Monday, December 26, 2011

SSPX in India

The note below is from Fr. Bucciani, SSPX, in India.


Dear Friends & Benefactors,

May the Infant Jesus bring you every joy and blessing this Christmas. On behalf of the Mission, the Servi Domini Orphanage and Veritas Academy, thank you for your prayers and material support throughout the year of grace 2011. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is offered every 1st Saturday for your intentions.

Please can you pray that we find good Catholic teachers for the school.

The links below will take you the photo galleries of the Mission, Orphanage and Veritas Academy.

The Mission

The Orphanage

The School

In Jesu et Maria,
Father Robert Brucciani
Priory of the Most Holy Trinity
1 Marcel Lefebvre Place
8A/3 Seevalaperi Road
Tamil Nadu 627002

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Linus on Christmas

Christmas Day

The King of heaven deigned to be born in a stable, because He came to destroy pride, the cause of man's ruin.
- St. Alphonsus

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Man in Coma Wakes Shortly Before His Organs Are About to be "Donated"


From the article:

* Sam Schmid, an Arizona college student believed to be brain dead and poised to be an organ donor, miraculously recovered just hours before doctors were considering taking him off life support.

* "I tell everyone, if they want to call it a modern-day miracle, this is a miracle," said his mother, Susan Regan, a Catholic. "I have friends who are atheists who have called me and said, 'I am going back to church.'"

* Schmid's mother said no one "specifically" asked if her son would be a donor, but they "subtly talk to you about quality of life."


* Here we have an account of a possible miracle coupled with yet another instance of the "subtle" exploitation of the grieving by medical professionals.

* Brain death, according to an article in last year's New England Journal of Medicine, cannot serve as sufficient grounds for the harvesting of vital organs.

* Indeed: it seems to be a pretense for the lucrative organ-harvesting business.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Wilting of the Flowers


Actor Christian Bale was in China to help promote the new historical drama war film "The Flowers of War." The movie depicts the fate of a group of women fleeing Japanese soldiers during the Rape of Nanking in 1937. In the film Bale plays a westerner who poses as a priest to help the refugees escape.

While he was in the country, Bale got into trouble with the Communist government for attempting to pay his respects to blind activist Chen Guangcheng. The latter is is under house arrest and subject to ongoing harassment, intimidation, beatings, and false allegations for his outspoken criticism of the Chinese government's policy of forced sterilization and abortions to meet it limited population quotas.

In the AJC article linked to above, the paper, true to form, attributes the atrocities against Chinese mothers as the work of "overzealous authorities."

This is, of course, the Party Line, and with its misleading language the AJC is assisting the work of government officials who need the buffer of plausible denial. Such atrocities are not officially sanctioned (they are only officially tolerated); any excesses are merely the work of over-achievers (who are never seriously corrected or reprimanded).

China is living under a tyrannical government that cannot humanely provide for the people under its iron thumb. Instead of caring for the people and enabling them to operate an economy that can produce more jobs, homes, and food for the people, the government has for many years forcibly reduced the population of the country to match the resources made meager by a corrupt and corrupting centrally planned government.

And by its collusion the AJC is one of many American papers acting as accomplice to this campaign. The Chinese people deserve better.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Old English Prayer

Old English Prayer

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
Bless the bed that I lie on.
Before I lay me down to sleep,
I give my soul to Christ to keep.
Four corners to my bed;
Four angels there aspread:
Two to foot, and two to head,
And four to carry me when I'm dead.
I go by sea; I go by land:
The Lord made me with His right hand.
If any danger come to me,
Sweet Jesus Christ deliver me!
He's the branch and I'm the flower:
Pray God send me a happy hour.
And if I die before I wake,
I pray that Christ my soul will take. Amen.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Even a Child Can Figure It Out


U.S. Marine Scott Woods' widow Sara and their son Landon have been given a mortgage-free house in Texas as part of Operation Finally Home's worthy project to build houses for wounded and disabled veterans or their widowed families.

Landon is just five years old; he understands that his father will not be coming home. His mother has taught him that he can still speak to his father, however.

"We told him he could talk to daddy in his prayers," Sara said, "and even in the middle of the day, you'll see him walk around the corner and you'll hear him say the 'now I lay me down to sleep prayer,' which Scott taught him. And then he starts talking to daddy."

I'm glad the Woods family figured out that prayers can be directed not only to God, but to souls who are no longer in this world. It is a natural and reasonable -- and thoroughly Catholic -- conclusion.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Next Generation, Traditional Catholic Style

Fred Kroner, 35-year veteran sports writer for the News-Gazette in east-central Illinois, published a piece Saturday that describes his astonishment at the impressive conduct at a basketball game of the student body for a boys' parochial school I favor: La Salette.


From the article:

You'd swear the enthusiasm and energy generated by the young men was for a championship game. The cheering reached a peak at the opening tip and was unrelenting during the course of the 32-minute contest, won by La Salette.

