27 December 2007

The Post Christmas Clutter

As the first wave of Christmas wrapping paper, boxes, and packaging materials has made it to the garbage and toys are scattered hither and thither while waiting for the inevitable wails of "I'm bored" or "there's nothing to do" echoing throughout the house, I wanted to share an essay from Fr. McNabb called "The Passing of Children's Games."

Plato has told us that one of the surest forebodings of a nation's death is any great change in the song's that people sing. (Hmmm, replacing the glorious musical treasures of the Church with happy clappy banal pop ditties post Vatican II?) He would have been a better prophet of his own people.... had he known that an even surer sign of a nation's death is any great change in the games the children play.
It will not be denied, at least by any lovers of sport, that children's games have sickened------it may be to the point of death. Perhaps some of my readers may not understand what i mean by saying that games have ceased to be creative and even imaginative. We have largely confused games, which children must re-create as they play with toys, which children merely use to enjoy. the great national games are a dispiriting study in the same ailment. They are now mostly composed of a few skilled players who are paid to play, and tens of thousands of onlookers who pay to be amused. Yet to be amused is passive, not active or creative in form and function. but to "play" bears an active meaning or reminiscence; and reminds us that children who need to be amused, whilst three is grass in the fields and sand by the shore, are the anaemic offspring of a people on the threshold of death.
It is money-making and professionalism that have been the death of children's games. Nowadays as there is a business side to everything, not excepting the Gospels, so there is an opportunity of making money out of the games our children play. I can even imagine that somewhere in the background is that supreme creation of Mammon, a "Toy Trust." If there is, then it immediate aim is not to amuse children, but to amass wealth; and its final end will be to destroy children, who, in spite of economics a la Herod, are the nations' wealth in bullion.
The toys of children, like the clothes of their elders, are at present the prey of fashion. I wish it were more evident that the changes of fashion are nowadays beyond the control of what our grandparents called a "leader of fashion." If there are persons who claim this survival of decayed nobility they are "leaders" who no longer lead, but follow. the real leaders are the tradesfolk, the manufacturers or general dealers, who insist that the next season's fashion in hats or gowns or playthings shall be what they think best, that is, best, not for the buyers, but for the trade. In something less than a generation we have witnessed almost the complete decay of the old games which demanded the fewest toys, and most creative childlike imagination.
There are a thousand reasons for this unnerving decay of children's games. after the spread of money-making and professionalism, perhaps the chief reason is the decay of children. When a homes holds but one or two children at the most, toys, playthings, and organized games become a domestic necessity. The child-boy or child-girl lacks that best of playthings, namely, two or three brothers or sisters. The noble art of child-play is entrusted to a paid nurse, whose apparatus is the bought toy and playthings. the child is amused, as precious pet dogs are taken out on a
lead to be exercised. The tragedy of decaying child-play may be written in six acts.
Act I: Horatio dives, the only begotten son of John Dives (nee Murphy) and Marian Dives (nee Tomkin's), has no elder or younger brothers to play with or fight with.

Act II: A nursery is set up in the abode of Horatio Dives, where, under pretext of "bringing him up," the said Horatio is imprisoned for the term of his natural boyhood. Several jailers (alias head-nurse and under-nurse and nursemaids) are paid to see that Horatio does not live like an ordinary boy with five or six ordinary brothers and sisters.

Act III: The head-jailer, to pacify Horatio in his struggles for his birthright of boyhood and freedom, discovers the efficacy of teddy bears, gollywogs, and that kind of thing.

Act IV: Mr. Makepenny, the sweater and multiple storekeeper, discovers money in teddy bears, gollywogs and that kind of thing. He thereupon develops the "toy-line" of business. The motor cars outside his Piccadilly and Fifth Avenue stores congest the traffic.

Act V: All the lesser people, to whom the moneyed classes are the Communion of Saints, buy toys for rapidly decreasing families.

Act VI: !!!! (Curtain)
Dead March in Herod.

17 December 2007

Christmas Latin Mass at St. Walburga's

There will be a Christmas Mass in the Tridentine Rite (Traditional Latin Mass) at St. Walburga's in Rogers/Fletcher/Hassan Township MN. Click here for directions. St. Walburga's is also known as Mary, Queen of Peace Church and is a joint parish with St. Martin's in Rogers. Mass will be celebrated by Fr. Cloutier at 1:00 in the afternoon. This may not be an ideal time for everyone, especially on Christmas day, but as Fr. is generously offering to do this after a full slate of Masses beginning Christmas Eve at his normal parish it would be great to have as much support as possible.

Click here for some pictures of St. Walburga's.

12 December 2007

The Meaning of the Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The Image of Our Lady is actually an Aztec Pictograph which was read and understood quickly by the Aztec Indians.

She was greater than the dreaded Huitzilopochtli, their sun-god of war.
She had clearly crushed Quetzalcoatl, feathered serpent moon-god.
She was greater than the stars of heaven which they worshipped. She was a virgin and the Queen of the heavens for Virgo rests over her womb and the northern crown upon her head. She appeared on December 12, 1531 and the stars that she wore are the constellations of the stars that appeared in the sky that day!
4. THE BLUE‑GREEN HUE OF HER MANTLE She was a Queen because she wears the color of royalty.
5. THE BLACK CROSS ON THE BROOCH AT HER NECK Her God was that of the Spanish Missionaries, Jesus Christ her son who died on the cross for all mankind.
6. THE BLACK BELT She was with child because she wore the Aztec Maternity Belt.
7. THE FOUR PETAL FLOWER OVER THE WOMB She was the Mother of God because the flower was a special symbol of life, movement and deity-the center of the universe.
8. HER HANDS ARE JOINED IN PRAYER She was not God but clearly there was one greater than Her and she pointed her finger to the cross on her brooch.
9. THE DESIGN ON HER ROSE COLORED GARMENT She is the Queen of the Earth because she is wearing a contour map of Mexico telling the Indians exactly where the apparition took place.


1. The image to this date, cannot be explained by science.
2. The image shows no sign of deterioration after 450 years! The tilma or cloak of Saint Juan Diego on which the image of Our Lady has been imprinted, is a coarse fabric made from the threads of the maguey cactus. This fiber disintegrates within 20-60 years!
3. There is no under sketch, no sizing and no protective over-varnish on the image.
4. Microscopic examination revealed that there were no brush strokes.
5. The image seems to increase in size and change colors due to an unknown property of the surface and substance of which it is made.
6. According to Kodak of Mexico, the image is smooth and feels like a modern day photograph. (Produced 300 years before the invention of photography.)
7. The image has consistently defied exact reproduction, whether by brush or camera.
8. Several images can be seen reflected in the eyes of the Virgin. It is believed to be the images of Juan Diego, Bishop Juan de Zummaraga, Juan Gonzales, the interpreter and others.
9. The distortion and place of the images are identical to what is produced in the normal eye which is impossible to obtain on a flat surface.
10. The stars on Our Lady's Mantle coincide with the constellations in the sky on December 12, 1531.

All who have scientifically examined the image of Our Lady over the centuries confess that its properties are absolutely unique and so inexplicable in human terms that the image can only be supernatural!

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. And while her role in the conversion of the Mexican people and ending the bloody human sacrifices of the Aztecs is well known, she is less well known for her assistance a few years later in a battle half way around the world. "Pope Pius V called for a rosary crusade among all Christians, as he anticipated the conflict. At the same time, the second archbishop of Mexico, Don Fray Alonso de Montufor, had become a devotee of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the miraculous image of the Mother of God given to a humble Indian convert, Juan Diego, on the newly discovered continent. The archbishop had seen evidence of continuous miracles through the intercession of God's Mother, and he was aware of the crisis in Europe. He had a small reproduction of the holy image of Our Lady of Guadalupe made, then touched it to the original and sent it to King Philip of Spain in 1570. Archbishop Montufor expressed the desire that the king would see that this copy of the sacred image of our Lady was placed in a suitable place in the Christian navy when the battle began.
Archbishop Montufor believed that God's Mother would work a miracle for the Holy League which the Pope had organized, just as she had so often done for the Mexicans. The king agreed and had it mounted in the cabin of Admiral Andrea Doria as the Battle of Lepanto approached. During the battle, Andrea Doria was compelled to separate from the center force of Christians. Uluch Ali then broke through the gap and was prepared to destroy Andrea Doria's fleet. Doria knew he was facing destruction, together with his fleet. His was the ship with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in his cabin, and the battle was thus under her intercession.
At this critical moment a tremendous wind came up and blew the Turkish navy into total disorganization. Their squadrons were thrown into panic and, thus stricken, most of their fleet was captured or destroyed....Until 1811 the small reproduction of the holy image of Guadalupe remained in the Doria family. A descendant, Cardinal Doria, made a present of it to the people of Aveto in Liguria, north of Genoa. There it remains, enshrined to the present day in the Church of San Stefano d'Aveto. Pius VII in 1815 granted that shrine the faculty of a Mass of Our Lady of Guadalupe, as well as indulgences, in answer to the great faith and love inspired by the shrine and the reported miracles. Pope Leo XII granted perpetual privileges to the altar of Our Lady of Guadalupe in San Stefano d'Aveto.

07 December 2007

Excerpts from Nazareth or Social Chaos

One of my favorite authors is Fr. Vincent McNabb O.P. Fr. McNabb was an Irish priest who spent most of his life at the Dominican Priory in N.W. London. Fr. McNabb was regarded as being eccentric and controversial by many, but he lived in that company of saints who followed the Gospel teaching of poverty to the letter and even his detractors could not deny that he lived exactly as he preached. He walked nearly everywhere in his homemade boots and tattered religious habit. In his cell he had a chair and a bed, neither of which he used as he either stood or knelt. He kept a Bible, his breviary, the constitutions of the Dominican Order, and the Summa of St. Thomas. He was the spiritual advisor and friend of G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc. Msgr. Knox wrote of him "Father Vincent is the only person I have ever known about whom I have felt, and said more than once, 'He gives you some idea of what a saint must be like.' There was a kind of light about his presence which didn't seem to be quite of this world." -Most of his writings are out of print but IHS Press is reprinting some of them and worth buying. Here is an excerpt from his book Nazareth or Social Chaos which hopefully will be re-printed in 2008. A recurrent theme throughout his works is the model of the Holy Family and the town of Nazereth where we will find the answer to the modern economic and social evils that afflict us.

Chapter 20. Fifteen Things a Distributist May Do

An Open Letter to
J.—B.—, A Young Gentleman with Desires)
You say you are at sea with a pen; and that anyhow, Fleet Street, not to say Little Essex Street, is in no need of recruits. You feel that Distributist modelling and designing has been well and truly done; but that the modellers and designers will have wasted their brains if some simple folk like you don’t attempt to carry out the designs. You ask dramatically, ‘Don’t tell me what to think for I subscribe to G.K.’s. But tell me what to do.’

I will therefore set down fifteen things, any one of which would be good to do. They shall be fifteen for two reasons. Because if I set down the hundred and one things you might do, it would fill a whole issue and not just one article in G. K.’s. Fifteen gives a choice such as a man has,say, in choosing a cravat, a livelihood, or a wife.

I will not begin at the beginning. I will begin anywhere and go on anyhow. But, indeed, when things have come to such a state of social untidiness as they are at present, a beginning can be made anywhere and anyhow. The one things necessary is to begin.

1. If you have a mantelpiece, remove everything from it except perhaps the clock. If you are fortunate enough to have no mantelpiece, remove from the walls of your home all pictures and such like, except a crucific. This will teach you the Poverty of Thrift. It may be called an empiric approach to Economics.

2. Clean out your own room daily. Clean it if possible on your knees. This will teach you the Poverty of Work. It will also prevent paralysis of the knees. But a paralysis which has reached the knees will soon reach the hands and the brain, if not the tongue.

3. For forty days or more—say, during Lent—do not smoke (and neither grouse about it nor boast about it). This will also improve your eyesight. It will also improve your insight into the tangled economics question: (tobacco) combines and how to smash them.

4. Buy some hand-woven cloth. Wear it. Buy some more. Wear that too. Remember the noble advice on how to eat cucumber, cut it into two parts (equal or unequal). Eat one part. Then eat the other. Your home-spun will instruct you better than the Declaration of Independence will instruct you on the dignity and rights of man.

5. Buy boots you can walk in. Walk in them. Even if you lessen the income of the General Omnibus Company, or your family doctor; you will discover the human foot. On discovering it, your joy will be as great as if you had invented it. But this joy is the greatest, because no human invention even of Mr. Ford or Mr. Marconi is within a mile of a foot.

6. Find another young Distributist, with our without University education, but with
brains and feet1. Invite him to use his feet by tramping with you across any English county, say, water-logged Staffordshire during the summer holidays. Invite him to use his brains by standing on his feet, but not on his dignity, in market-places, telling the village-folk what is the matter with Staffordshire. This will lead him to tell them what is the matter with himself.

note 1.
Do not believe X.—, who says they are not to be found. The truth is that X.— has
lived so long in stunt circles for the last six months that he has become prematurely infantile.)

If you will keep at it for three weeks or a month, your advice on How to Save England will be more valuable, though, I admit, less valued than that of the entire Board of Directors of the Old Woman of Threadneedle Street.

7. If you fail to find a fellow-tramp, or if you covet the heroism of the dug-outs in a time of peace, spend your summer holiday as a farm-hand. You will not be worth your keep; but it will be worth your while. If Babylondon has not befogged your ‘intellectus agens’—your active intellect, in the noble phrase of scholasticism, you will gradually see the Poverty of Work. This is the other empiric approach to Economics.

8. If through the machinations of Beelzebub or his fellow-devil Mammon, your house is in suburbia, plant your garden not with things lovely to see like roses, or sweet to smell like lavender; but good to eat like potatoes or French beans. At the end of two years you will have done three things: (1) You will have a higher appreciation of yokel-intelligence; (2), you will have a wider knowledge of Natural History (especially of slugs and the like); and (3), You will have a sardonic scorn for the economics of our present Sewage System. In other words you will have had the beginnings of a liberal education.

9. I wil not approach a matter or your reputation. If you take the advice offered, you may be accounted a fanatic. But fanatic or no fanatic, here is the advice. For twelve months, if possible, or at least for twelve days, do not use nything ‘canned’, neither canned meat nor canned music.

This will throw you back on what is called Home Produce. This in its turn will show you the right expression to put into your singing of Rule Britannia.

10. I will now appeal to the artist that is within every one of us. Art, as you know, is the right way of making a good thing. There is no right way of making a bad things. Not only something, but make something—a cup of tea, a boiled egg, a hatpeg (from a fallen branch), a chair!

This heroic attempt to make something will enable your friends to practise their wit by saying you have only made an ass of your yourself. In order to hear this gibe stolidly, read up about ‘the ass’s colt at the crossways.’

11. Talk your young architect friend into spending two weeks of his holiday making an abode (formerly called a house1). He is thinking in terms of Brick-combine bricks, Timber-combine timber, Steel-combine steel, Cement-combine cement, Building materials-combine building materials. Drag him out into England that still grows oak, elm, ash, beech, fir, larch, etc. Give him a wood axe, a hatchet, and adze, and a few tools. Tell him from me that if in two weeks and for less that 100 pounds you and he cannot make an abode more spacious and sanitary than ninety per cent of the dwellings in the Borough of Westminster or St. Pancras, your should be certified. This may be called the Strain Test, enabling you to know whether he has brains enough to be your friend, even if he has brains enough to be an architect.

note 1.
The word house is now becoming obsolete. Collections of flats are not a house.
For the moment the genius of the English language seems unequal to the task of
giving these collections a name.

12. Set down for the information and inspiration of young Distributists one hundred answers to the usually despairing question: ‘How can I get out of London?‘ Begin with the simplest answer: ‘Walk out.’ You may find that some of your most promising Distributists will walk no more with you. Do not be despondent at this; because it may make your own Distributism more sea-worthy.

13. As you are not yet married, and as marriage is the fundamental state of life as well as the unit of the Commonwealth, make up your mind whether your are called to this state. If you make up your mind to marry, do not marry merely a good wife: marry a good mother to your children. A wife that is a good mother to your children ist the Angel of the House; the other sort is the very devil.

14. Before asking her hand and her heart, tell her how to test you. Advise her to ask herself not whether you would make her a good husband, but whether you would make a good father to her and your children. A wife that is not a house-wife, and husband that is not a good house-band are heading for Admiralty Probate and Divorce!

15. If you do not feel called to the state of marriage vows, there is another state of vows—where mysticism and asceticism prove themselves the redemption of

But—well—God-speed you, as they say in lands of the old culture.


There are more excerpts from the book that can be read online.

IHS Press was launched in September of 2001 to bring back into print the classics of last century on the Social Teachings of the Catholic Church.

06 December 2007

More on Catholicism and Manliness

There was another article at Catholic Culture titled The Catholic Origins of Manliness.

Christ’s manliness transformed man’s understanding of manhood, and it is this transformation that, through the development and mediation of the Catholic
Church, became a new Western ideal. This is obvious when we consider two areas typically associated with manly life: chivalry and sports.

Chivalry began as an attempt by the Church to curb the anarchy and bloodshed of feudal conflict in the Middle Ages, but it ended as something much more. The so-called Truce of God limited violence by prohibiting, on pain of excommunication, armed engagement every Thursday through Sunday and during the holy seasons of Advent and Lent. This pious restraint was sharpened by the Crusades, which upheld a new code of knighthood aimed not at personal glory (Achilles again) but the protection of the weak and oppressed. When a knight was consecrated or “dubbed,” the bishop prayed that he would become a defender of “churches, widows, orphans, and all those serving God.” This was obviously the instantiation of an important biblical virtue (Judas Maccabeus, the Old Testament prototype of the medieval knight, is described in II Maccabees 2:38 as providing for the widow and orphan), as was the care extended to another group: women.

Though the chivalrous regard for the welfare of women would later become subject to all sorts of romantic distortions (hence the parodies of love-stricken knights in Chaucer and Cervantes), even here there lies the kernel of a uniquely Christian insight. When St. Paul tells husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church (Eph. 5:25), he is essentially telling them to put the welfare of their spouses high above their own, even to the point of death. Today the concept of “ladies first” is more often than not condemned as quaint or chauvinist, but when it is properly understood and practiced it reflects this Christ-like conversion of male power and aggression to the selfless service of others. It presupposes that if a Christian man is designed to rule, he is to exercise that rule paradoxically by serving, just as Christ exercised his lordship paradoxically by humbly washing the feet of his apostles (John 13:4–16). This insight is well-reflected in the famous medieval legend of the Holy Grail as told by Chrétien de Troyes. When Perceval the knight is about to part from his mother, her last words to him are: “Should you encounter, near or far, a lady in need of aid, or a maiden in distress, make yourself ready to assist them if they ask for your help, for it is the most honourable thing to do. He who fails to honour ladies finds his own honour dead inside him.” Over time, several customs developed from this transfiguration of male honor. Simple gestures such as opening doors or pulling out a chair for a lady bespeak a gentleman’s humble respect for women and a recognition of his responsibilities. Particularly noteworthy in this regard is the practice of tipping one’s hat to a lady. Given that a man’s hat is a traditional symbol of his rank and authority, the gesture is essentially a ritual acknowledgment of the fact that his position is in some crucial respects ordered to the service and regard of women.

Read the rest of the article here.

05 December 2007

Catholicism and Manliness

There appeared in Crisis magazine an article called the The New Catholic Manliness by Todd Aglialoro.

It is a source of no small irony that, even as radical feminists within and without the Church have railed for two generations against patriarchy and phallocentrism, it can be quite plausibly said that the post-conciliar Church in this country has, for all intents and purposes, been run by women. Consider a Sunday in the life of a typical American parish. Father Reilly, once his mother's darling, says Mass before a congregation disproportionately representative of widows (both the traditional and the football kind), soccer moms flying solo, and budding young liturgistas. At the elevation of the Host, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist (80-20 female) and altar servettes gather around the sanctuary to lend him moral support. After Mass, he enjoys a donut in the church basement while regaling the ladies of the Hospitality Guild before heading back upstairs to sit in as the token male at a meeting of parish CCD teachers. Later that afternoon, Sister Dorothy fills him in on the doings of the confirmation class, peace and justice committee, RCIA candidates, and youth group. At dinner he lingers over the new pastoral letter from his bishop, urging the flock to get more in touch with the God Who Nurtures. Finally, in the evening, he pokes his head into the weekly gathering of the Divorced and Separated Support Group, whose overwhelmingly female members and leaders thank him for his solicitude.

Do I exaggerate? Perhaps. (Father probably wouldn't have checked up on his catechists like that.) But common experience nonetheless bears out the point: We may yet have a male-only clergy and hierarchy, but where the rubber meets the road — in those mundane areas of church life where laity and institution most commonly interact — the flavor is feminine. Whether you want to speak in terms of liturgy, ministry (lay and clerical), religious education, or sheer congregational numbers, official ecclesial power may not rest in the hands of women, but considerable unofficial influence clearly does, and has for some time. And we in the Church have been subject to its effects.

Read the rest of the article here.

03 December 2007

St. Pius X on Separation of Church and State

In the previous post I quoted the position Martin Luther held regarding the relation between a ruler and the Church. In his 1905 encyclical Vehementer nos, St. Pius X writes:

That the State must be separated from the Church is a thesis absolutely false, a most pernicious error. Based, as it is, on the principle that the State must not recognize any religious cult, it is in the first place guilty of a great injustice to God; for the Creator of man is also the Founder of Human societies, and preserves their existence as he preserves our own. We owe Him, therefore, not only a private cult, but a public and social worship to honor Him. Besides, this thesis is an obvious negation of the supernatural order. It limits the action of the State to the pursuit of public prosperity during this life only, which is but the proximate object of political societies; and it occupies itself in no fashion (on the pleas that this is foreign to it) with their ultimate object which is man's eternal happiness. The same thesis also upsets the order providentially established by God in the world, which demands a harmonious agreement between the two societies...
It follows necessarily that there are many things belonging to them in common in which both societies must have relations with one another... Finally, this thesis inflicts great injury on society itself, for it cannot either prosper or last long when due place is not left for religion, which is the supreme rule and the sovereign mistress in all questions touching the rights and duties of men.

Martin Luther on the Christian as a Ruler

You are a prince or a judge..., you have people under you and you wish to know what to do. It is not Christ you are to question concerning the matter, but the law of your country....Between the Christian and the ruler a profound separation must be made.... Assuredly, a prince can be a Christian, but it is not as a Christian that he ought to govern. As a ruler, he is not called a Christian but a prince. The man is a Christian, but his function does not concern his religion....Though they are found in the same man, the two states or function are perfectly marked off one from the other, and really opposed.
Martin Luther

JFK and The Separation of Church and State

H/T Deacon's Bench
As Mitt Romney faces about his religious beliefs and politics, The Boston Globe has re-printed a speech from J.F.K defending himself against those who were concerned that he would put his faith before his politics. Read his speech and then read an essay by Colleen Campbell on The Enduring Cost of John F. Kennedy's Compromise. As we approach another election year the debate continues over the role of the Church in politics. Many Catholics support the commonly held interpretation of the separation of Church and State but our society is will continue its collapse until it accepts the social Kingship of Christ.

02 December 2007

Latin Mass at St. Walburga's

UPDATE: The Latin Mass at St. Walburga's has been cancelled and replaced by one at Sacred Heart in Robbinsdale.
Walburga's in Fletcher/Rogers/ Hassan Township, MN where a Tridentine Mass was held today
and will be held the 1st Sunday of ea. month and hopefully eventually on a weekly basis. A beautifully simple country Church built by German immigrants in 1883. The sign out front says Mary Queen of Peace which is the name for the parish of the joint churches of St. Martins and St. Walburga's in Rogers.

1st Sunday of Advent

Throughout Advent the Church bears constantly in mind the twofold coming of our Saviour: His birth at Bethlehem which will enlighten the world until the end of time, and His return at the last judgment when He comes to "condemn the guilty to the flames, and call the just with a loving voice to heaven" (Hymn for Matins).
The whole of today's Mass is a preparation for this double Advent of mercy and justice. Some parts of it can be applied equally to either, (e.g. the Introit, Collect, Gradual, Alleluia), while others refer to our Divine Redeemer's lowly birth, and others again, (e.g. the Epistle and Gospel), to His coming in the splendour of His power and majesty. The same welcome will be given to us by our Lord when He comes to judge us, as we give to Him now when coming to redeem us. Let us prepare for the Christmas feast by holy prayers and aspirations and by reforming our lives, that we may be ready for the last great assize upon which depends the fate of our soul for all eternity. And all this with confidence, for those "who wait upon the Lord will never be confounded." (Introit, Gradual, Offertory).
In former times, on this First Sunday of Advent, all the people of Rome made the station at the Basilica of St. Mary Major, to be present at the solemn mass which the Pope celebrated, surrounded by his clergy. This particular Church was chosen because it is Mary who gave us Jesus and because relics of the crib in which the Blessed Mother placed her Divine Child are preserved in this Church. Taken from St. Andrew's Daily Missal.

01 December 2007

Countdown to Christmas

Today is the 1st day of December and you know what that means? Yes, instead of the countdown to the countdown of the 25 days of Christmas we can actually begin the countdown to Christmas. I think next year we should move Thanksgiving another week earlier which will give us an additional 7 days of the countdown to the countdown. If you are bothered by the obsessive commercialism of the "Shopping Season" the Church gives us the perfect antidote. Tomorrow is the beginning of Advent, a sort of "mini-Lent" if you will, that helps us to focus on the real meaning of Christmas which is of course the Nativity of our Lord whose birth is the mystery of the Incarnation, the dogma of the Word made flesh. It is tremendously important but often overlooked or not fully understood. It implies three separate beliefs: 1) The Divine Person of Jesus Christ; 2) The Human Nature of Jesus Christ; 3) The Hypostatic Union of the Human with the Divine Nature in the Divine Person of Jesus Christ. St. Athanasius wrote an excellent treatise on this topic, On the Incarnation of the Word, which you can read online at New Advent or purchase from a Catholic bookstore.

Be the Catholic Who Jesus Want You To Be

H/T to Guard Duty for spotting this article.

Excerpt from an essay, “Faith, Reason, Islam and the West” by Father J. Patrick Serna, Fall/Winter 2006 issue of Catholic Men’s Quarterly.
* * *
So what do we do? Do we sit on the sidelines, which send more people to the hottest parts of hell, according to Dante? No. We must be the Catholic men and women who Jesus wants us to be. We must be filled with a passionate love for Jesus, His Church, and His Mother. If we are filled with that love, then we will pray more. If we pray more, preoccupy ourselves with living in a state of grace and preach more with our lives than our mouths, then the world will be transformed. God’s Grace will transform this sad world of ours if and when we decide to cooperate with that Grace. Catholicism has always held to the belief of Faith AND Good Works. We must show God that we want to change ourselves and the world with more than just words… if we show Jesus in our actions that we wish to cooperate with His transforming Grace, then moral decadence in Christendom will be reversed, as will the Islamic threat to world civilization.
Full article here.

26 November 2007

Tridentine Mass Reminder

Just a reminder that there will be a Tridentine (Latin) Mass this Sunday at St. Walburga's in Rogers/Fletcher Minnesota. Mass will be at 1:00. It is possible that this Mass will be every other week instead of just the 1st. Sunday. Please keep that in your prayers.

There are also plans for a third Tridentine Mass location south of the Twin Cities metro area. Two priests from that area attended a Fraternity of St. Peter workshop in Lincoln, NE on saying the Tridentine Mass. More details on that location as they become available and they have an official start date.

25 November 2007

Feed the Hungry

Deacon Kandra has an inspiring story of what one person can do following the Gospel command to "feed the hungry." It's a beautifully told tale of an immigrant named Jorge Munoz who drives a bus during the day and, after the sun sets, seeks out the illegals and the out-of-work-barely-legal immigrants who are going for days with little more for a meal than bread. He finds them, and he feeds them.

Here is the rest of the story.

SSPXBishop Williamson says 9-11 Inside Job?

Thanks to Clerical Whispers for this story on Bishop Williamson of the SSPX, never a stranger to controversy, as he joins the 9-11 conspiracy fringe with his latest statements that it was all an inside job.

Bishop Williamson, who's talk was held Nov. 4, 2007 in Bedford, Mass., is quoted as saying: "Without 9-11, it would have been impossible to attack in Afghanistan or Iraq. The forces inside the United States government and driving the United States government absolutely wanted to attack and destroy Iraq. The destruction wrought upon Iraq is unspeakable. And now the same forces want to do the same thing to Iran . . . They may well be plotting another 9-11."

The news item continues: "Heat from the burning fuel of the planes that flew into the twin towers of the World Trade Center could not have melted the 47 steel columns in each tower, causing them to collapse, he claimed. And a commercial airliner could not have penetrated six of the ten walls that were breached by 'whatever hit the Pentagon,' he said.

Now I am not an engineer, just a simple firefighter who knows a little about fire, building construction and structural collapse. One thing I do know is that fire is unpredictable and that its effects are often not what building engineers planned for. Burning jet fuel might not melt steel columns but burning jet fuel will ignite other materials like carpeting and office furnishings which are largely synthetics that burn extremely hot and with greater intensity. As you compound the damage and as the fire continues you have a disaster waiting to happen. Bishop Williamson recently caused a stir when he criticized the female doctors of the Church, Saints Theresa of Avila and Catherine of Siena, for assuming a teaching role that was not proper to their vocation. Maybe his Excellency should stick to his proper role of preaching the Gospel and leave the conspiracy theories to Hollywood.

19 November 2007

Miles Christi Religious Order

If you are looking to make a retreat check out Miles Christi a young Order of Priests and Brothers. One of their activities is the preaching of the Spiritual Exercises according to the method of St. Ignatius of Loyola. They conduct these retreats around the country.

From their website: "We are resolved above all, to fervently pursue sanctity with the grace of God and for His greater glory, dedicating ourselves to the sanctification of the laity, particularly of college students."This Religious Order wishes its ranks to be formed only of a select group of men of great heart, generous, deeply moved by the magnanimity of Christ, indignant at the indifference with which many respond to His love, with an ardent love for Calvary, and eager to serve" (Constitutions 12). "A horror for a mediocre, useless, and empty life is deeply rooted in every true miles Christi, who, looking at his Lord on the Cross, asks himself, `What have I done for Christ, what am I doing for Christ, what must I do for Christ?´" (Const. 11).

15 November 2007

Support Relevant Radio

Relevant Radio is a network of Catholic radio stations around the country. If there is not a station in your area you can also listen online at their website. Their are a number of excellent programs including re-broadcasts of Bishop Sheen's old radio programs, Fr. John Corapi and others sure to appeal to a variety of listeners. They are at the end of their quarterly pledge drive and can use the donations of everyone to help reach their goal. While not everyone will like every show broadcast it is certainly worthwhile to help keep Catholic programming on the air. One never knows who might listen and receive the grace they need to come back to the Church. Give them a call and listen too.

NY Vocations Website

H/T to New Advent for the link to a new vocations website NYPriest, The World Needs Heroes developed for the Archdiocese of New York by Grassroots Films. They are the same folks who produced the excellent vocations video Fishers of Men which if you haven't seen can also be found on this new website.

Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship

Yesterday at the Bishops Conference in Baltimore they published a new document on Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. Here are some highlights as they relate to the current debate of Catholic support for pro-abort Catholic politicians. One often hears criticism from defenders of these Catholic politicians against pro-lifers as being hypocrites because they don't support all life issues and that we can excuse their support of abortion because of the good they do relating to the other life issues. With exceptional clarity the Bishops refute this argument and denounce this moral relativism. At the same time reminding us that we cannot ignore the other "life" issues. They also speak to the obligation of a "well-formed conscience" in contrast to the more common emotional concept of "my conscience tells me its okay." The full document is available online at the USCCB website.

Doing Good and Avoiding Evil
21. Aided by the virtue of prudence in the exercise of well-formed consciences, Catholics are called to make practical judgments regarding good and evil choices in the political arena.
22. There are some things we must never do, as individuals or as a society, because they are always incompatible with love of God and neighbor. Such actions are so deeply flawed that they are always opposed to the authentic good of persons. These are called “intrinsically evil” actions. They must always be rejected and opposed and must never be supported or condoned. A prime example is the intentional taking of human life, as in abortion and euthanasia.

25. The right to life implies and is linked to other human rights—to the basic goods that every human person needs to live and thrive. All the life issues are connected, for erosion of respect for the life of any individual or group in society necessarily diminishes respect for all life. The moral imperative to respond to the needs of our neighbors—basic needs such as food, shelter, health care, education, and meaningful work—is universally binding on our consciences and may be legitimately fulfilled by a variety of means. Catholics must seek the best ways to respond to these needs. As Blessed Pope John XXIII taught, “[each of us] has the right to life, to bodily integrity, and to the means which are suitable for the proper development of life; these are primarily food, clothing, shelter, rest, medical care, and, finally, the necessary social services”
(Pacem in Terris, no. 11).

27. Two temptations in public life can distort the Church’s defense of human life and dignity:
28. The first is a moral equivalence that makes no ethical distinctions between different kinds of issues involving human life and dignity. The direct and intentional destruction of human life from the moment of conception until natural is always wrong and is not just one issue among many. It must always be opposed.
29. The second is the misuse of these necessary moral distinctions as a way of dismissing or ignoring other serious threats to human life and dignity. and other unjust discrimination, the use of the penalty, resorting to unjust war, the use of , war crimes, the failure to respond to those who are suffering from hunger or a lack of health care, or an unjust immigration policy are all serious moral issues that challenge our consciences and require us to act. These are not optional concerns which can be dismissed. Catholics are urged to seriously consider Church teaching on these issues. Although choices about how best to respond to these and other compelling threats to human life and dignity are matters for principled debate and decision, this does not make them optional concerns or permit Catholics to dismiss or ignore Church teaching on these important issues.

There were several other documents that came out of the meeting that can be read at the USCCB site.

Cardinal O'Malley says Catholic support for Pro-abort Democrats "borders on scandal."

Thanks to Deacon's Bench for spotting this article.
Boston's Cardinal Archbishop isn't mincing words. The other day, he drew a sharp line in the sand on the issue of Democratic candidates for public office, and abortion:
Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, saying the Democratic Party has been persistently hostile to opponents of abortion rights, asserted yesterday that the support of many Catholics for Democratic candidates "borders on scandal."In his sharpest comments about the political landscape since he was installed as archbishop of Boston four years ago, O'Malley made clear that, despite his differences with the Republican Party over immigration policy, capital punishment, economic issues, and the war in Iraq, he views abortion as the most important moral issue facing policymakers."I think the Democratic Party, which has been in many parts of the country traditionally the party which Catholics have supported, has been extremely insensitive to the church's position, on the gospel of life in particular, and on other moral issues," O'Malley said.Acknowledging that Catholic voters in Massachusetts generally support Democratic candidates who are in favor of abortion rights, O'Malley said, "I think that, at times, it borders on scandal as far as I'm concerned.""However, when I challenge people about this, they say, 'Well, bishop, we're not supporting [abortion rights],' " he said. "I think there's a need for people to very actively dissociate themselves from those unacceptable positions, and I think if they did that, then the party would have to change."
Read the full article.

13 November 2007

USCCB offers new website on marriage

The USCCB has put together a new website full of resources for making sure your marriage is truly happily ever after. It's called For Your Marriage and has information for couples dating, engaged and married.

06 November 2007

Archbishop Ranjith on Summorum Pontificum

One of the hallmarks of chivalry is to be honourable. This would include being obedient to one's superiors. Unfortunately there are many in the Church who refuse to obey the Pope. Archbishop Ranjith who is Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship speaks out against those being disobedient to the Pope in implementing the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. He states that those who do so are guilty of the sin of pride. Check out the interview with translation thanks to Fr. Z.

Social Problems

There is much discussion these days over abortion and other "life" issues. From many sides it seems that if you are pro-life and speak out against pro-abortion Catholic politicians, who are pre-dominately Democrats, you are automatically labeled as a hypocrite and unconcerned about these other issues. Next it is assumed that you will equivocate and support Republican pro-abortion candidates. Speaking for the people I know that is not true. I will not support candidates of either political party who are pro-abortion. As to the other "life" issues which seem to include, the death penalty, immigration, wages, health care and so on there are differences of opinion on the best solution to these problems. Simply because I stand out against abortion doesn't mean I have no concern for the poor. But I do not think that more and bigger government programs is the solution. Archbishop Sheen gave a wonderful talk in his Life Is Worth Living series called Social Problems. "Bishop Sheen draws distinctions between two groups when speaking of social problems: those who create social problems vs. those who ignore them, and those who work out of obligation or duty vs. those who work out of love." We know that as Catholics we are called to work out of love. It is an excellent talk and can be downloaded for $1 at Keep The Faith

05 November 2007

Tridentine Mass update

Yesterday's Tridentine Mass celebrated at St. Thomas in Corcoran, MN was attended by about 85 people with a mix of those over and under 50 years of age. Not bad considering there was not much publicity for the Mass. Also a majority of those there were not at the previous Mass in the Waverly in September, numbering closer to 100 and taking place over Labor Day weekend. This would seem to suggest there is a growing interest in this area. Let's hope that next month's Mass at St. Walburga's in Fletcher will be even bigger.

04 November 2007

Feast Day St. Charles Borromeo

Charles Borromeo B Cardinal (RM)
Born Arona, Italy, October 2, 1538; died night of November 3-4, 1584; canonized in 1610; feast day formerly on November 5.
More than saints working great miracles, it is harder to believe that a man born with a silver spoon in his mouth during an age of decadence that defined nepotism should become a saint. Nevertheless, Charles Borromeo was a man of great humility though he had received many worldly benefits very early in life. The patrician with fairy godmothers galore had the spirit of a hardened ascetic. He gives us hope that we, who also live in a corrupt age, can successfully run the race like Saint Paul and reach for the crown of glory God has waiting for each of us.
Charles (Carlo), the second son of Count Gilbert Borromeo, a talented and pious man, and Margaret de Medici, was born in the family castle of Arona on Lake Maggiore. As a boy he was sent to Milan, for his father was determined the his son should receive the education fitting his station in life even though everyone believed that Charles was retarded because he had a speech impediment.
Charles showed signs of a vocation early. He received the tonsure of minor orders at age 12 and was allowed to wear the cassock. He had an unusual gravity of manner and loved to study. One of his masters said of him: "You do not know the young man; one day he will be a reformer of the Church and do wonderful things." This prediction was fulfilled to the letter.
His uncle, Julius Caesar Borromeo, had the young cleric assigned the rich Benedictine Abbey of Saints Gratian and Felinus, at Arona, which had long been enjoyed by his family in commendam. Here he studied for three years. The abbey provided him with some income and his father made him subsist on this limited allowance. Charles, it appears, was always short of money to pay his household expenses for he set a fine table and liked to entertain.
After studying Latin at Milan, at the age of 15, Charles was sent to the University of Pavia to study civil and canon law under Francis Alciati, who was later made a cardinal. By age 22 Charles had earned his doctorate and both his parents were dead.
In 1559 his mother's younger brother, the Cardinal de Medici, was elected pope and took the name Pius IV. In 1560, Pius IV called his nephew Charles to Rome, where the hat of cardinal-deacon awaited him. In his enthusiasm His Holiness appointed Charles in 1561 to administer the vacant see of Milan, but refused to allow him to go there. In his avuncular zeal his also appointed his beloved nephew as the papal legate of Bologna, Romagna, March of Ancona, and Protector of Portugal, the Low Countries, the Catholic cantons of Switzerland, and the Orders of Saint Francis, the Carmelites, Knights of Malta, and others.
Only two years after his arrival in Rome at the age of 22 and still in minor orders, Charles had among his other responsibilities, duties similar to those of the present-day Secretary of State of the Vatican. The pope clearly found it easy to make appointments and had a strong sense of family. Anyone else in this position would have felt that he was one of Saint Peter's seven gold keys. But Borromeo was made of stronger stuff. Perhaps he bowed his head under the weight of so many honors, but he certainly didn't bend his knee. More importantly, he rolled up his sleeves and went to work.
Nevertheless, he led a balanced life. Charles still managed to find the time to play music and engage in sports; to attend to family responsibilities, such as finding husbands for his four sisters.
To the consternation of many, Charles soon was attacking the Roman court. It his eyes it was worthless, with its display of luxury, its low morals, and its stink of treacherous scheming. Loudly he declared his contempt for the practices that defiled it, condemning lechery, praising charity and humility, denouncing abuses and extolling the virtues of a good example. His daring action earned the hostility of many clerics and the reputation as a kill-joy.
As a patron of learning, Charles promoted it among the clergy and laity by instituting a literary academy at the Vatican. The record of its many conferences and studies can be found in Borromeo's Noctes Vaticanae.
In 1562, Pope Pius IV reconvened the Council of Trent, which had opened in 1545 but had been suspended between 1552 and 1562. Charles is credited with keeping the council going for the next two years and hastening it to the completion of its work by reconciling opponents.
During the council Charles's older brother, Count Frederick Borromeo, died, leaving Charles as head of the family. Everyone assumed he would resign his clerical state and marry. But Charles opted to name his uncle Julius as successor, and instead was ordained a priest in 1563 and consecrated archbishop of Milan the following year.
Charles was anxious to travel to Milan and begin implementing the reforms of Trent in his see, but was forced by the growing frailty of his uncle to remain in Rome. He supervised writing of the new catechism, missal, and breviary, and the reform of the liturgy and church music called for by the council. He even commissioned Palestrina's Mass Papae Marcelli.
At last he received permission to travel to Milan and convene a provincial synod (the first of six during his administration) because his see was in great disorder. But in 1565 he was called to the pope's deathbed, where Saint Philip Neri was also present. The new pope Saint Pius V asked him to continue his duties in Rome for a time, but Charles resisted because he wanted to attend to his diocese.
Finally taking over his see in 1566, the 28-year-old Charles modified the luxurious life style he had in Rome, and set himself to apply the principles of the Council of Trent in the reformation of a large, disordered diocese that had been without a resident archbishop for 80 years. At this time the archdiocese of Milan stretched from Venice to Geneva. It comprised 3,000 clergy and 600,000 lay men and women in over 2,000 churches, 100 communities of men, and 70 of women--about the size of the Roman Church in England today.
Born an aristocrat, Charles Borromeo decided he ought to identify himself with the poor of his diocese. He regulated his household and sold household plate and other treasures to raise 30,000 crowns. The whole sum was used to relief the distress of the poor. His almoner was ordered to give poor families 200 crowns monthly. He confessed himself each morning before celebrating Mass (generally to Griffith (Gruffydd) Roberts, author of the well-known Welsh grammar). Borromeo set his clergy an example of virtuous and selfless living, of caring for the needy and sick, of making Christ a reality to society.
Charles is described as having a robust and dignified carriage. His nose was large and aquiline, his color pale, his hair brown, and his eyes blue. He sported a short, unkempt reddish-brown beard until 1574 when he ordered his clergy to shave and, as in everything, set the example himself.
He travelled the length and breadth of his huge diocese. Eventually, Charles overcame his early speech impediment, but his was never able to preach with ease. Nevertheless, he always spoke convincingly, and constantly preached and catechized on his visitations.
To help remedy the people's religious ignorance he established the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) and instituted 'Sunday schools'; seminaries were opened for the training of clergy (he was a great benefactor of the English College at Douai that Cardinal Allen called him its founder); the dignity of public worship was insisted upon. It is said he had 3,000 catechists and 40,000 pupils enrolled in the CCD programs of Milan. He arranged retreats for the clergy and encouraged the Jesuits in their educational work. His influence was felt even outside his own diocese and time.
Charles Borromeo was an outstanding figure among Catholic reformers after the Council of Trent, and has been called a second Saint Ambrose. His rigorism in some directions and his imperiousness have not escaped criticism, but such work of his as the religious education of children has been very widely appreciated.
Charles's uncompromising reforms were not carried out without opposition, not least from highly-placed laity whose disorderly lives he curbed with stringent measures. Efforts were made to get him removed from office. In 1567, he aroused the enmity of the Milan Senate over episcopal jurisdiction when he imprisoned several laypersons for their evil lives; when the episcopal sheriff was driven from the city by civil officials, he excommunicated them and was eventually upheld by King Philip II and the pope.
Again his episcopal rights were challenged. Backed by governor Arburquerque, the canons of Santa Maria della Scala in Milan one day refused to allow Borromeo to enter their church. You might imagine the scene: the clergy all gathered together like commandos opposing a rampart of pot-bellied prebendaries against their sworn enemy, fulminating and raising their hands against this godly man. Borromeo pardoned the offense but the pope and king upheld his rights again.
On October 26, 1569, Archbishop Charles Borromeo of Milan, was at evening prayer. He had been attempting to bring order to a corrupt religious group known as the Humiliati, which had no more than 70 members but which possessed the wealth of 90 monasteries. One of the Humiliati, a priest named Jerome Donati Farina, was hired by three friars with the proceeds from selling church decorations to assassinate Borromeo.
Image of Saint Charles Borromeocourtesy of Saint Charles Borromeo Church
He shot at the archbishop as he knelt before the altar during evening prayer. Farina escaped. Charles, thinking himself mortally wounded, commended himself to God. The bullet, however, only struck his clothes in the back, bruising him. He calmly ordered the service to continue. Not long afterwards he obtained a papal bull which dissolved the congregation permanently. After thanksgiving, Charles retired for a few days to a Carthusian monastery to consecrate his life anew to God. When it turned out that the wound was not mortal, Charles Borromeo rededicated himself to the reform of the Church.
He then travelled to the next three valleys of the diocese in the Alps, visiting each of the Catholic cantons, removing ignorant and unworthy clergy, and converting a number of Zwinglians. It is said the Charles possessed the extraordinary gift of being able to instantaneously recognize the gifts and capabilities of those around him. He wished to have an efficient body of priests as auxiliaries to help him in his many works, so gathered together men of exemplary lives known for the sanctity and learning. Anyone showing ambition for place or office would not be tolerated by him.
During the famine of 1570 he managed to find food for 3,000 people a day for three months.
Lombardy was under the civil authority of Philip II of Spain at this time. Tired of the jurisdictional struggles and the political games being played, in 1573 Charles excommunicated the governor Luis de Requesens, who was then removed by Philip. The last two governors learned from this not to mess with the cardinal- archbishop.
In 1575 he went to Rome to gain a jubilee indulgence, and the following year it was published in Milan. Huge crowds of penitents came to Milan. Unfortunately, they brought the plague with them. The governor and other officials fled the city; Charles Borromeo refused, remaining to care for the stricken.
He assembled the superiors of the religious communities and begged them for their help. Many religious lodged in his house. The hospital of Saint Gregory was inadequate and overflowed with the sick and dead, with too few to care for them. He sent for help from priests and lay helpers in the Alpine valleys, because the Milanese clergy would not go near the sick.
As plague choked off commerce, want began. Daily food had to be found for 60,000 to 70,000 people. Borromeo first sold off his large estate at Oria, Naples, to raise money to relieve suffering. Having exhausted his own resources and he began piling up debt to get supplies. Clothes were made from the flags that had been hung from his house to the cathedral during processions. Empty houses were used, and shelters were built for the sick. Altars were set up in the streets so that the sick could attend public worship from their windows. He himself ministered to the sick, in addition to supervising care in the city. The plague lasted from 1576-78.
Even during this period, resentful magistrates tried to make trouble between Charles and the pope. When the plague was over, Charles wanted to establish anew his cathedral chapter on the basis of a common life, but the canons refused. This led him to originate his Oblates of Ambrose (who was also bishop of Milan) (now the Oblates of Saint Charles).
In addition to his connection to the English College at Douai and his Welsh confessor Fr. Roberts, Borromeo appointed another Welshman , Dr. Owen Lewis (later bishop of Calabria), to be his vicar general, and he always had with him a little picture of Saint John Fisher. In 1580, he met, aided, and entertained for a week twelve young priests going on a mission to England. Two preached before him--Saint Ralph Sherwin and Saint Edmund Campion, English martyrs.
A little later the same year, Charles met the 12-year-old Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, to whom he gave his first Communion.
Charles was a martyr in his own way. He travelled under much strain and without enough sleep. In 1584, his health declined. After arranging for the establishment of a convalescents' home in Milan, he went to Monte Varallo to make his annual retreat, accompanied by the Jesuit Father Adorno. He told several people that he was not long for this world, took ill on October 24, and arrived back in Milan on All Souls' Day (November 2), having celebrated Mass for the last time the day before in his hometowm of Arona.
He went to bed, requested the last rites, received them, and died quietly during the early hours of November 4 in the arms of his Welsh confessor, Fr. Roberts, in 1584, aged only 46, with the words, "Behold, I come. Your will be done."
He was buried in Milan Cathedral. A spontaneous cultus arose immediately. Soon after his death the people agreed to build a monument to him--a 28-meter statue set upon a 14-meter pedestal. The statue was called "Carlone" or "Big Charles."
Among Walter Savage Landor's poems is one addressed to Saint Charles, invoking his pity on Milan at the time of the troubles in 1848.
Another of Charles's confessors, Saint Alexander Sauli, a Barnabite clerk regular, followed Charles's example and carried out similar necessary, but unwelcome, religious reforms in Corsica (Attwater, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Guissiano, Murray, Orsenigo, Walsh, White, Yeo).
In art his emblem is a cardinal's hat and crozier. Normally he is shown as a cardinal praying before a crucifix, generally barefoot and often with a rope around his neck. Sometimes he is shown (1) kissing the hand of the Blessed Virgin and blessed by the Christ Child; (2) weeping over a book with untouched bread and water nearby; or (3) bringing the Blessed Sacrament to plague victims (Roeder, White).
He is the patron of Roman clergy, seminaries, spiritual directors, catechists, catechumens, and starch makers. Invoked against the plague (Roeder, White).

01 November 2007

All Saints Day

Solemnity celebrated on the first of November. It is instituted to honor all the saints, known and unknown, and, according to Urban IV, to supply any deficiencies in the faithful's celebration of saints' feasts during the year. In the early days the Christians were accustomed to solemnize the anniversary of a martyr's death for Christ at the place of martyrdom. In the fourth century, neighboring dioceses began to interchange feasts, to transfer relics, to divide them, and to join in a common feast; as is shown by the invitation of Saint Basil of Caesarea (397) to the bishops of the province of Pontus. Frequently groups of martyrs suffered on the same day, which naturally led to a joint commemoration. In the persecution of Diocletian the number of martyrs became so great that a separate day could not be assigned to each. But the Church, feeling that every martyr should be venerated, appointed a common day for all. The first trace of this we find in Antioch on the Sunday after Pentecost. We also find mention of a common day in a sermon of Saint Ephrem the Syrian (373), and in the 74th homily of Saint John Chrysostom (407). At first only martyrs and Saint John the Baptist were honored by a special day. Other saints were added gradually, and increased in number when a regular process of canonization was established; still, as early as 411 there is in the Chaldean Calendar a "Commemoratio Confessorum" for the Friday after Easter. In the west, Pope Boniface IV on 13 May 609 or 610, consecrated the Pantheon in Rome to the Blessed Virgin and all the martyrs, ordering an anniversary. Gregory III (731-741) consecrated a chapel in the Basilica of Saint Peter to all the saints and fixed the anniversary for 1 November. A basilica of the Apostles already existed in Rome, and its dedication was annually remembered on 1 May. Gregory IV (827-844) extended the celebration on 1 November to the entire Church. The vigil seems to have been held as early as the feast itself. The octave was added by Sixtus IV (1471-84). -Francis Merseman, from the Catholic Encyclopedia, copyright 1907

source: http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/define97.htm

29 October 2007

Now Showing - Bella

The pro-life film, Bella, was released this past week in a number of locations and additional cities over the next couple weeks. From the trailers and reviews it sounds like an excellent family film. The "star" of the movie is, Eduardo Verástegui, an actor from Mexico who is immensely popular there but virtually unknown in the United States, though after this film I think that will change. I have read a number of comments referring to him as "an American Brad Pitt." Now I don't mean to disrespect Brad Pitt but from the interviews I've seen there is no comparison. Eduardo is Catholic and not in name only but loves his faith and is not afraid to speak publicly about it. If you get the opportunity go and see this movie.

28 October 2007

Fr. Paul Scalia on the Church Militant or the Church Belligerent

In the summer's issue of This Rock magazine, Fr. Paul Scalia wrote an exceptional article on avoiding the pitfalls in defending our faith and changing the Church Militant into the Church Belligerent.
"The Church, like a nation, must defend herself and her faith. She must fight for the truth and for the salvation of souls. This demands doing battle, for which reason we call ourselves the Church Militant. Like a nation, however, the Church also encounters a danger: that the fighting spirit of the Church Militant turn against her, to cease being the Church Militant and to become instead the "Church Belligerent." This term describes not so much a specific group of people as a certain attitude, mindset, or approach. It indicates the necessary fighting spirit of the Church Militant severed from the principle of charity. And it constitutes a hazard...it poses a threat precisely to those—to us—who take the demands of the Church Militant seriously, who see the crisis in society and within the Church, who recognize the catechetical and liturgical fallout of almost four decades, and who desire to enter into the battle for souls.

"To effect this union we must possess a love for both the truth and the person. The goal is not just to prove our point or, worse, to prove ourselves correct. Rather, the purpose is to bring people to Christ and to establish his truth in their hearts."
"Getting carried away by the human intrigue and politicking that loiters in the Church slowly wears away at our supernatural outlook. We should react to scandals (past, present…future) first with sorrow for the offense against our Lord and the damage to his Mystical Body. We should grieve more that he is betrayed than that our counsel or advice was not heeded."
"The hallmark of Christians is charity, not churlishness. The pagans were moved by the Christians: "See how they love one another"—not "See how they complain to one another."
The belligerent spirit distracts us from the immediacy of our own sanctification. The never-ending discussion about the latest liturgical abuse, or catechetical disaster, or transfer, or suspension, etc.—all of the stuff out there—has very little to do with my own soul. My concern is first for my soul, and only secondarily for those matters that come within my sphere of influence. The devil delights for a man to put the smackdown on the pastor for rotten catechesis if he can get his soul in the process. He laughs himself silly when a pro-life activist neglects his own family—in defense of life."
"Be Joyful Warriors How do we wield the sword without impaling our souls on it? First (and last), we must be willing to suffer. It is not our job to correct everything. And trying to do so will only bring unrest. Yes, this means that at times we will have to bear wrongs and allow errors to go uncorrected. There are many rotten things in the Church, but none of them are of the Church."
"He [Jesus] commands us to learn from him not because of his severity but because he is meek and humble of heart (cf. Matt. 11:29). Yes, he cleansed the temple, but he also wept over Jerusalem. Some point to Sts. Athanasius and Catherine of Siena as examples of those who spoke forcefully to the hierarchy. In acknowledging that truth, we must not forget that they were not defined by such directness, nor did they do it without reserve. They suffered profoundly for the Church. We cannot follow their example of directness unless we imitate also their holiness and suffering."
"But we should find no joy in opposing a priest or a bishop on some point of doctrine, liturgy, etc. Indeed, it should bring us great sadness and regret. Nor should we rejoice in the least at the downfall of a priest or bishop, as if it vindicates our position. Rather, we should mourn the fall of one of the Lord’s anointed, as David did.
"Finally, we know that our Lady is the perfect image of the Church. ...perhaps we can see in her also a model of the Church Militant. One line from the Gospels brings this out: Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart (Luke 2:19). She both guards and cultivates. She kept all these things—there is the defensive part, to guard what we have been given. But she also pondered them in her heart—that is, she built them up within her heart. May she, "terrible as an army in battle array," (Song. 6:10) teach us how to fight manfully and build joyfully. Read the full article.

Thou Sayest It, I am a King!

Today marks the feast of Christ the King. But as Jesus tells us, His kingdom is not of this world. Unfortunately we all too often forget or misunderstand this statement. Both those who try to bring about the kingdom on Earth by using merely human or natural means, and also those who, when frustrated with the attacks on the Church, attempt as St. Peter did to strike down those who disagree or persecute us for our beliefs. We pray in the Lord's prayer, "thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven." We need to recall this frequently, "thy will be done" and not become uncharitable or lose hope when it seems that all the world is against us. "When our Lord said to Pilate: My kingdom is not of this world, He intended to teach men that the origin of His supreme power and dignity is not from the earth but from Heaven, not from men, but immediately from God." He truly is King over all nations and as his subjects we owe him our humble service doing his will and the best means we can ensure this is through a greater love of the Eucharistic, which is the life of the Church.

26 October 2007

The Deacon's Bench: Vocations video "Fishers of Men" honored for excellence#links

Check out this link to the Deacon's Bench to see an award winning vocations video. We have shown this at our Serra Club and it is excellent.

25 October 2007

The Earth on Fire

No this is not a story about the California wildfires and the insane claim from the Eco-religionists that it is all a result of global warming. After Mass today my son suggested I should write about today's Gospel where Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire,and how I wish it were already blazing! Jesus did not mean physical fire but the fire of Charity which evidently the world was and still is lacking. When we look at the traits of a knight we see how many of them are elements of Charity; courteous in receiving strangers, liberal in gifts, magnificent and noble in actions, magnanimous in enterprises, and incomparable in clemency. Let us practice these traits and pray for an increase in our fervor of love for Jesus and neighbor. May we one day be able to say the same words as St. Paul, "it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me." If we seek peace in the world it will not come from political activity, government programs, etc., but from each one of us imbued with the love of Jesus Christ. Here is a short prayer that we can say frequently throughout the day.

V. Cor Iesu, flagrans amore nostri.
R. Inflamma cor nostrum amore tui.

V. Heart of Jesus, burning with love for us.
R. Set our hearts on fire with love of Thee.

Required Reading for Freshman Literature at UST

As the definition of chivalry I have posted states, "it is a name for that general spirit or state of mind which disposes men to heroic and generous actions and keeps them conversant with all that is beautiful and sublime in the moral and intellectual world." Yet when one sees what our young men (and women) are required to read in college literature classes one has to wonder how they will be able to converse with the beautiful and sublime if they are unable to know or recognize what it is.
At the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN all freshmen are required to read the book, The Handmaids Tale. It is not a new book, written some 20 years ago and made into a movie in the early 90's. According to the American Library Association this book was on their list of Most Challenged Books from 1990-2000 because of complaints from students and parents for being anti-religious and containing sexual obscenities. The web site UST Class Action has the plot summary, several graphic quotes and more detail on the matter and is working to prevent it from being required for the Spring semester. I have not read the book but have read several of the reviews for and against and some of the excerpts from it. Ultimately I would oppose this book because it does nothing to elevate the mind toward that which is noble or beautiful so why waste the time and money. Further it doesn't appear to even be well written. It is funny that on the same day I was made aware of the controversy, I received a call from a UST freshman asking me to donate as an alum. I asked her about the book and she said that she actually just finished reading it and now needed to write a report. I don't recall her exact words but the tone in her voice was certainly not positive. That is quite unfortunate since the tuition at UST is about $20K she just spent about $2000 (or her parents did) to waste her time reading a critically acclaimed dime store novel. If I just spent that amount of money on reading a book I would expect my to have a more positive emotion like, "wow that was a great book." There are so many exceptional works of literature and I would like to think that at a Catholic University I could read something that uplifts the soul and draws me closer to God, not darkens it.

24 October 2007

Another Tridentine Latin Mass in Minnesota

UPDATE!! There is no longer a Mass at this location. There is a new TLM at Sacred Heart in Robbinsdale. Please click here for more info http://tuitiofidei.blogspot.com/2009/01/latin-mass-in-minneapolis.html

The Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis will be having an additional Mass in the Tridentine rite, in the NW metro area, on the 1st Sunday of the month at 1 p.m., beginning November 4th. The November Mass will be at St. Thomas the Apostle in Corcoran. The December Mass will be at the same time but at St. Walburga's in Fletcher/Rogers. It is likely that the January Mass will be in St. Michael at the old St. Michael Church. Details will be made available when it is known for sure. The priests of these parishes have graciously offered their churches to host the Mass and it will rotate around to determine if one location is better for those attending. There are also another 2 priests in Wright county who are willing to learn this Mass so hopefully it will become a weekly Mass and perhaps move to an earlier time.

21 October 2007

Memorial of Blessed Charles of Austria

Oct. 21st is the memorial day for Blessed Charles of Austria, the last of the Hapsburg monarchs, who became emperor in 1916 after the death of his grand-uncle, Franz Josef. Bl. Charles tried to use his position to govern according to the social teachings of the Catholic Church, he worked tirelessly for peace throughout WWI and struggled to hold together a vast and diverse empire that was embracing the revolutionary philosophy of the day. There are those who will criticize him for this failure and suggest that he was an incompetent fool not deserving of canonization. But he is beatified because of the sanctity of his life and his attempts to rule as a true Christian, not for his success or failure. Follow these links for more information.




Dr. Warren Carroll at Christendom College has a wonderful 45 minute podcast on him. http://christendom.mypodcast.com/2007/09/Blessed_Charles_of_Austria_A_Man_of_Peace_in_a_World_at_War-44030.html

20 October 2007

What Are You Going To Be When You Grow Up?

Yesterday I heard a radio talk show where the host asked a 10 year old caller what she was going to be when she grew up, a scientist? a doctor? All too often we ask children this same question. Yet how often do we make the suggestion, have you thought of becoming a priest or a religious sister or brother? Fr. McBrien of Notre Dame made a comment yesterday to a gathering of the aged VOTF (Voice of the Faithful) "Can you imagine what kind of candidates we would attract to the U.S. Senate, for example, or to any other high-ranking political, corporate or academic office if a commitment to lifelong celibacy were an essential, non-negotiable requirement?" Of course one would have to ask Fr. McBrien what prompts him to remain a priest, but that is a topic for another occasion. I do not agree to his assertion that young people ignore religious vocations simply because of the celibacy requirement although in our over-sexed modern culture this surely has some impact. But even St. Thomas Aquinas, 700 years ago, was tempted to impurity by the schemes of his family. No, more than that I think it comes from the attitude of parents and adults who see someone with intelligence and abilities and feel they must use those talents in some profession where success is measured in dollars and/or titles. Even St. Catherine of Siena was forced to cut her long beautiful hair in a desperate attempt to convince her mother that she was committed to her vocation with God and was not going to get married to the suitor the family picked for her. As parents and adults we should encourage a religious vocation, though avoid the other extreme of forcing a child into a religious vocation because we "want a priest in the family." Ultimately we want them to be open to God's call in whatever vocation He may call them because therein they will find their true happiness throughout their lives.

19 October 2007

Feast of the North American Martyrs

Today in the U.S. we celebrate the feast of the North American Martyrs. (It's celebrated in Canada in September.) They were 8 brave priests and laymen who endured incredible hardships during their lives and suffered incredible martyrdoms in their efforts to bring the Catholic faith to Canada and the upper U.S., particularly among the Huron Indians. May we live our faith by their example in the face of the trials and adversity we face from a secular society which regards faith and religion as weakness, something that can be done in private but which has no place in our public lives. If you are unfamiliar with these saints there are a number of resources that give good biographies. Here are a few of them.




17 October 2007

Mosques On The Horizon Of Europe

JS at Guardduty, posted a link to an article in the Guardian regarding the rise of Mosques in Europe and the looming conflict. Of course the opponents of this are labled as far right wingers and perhaps some of the are. However, if everyone who might be concerned about this is an extremist then I guess St. Pope Pius V and King John Sobieski of Poland would also be deemed "right wing" by those at the Guardian. Catholic leaders throughout Europe are justifiably concerned by appearance of Mosques During a recent summit on “Islamophobia” organized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Arab League of Cordoba in Spain, the secretary general of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, demanded Muslims be granted the right to hold religious services at the Cathedral of Cordoba. The first day of the summit quickly became controversial when Moussa demanded that the Cathedral, which was once a Mosque, be made available for Muslim prayer. “All churches and mosques are built for prayer and to be used for this end; I think there wouldn’t be a religious clash at all; the clash would be instead of a political nature,” Moussa said. However, he ignored questions pertaining to why Christians are not only forbidden to pray in mosques but are even prohibited from building churches in some Muslim countries. Therein lies the crux of the conflict. Muslims in Christian countries demand rights that are not reciprocated. In the towns of Nazareth and Bethlehem the few remaining Christians that haven't been run out are continually harassed. Recently a prominent Palestinian Christian was kidnapped and killed by Islamic militants in Gaza. "Rami Ayyad, the director of the only Christian bookstore in Gaza, was abducted as he closed his shop on Saturday evening, October 6. His body was discovered the next day, riddled with bullet and knife wounds.
An active member of the Palestinian Bible Society, Ayyad had been threatened in the past by Islamic groups who charged that he was using his bookstore to attract Muslims, hoping to convert them to Christianity. In April the bookstore was the target of an arson attack. Just before his abduction, Ayyad had reported that he was being followed by a car that had no license plates." They believe that what was once Muslim always remains Muslim regardless of whether or not it remains continuously in their possession. Never mind the fact that before the Cathedral was a Mosque it was a Cathedral. “The seventeen centuries of Cordoba’s Christian history deserve to be respected,” Bishop Asenjo said at that time. Recent work by archeologists has shown that the Cathedral’s sub-floor dates to the 4th and 6th centuries. The Cathedral was completely destroyed after the Muslim invasion of 711. Individually we must always show Charity, even against our enemies. But we must recognize as our ancestors did that this is more than a difference of opinion between two monotheistic religions. Even as Amr Moussa stated, the clash is political, not religious. This is a clash between civilizations. One only has to look at a map of the Christian world before and after the growth of Islam to see the disappearance of Christianity it it's wake. As Belloc said decades ago, what exists is an unstable equilibrium that will not be sustained forever.

...But in Wangen, that message falls on deaf ears. “First it was a cultural centre, then a prayer room, and now a minaret,” says Mr Kissling. “It’s salami tactics. The next thing it will be loudspeakers and the calls to prayer will be echoing up and down the valley. Our children will ask ‘what did our fathers do’, and their answer will be - they did nothing.”

Read more at Guardduty.

Justice Scalia Speaking on Faith and Justice

Supreme Court Justice Scalia spoke at a recent symposium at Villanova U. giving his opinion on being Catholic and a Justice but not a Catholic Justice. His lecture was part of a daylong symposium titled "Avoiding Dogmatism on a Disputed Question." Of particular interest are his comments regarding the death penalty. Oftentimes when one discusses the Catholic teaching regarding the intrinsic evil of abortion there will be someone quick to suggest that we are hypocrites if we oppose abortion but support the death penalty. Justice Scalia in his usual clear manner defeats that position.

Other speakers took on such topics as how the medieval theologian St. Thomas Aquinas might have distinguished between the work of judges and lawmakers, and on the modern relevance of natural law - the notion that laws grounded in the examples of nature are universally valid.
Scalia's assertion that he was comfortable with capital punishment - despite the Catholic Church's strong discouragement of its use - did provoke a challenge.
"You defend a right of conscientious doubt [regarding Catholic teaching] on the death penalty," a woman in the audience asked during the question period. "That sounds liberal."
"I have a basis for dissent," Scalia replied: "Several millennia of Catholic practice." He said that - unlike on abortion - the Catholic Church had never issued an infallible judgment that capital punishment was universally wrong.
"The church has always set forth a philosophy of punishment that an evil act sets forth disorder, and must be punished," he said. Despite Pope John Paul II's 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae decrying capital punishment and other forms of violence, Scalia said, "I don't think Catholic dogma has changed on this."
He concluded that Americans should disabuse themselves of the notion that "everything you care about personally is in the Constitution."
"Well, it's not," he said. "What it says, it says. What it does not say, it does not say.

16 October 2007

What Happened to lay involvement in the Church?

Fr. Raymond Blake’ posted an interesting article at his blog regarding the lack of involvement by the laity in the Church today. Despite the call from Vatican II for greater lay involvement in the Church we have really not responded. I was looking at the stained glass windows in the Church the other day and saw about a half dozen that were gifts of various lady's guilds of the parish. Most long disappeared unfortunately. Men also had their choice of numerous groups to join from the Knights of Columbus, Holy Name Society and so on. At least those two still exist but not in every parish.

I had a visit from Fr Paul Harrison yesterday, blogging is a bit incestuous. Both of us have a bit of an interest in history. In between having lunch and visiting the Royal Pavillion we talked quite a lot about lay ministry, with the overarching question of are more people involved in Church now than fifty years ago. Both of us have done a bit of research, mine maybe more on the level of anecdote than Fr Paul's, who did a MA on Preston Catholicism.THRIVINGIn Brighton 50 years ago there were thriving organisations. The Church was made up of small groups, I am sitting in my office and around me are old framed photographs of the various sporting groups that used to be in the parish: the parish swimming team, boxing team, football team etc. There were obviously plenty of things for young men. In all of them there is a priest involved, then of course there were four priests in the parish, what these pictures show is the Church's involvement with men, it took them seriously, it knew they were going to be the future priests and fathers of families, mangers of buisnesses, trade unionists. Then ordinations in (or at least) from this parish were a regular thing. There are no records but I am told there was here an extremely thriving SVP group, that used to visit the slum housing and a Legion of Mary that used to go parish visiting, from door to door. There was also the Catholic Evidence Guild, I am not sure if they were actually "of the parish", or simply preached on the promenade, "in the parish" during the summer. In the notice books there are references to The Guild of the Blessed Sacrament, the Scouts, the Agnesians, the Altar Guild, the Union of Catholic Mothers, The Catholic Police Guild, the Catholic Nurses Guild etc etc.There was great optimism, in this parish in that period a social worker called Mary Garson together with the parish priest set a group of women to care for those in need, from this, she founded the Congregation of the Sisters of Grace and Compassion, a religious congregation that is thriving in India and parts of Africa.The Sisters of Grace and Compassion are still in Brighton but of the other organisations none of these exist today, except the SVP, and that seems normal for most parishes. What we have instead are a few small "faith sharing groups" and lay involvement is limited to the finances, Extra-Ordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and readers, in the past there were none of these, there were altar servers and a very proficient choir that sang chant. The sanctuary ministries have replaced the apsotolic ones. CHANGING ROLES There has been a huge shift of lay involvement; from lay people very obviously sanctifying the world, directly proclaiming the Word of God and "doing" the works of mercy, to what we have now; most lay ministry being centred on the liturgy and within the Church. In practice there has been a very significant change in Ecclesiology. Some people have said we have clericalised the laity and laicised the clergy, a bit of a harsh statement but certainly the main focus of the laity has been the sanctuary and not the world and possibly the role of priest has changed from being the sanctifier to being the manger. VATICAN II What has intervened is Vatican II, the Council's main aim of course was to engage with the modern world, its teaching is all about empowering people to evangelise and to proclaim Christ in the world. In Northern Europe at least this has not happened, on the contrary we have shrunk as a Church. Our diocesan seminary for example in 1962/3 doubled in size, now the number of students would still be uncomfortable small even in the old building.There are obviously good sociological reasons for the decline; women working, the television, the decline of the family, contraception are just a few reason that are put forward. What we in the Church so often try to avoid is to suggest that the problem might be the Church herself. Hans Kung, in one of his early, more orthodox works says, "The Church ceases to be the Church when it preaches the Church", yet for 50 years it strikes me that that is precisely what we have been doing. We have been obsessed with liturgy, with lay-involvement in parish structures, parish councils, the role of women within the Church, ecumenism, catechesis. All these are important but only of people who are already "churched", and not directly concerned with revealing the face of Christ. Fifty years ago every fifth or sixth entry in our baptism records was a convert, nowadays it is three, four or five a year, in many parishes none. The Evangelisation that many believed that would follow the wonderful documents of the Council just didn't take place. POPE The Pope in his "The Spirit of the Liturgy" sees the sign of the Church looking inwards at its celebration of the Liturgy as signifying and possibly even causing this sense of introversion. The priest facing the people creates a smug little huddle that looks in on itself. If the image people are presented with day after day, Sunday after Sunday is the priest looking at the people over the altar and most especially prays to God whilst directing his gaze at the congregation, o0ne might be led to suspect that God is to found there rather than elsewhere, beyond and above the immediate community. CATECHESIS I am sure that is one factor, another, which was certainly signified by the change in the Liturgy, is the change in catechesis. In the past, it wasn't so much the Church that catechised, or even the school, but the family. Fr Paul told me about some Traveller families he had prepared for First Holy Communion, and how well they knew the old catechism. Mother or Grand-Mother had simply passed on the faith they themselves had been given, but most families have lost confidence in simply doing that. The liturgy changed and catechetical emphasis changed, and parents , I think, lost confidence in passing on their faith. In the non-literate, self reliant culture of Traveller families that didn't happen so much. When I was first ordained, the question, "Do we still believe in ....?", was applied to the Real Presence, Purgatory, Hell, Eternal Life, Papal Infallibility, the Catholic Church, Confession, the Divinity of Christ, the Virginity of Mary, well practically every aspect of Catholic life.REDISCOVERYOne of the things the Pope has been urging us all to do, is the rediscover the riches of the Vatican Council, get to the texts rather than its accursed "Spirit". I am concinced that one off the purposes of the recent Motu Proprio, was just the reconcilliation of the Lefebvrists but the reconcilliation of today's church with its past, reconcilliation with our history and most especially with our theology, look again at Archbishop Ranjith's reported recent comment.(added later)WHAT ARE LAY PEOPLE SUPPOSED TO DO The most important thing for lay people is to live out their baptism, loving God and their neighbour. Pre-Concilliar theology would lay great stress on the obligation to "save one's soul", by receiving the sacraments worthily, and therefore acting as a leaven within society. If you were married then the obligation was extended to ensuring the salvation of one's children, hence all that pre-concilliar school building and education.Any collection of pre-Concilliar parish sermons certainly do not speak a great deal about sex, as I was told in the seminary, society was too delicate, Fr Paul sad the closest to it was "keeping bad company". Being honest, doing a fair days work for a fair days pay seems to be much more to the point, coming to the aid of one's neighbour seems to be very prevalent, which might account for the high number of Catholic doctors and nurses and the other Catholic professions.The motif of the Second Vatican Council was the Church's engagement with modern world, it wasn't something new, certainly in England and presumably elsewhere it was of tremendous importance in the pre-Concilliar Church. What is pretty obvious is that it did not come to birth in the Council Hall but was alredy up and running, since the Council it seems to have fallen flat on its face. In our diocese there was a plan to build a Church every mile in the city, and in the countryside a Church every five miles, now the future is bleak and we are closing or amalgamating Churches wherever we can.The problem is not just a lack of vocations to the priesthood and religious life but a lack of vocations to teaching and even marriage.


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