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Awesome quotes from Pope Saint Pius X for his feast day September 3, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Our Lady, Papa, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, SSPX, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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393px-PioIXaVia Fr. Peter Carota, whom we haven’t heard from in a while, some wonderful quotes (and photos) of Pope Saint Pius X, the great anti-modernist Pope, on his feast day. Contrary to those quotes for which he is most famous, dealing with the arch-heresy of modernism, these quotes have to do with our Blessed Mother and personal piety.  I can’t recall seeing these before, I am thankful to Father Carota for sharing them:

“Truly we are passing through disastrous times, when we may well make our own the lamentation of the Prophet: “There is no truth, and there is no mercy, and there is no knowledge of God in the land” (Hosea 4:1). Yet in the midst of this tide of evil, the Virgin Most Merciful rises before our eyes like a rainbow, as the 821pius22arbiter of peace between God and man.”

“God could have given us the Redeemer of the human race, and the Founder of the Faiths in another way than through the Virgin, but since Divine Providence has been pleased that we should have the Man-God through Mary, who conceived Him by the Holy Spirit and bore Him in her womb, it only remains for us to receive Christ from the hands of Mary.”

Sanctity alone makes us what our divine vocation demands, men crucified to the world and to whom the world has been crucified, men walking in newness of life who, in the words of St. Paul, show themselves as ministers of God in labors, in vigils, in fasting, in chastity, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in sincere charity, in the word of truth; men who seek only heavenly things and strive by every means to lead others to them.

“My hope is in Christ, who strengthens the weakest by His Divine help. I can do all in Him who strengthens me. His Power is infinite, and if I lean on him, it will be mine. His Wisdom is infinite, and if I look to Him for counsel, I shall not be deceived. His Goodness is infinite, and if my trust is stayed in Him, I shall not be abandoned.”

il sartoLet the storm rage and the sky darken – not for that shall we be dismayed. If we trust as we should in Mary, we shall recognize in her, the Virgin Most Powerful “who with virginal foot did crush the head of the serpent.”

“The collection of psalms found in Scripture, composed as it was under divine inspiration, has, from the very beginnings of the Church, shown a wonderful power of fostering devotion among Christians as they offer “to God a continuous sacrifice of praise, the harvest of lips blessing his name.” Following a custom already established in the Old Law, the psalms have played a conspicuous part in the sacred liturgy itself, and in the divine office. Augustine expresses this well when he says: “God praised himself so that man might give him fitting praise; because God chose to praise himself man found the way in which to bless God.” The psalms have also a wonderful power to awaken in our hearts the desire for every virtue. Athanasius says: “The KARDIN~1psalms seem to me to be like a mirror, in which the person using them can see himself, and the stirrings of his own heart; he can recite them against the background of his own emotions.” Augustine says in his Confessions: “How I wept when I heard you hymns and canticles, being deeply moved by the sweet singing of your Church. Those voices flowed into my ears, truth filtered into my heart, and from my heart surged waves of devotion.” Indeed, who could fail to be moved by those many passages in the psalms which set forth so profoundly the infinite majesty of God, his omnipotence, his justice and goodness and clemency, too deep for words, and all the other infinite qualities of his that deserve our praise? Who could fail to be roused to the same emotions by the prayers of thanksgiving to God for blessings received by the petitions, so humble and confident, for blessings still awaited, by the cries of a soul in sorrow for sin committed? Who would not be fired with love as he looks on the likeness of Christ, the redeemer, here so lovingly foretold? His was “the voice” Augustine heard in every psalm, the voice of praise, of suffering, of joyful expectation, of present distress.

And below is a sermon on this same great Saint.  It describes the program for the pontificate of Saint Pius X, the arch-heresy of modernism, and then Pope Saint Pius X’s thorough condemnation of this most destructive but influential heresy.  Both Lamentabilli and Pascendi are discussed, along with the Oath Against Modernism.  It’s a pretty good sermon, though I might have a couple of small quibbles which I’ll just pass over in silence:


Is Pope Francis’ “generous act” towards SSPX more modernist trickery, or perhaps huge gaffe? September 3, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, catachesis, episcopate, error, General Catholic, Papa, persecution, Sacraments, Spiritual Warfare, SSPX, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.

I’ve been waiting for the dust to settle a bit on Pope Francis surprise announcement on Monday, issued in a typically novel manner, making licit the confessions of the SSPX for the Jubilee Year of Mercy 2016.  My first reaction was that this was a generous act.  I then began to see comments that this might be some bit of modernist trickery, some attempt to divide orthodox Catholics against each other on the eve of the Synod.  Others have claimed that while trickery may have been the intent (and the division might happen), if Francis does have great hostility towards the SSPX, he messed up big time, because his act seems to prove the SSPX were right all along, that their confessions were always valid and licit due to an extraordinary crisis providing supplied jurisdiction.

I guess you could say I remain in the muddled middle.  I’m far from being a Francis apologist, but I’m having a bit of a hard time convincing myself this act was all part of some Machiavellian plot.  I recognize Francis’ less than positive qualities I think about as well as anyone, but I still have a possibly naive hope that this act could have been motivated by a genuine desire to do something he perceived as good and generous.  I do think the commentary I’ve seen that Francis may have inadvertantly given more credence to SSPX claims  of supplied jurisdiction is probably some of the more valid I’ve seen thus far.  I don’t think Francis, nor the advisers he surrounds himself with, are particularly able to see the distant implications of many of their actions. Or maybe there are and just don’t care, or are so diabolically brilliant they’re thinking 30 moves ahead of my addled little mind.

Nevertheless, at this point I don’t see enough evidence either way to either lambaste this action as a trick nor praise it as a great breakthrough.

