Auberge of San Nicolas de Puente of the Knights of St. John on the Camino outside Burgos, Spain.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Bonaguil - Le Dernier Château Fort LE CHEMIN DE RONDE. Le château de Bonaguil est un des derniers châteaux
forts construits. Son nom signifie bonne aiguille et désigne le site
défensif : un promontoire rocheux et escarpé de calcaire, convenant
parfaitement à l'établissement d'un château fort.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

True Apostolic Zeal Demands "Private Moments."

Once again Pope Francis demeaned orthodox priests saying they "frighten him."  In the same talk to a group of priests that were part of a conference sponsored by the Congregation for Clergy "Pope Francis also encouraged them to be merciful in administering the sacrament of reconciliation, as well as reminding them that apostolic zeal often means they will not have a "private moment" to themselves."

And yet even Jesus broke away from the crowds to spend private moments in prayer. All the spiritual writers are consistent in teaching that souls that spend all their time engaged in activities without giving time to contemplative prayer are deformed. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

St. Thomas Aquinas, Thoughts on the Refugee Crisis

Great article. Note especially the comment about how the Good Samaritan puts his "neighbor" in a hotel, not in his home.
What’s our Catholic Response? The Samaritan Uses the Hotel We Christians should be generous with humanitarian aid toward Muslims and all people. We should send money and resources to those who have been dispossessed. We should be loving and generous with Muslims. Kindness brings about conversion and understanding. We should also try to topple the Islamic State and eradicate terrorism in our lands and in the Islamic lands. Remember the Good Samaritan! He did not take the roadside victim home with him. Rather, the Good Samaritan put the victim up in a hotel and paid for him to get better.
The Good Samaritan was good and commended by Christ. The Good Samaritan did the right thing: humanitarian aid. We are not required by Christ to take victims that oppose our faith and our way of life and make them into our political heirs. We are not required to take them into our homes. But we are obliged to help them. And if terrorists use our charity as a pretense to hurt us, then, as Thomas Aquinas says, they should be swiftly destroyed.
Read the whole article here, Islamic Refugee Crisis: Good Samaritan or Maccabean Response? Or both - Taylor Marshall What would Saint Thomas Aquinas say about the Refugee Crisis?

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Islam Prohibits Killing an Innocent Person? Not so Fast.

There have been several posts appearing on my Facebook timeline of a quote taken from the Quran purporting to show that Islam is a religion of peace. The quote is from 5:32 and is, "Whoever kills an innocent person it is as if he has killed all of humanity." Just as Christians can cherry pick quotes from the Bible, such as the one commonly used to accuse people of being judgmental, "neither do I condemn you," they generally exclude the "go and sin no more" part of the passage, then the same can happen when people take partial quotes from the Quran. 

As an example, those who have used the quote in the various memes on killing an innocent person, have also omitted the full passage which states, "For this reason, We made it a law for the children of Israel that the killing of a person for reasons other than legal retaliation or for stopping corruption in the land is as great a sin as murdering all of mankind. However, to save a life would be as great a virtue as to save all of mankind. Our Messengers had come to them with clear authoritative evidence but many of them (Israelites) thereafter started doing wrong in the land." (This is one of several translations of the verse varying slightly but the underlying meaning is the same.)

Now I'm certainly no Islamic scholar and I can't claim to explain what the meaning of that passage is but I'm relatively certain it's more complex than Muslims don't believe in killing innocent people as the partially quoted meme would imply. In fact it would seem that it is intended specifically for the "children of Israel." 

Here are some other quotes that could be used suggest the opposite, that Islam promotes violence. I'm not suggesting that it does, or doesn't, merely that cherry picking a quote won't give us the necessary clarity to having an honest discussion or understanding of the problem.

