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.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Babies in Space

A friend of mine was exasperated because a persistent chap wouldn't quit asking her out. She'd politely but clearly said no many times, and he kept on calling. Aggravated, she sent me a tongue-in-cheek text message asking if she should just tell the guy she had a boyfriend so that he would leave her alone.

Don't do that, I texted back. Say no, and stay firm. Telling a lie just complicates things, and can also lead to bigger problems later that aren't worth the temporary relief. I added that she should seek a bit of extra moral support from her friends to weather the storm.

It was the right thing to say, and my friend knew it. She hadn't been serious after all; she was just blowing off steam. Sensing an opportunity to bring a bit of levity to the grim campaign, however, I embellished.

Never lie, I continued. But if you did want to color the facts, show some originality. "I already have a boyfriend" is old and hackneyed; at least try to have some fun with it.

For example, start wearing an engagement ring. If anyone asks, say, "I can't talk about it."

Tell the guy you seem to suffer from amnesia. Add that you're not sure, but you think you might already be married.

Tell him you're thinking about being a mail-order bride, and ask if he'll serve as a reference.

Say that you want to be the first woman to have a baby in space.

No problems were solved with that string of suggestions, but my friend got a few laughs out of it.

Mission accomplished Houston.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Evolving View on WMDs

I think we're more likely to find WMDs in Iraq than we are to find the missing link.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Pope St. Pius X

Feast of Pope St. Pius X

Pope St. Pius X

This canonized holy Pope of the twentieth century remains beloved by all as “the Pope of Frequent Communion.” This is indeed a beautiful and fitting title, but we would like to stress here what is less known of his pontifical works — his battle to conserve the faith against those mining it from within.

Joseph Sarto, born in 1836 into a family poor in earthly goods but very rich in virtue, was the first living son of eight children, including six sisters. He soon found himself orphaned of his profoundly Christian father; Joseph had already announced his desire to become a priest, and his parents had approved. When his widowed mother continued to desire like himself this unique ambition of her son, their parish priest found financial aid for him.

He became an assistant priest in 1858, and in 1867 was named in charge of the large parish church of Salzano. His three unmarried sisters followed him, as they would do even to the Vatican. He was immediately appreciated by his parishioners, then seen as heroic when an epidemic of cholera broke out. An ecclesiastic who witnessed his activity wrote that “he was everywhere present. He buried the dead and confessed the sick; he saw to the needs of the various houses, he gave remedies if necessary, at all hours of the day and night. He did not permit his vicars to expose themselves to a danger associated with a duty which was first of all that of the parish priest. He inspired courage in all.” His sisters tried in vain to moderate his zeal, but the Padre did not contract the disease, and continued to need only four hours of sleep all the time of his pastoral life. In 1875 he was named a Canon of the cathedral of Trevise, where he fulfilled the administrative and pastoral duties of that charge with a success that edified all concerned.

In Trevise Father Sarto learned of his nomination in 1884 as bishop of Mantua. He asked not to be received at Mantua by a brilliant reception, but that his diocesans come to the cathedral to pray with him and receive Communion. As bishop he taught catechism to the children and continued to visit the sick like a parish priest; and it seemed to them that it was his passage among them which cured them. He manifested a remarkable compassion for the working people. He defended a man who had calumniated him and who soon afterwards was ruined financially, and sent money anonymously to his wife.

In 1891 he became Patriarch of Venice, and never was there one more appreciated than Monsignor Sarto after his arrival. Twelve years there confirmed the inhabitants’ profound affection and respect for him, until in 1903 his final promotion came about at the death of Leo XIII. He was chosen to replace him in the Vatican in that year, as Vicar of Christ.

He saw with perfect perspicacity that the Church was falling ever more deeply into the disastrous errors of modernism, that “crossroads of every heresy.” The teachings of his predecessors had entered into deaf ears; everywhere defenders of the Catholic heritage in all domains were becoming sparse. Nonetheless there remained a group of them to second their Head, and strive with him to arrest the rising tide. Saint Pius X absolutely supported all that the great encyclicals of Popes Leo XIII and Pius IX had proclaimed or enjoined upon the authorities of the Church. He brought about the resignation of a considerable number who resisted that authority and who in ambiguous language continued to promulgate the subtle errors propagated by the manifold isms, the false doctrines of the modern world separated from Christ.

He will always be known as the Pope of the Eucharist. For he was determined that the faithful should imitate the example of the earliest Christians. In consequence, he urged the reception of frequent and even daily Holy Communion for all in the state of sanctifying grace and of right intention. He insisted that children be allowed to the Spiritual Banquet prepared by Jesus at an earliest age, and declared that they were bound to fulfill the precept of the Easter Communion as soon as they reach the age of discretion.

Saint Pius labored until the very last days of his life. His Will and Testament contained the words: “I was born poor, I have lived poor, and I wish to die poor.” He died in 1914 at the age of 78 years, at the onset of the First World War, which he had foreseen. He was canonized by Pope Pius XII forty years later, on May 29, 1954, and recognized universally as a Saint for his charity, his piety, his zeal.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Why Does the Catholic Church Use Latin?

Compiled in 1938 by two Catholic priests, the book Radio Replies is a series of questions and answers about the Catholic faith.

Question 1395 of Volume I in the series is: "Why does the Church cling to Latin, a dead language?"

The answer follows; pay attention especially to the last sentence:

For one reason, precisely because it is dead! In modern and living languages, words are constantly changing their meaning whilst in a dead language, such as Latin, they do not. The essential doctrine and significance of Christianity must not change, and the safest way to preserve it intact is to keep it in an unchangeable language. Again, a universal Church must have at least her chief form of worship in a universal language. Christ came to save all men, and wherever a member of the true Church may be in this world he should be able to find himself at home at the central act of Christian worship. The Mass, being said in Latin, is the same in all lands. If a Frenchman, who could not understand a word of English, were to enter a Catholic church in London, he would be at home the moment the Mass began. An English service would be a mystery to him. I myself have said Mass with as many as fifteen different nationalities present, and not all could follow my discourse when I spoke to those present, though I spoke for a few minutes in English, in French, and in Italian. There were still many who could not understand any of these languages, but being all Catholics, they were quite at home the moment I turned to the Altar and went on with the Mass in Latin. It brings out the wisdom and the universality of the Catholic Church. The Priest ascends the Altar to intercede with God on behalf of the people. Those present kneel, and in their hearts pour out their prayers for their own necessities. They feel no more need to know just what the Priest is saying than the Jews who knelt at the foot of the mountain felt a need of knowing just what Moses was saying to God on their behalf at the top. And here once again let me say that if anyone should complain of the use of Latin, it should be those who have to endure it. And I have never yet heard a Catholic soul complain that it caused difficulty, or that he or she would like it changed.

In the 1960s when Catholics were told their central act of worship -- the Mass -- would dispense with Latin and be replaced by a worship service in their native tongue, it was not something the average man or woman in the pews expected, wanted, or even considered to be possible. If good Catholics never complained about the use of Latin or expressed a desire to change it, why was it changed? And when churches emptied, vocations dried up, and countless schools, seminaries, and houses of formation closed after the changes were introduced, why were the changes not reversed? Why indeed.