For my money, some of the best analysis I’ve read thus far comes from 1 Peter 5, and this post by P.F. Hawkins.  By best, I mean “from which I learned the most.”  I think you can draw some implications from the below that goes some way towards supporting, or refuting, some of the speculation that is abounding at present:

CLAIM: “The SSPX bishops do not have jurisdiction and are not in full communion, so the priests of the SSPX have never been able to absolve sins in confession”


Generally speaking, the principles outlined in the article are true. Bishops with jurisdiction have to grant canonical faculties to priests in order for absolutions they grant to be valid.

However, in the past, the Vatican has not always acted toward the SSPX as if this were the case. For example, whenever an SSPX priest illicitly hears a confession that touches on one of the sins reserved to the Holy See, the SSPX forwards the proper paperwork to the Holy See to obtain permission to absolve and guidance on what penance should be administered.

Every time the SSPX has done this in the past, the Vatican said that all was “good and licit”, and treated the administration of that sacrament as it would with any priest in good standing.

We thus know that, at least in these limited cases, the Vatican has acknowledged certain absolutions granted by SSPX priests are valid.

Also of note: the Orthodox churches are not in full communion with Rome, but have jurisdiction and therefore valid confessions. So not being in “full communion” has no bearing on whether or not a group’s confessions are valid. It is specifically jurisdiction that does. [Like the Mass, then, they are valid but not licit, although I know many Catholics outside SSPX including Ecclesia Dei communities who argue strongly that they are neither.  I think we have enough confirmations from Vatican sources to know that the Mass is valid but not licit.  Confessions I’m less certain about. Question – does what amounts to an extension of faculties for the year not also make Masses licit, too?]

CLAIM: “the group was canonically dissolved in the 1970s”


It is true that the Vatican withdrew approval for the SSPX in the 1970s. But it is not true that the approval was withdrawn in a canonical manner.

In 1975, Rome sent an Apostolic Visitation to the sole SSPX seminary. All reports indicate that the visitors did not find anything amiss at the seminary, although documentation of the visit has never been released. The visit, however, prompted Archbishop LeFebvre to write a declaration to members of the SSPX. This declaration was used as the sole justification for closing down the seminary.

Given that the justification for shutting down the SSPX was insubstantial, Archbishop LeFebvre appealed his case to the Apostolic Signatura, as was his right in canon law. He received no response whatsoever. His appeal was not rejected; it was simply never heard, or even acknowledged. This can hardly be considered canonical….

CLAIM: Pope Francis’ decision is an “unprecedented act of ecumenism from the Holy Father”


While this act of Pope Francis’ is unprecedented, it is not an act of ecumenism. Ecumenism describes those relationships developed between the Catholic Church and non-Catholic Christian religions. The members of the SSPX are Catholic, and have never been declared to be otherwise.

Cardinal Edward Cassidy, President of the Pontifical Council for Christian unity, perhaps put it best in a 3 May 1994 letter:

“… Regarding your inquiry (March 25, 1994) I would point out at once that the Directory on Ecumenism is not concerned with the Society of St. Pius X. The situation of the members of this Society is an internal matter of the Catholic Church. The Society is not another Church or Ecclesial Community in the meaning used in the Directory. Of course the Mass and Sacraments administered by the priests of the Society are valid. The Bishops are validly, but not lawfully, consecrated…. I hope this answers your letter satisfactorily.”

CLAIM: “Previously, when asked to sign a doctrinal preamble, the current head of the SSPX, Bp. Bernard Fellay, balked.”


While this claim is factually true, this bare sentence omits some important context. Bishop Fellay balked only because the Vatican, at the last minute, added new conditions to the preamble after previously negotiated, mutually acceptable conditions had already been agreed upon. [Widely reported as being conditions foisted on Pope Benedict by elements of the Curia who flipped out at the idea of the SSPX being allowed “back in” without some significant concessions towards “accepting” Vatican II and not criticizing the new Mass]

I’ve seen one disconnect of logic out there that I think bears mentioning.  I have seen it said that the Pope extending faculties for a year means there have always been faculties.  The above notwithstanding, which I think is very interesting, this statement has been made in a manner that is not substantiated, it’s pretty much just a bald assertion.  The fact is, popes in jubilee years in the past have extended all manner of benefits to local subsets of the Church, priests, and souls who accomplish certain acts.  So I don’t know that this act is as significant as it is being made out to be.

As some have already expressed to me, one bad side effect of this extension of faculties is that it could foster even more internecine strife among traditional groups.  Perhaps I’m contributing to that above unintentionally.  That’s not my point.  My point was actually to determine if that pious fear was correct, and it seems that it is.

We can discuss the matter with charity and consideration for the possibility that other’s viewpoints may have some value.  Please no ad hominems or general attacks (e.g., ALL Ecclesia Dei priests are sell outs who offer the Novus Ordo and forbidden to criticize Vatican II, the SSPX are protestants and a cult, etc).

How is it that Christians do not respond to Christ loving them unto death? September 2, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, episcopate, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, manhood, religious, Sacraments, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.

Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori ruminates on the failure of so many Christians to comprehend the depth of God’s love for them, even to the point of becoming a stinking, hairy man made of dirt, and subsequently dying quite probably the most tortuous death ever suffered.  Why are we so ungrateful?  The great Moral Doctor lays it out for us.  We can in fact come best to appreciate Christ’s Sacrifice by meditating on it frequently.

