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Start Novena to Our Lady of Victory/Most Holy Rosary TODAY! September 29, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Christendom, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, history, Novenas, Our Lady, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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That’s today Sept. 29.  Really should have started  yesterday, but I’m late.

Thanks to MJD for the two prayer options below:hc-olvic__89945__40559-1405695358-1280-1280

To the Queen of the Most Holy Rosary

Queen of the most holy Rosary, in these times of such brazen impiety, manifest thy power with the signs of thine ancient victories, and from thy throne, whence thou dost dispense pardon and graces, mercifully regard the Church of thy Son, His Vicar on earth, and every order of clergy and laity, who are sore oppressed in the mighty conflict. Do thou, who art the powerful vanquisher of all heresies, hasten the hour of mercy, even though the hour of God’s justice is every day provoked by the countless sins of men. For me who am the least of men, kneeling before thee in supplication, do thou obtain the grace I need to live righteously upon earth and to reign among the just in heaven, the while in company with all faithful Christians throughout the world, I salute thee and acclaim thee as Queen of the most holy Rosary.

Queen of the most holy Rosary, pray for us!

Our Lady Of The Holy Rosary  Novena Prayer (start either Sept. 28 or 29)

My dearest Mother Mary, behold me, your child, in prayer at your feet. Accept this Holy Rosary, which I offer you in 6f084d0404c2ef6db8f7b740b4001e24accordance with your requests at Fatima, as a proof of my tender love for you, for the intentions of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in atonement for the offenses committed against your Immaculate Heart, and for this special favor which I earnestly request in my Rosary Novena:

(Mention your requests).

hc-olvic__89945__40559-1405695358-1280-1280I beg you to present my petition to your Divine Son. If you will pray for me, I cannot be refused. I know, dearest Mother, that you want me to seek God?s holy Will concerning my request. If what I ask for should not be granted, pray that I may receive that which will be of greater benefit to my soul.

I offer you this spiritual Bouquet of Roses because I love you. I put all my confidence in you, since your prayers before God are most powerful. For the greater glory of God and for the sake of Jesus, your loving Son, hear and grant my prayer. Sweet Heart of Mary, be my salvation.

This novena is to be said along with a daily rosary.

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Either Saint Paul Is a Blazing Hypocrite, Or protestants Are Dead Wrong September 29, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Bible, catachesis, Ecumenism, error, foolishness, General Catholic, history, reading, Restoration, Society, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, Virtue.
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Strangely enough, I doctor I have seen for many years is also an evangelical protestant minister.  He, quite improperly, really, likes to try to evangelize his patients.  I walked into his office with a copy of St. Francis de Sales in my hand recently, and he gave me a stern look at told me to read Galatians iii.  Galatians chapter 3 verse 10-11 are one of those go to Bible phrases, taken completely out of context, that protestants love to quote to try to prove the rightness of their false and short-lived version of Christianity.  Others include Romans 3:28 and even, amazingly, Romans 1:17, which is also taken out of context and is all the more silly for what follows, viz, Romans i:29-32, wherein Saint Paul, like our Blessed Lord in Saint Matthew Chapter xxv:31-46 among many other places, makes certain behaviors – sins – so contrary to the Faith as to deny one eternal salvation:

29 Being filled with all iniquity, malice, fornication, avarice, wickedness, full of envy, murder, contention, deceit, malignity, whisperers,

30 Detractors, hateful to God, contumelious, proud, haughty, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,

31 Foolish, dissolute, without affection, without fidelity, without mercy.

32 Who, having known the justice of God, did not understand that they, who do such things, are worthy of death: [eternal death, denial of salvation] and not only they who do them, but they also who consent to them that do them.

Here Saint Paul is saying two things – one, those who lack sanctifying Grace will almost invariably fall into myriad sins, but also that those who commit such sins lack – or LOSE – sanctifying Grace, if they already had it, and thus will be damned when previously they could have been saved.

Eschewing sin and leading a moral life is most definitely a work.  Similarly Galatians iii:10-11, which says:

10 For as many as are of the works of the law, are under a curse. For it is written: *Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.

11 But that by the law no man is justified with God, it is manifest: *because the just man liveth by faith.

What was the context of Saint Paul saying this?  He was writing to the Galatians because they had fallen under the influence of “Judaizers,” Christian converts from Judaism who demanded that all Christians must submit not only to the Law of Christ but also the Law of Moses, including abstaining from various meats and receiving circumcision.  Saint Paul was rejecting this Judaizing influence, telling his readers that the Law of Moses was dead, and had been totally supplanted by the new Law of Christ?  But is Saint Paul saying that all works, then, are useless for salvation?