They were cheering FOR their team, not AGAINST the opponents. I'm positive there were no negative comments directed to the three-man officiating crew. Nor were there taunts thrown to the other team. Beyond that, they showed their courtesy when players from either team were preparing to shoot free throws. As if someone were coaching them, there was total silence without any hand-waving distracting antics.

It was an experience I didn't think was possible. It reminded me of pictures my grandfather used to show me about crowds that attended games in the 1920s and 1930s. Men were attired in ties. Women were adorned in dresses. You could almost imagine the kinds of wholesome cheers that they brought and they weren't ones where you felt embarrassed to say you knew some of these individuals or sought to cover the ears of the closest non-teenager.

Profanity-laced tirades? The closest these students came to anything questionable was a momentary "air ball" when a Shiloh player missed badly on a shot attempt. A disapproving look from headmaster Father McMahon, keeping the scorebook, quickly stopped the chant within seconds.

The overall respect and sportsmanship demonstrated by the La Salette student body is truly unparalleled in the thousands of high school games I've seen. It's one thing to see exemplary conduct from two or three individuals, quite another to see it from each and ever spectator sitting (standing!) in a particular section.

It was heartwarming and refreshing. I'm told this wasn't a one-time spectacle. It occurs at every game where the team plays. Don't know when I will attend my next La Salette game, but I have a new memory that has vaulted into a position of prominence on my all-time top 10 list of favorite moments.

If these are the next generation of leaders in our country, wow, I can't wait for the future to arrive.

Thanks, La Salette. You made my day and reminded me that I truly haven't seen everything.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Google Digitizing Dead Sea Manuscripts

Gaudete Sunday


Google has digitized the Dead Sea manuscripts. Within three days of the material going up online, the museum site dedicated to the famous scrolls from Qumran had received one million visitors. The digitized manuscripts drew viewers from 210 countries, including Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and Syria.

The objective of the Paris-based Google Cultural Institute is to make accessible to every Internet user documents from museums, archives, universities, and collections throughout the world.

See the site at

Entrance to the Visitor's Center at Qumran - Israel

Sign marking the caves where the scrolls were found

The cave where the scrolls were found

The first of the scrolls were found in this cave in 1947 by a pair of Bedouin boys. One of the lads was throwing rocks into the cave for sport, and he heard a crash. Upon investigating, he found jars filled with ancient parchments.

Chalk one up for the benefits of boyish restlessness and curiosity.

For the record, the scrolls -- untouched in their caves for about 2,000 years -- do a marvelous job of reinforcing just how wonderfully scribes and scriveners and copyists reproduced the texts of the Scriptures through the centuries.

Photos from my Holy Land pilgrimage in Lent of 2008

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Immaculate Conception

Declared a dogma December 8, 1854 by Pius IX

On this day, so dear to every Catholic heart, we celebrate first of all the moment when Almighty God, in a vision telescoping the ages, showed Mary both to our first parents and to the demon, as the Virgin Mother of the future divine Redeemer, the Woman destined to crush the proud head of the serpent. This episode is narrated in the first book of Scripture, Genesis chapter 3. We find Her again in the last canonical prophecy of the Bible, the Apocalypse or Revelation of Saint John the Apostle, as the Woman clothed with the sun, having on Her head a crown of twelve stars. In this beautiful vision She is also identified with the persecuted Apostolic Church, obliged to flee into the “desert”, and as the Mother of a great Head of that Church, destined to govern the flock of the latter times in the final combat, who like that flock is Her own Child. (chapter 12) Mary, like Her Son, is at the beginning and the end of all God’s intentions, an integral part of His designs for the Redemption of the human race.

Since by eternal decree She was exempted from all stain of original sin from the first moment of Her Creation, and was endowed with the richest treasures of grace and sanctity, it is fitting that we honor Her glorious prerogatives by this special feast of the Immaculate Conception. We should join in spirit with the Blessed in heaven and rejoice with our dear Mother, not only for Her own sake, but for ours, Her children, for we are partakers of Her glory and happiness. “The treasures of the mother are the heritage of the children,” said Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus.

We celebrate at the same time the ever-memorable day, the 8th of December of 1854, which raised the Immaculate Conception of Our Blessed Lady from a pious belief to the dignity of a dogma of the infallible Church, causing a great and universal joy among the faithful. The Holy See had already permitted the feast day from the time of Sixtus IV, by his papal bull Cum Praecelsa (1477), formally allowing its celebration for all dioceses desiring it. In 1854, the ancient faith of the people in their Mother exulted.

Reflection: Let us repeat frequently these words applied by the Church to the Blessed Virgin: “Thou art all fair, O Mary! and there is no stain in Thee” (Cant. 4:7).

Sources: The Holy Bible: Old and New Testaments; Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources, by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Love of the Father

The Catholic Faith began with a family -- Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. The same Faith continues much as a family, which is why our parish priests are addressed as Fathers, and our religious men and women are addressed as Brothers and Sisters.

