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A Beautiful Story on the Persecuted Catholics of Elizabethan England October 4, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, catachesis, Christendom, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, history, manhood, persecution, reading, religious, Restoration, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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I just finished reading a book on the English revolt against the Church, entitled the Rise and Growth of the Anglican Schism.  It’s a long book and a bit strange, containing contributions from several authors across different periods and consisting of almost as much commentary as it does the original upon which it was based – Fr. Nicolas Sander’s critique of the Tudor persecution of Catholics.  Still it’s a very worthwhile read, and an eminently timely one given the recent trend in some circles of the Church to celebrate the greatest single revolt against Church authority in history, the revolt of the myriad, multiplying, always disagreeing protestant heretics.

It is impossible to read any Catholic – or even unbiased, non-protestant – history of the so-called Reformation and not come away with the impression that the men who led and foisted this panoply of divergent sects upon the people were, to a man, the furthest possible exemplars from the original Apostles.  This is particularly true in England, where “Foxe’s Book of Martyrs” is an almost laughable compendium compared to the torrents of Catholic blood spilt not over a few years, but over centuries.  Even more laughably, many promoters of modern sexular paganism and the notion of libertine democracy point to the English Reformation as the first blooming of the supposedly new ideals of liberty and freedom, when, in fact, the Tudor state under Henry VIII and Elizabeth the Sterile (and not for want of trying) was probably the first example of a modern authoritarian totalitarian state.  There were spies everywhere, liberties for “recusants” (faithful Catholics) were non-existent, new laws were made up on the fly and retroactively applied, and parliament was just a stacked body of unthinking yes men who did whatever the King or Queen demanded of them –  on pain of a wretched death if they refused to go along.  Both Henry and his illegitimate daughter Elizabeth (born from Anne Boleyn, who Sanders argues was actually Henry’s own daughter – yuck) led amazingly immoral lives, and used their hatred and fear of the Church as a vehicle to acquire absolute power for themselves.  The degree to which the state expanded and intruded into the deepest corners of conscience and privacy was unprecedented for the time, and yet, it was sold as being this great harbinger of “freedom from the tyranny of Rome,” when Rome had never dared, nor desired, to ever make such unyielding demands of the people.

The article excerpted below gives just a few examples of both how the totalitarian Tudor state persecuted Catholics, and how the Catholics of England  and abroad, under unbelievably difficult circumstances, managed to keep their faith through nearly three centuries of unprecedented, unrelenting persecution (seriously – the English persecution of Catholics made those of the Roman Empire seem modest by comparison).  You should read the whole thing, it’s not long and tells some history that is far too little known, even among Catholics:

A strange sight greeted those assembled at Tyburn one January morning in 1601. The executions of two Catholic priests – Mark Barkworth and the Jesuit, Roger Filcock – and one Catholic lay woman, Anne Line, were set to provide the day’s spectacle………..[Such executions, sometimes of single individuals, sometimes of entire groups, occurred almost monthly, and sometimes weekly, at Tyburn]

……….However, the gathered throng must have been momentarily taken aback, for Barkworth had somehow procured a Benedictine habit and was tonsured. Such an attire had not been worn in England since before Elizabeth I had ascended the throne more than 40 years earlier but there, before the mob, stood a Benedictine monk.

Any hesitation caused by such a spectacle was not enough to save Barkworth – in fact, some cruel wretch even shouldered the monk’s body weight during his hanging to ensure that he was fully conscious for the subsequent drawing and quartering. Yet Barkworth’s death marked the start of an English Benedictine presence that remains to this day.

Barkworth himself had been trained as a priest at the English College, Valladolid, but, on his way to England as a missionary, he had been received as a novice at the Benedictine monastery of Santa Maria in Irache, and was told he would die a martyr, in the Benedictine habit. Many of the first wave of Englishmen to become Benedictines after the Reformation similarly entered the religious life in Spain………

……The significance of what they represented was not lost on them: as several monks testified at their martyrdoms, they were from the same order as the first missionary to England, St Augustine of Canterbury, “from whom,” as George Gervase, executed in 1608, put it, “England acknowledged that she had received the Christian faith”. [A sick sad note: toward the end of his reign, Henry VIII figured out that devotion to St. Thomas Beckett represented a threat to his false rule over the schismatical and heretical “church” of England.  After all, Beckett was martyred over his refusal to permit the self-serving Henry II to dictate policy and belief to the Church.  So, Henry had Beckett’s shrine at Canterbury trashed – and it was a major one, it’s the shrine described in The Canterbury Tales – with his bones removed from the church and burned. He had all the precious artifacts, works of art, and gifts taken from the shrine and delivered to his treasury. And he had the income from this shrine, along with many other dioceses and abbeys, diverted to his treasury.  Thus, the great leader and founder of the English church.]

