Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Thank God for Large Families

Children being a blessing from God, it's a sad day when one hears misguided souls talk about children being an interruption of their lives. Pope Pius XII offered the following kindly wisdom on the topic.

“Large families are the most splendid flower-beds in the garden of the Church; happiness flowers in them and sanctity ripens in favorable soil. Every family group, even the smallest, was meant by God to be an oasis of spiritual peace. But there is a tremendous difference: where the number of children is not much more than one, that serene intimacy that gives value to life has a touch of melancholy or of pallor about it; it does not last as long, it may be more uncertain, it is often clouded by secret fears and remorse...

“It is very different from the serenity of spirit to be found in parents who are surrounded by a rich abundance of young lives. The joy that comes from the plentiful blessings of God breaks out in a thousand different ways and there is no fear that it will end. The brows of these fathers and mothers may be burdened with cares, but there is never a trace of that inner shadow that betrays anxiety of conscience or fear of an irreparable return to loneliness. Their youth never seems to fade away, as long as the sweet fragrance of a crib remains in the home, as long as the walls of the house echo to the silvery voices of children and grandchildren.

“Their heavy labors multiplied many times over, their redoubled sacrifices and their renunciation of costly amusements are generously rewarded even here below by the inexhaustible treasury of affection and tender hopes that dwell in their hearts without ever tiring them or bothering them.

“And the hopes soon become a reality when the eldest daughter begins to help her mother to take care of the baby and on the day the oldest son comes home with his face beaming with the first salary he has earned himself. That day will be a particularly happy one for parents, for it will make the spectre of an old age spent in misery disappear, and they will feel assured of a reward for their sacrifices.

“When there are many children, the youngsters are spared the boredom of loneliness and the discomfort of having to live in the midst of adults all the time. It is true that they may sometimes become so lively as to get on your nerves, and their disagreements may seem like small riots; but even their arguments play an effective role in the formation of character, as long as they are brief and superficial. Children in large families learn almost automatically to be careful of what they do and to assume responsibility for it, to have a respect for each other and help each other, to be open-hearted and generous. For them, the family is a little proving ground, before they move into the world outside, which will be harder on them and more demanding...

"All of these precious benefits will be more solid and permanent, more intense and more fruitful if the large family takes the supernatural spirit of the Gospel, which spiritualizes everything and makes it eternal, as its own particular guiding rule and basis. Experience shows that in these cases, God often goes beyond the ordinary gifts of Providence, such as joy and peace, to bestow on it a special call — a vocation to the priesthood, to the religious life, to the highest sanctity.

“With good reason, it has often been pointed out that large families have been in the forefront as the cradles of saints. We might cite, among others, the family of St. Louis, the King of France, made up of ten children, that of St. Catherine of Siena who came from a family of twenty-five, St. Robert Bellarmine from a family of twelve, and St. Pius X from a family of ten.

“Every vocation is a secret of Providence; but these cases prove that a large number of children does not prevent parents from giving them an outstanding and perfect upbringing; and they show that the number does not work out to the disadvantage of their quality, with regard to either physical or spiritual values.”

- Pope Pius XII, from an address to the Directors of the Associations for Large Families of Rome and Italy, January 20, 1958

Pope Pius XII

Newest Nativity Set

Origami Nativity

Friday, January 16, 2015

Of F-Bombs, N-Words, and G-Ratings

What’s more selfish than the gluttony of Augustus Gloop, more demanding than the tantrums of Veruca Salt, more bovine than the obsessive masticating of Violet Beauregarde, and more vacuous than the glassy stare of Mike Teavee?

Recently I met up with a group of friends, one of whom I’ve known since high school. The next day I phoned her to ask that when we got together next, she not drop any more F-bombs on the proceedings. I was invited to find another circle of friends to spend evenings with; news reached me later through another party that yours truly is now said to be good primarily for G-rated gatherings.

An F-bomb is an ugly and gross word that sours joy and wrecks mirth, one that is favored by ill-mannered people who shabbily seek to be the center of attention. It is the language of ungenerous and dreary souls; repeated or frequent utterance makes a person (whether the speaker or the victim) dull and obtuse. It is a misnomer to call recourse to it an “adult” matter. I say, let’s have only adult conversations - ones characterized by the respect, civility, good humor, and camaraderie beyond the ken of rotten children.

Now, the expression in question describes a loveless sex act. It is a crudity unfortunately attached to a natural and beautiful matter that creates new human life, something to inspire awe and wonder and joy. An F-bomb is a demeaning shout of contempt against life itself that has all the charm and eloquence of a racial epithet.

But should anyone ever ask that it not be used?

If we take the view that one abusive remark should be tolerated, then consider what other vulgar, crude, or objectionable phrases should also be tolerated. Is the N-word all right? How about slang for genitalia? If the granddaddy of repulsive terms is fair game, then it seems the consistent course would be to say that anything is fair game.

In that case, an individual who gave voice to the wish that everyone practice a bit of courtesy in their language would be unwelcome indeed.

Meanwhile, the original Willy Wonka film was rated G.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

St. Vincent of Lerins

Feast of the Epiphany


What then will a Catholic Christian do, if a small portion of the Church have cut itself off from the communion of the universal faith? What, surely, but prefer the soundness of the whole body to the unsoundness of a pestilent and corrupt member? What, if some novel contagion seek to infect not merely an insignificant portion of the Church, but the whole? Then it will be his care to cleave to antiquity, which at this day cannot possibly be seduced by any fraud of novelty...

- St. Vincent of Lerins

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Jolly Modern

Modernists: pirates engaged in their trade without flying the Jolly Roger.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Ism Week

Back in my university days I was witness to a collegiate episode sponsored by the campus Residence Life Department titled “Ism Week.” Each day of the week was dedicated to spotlighting a different problematic -ism, complete with posters, speakers, workshops, and sponsored discussions intended to raise consciousness of an alleged societal ill.

Thus, one day was dedicated to Racism, subtitled “The -ism race,” another day was dedicated to Sexism, or “The -ism sex,” and so on. The normal leftist stereotypes and clich├ęs were on display throughout the week.

The entry that had me laughing out loud was Theism, which was qualified as “The –ism of religion.”

At first I gave Res Life the benefit of the doubt and said that they were confused by the coincidental use of the letters I-S-M in a word that meant merely “belief in the existence of God” and nothing more. I later learned, however, that the Residence Life staff thought that to be religious was to be discriminatory. Well, at least if you were a Christian; if you were a religious minority, you were exempt.

I asked if a future installment of Ism Week would include a day for addressing the Ism of Atheism. I was told that wasn’t funny.

These days we could start our own ISM week.
* Monday: Atheism, the -ism of godlessness
* Tuesday: Feminism, the -ism of misandry
* Wednesday: Liberalism, the -ism of unthinking rebellion
* Thursday: Socialism, the -ism of institutionalized envy
* Friday: Modernism, the synthesis of all -isms

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Clare's First Impression

Blogger Clare Short made it to her first Latin Mass recently, and she wrote about her impressions here.

From the article:

"There was an atmosphere of joy and beauty and reverence."

"The Tridentine Mass made it suddenly clear to me where the Holy Trinity is during Mass."

"I learned more about the Mass in 1 second than I have in 35 years."