Papal intentions for April 2014…

  • Ecology and Justice.  That governments may foster the protection of creation and the just distribution of natural resources.
  • Hope for the Sick.  That the Risen Lord may fill with hope the hearts of those who are being tested by pain and sickness.

A partial indulgence, applicable only to the souls in purgatory, can be obtained when the Eternal Rest (Requiem aeternam) is prayed.

REQUIEM aeternam dona ei (eis), Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei (eis). Requiescat (-ant) in pace. Amen.

ETERNAL rest grant unto him/her (them), O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him/her (them). May he/she (they) rest in peace. Amen.

This is a good prayer to recite especially during the month of November.

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Bring your A-game for IHS…

Holy Week Monday – Thursday Fast – Partial Abstinence. Friday Saturday Fast – Abstinence

Holy_Face_of_Jesus11Holy Monday through Holy Thursday it is Fast (1 Full Meal + 2 Small Meals) & Partial Abstinence (Only Meat at Main Meal).

Good Friday and Holy Saturday it is Fast (1 Full Meal + 2 Small Meals) and Abstinence (NO MEAT at All)

+ + +

There will be the usual swarms of “CEO Catholics” (Christmas-Easter Only Catholics) next weekend, so now is the time to devote special attention to the Lord’s passionate mercy for us all. In other words, you can make this a truly Holy Week, or just be Wholly Weak.

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Originally posted on Catholic4Life:


 On March 27, self-described “staunch Catholic” House minority leader Nancy Pelosi excitedly accepted Planned Parenthood’s highest honor, the Margaret Sanger Award—named in honor of the eugenicist who founded America’s largest abortion chain. Only days later at a luncheon on Tuesday, April 1, Pelosi was presented with a gift from Pope Francis. 

However, it was not the pope who made this gift to Pelosi. In fact, just last year the Vatican criticized Pelosi’s vehement public promotion of abortion. This gift, a rosary blessed by the Holy Father of the Roman Catholic Church, was personally handed to President Barack Obama on the president’s first and likely only state visit to the Vatican. Upon his return, Obama immediately used this precious gift to reward Pelosi. 

One must assume this recognition is for playing the role of Catholic shill for the Obama administration. This regifting of the pontiff’s rosary to Pelosi, who calls pro-lifers…

View original 101 more words

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Dear Lord in Heaven have mercy on this soul

Codgitator (Cadgertator):

“I wish every prelate in the Church who makes indifferentist statements (and acts) regarding islam would have to sit down for an hour or so to watch such videos (and there are plenty of them) and pray and meditate on what they are doing with their claims that ‘islam is the religion of peace,’ or that ‘islam is a salvific religion like Christianity.’ … The only ecumenism Islam understands is of the sword.”

Originally posted on A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics:

Over the weekend, I saw a chilling, horrendous scene from Syria of a Christian being made to apostasize – making the oath that “there is no god but fake allah and mohammad is his fake messenger” – and then being beheaded anyways.

It was so sad on so many levels.  There is an extremely, disgustingly graphic video of this barbarity.  I won’t put it on my blog. I’ve seen it, but I don’t want want to put it on here. If you really want to see it – and I must tell you, these muslims, they must love being evil, because when they cut off someone’s head, they don’t use a sword and do it in one fell swoop, or even a particularly sharp knife, they take their time about it, so the poor soul actually has time to suffer and even try to resist a bit before expiring –…

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A brief argument against sola Scriptura…

“16 He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me. 17 And the seventy-two returned with joy, saying: Lord, the devils also are subject to us in thy name.” – Luke 10

Christ predicated His post-Ascension authority upon the reception of His words by way of His own Apostles. Whoever heeds the Apostles, heeds Christ. Running verse 16 as a modus tollens, it follows that whoever does not hear the Apostles, does not hear Christ.

Now, according to Protestants, we hear the Apostles, and thus the authentic, binding teaching of Christ, solely in the canonical Scriptures. (Who made that canon in the first place is its own famous can of worms, but let’s ignore that problem for now.) The problem is that the Scriptures do not contain writings from all the Apostles. Therefore, with Scripture alone, it is impossible to hear the same Apostles to whom Christ said, “He that heareth you, heareth me.” If the only means by which we can hear Christ is by way of hearing the Apostles, and if the only way we can hear the Apostles is by reading the Scriptures, then the Scriptures must contain the complete voice of the Apostles–yet they do not.