Like the other missionary clergy who had been secretly entering England since the 1570s, these missionary monks brought with them the Catholic Reformation. Imbued with the zeal of a movement then sweeping Catholic Europe and, increasingly, far-flung parts of the globe from Asia to America, they were agents for the transfer of religious and intellectual ideas gaining ground in mainland Europe.

But nor were they solely about the new: they also tracked down the last surviving monk of Westminster Abbey. By the start of the 17th century, the infirm Sigebert Buckley lived under a form of house arrest. In 1607, he aggregated two of the new monks to him, thereby ensuring the continuity of the English Benedictines from the medieval period. [Heck, from the end of antiquity] As the new monastic movement grew and the monks re-founded the English Benedictine Congregation in 1619, this symbolic act took on greater significance.

It meant that the English Benedictines of the 17th century could lay claim to the old monastic properties which the Order had once enjoyed. As such, the English Benedictines throughout the period elected priors of, for example, Durham, Canterbury and Ely cathedrals, ready for the moment when England – as they believed, inevitably – returned to the Catholic faith.

This did not stop the monks forming new houses in exile, three of which remain to this day. St Gregory’s, founded at Douai in northern France in 1606, is now better known as Downside Abbey; St Laurence’s, founded in the town of Dieulouard in Lorraine in 1608, is now Ampleforth Abbey; St Edmund’s, Paris, founded in 1616, is now settled at Woolhampton, Berkshire, as Douai Abbey.

As I said, go read the rest.  Very interesting.  What a scandal protestantism represents.  It is unbelievable how men in leadership positions in the Church at all levels have chosen to forget or ignore this.  There but for the grace of God……

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Shall We Come to the Point in the Church Where the Faithful Are Legal Schismatics and the Obedient Manifest Heretics? May 26, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, different religion, episcopate, Francis, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Liturgy, reading, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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From Mitre and Crook by Father Bryan Houghton (sadly long out of print), a fictional discussion between the hero of the story, Bishop Edmund Forester of England, who in the book returned to Tradition in 1977, and another fictional bishop who took him to task for going against the plain will of the then-Pope Paul VI and the “new orientation” of the Church after Vatican II.

The argument is framed around the following declaration the critic of good Bishop Forester made to try to prove why Forester was in the wrong:

“There is only one object of the Faith: the Church.  I am baptized into the Church, and it is she who gives me Faith.  On her authority I believe all other doctrines.  She can deal with them as she likes, since she is the only constant.  Christ revealed no doctrines but a praxis: His Kingdom the Church.”

With this, I think Houghton is trying to summarize the conservative Catholic but hostile to Tradition camp – the my Church right or wrong camp.  Logically speaking, there are giant holes in the above, least of all in that it subverts constant Truth to the will of fallen men – men who have been guided for 2000 years by the Holy Spirit, but a guidance which sad experience has shown they can all too easily reject.

Bishop Forester replies at length, portions of which I excerpt below – see if you will follow his train of logic to conclude that we may well be in a time where the faithful are generally at variance to the expressed will of the hierarchy, if not “legal schismatics,” whereas most of the so-called obedient have truck with heresy:

But surely it is evident that such an argument is tautological or a vicious circle? I am to know what God has revealed by the authority of the Church.  And how am I to know that the Church has such authority?  Because the Church says that God has revealed it.  It is patently nonsense.  [This actually is a subtle and complex argument, but, in a nutshell, keeping the principle of non-contradiction and knowing that solemnly defined Dogma can never change, you can safely exclude appeals to authority such as those above when they seek to change what cannot be changed.]

……You said: “Christ revealed no doctrines but a praxis: His Kingdom, His Church.” You thereby concede that there is at any rate one object of Faith logically prior to the Church: the authority of Christ. And once you admit that, allthe rest follows.  Is His authority divine? Is He God Incarnate, the Second Person of the Trinity, born of the Virgin Mary, etc?  Indeed, one of those things which follows from your prior faith in the divine authority of Christ is the authority of the Church.  It does not work the other way around: you do not believe that Christ receives His authority from the Church.  The Church is the guardian of God’s revelation but not its source.  She herself is one of the objects of Faith: I believe in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church.

Therein, it seems to me, lies the crux of the present crisis. I mean the crisis between honest Catholics……I am not referring to the heretics who have lost the Faith although the Church no longer excludes them……..Faced with the same crisis, we react in diametrically opposite ways.  Your immediate reaction, along with the overwhelming majority of the institutional Church, is to save the Church and the Faith will have to look after itself.  Mine, along with some laymen [and a handful of priests], is to save the Faith and the Church will have to look after herself. We cannot both be right. Indeed, each day the gulf between us is growing wider.  if we pursue our ways indefinitely we shall come to the point when the faithful are legal schismatics and the obedient factual heretics………[What do you make of that?]

