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.

08 October 2007

Cardinal Arinze and Attacks on Marriage and the Family

Cardinal Arinze speaking at a meeting of Legatus International discusses attacks on marriage and the family. See the whole article at http://www.catholic.org/national/national_story.php?id=25593
"The dissolution of marriage and family is like the introduction of a cancerous virus," said Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze, head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. "Collapse will only be a matter of time. Can we afford to stand by and look in helpless silence?" he asked participants during the Legatus international fall summit Sept. 21.
The cardinal named several forces that debase marriage and family, including sexual relations between unmarried people, pornography and prostitution. He also pointed out that scripture condemns homosexual acts and said divorce ruins children.
Additionally, Cardinal Arinze denounced sterilization and contraception as attacks on the origin of human life and called abortion and infanticide "unspeakable crimes." "It's tragic that some people see babies as a problem rather than a blessing," he said. "When a culture views dogs and cats as nice but children as troublesome, we are in trouble."

07 October 2007

Secularism Undermining the Foundations of Society

Courtesy of Lifesitenews.com

Secularism is Undermining the Very Foundations of Democratic Society, Pope Warns Disregard for natural law has caused "a crisis for human-- even more for Christian-- civilization."

VATICAN, October 5, 2007 (CWNews.com/LifeSiteNews.com) - By denying the existence of natural law, secularism is undermining the very foundations of democratic society, Pope Benedict XVI argued in an October 5 private audience with members of the International Theological Commission.Disregard for natural law, the Holy Father said, has caused "a crisis for human-- even more for Christian-- civilization." In response to that crisis, he continued, Church leaders should mobilize "both lay people and followers of religions other than Christianity" to reclaim a common moral tradition.The International Theological Commission had gathered in Rome this week to discuss a forthcoming document on natural law, and the Pope underlined the importance of that topic in his remarks. The natural law, he observed, "makes it clear that the ethical content of Christian faith is not an imposition dictated from outside man's conscience, but a norm that has its basis in human nature itself."Because it is not a matter of faith, but a form of moral reasoning that is "accessible to all rations creatures," the natural law can form the basis for dialogue in civil society, the Pope observed, and society can reach a consensus on fundamental moral questions.Once that shared recognition of natural law is withdrawn, the Pontiff warned, there is no means of resolving public debates other than a contest of political strength. Then process of legislation becomes "not the search for good but the search for power, or rather the balance of power."The problem facing contemporary democracies, the Pope said, is a form of ethical relativism, based on the mistaken notion that "relativism guarantees tolerance and mutual respect."In fact, the Pontiff said, this relativism has caused a profound crisis in society, so that "the fundamental essentials are at stake: human dignity, human life, the institution of the family and the equity of the social order--in other words the fundamental rights of man." The crisis can only be overcome, he said, by restoring an appreciation for the natural moral law "in conformity with right reason-- which is participation in the eternal Reason of God."

Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

The Battle of Lepanto by Paolo Veronese. Oil on canvas
Today is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary and commorates the victory of the Holy League over the Turkish Navy specifically and Christianity over Islam in general, at the historic Battle of Lepanto. The poem Lepanto by G.K. Chesterton should be required reading of all men and boys. We must ask ourselves though was this battle all for naught in the end? Pope Pius V recognized that by this defeat, Europe was saved from Muslim invasion and the destruction of Christianity. However today we invite this spread of Islam into our midst.We must again heed the words of St. Pope Pius V and pick up our weapon, the Rosary, and pray for the conversion of our enemies to the true faith.

06 October 2007

Changing Idea of Fatherhood

Time magazine has an article on fatherhood and whether it makes you less of a man. http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1668449-1,00.html
To a group of men interviewed, their response is "sort of." Well the answer should be "definitely not." In fact being a father is all about being a man, truly masculine, truly chivalrous. One can simply look at the history of Christian art and see in it the love of a father towards his children. No doubt somewhere along the line men began to repress those nurturing feelings and became more distant and stoic but that is not in the true nature of man. Now men are beginning to re-discover their true nature but it is not to be attributed to the feminist influence as some would have us believe. In fact the effect of feminism on men and especially on young men and boys is very destructive. One man in the interview feels "a little whipped" because he stays home to take care of his children.
Aaron Rochler who is an associate professor at the University of Texas studying fatherhood and masculinity concludes that being masculine is bad for you. Perhaps in the modern concept of it but not masculine in the classical ideal. Take a look at the Order of the Knights of St. John which began as a hospitaller order taking care of sick pilgrims to the Holy Land. Later they took on a military role in keeping pilgrims and Christian places safe but they never stopped ministering to the sick. Everywhere they went they built hospitals. These noble warriors who earned the respect of their enemies for their strength and valour were equally attentive in their compassionate care and love for the sick and the poor. These men began their day with Mass, prayed their 150 Our Fathers on their Paternoster beads, and spent Holy Hours before the Blessed Sacrament. Is it mere coincidence that as men began to view their faith as "something women do" that their whole concept of manhood and masulinity changed?

05 October 2007

The Deacon's Bench: "My life is a gift given to me by God, and He has a plan for it"

H/T to the Deacon's Bench.
The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio) has written the first installment of a series on people considering a vocation to the priesthood or religious life and the difficulties they face. As I wrote earlier it is important that we give our support to son's and daughther's as they make this decision as much of the opposition comes from their families. If God is truly calling them to this vocation it would not be wise to have to stand before him one day and answer why we opposed Him. The Deacon's Bench: "My life is a gift given to me by God, and He has a plan for it"

Feast Day of Blessed Peter Pattarini of Imola

**Blessed Peter Pattarini of Imola, Prior O.N.
He was born about 1250 at Imola (Italy) into the family of the lords of Linasio. An able lawyer, he mediated between the Guelphs and Ghibellines at Romagna in 1297. He became a Knight of the Order of St John of Jerusalem and was elected Grand Prior at Rome. He devoted great energy to caring for the sick at Florence where he died on 5 October 1320. He was buried in the Church of St James in the Campo Corbolini.

Common of a Religious Prayer:
O God, who gave to blessed Peter, Prior of our Order,
the gift of healing discord and division,
Grant to us through his prayers
the grace of striving for peace
and so being called the children of God.
Through the same Christ your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.

Veto of Children's Healthcare

The National Catholic Register has a good article on Pres. Bush's veto of the SCHIP program. If one looks at the reason for the veto rather than the hysteria created by the usual suspects it might make sense. http://www.catholic.org/views/views_news.php?id=25508

04 October 2007

Political Correctness Gone Wild

Four firefighters in England were demoted and/or fined for shining their spotlight on illegal homosexual activity. Nothing happened to those breaking the law. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=485404&in_page_id=1770

03 October 2007

The Deacon's Bench: Raymond vs. Rudy

The Deacon's Bench: Raymond vs. Rudy

2004 Beatification of Blessed Charles of Austria

On Oct. 3, 2004 the former emperor, Charles of Austria, was beatified by Pope John Paul II. The following is taken from the homily at the beatification. His memorial day is Oct. 21st and I will post more on him then. Please pray for his eventual canonization.

"The decisive task of Christians consists in seeking, recognizing and following God's will in all things. The Christian statesman, Charles of Austria, confronted this challenge every day. To his eyes, war appeared as "something appalling". Amid the tumult of the First World War, he strove to promote the peace initiative of my Predecessor, Benedict XV.
From the beginning, the Emperor Charles conceived of his office as a holy service to his people. His chief concern was to follow the Christian vocation to holiness also in his political actions. For this reason, his thoughts turned to social assistance. May he be an example for all of us, especially for those who have political responsibilities in Europe today!
Let us praise and thank the Lord with the entire Church for the marvels he has worked through these good and faithful servants of the Gospel. May Mary Most Holy, who in this month of October we invoke in a special way with the prayer of the Rosary, help us to become in turn generous and courageous apostles of the Gospel. Amen!"

01 October 2007

It Takes a Family (not a village)

Sen. Rick Santorum gave a talk this summer at Christendom College on the importance of the family in keeping America's founding values and vision strong. Listen to the podcast.


In an earlier post I quoted from St. Pius X and his thoughts on the necessity of "shock troops" among the laity to bring about the reform of society. One of the results would be vocations to the priesthood and religious life. Vocations begin in the home yet how many of us are truly nurturing vocations in our families? I urge everyone to consider becoming a member or at least acquainted with your local Serra Club as their purpose is to foster vocations and support seminarians. Visit their site to find a local club and for more info. http://www.serraus.org/ This is not something we should leave to to "someone else's son or daughter." A religous vocation is truly a blessing for parents and the whole family.


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