From The Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, as translated by Father Eugene Grimm CSsR (the ONLY version to get!) pp. 269-70:

How is it, then, that so many Christians, although they know by faith that Jesus Christ died for love of them, instead of iconStAlphonsusMariaLiguori3devoting themselves wholly to love and serve Him, devote themselves to offend and despise Him for the sake of brief and miserable pleasures?  Whence comes this ingratitude?  It comes from their forgetfulness of the Passion and death of Jesus Christ.  And, O my God, what will be their remorse and shame at the Day of Judgment, when the Lord shall reproach them with all that He has done and suffered for them?  

Let us not, then, cease, O devout souls, ever to keep before our eyes Jesus crucified, and dying in the midst of torments and insults through love of us.  From the Passion of Jesus Christ all the Saints have drawn those flames of love which made them forget all the good things of this world, and even their own selves, to give themselves up wholly to love and please this Divine Savior, Who so loved men that it seems as if He could not have done more in order to be loved by them.  In a word, the Cross, that is, the Passion of Jesus Christ, is that which will gain for us the victory over all our passions and all the temptations that hell will hold out to us, in order to separate us from God. The Cross is the road and ladder by which we mount to Heaven.  Happy he who embraces it during his life, and does not put it off till the hour of death.  He that dies embracing the Cross has a sure pledge of eternal life, which is promised to all those who follow Jesus Christ with their cross.

O my crucified Jesus!  To make Thyself loved by men, Thou has spared nothing;; Thou hast even given Thy life with a most painful death; how, then can men who love their kindred, their friends, and even animals from whom they receive any token of affection be so ungrateful to Thee as to despise Thy Grace and Thy love, for the sake of miserable and vain delights!  Oh, miserable that I am, I am one of those ungrateful beings who, for things of no worth, have renounced Thy friendship, and have turned my back upon Thee. I have deserved that Thou shouldst drive me from Thy Face, as I have often banished Thee from my heart.  But I know that Thou dost not cease to ask my heart of me; Thou shalt love the Lord Thy God (Dt vi:5).  Yea, O my Jesus, as Thou desirest that I should love Thee and offerest me pardon, I renounce all creatures, and henceforth I desire to love Thee alone, my Creator and my Redeemer.  Thou dost deserve to be the only object of my soul’s love.

O Mary, Mother of God, and refuge of sinners, pray for me; for me the Grace of loving God, and I ask for nothing more.

————End Quote————

I was really struck with that bit about animals.  I see married couples with stickers on their cars who say “We have children with four legs” in the shape of a dog’s paw.  Perhaps a few simply could not have children by accident but given how many today are proudly childless by choice and in fact view children as “life ruining” I imagine there’s quite a bit of crossover between the two.

But I’m just as guilty of putting my love for vain pleasures ahead of my love for Jesus Christ. I hope and pray I’m better at it today than I was 5 years ago but I know I still fail to live my life in accord with God’s Will on an all too frequent basis.  One of the many glories of our religion, however, is the fact that we have Confession and sacramental Grace to make us whole after we fail.  Far too many today, however, simply do not choose to avail themselves of that Grace, or hold themselves above it.  That’s the biggest tragedy of all, and will be a point of bitter remembrance for many souls, I fear, at their particular judgment, knowing how easy forgiveness to obtain and yet still failing to do so.

Lord, may I never be so foolish.  When I fail, which is far too much, may I ever turn to Your mercy in the Sacrament of Confession, and always have true contrition for my sins and the firmest possible purpose of amendment.




Very Big News: Pope Francis grants absolution powers to priests of the Society during Year of Mercy September 1, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, episcopate, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Liturgical Year, Papa, Sacraments, SSPX, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.

I know this is getting talked about everywhere, but it’s pretty big news!  Pope Francis has decreed that in the upcoming Year of Mercy, which corresponds to the 2016 liturgical year (beginning at the start of Advent in 2015), priests in the Society of St. Pius X will be able to licitly hear Confession and grant absolution for the duration of the Year of Mercy.  I agree with Rorate that full regularization of the Society will not happen through negotiations but through a great, unilateral act of leadership on the part of  the Holy Father.  There are further hopeful statements with regard to the canonical situation of the SSPX in Pope Francis’ statement, the key text of which is below (you can go here to read all of it):

A final consideration concerns those faithful who for various reasons choose to attend churches officiated by priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X. This Jubilee Year of Mercy excludes no one. From various quarters, several Brother Bishops have told me of their good faith and sacramental practice, combined however with an uneasy situation from the pastoral standpoint. I trust that in the near future solutions may be found to recover full communion with the priests and superiors of the Fraternity. In the meantime, motivated by the need to respond to the good of these faithful, through my own disposition, I establish that those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins.

There are some other interesting aspects to the letter, as well.  There is mention of the opening of the Holy Door’s of various Roman basilicas and corresponding Holy Doors at selected sites in each diocese (including the cathedral?), to obtain the Indulgence for the Holy Year:

To experience and obtain the Indulgence, the faithful are called to make a brief pilgrimage to the Holy Door, open in every Cathedral or in the churches designated by the Diocesan Bishop, and in the four Papal Basilicas in Rome, as a sign of the deep desire for true conversion. Likewise, I dispose that the Indulgence may be obtained in the Shrines in which the Door of Mercy is open and in the churches which traditionally are identified as Jubilee Churches. It is important that this moment be linked, first and foremost, to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and to the celebration of the Holy Eucharist with a reflection on mercy. It will be necessary to accompany these celebrations with the profession of faith and with prayer for me and for the intentions that I bear in my heart for the good of the Church and of the entire world.

A list of major events planned in Rome for the Year of Mercy is here.  I was a bit surprised there was no special event planned for the family and/or parents, given how much focus there has been on the family with the Synods and all.

I’ll say, I’m not entirely surprised by this.  I felt Pope Francis might use this Year of Mercy to take some conciliatory step towards the Society of St. Pius X.  We now see what that step is.  While this noble act, which seems to constitute a limited extension of faculties, is perhaps not the great breakthrough many have hoped for, it is a most significant and appreciated step in the right direction.  Give credit where due, this is one of the most positive developments of this pontificate.