……..At this moment of time it is patently untrue to say that in defending the Church one is automatically defending the Faith and this for two reasons: a) the Faith is ambiguously formulated; b) heretics are no longer excluded from the Church.  The fact is that the Faith is exclusive whereas the Church has become inclusive.  She has changed Our Lord’s lapidary sentence, “He who is not with Me is against Me” into the coward’s whine “He is my friend who bullies me.” [Think how much more boldly error is proclaimed in the highest levels of authority even than it was in the time of Paul VI.  We’re well beyond ambiguity and well into full-throated proclamation of error.]

……The fact is, and we know it, that in our own dioceses it is not we who have defended the Faith; it has been left to pathetic little groups of laity, helped or hindered by a stray priest, to do so.  

It is a very different matter when it comes to enforcing the New Outlook.  Have you ever promoted a priest who has stuck to the Immemorial Mass? Of course not……..What has been your attitude to priests who mumble that Vatican II failed to face the facts and that the post-conciliar legislation has been disastrous; who refuse to be brainwashed by attending compulsory study-days, who jeer at the Bishop’s Collegiality, the National Conference of Priests and the new structures generally; who will not give Communion standing and in the hand; who administer Extreme Unction as of yore; who still say the Breviary, the Rosary and make their meditation, who…….?  Have you reserved key positions in your administration for such men of probity and principle? No more than I have.  We have looked after the Church all right but not after the Faith.

The crowning example is Archbishop Lefebvre.  He has been attacked from all sides, yet nobody has dared impugn his Faith and accuse him of being unorthodox.  In fact, if only he would utter the tiniest, wee little heresy, authority could indulge in charity and all would be forgiven.  The trouble is that the old devil won’t, so there is nothing to forgive.  Thus, he gets suspended and threatened with excommunication on a trumped up charge of disobeying ecclesiastical law.

……..Up to and including the Council, Catholics were bound to believe in all defined doctrines and to obey the commands of the Church’s Magisterium.  Now, apparently, [quoting Paul VI] we are expected to submit to “an outlook.” We must all look in the same direction as the reigning Pontiff: “Company, eyes left!”…….Paul VI is absolutely right – the new look in the Church is due precisely to the substitution of a human outlook for Divine Revelation.  [Paul IV proclaimed that] Vatican II has no less authority than Nicaea and in many respects is more important.”  Exactly.  Nicaea merely defined the Divinity of Christ, whereas Vatican II has given rise to an “orientation,” an “outlook.”  As a matter of fact, Lefebvre is defending the decrees of all Councils, from Nicaea to Vatican II inclusive: he is defending decrees as against “orientations.

————End Quote————-

Well, what do you make of that?  Any thoughts? Do you think we are headed – or already well at – a time when the faithful are at least opposed to much of what the institutional Church does, and where the “Catholics” with ecclesiastical approbation are often practical heretics?  Or you think that’s been the case for 50 years?

Does not this point up the ultimate divide between the loosely defined “conservative” and “traditional” camps?  At least how they define each other, if not themselves?

Eucharistic Devotion of the Saints May 24, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Eucharist, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, reading, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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From Eucharistic Miracles by Joan Carroll Cruz, some thoughts by great Saints on the nature and benefits of the Eucharist.  More specifically, this excerpt and the quotes contain therein highlight once again the enormous, wholly unearned and amazingly generous Gift Christ makes of the Eucharist.  What really struck me is how careful we should be in receiving the Blessed Sacrament.  Not in a Jansenist sense where an 18th century French Jansenist priest bragged there were zero sacrilegious communions at his parish that Christmas because there were NO communions at his parish!  But we’re in the opposite extreme in the Church now, where it is metaphysical certitude that people persisting in a manifest state of mortal sin are receiving Communion – literally re-crucifying Christ in a mystical way.  And not just a few people, but millions, likely tens or even hundreds of millions every day.

So if you fall into a sin make sure you make a good Confession before receiving!   There is a union there we cannot really even comprehend in this life, but we will in the next, God willing.  It is so sublime and generous on God’s part we can only dimly perceive its outer edges.  But it is not something we should ever trifle with, take advantage of, or assume we have “earned” or is our due.  It is always the most incomprehensible Gift imaginable and we should do all we can to be as little unworthy – as inoffensive, as our own “worthiness” will never happen –  as possible:

Devotion to the Holy Eucharist has been expressed in one way or another by all the Saints of the Church.  This is a statement that cannot be contradicted.  Since Our Lord instituted this holy Sacrament to unite Himself with us, to nourish our souls, and as a means of retaining His presence among us in tabernacles throughout the world, the saints have embraced this treasure with faith and love…….

Saint Alphonsus de Liguori expressed his heartfelt appreciation for the Blessed Sacrament in this way:

Our most loving Redeemer, on the last night of His Life, knowing that the much-longed-for time had arrived on which He should die for the love of man, had not the heart to leave us alone in this valley of tears; but in order that He might not be separated form us even by death, He would leave us His whole self as food in the Sacrament of the Altar; giving us to understand by this that, having given us this gift of infinite worth, He could give us nothing further to prove to us his infinite love. 

