Monday, December 31, 2012

Our Friends at Carmel

The sisters at Carmel sent the enclosed photograph with their Christmas letter.
Carmel of the Holy Trinity - Spokane, WA
The Carmelites live a cloistered life. Named for Mt. Carmel in Israel where St. Elias dwelled as a hermit nine centuries before Christ, the sisters live in solitude and prayer to honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, who was herself the supreme contemplative. In emulating the mother of God, they hope to emulate her love for her Son.
In the aerial view of the monastery pictured above, one can see the Chapel in the first half of the left front wing. The bell tower stands to its right just outside the back entrance to the sisters' choir (where they assist at Mass and chant the Divine Office). The tall Ponderosa pines to the left of the Chapel are in the area they call their  "park." Tucked under them, just outside the enclosure wall, is a small guest house. To the left of the park is a partly enclosed area that will one day house the cemetery for the religious. To the right and in front of this is the apple and pear orchard. Right of the orchard across the gravel path is a circle of plum trees, with an inner circle of lilac trees. To the right of the monastery is the beginning of the spring garden.
At various times of the year the sisters make processions down the center gravel path to the large Crucifix. To the left of the Crucifix is their little "Bethlehem Hermitage," dedicated to the Mystery of Christmas. Say the sisters, "this gives you a little glimpse of God's goodness to us and from where we unite our prayers to yours in praising, thanking and glorifying Him."
It is the thirst for God which leads souls to Carmel. The desire to love Him more and more, to spend one’s life for Him alone, in unceasing adoration, to give Him back "love for Love". In itself, the Carmel can be considered "a visible sign, a sacrament of the presence of God in the world. Its very existence raises a big question mark for the world. The Carmel witnesses that God is there."  - Canon H. Peltier

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Byrne on Day

In this post last year I mentioned Carol Byrne's book that debunks the Dorothy Day-as-hero myth (hear that, Cardinal Dolan?). Strange though it seems, there are misguided souls who still want to see Day canonized.

Byrne recently gave an interview about her book and her research here.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Evelyn and Dietrich

Regarding the change from the old Mass to the new; the old rituals to the modern; the old catechism and code of canon law to the conciliar:

“We had looked upon them (proponents of liturgical change) as harmless cranks who were attempting to devise a charade of second-century habits. We had confidence in the abiding Romanita of our Church. Suddenly we found the cranks in authority.”
– Evelyn Waugh

“The drivel of heretics both priests and laymen, is tolerated; the bishops tacitly acquiesce to the poisoning of the faithful. But they want to silence the faithful believers who take up the cause of orthodoxy.”
- Dietrich von Hildebrand, The Devastated Vineyard

Monday, December 17, 2012

Is There Beauty This Side of Heaven?

A chap named David writes a number of thoughtful commentaries that I often enjoy ruminating on. Yesterday he ambled into Latin Mass territory.

David was of a mind to attend the Latin Mass yesterday, Gaudete Sunday (the Latin “Gaudete” means "Rejoice;" the day marks the mid-point of Advent -- half-way to Christmas). He offered:

The Mass is the Mass is the Mass: make no mistake here. But on this of all Sundays, the Gaudete — that rejoicing lift in the middle of Advent, with the magnificent passage from Philippians that concludes in "the peace which passeth all understanding," & the Gospel with John Baptist’s exhilarating replies to the earnest questions of "normal people" — we were longing for the usus antiquior.

Advent is all about longing, and I share David's sentiment on that score. Where we differ is on the notion that "The Mass is the Mass is the Mass." I offered my own perspective, which follows.


This convert started attending the Latin Mass in a rented hotel conference room while the congregation built its Church. Months of Catechism, conditional Baptism, first Confession, first Communion, Confirmation -- all took place in this rented space, now referred to by yours truly (who is not in the least afflicted with nostalgia) as the Catholic Hotel.

Point being: the Mass is *not* the Mass is *not* the Mass. Validity assumed, the integrity of the thing suffers for:
* the lack of proper formation of the priests,
* a banal environment to pray,
* the neglect of the Churchmen,
* and banal, pedestrian, and synthetic ceremonies and prayers.

The attendant lack of fervor, carelessness at performing religious duties, neglect of obligations, and loss of Faith predictably (if not infallibly) follow.

The modern Mass militates against the Faith; it does not elevate; it does not honor God in a way He wants to be honored (c.f. Cain’s sacrifice). Have you still kept your Faith in the modernist milieu? Well done; you're an exception; quit settling; give God His due.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Baptism of Desire

Baptism of Desire: this doctrine includes the Catholic teaching that the means of salvation are at the disposal of those who err in good faith.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Shot to the Head


The nurse attending the Duchess of Cambridge who was pranked by DJs in a phone call has committed suicide.