"Kill the unbelievers wherever you find them.” Koran 2:191
“Make war on the infidels living in your neighborhood.” Koran 9:123
“When opportunity arises, kill the infidels wherever you catch them.” Koran 9:5
“Any religion other than Islam is not acceptable.” Koran 3:85
“The Jews and the Christians are perverts; fight them.”... Koran 9:30
“Maim and crucify the infidels if they criticize Islam” Koran 5:33
“Punish the unbelievers with garments of fire, hooked iron rods, boiling water; melt their skin and bellies.” Koran 22:19
“The unbelievers are stupid; urge the Muslims to fight them.” Koran 8:65
“Muslims must not take the infidels as friends.” Koran 3:28
“Terrorize and behead those who believe in scriptures other than the Qur’an.” Koran 8:12
“Muslims must muster all weapons to terrorize the infidels.” Koran 8:60

Friday, November 13, 2015

St. John Capistrano Leads Christian Army Against Mehmed the Conqueror

I didn't know much about St. John Capistrano other than he had a mission and city named after him in southern California. What I learned is that he was not one of those falsely depicted, pacifist Franciscans as they are portrayed today but a pretty incredible "warrior priest" and saint. He is one of those defenders of Christianity whom we can look to for intercession against the Islamic Jihadists raging around us. The following is excerpted from Dr. William Carroll's History of Christendom.
The Pope, Calixtus III, sent cardinals to France, Germany, and Poland to preach the crusade against the Ottomans. Alfonso V of Aragon and Naples joined the cause and agreed to supply fifteen galleys for the crusading fleet.  Afonso V of Portugal vowed to give twelve thousand men; and St. John Capistrano, a Franciscan preacher filled with fervor, raised many a man in Hungary and Transylvania to enter the crusade. He pulled men into the righteous cause with his words filled with zeal; men more concerned about image rather than our eternal war with evil discouraged him from preaching. But one day, during the Mass, he saw, in a vision, an arrow with the words, “Fear not, John. Go down quickly. In the power of my name and of the Holy Cross thou wilt conquer the Turks.” 
And so he continued his mission. The Germans, on the other hand, did nothing to assist the cause of the Cross, and its bishops grumbled most impiously because of the crusading tax. The crusaders marched on to Belgrade, for if Belgrade fell the whole of southeastern Europe would be open to the Turks. Capistrano brought eight thousand men, while Hunyadi led about sixteen thousand. Such numbers were inferior to the eighty thousand jihadists Mehmet had under his grasp. Pope Calixtus III called on all archbishops, abbots and priests to pray, fast and give penance for deliverance from the Turks.
The warriors arrived in Belgrade, Capistrano said Mass, and commanded the other priests present to not participate in the fighting, but to tend the wounded. Shells struck the walls of the city, and such a terrifying bombardment continued on for two weeks. But still the saints remained steadfast. It came to their knowledge that the Turks were planning on cutting off the city from all outside support, but to such a worry Capistrano left the city with a promise that he would return with another army. On his arrival he brought with him a rustic bunch; the Ottomans were already there, and their numbers caused so much fear that Hunyandi, looking upon the lowly army of Capistrano, even proposed retreating. Capistrano would not allow it, and he sharply told Hunyandi that they would never leave, but would go down fighting. 
The Crusaders under Hunyandi advanced with two hundred boats, and as they fought a naval battle, Capistrano stood on the shore holding up high a crucifix which the pope had given him, declaring “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!” The Christian prevailed on the waters, and the fighting continued in Belgrade itself. The Turks beat the walls with their canons , and at that time all seemed hopeless. Hunyandi again suggested retreat, and again Capistrano turned it down. The Turks penetrated the walls at certain parts of the city and were in the midst of the Christians. Turk and Christian fought hand to hand in the streets as Hunyandi directed them, and Capistrano held high the Holy Cross. As the crucifix remained ascended, the Christians advanced. On Every street and in almost every building fighting took place.
Turkish artillery was now of little help; the gunners could not see the enemy. It was at this moment that the preying horned owls were blinded, and the strong falcons prevailed. By the next morning the Turks began their retreat from the streets which were now engulfed in blood. The Christians followed through and relentlessly pursued them to finish them off. Hunyandi was able to seize some of the Turks’ guns and use them on his enemy, and an arrow struck the body of Mehmet, the wound compelling the sound for the retreat. And as all of this took place, there stood the saintly fighter, Capistrano, with arms stretched above his head toward Heaven, and his hands gripped on the crucifix. (Carroll, A History of Christendom, vol. iii, ch. xiii, pp. 571-572; Moczar, Islam at the Gates, ch. iii, pp. 76-9) By this we are so reminded of that holy day in which the Hebrew saints defeated the heathen Amelekites as Moses stood holding his staff up to the air:
“And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua discomfited Amalek, and his people with the edge of the sword.” (Exodus 17:11-13)     
The Holy Spirit never ceased to work through His saints, from Israel onwards, it continued, from Moses to Capistrano, from Hunyandi to Joshua. The warpath of the infidel Turk had been hindered by this great victory, which moved Pope Calixtus III so much that he called it, “the happiest event of my life.” They massacred fifty-thousand Turks in that battle.  Calixtus III would also appoint an ex-Muslim from Albania who converted to Christianity, named Skanderberg, as “Captain-General for the Turkish war,” and he would lead successful attacks on the Turks until his death in 1468. (Carroll, A History of Christendom, vol. iii, ch. xiii, pp. 372-373) Now was the time to set the final blow upon the Turk, if only Christendom arose at that moment the crescent would have been driven fully out of Europe. (Moczar, Islam at the Gates, ch. iii, p. 81) 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Pope Benedict XV on The Enthronement of the Sacred Heart