"Honor your father and your mother, that you may be long lived upon the land which the Lord your God will give you." - Exodus 20:12

"Call none your father upon earth; for one is your father, who is in heaven." - Matthew 23:9

We have a Father in Heaven, who suffers no rival -- "I am the Lord your God, mighty, jealous..." (Exodus 20:5)

To the extent we place something created in God's place and make that our primary frame of reference, we violate the admonition of Christ to call none on earth our father (cf. St. Matthew's Gospel above). That place is reserved for the Almighty.

To the extent we show honor and obedience for our parents and guardians and teachers and patrons and governors and officials, we exercise the virtue of justice, which is to render to a man all that is owed him. In so doing we practice suitable proportionate honor (cf. Exodus above).

Our goal is to have nothing in our soul contrary to the Divine will -- no undue attachment that would leave us subject to a creature or created thing, or that would cause us to act out of love for an inferior cause as if it were our chief purpose.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas Novena

Here's the novena I pray November 30 - December 24.

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment at which the Son of God was born of a most pure Virgin at midnight in Bethlehem in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, oh my God, to hear my prayers and grant my desires. (Mention your intentions here) Through the merits of our savior Jesus Christ and of His blessed Mother. Amen.

Say 15 times a day from St. Andrew's Day until Christmas.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Willing Victims


Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik has been deemed criminally insane and thus unfit to stand trial. This means he is unlikely to be sent to jail; rather, he will live out his days in a psychiatric institution. That assumes, of course, that he isn't deemed healthy at some future time -- in which case he could be released.

One young survivor of the killer's murderous rampage said, "The most important thing for me is not to punish Breivik...what matters to me is that he no longer poses a threat to society."

Such sentiments give encouragement and hope to future sociopaths, who are confirmed by such tolerant and judgment-impaired remarks in their murderous notions. To paraphrase Martin Luther, the contemporary message is kill and kill boldly, because nothing will separate you from the tolerance of the modernist mind -- i.e. the mind that holds "free will" to be the mechanism by which one accepts illogical precepts as truths. Delusional unreality means innocents suffer.

Prosecutor Svein Holden said Breivik "lives in his own delusional universe and his thoughts and acts are governed by this universe." And there Breivik shall remain, having no external constraint brought to bear that would oblige him reconsider his assumptions. Justice, meanwhile, is deferred -- for a time.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Advent Upon Us

I Sunday of Advent

Advent is upon us. The next few weeks are a preparation for Christmas. This time parallels the period in history when the faithful ones waited with great longing for the arrival of their Messiah.

In practical terms, my own efforts will involve minimizing my exposure to activities that are premature for the pending holy day. The Advent wreath will be out; Christmas carols will be postponed; Christmas decorations will go up Christmas eve and will stay up at least until January 6 -- the 12th day of Christmas.

Soon the Savior will be here -- soon, but not quite yet.

Friday, November 25, 2011

What a Choice


Apple guru Steve Jobs was adopted as a child. In the early 80s he set out to find his birth mother, even hiring a private detective for the task.

The reason? Jobs explained:

"To see if she was OK and to thank her, because I’m glad I didn’t end up as an abortion," he said. "She was 23 and she went through a lot to have me."

Jobs did locate his birth mother. He said that after they met she would often burst into tears and apologize for giving him up for adoption.

"Don’t worry," he told her. "I had a great childhood. I turned out OK."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Forming a Conscience

A women I spoke with years ago informed me she was giving up being Catholic.

"I don't like feeling bad all the time," she said.

"I feel bad only when I've done something wrong," I replied.

She didn't like the reply -- in fact, she became downright caustic.

It turns out that she'd made a wreck of her marriage and was abandoning her husband; small wonder she felt bad. Worse, her Catholic faith obliged her to do the right thing, which meant owning up to her misconduct and repairing the harm she had caused through her neglect and selfishness. Ergo, the Catholic faith had to go.

We're responsible for the right formation of our own conscience. A correct conscience is not something that happens to us -- rather, it is something we develop just as we develop correct grammar, correct posture, correct handwriting. We start with the instruction given by those in authority over us -- e.g. parents, teachers. With time we learn to recognize good sources of authority and follow their lead. Just as we'll never be at a point where we won't need to go back to the dentist to check out our teeth, we'll never get to a point where we won't need good instruction and helpful reminders on how to live a good life.

"I have a clear conscience" can be a sign of a bad or selective memory.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Abp. John Donoghue, RIP

The retired Archbishop of Atlanta, John Francis Donahue, died last Friday. Requiescat in Pace.

An article published by a local paper ended its story on the topic with this parting shot:

"The AJC cited several controversial stands, including refusing the participation of women in foot-washing ceremonies and denial of the Eucharist to politicians who took pro-abortion positions."

Not surprisingly, the article's author describes himself as "a registered Democrat, with moderate to liberal beliefs" and a "casual Catholic." Pity he didn't also include the moniker "casual reporter."

Anyway, the irony here is that the controversy is not the late Archbishop's lawful directives. Rather, the controversy is (1) the intrusion of anti-establishment notions into ancient Catholic ceremonies and (2) the fact that pro-choice opportunists try to exploit the good name of "Catholic" for their own political ends. If the agitators would quit trying to outrageously pass off these utterly foreign elements as Catholic, then the Archbishop's routine statements about everyday Catholic matters would have a better chance of being reported in the proper light.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran Relatives

Three of my Great Uncles served in WWII.