I think it also a significant commentary on how Pope Francis views the SSPX viz a viz their canonical standing in the Church.  While recognizing their existing irregularity and, I might add, piously hoping for the resolution of their current situation, this gesture seems to this blogger to indicate that Pope Francis does not view the SSPX with the same hostility that some others do, and seems to hold them as basically Catholic.

I think it also interesting to contemplate in a quiet moment the influence Bishop Schneider’s positive assessment of the Society stemming from his recent apostolic visitation may have had on this generous act.  I doubt the two are entirely unrelated.

To be sure, the fundamental problem still remains.  Nevertheless, if I am reading the reaction of a fair number of commentators and pious souls right, many people are energized with new hope for the final resolution of the SSPX’s canonical situation.  May that day come very soon.

Another voice crying in the wilderness for PEACE among traditional Catholics August 31, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Christendom, different religion, Father Rodriguez, General Catholic, Latin Mass, persecution, sanctity, SSPX, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.

Coupled with the post I did on Friday but especially Father Rodriguez’ response, I found Michael Matt’s own plea for peace quite providential.  It seems to have come out a bare day or so after my post, I have no idea whether there is a cause/effect relationship there, or not.  Nevertheless, it was timely and makes a helpful companion to Father Rodriguez’ own call for civility and relative peace among the different tribes of traditional Catholicism:

Once again, I really don’t want to see the comments on this post descend into exactly what Mr. Matt, Father Rodriguez, myself, and many others are trying to prevent – a circular firing squad among traditional Catholics.  That would be most contrary to the spirit of cooperation, true tolerance and understanding we are all trying to foster.  Just a reminder, this blog has never been a “free speech zone.” I’m generally pretty tolerant of comments, even hostile ones, but I’ve always maintained that this blog is primarily MY place for MY ideas and I retain the right to terminate commenting on a given post or subject at any time.

I know a lot of people like a good internet no-holds barred throwdown.  We all have a certain tendency, even need, to justify the conclusions we’ve arrived at.  But let’s start thinking more about traditional Catholicism as a broader movement, as Mr. Matt expresses (and I think Father Rodriguez, who has suffered so much for the good of souls, agrees).  I don’t mean to be repetitive or boring but I think this point has got to be stressed with more and more fervor.  Traditional Catholics as a unified group are starting – maybe barely starting – to attract enough numbers to have a marked influence on the course of the Church.  Divided, however, we are still all probably too small to have an effect. That is exactly what the modernist-progressive cabal – our real opponents in the Church – want to see.  They want us divided and focused as much or more on fighting ourselves as on fighting others.

That is of course not to say that we cannot make necessary distinctions and point out problems and limitations with each traditional group from time to time, in the appropriate context, and always with as much charity as possible.  One signal triumph of the modernists alluded to by Father is that ALL the traditional groups have various problems or compromises attendant to their current mode of existence.  I personally find it very difficult to say that this group’s compromise is less problematic than that group’s irregularity, or vice versa.  What we should all be doing is working towards demanding an end to any compromises or irregularity, rather than shouting at each other about the other guy’s perceived failings.

There, I’m done.  Sorry if I’m thumping the tub real hard on this but I think recent experience indicates this is a subject that needs a lot of reinforcement.

Yes, I get it.

Father Michael Rodriguez on the divisions among traditional Catholics August 31, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, different religion, Father Rodriguez, General Catholic, Latin Mass, manhood, persecution, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, unity, Virtue.

I was blessed to receive the following, very supportive and edifying communique from Father Michael Rodriguez with FatherMichaelRodriguezregard to my post pertaining to CMTV last Friday. I had mentioned in Friday’s post a certain priest being “the best” I’ve ever met – well, Father Rodriguez is surely in that same category but I’m still yet to meet him face to face!  Someday I will, even if only in Heaven, should we be so blessed.

I am in full agreement with every point made below, and I thought the sentiments conveyed were of such grave import and so helpful that they should be shared.  I was elated when Father Rodriguez agreed to let me post his comments.  I pray you find them as consoling and edifying as I did (text begins immediately below, all emphasis in original, if I have any point of disagreement with Father Rodriguez, it is in his praise of the author):

Blessed be Jesus Christ and His most pure Mother!  I want to thank you for the excellent post which your wrote today, “A cry of the heart towards my friends at CMTV.”  Excellent work, TB, may God give you the graces necessary to continue along this narrow path.

I thought your words were prudent, charitable, conciliatory in the best sense, sincere, heartfelt, and TRUE.  I think it is extremely important to get the message out as often as possible that traditional Catholics should not be fighting and attacking each other.  I am convinced that such infighting does not come from God. We do not have to agree on what is the best concrete path to resolve the extremely difficult dilemma of maintaining fidelity to the perennial lex orandi, lex credendi of Holy Mother Church, while also maintaining fidelity to the Church’s Magisterium (both perennial and present), but we should respect and support the fact that many (traditional Catholics) are giving it their best effort.  There are no easy and simple answers to the Gordian knot of fidelity to the Faith vs. obedience, which is one of the things which makes the current Church crisis so nefarious.  Hopefully, one thing is clear:  the real enemy of the Church today is not the FSSP, nor the SSPX, nor the sedevacantists.  The real enemy are the modernists and heretics who have infiltrated to the highest levels of the Church, and those whose disordered passions itch for novelty after novelty, and those wolves who seek to alter the timeless worship and doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ. [One comment: I think this is the key to my point of view – there is so much chaos and confusion in the maxresdefaultChurch today.  Surely I may disagree with the decisions some folks have reached in terms of which approach to Catholicism they feel works best for them, and just as importantly, the souls in their charge, but I am loathe to castigate them strongly for reaching a different conclusion from my own.  So many of these matters are hotly debated even at the highest echelons of the Church that I think it preposterous that lay people attack each other for being of a different tribe. And I do have a strong concern that tribalism is a significant factor in all the conflict among traditional Catholics]

