoritarian of men wielding ultimate power in the Church?  Bishop Fellay and some of his close associates maintain that if there is any kind of double-cross, the SSPX can simply return to their current status.  Perhaps.  But that entire structure required a very unique personality (Archbishop Lefebvre) and a very particular series of events to evolve to the current status quo.  I am not entirely certain the personalities and the potentialities would be prevalent for a repeat.  In fact I tend to think they simply will not –after all, +Lefebvre did not set out to wind up in a canonically irregular status when he founded his seminary for training priests back around 1970.  He wanted to remain within the structure of the Church, but was forced by conscience, circumstance, and frequent bungling, even ill-will, on the part of Church authorities to arrive at the destination arrived in 1988.  That is, my read on this whole history was, none of it was premeditated, the arrival at a canonically irregular position was achieved by circumstance.  But to leave after regularization would mean to premeditatedly return to irregularity (or whatever one wants to call it).

Plus, moral surrenders – if this be one, and I’m not certain that it would be, but it has potential to be one – are (humanly) impossible to recover from.

I am more or less convinced that should this regularization take place, there will be no going back, for good or for ill.  I also badly fear the example of the sons of Bishop Castro-Mayer in the Diocese of Campos, Brazil.  Many feel a near total capitulation to the post-conciliar ethos has transpired in that odd subset of a diocese.

Again, I’m especially interested to learn what people with a close association with the SSPX are thinking, but all comments are welcome on this most complex of topics.

Book Discussion: Ever Read The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene? January 24, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in General Catholic, Holy suffering, horror, mortification, persecution, priests, reading, Revolution, sadness, secularism, Society.
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Ever read The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene?  What did you think of it?  Apparently, it was criticized by the pre-conciliar Holy Office, but I am not certain whether it ever appeared on the Index of Forbidden Books.  I am not certain I found anything in the book that was sufficient to merit being banned by the Holy Office, but I do agree that the book was in some respects “paradoxical.”  It was not a typical Saint’s story.

For those who are not familiar, The Power and the Glory tells the semi-fictional story of a hunted, download-14 persecuted Mexican priest in the state of Tabasco during the darkest days of the Cristiada.  This priest is the last functioning priest left in the entire state.  In fact, since the book was set in 1940, he has been the only priest in the state for nearly a decade.  All other priests fled, were shot, or apostatized, married, and given government pensions to live on.  He has lived deep in the jungles, always hiding, always hunted and hounded by the law.  This horrid persecution had persisted, by the time the book was set, for nearly two full decades.

This lead character around which the story revolves is morally ambiguous, in a sense.  He frequently in the book performs acts of practically heroic virtue, while at the same time being a near alcoholic with a strong desire for drink and having fathered a child in a one-time fall into lust while lonely, depressed, and drunk.  At times I felt the priest too hard on himself, as he judged that he had done little worthwhile even as he served as the only priest an entire region of Mexico knew for nearly a decade.  He was terrified of his salvation over his sins and his inability to go to confession.  There is a sort of priest remaining in the state, in the capital of Villahermosa, a man who renounced his priestly mission, “married” a woman at government behest (even though the marriage was never consummated), and lives on a government pension, growing steadily more obese as he has nothing to do all day except eat, loathe himself, and be tormented by neighborhood children who constantly belittle him. At the climax of the book, the moral cowardice of this bad former priest is plainly revealed.

Nevertheless, regarding the main character, he has several opportunities to escape, but is prevented from doing so for a long time (I won’t ruin the story by telling you whether he finally escapes in the end, or not) by the untimely, or timely, intervention of someone needing his sacramental services.  Even though it likely means his death, in every instance the priest chooses to remain and serve the people calling out to him, but with an often begrudging heart which steals away some of the virtue of his choosing to stay.  But who save for great Saints would not be somewhat conflicted over choosing to stay or go under such oppressive circumstances.  There is an ugly Judas character also involved in this priest’s sufferings.  He shadows the priest through half or more of the book and is hideous in his ability to constantly justify his black heart.

I don’t want to share any more of the plot as I don’t want to ruin it for those who haven’t read it, but I am very interested to know if any blog commenters have read the book and what they thought of it.  My

The book was made into a 1947 movie called "The Fugitive"

The book was made into a 1947 movie called “The Fugitive”

conclusions were two-fold: I’ve read several books on the state persecution of the Church in Mexico, books that were full of statistics and tales of cruelty and suffering, but never one that made me feel as if I could really understand what living under such conditions on a day to day basis would have really been like.  This book did that in spades.  For that, I strongly recommend the book.  But, on the other hand, there is some unfortunate moral ambiguity surrounding the main character of the unnamed priest – I don’t know if author Greene was trying to be “realistic” by not giving a “sanitized” version of a man’s character, or if he was trying to get people to think about what really constitutes holiness, and whether this priest’s destiny was a happy or unhappy one.

Because of that ambiguity, I can only recommend this book for those well formed and committed to the Faith, which naturally includes most readers of this blog.  It is not suitable, for several reasons, for children or for those who are struggling to hold onto their Faith or who are very new to the Church (perhaps).  In many ways, it’s a beautiful story and a very sober appraisal of how people conduct themselves under extremely difficult circumstances. I don’t read much fiction because it frequently bores me, but The Power and the Glory is very well written and really grabbed my attention. But there are certain scenes I wish were not present in the book, where the author perhaps let his personal bias against certain types of pious souls tell too much.  On the other hand, there are some really cutting scenes dealing with protestants and their love of comfort.  The priest does rather adroitly defend the Faith against his most cruel persecutor, too.