Absolutely not.  Quite the contrary, as we see in Philippians ii and iii, Saint Paul knew quite well – as did the entire early Church he helped found – that works are extremely necessary for salvation, and that “faith alone” is a shabby lie and a sign of a boundless effrontery before God.

Philippians ii:10-14 (I include the surround verses only for context, which protestants almost always leave out):

10 *That in the name of Jesus, every knee should bow of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth; [bowing/kneeling, showing reverence/penitence before God, is also a work]

11 And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father. [confessing the Lord is a work over and above internally held faith, which protestants judge to be sufficient for salvation]

12 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but much more now in my absence) work out your salvation with fear and trembling. [If one is saved by faith alone, why would one ever need to work out his salvation with fear and trembling?  I was arguing with a protestant once not long ago, and as we were being forced to go our separate ways, I told him I would pray for his conversion and salvation, and he hit back with what I think he thought was the ultimate rejoinder – “I don’t have to worry about my salvation, I know I’m saved.” And I thought, what immense narcissism, what unbelievable effrontery.  Anyone of us, at any time, can lose our faith at any moment. Faith isn’t a magic spell that immediately changes our consciences and makes us 100% proof against sin. This is an obvious lie.  Faith, especially protestant faith, is no guarantee against any sin, even mortal sin.  Once saved always saved is an American invention from the late 19th century and is one of the most perverse, reductive heresies ever visited upon the world. Faith is in fact demonstrated by works.  Otherwise, why would protestants evangelize Catholics so hard?  If Catholics accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, which any observant Catholic certainly does, they are irretrievably saved.  Is it just about money, then, that evangelicals pursue Catholics with such gusto?]

13 For it is God who worketh in you both to will and to accomplish, according to the good-will. 

Accomplish what?!?  Good works, done in sanctifying Grace, which are eminently helpful to our sanctification and salvation, just as Christ commanded, “Take up your cross and follow ME!!!”  Yes Jewish works done outside sanctifying Grace are profitable for nothing, which was Saint Paul’s message to the Galatians, but not that all works are useless, that a one time profession of faith assures salvation, else why would he say this in Philippians iii??!!?:

17 Be followers of me, brethren, and observe them who walk so, as you have our model.

18 *For many walk, of whom I have told you often (and now tell you weeping) that they are enemies of the cross of Christ: 

19 Whose end is destruction [damnation] whose God is their belly: and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.

20 But our conversation is in heaven: whence also we expect the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ,

Saint Paul is speaking directly of people here who were of the Faith, who had accepted Jesus Christ and were in a state of Grace (saved, in protestant parlance), who due to their sinful attractions and appetites, fell away from the Faith, fell out of the state of Grace, and whose end is subsequently destruction!!

But what is avoidance of sin, but a work?  What is practicing restraint in food and drink and sex and money and all the rest, but a work, the practice of the great virtue of temperance?!?

But that is not all.  Regular readers will know that I am reading the Victories of the Martyrs by Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.  He recounts the deaths of martyrs from the 1st through the early 4th centuries (so far – I haven’t read it all).

What did these martyrs die for?  Faith in Jesus Christ?  But why on earth would they die, if their faith alone assured their salvation, if no work or failure of work could ever cause them to lose that salvation?!? Why should any Christian ever die for his faith, if we are saved after a one time altar call and pronouncement of acceptance?  And don’t give me this garbage about “higher levels of Heaven” and all that claptrap, that’s not what the martyrs thought at all.

No, quite the contrary, every single one of these martyrs, when tempted by the Roman magistrates to burn just a pinch of incense to the “god” emperor, refused, not because they would lose a better seat in the heavenly movie theater, but because they knew acknowledging any other god – even under the most severe duress – would be a violation of the 1st and 2nd Commandments and cause not the loss of their place in the heavenly pecking order, but their entire salvation!

Again, these martyrs testified to this fact going all the way back to the 1st century.  This martyrdom was most assuredly a work, and a work that the Church judged worthy of salvation from her earliest days.

Protestants like to pretend – they are compelled by their disobedience and rejection of authority to pretend – that the early Church somehow apostasized from the Truth of Jesus Christ and imposed some evil Babylonian cult upon millions of Christians, somehow.  This is  a rather amazing claim, given the REAL heresies the early Church endured and overcame. These ill-educated souls even try to claim it was Constantine that tried to force this erroneous belief on the Church, when in reality, it was the Church that fought off Constantine’s attempt to impose the Arian heresy (Christ is just a man) under severe punishment!