I think all traditional Catholics should  focus their energy on:  (1) doing everything possible to restore the Traditional Latin Mass, and reach out to “Novus Ordo” Catholics to help them appreciate, love, and understand better what has always been the Mass of the Catholic Church, (2) doing everything possible to restore AUTHENTIC Catholic doctrine, especially with regard to ecumenism, religious liberty, the social Kingship of Jesus Christ, collegiality, sexual morality, the nature and proper exercise of Church authority, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Priestood, the Four Last Things, the primacy of the supernatural (vs. the natural), and the primacy of the salvation of souls (vs. saving the earth, social work, ending world hunger, etc.), and to reach out to “Novus Ordo” Catholics to help them appreciate, love, and understand better what has always been the doctrine of the Church, (3) prayer and fasting, (4) promoting the true Message of Our Lady of Fatima, which includes the, as yet undone, Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the Pope in union with all the Bishops of the world.

If fellow traditional Catholics disagree on how best to carry out (1) and (2) above, then I strongly urge these Catholics to focus even more energy on (3), and then, after working with renewed energy at (1) and (2), to dedicate, if necessary, a minor amount of time and energy to discussing their respective differences with patience, charity, understanding, and trust in God’s Providence.


Thank you again, TB, I think you made many, many excellent points in your piece, points which are deserving of serious reflection by all those who sincerely wish to do God’s Will and serve–not themselves, not their own agendas, not their own particular “groups,” but rather–Holy Mother Church.

We are first and foremost Roman Catholics, not adherents to this or that particular “traditionalist group.”  We will do well to remember this, and to be forever grateful to God for opening our minds and hearts to the marvelous treasures of Sacred Tradition.  Fostering this gratitude will keep us humble. [OK, I’ll make one more comment. Some people have been blessed to be born into traditional Catholicism.  Most of us, however, have had to find it ourselves.  We must always remember that, a) not everyone is at our exalted level of personal perfection, and b) not everyone will necessarily arrive at the same end point we find just right for ourselves. That doesn’t mean they are less Catholic or bad people, for some, they may greatly exceed us in time (or now), for others, we trust that God knows that some other end point is best for them.]

I hope and pray that CMTV, the FSSP, and the SSPX do their utmost to adhere to points (1) and (2) above.  May God bless them all in this work.  TB, may God bless your work and efforts . . . thanks again!

Ad Iesum per Maríam,

Fr. Michael Rodríguez
Diocese of El Paso

———–End Quote————

TB = Tantumblogo, not tuberculosis.  Just so we’re clear.

Responses to Friday’s post have run the gamut from very supportive to very hostile.  Closer proximity to CMTV seems to correlate strongly with hostility, which, duh.  In which case, the post has failed, because the hope was not to stir up still more hostility but to engender a step back and reappraisal.  Judging by the responses received thus far, that seems unlikely to happen, but I will continue to pray.

Whatever failures of memory or charity I may have had in my post, focusing on those I think misses the point. The point is that a goodly number of longtime CMTV viewers, supporters, friends and allies generally share my sentiments. And if it were me, that would be a cause for worry and reexamination.  I know from seeing comments from very far afield dating back many moons that the concerns I expressed have been conveyed by many others in many other contexts.  So, I think I am far from alone.

At any rate, the core of what I was hoping to convey is really put forth much better by Father Rodriguez.  I don’t mean to re-open old wounds by this post, but to close them, and to that end I’m announcing two things:

  1. I have said my peace regarding CMTV and regard the matter as closed. I will happily broadcast any positive developments
  2. I will terminate commenting on this post if it descends into a pro/anti SSPX fracas.  

The very point of this post, and the next one, is to prevent #2 from occurring.  I was away over the weekend as is usual and comments took an unfortunate turn.  No mas.


Weekend watching August 28, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, General Catholic, Glory, history, Our Lady, Papa, SOD, the struggle for the Church, Tradition.
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Something old, something new for you to watch this weekend.  First, a very cool video, unfortunately in French, from JP Sonnen showing the Declaration of the Dogma of the Assumption by Venerable Pope Pius XII in 1950, in (mostly) glorious, living color:

The good old days, indeed. Rome and Saint Peter’s as it looked in the early 50s.  Sede gestoria and all! St. Peters brilliantly lit in candlelight! Unfortunately there was a serpent writhing just under the surface in all these scenes.  Incredible how far and fast the Church fell from this, to the first session of Vatican II.

On a more sour note (maybe watch the first video first, to feel better afterwards?) Johnnie V and Chris Ferrara discuss whether Catholics should fear the reaper Synod:

Second part here if you want to watch it.

More cowbell.


A cry of the heart towards my friends at CMTV – UPDATED August 28, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, blogfoolery, General Catholic, Latin Mass, manhood, sadness, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, Virtue, Voris.
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Update: An important update added to the first post-script below.  I also changed some verbiage in paras 3-6, particularly to shift emphasis from a certain third party that did not need to be mentioned.  I altered greatly the last two sentences of paragraph 5 because it came out much rougher and with darker implications than I intended.  I swore I changed that, and re-read this post several times before publishing, but apparently not.  For that unnecessarily dark implication, I apologize.

The below is my own personal impression of the severe decay of a once most promising apostolate.  They are strictly my own impressions and reminiscences.

It has been difficult for me to observe the changes that have afflicted Church Militant TV – formerly Real Catholic TV – over the past 2-3 years.  During the period 2010-2012, I collaborated with Michael Voris a great deal.  I, with Vicki Middleton’s (God rest her pious soul) gracious help, arranged to bring Michael Voris to Dallas for a talk in March of 2012.  He stayed at our house for 3 days.  We got along splendidly.  He was honest, forthright, utterly sincere, and conveyed a clear understanding of the crisis that has afflicted the Church up to and including the role of the conciliar and post-conciliar popes in that crisis.  I was thoroughly impressed and felt I was in the presence of a man who could really make a difference.

In fact, I would say that, until mid-2013, there was not a single topic on which we could be said to disagree.  It was around this time however that the various reactions towards this pontificate began to manifest themselves. Some well-intentioned catechesis began to get around on the subject of souls, reacting to this pontificate, placing themselves under the care of the SSPX.  Some of this catechesis was very strong.  Be that as it may, the man who provides a great deal of CMTV’s funding and who seems to have had an increasing influence on editorial content in the past few years, in particular, took some of this catechesis and ran with it, so to speak, influencing, over time, CMTV’s approach to topics related to the SSPX, criticism of the pontificate, and some related matters.

I really believe I first began to witness a change infecting CMTV during the latter half of 2013.  I believe it was this individual’s influence that served as a catalyst, at least, to later developments at CMTV regarding the SSPX, etc.

It was in the latter half of 2013 that this same individual began, privately, sending out a new, very negative position CMTV was going to stake out with regard to the SSPX. I’m not going to argue the merits of that position. However, he tried mightily to win me over to his very hostile view towards the Society.  I simply don’t see the Society as being a major threat to souls today, certainly not anything that remotely compares to the dangers stemming from the modernists, the Synod, and this pontificate. When I refused to go along, it became apparent that a certain distance would open between myself and that organization, closing off most future avenues for future collaboration.  There are other individuals who have experienced the same, that this issue regarding the SSPX and papal criticism was really a make or break one with respect to collaboration with CMTV.

The amazing thing is, privately, some folks at CMTV have, privately, inveighed quite harshly against Pope Franics. It is not a matter of not seeing the manifest problems.  In fact I’ve heard some of the key players at CMTV say things regarding Pope Francis (privately) that go much beyond anything I or many others have written.  But because they’ve gotten totally twisted off on this notion of “never criticize the pope publicly, no matter what,” and the complimentary notion that any criticism of the Pope will cause huge numbers of souls to “fly” to the SSPX, they refuse to broach this belief in public.  Which, frankly, I’m fine with.  If CMTV wants to privately counsel souls to avoid the SSPX and point out all the problems they perceive in that organization, fine. If they feel criticizing the Pope is not the right thing for them to do, fine.  But they haven’t left it at that.  They have waged unremitting war against those who feel differently and have spread ugliness and ill-will far and wide, including among many good people who have been in the struggle to restore the Church far, far longer than Michael Voris or “the funder” have been. 

I don’t think I’m alone, but I have noticed a substantial change in demeanor at CMTV.  There have been many examples posted of late of prior media content CMTV/RCTV produced that appears to disagree substantially with their current editorial stands.  And so much of that prior material was really very, very good!  Recently, the episode surrounding Bishop Schneider was frankly humiliating for CMTV. No one outside their most slavish devotees is buying what they’re selling in that bizarre exchange.

But when I say change, I’m referring to something more.  I sense a negativity, a sort of dour imperiousness, that didn’t used to be so apparent, did it? I won’t say too much, but personnel is policy, and it could be this is the effect the influence of (a) certain individual(s).  Even when castigating some grave scandal in the Church back in 2010 or 2011, Michael Voris had a certain……I’m not sure what the right word is, joyfulness, or a certain amount of levity…….that, to me, showed the love he had in his heart but also that he did not take himself too seriously, just yet.  I don’t get that same vibe anymore, what I sense is something darker, more angry.  Could it be self-interest?  I pray not, and wouldn’t say so, either, just yet.  Maybe it’s simply my imagination, but I have to wonder if this combat they’ve chosen to wage against “traditional Catholics” has not taken a huge toll.  It is almost impossible to engage in bitter combat and harsh exchanges day in and day out and not be affected by it.  I find it increasingly painful to watch a lot of their new content.  I am heartbroken they haven’t had the wherewithal to step back, take a broader look at their policies and product, and contemplate taking a different course.  That doesn’t have to mean surrender.  But just let it drop, no one is convincing anyone of anything, that I can tell.

I’ve been watching their Youtube views, in a casual manner,  for some time, and while I certainly could be wrong, their views appear to have dropped off substantially. That would make sense, given that they seem to have had an almost deliberate desire to offend a very large portion of their target audience.  They have, to my mind, unnecessarily turned off a lot of people who wished them well and would have gladly been collaborators and supporters.  Their content has become, to me, repetitive and increasingly off-target because they refuse to discuss the most pressing topic in the Church today.  In fact, it seems increasingly hypocritical to just eviscerate bishops and cardinals, even to the point of declaring them excommunicate and demanding their resignations, while ignoring the man, or men, who put and keep those bishops and cardinals in their positions.

It’s all so sad.  I’ve avoided writing on this subject for a long time.  Maybe I’ll just spike this post, as I’ve trashed another half dozen like it over the past 12 monts.  I’m going to post this time as a sort of cri de couer to CMTV to reexamine their editorial priorities, though, based on some inside experience of their decision-making, I’m skeptical it will do much good.  I think their decision-making process is a big part of the problem.