Nothing is more suitable to the needs of the present day than your enterprise. To pervert, both in private and in public life, the concept of morality engendered and fostered by the Church, and, after having almost effaced the last vestige of Christian wisdom and decency, to lead human society back to the miserable institutions of paganism, such as the plan too many are trying to realize today.   Would that their efforts were fruitless! Moreover, the attacks of the wicked are directed primarily against the family. For, containing within itself as it does the principles and, as it were, the germ of all human society, they clearly see that the change, or rather, the corruption,  which they are trying to bring about in human society, will necessarily follow, once the corruption of the family itself has been accomplished. Hence divorce laws are introduced to put an end to the stability of marriage; children are forced to follow an official teaching for the most part estranged from religion, thus eliminating the authority of parents in a matter of the highest importance;  moreover, countenance is given to the spread of a shameful course of selfish indulgence which contravenes the laws of nature, and striking a blow at the human race at it's a very source, stains the sanctity of marriage with impure practices.

You do well then, dear son, while taking up the cause of human society, to arouse and propagate above all things a Christian spirit in the home by setting up in each family the reign of the love of Jesus Christ. And in doing this you are but obeying the Divine Lord Himself, who promised to shower his blessings upon the homes wherein an image of His Heart should be exposed and devoutly honored.

It is assuredly, therefore, a holy and salutary work to secure for our beloved Redeemer such worship and honor. But that is not everything. It is of the upmost importance to know Christ, to know His Doctrine, His Life, His Passion, His Glory.  For to follow Him does not consist in allowing ourselves to be swayed by a superficial religious sentiment that easily moves weak and tender hearts to tears but leaves vices intact.  To follow Christ is to be permeated with a lively and constant faith, which not only acts upon the mind and heart, but likewise governs and directs our conduct. Moreover the real reason why Jesus is neglected by so many, and but little loved by others, is to be found in the fact that he is almost entirely unknown to the former and not sufficiently by the latter. Continue therefore, beloved son, in your efforts to enkindle in Catholic homes the flames of love for the most Sacred Heart of Jesus: but likewise and before all else, this is our wish, endeavor to make this love result from a knowledge of Christ The Lord, and from a greater and deeper understanding of the truths and the laws which He Himself has given us.

For our part, in order to encourage the piety of the faithful in this matter, we extend to all families of the Catholic world that consecrate themselves to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, all those special favors which our predecessor , Pius X, of happy memory, granted with pontifical liberality, in 1913, at the instance of the Bishops of Chile to the families of that Republic consecrated to the Sacred Heart.

Given at St. Peter's, Rome, this 27th day of April, 1915, in the first year of our Pontificate.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Joke Told by St. Vincent Ferrer

From the book Meditations on St. John by Fr. Vincent McNabb he relates how St. Vincent Ferrer told this story in one of his sermons.
There was a bishop who died and went to heaven. He was kept waiting for a very long time and when he was eventually let in, very tired and hungry, there were bands playing and flags waving. So the bishop asked, "Is this done for everybody?" they said 'Oh, no, this is a special day. You're the first bishop who's ever come in.'


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