What we see clearly from the martyrs, and from every other early source we have available to us, from Saint Ignatius of Antioch to Saint Justin Martyr to Saints Basil and John Chrysostom clear through to the present day, is a constant attestation to the SAME set of beliefs, the SAME set of practices, as what is outlined in the Dogmas of the Church.  Even more, we see the SAME beliefs in all the ancient Churches, those dating back to the first 4-5 centuries of Christianity, even though most of these fell away on some error or another such as the nature of the Will and Person of God or the Authority of the Roman See.  On all these issues related to the Eucharist, the efficacious nature of works, gaining/losing Grace, all these ancient Churches share the same beliefs.

It is only the johnny-come-lately protestant heretics who have thought differently, even while they endlessly bicker amongst themselves as to which of their tens of thousands of sects is the “right” one.

That is, Catholics have myriad sources confirming our beliefs – Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, the testimony of the martyrs and Saints, the confirmation of sadly separated brethren like the Orthodox and Copts, hostile works written against the Church by those outsider her but confirming her core beliefs, etc., etc.

All protestants have is the Bible – a great source, to be sure, but a bible their early leaders mangled in order to try to better support their errors – and the private judgment of a few very fallible men, outside the State of Grace, who imposed an interpretation on the Bible based on their pre-conceived notions and desires rather than conforming themselves to the constantly understood beliefs and practices of the Christian Church.

I know which side I’ll be sticking with, thank you very much, and I thank God every day for making me an aspiring good Catholic, rather than the protestant I once was.

Evangelization as It Used to Be September 28, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Ecumenism, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, history, manhood, priests, sanctity, Society, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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From the book A Saint Among Us on Servant of God Fr. Emil Kapaun, a little blast from the Catholic past:

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Seminarian Kapaun spent many evenings reaching out to souls in this novel bit of outreach and apologetics back in the late 1930s.  I think this is a brilliant idea, though it might go over as well today as it did then, given the increasing hostility towards any form of Christianity held by growing numbers of souls.

I think this form of evangelizing is superior to most of today’s technology-enabled efforts by priests to do similar work for the following reasons:

  • It is much easier to blow off a blog post or Youtube video than someone standing in your presence
  • Interaction and argumentation are much easier, and much better conducted, face to face than over the internet or even radio
  • There is no substitute for human interaction, where a soul could, hopefully, experience the warmth and charity of a devout priest, seminarian, or religious
  • This is also excellent training for a real-life apostolate, having to interact on the fly with people who may be hostile, questioning, or simply ignorant.

Downsides to this approach include:

  • It’s much more challenging to interact with doubtful or hostile souls face to face than over the internet
  • It’s demanding of priest’s/seminarian’s time
  • It may reach fewer people than a blog, social media, or other “modern” means
  • It takes a true man to stand in public and declare his faith, and all the supports for it.  Not sure how many of those are around anymore

But, for all that, I think this kind of personal interaction, necessary at the time due to lack of technology, is still superior to most of today’s attempts at the same.  I’d love to see our priests witnessing in public more than they do at present.  Of course, some of that absence here locally has been due to deliberate diocesan policy.  Perhaps that will change to a more fortuitous approach in the near future, too.

What do you think?

kapaun-painting

Saint John Vianney on Finding Sanctity in our Daily Crosses September 22, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, mortification, reading, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, Virtue.
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A couple of excerpts from The Sermons of the Cure of Ars, on how to practice sanctity on a daily basis, and finding joy in suffering.  There was a time when at least observant Catholics would have no compunction at crossing themselves in public, or stopping what they were doing to pray when the Angelus bell was run.  I can’t imagine how beautiful it would be to live in a place that is sufficiently Catholic and devoted, to have towns built within earshot of a church, and to have everyone stop and pray at the appropriate times.  I don’t know if that was ever much the case in this country, being so spread out and with huge intermixed populations (maybe in the old Irish and Italian ghettos?), but it was in Europe and other places.

I think there is a lot of good in these excerpts.  I have people ask me frequently how they can witness to the Faith.  One simple way is to say grace in public before meals.  Another is to go around always praying when not doing something that really preoccupies you.  I have a Rosary in my hand much of the time in public.