Cyril F. Wehrkamp
* January 21, 1922 - November 8, 1944 (age 22)
* Served with the 318th Infantry Division, Company C in France under General Patton.
* He was killed in France at the Battle of the Bulge.
* He was awarded the Meritorious Service Award and the Purple Heart.
* Buried in the St. Aloysius Catholic Cemetery, Carthegena, OH.

Bred ("Bud") W. Wehrkamp
* Great Uncle Bud was my grandmother's twin brother.
* September 8, 1924 – January 8, 1954 (age 30)
* Entered the Air Force and served in the Pacific Theatre of War with the 5th Air Force.
* Was wounded several times and was awarded the Purple Heart.
* Dad said it was the war wounds that eventually caused his death.
* Buried in the St. Aloysius Catholic Cemetery, Carthegena, OH.

Cletus J. Wehrkamp
* August 3, 1919 – July 2, 1978 (age 58)
* Served in the U.S. Army December 6, 1941 - March 31, 1963.
* Great Uncle Cletus took officer training at Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey, and was stationed in Vint Hill, VA and England, Italy, Japan, Korea, Turkey, and Germany.
* He died at Walter Reed Hospital in 1978 and is buried at Arlington National Cemetery (grave 884, section 65 on Marshall Drive).

That part of the family is German Catholic (with a Prussian army officer thrown in to boot). The various German families came to the States in the 1840s and 1850s and settled for the most part in Ohio.

My father’s father also served in the US Air Force in WWII. He was a bombardier navigator on a B17 that flew sorties over Germany and took out oil refineries. My grandpa blew up Nazis.

In your charity, kindly remember the repose of the souls of these veterans this Veteran's Day.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Hotel Room Service Fees

So the restaurant in the hotel where I stayed was out of commission, but the hotel offered room service.

The room service tab came with a 19% service charge. Well and good, one might think, that way the staff gets its tip and the hotel gets a little markup.

But no, there is also a $3.00 delivery charge. I suppose every little bit helps.

When I signed for the meal, I noted that the bill had a line where I could also add a tip.

Are these people crazy?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Christ the King

Christ the King Sunday

The last Sunday of October is Christ the King Sunday. This is the day where we especially call to mind and honor the royalty of Christ, which rests upon a twofold basis -- He is our King (1) by right of birth and (2) by right of conquest.

The first refers us to the personality of the Son of God, whereby, in His divine nature as God and by virtue of the hypostatic union, He is the sovereign Lord and Master.

The second places before us the God-Man coming down on earth to rescue fallen man from the slavery of Satan, and by the labors and sufferings of His life, and passion, and death, to win a glorious victory for us over sin and hell.

With credentials such as that, it is fitting that we publicly honor Christ as King not just of individual lives, but of all society. Thus, in addition to Mass this morning, then, we had a public procession to an outdoor altar, and then concluded the day's ceremonies in the main chapel with Benediction.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Making Religion Irrelevant

This Thursday, October 27, at the chapel of St. Michael's, SSPX, in Roswell, GA, beginning at 11:00 am, we are having a Mass of reparation for the nonsense going on at Assisi in Italy. Mass will be followed by exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and then Benediction. You're all invited.

At Sunday Mass this morning our pastor's sermon was on this topic. He pointed out that if the sede vacantists were right and the chair of Peter sat empty, this inter-religious prayer meeting would be a non-event. The truth, however, is far different, and far more terrible: it is the Pope himself, under color of authority as St. Peter's successor and the vicar of Christ, who will be guilty of this abomination that causes millions of people to regard religion with indifference and so end up in Hell.

Kyrie eleison.
Christe eleison.
Kyrie eleison.


Mass and Exposition in Reparation for the Ecumenical Meeting of World Religions in Assisi

St. Michael’s SSPX, Thursday, October 27, 2011

IT'S WORSE THAN WE IMAGINED. On October 27, 2011, the Pope will preside over a prayer meeting of world religions in Assisi. He called this event to commemorate the 25th anniversary of John Paul II’s first Assisi meeting of 1986. Some prelates in Rome gave empty promises that relativism and syncretism would be avoided, but the official press releases now contradict this, and the Assisi event remains a grave scandal for the Church. The Holy See has even described the meeting as "a search for truth[1]" and a common prayer service is scheduled. The Vicar of Christ will place himself side-by-side, again, with false teachers, Rabbis, Brahmins, Islamic clerics, Buddhists, African voodoo practitioners, New-Age cultists, heretics, imposters, even a representative of the Communist Party...the official list goes on and on[2]...all of whom publicly reject Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Triune Godhead, and who fight directly against Him and His Church. It is a direct attack against the first Commandment of God: "Thou shalt not have strange gods before Me." This is the rotten fruit of Vatican II. It is without doubt that these acts will push many souls to hell. This offense is additionally grave due to the fact that the Pontiff responsible for this truly occupies the Chair of Peter and has been truly entrusted with the Power of the Keys. Can we even imagine how much this grieves the Immaculate Heart of Our Blessed Mother?

