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St. Alphonsus on aid to the souls in Purgatory March 13, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Four Last Things, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, Saints, sanctity, true, true leadership, Virtue.
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From The Great Means of Salvation and Perfection, pp.21-22.  As always with St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori’s books, make sure to get the versions translated by Fr. Eugene Grimm, CSsR.

St. Alphonsus notes our duty to the souls in Purgatory, arguing persuasively that failure to pray for them is not just a failure to perform a good act, but an actual sin of negligence and lack of charity:alph red037

On the other hand, since it is certain, and even of faith [that is, it is de fide – the highest level of belief required of Catholics, that the souls in Purgatory benefit from our prayers and penances on their behalf, something protestants violently deny] , that by our suffrages, and chiefly by our prayers, as particularly recommended and practiced by the Church, we can relieve those Holy Souls in Purgatory, I do not know how to excuse that man from sin who neglects to give them some assistance, at least by his prayers. [St. Alphonsus, the Great Moral Doctor, feels it is a sin not to pray for the souls in Purgatory]  If a sense of duty will not persuade us to succor them, Misa_con_ngeleslet us think of the pleasure it will give Jesus Christ to see us endeavoring to deliver his beloved spouses from prison, in order that he may have them with Him in paradise. Let us think of the store of merit which we can lay up by practicing this great act of charity; let us think, too, that those souls are not ungrateful, and will never forget the great benefit we do them in relieving them of their pains, and in obtaining for them, by our prayers, anticipation of their entrance into glory; so that, when they are there they will never neglect to pray for us.

And if God promises mercy to him who practices mercy towards his neighbor – “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy” (Mt V:7)- he may reasonably expect to be saved who remembers to assist those souls so afflicted, and yet so dear to God…….RIBBONS OF LIVING WATER

……So we may expect, that if any of us ever obtains, by his prayers, the liberation of a soul from Purgatory, that soul will say to God: “Lord, suffer not him who has delivered me from my torments to be lost.”………God will not refuse the salvation of a Christian to the prayers of a soul which is his own spouse.  Moreover, St. Augustine says that God will cause those who in this life have most succored those holy souls, when they come to Purgatory themselves, to be most succored by others. I may here observe that, in practice, one of the best suffrages is to hear Mass for them, and during the Holy Sacrifice to recommend them to God by the merits and Passion of Jesus Christ. 

—————-End Quote————–

There is a list of intentions I offer every time I assist at Mass, and the Holy Souls are one of the most prominent items on that list.  It is also vital to always have the intention at Mass of offering our assistance thereat in penance for our sins and for our heartfelt and total conversion to God’s Will.

But it is almost certain all of us have some souls near to us who are languishing in Purgatory.  Others are unknown to us, distant forbears, perhaps, who have been in Purgatory for centuries of time, even though time does not exist in eternity, from our perspective, they have been there a very long time. So have a general intention for all friends, family members, friends of family members, all the poor holy souls suffering in Purgatory.  But it is very helpful to have a list in mind of our deceased relatives.

And, of course, having Masses offered for the repose of certain souls is the most salutary way to aid them in completing their period of purgation.  Most souls are freed from Purgatory during Mass.

And Lord, please touch the hearts of all  your servant bishops that they may cooperate with Grace as St. Alphonsus did.  Make them great Saints – we desperately need them!


Dietrich von Hildebrand on how to respond to the crisis in the Church January 14, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Christendom, disaster, episcopate, error, General Catholic, Papa, reading, sadness, scandals, the return, true, Virtue.
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I’ve been excerpting from Dietrich von Hildebrand’s seminal study of the post-conciliar crisis – The Devastated Vineyard – for  the past week.  While there are still some bits I think worth sharing, I think I’m going to conclude this “coverage” today, so I can move onto The Reform of the Roman Liturgy by Msgr. Klaus Gamber (a book Pope Benedict strongly endorsed).

Today, we’re going to hit the conclusion to Dr. von Hildebrand’s book, Chapter 27.  In this, he sums up all he’s said before, but with some extra punch and vigor.  I will add emphasis and comments as usual, and I’m warning you now, this is going to be a long post.

Padre Pio told a friend of mine who was deploring many of the liturgical changes, “You are right – but Christ has not abandoned us. He is still present in the Tabernacle, and the Holy Sacrifice still takes place objectively!”  [Although, it is widely believed that Padre Pio, who died in 1968, never offered the “reformed” Mass.]  And so it is clear that the attitude of resignation, of despair over the Church, is not the right response. 