Before beginning your work, my dear brethren, never fail to make the Sign of the Cross.  Do not imitate those people without religion who dare not to do this because they are in company.  Offer quite simply all your difficulties to God and renew from time to time this offering, for by that means you will have the happiness of drawing down the blessing of Heaven on yourself and on all you do.  Just think, my dear brethren, how many acts of virtue you can practice by behaving in this way, without making any change in what you are actually doing.  If you work with the object of pleasing God and obeying His Commandments, which order you to earn your bread by the sweat of your brow, that is an act of obedience. If you want to expiate your sins, you are making an act of penance.  If you want to obtain some Grace for yourself or for others, it is an act of hope and of charity. [These last two sentences are such incredibly beautiful thoughts. Do not overlook the good that you do in you pious hopes and devout aspirations!] Oh, how we could merit Heaven every day, by dear brethren, by doing just our ordinary duties, but by doing them for God and the salvation of our souls!  Who stops you, when you hear the chimes striking, from thinking on the shortness of time and of saying in your minds: “Time passes and death comes closer.  I am hastening towards eternity.  Am I really ready to appear before the tribunal of God?  Am I not in a state of sin?”………

…….The Saints, my dear brethren, all loved the Cross and found in it their strength and their consolation.

But, you will say to me, is it necessary, then, always to have something to suffer?……….Now sickness or poverty, or again, scandal or calumny, or possibly the loss of money or an infirmity?

Have you been calumniated, dear friends?  Have you been loaded with insults?  Have you been wronged?  So much the better!  That is a good sign; do not worry; you are on the road that leads to Heaven.  Do you know when you ought to be really upset?  I do not know if you understand it, but it should be precisely for the opposite reason – when you have nothing to endure, when everyone esteems and respects you.  Then you should feel envious of those who have the happiness of passing their lives in suffering, or contempt, or poverty.  Are you forgetting, then, that at your Baptism you accepted the Cross, which  you must never abandon until death, and that it is the key that you will use to open the door of Heaven?  Are you forgetting the words of our Savior: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me.”  Not for a day, not for a week, not for a year, but all our lives.  The Saints had a great fear of passing any time without suffering, for they looked upon it as time lost.  According to St. Teresa, man is only in this world to suffer, and when he ceases to suffer, he should cease to live.  St. John of the Cross asks God, with tears, to give him the grace to suffer more as a reward for all his labors.  

What should we conclude, my dear children, from all that?  Just this: Let us make a resolution to have a great respect for all the crosses, which are blessed, and which represent to us in a small way all that our God suffered for us.  Let us recall that from the Cross flow all the graces that are bestowed upon us and that as a consequence, a cross which is blessed is a source of blessings, that we should often make the Sign of the Cross on ourselves and always with great respect, and, finally, that our houses should never remain without this symbol of salvation.

Fill your children, my dear brethren, with the greatest respect for the Cross, and always have a blessed cross on  yourselves; it will protect you against the devil, from the vengeance of Heaven, and from all danger.  This is what I desire for you.

———–End Quote———–

The Catholic embrace of suffering has always been one of the aspects of the Faith that has most scandalized, even enraged, the world.  Worldly people cannot comprehend what good there could be in joyfully willed suffering. As so much of Western society has become so rich, so addled with constant comfort, so used to having every whim satisfied at the flip of a switch, the notion of desiring suffering has gone from being alien and strange to perverse and offensive.  Just the other day, I saw an evangelical protestant “Catholic outreach” site that used images of pious souls doing things like processing on their knees or wearing a cilice as a demonstration of the perversity of the Catholic Faith.  After all, protestant divines have declared that faith alone is necessary for salvation, even if James ii:24 and Matthew xxv:31-46 totally contradict this.

Unfortunately, protestantism told the world exactly what it wanted to hear: salvation without works, Heaven without suffering!  No wonder it has proven such a persistent heresy (in its always metastasizing forms).

But I’m wandering a bit from the purpose of the post.  I pray you found it edifying.

Saint Leo the Great on Offering Penance September 21, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, Liturgical Year, mortification, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, Virtue.
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Even though the excerpt below was spoken, and primarily intended, for the start of Lent, it is not without its usefulness in an Ember Week.  Saint Leo effectively, gracefully communicates the Church’s steadfast belief in the efficacy of fasting (penance) and its salutary effects on our souls. I don’t know if you ever need inspiration to fast/works of penance, but if you do, I think you’ll find this mighty motivatin’.  What Grace there is waiting for us in penance, and how few avail themselves of it! What a tragedy for the Church and the world!

From pp. 121-3 of The Liturgical Year, Vol. V:

The Holy Church, seeing her children…….speaks to them in her Office of Matins, these eloquent and noble words of St. Leo the Great: dfsasf

“Having to announce to you, dearly beloved, the most sacred and chief fast, how can I more appropriately begin, than with the words of the Apostle, in whom Christ Himself spoke, and by saying to you what has just been read: “Behold!  Now is the acceptable time!  Behold, Now is the day of salvation!For although there be no time which is not replete with divine gifts, and we may always, by God’s Grace, have access to His mercy, yet ought we all to redouble our efforts to make spiritual progress and be animated with unusual confidence, now that the anniversary of the day of our redemption is approaching, inviting us to devote ourselves to every good work, that catholic-penanceso we may celebrate, with purity of body and mind, the incomparable mystery of our Lord’s Passion.  