In a spirit of reparation, on October 27th a Mass Pro Fidei Propagatione (For the Propagation of the Faith) will be publicly offered at St. Michael’s at 11:00 AM. The Blessed Sacrament will be exposed after Mass until 12:30 PM to be adored in a spirit of reparation for this public and grave offense. The Mass and Exposition in Reparation are taking place throughout all chapels of the Society of Saint Pius X.

[1] Press Office of the Holy See, Oct. 18, 2011.

[2] Delegations: Eastern Orthodox: 17 including the Ecumenical Patriarch; Protestants: 13 including the Archbishop of Canterbury, the World Lutheran Federation, Baptist World Alliance, Methodist World Council and others; Judaism: 3 from Chief Rabbinate of Israel, Chief Rabbinate of Rome, ICIC and other international Jewish organizations; African, Caribbean and Indian voodoo and animist religions: 4; Hinduism: 7; Jainism: 3; Sikhs: 5; Zoroastrians: 1; Baha’i: 1; Buddhism: 67; Confucianism: 1; Shintoism: 2; Taoism: 1; New-Age religions of Japan: 4; Islam: 60, from Mecca, the Middle East, America, and Asia; Austrian Communist Party: 1 delegation. Atheists will also be represented by various delegates, including a militant feminist sociologist, Dr. Julia Kristeva, who will deliver a lecture to the Holy Father and the assembly. (Dr. Kristeva has been a frequent lecturer at the Grand Orient Lodge of France and has published essays to make Freud blush.) Participants will watch a commemorative video of Assisi 1986 together. All participants will then light a peace candle and engage together in a para-liturgy of "Solemn Renewal" of the vows to pacifism, with the participation of various religious choirs and liturgical dancers. The Holy Father will participate in all events. The event is titled "Pilgrims of Truth, Pilgrims of Peace: Day of Reflection, Dialogue, and Prayer for Peace and Justice in the World."
Sources: (1) Press Office of the Holy See, Oct. 18, 2011; (2) official website of Dr. Kristeva; (3) numerous official programs of Grand Orient salons searchable online.

Eternity Described

I believe in life everlasting.

This sentence is from the last article in the Apostle's Creed. The statement references eternity, which is not an unending succession of time (that would be boring), but like a point, a lasting moment. It is a continual "now."

The past, you see, is dead. The future, meanwhile, doesn't exist. As far as time is concerned, the only thing that is real is the present instant.

I'm not paving the way for modernist claptrap about needing to escape that past like it is something that infringes on modern personalities. I'm reminded of Gabe, who was pontificating over dinner one night -- he literally had one finger in the air as he lectured us -- that the world is divided between those who are stuck in the past and those who look to the future, "No," I interrupted him mid-diatribe, "the world is divided between those who look for the truth and those who don't care." But Gabe was a materialist and an atheist, and the counter-point was just brushed it off without comment.

Such is the dilemma for the materialist: he is trapped inside of time, which is an illusion, or even a mystery if you will. Unable or unwilling to consider spiritual causes, the materialist has rendered himself incapable of factoring eternity into his ruminations. He says the religious man is fooled by false notions of the hereafter, when in fact it is the person who places his hopes in a future that never arrives that operates by wishful thinking.

The happiness of eternal life, meanwhile, is an exemption from all evil, an enjoyment of all good. In our own limited way we will know God -- who infinite Truth, Beauty, and Goodness -- as He actually is.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Healing Spiritual Wounds

Excerpted from The Mass of All Time by Abp. Marcel Lefebvre:

The wounds of original sin remain even after Baptism. Consider the effects of the injury done to the four cardinal virtues, and the consequences of the vice opposed to each virtue.

Virtue: Justice
Meaning: to render to everyone what belongs to them
Contrary vice: Malice
prevents us from rendering to God and our neighbor what is his due

Virtue: Prudence
Meaning: right reason applied in practice
Contrary vice: Ignorance
Consequence: blinds us

Virtue: Fortitude
Meaning: moral courage and endurance in trials and suffering
Contrary vice: Weakness
characterized by inconstancy

Virtue: Temperance
Meaning: the use of pleasures of the senses in accordance with the norm prescribed by reason
Contrary vice: Concupiscence
disorders the measure we must exercise in using the goods of this world

These deep wounds can be closed only by sacrifice and renunciation. The return to order requires sacrifice. That is why Our Lord vanquished the devil, destroyed sin, and re-established order by His Cross. And the Cross is the Mass. The Mass reminds Christians every day that they must live a life of sacrifice.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Christian Civilization

From Our Apostolic Mandate of St. Pius X, August 25, 1910:

No, civilization is not something yet to be found, nor is the New City to be built on hazy notions; it has been in existence and still is: it is Christian civilization, it is the Catholic city. It has only to be set up and restored continually against the unremitting attacks of insane dreamers, rebels and miscreants. Omnia in instaurare in Christo.

Monday, October 17, 2011


I've noticed that the occupy crowd -- aside from the late-arriving communists and their ilk -- is having trouble coming up with the reason for what they want or why they are there.

In a spirit of fraternal helpfulness, I’ve compiled a list of starter ideas (only the first one is mine). Feel free to add your own.
* Occupy Here and There, Now and Then, This and That
* Students Wildly Indignant About Nearly Everything (SWINE)
* The Flea Party

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Photos from the New Seminary

Last Thursday -- on the anniversary of the 1916 Marian apparition at the Cova da Iria in Fatima -- the SSPX broke ground on a new seminary in Virginia. I was on a retreat in Phoenix and so could not attend, but my pal Allen snapped a few photos while he was at the event.

Model of the New Seminary

Grounds of the New Seminary

Say a few prayers for the success of the new enterprise.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Don't Ask Adams

Last week Martha sent out the following request:

I ran across someone who has the preposterous signature line shown below...I would like to compile a list of quotes from the Gospels which refute, would you like to help? Or would you recommend just forgetting about it?

"The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity. Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole carloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity." ~John Adams

Yes, that's this John Adams.


My reply to Martha went thus:

That Adams was a liberal and a harbinger of modernism there is, I think, little dispute.

Even so, liberals have been mis-quoting Adams as their messenger to attack Christianity for years now. The "quote" you named, for example, is spurious -- coddled together by different people over the years and made to look a bit different from the original.

Spurious Quotation #1
"The ‘divinity’ of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity. Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole carloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity."

Attributed to Adams in Spirit (1988) by William Edelen. This is actually a paraphrase portions of two of Adams' diary entries:

"Mystery is made a convenient cover for absurdity." (13 February 1756)

"Where do we find a precept in the Gospel requiring Ecclesiastical Synods? Convocations? Councils? Decrees? Creeds? Confessions? Oaths? Subscriptions? and whole cart-loads of other trumpery that we find religion incumbered with in these days?" (18 February 1756)

Spurious Quotation #2

"The doctrine of the divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity."

Attributed to Adams in Pathway to the Stars (2007) by Rev. Ernest A. Steadman. Another paraphrase of the entry for 13 February 1756.

I suppose one could debunk the spurious quotation, and then tackle the original (there are problems in both instances). Perhaps something like this:

"The 'popular sovereignty' of the governed is made a convenient cover for absurdity. What need does anyone have of Declarations, Protests, Oaths, Continental Congresses, and whole carloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in the colonies."


In the same vein, Helmut offered, "If the assumed logic from Adams is correct, what does that mean for the Pledge of Allegiance, the Star Spangled Banner, the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, Supreme Court rulings, the procedures of Congress and the inauguration of presidents and swearing in of elected officials..."

Thus armed, Martha sent these and similar pointers to the source of the offending signature line. The offender's response in turn was not surprising -- as Martha put it, he "jumped into the last ditch immediately (sneering) and told me to save my stereotyping for someone who cares."

How very Adams-like.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

William Tyndale

William Tyndale was an English Franciscan priest turned Protestant reformer (sic) inspired by the continental heresies of Luther et al. He was an outspoken dreamer, of strict moral character if stubborn and proud, who had more than a touch of the firebrand in him.

He based his English translation of the Bible not simply on the Latin Vulgate, but on the Greek (provided by Erasmus), on the Hebrew, and on the translations of Martin Luther. Tyndale then used the recently-invented printing press to disseminate his flawed translation into English, which is credited by the Anglican political figures in England with leading to the spread of confusion and turmoil among the masses.

Tyndale was a scholar of no little ability. At the same time his translation of the Scriptures -- which later served as the chief foundation for the King James Version -- was marred by his perversion of many passages (i.e. due to the theological bias of the translator), all in the service of continental Protestantism. For example, he used “overseer” instead of “bishop,” “elder” instead of “priest,” “love” instead of “charity,” and “congregation” instead of “church” -- modifications that were less about rendering an accurate translation in the vernacular than undermining the Catholic position. His version of the Bible is credited with having about 2,000 inaccurate translations and errors. These numerous errors are the chief objection to Tyndale’s work -- that, and not that he rendered the Scriptures in the local tongue.

His polemical writings were also heavily accented with naïve political teachings, which earned him the wrath of the rulers of the day for their anti-establishment tenor. Tyndale was especially critical of his king’s severe taxes and ambitious build-up of naval power.

Tyndale’s translation was also banned by the Anglicans, who took his criticisms of their king very badly and would have seen Tyndale's writings burned and the man himself executed. His practice of including revolutionary notions in his Scriptural translations was deemed dangerous to public order. The political unrest he caused as much as the suppression of his writings is why he fled England for the continent.

