Friday, August 8, 2014

St. Altman in the Holy Land, 1064 A.D.

St. Altman, Bishop of Passau (+ A.D. 1091)

Today, August 8, is the feast of St. Altman, Bishop of Passau - a city that still stands in Germany today. Below is an excerpt from the entry for our saint in Butler’s Lives of the Saints.


“After being ordained he was appointed canon and master of the cathedral-school at Paderborn, then provost of the chapter of Aachen and chaplain of the Emperor Henry III, and confessor and counsellor of the Dowager Empress Agnes. In 1064 he took part in a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, which numbered seven thousand persons (according to a monk who was there) and was led by several archbishops and bishops, and the adventure was a most unhappy one. Having safely traversed Europe and Asia Minor with no more than the misfortunes inevitable to so long a journey on horseback, they were attacked by Saracens in Palestine and sustained a siege in an abandoned village; lack of food forced them to surrender, and they might have all been massacred but for the intervention of a friendly emir. Though they eventually reached Jerusalem they were not able to visit many of the other holy places because of the enmity of the Saracens, and by the time the pilgrimage reached home again it had lost nearly half of its members, dead from hardship, sickness and murder. It was happenings of this sort which contributed, thirty years later, to the institution of the crusades…”

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hanse on Error


Today marks the anniversary of the martyrdom of the Bd. Everard Hanse (d. 1581). Under the name Evans Duckett this Jesuit entered the mission field of England to strengthen and confirm his persecuted Catholic brethren in the Faith. He worked for a mere three months before he was imprisoned and subjected to great cruelty. During his interrogation he was asked if the Pope could err. Bd. Hanse gave a thoroughly Catholic and correct response: “In life and manners he might offend, as also err in his private doctrine or writing; but in judicial definitions for deciding matters of controversy he cannot err.” This statement sums up what papal infallibility is and is not in a nutshell.
Yet the dogma of papal infallibility was not formally defined until the First Vatican Council (1869-1870) – i.e. "When, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, (the Bishop of Rome) defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church."
Just as a word is added to the dictionary only after it is already in common use, a dogmatic definition is rendered only regarding a matter of Faith or morals that has been in place for 2,000 years. The definition comes after; the thing itself already exists and is not made by the definition.
Thus it is incorrect to say that the dogma of papal infallibility did not exist until the late 19th century. Rather, it existed from the time of Christ and the apostles, and it merely received its solemn definition in the late 19th century.
Thus, too, it is incorrect to say that all that the Pope says is infallible, or presumed to be infallible. The Pope’s pronouncements must be in accord with what has been universally believed and practiced by Christians for 2,000 years.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Here Until the End

"Either Christ has a Church in the world continually and until the end of the world, or else He has a Church sometimes, and sometimes not at all. Could we think that He had a Church while He was here Himself, and perhaps awhile after, but -- mysteriously -- none since?...No that can in no way be, since He must necessarily still preserve His Church somewhere; otherwise, how could He be with His followers continually until the end of the world?"
- St. Thomas More (1478-1535 A.D.) on the Catholic Church

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

At the Bird and Baby

Here's a shot of yours truly at the Eagle and Child pub in Oxford, England. Today is just about 12 years since the photo was taken.
 
Himself at the Bird and Baby

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Modern Polytheism

Modern Polytheism holds that one ought to accept everyone's personal truth on the grounds that said truths are sincerely held - and this in spite of the contradictions between the many personal truths. Diversity is to be celebrated, not strictly examined, and certainly not reconciled.

A corollary to this is that one should exclude considerations of revealed knowledge on the grounds that truths rooted in external agents cannot ever be genuinely one's own. Also, the many contradictions between those who claim divine inspiration is deemed sufficient proof in support of the premise.

Instead, one should rely primarily on reason. The many contradictions between those who appeal to reason, meanwhile, are no argument against said reliance.

If this seems like a contradiction or a case of special pleading - well, the modern polytheist will say, that's just your own truth; don't bother inflicting it on others.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Prayer in Stone

“’Haec est domus Dei’, ‘This house is the house of God’, it is like heaven. We love going into a true chapel, a true church, because when we are in the church, we are like in heaven. It is the beginning of heaven. God Himself is in this house – God, and also holy images, statues…The holy images give us good ideas which prepare us to pray, because this house is also the house of prayer: ‘Haec est domus orationis’…”
- Archbishop Lefebvre, during one of his visits to America, for the blessing of a church

“The (church) is itself an act of worship – as its planning, building, and furnishing were acts of worship – it is prayer in stone. We worship with a church as well as in it…The material building and its contents flow from, and are an expression of, the faith, the hope and the love of God of those who erected it. Accordingly, the church is a place of awe and majesty, the tabernacle of God among men…A church by its very appearance should proclaim its character and the grandeur of its high and enduring purpose. It should not only be a church but look as one; it must be distinguished from the town hall, or the factory, or the cinema theatre not merely by the cross on its roof top…The church should be an edifice worthy of its high purpose, with that atmosphere of holiness, dignity, majesty, nobility, reverence, calm, peace and joy that befits the perfect House of God.”
- Church Building and Furnishing, by John Berthram O’Connell

Monday, March 31, 2014

Lose One's Life to Save It

The spirit and example of the world imperceptibly instil the error into the minds of many that there is a kind of middle way of going to Heaven; and so, because the world does not live up to the gospel, they bring the gospel down to the level of the world. It is not by this example that we are to measure the Christian rule, but by the words and life of Christ. All His followers are commanded to labor to become perfect even as our heavenly Father is perfect, and to bear His image in our hearts that we may be His children. We are obliged by the gospel to die to ourselves by fighting self-love in our hearts, by the mastery of our passions, by taking on the spirit of our Lord. These are the conditions under which Christ makes His promises and numbers us among His children, as is manifest from His words which the apostles have left us in their inspired writings. Here is no distinction made or foreseen between the apostles or clergy or religious and secular persons. The former, indeed, take upon themselves certain stricter obligations, as a means of accomplishing these ends more perfectly; but the law of holiness and of disengagement of the heart from the world is general and binds all the followers of Christ.
 
- Butler’s Lives of the Saints, Vol. I, pp. 711-12