It is true that our devotion and reverence towards so great a mystery should be kept up during the whole  year, and we ourselves should be at all times, in the eyes of God, the same as we are bound to be at the Easter solemnity.  But this is an effort which only few among us have the courage to sustain.  The weakness of the flesh induces us to relax our austerities; the various occupations of every day life take up our thoughts; and thus even the virtuous find their hearts clogged by the world’s dust.  Hence it is that the Lord has most providentially given us these days, whose holy exercises should be to us a remedy, whereby to regain our purity of soul.  The good works and the holy fastings of this season were instituted as an atonement for, and an obliteration of, the sins we commit during the rest of the year.  [Such a beautiful sentiment. They were also specifically intended for the sanctification of priests and especially those seminarians to be ordained this season/year]

Now, therefore, that we are about to enter upon these days, which are so full of mystery, and which were instituted for the holy purpose of purifying both soul and body, let us, dearly beloved, be careful to do as the Apostle bids us, and cleanse ourselves from all defilements of the flesh and the spirit; that thus the combat between the two substances being made less fierce, the soul, which, when she herself is subject to God, ought to be the ruler of the body, will recover her own dignity and position. [Dang right!]  Let us also avoid giving offence to any man, so that here be none to blame or speak evil things of us.  For we deserve the harsh remarks of infidels, and we provoke the tongues of the wicked to blaspheme religion, when we who fast lead unholy lives.  For our fast does not consist in the mere abstinence from food; nor is it of much use to deny food to our body, unless we restrain the soul from sin.

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Start Novena to St. Michael the Arcangel Today 09/20/16 September 20, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Domestic Church, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Novenas, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, Virtue.
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I try to put out these reminders for you.  The Novena starts today and finishes on the vigil of the feast.

Saint Michael the Archangel, loyal champion of God and His people, I turn to you with confidence andStMichaelTheArchangelseek your powerful intercession.

For the love of God, Who made you so glorious in grace and power, and for the love of the Mother of Jesus, the Queen of the Angels, be pleased to hear my prayer.

You know the value of my soul in the eyes of God.  May no stain of evil ever disfigure its beauty.  Help me to conquer the evil spirit who tempts me.  I desire to imitate your loyalty to God and Holy Mother Church and your great love for God and men.  And since you are God’s messenger for the care of His people, I entrust to you this special request:

(Mention your request)

Saint Michael, since you are, by the Will of the Creator, the powerful intercessor of Christians, I have great confidence in your prayers.  I earnestly trust that if it is God’s holy will my petition will be granted.St_Michael_Raphael

Pray for me, Saint Michael, and also for those I love.  Protect us in all dangers of body and soul.  Help us in our daily needs.

Through your powerful intercession, may we live a holy life, die a happy death, and reach heaven where we may praise and love God with you forever.

Amen.

In thanksgiving to God for the graces bestowed on St. Michael: one Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be.

The faithful who recite devoutly some prayers in honor of St. Michael with the intention of continuing the said prayers for nine consecutive days may gain: an indulgence of 5 years once each day; a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions, at the end of their novena.

Why Homeschool? September 19, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, mortification, Restoration, sanctity, Society, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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I don’t think most readers of this blog need much convincing that homeschooling is not only the best choice, but increasingly the only real moral alternative for educating children in a culture of pandemic immorality and out of control self-interest.  Aside from an exceedingly limited number of still relatively orthodox private school alternatives, there is really no choice in a culture that permits men into little girl’s restrooms, pretends two people of the same sex can be married, encourages all manner of self-serving vice from the most gluttonous avarice to the most shameful self-degradation, but to homeschool.

Still, even with the numerous motivations, it is not easy.  It is especially not easy if mom has to try to maintain the education of multiple children in multiple different grades, with only very rare breaks, and with all the hassles and upsets that come from not just raising a whole bunch of kids, but trying to educate them, too.  There can be endless frustrations and enormous challenges to patience. Sometimes, it will seem that the effort is not worth it, that you’re “failing” or “doing a bad job” in educating your children, or maybe even being counterproductive in not always maintaining a hybrid June Cleaver/Saint Teresa level of superhuman homemaking and saintly piety.

Don’t let these thoughts linger in your head.  This is the suffering God has called you to in this time.  It can be enormously challenging suffering, but remember the Divine and Inerrant Word of God told us, through Saint Paul, that His Grace is more than sufficient aid to overcome it.