This same thought is also expressed by St. Peter of Alcantara, who wrote in one of his meditations:

No tongue is able to express the greatness of the love which Jesus bears to every soul.  Hence that His absence might not be an occasion of forgetting Him, He left to His spouse the Church, before His departure from this world, this most holy Sacrament in which He Himself remained, wishing that between them there should be no other pledge than Himself to keep alive the remembrance of Him.

St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi expresses her faith and love for the Sacrament by praying:

O Lord, You are as truly present under the sacramental species as You are in Heaven at the right hand of the Father.  Because I have and possess this great wonder, I do not long for, want, or desire any other. 

St. Teresa of Avila had the following consideration:

I cannot doubt at all at Your Real Presence in the Eucharist.  You have given me such a lively faith that when I hear others say they wish they had been living when You were on earth, I laugh to myself, for I know that I possess You as truly in the Blessed Sacrament as people did then, and I wonder what more anyone could possibly want.

St. Teresa of Avila gives us cause to consider the great wisdom and kindness of Our Savior in veiling Himself under the appearance of bread.  She prays:

How could I, a poor sinner, who have so often offended You, dare to approach You, O Lord, if I beheld You in all Your majesty?  Under the appearance of bread, however, it is easy to approach You, for if a king disguises himself, it seems as if we do not have to talk to him with so much circumspection and ceremony.  If You were not hidden, O Lord, who would dare to approach You with such coldness, so unworthily, and with so many imperfections?

Saint Bernard calls the Sacrament of the Altar “The Love of loves,” while St. Thomas Aquinas said that the Holy Eucharist is “a Sacrament of love and a to ken of the greatest love that a God could give us.”

Saint Lawrence Justinian tell us, “We have seen the All-Wise made foolish by an excess of love” – to which the Cure of Ars, St. Jean Baptiste Marie Vianney, adds, “I tis the destiny of every consecrated Host to melt with love in a human heart.”

It is said of St. Francis of Assisi that “every fiber of his heart was kindled into love for the Sacrament of Christ’s Body,” and he constantly urged his brothers to bring others to know and love Christ living in the Blessed Sacrament.  From this love sprang  St. Francis deep reverence for priests.  He declared that if confronted  with an angel and  an unworthy priest, he would kiss the hand that had touched the Body of Christ before saluting the angel.  One day someone pointed out a priest living in notorious sin. Francis instantly knelt before him, kissing his hands and saying, “These hands have touched my Lord, and out of love for Him I honor His vicar.  For himself he may be bad; but for me he is good.”  Even before his conversion, St. Francis honored Our Lord in the Eucharist by sending costly and beautiful gifts to adorn poor churches.  He felt nothing was good enough for the dwelling place of Christ. [Contrast that with  the brutalist bathhouse design of most parishes today and of the past 70 years]

Our Lord’s words, “Take ye and eat, this is My Body……” inspired St. John Chrysostom to remark, “It is as if He had said, ‘Eat me, that the highest union may take place.’” The Saint further remarked, “To that Lord on whom the angels even dare not fix their eyes, to Him we unite ourselves, and we are made one body, one flesh.” Of this union St. Cyril of Alexandria observed that “as two pieces of melted wax unite together, so a soul that communicates is so thoroughly united to Jesus that Jesus remains in it, and it in Jesus.”

St. Francis de Sales concludes:

In no action does our Savior show Himself more loving or more tender than in this one, in which, as it were, He annihilates Himself and reduces Himself to food in order to penetrate our souls and unite Himself to the hearts of His faithful ones.

———End Quote———-

We Are in Opposition to the Person of the Pope Out of Loyalty to the Sublime Office of the Papacy May 9, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, different religion, episcopate, error, Francis, General Catholic, horror, persecution, reading, Revolution, scandals, secularism, Society, the struggle for the Church.
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From Miter and Crook by Bryan Houghton, a mythical tale of an English bishop consecrated in 1965, just as the human element in control of the Church launched the revolution against her very nature, who “rebels” against authority and re-institutes the Traditional Latin Mass and many other traditional practices of the faith in 1977 after a decade of experience had shown him that the ethos of Vatican II was wholly destructive.  The book follows the repercussions of this most pastoral of decisions and the sufferings and persecutions the good, if fictional, bishop endures.