Because his Scriptural translation was considered heretical by the Anglicans, Tyndale had earned the displeasure of his king, who was not known for his forbearance. Henry VIII subsequently asked the Emperor Charles V to have Tyndale arrested and returned to England. Tyndale was eventually taken into custody in Belgium (Flanders). He spent 500 days in prison, received a brief trial, and was executed for heresy. His dying words were, “Lord! Open the King of England's eyes.” It would seem that perhaps in William’s view at least, his chief quarrel lay not so much with the Catholic Church as with his own Anglican monarch.

At Tyndale’s trial, the main charges against him were as follows:
1) he maintained justification by faith alone and
2) belief that the Gospel alone could save,
3) professed that human tradition was not binding,
4) denied the freedom of the will and
5) the existence of purgatory, and
6) asserted that neither the Blessed Virgin Mary nor the saints pray for us in their own persons and
7) that neither the Blessed Virgin nor Mary the saints should ever be invoked.

You’ll note that "translating the Scriptures into the vernacular" is not among the reasons given for his condemnation.

Flanders was where Calvinistic Protestantism began to flourish in Belgium in the 16th century. Tyndale was a harbinger of religious and political unrest akin to what the Flemish were witnessing in Germany to the south. If one thinks the internecine wars instigated by Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli were a good and necessary thing, then one will naturally be inclined to see Tyndale as a martyr for the Protestant cause. If, however, one takes the Catholic view that Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and their disciples were profoundly wrong, and that the consequence of embracing their errors was eternal damnation, then the spectacle of executing an unrepentant public heretic who blithely urged the populace to tread the broad path that leads to social unrest and personal perdition seems less surprising.

Regarding his trial, the custom would have been for an ecclesiastical court to read the charges against him, and then see if he acknowledged the errors. He would not have been tried by a civil court because he was a Franciscan priest -- he fell under Church jurisdiction.

If he repudiated the errors, then he could have been spared or sentenced with some penance or a fine. Given that Tyndale was a public and persistent heretic and a source of grave civil scandal, the penalty would have been severe.

If he persisted in professing the errors, then he would have been stripped of his clerical faculties and handed over to the state for punishment. In Tyndale's case, the punishment inflicted by the Belgium state for his offenses was death. The Flemish were still substantially Catholic at the time, and the pernicious errors of Luther were something they wanted to keep out at all costs.

Today William Tyndale is still lauded by the "Scripture Alone" crowd. My experience has been that folks of that camp won’t care about much else except how Tyndale provided a seemingly plausible argument for dismissing clerical authority and opening the way for recourse to relying on personal interpretations of the Bible (think "apostle of liberty" and "liberty of conscience"). Everything else is window dressing.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Tallulah Gorge Visit

Last weekend's visit was to Tallulah Gorge State Park.

Here are Collin's photos from the same outing.

Perhaps the next stop will be a corn maze (maize?)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Meeting of SSPX Superiors


Following the meeting with Cardinal William Levada, Bp. Bernard Fellay will consult the Superiors of the SSPX about the doctrinal preamble, given to him by the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The Society’s Superiors will meet together behind closed doors at the Italian District Headquarters, in Albano, October 7-8.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Possible Next Assignment

I'm still waiting on the official word, but preliminary reports are that when I complete my current project based out of Hartford, CT, there is a good chance I will be working on the redesign of this site:

A while back my company sponsored an office outing to the local karting track. Out of a pool of almost 100 people, I had the fastest single circuit time. Having completed my training, I think I'm ready for my next assignment.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

20 Years

The year 2011 is the 20th since I graduated from college (undergraduate); 13 years have passed since I finished graduate school.

This evening I was compiling a list of all the clients I've worked with over the years on various consulting assignments, and I came up with a list of 38 names (there were a few more, but I counted only the ones for whom I did a substantial amount of work).

I did the math on the number of employers I've had as well, and my present company makes a baker's dozen -- thus, I've topped the American average of 7-10 job changes in a career. This frequent change of jobs was not by design, mind you: in my first professional job after college, I had notions of retiring there; that idea lasted only six months until my first of three layoffs (I beat out another layoff by hitting the exit before the curtain dropped).

Sounds awful, doesn't it? Yet my former manager (who quit just last week) said that I always over-delivered on my work, and that I was a dependable person in a business not known for dependable people. Go figure.

About the only thing I'm confident of regarding my employment is that I don't expect to retire doing what I do today. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Poll: Battle of the Ages

In the spirit of this post, I've dredged up this bit of nonsense inspired by the meanderings of my misspent youth.


What fantasy character match-up would make for the battle of the ages?

(1) Gandalf vs. Merlin 

Middle Earth meets King Arthur’s Court

(2) Tom Thumb vs. the Gingerbread Boy 

The tiny tot tries to catch his running nemesis

(3) Robin Hood vs. Legolas 

One shot, patch over the right eye, triple ricochet off two trees, between the hobbit’s legs, and through the opening of the spinning bee hive

(4) Queen of Hearts vs. Glenda the Good Witch

Caged grudge match between the champions of Wonderland and Oz

(5) Cthulhu vs. Apocalypse 

But who really cares?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pray for the SSPX-Rome Meeting Today

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Pray for a successful outcome to the SSPX-Rome meeting
that is taking place today.