Another false response, and perhaps the most dangerous one, would be to imagine that there is no devastation of the vineyard of the Lord, that it only seems so to us – our task as laymen is simply to adhere with complete loyalty to whatever our bishop says and not to dare to pass judgment on all those things which I have referred to in this book as elements of the devastation of the vineyard of the Lord.  This is the attitude which, as mentioned above, is demanded precisely by the bishops who pursue an ostrich-policy of willful blindness and who as a result regard as annoying disturbers of the peace all those who protest against heresies and the devastation of the Church.

[The next two paragraphs are extremely important….] At the basis of this attitude is a false idea of loyalty to the hierarchy.  When the pope speaks ex cathedra on faith or morals, then unconditional acceptance and submission is required of every Catholic. But it is false to extend this loyalty to encyclicals in which new theses are proposed.  This is not to deny that the Magisterium of the Church extends much farther than the dogmas.  If an encyclical deals with a question of faith or morals and is based on the tradition of the Holy Church – that is, expresses something which the Church has always taught – then we should humbly accept its teaching. This is the case with the encyclical Humanae Vitae; although we do not have here the strict infallibility of a defined dogma, the content of the encyclical nevertheless belongs to that sphere of the Church’s Magisterium which we must accept as true. 

But there are many encyclicals which deal with very different questions and which express a response of the Church to certain new conditions. Thus the encyclical of the great Pope Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno, with its idea of a corporate state, differs on sociological questions with the encyclicals of Paul VI.  But when it is a question of practical ordinances such as concordats, or the suppression of the Jesuit order by Pope Clement XIV, or the introduction of the new missal, or the rearrangements of the Church calendar, or the new rubrics for the Liturgy, then our obedience (as Vatican I declares), but by no means our agreement is required…..In the history of the Church there have been many unfortunate ordinances and practical decisions by popes, which have then been retracted by other popes.  In such matters we may, while obeying an ordinance, with all due respect express opposition to it, pray for its elimination, and address many appeals to the pope. [This is really key.  I am hearing from certain quarters that it is always and everywhere wrong, even sinfully wrong, to ever criticize or voice disagreement with even the most prudential, non-directive statements/actions of a pope (non-directive meaning acts or statements that do not contain in them some exhortation to the faithful to obedience, and/or some call to action or even inaction).  I think this is a distortion of the understanding of obedience to the hierarchy and is in fact quite dangerous to the Faith and the good of souls.  This is not to make any particular criticism.  I am simply saying that so exalting any and every utterance of every pope to a degree that it is impermissible to voice even a respectful disagreement is a form of ultramontanism which has enormous potential to grievously wound the Church.  Doing so could make amockery of Tradition, and could see the Church witness wild swings from one extreme to another.  Fr. Ray Blake alluded to this in a recent post.  What I find interesting, is that this “impermissibility” of criticism or disagreement seems to apply only to the currently reigning pope.  I have seen or heard criticisms of PAST popes from some of those exhorting souls to never disagree with the current pope.  And I have seen some of these folks absolutely castigate those lower in the hierarchy.  What is also left unsaid, is that it is very possible for actions or statements from a current pope to be tacit, or even open, pointed rebukes of previous pontiffs.  Thus, agreeing with, or at least maintaining a sort of semi-quietist mentality of “pray, pay, and obey,” involves one at least indirectly with that tacit or open rebuke.  Anyway, here is at least one great theologian maintaining that it is permissible to disagree with even the highest authority on certain matters, provided it is done respectfully and with the right intent (the good of souls!).]

This holds even more for the ordinances of a bishop, especially in a time when there are bishops who belong to a kind of “fifth column” in the Church, and when there are many other bishops who, while not belonging to it, nevertheless fear public opinion more than God, and thus always swim with the tide of the times, or at least do not dare to take up the fight against prevailing tendencies……

……We have to realize that our time is like that of Arianism, and so we have to be extremely careful lest we be poisoned ourselves without noticing it.  [We live in unprecedented times in the history of the Church.  Never before, not in the protestant revolt, not in the Arian heresy, has so much of the Church openly embraced what has always been considered error.  We have confusing, troubling, or worse statements or actions from even the highest levels of the Church.  But it should be noted, and will be apparent to any student of early Church history, that priests and bishops, most all of them Saints, did not think it impossible to correct, or even rebuke, a pope.  St. Hilary of Poitiers, St. Jerome, St. Cyprian of Carthage, several other eastern Saints, all did so at various times.]    We must not underestimate the power of those ideas which fill the intellectual atmosphere of the time, nor the danger of being infected by them when we are daily breathing this atmosphere. Nor should we underestimate the danger of getting used to the evils of the times, and then becoming insensitive to them.  At first perhaps many people see the devastation of the vineyard, and react in the right way.  But after a while one becomes accustomed to it. Then, too, there is this to consider, that the devastation of the vineyard is an increasing process, and so certain evils which belong to the earlier stages, seem harmless in the light of the later stages.  And so we are in danger of becoming insensitive, on the one hand, because the devastation progresses, and its beginnings seem insignificant in the light of its advanced forms.