The book is a bit odd in format, being a compendium of correspondence this sadly unreal bishop (would that we had far more like him!) engaged in from the time he launched his program of restoration until the inevitable conclusion (which I will not spoil).  The excerpt I quote below is between the good bishop and a hostile confrere, one who judged the good bishop rebellious to authority and disloyal to the Holy See for committing the horrific crime of Catholicism.  I copy and paste from various sections, but draw from pages 31-35.  I thought some of the fictional bishop’s commentary highly insightful, and also quite apropos of our present time, when Rome has once again descended into soul-destroying selfishness.  I indulge myself with comments along the way:

I have my own private view of history.  I accept that it is a struggle – even a constant state of revolution.  It started straight away in the Garden of Eden.  I also admit that the revolution always succeeds.  But what is so puzzling is that the moment the revolution succeeds it is obliged to start all over again from scratch.  It always triumphs but never conquers.  The USSR today is a living example of what I mean. [Thank God not so living today, at least not in a physical form, though its spirit lives and has colonized much of the former Christendom]   After sixty years of straining away at the most ruthless and continuous revolution in history it is no further advanced than in October 1917.  It has massacred untold millions of people, all of whom appear to have resurrected again.  In fact it has taken 60 years for it to beget its most astonishing and least desired product, Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Strange, isn’t it? [Quite insightful. Indeed, the revolution never ends.  Not only does it devour its own, but in the end it devours itself.  The revolution against the Church is of a part with the revolution of October 1917, and that of May 1968, but more fundamentally it is an inescapable part of the original rebellion of Adam and Eve, as noted above. The Church is the only enduring construct of the counter-revolution]

This seems to me to be the process [by which revolution is carried out].  Neat, logical little men, often lawyers, are forever attempting to reduce God’s magnificent, incomprehensible, chaotic creation to the neatness and logic of their own beastly little minds. [This is a tremendously meaningful sentence.  Think about it.  Not only have all revolutions stemmed from such little minds, and every heresy, but the entire modern conception of science (as a pseudoreligion) has as well.  Evolution, global warming, and Big Bang are what comes from men who try to reduce God’s greatness down to their own level of understanding.] Of course they succeed in a way, rationalizing everything around them until it stops working altogether.  They can rationalize the egg industry so as to guarantee equality of egglessness for all but they cannot pass a law requiring all hens to lay an extra egg a day.  If they do – and it happens – the hens are unlikely to play ball, or, in the present case, eggs……Hence the endless and heroic fight of the revolutionary.  I suppose that Robespierre will forever remain the ideal type; such a nice little lawyer, as neat and tidy in his mind as in his pale blue frock-coat, and so full of “virtue” and so “incorruptible” that only he could organize the Terror.

Anyway, my point is that the revolutionary process is the eternal attempt of man to impose his order, his law on God’s creation. And this is exactly what is happening in the Church. Until this post-conciliar period, God’s Church appeared almost as magnificent, incomprehensible, and chaotic as His creation. It was cluttered up indiscriminately with tiaras, cardinal’s hats, miters, birettas, rosaries, prie-dieus, saints and sinners, Friday fish, indulgences……and all the rest.  yes, cluttered up it was, as is the universe.  But it all worked incredibly smoothly………

……After Vatican II the neat, logical little fellows were given their head.  Obviously, the first thing to do was to clear the decks.  A clean sweep has been made of absolutely everything.  Not only was the tiara flogged but even the Pieta got chipped.  Then they must produce a neat, logical little liturgy: unpretentious, comprehensible, as dull as themselves.  The laity promptly participated by walking out.  That is the process all along the line.

Now, am I acting as you say “clean against the trend of history?” [You’ve surely heard this argument, haven’t you?  That Catholics – “traditional” Catholics – are contrary to the times?  That the Church “isn’t going in that direction anymore?”  That Latin is “not where the Church is headed?”]  Yes, if you regard the revolutionary process as the constitutive element of history.  No, if you think of me as the dull, elemental matter of God’s creation popping up inevitably from the very nature of things.  That I personally shall be ground to dust [by the Church hierarchy lashing out against this most unspeakable of rebellions, non-acceptance of the revolution they have imposed] is not unlikely; but the reality I stand for will still pop up when the neat, logical little men find themselves holding a handful of dust.

Quite logically, you accuse me of fighting for a lost cause……[This] is among the greatest compliments you can pay me. Perhaps my only inveterate sin is my contempt for those who jump on bandwagons.  Surely lost causes are the only ones worth fighting for?  Why don battle dress for a victory parade?  And surely you do not believe what is lost by men is lost to God? [I appreciate this hopeful segment]

……Colomba was a Dominican nun who lived in Perugia.  She suffered from almost every type of mystical phenomenon – ecstasy, levitation, and the rest.  The Master of the Dominicans felt uncertain about whether her spirit was from God or from the devil.  This was about 1490, when people still believed in both.  In consequence he would have the girl examined by the Holy Father himself who was on a visit……This was duly arranged.  In the great hall of Perugia…..there sat enthroned the Sovereign Pontiff, Alexander VI…..and the Papal Court around.  Colomba was introduced. Upon sight of the Vicar of Christ, she immediately went into ecstasy, as should all good nuns……….She levitated and railed at the pope from somewhere near the ceiling. “You who are the Vicar of Christ and act as the Vicar of Satan! You who hold the Keys of the Kingdom but only unlock the doors of brothels!  You who are captain of the Ark of Salvation and have a girl in every port!  You who…….”  After twenty minutes of this, the Papal Court felt rather anxious for poor Colomba’s safety.  How do you get girls out of ecstasy?  However, Alexander Borgia turned to the Master of the Dominicans: “Have no fear, my son: her spirit is certainly from God since everything she says is true.”