Such is the major point of Father’s sermon below.  The voice will be familiar to many.  Some may have heard this message before, but its worth hearing again at the start of this homeschooling year.  The more we struggle, the more Grace abounds for all of us.  Don’t let worries over whether you’re teaching Algebra II well enough, or whether your homeschooled child will do well on the PSAT, distract you from your primary jobs, which are maintaining your own growth in holiness while witnessing a faithful – if struggling and imperfect – Catholic life to your children.

There is much in this sermon for everyone, but especially for those moms (or dads) starting another long year’s slog.  Don’t let pride and self-will detract from the beautiful, unimaginably important gift (and challenge) he has given you/us in bringing up children in a time of darkness to be good and holy souls:

Was Saint Athanasius a Model for the Society of Saint Pius X? September 15, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, different religion, episcopate, General Catholic, history, reading, Restoration, Saints, Spiritual Warfare, SSPX, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, Virtue.
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Several of the chief complaints against the Society of Saint Pius X is that they have been involved in the illicit (not papal-approved) consecration of bishops, that they “invade” other dioceses without permission of the ordinary, and refute beliefs held by the great majority of bishops and priests in the Church today, even to the point of being excommunicated for certain acts.  These are frequently trotted out to “prove” the SSPX’s persistence in disobedience/error/schism/etc.

However, Michael Davies – certainly one who was very friendly towards the SSPX, and a frequent apologist for them – claims, citing Blessed John Henry Newman as his principle source, that there is a very strong precedent for exactly the types of behaviors that have earned the SSPX so much ire, from the Church’s Tradition, and that they involve the only crisis/mass heresy that comes close to emulating that in which we are currently embroiled, the Arian heresy.  During this period, Saint Athanasius, among others, based on history reported by Blessed John Henry Newman (citing more ancient sources), routinely consecrated bishops and ordained priests while he was enduring his enforced exile, even doing so outside the normal realm of papal approval and against the wishes of the local bishops.  He did this to preserve orthodox Catholicism when almost the entire Church went over to this most noxious heresy.  He was not alone, either.  Several other bishops, all Saints, also did so, as attested by Saint Basil and others, who apologized for these acts, and for the “illicit” country Masses offered by orthodox priests, because the faithful could not be expected to worship with heretics, and the heresy was so widespread that even the Roman Pontiff briefly fell into it, though under severe duress.

The similarities to the situation in the Church today are certainly marked, are they not?

Davies summarizes his argument below, from pp. 42-3 of his book Saint Athanasius: Defender of the Faith:

What the history of this period proves is that, during a time of general apostasy, Christians who remain true to their traditional faith may have to worship outside the official churches, the churches of priests in communion with their diocesan bishop, in order not to compromise that traditional faith; and that such Christians may have to look for truly Catholic teaching, leadership, and inspiration not to the bishops of their country as a body, not tot he bishops of the world, not even to the Roman Pontiff, but to one heroic confessor whom the other bishops and even the Roman Pontiff may have repudiated and even excommunicated.  And who would they recognize that the solitary confessor was right, and the Roman Pontiff and the body of the episcopate (not teaching infallibly) were wrong?

The answer is that they would recognize in the teaching of this confessor what the faithful of the fourth century recognized in the teaching of Athanasius, the one true faith into which they had been baptized, in which they had been catechized, and which their confirmation gave them the obligation of upholding.  In no sense whatsoever can such fidelity to Tradition be compared with the protestant practice of private judgment.  The fourth century traditionalists upheld Athanasius in his defense of the faith that had been handed down; the protestant uses his private judgment to justify a breach with the traditional faith.

In The Development of Christian Doctrine, Newman refutes the opinion that interference by one bishop in the diocese of another necessarily constitutes schism.  Faithful Catholics have a duty to divide themselves from schismatic or heretical bishops, and where division is a duty it is not a sin.  An orthodox bishop does not sin by interfering in a diocese where the bishop is guilty of separation from the faith by heresy or even de facto schism.  “If interference is a sin,” wrote the Cardinal, “division which is the cause of it is a greater; but where division is a duty, there can be no sin interference.”

[The key evidence……] St. Athanasius did not cause division when he entered the dioceses of Arian bishops.  He was interfering in order to uphold tradition and sustain the faith of true Catholics as a legitimate response to the division caused by the schism of these bishops.  The first loyalty of every bishop must be to the Church as a whole.  During a period of schism and heresy, their duty to defend the integrity of tradition extends beyond any single diocese.  Cardinal Newman illustrates this by pointing out that Saint Athanasius, St. Epiphanius of Salamis, and St. Eusebius of Samosata, all fierce opponents of Arianism, had ordained outside their dioceses, and in the case of St. Eusebius it is certain that he consecrated bishops.  “St. Athanasius,” wrote Card. Newman, “driven from his Church, makes all Christendom his home, from Trier to Ethiopia.”  This was an indubitably legitimate response to a state of emergency or necessity within the Church.