Does this mean that the Apostles were silent, and therefore the voice of Christ fell mute upon the world without their contributions to Scripture? No, for there is a well established means by which all the Apostles authoritatively echoed Christ for our benefits, namely, by the ecclesial Tradition which flowered as a result of their historic missionary efforts.

The objection may be that we still need some canon besides these pillars of Tradition to sort out the complexities of what those apostolic roots–as the voice of Christ–bequeathed to the Church. This, however, is irrelevant because the Church agrees that Tradition is not enough. Just as there is an undivided unity of Persons in God (ad intra), so there is an undivided unity of media by which God as Beauty, Goodness, and Truth is known in the Church (ad extra). Scripture is the Lamp of the Spirit lighting the Way of Tradition, but that Lamp is held by no other Hand than the Magisterium qua the concrete endurance of the Apostles’s foundations. If the Lamp is set down upon the Way, the Church stays in one frame of the Tradition, chained to that patch of the Kingdom (rather like the Eastern Orthodox). The Hand is equally vital for the Journey to the Father. Likewise, if the Hand walks the Way without the Lamp, the Church will wander blindly, rather like Gnostics. Similarly, if the Hand carries the Lamp into the forest simply to enjoy the warm glow without obeying the contours of the Way, it will become lost in the immediacy of its bright but aimless short-sightedness (i.e. Protestantism).

So, while the triune nature of Christ’s headship–Scripture, Tradition Magisterium–does not of itself remove the need for working out apparent contradictions and growth into the truth, it does at least provide all the resources Christ knew we would need in order to overcome any obstacle on the Journey to the Father. Never forget that when Christ said the gates of Hades would not prevail against the Church built on the supernaturally faithful Peter, He gave us an offensive mandate, not a merely defensive assurance. As Stephen Beale notes,

Reading hell in this way reverses how we see the gates—the gates are not to be thought of as a monstrous opening from which hell vomits forth demonic armies upon the Church. Instead, the gates of death could be thought of as prison doors that once barred the way to heaven. According to this interpretation, Jesus is saying that the gates of hell can no longer hold back members of the Church—just as they could no longer contain the fathers in limbo.

So, boys and girls, don’t take any bunkum from the powers of darkness, knowing that We Win. To that end, never surrender the trident given us by Our Lord for the Battle: a Traditionally informed Scriptural faith that is obedient to the Magisterium.

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Home alone…

Normally my wife and I don’t watch television. I prefer to watch movies. However, when I can find some quasi-educational television programs, I will give them a try. We don’t have cable, but we do get numerous movies via our annual subscription to a streaming media company. I’ve been abstaining from “enjoyable” movies during Lent (how hardcore, right?), so if I watch anything lately, it’s documentaries. (Well, when I can get a break from my daughter’s fixation with “the big purple dinosaur.”) On a lark last week, once the kids were asleep, my wife and I started watching an episode of Hoarders. (Okay, so my standards for “quasi-educational TV” are pretty dubious.)

After being brought nearly to tears in almost every episode we skimmed/watched, I had an insight as to why it’s such a popular show. Obviously, much of the appeal of the show is getting to gawk at other people’s dirty laundry (literally). But there’s a depth beneath that voyeuristic bathos. (Hardcore Pawn, by contrast, is nothing but bathos.) The reason Hoarders is popular is because it is fundamentally not about people’s garbage, but about families in a nation which is not about families. When the new normal is redefined every TV season, family is a word honored only in the breach. We’re all in it for ourselves, and we’re assured that we can rely on ourselves.

hoarders lady kitchen

Every episode features at least one relative of the hoarder, and the story is almost always the same: X knew that Y had a messy house, but “didn’t know things had gotten so bad.” This raises the obvious question: how can family members let their own kin sink into such isolation and squalor? Each case is unique enough to be compelling, yet there is a common thread which give the series an almost iconic gravitas: X let Y sink because Y can live like he wants and adults can take care of themselves. The eye-popping reality, of course, is that Y cannot take care of himself at all.