I sometimes wish that I were an ecstatic Dominican nun.  I could keep going for well over twenty minutes.  What i doubt is whether the sixth Paul has the humility of the sixth Alexander.  Admittedly, it is far more difficult to be humble if one sins between the ears than if one sins between the sheets.  Anyway, the point is perfectly clear: Colomba was in opposition to the person of the Pope precisely out of loyalty to the institution of the Papacy[Yes!  That’s it!  And the same is the case today, and dare I say, has been the case with most critics of the leadership of the Church, including the Pope, since the human element of the Church rebelled against the Church’s very nature and being.]

What I find astonishing in our days is that the situation is exactly reversed.  People can attack the Papacy to their heart’s content provided they do not breathe a word against the person of the Pope [the particular pope then reigning]. Our own ecumenists see the Pope as a Constitutional Monarch with plenty of whiskers but no teeth.  Hans Kung is even against the whiskers.  Dom Bernard Bresnet thinks that the papacy should be a committe with, get this, a lady chairman.  Professor Delumeau would prefer the pope to be the quinquennially elected President of the World Council of Churches.  All these – and I could name many others – are in keeping with the present regime, and Delumeau can even expect a gift in his stocking at Christmas from the pope himself.  On the other hand, that benign old gentleman, Archbishop Lefebvre, gets into endless trouble for maintaining that the personal administration of the present Pontiff is an unmitigated disaster[Because he refused to take part in the mutual suicide pact that is the post-conciliar Church]

…...What I am getting at is perfectly clear.  You should think twice before you start talking about loyalty.  It is certainly you who are disloyal downwards. [meaning, to the laity under his charge, by leaving them to the ravening wolves of error and heresy while blithely declaring his “loyalty” by introducing the endlessly destructive conciliar revolution] It is also possible that you are disloyal upwards to the divine institution of the Papacy precisely by toadying to its temporary administrator.

———–End Quote———–

Indeed.  Excellent, excellent summation.

I haven’t got much to add to that, except that it is amazing how little has changed in the past 40 years.  If anything, it’s gotten worse, even acknowledging young priests of relative orthodoxy (few of whom have any idea how much they do not know, nor the volume of what has been lost, some hopeful religious orders, Summorum Pontificum, and other positive developments.

Many hoped that JPII and then Benedict indicated that the tide had been turned, or a nadir reached from which we could hope for steady improvement.  Others, perhaps wiser, believed that the conservativish pontificates following Paul VI were simply a period of entrenchment and solidification. Either way, Francis has shattered many illusions that the Church was on the cusp of renewal.

I do believe there is great truth in the above, wherein the bishop states that no matter how hard they try to kill Catholicism, it will keep popping back up, both because at least a tiny fraction of people recognize its unalterable truthfulness and want it, and also because God is ultimately in charge of all.  God has a penchant for working phenomenal turnarounds, as this series of sermons indicates.

I could say more, but must cut this off now.  I did not want to go an entire week with no posts.  Hopefully you think this post makes some kind of sense. In lieu of reading here, watch one of those five videos on God’s turnarounds a day until I get back.

Thank you for your prayers and well-wishes.  The power of prayer – or at least yours –  is unbelievable. Every day with my boy is a testament to that.  I am in debt to you all.  Thank you again. I pray for you.

 

 

Thomas a’ Kempis, Gratitude for the Grace of God April 27, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, mortification, reading, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, The Imitation of Christ, Victory, Virtue.
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From Book II Chapter 10 of The Imitation of Christ, a reflection on having proper gratitude for the Grace we receive from God:

Why seekest thou rest, since thou art born to labor?

Dispose thyself to patience rather than consolation, and to bear the cross rather than to rejoice.

For who is there among worldly people that would not willingly receive comfort and spiritual joy, if he could always have it?

For spiritual consolation exceeds all the delights of the world and the pleasures of the flesh. [Would you agree?  It’s been a long time, but I have felt I experienced transports of joy associated with sublime spiritual moments. I would say this is a true statement.]

For all worldly delights are either vain or base; but spiritual delights alone are pleasant and honorable, springing from virtue, and infused by God into pure minds.

But those divine consolations no man can always enjoy when he will, because the time of temptation is not long absent.

But what very much opposes these heavenly visits is a false liberty of mind and a great confidence in one’s self.

God doth well in giving the grace of consolation, but man doth ill in not returning it all to God with thanksgiving.