On August 15, while at the Universite d'Ete de la FSSPX held at St-Malo, France, the SSPX’s Superior General, Bp. Bernard Fellay, confirmed the news that he and his two Assistants have been invited to meet with Cardinal William Levada, Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (and the Ecclesia Dei Commission) in Rome on September 14.

On June 17, during his sermon for the priestly ordinations held at Winona, MN, Bp. Fellay stated:

"The truth is that Cardinal Levada has called me to Rome and it appears that it will be around the middle of September. That’s the only thing I know. It’s about the discussions we had with Rome. After these discussions, it had been said that 'the documents will be given to the higher authorities.' These are the exact words..."

According to the agenda given to the Superior General, the purpose of this meeting is to give a final evaluation of the doctrinal discussions between Rome and the SSPX which have occurred since October 2009.

"O God Who, for the defense of the Catholic faith and the restoration of all things in Christ, filled St. Pius, the Supreme Pontiff, with heavenly wisdom and apostolic fearlessness, mercifully grant that, by following his teachings and examples, we may receive Your eternal rewards. Through the same Jesus Christ, thy Son, Our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen."

- Collect from the Mass of St. Pius X, September 3

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Origins of Genesis

What was Moses up to in Genesis when he described the Creation of the world? The universe came together in six days? First came light, and then water, and then the sun and the moon? Small wonder that people these days ignore the Bible as just an irrelevant collection of myths and fables.

So say the moderns fixated on the gamut of minutia for fantasy football but who don’t know the answer to the first question in the basic school-kid catechism.

Yet one cannot help but feel some some sorrow for people these days who are not provided with much in the way of religious instruction. They’re told that silly religious people think the world was created in six 24-hour periods, and aren't we glad we're not like them.

Even back when people were better educated in the domain of religion, there was still plenty of discourse on the proper meaning of some Biblical verses. St. Augustine (AD 354 - 430) in his Confessions spends the final three books of his composition discussing the many ways to interpret Genesis. Thus, “In the beginning God made heaven and earth,” what is meant allegorically by Heaven is the spiritual creation, while by “earth” is meant the formless matter of which the material world was to be made.

In Book XIII Augustine lays out a more complete interpretation of the first chapter of Genesis:
Day One: The light which God created on the first day is the spiritual creation, which became light by the reflection of God’s glory; and in this instance the darkness is the soul without God’s grace in it.
Day Two: The firmament separating the waters above and below is the Scriptures.
Day Three: The sea is the human race given way to sin, while the dry land is the good souls that stands out from the sea and produces plants and trees.
Day Four: The lights that shine in the firmament are the wisdom and knowledge given to men so that those who possess them are the lights of the world.
Day Five: The waters bring forth moving creatures, which are signs and Sacraments by which souls come to know and love the truth.
Day Six: The living soul is produced, which has Faith, Hope, and Charity. Man is in the image of God in the sense that he has the gift of reason by which he can know God’s truth. Man’s rule over animals is a symbol of this reality.

So what of Moses? Did he intend an allegorical meaning in accord with what Augustine described? More to the point of the original line of questions above, was he writing a historical and chronological account of the origins of the universe?

If we say no, I trust that the example of Augustine’s writings is sufficient to refute any charges of reworking the story to make it seem plausible to modern ears. You’ll note that St. Augustine – who lived over 1,000 years before America was discovered by Europeans ­– cannot rightly be accused of modifying Church teaching to accommodate 20th century scientific discoveries.

Moses, then, did not intend to provide a chronological order. Rather, he described the Creation story in accord with a literary convention that was adapted to a popular style of speaking. It’s identical to the way we say the sun rises in the east – a scientist or a pedant will remind you that the sun isn’t actually moving; rather, the earth rotates and the sun only appears to rise. The real scientist, for the record, will allow you to proceed with your point if you explain that you are not speaking scientifically, but only in a popular form; the real pedant will not.

According to Moses' formula, eight acts of creation are described that span a six-day period.
* In the first three days, the creation of unmovable things is described, ending with two works on the final day.
* In the second three days, the ornamentation of the unmovable things is described, ending with two works on the final day.

Further, during each day there is a command from God, its fulfillment, and an approbation of its results.

On the seventh day God is said to rest – not that God can ever be tired. Rather, this bookend served as an admonition that on one day man should rest and give himself to honoring in a public and special way his debt to the Creator of all things.

Thus, neither the time nor the order corresponded to objective events of the creative process itself (Cf. rising sun example above).

Q: Does that mean we are free to read Genesis – and by extension the rest of the Bible – as nothing but allegory?

A: No. That the Scriptures can be read with an allegorical meaning does not mean that the work is nothing but allegory. God did create the universe and us. He does want us to keep the Sabbath day holy. We are all descended from a man and a woman who fall from grace and were banished from a terrestrial Paradise. God did take the form of a man and walk the earth 2,000 years ago, then rise from the dead and ascend into Heaven. We will meet our maker one day and be judged, and then end up in either Heaven or Hell.

Deus spes nostra.