————End Quote———–

OK, at the end there, using some obviously “Lefebrvrist” language.  But the book does demonstrate both that “illicit” Masses were held to escape Arian bishops and their errors, and that priests were ordained and bishops consecrated outside the normal line of authority in the Church.

On both sides of this issue of whether the SSPX acts/has acted rightly or wrongly, there are numerous supports.  Whether the stack of evidence on one side or the other is slightly taller or shorter I really don’t know.  From my experience, one’s tendency to accept evidence for or against the SSPX tends to align almost precisely with whatever pre-existing notions one has held on the subject.  I have long occupied the muddled middle, neither fully embracing the SSPX nor holding any hostility towards it, while being thankful that it exists so that I, among many, can enjoy the benefits its existence has brought (like the return of the TLM in numerous dioceses, the existence of the FSSP and other groups, etc).  I have to say, though, that this latest book has swayed me somewhat in a pro-SSPX direction.

I can also say that my own independent research has shown that there certainly was a reaction against Arian dominance in the 4th century and that several Saints report that a certain number of souls did stop going to their local parish and started worshiping out in the country, often in abysmal weather, under the tutelage of faithful priests in unofficial or impromptu Masses.  That much at least did occur, and was at least somewhat widespread.  I tend to believe that priests were ordained in an “unofficial” or “independent” manner, and probably a few bishops, too.

It is interesting to note that every time he had an opportunity (that is, the heretical emperors allowed him to do so), he would return to his diocese and to a “regular” position in the Church, while fervently maintaining his orthodox beliefs.  When the persecution would start up again and he would be exiled, he would go back to doing what he was doing, keeping the Faith and spreading it to as many as possible.

Perhaps, in this last bit, there is some encouragement for those who fear the impact of a reconciliation between the SSPX and the Roman authorities.

 

Excellent Video on Ad Orientem Mass September 14, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, episcopate, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Liturgy, priests, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Folks, I think I’ve made clear over the past few years that, for myriad reasons, I have come to very firmly believe that the only optimal/truly efficacious/ideal form of the Mass is the Mass of All Ages, the Mass of St. Pius V, TLM, etc.  But having said that, I do believe that distinctions can be made, that some means of offering the Novus Ordo are clearly superior to others, even if the root problems associated with the Novus Ordo will always remain.

Rome was not built in a day, however, and I did not arrive at my present exalted level of Catholic perfection in a day, either.  I try to be very supportive of those who are on the same journey I traveled, but perhaps a bit less advanced on the road than I am at present.  As such, I see things like regular diocesan priests embracing Ad Orientem worship in the Novus Ordo, while also perhaps learning the TLM, as a very positive and happy development.  I pray they are given the Grace, strength, and opportunity to continue advancing to offering the TLM, and pray that offering the NO ad orientem becomes a valuable step in that process.  Ad Orientem is, then, to me, more of a point in a process of development, than it is an end point in and of itself, even though much fruit, I think, would result even if it were.

Of course, many times, good priests who would dearly love to offer Mass Ad Orientem, and move on to the TLM, are blocked by episcopal malfeasance.  Such has certainly been the case in the Diocese of Dallas, something I very fervently hope our forthcoming bishop will change.

In the below, please pray especially for Father Michael Lyons of the Diocese of Victoria, who has been learning the TLM but who is having some health problems.  He is certainly a priest of very good will and disposition and I pray he may remain in active ministry for many years to come and to continue growing in his embrace of the traditional practice of the Faith.

Lots of good priests in there.  Always glad to see Bishop Gracida.  Ad multos annos for that very good bishop who, I believe, offers the TLM exclusively now.  A bit of local color, so to speak.  I am glad Fr. Lyons pointed out that priests who want to learn the great liturgical tradition of the Church more or less have to do so on their own, as it is virtually never taught in diocesan seminaries anywhere in the West.

St. John Vianney: Don’t Leave God Behind at Mass….. September 8, 2016

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Eucharist, family, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Liturgy, priests, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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……….but carry all that Grace home with you, and bring it into your life every day. Don’t treat Mass as something to be escaped from, bolting for the door the second it ends and hoping to find some secular, worldly topic to discuss as soon as you are outside.  Or even before that.  I had to assist at Novus Ordo Masses for the first time in almost 3 years this past weekend, and aye yay yay, people behave with more decorum in a movie theater.  There was virtually no focus on the Lord (of course, His Eucharistic Presence was absent from the sanctuary in both parishes I attended), no silent, reflective preparation, just gab gab and the blaring tones of the over-eager 10 piece band and Ms. Music Minister making a spectacle of herself again up front.  Not that I’m harshly critical or anything.