And this is the reason why the gifts of grace cannot flow in us, because we are ungrateful to the giver, nor do we return all to the fountainhead.

For Grace will always be given to him that duly returns thanks, and what is wont to be given to the humble will be taken away from the proud.

I would not have any such consolation as would rob me of compunction, nor do I wish to have any such contemplation as leads to pride.

For all that is high is not holy; nor all that pleasant good; nor every desire pure; nor is everything that is dear to us pleasing to God.

I willingly accept of that Grace which always makes me more humble and fearful, and more ready to forsake myself.

He that has been taught by the gift of Grace, and been instructed by the scourge of its withdrawal, will not dare to attribute anything of good to himself, but rather acknowledge himself to be poor and naked.

Give to God what is His (Matt xxii:21), and take to thyself what is thine; that is, give tanks to God for His Grace; but as to thyself, be sensible that nothing is to be attributed to thee but sin and the punishment due to sin.  

Put thyself always in the lowest place, and the highest shall be given thee, for the highest stand snot without the lowest (Lk xiv:10).

The Saints that are highest in the sight of God are the least in their own eyes; and the more glorious they are the more humble they are in themselves.  

Being full of the truth and heavenly glory they are not desirous of vainglory.  

They that are grounded and establishes in God can by no means be proud.

And they that attribute to God whatsoever good they have received seek not glory from one another, but that glory which is from God alone (Jn v:44); they desire above all things that God may be praised in themselves, and in all the saints, and to this they always tend.  

Be grateful then for the least and thou shalt be worthy to receive greater things. 

Let the least be to thee as something very great, and the most contemptible as a special favor. [Am I the only one that has a very hard time with this?  Driving a longish commute in heavy traffic quickly reveals how little patience and charity I have.]

If thou considerest the dignity of the Giver, no gift will seem to thee little which is given by so great a God.

Yea, though he give punishment and stripes, it ought to be acceptable; for whatever He suffers to befall us, He always does it for our salvation (Dan iii:28).

He that desires to retain the Grace of God let him be thankful for Grace when it is given, and patient when it is withdrawn; let him pray that it may return; let him be cautious and humble, lest he lost it.

———–End Quote———–

It is painful when that very special grace, perhaps necessary early in conversion to help establish one in the Faith, is taken away.  Or no longer merited.  Many Saints experienced the same.  The Little Flower had years of incredible closeness to God, and then had it all taken away the last several years of her life, when her physical sufferings became immense and she needed it the most!  But that is the way of our Lord, he tempers our faith in the fires of suffering.  Truly, His ways are not our ways, and thank God for that.

 

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.

Prayer for Grace to Overcome Serious Weakness/Attachment to Sin March 21, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, mortification, reading, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
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This prayer is especially suited for those who struggle with addiction or obsessive/compulsive behavior.  It is from Father’s Manual by Fr. A Coomes, SJ.

Addiction is a hell I well know.  Addiction may or may not be a disease, but it is certainly self-inflicted, as many of our worst wounds are.  There is also a huge spiritual component to addiction that so many in programs like AA and NA miss.  The founders of AA described addiction in demonic terms, as a “cunning and baffling enemy,” and this definition was not accidental.  While they were loathe, for a variety of reasons, to make Alcoholics Anonymous an explicitly Christian program, what all the _________ Anonymous programs do is essentially instill a vaguely Christian form of spirituality.  They even say that recovery can only come from a spiritual awakening.

Many AA and NA meetings are hosted in churches, but those churches are almost universally protestant.  A more explicitly Catholic program would surely be more effective but might turn people off.

Today, even in traditional Catholic parishes, the most rampant addiction is less substance abuse than it is porn use and self-abuse.  Again, a cunning and baffling enemy has turned many people into slaves to their passions.  But these people most often carry around their porn theater in their pocket.  It becomes a nightmare many have a hard time escaping.

The prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, You are the strength of the weak and the confidence of those who trust in You.  Be my secure confidence and my abundant strength!

Teach me to understand myself and to believe in the effectiveness of Your saving Grace. Grant me the courage not to stop trying and teach me the humility to trust in You when I tend to be discouraged by my weakness.

Give me, too, the honesty needed to face my problem without excuse and without pretense, and give me the practical good sense to accept the means needed to help myself.  Most of all, give me the wisdom and faith to make a good Confession, and to have the firmest purpose of amendment.

Towards any who criticize me for weakness, give me charity; with those who do not understand, give me patience; and give me the humility to accept whatever aid I may receive from those who want to help me.

And, above all, let me never forget that yYou love me and that You earnestly want to help me.  Let me be completely convinced, too, that You more than anyone can assist me – – and that you will support me at all times if only I learn to put a realistic trust in You.