The thing is, I know the staff at CMTV have always been very well-intentioned.  In my experience dealing with them up to perhaps 18 months or so ago, they were totally focused on opposing the crisis in the Church, working towards a rightly-ordered restoration, and maintaining a constant focus on the good of souls.  I’m sure that’s still the case, and certainly pray that is so.  Unfortunately, this particular line of combat they’ve chosen to pursue seems to be increasingly undermining the very good they seek to do.  That’s the main point of tragedy in it all.

PS – I have often defended Michael Voris against accusations he is a member of Opus Dei, and that it is his Opus Dei connection that drives his refusal to countenance papal criticism.  His first major (or a major early) funder/collaborator, Marc Brammer, was certainly in Opus Dei.  I used swear I recalled being told by MV that he is not in Opus Dei and has no affiliation with them, but my certainty has waned over the past year.  Some folks have brought forth a bit of evidence of a connection.  At this point I’m still skeptical but who knows. UPDATE: So I went back over some communiques several years old and found what I’d describe as clear and convincing evidence from several years ago that Michael Voris has no connection whatsoever with Opus Dei.  I found another defense from much more recently that I think also pretty clearly dispels this accusation. Those put the matter to rest in my mind.

PPS – Another thought.  We have seen repeatedly in recent years the deleterious effect celebrity can have on pious Catholics.  We all know the experience of Fr. Corapi. It is almost impossible – it takes truly saintly virtue – not to be affected by constant adulation, throngs of people hanging on your every word, tons of subscribers, and all the rest.  That is one reason I have refused  many, MANY offers to expand “my media presence” by being on more notable radio shows, tying in with much bigger, more widely read blogs, putting my name really out there in the open, etc.  In fact, it’s probably THE major reason why I don’t, I know who I am and I would easily fall into that trap should I start to get lots of kudos and affection.  The few people who know me, you’re fine, please don’t feel shy, but hopefully you get what I mean, it’s one thing to have 50 or 100 people who know who you are and like your stuff, and another to have 50,000 or 100,000, to be treated as a hero wherever you go.

PPPS – I’m probably going to regret this post. I am not posting this to make enemies, even if I know it is possible it will be viewed that way.  I don’t view anyone as an enemy, though I know some who do. I want to repeat that I think everyone on every side in this fracas – Michael Voris, Terry Carroll, Matt, Ferrara, Vennari, the SSPX, the FSSP, etc., all are completely honest actors and doing what they think is absolutely vital according to virtue and what is best for souls.  I hope this post will be taken in the same sense.  May we all treat each other accordingly.

Ah, well……it’s past time I got this off my chest, anyway.

Sorry, it took me a very long time to write this.  I’m out of time.

No man can serve two masters, says the Lord August 27, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, It's all about the $$$, Liturgical Year, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
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A very good study on excessive love of money from Dom Prosper Gueranger:

No man, says our Lord, can serve two masters; and these two masters are, God and mammon.  Mammon means riches. Riches are not, of their own nature, bad. [Which, thank God for us, because we Americans and indeed all developed countries are fantastically rich today compared to even the very wealthiest in a historical sense.  Two hundred  years ago even the richest had no refrigeration, forced air heating, telephones, smart phones, etc, but today almost every one does but the very, very poorest]  When lawfully acquired, and used agreeably to the designs of God, riches help the possessor to gain true goods for his soul; he stores up for himself, in the kingdom of his eternal home, treasures which neither thieves nor rust can reach.  Ever since the Incarnation, wherein the Divine Word espoused poverty to Himself, it is the poor that are heaven’s nobility.  And yet, the mission of the rich man is a grand one: he is permitted to be rich in order that he may be God’s minister to make all the several portions of material creation turn to their Creator’s glory.  God graciously vouchsafes to entrust into his hands the feeding and supporting of the dearest of His children, that is, the poor, the indigent and suffering members of His Christ. He calls him to uphold the interest of His Church, and be the promoter of works connected with the salvation of men.  He confides to him the upkeep and beautification of His temples. [Would that more money had been spent to that purpose, and much better spent, over the past 70 years or so!] Happy that man, and worthy of all praise, who thus directly brings back to the glory of God the fruits of the earth, and the precious metals she yields from her bosom.

Let not such a man fear: it is not of him that Jesus speaks those anathemas uttered so frequently by Him against the rich ones of this world.  He has but one Master – the Father, who is in Heaven, whose steward he humbly and gladly acknowledges himself to be. Mammon does not domineer over him; on the contrary, he makes her his servant, and obliges her to minister to his zeal in all good works.  The solicitude he takes in spending his wealth in acts of justice and charity, is not that which the Gospel blames; for, in all such solicitude, he is but following our Lord’s precept, of seeking first the Kingdom of God; and the riches which pass through his hands in the furtherance of good works, do not distract his thoughts from that Heaven where his heart is, because his true treasure is there…..[Rather contrary to much rhetoric we hear in the Church today, no, where there is frequently the sneering implication that one cannot become wealthy without somehow doing over the poor, like wealth is a zero sum game?]

……It is quite otherwise when riches, instead of being regarded as a simple means, become the very end of a man’s existence, and that to such an extent as to make him neglect, yea, and sometimes forget, his last end.  ‘The ways of the covetous man.” says Scripture, “destroys the souls of the possessors” (Prov i:19). The Apostle explains this by saying that the love of money drives a man into temptation and the snares of the devil, by the countless unprofitable and hurtful desires it excites within him; it drowns men in destruction and perdition, making them even barter away their faith.  And yet, the more an avaricious man gets, the less he spends.  [I have known people, God rest their souls, like this, but I think the problem tends to be the opposite today even among the wealthy – living beyond their means, spending every cent they earn] To nurse his treasure, to gaze upon it, to be thinking of it all day and night…..that is what he lives for; and his money becomes at last his idol.  Yes, mammon is not merely his master, whose commands are obeyed before all others, but it is his god, before which he sacrifices friends, relatives, country, and himself, for he devotes, and……..throws away his whole soul and body to his idol.  