From The Sermons of the Cure’ of Ars, pp. 196-7:

On her return to her kingdom, the Queen of Sheba could never weary of relating all that she had seen in the temple of Solomon; she talked of it unceasingly, with fresh pleasure.  The same thing should happen to the Christian who has assisted properly at holy Mass.  When he comes back to his house, he ought to have a talk with his children and his servants and ask them what they have retained of it and what touched them the most.  Alas!  Dear God, what am I going to say?

How many fathers and mothers, masters and mistresses, are there who, if someone wanted to talk with them about what they had heard at Mass, would laugh at all that and say that they were tired of it, that hey knew enough about it…..Although generally speaking it seems that people still listen to the holy word of God, the moment they come out of church, they fall into all sorts of careless and frivolous ways.  They get up with a sudden rush.  They hurry.   They jostle at the door.  Often the priest has not even come down from the altar when they are already outside the door, and there they give themselves up to discussions upon all sorts of secular subjects.  

Do you know what the result of this kind of thing is, my dear brethren?  This is it.  People derive no profit and gain no benefit from what they have heard and seen in the house of God.  What graces have been lost!  What means of salvation trodden underfoot!  What a misfortune that is, to turn to our loss what should have helped so much to save us!  You can see for  yourselves how many of these services are a burden to the majority of Christians!  For those few moments, they stay in the church as if it were some kind of prison. and as soon as they are out, you will hear them shouting at the door, like prisoners who have been given liberty.  Are we not quite frequently obliged to close the door on the church in order not to be deafened by their continual noise?  [Ahem. This is even something of a problem at the local Fraternity parish, at least on Sunday]

Dear God, are these really Christians, who ought to leave Your holy temple with minds filled only with all kinds of good thoughts and desires?  Should not they be seeking to engrave those in their memory, that they may never lose them and that they may put them into practice as soon as the opportunity presents itself?  Alas!  The number of those who assist at the services with attention and who try to profit from them is a little like the number of the elect; how small it is!


Closely related, via the same book, is the following exhortation on properly preparing oneself for Mass:

If you desire that the worship that you give to God to be pleasing to Him and valuable for the salvation of your soul, put it properly into practice.  Begin by preparing for Holy Mass as soon as your are awake, uniting yourself to all the Masses which are being said at that moment.  When the bell rings to call you to the house of God, consider the fact that ti is Jesus Christ Himself calling to you.  Start out immediately, so that you will have a moment to meditate upon the tremendous act at which you are about to assist.  Do not say, like those people who have no religion, that you have plenty of time, that you will be there soon enough.  But say, rather, with the holy prophet: “I rejoice when I am told that we are going into the House of the Lord.”

When you come out from your home, think about what you are going to do, and what you are going to ask God.  Begin by clearing your mind of earthly matters so that you will be thinking of God only.  Avoid all sorts of unnecessary conversations which serve no purpose than to make you hear Mass badly.  When you enter the Church, recall to yourself what the holy patriarch Job said: “How awesome is this place!  How holy it is!  It is truly the house of God and the gateway to Heaven!”

When you get to your place, humble yourself profoundly as you think of your own unworthiness and the greatness of  your God, Who, nevertheless, in spite of your sins, wishes to suffer you in His holy presence.  Make an act of faith with all your heart.  Ask God to give you the grace to lose none of the m any favors which He grants to those who come here with good dispositions.  Open your heart so that the word of God may enter it, take root in it, and bear fruit there for eternal life.  Before leaving the Church, do not fail to thank God for the graces He has just given you and go straight home, fully occupied with the thoughts of what you have seen and heard.  [I don’t know if one must go “straight home,” so long as one keeps in their heart what they gained during the Mass.  There is definitely something to be said for community, for brotherhood and fellowship.  But I’m gratified to know that a great Saint has recommended something that fits in so well with my native predispositions…….heh]

Yes, my dear children, if we conducted ourselves in this manner we should never come away from the services of the Church without being filled with a fresh desire for Heaven and a new disgust for ourselves and the things of this earth.  Our hearts and our minds would be given over altogether to God and not at all to the world.  Then the house of God would truly be for us the gateway of Heaven.  That is what I desire for you.


——–End Quote———

I think the key is, make Mass about God, keep the focus on Him and give Him the respect, reverence, and attention He is due.  Perhaps that is to say, when it comes to Mass, the before, during, and after, keep it in the supernatural, not the natural.