But it is still worse to become infected than to be insensitive. The first thing to be done in order to avoid both dangers is to realize completely how extraordinary is the situation in which we live today.  St. Peter tells us, “Brethren, be watchful and sober, for your adversary the devil goes about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour….

…..Today these trends [of error and disobedience]  are able to develop within the Church. We can clearly discern them in sermons, in pastoral letters, and in books by well known authors.  Since these bad trends encounter so little resistance within the Church, it has become much more difficult for the simple faithful to grasp their incompatibility with the deposit of Faith. [And how many souls have been led astray?  Millions.  That is one prime reason I started this blog, to try to reach some souls who were about to expose themselves (four years ago) to a dangerous Lenten retreat hosted by a new age sister, all with the blessing and approval of local authorities.]  Thus, St. Peter’s exhortation to watchfulness applies today in a special way to watchfulness with respect to heresies within the Church.  We must constantly determine whether sermons, or new books, do not contain something heretical, or some basically false emphasis.  The Imprimatur used to be a great guarantee, and especially the Index [of forbidden books.  The Imprimatur is no longer a guarantee a book is free from error, which is an enormous scandal.  The faithful are left, more or less, to fend for themselves in discerning truth from error].  But today we have to develop in ourselves a special awareness, a holy mistrust, [Isn’t that sad! Isn’t that a damning indictment, that the faithful have to be mistrustful of many sources within the Church, because few if any in authority will perform that sacred, vital duty for which they have been commissioned by God?!] for we not only live in a poisoned world, but in a devastated Church.  In our present trial God requires of us this watchfulness, this holy fear of being infected. It would be a lack of humility to think that we are in no danger of being infected. It would be a false security rooted in pride if we were to think that we are immune.  Each of us must become aware of his frailty, and understand that this special watchfulness is required of us by God in the trial which we are going through……..

[This next part is a bit out of order, but it’s a critical conclusion on how we must respond to the crisis…..]  Our response must be……a growth in faith, hope, and charity.  Is not the devastation of the vineyard of the Lord an exhortation to love God, Christ, and His Holy Church more than ever? Do we not betray Christ if we turn away in disgust?  Should not we of all people strive to see that true beauty  of the vineyard of teh Lord, which objectively must be to work for the glorification of God, and toward our own personal sanctification, and to oppose this-worldliness by our own unconditional imitation of Christ. 

This has of course become more difficult.  We are not longer surrounded by the radiance of the Holy Church as we were before the Council…….Today our Faith no longer has the great support and help of previous generations, and it has to penetrate through much which is foreign to this sacred world in order to reach that tremendous and sacred event, the mystery of the unbloody re-enactment of Calvary, and of the union of love between our soul and Jesus in Communion.  This is precisely why the devastation of the vineyard of the Lord is a time when our faith is tried, when we are called upon to grow in faith, hope, and charity.  But it is a time of trial which demands a completely new kind of watchfulness……

————-End Quote————

I don’t have much to add to that, other than that we must not give up hope, nor the Faith!  Stay strong, no matter how bad things are!  This is a test, and we must remain faithful to Christ and His Holy Church, even when it pains us.  But that does not mean we have to remain silent in the face of error, abuse, dissent, or outright heresy, and the danger they pose to souls.  We can always present that constant belief and practice of the Faith to other souls!  I will continue to do so, God willing!

Foremost of all, however, we must practice virtue in a heroic degree.  These ARE the times that try men’s souls, but this is also a great time, a time when souls that overcome all the obstacles can achieve heroic practice of the Faith.  We CAN be Saints!  Don’t let anyone stop you from becoming one because of some goofy or even destructive things they say or do!  If we are faithful, we WILL win!



Dumbstruck Congregation Listens in Awe as “Judgmental” Pastor Delivers Sound Homily November 14, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, fun, General Catholic, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, silliness, Society, true.
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How could he!  What’s wrong with this priest!  Doesn’t he know “judging” is the only sin in the universe! How could he actually make people feel bad!  They had to have a double decaf soy latte after Mass just to recover!