Let us not be astonished at the Gospel (Mt VI) declaring that God and mammon are irreconcilable enemies; for, who was it but mammon that had our Lord Jesus sacrificed for only thirty pieces of silver? Of all the devils in hell, is there one whose hideous guilt is deeper than the fallen angel who prompted Judas to sell the Son of God to His executioner?  It is teh avaricious who alone can boast of deicide!  The vile love of money, which the Apostle defines as the root of all evils (I Tim vi:10), can lay claim to having produced the greatest crime that was ever perpetrated!  

———End Quote———

So, if you’re wealthy, be generous, I think the narrow point this can be reduced down to is, in our president’s words, to share the wealth, both with the Church, and with the poor and indigent.  I believe my kids qualify, since their independent income is very low, the bums.  By that standard, I’m amazingly charitable, probably 90+% of my net income goes to the wife and kids.  Oh yeah…..duty.

Here’s a small aside: how many of you readers with older teens encourage them to work?  I started working when I was 13 but my oldest two teen daughters have not, aside from some occasional babysitting.  My wife is worried about what they’d be exposed to in most entry-level jobs.  I’m not sure how valid a concern that is.  For me, I’d like them to start to learn about how much work it takes to earn a certain amount of money, the effect of taxation, and lessons about the value of skills in terms of earning power.  It’s one thing to understand these things theoretically, and another to see all those dollars disappear from your paycheck into the black hole of government wealth transfer schemes.

Any thoughts or shared experiences?

Penance and mortification are vital in the practice of the interior life August 26, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Interior Life, Liturgical Year, mortification, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
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An interesting exegesis from Dom Prosper Gueranger on the vital role of penance and mortification in the development of virtue and growth in sanctity.  Penance and mortification have tended to get short shrift among Catholics in the past century or so, with today’s minimal penitential requirements being a faint shadow of those regularly practiced by our forefathers in the Faith.  The direction given below may seem harsh, and we should not go off into penitential extremes without the approval of a good confessor, but at the same time, I think there is a bit too much resistance toward these kinds of penitential acts which at one time were quite routine.  I think priests should perhaps be a bit more open-minded when it comes to permitting souls to engage in penances they feel called towards.

From the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Vol. 11 of The Liturgical Year:

Penance and mortification differ in this; that penance is a debt of justice, incumbent on the sinner; mortification is a duty commanded by prudence; which duty becomes that of every Christian who is not foolish enough to pretend to be out of the reach of concupiscence. Is there anyone living who could honestly say that he has fully acquitted himself of these two duties, that he has satisfied the claims of God’s justice, and that he has stifled every germ of his evil passions? All spiritual masters, without exception, teach that no man who is desirous either of perfection or of salvation should limit himself to the rules of simple temperance, that cardinal virtue which forbids excess in pleasures of every kind. This, they tell us, is not enough; and that the Christian, taking up another virtue, namely fortitude, must from time to time refuse himself even lawful gratifications; must impose privations on himself which are not otherwise of obligation; must even inflict punishment on himself in the manner and measure permitted him by a discreet director. 

Amidst the thousands of holy writers who treat of this point of asceticism, let us listen to the amiable and gentle St.Francis de Sales.  ‘If’,’ says he, in his Introduction to a Devout Life – ‘if you can bear fasting you would do well to fast on certain days, beyond those fasts which the Church commands us to observe….’even when one does not fast much, yet does the enemy fear us all the more when he sees that we know how to impose a fast on ourselves. Wednesday, Fridays, and Saturdays were the days whereon the Christians of former times most practiced abstinence. Therefore, do you choose out of these for your fasts, as far as your devotion and the discretion of your director will counsel you to do…..The discipline, when taken, with moderation, possesses a marvelous power for awakening the desire for devotion.  The hair-shirt is efficacious in reducing the body to subjection…….on days which are especially devoted to penance, one may wear it, the advice of a discreet confessor having been previously taken.” Thus speaks the learned Doctor of the Church, the saintly Bishop of Geneva, whose sweet prudence is almost proverbial; and there to whom he address these instructions are persons living in the world. In the world, quite as much as in the cloister, the Christian life, if seriously taken up, imperatively requires this incessant war of the spirit against the flesh.  Let that war cease, and the flesh speedily usurps the sway, and reduces the soul to the state of torpor, be either seizing her very first attempts at virtue and chilling them into apathy, or by plunging her, at a single throw, deep in the the filth of sin. [Thus we can see how laxity in penance, even encouraged for various well-meant but perhaps utlimately unhelpful reasons by those in Church authority, has played a leading role in participating the crisis in the Faith, reducing souls to torpor and weak against the wiles of the world, the flesh, and the devil.   Practice as much penance as you can, and pray for me, for I am weak!  I will pray for you!  And yes my wife+baby are doing fine, so far, thank you!]

Neither is it to be feared that affability in the Christian’s social intercourse will be in any way impaired by this energy of self-mortification. That virtue which is based on such forgetfulness of oneself, as to make him love discomfort and suffering for God’s sake, does not render such a man one whit less pleasing in company, or rob the friendly circle he frequents of one single charm……….The Day of Judgment will give a strange lesson to those many good-for-nothing and cowardly Christians who feel sure that everyone of their acquaintance is as fond of easy going softness as they themselves are!

————-End Quote————-

Well, perhaps Dom Gueranger could make that claim 150 years ago, not so sure about today.  But we might have a surprise here or there.


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