You don’t have to be Emile Durkheim or Peter Berger to grasp the problem: the Puritan-libertarian roots of the American ethos, when unmoored from the religious matrix which alone makes subsidiarity sustainable, has grown into a forest of dysfunctional families which are probably best described as a group of mutually best acquainted strangers. Only some cases of hoarding, as shown, are clearly struggles with idolatry–especially, for example, the woman who hoarded thousands and thousands of dolls. More often the struggle is one of compensation. These persons, some of them of already precarious mental health, find themselves increasingly, or perhaps suddenly, isolated and ignored by those persons on this earth among whom they should feel most at home. At some point, in other words, they find themselves at home, but alone–ensconced in material shelter and privacy, and yet inexpressibly vulnerable and isolated. This is the mechanism driving hoarders, I believe. The absence of family is vicariously filled by the presence of trinkets and garbage. These poor souls are literally filling the void of their domesticity with the comforting, irresistible, unflagging and nonjudgmental intimacy of junk. They are quite literally finding love among the ruins. And yet all the while we can see how they are like a bird feverishly and implacably knitting its nest as it falls in the void.

hoarder filth

The spiritual depth involved in such considerations is what makes Hoarders more than prurient voyeurism. There is an eschatological urgency to every episode, and an almost messianic high when The Crew has disinterred the hoarder’s life from a catacomb of his own making. As I say, I’ve only seen a few episodes, but I was struck more than once by the undeniable savor of deliverance at the end of a clean-up.

17 He sent from on high, and took me: and received me out of many waters. 18 He delivered me from my strongest enemies, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me. 19 They prevented me in the day of my affliction: and the Lord became my protector. 20 And he brought me forth into a large place: he saved me, because he was well pleased with me. (Psalm 17/18)

To judge by the reactions of many hoarders on the show, it’s no exaggeration to say that the arrival of those clean-up crews is the advent of angels of hope.

While I am not saying that Hoarders is a Christian show, of course, I am saying that its popularity feeds on a submerged Christian instinct: for communion, for freedom, for light, for purity, and for deliverance. If nothing else, it is a superb heuristic for understanding the spiritual life, and, believe it or not, gave my Lent a shot in the arm. We are born into a fetid, sprawling refugee camp. Our parents were hoarders of their own choosing. Their (and our) detachment from God is synonymous with attachment to idols and false securities, and vice versa. We know we belong to a family, under a good Father, and yet we find ourselves estranged even from ourselves. We grow up among, and then ourselves add to, a world of discarded glory. We have abandoned ourselves to an illusory self-sufficiency, yet deliverance is never far off. The angels of God await our whimper from the slag heap, at which point the engines of grace–the Sacraments–come pouring in to deliver us from our free-falling bird nest. If, however, we refuse to detach ourselves from our trashy idols, we shall be wedded to them forever when all such filth is tossed into the incinerator. Nothing unclean shall enter the presence of God; no one obstinately isolated–turned in on himself–shall enjoy the fellowship of the Trinity and the worshipers transformed by triune love.

Do not give up on Lent. Do not isolate yourself from the Church. Do not resign yourself to living among intellectual, moral, spiritual, nor even physical junk. We were made for more. We are not alone. We are not abandoned. Call in the angels. Send in the trucks. Get the rot out. Pour out the filth in confession, flush out the infections with grace, and replace the fetid scraps of sin with the eternal nourishment of the Eucharist. At the final hour, we are either hoarders on life rafts going over the falls, or we are boarders on the Barque that shall never fall. In that sense, hoarders die whores, while boarders die brides.

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Ignorance is bliss…

“Forward, the Light Brigade!”
Was there a man dismay’d?
Not tho’ the soldier knew
Someone had blunder’d:
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
Rode the six hundred.

– Alfred Lord Tennyson, “The Charge of the Light Brigade

“Why dost thou call the apostolic chair the chair of pestilence?  If, for the men that sit therein, I ask: did our Lord Jesus Christ, on account of the Pharisees, reflect upon the chair, wherein they sat?  Did he not commend that chair of Moses, and, preserving the honour of the chair, reprove them?  For he sayeth: they have sat on the chair of Moses.  All therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do.  These points if you did well consider, you would not, for the men whom you defame, blaspheme the Apostolic See, wherewith you do not hold communion. … Neither on account of the Pharisees, to whom you maliciously compare us, did our Lord command the chair of Moses to be forsaken; (in which chair he verily figured his own) for he warned the people to do what they say, and not what they do, and that the holiness of the chair be in no case forsaken, nor the unity of the flock divided, on account of the wicked lives of the pastors.

– St. Augustine, Contra lit. Petil., I. ii. chs. 51, 61.