Eye of the Tiber strikes again:

Listening in shock and horror as a visiting priest delivered what many believed to be a judgmental homily earlier this morning, many parishioners at Sacred Heard Catholic Church in Encinitas, California, were traumatized after listening to what some called “the most sound homily they had ever heard.” “It was disgusting,” one parishioner, Debbie Locke, told EOTT. “This is a Church for goodness sakes.” Others also voiced their concerns saying that such filth should never be spoken anywhere, let alone in a church. “This is the house of God!” parishioner Bob Woodward said. “Is there no place left in the world where we can avoid hatred, injustice, judgment, and sound Catholic doctrine!” According to Woodward, a world that “did not allow for a women’s right to choose, or for two men to love one another” was not a world deserving of the King of Kings. The baffled and furious parishioner went on to explain how he was forced to flee Denver years ago after noticing a more prevalent and uncomfortable trend of sound homilies coming from several pulpits around the diocese. “The Bishop was doing nothing about it, so I fled with my family from Denver so that we could get away from that kind of critical and unwelcoming attitude. I chose to flee so that my Catholic children could grow up in a world that is accepting of all things…even if they’re not even remotely close to being in the same vicinity of being in line with Catholic teaching.”

And even if those children subsequently left the Church they never really knew, never to return.

Check out Eye of the Tiber from time to time to lighten things up.  It’s consistently hilarious.

Here’s another great one: “Man Dressed As Tabernacle At Halloween Party Ignored; Is Moved To Corner Of Room.”


USCCB announces Novena to end abortion/mark Roe v. Wade anniversary January 17, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, contraception, episcopate, General Catholic, Interior Life, sanctity, secularism, sickness, Society, true.
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It seems sad they have to refer to this as “Nine Days of Prayer…..” as opposed to a Novena.  Well, it does incorporate penance and pilgrimage (?), so shut me up, I guess.

The United States Conference of Conference of Catholic Bishops has announced “Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage” around January 22, the 40th anniversary Roe v. Wade– the Supreme Court decision that struck down laws protecting unborn human life.

“The bishops recognize that prayer is the foundation of all our efforts on behalf of human life,” said Tom Grenchik, executive director of the USCCB’s Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities. “These nine days of focused prayer and sacrifice are a great opportunity for people across the nation to unite their voices in prayer to God.”

The nine days will take place from January 19 to 27; events include the National Prayer Vigil for Life (January 24-25) and the March for Life (January 25). Interested Catholics can sign up to receive novena prayers by e-mail or text message. Other suggested activities include special Masses and holy hours.

The “Nine Days of Prayer, Penance and Pilgrimage” are part of the US bishops “Call to Prayer for Life, Marriage, and Religious Liberty,” in which the bishops have requested [stop requesting and DEMAND something for a change!  Make it compulsory, we like being ordered around!] a monthly holy hour, daily Rosary, and fast and abstinence on all Fridays until the Feast of Christ the King in November.

I’d put some information up from the USCCB website, but the site must be down, I couldn’t get through. Probably due to being overwhelmed by the throngs of Catholics, tens of millions of them, hitting the site to sign up for the Novena.  Given the USCCB’s track record with prayers, forgive me for not getting my hopes us too much – money says the word “help” is featured at least 7 times.

Seriously, a Novena is nice, it’s a good idea, and I wish I could see the prayers that are planned. It’s a decent start – let’s do more and better next year, and the year after, and really start to transform some lives. That’s what is needed.  Not occasionally added baubles to the lives of the faithful, such as they are, but radical transformation.  We all need it, as we’re all sunk in this increasingly fallen, ungodly culture, and it weighs on all of us.  We need to help each other out, and we need heroic leadership.  We can pray, anyways.



Bishop Paprocki – “voting for democrats an intrinsic evil” October 1, 2012

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, awesomeness, Basics, contraception, Dallas Diocese, episcopate, General Catholic, Glory, true, true leadership, Virtue.
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More good news.  Way to go Bishop Paprocki, for whom I pray every night, among a number of others:

“A vote for a candidate that supports actions or behaviors that are intrinsically evil and gravely sinful, makes you morally complicit and places the eternal salvation of your own soul in serious jeopardy.”  Alleluia! Way to go Bishop Paprocki!

This is fantastic. He makes a strong implied criticism of his brother bishops when he says he would be neglecting his duty as bishop not to speak out on these critical moral issues for fear of being perceived as “political.”  That, like so many other things, is a farce.  In fact, what Bishop Paprocki is stating above is nothing more than a reiteration of Catholic Doctrine. Sadly, such statements have been so rare that they cause shock and dismay in some circles when they are made.

You can read the breathless, “violation of Church and state, revoke their tax exempt status, @#$$%%&%! Eleventy!!!!!” left wing take here, if you want.  It’s mildly amusing.

God bless Bishop Paprocki!  I pray he cooperates more with Grace, develops heroic virtue, and becomes the saintly bishop the Church so desperately needs!

h/t culturewarnotes