One thing the book is great for: informing readers of the hellish reality of life under that kind of severe, state-sponsored persecution.  There are myriad small ways people are forced to surrender their beliefs, to modify their behaviors……..it reveals how horrid an empty, soulless, secularist existence is.  Definite food for thought as we see our own culture and Church, Trump and Brexit, et. al., notwithstanding, heading in a similar direction.

Anyway, I’m interested to know what you guys think, if you’ve read the book.  I’m kind of on the fence. Would the book be as effective if it had a different ending?  Could it have been more so? Was it realistic, or unnecessarily harsh?  I’m really on the fence, and very interested to hear what you think.  Hopefully some of you have read it, and are willing to take some time to share your thoughts.

 

 

Ten Hindrances to Devotion by St. Peter of Alcantara January 24, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, mortification, priests, reading, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Part two, as promised in yesterday’s post, which provided aids to developing a rich interior life.  Today’s post covers those things that tend to inhibit the development of a strong practice of devotion to Our Lord and Lady.  From Treatise on Prayer and Meditation pp. 128-131:

Just as there are certain things which help with devotion, so there are others which impede it.  Among the latter:

1] Sin is the first, and not merely mortal sin, but venial sins also; for these, although they do not deprive us of charity, diminish the fervor of charity, which is practically the same thing as devotion.  Consequently, we should be very much on our guard against them, not so much for the evil they work in us as for th egreat good of which they despoil us.

2] A second hindrance is the remorse of conscience, when it is excessive, which proceeds from these sins, for it disturbs and casts down the soul, frightens it and makes it unfit for every good work. [Excessive lamentations or remorse can also be a sign of pride, as in thinking one too good to have done X or Y.  Just something to keep in mind.  We certainly should have remorse for our sins, but that remorse should lead to humility and an understanding of our total need for God’s Grace, and not deep depression or other disturbances of our interior life]

3] Scruples, for the same reason, constitute another hindrance.  They are like thorns, allowing the soul no rest, so that it can neither repose in God nor enjoy true peace. [Being afflicted with scruples can be a truly hellish experience, and one almost always self-inflicted. I have a daughter that is struggling with certain scruples, please pray for her.]

4] Every kind of bitterness and sourness of heart and unreasoning depression are also hindrances, for then one can hardly relish the taste and sweetness of a good conscience and of spiritual joy.

5] Overmuch worry is a further hindrance.  Cares are like the flies of Egypt, which distress the soul and prevent it from enjoying that spiritual rest which is experienced in prayer.  It is precisely then, more than at other times, that they disturb the soul and turn it away from this exercise. [A trend should be discernible – anything that tends to rob the soul of peace for long periods are detrimental to the interior life.  Something to consider when we get exercised over the state of things in the Church and world today.  A certain level of knowledge is of course beneficial and even necessary, but if reading news begins to seriously affect our peace of soul or derail our practice of the Faith – or even, God forbid, tempts us to fall away –  then we need to retract from whatever is causing us to lose peace and focus on other, happier things, at least for a while]

6] Too many occupations are also a hindrance, for they take up much time, stifle the soul, and leave a man without leisure or heart for divine things.  [Recreation is necessary.  So are distractions, at times.]

7] Pleasure and worldly consolations, if indulged in to excess, hinder a man from prayer. “He who devotes himself overmuch to the delights of the world,” says St. Bernard, “does not deserve those of the Holy Ghost.”

8] Delicacy and abundance in food and drink form another hindrance, and especially long-drawn-out meals.  These are a very bad foundation for spiritual exercises and devout watching.  When the body is weighed down and charged in excess with food, the soul is very unfitted to soar aloft.

9] The vice of curiosity in the senses and in the intellect is a hindrance too.  Seeking to hear and see all sorts of things, wishing to have about oneself things that are pretty or quaint…..all this takes up time, embarrasses the senses, disturbs the soul and diverts it in every direction, and thus impedes devotion. [We must be very careful in what we allow ourselves, and our families, to be exposed to.  Everyone has their own needs, their own limits, and their own weaknesses.  The best way to proceed is experientially, paying attention to how we feel and how we behave, internally and externally, to see if new or changed levels of stimuli produce a positive or negative effect in our spiritual lives. Anything that tends towards the negative must be eliminated or sharply curtailed.]

10] Finally, any interruption of the holy exercises, unless for a good and pious reason, is a hindrance, for as a learned writer said, the spirit of devotion is something very delicate, and once it goes, it either does not return at all, or at least only after much difficulty.   [While St. Peter was originally writing primarily for religious, thus the seriousness of an interruption of the exercises religious are required under duty and obedience to perform, we can still take from this an understanding that we should try to develop a regular prayer regimen for ourselves, to the extent possible, and not deviate from it.  We should not allow our concentration to be interrupted during prayer time by needless distractions.  Prayers said mechanically are unworthy of significant grace.  Strive to grow in focus during periods of prayer and meditation]

———-End Quote———-

Thank you for the kind comments to the previous post on St. Peter of Alcantara.  His book is excellent.  He’s been hard to excerpt, but these two short chapters were perfect for a blog.  I’ll certainly share anything else I can that is not too onerous for online reading.