Yes, yes, I have a few “ecclesial” and “spiritual” posts under construction, but I almost feel like shouting with joy: LIFE IS SO MUCH BETTER NOT TALKING ABOUT “THE CHURCH”!

mad who needs you

I’m as happy as a bug in a rug to focus on my family, my fitness, my prayers, and my books. We can’t change anything in the Church, it’s not up to us teach or legislate, and debate invariably leads to breaches in charity. Therefore it’s best just to turn up and tune out. Even the injunction to “hold fast to the traditions” is best honored in the breach, on your own time, in your own closet, since any vocal hankering for something not already approved or promoted by your own bishop is typical traditionalist hubris. Better just to keep your nose, and your voice, down, stick to your prayers and good works, and let God sort everything out. Can’t we all just get along?

There’s an icy serenity in that kind of hands-off quietism. (Ask the ostrich.) After all, it’s not my Church, not “our” Church, so why should I lay claim to anything in it beyond securing my own salvation and the good of others? Why bother? Given the irresistible and undeniable power of the episcopacy to do whatever they want with the traditions, disciplines, and “style” of the Church at any time in history, why should I bother clinging to those features from any age in the Church’s life, as if such pesky particulars mattered? The Faith is the thing, the Creed is the thing, the Mass is the thing–not how it’s lived, expressed, or celebrated. What am I, more Catholic than the pope?

Admittedly, this quietist position does not help me resolve the tension created by seeking above all to “empower the laity” in the past half-century or more, but, again, I am a mere worm, and the Church certainly doesn’t need my input. The key to Catholic happiness, apparently, is more than “pay, pray, and obey.” The key to happiness in the Church in our day is not simply to submit, not simply to commit all things to the Lord, but, rather, actively to flout one’s sense of tradition and prudence in order to defend and valorize and “internalize” every aspect of the status quo. Resignation is not enough; celebration is the sign of a Serious Catholic. After all, didn’t Luther criticize the hierarchy and various abuses, and we know how that turned out? The key to happiness in the Church now is to breathe deeply and unflinchingly from the exhaust pipe of the New Evangelization as the hierarchy drives the Catholic Cadillac where God knows it must go. Woe to the man who would lay a finger on God’s anointed one. Just ask St. Athanasius. (In contrast, apparently, lay chrisms are bought wholesale, on the cheap, and can be trampled upon with indiscriminate glee.) Lest the reaming seem to be one-sided against hapless traditionalists, realize that, although liberal prelates like Kasper, Mahony, Martini, and the Winnipeg Statement Gang are easy pickin’s for conservative snipers, they too, as irreproachable pillars of authority, must never suffer a syllable of public protest. Anything less obeisant would be a crime most schismatic.

Oops, almost forgot: lest you get carried away with the theocratic itch, remember that bishops can denounce other bishops, and popes can stifle past popes, cuz, like, even though desecrating the ark and flouting the king merits the death penalty, and stuff, these Special Anointed Types can and should mess with those other Anointed Types, sorta like only Titans can fight Titans. Also, since priests are the representatives (or vicars) of bishops, it follows that we can’t clip a lock from their hallowed heads, either. And as far as deacons partake of the sacrament of holy orders, too, we challenge them at the peril of our own souls. As for what the Anointed do amongst themselves…. Let a thousand intra-caste shootouts blossom, as long as we worms dare not trample a blade of anointed grass. (Make sense now?)

Just nod and genuflect.

God is in control.

And pope.

Hence, if it comes to light that most cardinals oppose Kardinal Kasper’s Kompromise, we are not to take this as a vindication of our own lowly condemnations of his gambit.


Not that.

We are simply to take it as part of a day’s work for our clerical handlers. They’ll sort it out. They’re on the God squad. We need to trust the experts. It is not up to us to pronounce upon the “serene” musings of our betters. At best we are broken clocks who might be fortunate enough to align with the current curial consensus. It’s not like I’m able to know what authentic Catholicism is, anyway; that’s why I need zealous pastors to tell me what’s hip and what’s on the menu. Wouldn’t want to overdress, now, would I?

Again: it’s not your Church, so pipe down and pay up.

Truth be told, I had always thought “pay, pray, and obey” was the best way, but unfortunately over the years as a new Catholic, I heard so much glowing rhetoric about the unique and increasingly vital lay charism, the New Evangelization, the death of clericalism, the ministerial priesthood being at the service of the lay priesthood, and all the rest, that I foolishly thought I might have something to contribute. I thought I actually had a basis for watering and fertilizing the arid contemporary ecclesial landscape with the riches of the Church’s own Tradition. P’shaw! I now see that it is not my place to dredge up traditional penchants, perspectives, and practices. Tradition is what the episcopacy makes of it, and if you don’t like it, you can leave. If the bishops in union with the Roman See say that x is out and z is in, then x is a sin and z is a new virtue, at which point, trying to salvage x or warn about z is but to kick against the goads. Even the sacred liturgy is the plaything of the pope, so why should I worry about any changes or alleged abuses? I just need to relax, and get over my fetishes. All I really have to contribute is a warm body, a smiling face, a row of applause, my children, and my tithes. Any desire to see the Church being led as I think is right is just crypto-Protestantism. Or crypto-Pelagianism. Or crypto-Lefebvrism. Or cryptorchidism.

Or something.

Sorry, you know how easily we lay folk get confused.


So, glowing “Vatican II” rhetoric aside, I realize now that my highest vocation is simply to trust the hierarchy, suppress any and all discontent–except perhaps what I choose to voice in a polite letter to my bishop now and then–and pretend I can shut out the endless barrage of stimuli from the rest of the episcopacy and my fellow Catholics in an age of relentless social media. That’s right: the “social media” card plays both ways. Just as I apparently have no right to publicize any of my concerns to the world–as if I knew better than the Holy Spirit as He infallibly guides the bishops on every jot and tittle!–, so I must simply accept the fact that every passing scandal from any monastery, diocese, seminary, and dicastery in the news can and shall penetrate my soul, and I had better just get used to it. New Oxford Review, The Wanderer, Our Sunday Visitor, The Remnant–all lairs of lurking dissent. Don’t they know that God is in control of everything in the Church, and that there’s no reason to lift up shady rocks? Don’t they know that private letters suffice? Don’t they know that the Church knows how to handle her own affairs, without meddling lay folk demanding more light? Expose an abusive priest today, denounce the entire Vatican tomorrow–where does it end?

Airing out dirty laundry in our age, I am reminded, invariably transmits it beyond prudent privacy, so it’s best not to make a peep. The world is watching, you know. I just need to get with The Program. Hallellujah, the Church has learned to run with the big dogs as one slick media entity among many others–Image Is Everything, Amen–and that’s “Oh. Kay.” God can use all kinds. The Church used to be something to be revered, feared, and deferred to, but now is something to be smiled at and patted on the head for playing along. A shuffling grandpa ready to dazzle us all with one magic trick after another. A polyglot teddy bear with sugar plums for all good boys and girls. But again, that’s Oh. Kay. Treasure in jars of clay, and all that.

As for this worm, being exposed to the example, for better or worse, of a hundred bishops from a hundred dioceses all over the nation and the world, and not being permitted to react to it as if it were a pressing, local concern, is simply a cross I’ll have to learn to bear. I am told to embrace the fullness of the Catholic Church as lived around the planet, and to share in the joys and woes of my brethren wherever they may be, yet I am also told not to raise alarm about anything beyond my nose.


I think I finally get it.

Again for the first time.

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To nourish the faith and its practice…

14. Unless we truly love God, we will not be able to love our neighbours. How can our worship of God help us stand up in defence of human life?

According to the ancient wisdom of the Church, the law of worship is essentially connected to the law of belief and the law of practice. Christ comes into our midst through the Sacred Liturgy, especially the Sacraments of the Most Holy Eucharist and of Penance, to cleanse our hearts of sin and to inflame our hearts with His own love through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Only when we have a strong sense of the reality of the encounter with Christ in the Sacred Liturgy will we understand the truths of the faith and the moral life, and what they mean for our daily living. This sense is fostered by a manner of celebrating the Sacred Liturgy with our eyes fixed on Christ and not on ourselves. It should not surprise us that the period of post-Conciliar experimentation with the Sacred Liturgy, a period which was marked by so many liturgical abuses, was accompanied by a loss of faith and by moral decline. If the Sacred Liturgy is seen as a purely human activity, an invention of man, it will no longer be true communion with God and, therefore, will no longer nourish the faith and its practice in everyday living.

Cardinal Burke on faith, the right to life, and the family: English exclusive
by Izabella Parowicz – Thu Mar 20, 2014 14:02 EST

Cdl. Burke’s response to point #6 is also very timely.

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