———-End Quote———-

I found NA to be very helpful in the initial stages of becoming clean, but after a while I recognized the limitations in a system where many simply treat the spiritual aspect – which is the point of it all – as a joke.  I determined I would be better off going to the source, so to speak.  I have never had cause to regret that decision, but also know that NA remains available should I need it.

Sorry I’ve been away so much.  My son had a major test yesterday. We’ll get the results on Thursday.  Thank you for your continued prayers.  God bless you.

Prayer for a Christian Atmosphere in the Home March 7, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Lent, reading, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Another helpful gem from Father’s Manual by Fr. A. Coomes, SJ.  Raising a family has always been hard, but with our kids exposed to more temptations and diabolical interference than perhaps any time in history, it is especially vital to maintain the home as a literal domestic church, full of virtue and with clearly marked lines drawn around every possible vice.  I am better at explaining this than I am living it!  We are all fallen creatures and almost all of us have been damaged by detritus we have picked up from the sewer in which we were raised and have been forced to live all of our lives.  That’s not a commentary on anyone’s particular home life, least of all my own (though far more substantial problems can result from less than ideal upbringings, certainly), but simply a recognition of reality . I wasn’t Catholic as a child or young person, I was very secular and accepted without question most of what the world told me – how much of that do I hold onto today? How many bad habits or ideas do I have of which I am unaware?

You get the point.  I thought this was good, hopefully you will, too (pp. 43-6):

Lord Jesus Christ, You are the way and the truth and the life; and it is by following You that we willmost surely find the way to our Father in Heaven.

Help me, instructed by You and  Your example, to create a truly Christian atmosphere in my home.

May there be in all things a deep and true family life in our home, and a family life patterned after the Holy Family at Nazareth.

May You always be a guest at our activities, our conversations, our recreations  – in a home that is truly and meaningfully centered around You.

May Your picture and that of Your Mother on our walls be treasured reminders of Your love for us and a token of our love for You.

May the Holy Bible, and other books and literature that tell us of You, lead us to a closer knowledge of You,a nd be welcomed and read by every member of the family.

May the thoughts expressed in our home be uncomplaining – at one with Your thoughts and those of Your Holy Church.

May there be a deep respect for all things holy, and may my children learn from me and from their mother a love of family prayer and of the Sacraments.

May charity of speech reign in our home.

Instill in use a tolerance of our neighbors that will be free from all littleness – and free from all prejudice.

May our ways be ever gracious in imitation of Your own; and may we show a special regard for the aged, the underprivileged, the handicapped, the infirm.

And, in all the things that I expect of my children and that I want to characterize our home, let me ever be a convincing example.  May my words be always words that I may invite You to utter with me; my thoughts always thoughts that I may ask You to think with me; the feelings I make my own ever be feelings I may ask You to entertain with me; may the interpretations and judgments I make be such that I may expect You to share them with me.

So in all things may I, together with my family, be so directed by the inspirations of Your Grace that we may be completely one in You.

———End Quote———-

Perhaps striving to improve the tranquility, virtue, and piety of your home life could be a (admittedly slightly tardy) part of your Lenten program?  It is for me.

The best way to fix this fallen culture is one family at a time.

Two good videos: another holy sermon, and a good Catholic apostolate to support March 2, 2017

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Latin Mass, priests, reading, Restoration, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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First video – I know some of you are aware of Mediatrix Press, but they are producing a whole slew of extremely powerful, edifying titles from some of the greatest Doctors in the history of Holy Mother Church.  Ryan Grant’s project to translate so many of the works of St. Robert Bellarmine into English – which has never before been done – is a huge blessing in and of itself.  But they also have many other great titles, most of which are from long out of print and “forgotten” sources.  An overview of the company below:

I’ve gotten Mediatrix’s translation of Saint Bellarmine’s great treatise on the Antichrist.  It’s excellent.  I look forward to getting the Saint’s autobiography and his catechism.

You can also adopt a book, providing Patreon-type support to help bring books into print.  Check them out!  It is so important to support apostolates like this that do so much to help restore the great Tradition of our faith.  Faith comes by hearing, yes, but also by READING!  I more or less read my way into the Faith, or, more to the point, tradition.  The study of Church history is the process of becoming a Catholic.

At any rate, the other video is a good sermon by that priest so many admire – and rightly so – this time on the subject of being a friend of the cross.  He talks about the need to make holy communions, and to have a lot of intentions when we go to the rail to maximize the benefit of the grace we receive, he speaks of overcoming regret in a positive way, not moping on it or endlessly kicking ourselves over past failings, but using the pain of those failures as a source of motivation, and he speaks of how to pray to gain healing for past wounds – self-inflicted and otherwise.

I’m out of time to give a better description, but it’s a very good sermon.  If you’ve heard many of this priest’s sermons before, some of this may sound familiar, but I think it’s a new and expanded take on the topic (and I’m remembering the days when we had 50+ minute sermons at Mater Dei!  Not anymore, they’re generally much shorter).  Anyway, enjoy: