28 October 2009

The Priest On The Altar As Representative of Jesus

A 19th century French priest, Fr. Charles Arminjon, gave a series of conferences in the town cathedral to help his flock turn their thoughts away from this life's material affairs and towards the great spiritual rewards of Heaven. These conferences were compiled into a book titled, The End Of The Present World and The Mysteries Of The Future Life. Despite its title this is not a book of prophecy or predictions of the end of the world although he does deal with the subject in light of Church teaching and the various opinions of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. One point he stresses is that we should not be misled by the frequency of earthly disasters and such as indicators that "the end is near."

Saint Therese of Lisieux first read the book when she was 14 years old and says,
Reading this was one of the greatest graces of my life. I read it at the window of my study, and the impression I received from it is too intimate and too sweet for me to express . . . All the great truths of religion, the mysteries of eternity, plunged my soul into a happiness not of the earth . . . I experienced already what God reserves for those who love Him (not with the eye of man, but with that of the heart), and seeing that the eternal rewards had no proportion to the light sacrifices of life, I wanted to love, to love Jesus with passion, to give Him a thousand proofs of love while I still could. I copied out several passages on perfect love, on the reception that the good God will give His elect at the moment when He Himself becomes their great and eternal reward, and I kept repeating unceasingly the words of love burning in my heart."

In a section on the Eucharist he describes how the priest on the altar, fills a representative function by assuming the person of Jesus Christ. I should note that as he wrote this in the 19th Century he is describing the priests actions in what is now called the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. In reading this it is obvious to note the loss of the sacred and mysterious when compared to the actions of the priest in today's Novus Ordo. Where the priest too often begins Mass more like a 'Master of Ceremonies.'

At Mass, we come out of the sacristy wearing on our shoulders that mysterious chasuble, the image of the Cross that our Lord Jesus Christ bore upon His own shoulders. The alb that covers us represents the white robe in which the Son of God was mocked at the court of Herod, but which His innocence transformed into a garment of dazzling brightness. We carry, hanging from our arms, that maniple of tears, intended to wipe away the sweat from our foreheads and restore us from our failings.

After bowing, we ascend the steps of the altar, as our Lord Jesus Christ climbed the steps of Golgotha. we raise our hands, when we say Oremus, as Jesus Christ prayed, with His hands raised toward His Father. At the Canon, we speak in a low voice, like Jesus Christ, who, in the Garden of Olives, moved a stone's throw away from His disciples, in order to enter into the silence of recollection and prayer. At the Elevation, we take the Host in our hands, just as Jesus Christ, at the Last Supper, took the bread and wine into His holy and venerable hands. Then our words cease, our personality disappears, and the voice of Jesus Christ replaces that of His minister. it is no longer we who speak, no longer we who live: the body of the priest has become the very body of God.

The Priest On The Altar As Representative of Jesus

A 19th century French priest, Fr. Charles Arminjon, gave a series of conferences in the town cathedral to help his flock turn their thoughts away from this life's material affairs and towards the great spiritual rewards of Heaven. These conferences were compiled into a book titled, The End Of The Present World and The Mysteries Of The Future Life. Despite its title this is not a book of prophecy or predictions of the end of the world although he does deal with the subject in light of Church teaching and the various opinions of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. One point he stresses is that we should not be misled by the frequency of earthly disasters and such as indicators that "the end is near."

Saint Therese of Lisieux first read the book when she was 14 years old and says,
Reading this was one of the greatest graces of my life. I read it at the window of my study, and the impression I received from it is too intimate and too sweet for me to express . . . All the great truths of religion, the mysteries of eternity, plunged my soul into a happiness not of the earth . . . I experienced already what God reserves for those who love Him (not with the eye of man, but with that of the heart), and seeing that the eternal rewards had no proportion to the light sacrifices of life, I wanted to love, to love Jesus with passion, to give Him a thousand proofs of love while I still could. I copied out several passages on perfect love, on the reception that the good God will give His elect at the moment when He Himself becomes their great and eternal reward, and I kept repeating unceasingly the words of love burning in my heart."

In a section on the Eucharist he describes how the priest on the altar, fills a representative function by assuming the person of Jesus Christ. I should note that as he wrote this in the 19th Century he is describing the priests actions in what is now called the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. In reading this it is obvious to note the loss of the sacred and mysterious when compared to the actions of the priest in today's Novus Ordo. Where the priest too often begins Mass more like a 'Master of Ceremonies.'

At Mass, we come out of the sacristy wearing on our shoulders that mysterious chasuble, the image of the Cross that our Lord Jesus Christ bore upon His own shoulders. The alb that covers us represents the white robe in which the Son of God was mocked at the court of Herod, but which His innocence transformed into a garment of dazzling brightness. We carry, hanging from our arms, that maniple of tears, intended to wipe away the sweat from our foreheads and restore us from our failings.

After bowing, we ascend the steps of the altar, as our Lord Jesus Christ climbed the steps of Golgotha. we raise our hands, when we say Oremus, as Jesus Christ prayed, with His hands raised toward His Father. At the Canon, we speak in a low voice, like Jesus Christ, who, in the Garden of Olives, moved a stone's throw away from His disciples, in order to enter into the silence of recollection and prayer. At the Elevation, we take the Host in our hands, just as Jesus Christ, at the Last Supper, took the bread and wine into His holy and venerable hands. Then our words cease, our personality disappears, and the voice of Jesus Christ replaces that of His minister. it is no longer we who speak, no longer we who live: the body of the priest has become the very body of God.

New Blog of British Assoc. of the SMOM

My confreres of the British Association of the Order of Malta have a wonderful new blog to check out. Here is a link, SaintJohnofJerusalem.blogspot.com. They have some great pictures taken of the recent visit of the relics of St. Therese of Lisieux to their Conventual Church at the Hospital of St. John and St. Elizabeth and also profession of Solemn vows by Duncan Gallie.

New Blog of British Assoc. of the SMOM

My confreres of the British Association of the Order of Malta have a wonderful new blog to check out. Here is a link, SaintJohnofJerusalem.blogspot.com. They have some great pictures taken of the recent visit of the relics of St. Therese of Lisieux to their Conventual Church at the Hospital of St. John and St. Elizabeth and also profession of Solemn vows by Duncan Gallie.

27 October 2009

No Abortion Funding in "Our Plan"

In his September speech to Congress President Obama went on record stating that there would be no federal funding of abortion in his healthcare plan. Most people were skeptical and the USCCB wanted to give him the benevolent benifit of the doubt. But when pushed on the matter and realizing that he could no longer avoid the fact that his comments were contradicted by all the evidence showing that abortion will be funded with federal tax dollars he "qualified" his statement. In another era he would be described as someone who "speaks with a forked tongue." Here is a recent statement from Fr. Frank Pavone,

Staten Island, NY - Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, responded today to President Obama's statement to Congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI) that when he said in his September speech to Congress that "our plan" would not use federal dollars to fund abortion, he was not referring to any of the bills pending in Congress."

Every time the President has spoken of not wanting to fund abortion in 'his' health care plan, no one has really known what measure he was talking about," said Fr. Pavone. "Now we know from his conversation with Congressman Stupak that the President's 'plan' has never seen the light of day. Or maybe, to paraphrase former President Bill Clinton, it depends on what the word 'plan' means."

No Abortion Funding in "Our Plan"

In his September speech to Congress President Obama went on record stating that there would be no federal funding of abortion in his healthcare plan. Most people were skeptical and the USCCB wanted to give him the benevolent benifit of the doubt. But when pushed on the matter and realizing that he could no longer avoid the fact that his comments were contradicted by all the evidence showing that abortion will be funded with federal tax dollars he "qualified" his statement. In another era he would be described as someone who "speaks with a forked tongue." Here is a recent statement from Fr. Frank Pavone,

Staten Island, NY - Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, responded today to President Obama's statement to Congressman Bart Stupak (D-MI) that when he said in his September speech to Congress that "our plan" would not use federal dollars to fund abortion, he was not referring to any of the bills pending in Congress."

Every time the President has spoken of not wanting to fund abortion in 'his' health care plan, no one has really known what measure he was talking about," said Fr. Pavone. "Now we know from his conversation with Congressman Stupak that the President's 'plan' has never seen the light of day. Or maybe, to paraphrase former President Bill Clinton, it depends on what the word 'plan' means."

24 October 2009

Patrick Kennedy Didn't Get The Message From His Dad

UPDATE:

In response to Patrick Kennedy's ridiculous attack against the U.S. Bishops, Bishop Tobin from Rhode Island made the following remarks,

“Congressman Patrick Kennedy’s statement about the Catholic Church’s position on health care reform is irresponsible and ignorant of the facts. But the Congressman is correct in stating that “he can’t understand.” He got that part right.

As I wrote to Congressman Kennedy and other members of the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation recently, the Bishops of the United States are indeed in favor of comprehensive health care reform and have been for many years. But we are adamantly opposed to health care legislation that threatens the life of unborn children, requires taxpayers to pay for abortion, rations health care, or compromises the conscience of individuals.

Congressman Kennedy continues to be a disappointment to the Catholic Church and to the citizens of the State of Rhode Island. I believe the Congressman owes us an apology for his irresponsible comments. It is my fervent hope and prayer that he will find a way to provide more effective and morally responsible leadership for our state.”
The usual hypocrites have come to the defense of the Cong. by saying that he believes in the separation of Church and State and that the Bishop was out of line for his response. Ignoring the fact that this has nothing to with "separation of Church and State," in the first place it is funny how they have no problem violating their own principle in attacking the Church but become all defensivie when their actions are called to account. As Jesus said in the Gospel, "You cannot serve two masters," it is clear that Cong. Kennedy has chosen Mammon as his master rather than God.

If Sen. Ted Kennedy had a deathbed conversion against abortion he obviously didn't communicate this to his son, Cong. Patrick Kennedy. In a recent interview with CNS the Cong. from Rhode Island made the following comments,

Congressman Patrick Kennedy has a message for the nation's Catholic bishops: You're not pro-life. That's the Rhode Island lawmaker's reaction to a promise from the bishops to vigorously oppose the health care bills in Congress unless amendments are added to remove abortion funding. Kennedy told CNS News in an interview that the Catholic Church is fanning “the flames of dissent and discord” by taking the position.

“I can't understand for the life of me how the Catholic Church could be against the biggest social justice issue of our time, where the very dignity of the human person is being respected by the fact that we're caring and giving health care to the human person--that right now we have 50 million people who are uninsured,” Kennedy told the conservative news outlet.

“You mean to tell me the Catholic Church is going to be denying those people life saving health care? I thought they were pro-life?” he continued.

"If the church is pro-life, then they ought to be for health care reform because it’s going to provide health care that are going to keep people alive. So this is an absolute red herring and I don't think that it does anything but to fan the flames of dissent and discord and I don't think it’s productive at all,"

But it is Cong. Kennedy that is tossing out the red herrings. First of all the Church is not fanning any flames of dissent or discord, nor is it opposed to the "biggest social justice issue of our time", it is simply proclaiming the Truth. If anything it is the Congressman's obstinate refusal to exclude abortion from healthcare that is preventing the Church's support for healthcare reform as proposed.

Next the Catholic Church is not denying anyone "life saving" healthcare. Certainly nobody appearing at a Catholic hospital is or will be turned away because they lack insurance. It is also a convenient lie perpetuated by the likes of Cong. Kennedy that the dignity of these 50 million uninsured is disrespected. A significant number of these "uninsured" are able to get health insurance but decline to for various reasons.

It would be interesting to learn just how many of the "50 million uninsured" die each year in proportion to the rest of the 'insured population'. Any bets that it is less than the number murder by abortion each year?

The numbers just don't add up. If a majority of these 50 million are dying each year, how is it that the same number seems to remain static year to year? After all if this were true we aren't seeing enought people born or immigrating to America to replace those who died.

Patrick Kennedy Didn't Get The Message From His Dad

UPDATE:

In response to Patrick Kennedy's ridiculous attack against the U.S. Bishops, Bishop Tobin from Rhode Island made the following remarks,

“Congressman Patrick Kennedy’s statement about the Catholic Church’s position on health care reform is irresponsible and ignorant of the facts. But the Congressman is correct in stating that “he can’t understand.” He got that part right.

As I wrote to Congressman Kennedy and other members of the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation recently, the Bishops of the United States are indeed in favor of comprehensive health care reform and have been for many years. But we are adamantly opposed to health care legislation that threatens the life of unborn children, requires taxpayers to pay for abortion, rations health care, or compromises the conscience of individuals.

Congressman Kennedy continues to be a disappointment to the Catholic Church and to the citizens of the State of Rhode Island. I believe the Congressman owes us an apology for his irresponsible comments. It is my fervent hope and prayer that he will find a way to provide more effective and morally responsible leadership for our state.”
The usual hypocrites have come to the defense of the Cong. by saying that he believes in the separation of Church and State and that the Bishop was out of line for his response. Ignoring the fact that this has nothing to with "separation of Church and State," in the first place it is funny how they have no problem violating their own principle in attacking the Church but become all defensivie when their actions are called to account. As Jesus said in the Gospel, "You cannot serve two masters," it is clear that Cong. Kennedy has chosen Mammon as his master rather than God.

If Sen. Ted Kennedy had a deathbed conversion against abortion he obviously didn't communicate this to his son, Cong. Patrick Kennedy. In a recent interview with CNS the Cong. from Rhode Island made the following comments,

Congressman Patrick Kennedy has a message for the nation's Catholic bishops: You're not pro-life. That's the Rhode Island lawmaker's reaction to a promise from the bishops to vigorously oppose the health care bills in Congress unless amendments are added to remove abortion funding. Kennedy told CNS News in an interview that the Catholic Church is fanning “the flames of dissent and discord” by taking the position.

“I can't understand for the life of me how the Catholic Church could be against the biggest social justice issue of our time, where the very dignity of the human person is being respected by the fact that we're caring and giving health care to the human person--that right now we have 50 million people who are uninsured,” Kennedy told the conservative news outlet.

“You mean to tell me the Catholic Church is going to be denying those people life saving health care? I thought they were pro-life?” he continued.

"If the church is pro-life, then they ought to be for health care reform because it’s going to provide health care that are going to keep people alive. So this is an absolute red herring and I don't think that it does anything but to fan the flames of dissent and discord and I don't think it’s productive at all,"

But it is Cong. Kennedy that is tossing out the red herrings. First of all the Church is not fanning any flames of dissent or discord, nor is it opposed to the "biggest social justice issue of our time", it is simply proclaiming the Truth. If anything it is the Congressman's obstinate refusal to exclude abortion from healthcare that is preventing the Church's support for healthcare reform as proposed.

Next the Catholic Church is not denying anyone "life saving" healthcare. Certainly nobody appearing at a Catholic hospital is or will be turned away because they lack insurance. It is also a convenient lie perpetuated by the likes of Cong. Kennedy that the dignity of these 50 million uninsured is disrespected. A significant number of these "uninsured" are able to get health insurance but decline to for various reasons.

It would be interesting to learn just how many of the "50 million uninsured" die each year in proportion to the rest of the 'insured population'. Any bets that it is less than the number murder by abortion each year?

The numbers just don't add up. If a majority of these 50 million are dying each year, how is it that the same number seems to remain static year to year? After all if this were true we aren't seeing enought people born or immigrating to America to replace those who died.

23 October 2009

The Pomegranate - The Queen of Fruits

I recently had the opportunity to try a pomegranate which were on sale at a local grocer. We don't get a lot of them in Minnesota and it was definitely a treat. Then tonight I picked up a book off my shelf titled Nature In The Works of Luis De Granada and there in the section on fruits he gives his most detailed description to the pomegranate.

The covering of this fruit is like a garment which surrounds it on all sides to protect it from the severity of the weather. This coating is hard on the outside, but softer on its inner surface, so that it may not injure the delicate texture of the fruit. The grains, the formation of which the author carefully notes together with the provision for their nourishment, are arranged so as to avoid waste of space. They are enclosed in sections separated from one another by a membrane finer than gauze. This division, which he compares to that of the parts of the brain, contributes to the conservation of the grains, whereas the separating tissue prevents the decomposition which starts in one section from passing to an adjoining one. That this fruit may be lacking in no grace, it is surmounted by a royal crown, from the shape of which Fray Luis thinks kings must have taken the form of their diadems.

The pomegranate is thus marked as the queen of fruits. It is not surpassed by any other, either in the color of its grains, lively like that of coral, or in its flavor and healthfulness. Pleasing to the eye and sweet to the taste, it is palatable to the well and wholesome to the sick. Moreover it is of such a quality that it may be kept during the whole year.

Fray Luis wonders that men who are ready to philosophize on human affairs are to so little impressed by the wisdom and power which is able to produce from water and a little humor of the earth a piece of workmanship like the pomegranate. He [Fray Luis] remarks that the Spouse in the Canticle shows better understanding when she invites the beloved to go forth to see if the pomegranates are flourishing, and also to drink of wine make from this fruit.


It is a very interesting book as much for his scientific observation, which undoubtedly would be criticized by our modern "scientists" and their methods, but also by the relation of the natural to the supernatural or spiritual. Here is a part from his description of a bear.
A bear which carries away a honeycomb does not heed the stinging of the bees; so a Christian who enjoys the happiness of receiving Christ in the Eucharist should disregard the pricking of criticizing tongues.

The Pomegranate - The Queen of Fruits

I recently had the opportunity to try a pomegranate which were on sale at a local grocer. We don't get a lot of them in Minnesota and it was definitely a treat. Then tonight I picked up a book off my shelf titled Nature In The Works of Luis De Granada and there in the section on fruits he gives his most detailed description to the pomegranate.

The covering of this fruit is like a garment which surrounds it on all sides to protect it from the severity of the weather. This coating is hard on the outside, but softer on its inner surface, so that it may not injure the delicate texture of the fruit. The grains, the formation of which the author carefully notes together with the provision for their nourishment, are arranged so as to avoid waste of space. They are enclosed in sections separated from one another by a membrane finer than gauze. This division, which he compares to that of the parts of the brain, contributes to the conservation of the grains, whereas the separating tissue prevents the decomposition which starts in one section from passing to an adjoining one. That this fruit may be lacking in no grace, it is surmounted by a royal crown, from the shape of which Fray Luis thinks kings must have taken the form of their diadems.

The pomegranate is thus marked as the queen of fruits. It is not surpassed by any other, either in the color of its grains, lively like that of coral, or in its flavor and healthfulness. Pleasing to the eye and sweet to the taste, it is palatable to the well and wholesome to the sick. Moreover it is of such a quality that it may be kept during the whole year.

Fray Luis wonders that men who are ready to philosophize on human affairs are to so little impressed by the wisdom and power which is able to produce from water and a little humor of the earth a piece of workmanship like the pomegranate. He [Fray Luis] remarks that the Spouse in the Canticle shows better understanding when she invites the beloved to go forth to see if the pomegranates are flourishing, and also to drink of wine make from this fruit.


It is a very interesting book as much for his scientific observation, which undoubtedly would be criticized by our modern "scientists" and their methods, but also by the relation of the natural to the supernatural or spiritual. Here is a part from his description of a bear.
A bear which carries away a honeycomb does not heed the stinging of the bees; so a Christian who enjoys the happiness of receiving Christ in the Eucharist should disregard the pricking of criticizing tongues.

21 October 2009

Memorial of Blessed Charles of Austria

Today is the Memorial for Blessed Charles of Austria who was a member of the Order of Malta. At the Canonization for Blessed Charles website there is a testimony written by Br. Nathan Cochran O.S.B. which gives a good look at the character of Blessed Charles and how he can be an example for men of today. As emperor he was a man of great wealth and power yet he died penniless. The whole article is a good read and here are a couple highlights. Please note that since the time of publication of this article Charles has in fact advanced from being Venerable and been declared Blessed. Pray that he will finally be canonized.

INTRODUCTION

“Are you a monarchist?”
“Why does an American care about an Austrian Emperor?”
“Is your family from Austria?”

In the course of promoting the cause for beatification of Emperor Karl, I frequently hear these questions, as well as many others. More often than not, an Austrian or some other national from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire makes the inquiry. And, more often than not, it is asked in disbelief—as though they cannot fathom what might be special about this man.

The questions may be innocent enough, but they demonstrate that Emperor Karl’s story has not been told often enough or far enough. In American history books—as well as many Austrian ones—Emperor Karl’s reign is frequently relegated to a footnote. His importance, however, is far greater than that acknowledged by historians—especially historians who may not be entirely without bias. I say this because if they were familiar with the story of the last Habsburg Emperor, they would realize that Karl’s life, character, honor, and fidelity have universal inspiration and appeal to everyone—regardless of politics, race or nationality.

The three questions mentioned above, therefore, are really irrelevant to the subject The question that should be asked is: “why is Karl of Austria worthy of beatification?” The answer to that is five-fold: because Venerable Karl was a man of faith, a Christian family man, a Catholic monarch, a resolute peacemaker; and a seeker of God’s Will.

CONCLUSION

By now it should be obvious why the three questions at the beginning of this essay are not important. They are not important because Venerable Karl’s story has universal appeal. His story touches North Americans, Latin Americans, Asians, Africans and Europeans. His faith inspires Catholic men and women, husbands and fathers, military men, politicians, and heads-of-state. His influence reaches out beyond the borders of Austria and the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, and embraces the world with his Christian example.

In a world where many do not believe in God ... we need Venerable Karl’s faith.
Where the world is indifferent to the poor and needy … we need Karl’s example of charity and almsgiving.

Where abortion is perceived as birth control, and illegitimate births outnumber births to married couples … we need Emperor Karl’s compassion and care for all human life.

Where the number of couples cohabiting without benefit of marriage is at an alltime high … we need Karl of Austria’s example of Christian matrimony.

Where divorce is rampant, and absentee fathers all too common … we need Karl’s steadfast love for his wife and children.

In lands where politicians rely on polls to create their policies rather than on moral and ethical principles … we need the moral conviction of Emperor Karl.

Where politicians seek office for personal gain … we need the selflessness of King Karl of Hungary.

Where Catholic politicians vote against Catholic teaching, and their conscience, in order to stay in office … we need the fidelity to the teachings of the Church exhibited by Venerable Karl.

Where laws are made to benefit wealthy lobbyists rather than common people … we need the example of Karl’s love and concern for people of every race and social class.

Where war, strife, discord and conflict abound … we need the passion for peace of the last Habsburg Monarch.

Where millions suffer from illness and infirmity … we need the example of Karl, who bore all trials and tribulations with the words: “Thy Will be done!”

Venerable Karl of Austria must be beatified! Not because he needs it, but because we need his inspiring and selfless example.

Memorial of Blessed Charles of Austria

Today is the Memorial for Blessed Charles of Austria who was a member of the Order of Malta. At the Canonization for Blessed Charles website there is a testimony written by Br. Nathan Cochran O.S.B. which gives a good look at the character of Blessed Charles and how he can be an example for men of today. As emperor he was a man of great wealth and power yet he died penniless. The whole article is a good read and here are a couple highlights. Please note that since the time of publication of this article Charles has in fact advanced from being Venerable and been declared Blessed. Pray that he will finally be canonized.

INTRODUCTION

“Are you a monarchist?”
“Why does an American care about an Austrian Emperor?”
“Is your family from Austria?”

In the course of promoting the cause for beatification of Emperor Karl, I frequently hear these questions, as well as many others. More often than not, an Austrian or some other national from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire makes the inquiry. And, more often than not, it is asked in disbelief—as though they cannot fathom what might be special about this man.

The questions may be innocent enough, but they demonstrate that Emperor Karl’s story has not been told often enough or far enough. In American history books—as well as many Austrian ones—Emperor Karl’s reign is frequently relegated to a footnote. His importance, however, is far greater than that acknowledged by historians—especially historians who may not be entirely without bias. I say this because if they were familiar with the story of the last Habsburg Emperor, they would realize that Karl’s life, character, honor, and fidelity have universal inspiration and appeal to everyone—regardless of politics, race or nationality.

The three questions mentioned above, therefore, are really irrelevant to the subject The question that should be asked is: “why is Karl of Austria worthy of beatification?” The answer to that is five-fold: because Venerable Karl was a man of faith, a Christian family man, a Catholic monarch, a resolute peacemaker; and a seeker of God’s Will.

CONCLUSION

By now it should be obvious why the three questions at the beginning of this essay are not important. They are not important because Venerable Karl’s story has universal appeal. His story touches North Americans, Latin Americans, Asians, Africans and Europeans. His faith inspires Catholic men and women, husbands and fathers, military men, politicians, and heads-of-state. His influence reaches out beyond the borders of Austria and the old Austro-Hungarian Empire, and embraces the world with his Christian example.

In a world where many do not believe in God ... we need Venerable Karl’s faith.
Where the world is indifferent to the poor and needy … we need Karl’s example of charity and almsgiving.

Where abortion is perceived as birth control, and illegitimate births outnumber births to married couples … we need Emperor Karl’s compassion and care for all human life.

Where the number of couples cohabiting without benefit of marriage is at an alltime high … we need Karl of Austria’s example of Christian matrimony.

Where divorce is rampant, and absentee fathers all too common … we need Karl’s steadfast love for his wife and children.

In lands where politicians rely on polls to create their policies rather than on moral and ethical principles … we need the moral conviction of Emperor Karl.

Where politicians seek office for personal gain … we need the selflessness of King Karl of Hungary.

Where Catholic politicians vote against Catholic teaching, and their conscience, in order to stay in office … we need the fidelity to the teachings of the Church exhibited by Venerable Karl.

Where laws are made to benefit wealthy lobbyists rather than common people … we need the example of Karl’s love and concern for people of every race and social class.

Where war, strife, discord and conflict abound … we need the passion for peace of the last Habsburg Monarch.

Where millions suffer from illness and infirmity … we need the example of Karl, who bore all trials and tribulations with the words: “Thy Will be done!”

Venerable Karl of Austria must be beatified! Not because he needs it, but because we need his inspiring and selfless example.

19 October 2009

New Bishop for the Diocese of Cheyenne

Cheyenne, Wyoming has a new Bishop, Fr. Paul Etienne from the Diocese of Indianapolis which was announced earlier this morning.

New Bishop for the Diocese of Cheyenne

Cheyenne, Wyoming has a new Bishop, Fr. Paul Etienne from the Diocese of Indianapolis which was announced earlier this morning.

16 October 2009

Let Us Stand Fast and Fight

In 1973 the late French thinker Jean Ousset, author of Action, reputed to be the definitive guide to Catholic action wrote a letter in response to a fellow Catholic who claimed that the religious situation in France "contributed to his total loss of faith." The whole letter can be found at The Remnant Newspaper but I am excerpting a few paragraphs that struck me as particularly poignant. It is also worth noting that J. Ousset does a fine job demonstrating that this period was not unique in the Church's history but rather that it's history is rather an almost uninterrupted "dark disorder."

"In my opinion, our sons will see 'soldiers of the Church' on the side of the forces of death. I shall be shot by Bolshevik priests carrying the Social Contract in their pockets and the Cross on their breasts!"

However, God has not yet allowed this to happen. He is still Master. Or is He holding this in store for us? You spoke of the goat in Daudet's story; she may have much to teach us - but God hears our prayers. That young she-goat stood her ground against the wolf throughout the night, refusing to lie down before the dawn. Is there a more enviable lot for any soldier of Christ who refuses to be daunted? Night is the thime for the scattering of cowards; for the silencing of the fearful, as Scripture tells us; the time when the bad shepherds prefer to remain in bed; the time when the eye-lids of the Apostles are heavy with sleep. The time for the activities of the Judases. The time for the loneliness of the Master. But it is also the time when the Bridegroom rejoices to find the wise virgins, their lamps full of oil and burning brightly.

It is the night: let us stand fast and fight. Happy are those who, like the young she-goat, are determined to fight to the death, who refuse to lie down and die before the break of day. For it is by enduring till the dawn that true victory is won, that our task is accomplished. And even if the Wolves withdraw only after they have torn us to pieces, the dawn is, in fact, the time when the Wolves flee the light; the time when they take flight from the flock; the time when even the cowardly take heart; the time when the flock can advance without fear.

May God make of us true soldiers of Christ! And when the time comes for us, too, to lie down and die, may we see in the East that brilliant light, not of a star but of that “Lumen Gentium”, of the “Sol Justitiae” which is the Christ: the dawn of a new Christian order in the world!

The rest matters little. Since he who sows does not reap, of what account is it if we are no longer there at the break of day? The glory of the Church is no human glory: She is Holy in spite of our unworthiness.

We are, indeed, in the throes of an agonizing trial, a trial which is the test of our Hope and of our Faith in the Church: the test of our Hope and our Faith in the Cross.

No doubt the Church is emerging from the disorder that afflicted it when this letter was written. Our shepherds have found their voices and are speaking loudly in defense of the faith. See Bishop Nickless of Sioux City's recent letter blasting the "Spirit of Vatican II" as but one recent example. Still the darkness covering the secular world seems to increasing daily. But the last paragraph of the letter provides us with the inspiration to keep our Faith and Hope.
So let us regain our courage, and as the Imitation tells us: “We have begun: we may not go back, nor may we leave off. Take courage brethren: let us go forward together. Jesus will be with us. For the sake of Jesus, we have taken up this Cross; for Jesus’ sake, let us persevere in it. He will be our Helper, Who is our Captain and our Forerunner. Behold our King marcheth before us, Who will fight for us. Let us follow Him manfully, let no one fear terrors, let us be ready to die valiantly in battle; nor let us bring disgrace upon our glory by flying from the Cross!” (The Imitation of Christ, Book III, Chap. LVI)[This last line is particularly important to the Knights of Malta because turning one's back on the Cross in battle meant expulsion from the Order.]

Let Us Stand Fast and Fight

In 1973 the late French thinker Jean Ousset, author of Action, reputed to be the definitive guide to Catholic action wrote a letter in response to a fellow Catholic who claimed that the religious situation in France "contributed to his total loss of faith." The whole letter can be found at The Remnant Newspaper but I am excerpting a few paragraphs that struck me as particularly poignant. It is also worth noting that J. Ousset does a fine job demonstrating that this period was not unique in the Church's history but rather that it's history is rather an almost uninterrupted "dark disorder."

"In my opinion, our sons will see 'soldiers of the Church' on the side of the forces of death. I shall be shot by Bolshevik priests carrying the Social Contract in their pockets and the Cross on their breasts!"

However, God has not yet allowed this to happen. He is still Master. Or is He holding this in store for us? You spoke of the goat in Daudet's story; she may have much to teach us - but God hears our prayers. That young she-goat stood her ground against the wolf throughout the night, refusing to lie down before the dawn. Is there a more enviable lot for any soldier of Christ who refuses to be daunted? Night is the thime for the scattering of cowards; for the silencing of the fearful, as Scripture tells us; the time when the bad shepherds prefer to remain in bed; the time when the eye-lids of the Apostles are heavy with sleep. The time for the activities of the Judases. The time for the loneliness of the Master. But it is also the time when the Bridegroom rejoices to find the wise virgins, their lamps full of oil and burning brightly.

It is the night: let us stand fast and fight. Happy are those who, like the young she-goat, are determined to fight to the death, who refuse to lie down and die before the break of day. For it is by enduring till the dawn that true victory is won, that our task is accomplished. And even if the Wolves withdraw only after they have torn us to pieces, the dawn is, in fact, the time when the Wolves flee the light; the time when they take flight from the flock; the time when even the cowardly take heart; the time when the flock can advance without fear.

May God make of us true soldiers of Christ! And when the time comes for us, too, to lie down and die, may we see in the East that brilliant light, not of a star but of that “Lumen Gentium”, of the “Sol Justitiae” which is the Christ: the dawn of a new Christian order in the world!

The rest matters little. Since he who sows does not reap, of what account is it if we are no longer there at the break of day? The glory of the Church is no human glory: She is Holy in spite of our unworthiness.

We are, indeed, in the throes of an agonizing trial, a trial which is the test of our Hope and of our Faith in the Church: the test of our Hope and our Faith in the Cross.

No doubt the Church is emerging from the disorder that afflicted it when this letter was written. Our shepherds have found their voices and are speaking loudly in defense of the faith. See Bishop Nickless of Sioux City's recent letter blasting the "Spirit of Vatican II" as but one recent example. Still the darkness covering the secular world seems to increasing daily. But the last paragraph of the letter provides us with the inspiration to keep our Faith and Hope.
So let us regain our courage, and as the Imitation tells us: “We have begun: we may not go back, nor may we leave off. Take courage brethren: let us go forward together. Jesus will be with us. For the sake of Jesus, we have taken up this Cross; for Jesus’ sake, let us persevere in it. He will be our Helper, Who is our Captain and our Forerunner. Behold our King marcheth before us, Who will fight for us. Let us follow Him manfully, let no one fear terrors, let us be ready to die valiantly in battle; nor let us bring disgrace upon our glory by flying from the Cross!” (The Imitation of Christ, Book III, Chap. LVI)[This last line is particularly important to the Knights of Malta because turning one's back on the Cross in battle meant expulsion from the Order.]

13 October 2009

07 October 2009

Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto and the defeat of the mighty Turkish navy through the intercession of Our Lady and the power of the Rosary. In the picture notice the flag of the ship of the Order of Malta in the lower left corner.

Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary

Today is the anniversary of the Battle of Lepanto and the defeat of the mighty Turkish navy through the intercession of Our Lady and the power of the Rosary. In the picture notice the flag of the ship of the Order of Malta in the lower left corner.

06 October 2009

Archbishop Chaput's Fine Response To Cardinal Cottier

Archbishop Chaput from Denver has written an excellent letter in response to Cardinal Cottier's remarks about the Notre Dame scandal involving Pres. Obama. Here are some of the points the Archbishop made but I urge you to read the rest of the article at Catholic News Agency.

First, resistance to President Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame had nothing to do with whether he is a good or bad man. He is obviously a gifted man. He has many good moral and political instincts, and an admirable devotion to his family. These things matter. But unfortunately, so does this: The President’s views on vital bioethical issues, including but not limited to abortion, differ sharply from Catholic teaching. This is why he has enjoyed the strong support of major “abortion rights” groups for many years. Much is made, in some religious circles, of the President’s sympathy for Catholic social teaching. But defense of the unborn child is a demand of social justice. There is no “social justice” if the youngest and weakest among us can be legally killed. Good programs for the poor are vital, but they can never excuse this fundamental violation of human rights.

Second, at a different moment and under different circumstances, the conflict at Notre Dame might have faded away if the university had simply asked the President to give a lecture or public address. But at a time when the American bishops as a body had already voiced strong concern about the new administration’s abortion policies, Notre Dame not only made the President the centerpiece of its graduation events, but also granted him an honorary doctorate of laws – this, despite his deeply troubling views on abortion law and related social issues.

The real source of Catholic frustration with President Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame was his overt, negative public voting and speaking record on abortion and other problematic issues. By its actions, Notre Dame ignored and violated the guidance of America’s bishops in their 2004 document, “Catholics in Political Life.” In that text, the bishops urged Catholic institutions to refrain from honoring public officials who disagreed with Church teaching on grave matters.

Thus, the fierce debate in American Catholic circles this spring over the Notre Dame honor for Mr. Obama was not finally about partisan politics. It was about serious issues of Catholic belief, identity and witness – triggered by Mr. Obama’s views -- which Cardinal Cottier, writing from outside the American context, may have misunderstood.

Third, the Cardinal wisely notes points of contact between President Obama’s frequently stated search for political “common ground” and the Catholic emphasis on pursing the “common good.” These goals – seeking common ground and pursuing the common good – can often coincide. But they are not the same thing. They can sharply diverge in practice. So-called “common ground” abortion policies may actually attack the common good because they imply a false unity; they create a ledge of shared public agreement too narrow and too weak to sustain the weight of a real moral consensus. The common good is never served by tolerance for killing the weak – beginning with the unborn.

Archbishop Chaput's Fine Response To Cardinal Cottier

Archbishop Chaput from Denver has written an excellent letter in response to Cardinal Cottier's remarks about the Notre Dame scandal involving Pres. Obama. Here are some of the points the Archbishop made but I urge you to read the rest of the article at Catholic News Agency.

First, resistance to President Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame had nothing to do with whether he is a good or bad man. He is obviously a gifted man. He has many good moral and political instincts, and an admirable devotion to his family. These things matter. But unfortunately, so does this: The President’s views on vital bioethical issues, including but not limited to abortion, differ sharply from Catholic teaching. This is why he has enjoyed the strong support of major “abortion rights” groups for many years. Much is made, in some religious circles, of the President’s sympathy for Catholic social teaching. But defense of the unborn child is a demand of social justice. There is no “social justice” if the youngest and weakest among us can be legally killed. Good programs for the poor are vital, but they can never excuse this fundamental violation of human rights.

Second, at a different moment and under different circumstances, the conflict at Notre Dame might have faded away if the university had simply asked the President to give a lecture or public address. But at a time when the American bishops as a body had already voiced strong concern about the new administration’s abortion policies, Notre Dame not only made the President the centerpiece of its graduation events, but also granted him an honorary doctorate of laws – this, despite his deeply troubling views on abortion law and related social issues.

The real source of Catholic frustration with President Obama’s appearance at Notre Dame was his overt, negative public voting and speaking record on abortion and other problematic issues. By its actions, Notre Dame ignored and violated the guidance of America’s bishops in their 2004 document, “Catholics in Political Life.” In that text, the bishops urged Catholic institutions to refrain from honoring public officials who disagreed with Church teaching on grave matters.

Thus, the fierce debate in American Catholic circles this spring over the Notre Dame honor for Mr. Obama was not finally about partisan politics. It was about serious issues of Catholic belief, identity and witness – triggered by Mr. Obama’s views -- which Cardinal Cottier, writing from outside the American context, may have misunderstood.

Third, the Cardinal wisely notes points of contact between President Obama’s frequently stated search for political “common ground” and the Catholic emphasis on pursing the “common good.” These goals – seeking common ground and pursuing the common good – can often coincide. But they are not the same thing. They can sharply diverge in practice. So-called “common ground” abortion policies may actually attack the common good because they imply a false unity; they create a ledge of shared public agreement too narrow and too weak to sustain the weight of a real moral consensus. The common good is never served by tolerance for killing the weak – beginning with the unborn.

Disclaimer

This blog and the opinions are all my own and in no way imply the endorsement from any organization. Nor does a recommendation of another blog or web site imply my agreement or endorsement of everything found on their site.