One comment on the topic that I read would have it that "The people responsible for it never dreamed it would end so tragically or they wouldn’t have done it."

The conduct of the DJs was reckless; supposing they would have acted better if they could have anticipated the outcome of their prank assumes motives that the perpetrators never displayed, but in charity one could give them the benefit of the doubt.

The call to the hospital was of minor import. What matters far more is the international coverage that exposed the nurse to public humiliation in front of billions of souls around the world. In a Christian age she might have been able to unite her humiliation with that of Christ and so endured, but the modern appetite no longer tolerates such eccentricities.

In any event, the DJs -- armed with the tools of modern mass media -- are akin to irresponsible teenagers playing with loaded guns. Did they intend to shoot their chum in the face? Of course not; they're still catalysts for what comes of their behavior.

Driving people to despair, however, is a form of modern recreation; I expect any consequences for the actors to be relatively minor.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Gilbert on the Pilgrims

"In America, they have a feast to celebrate the arrival of the Pilgrims. Here in England, we should have a feast to celebrate their departure."
- G.K. Chesterton

Hat tip: Paul

Saturday, October 27, 2012

More on the New SSPX Seminary

The SSPX seminary of St. Thomas Aquinas in Winona, Minnesota, USA is too small to house the number of young men seeking a vocation to the priesthood. The men are crammed in at the seminary; meanwhile many of the seminaries in the conciliar Catholic Church are shutting down for lack of vocations.
As a result, a new seminary is being built in Virginia. This is a project worth supporting and one to which I have made a commitment. I hope you will consider it worthy of your prayers and support.
New seminary video
Several years ago, on an Ignatian retreat at the present seminary, I met each of the priests who have a speaking part in the video.
* Fr. Asher was a deacon who helped give the retreat.
* Fr. LeRoux had just been installed as the rector of the seminary.
* I had the privilege of losing a game of chess to then-seminarian Mr. Joseph Wood.

More about the project

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


In last night's presidential debate, the two candidates went at it like light-weight grade-schoolers. Had I been there, my question would have been, "Can either of you tell the truth?"I give the trophy for the event to the moderator, Candy “death wish ticket” Crowley.

To wit:
* She gave 9% more time to her candidate, Obama.

* She got to tell Romney to “sit down.”

* The question about why Obama had not kept his promise to ban assault rifles she re-cast as why Romney had flip-flopped on his stance on assault weapons.

* More than once she broke with the format of the session to deny Romney his follow-up comment.

* She interrupted Romney 28 times; Obama, a mere 9.

* The time when Obama took over Romney’s session for a full minute, she remained mute.

* On Benghazi, she seconded Obama’s false statement about how he’d called the attacks acts of terror the day after the assault (to which reporters in the audience cheered).

It was Candy all the way - trick or treat. On the plus side, she did become the first woman to ever win a presidential debate.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Lepanto: 7 October 1571

At the Battle of Lepanto off the west coast of Greece, the Holy League – a combined effort of papal, Spanish, Venetian, and Genoese fleets under Don John of Austria – gained victory over the Turkish fleet on this day in 1571.

The forces
The Turkish fleet had about 200 galleys and four dozen small ships with 32,000 soldiers, 50,000 sailors and oarsmen, and 750 guns.

The Christian fleet had slightly fewer vessels, 23,000 soldiers, 40,000 sailors and oarsmen, and 1,300 guns.

The outcome
Fighting commenced at dawn and lasted five hours.

Fifteen Turkish ships were sunk and 177 taken, 20,000-30,000 men disabled, and 12,000-15,000 Christian rowers -- slaves on the Turkish galleys -- were delivered.

The crusaders lost 17 ships and 7,500 men.

The Christian victory was significant: the Ottomans had not lost a major naval
battle since the 15th century, and the engagement deprived them of control of the Mediterranean
Sea; it reversed what had been centuries of unstoppable Moslem raids along Europe’s southern shores. Christians of the west grew in confidence that the Turks, previously unstoppable, could be beaten.

The Holy League immediately credited the outcome to the Blessed Virgin Mary. On the day of the battle, Pope St. Pius V saw the victory in a vision.

Today David Warren has a nice write-up of the event.

The Battle of Lepanto

Angelus Domini

The Angelus is a short practice of devotion in honor of the Incarnation repeated three times each day, morning, noon, and evening.

When done properly, it sounds like this.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Atlanta Archdiocese: No More Support for Komen


The announcement was a little weak and a little late: the Archdiocese of Atlanta has directed its parishes, missions, and schools of one million Catholics to end support or participation in activities related to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The chief reason mentioned was Komen's grants to abortion provider Planned Parenthood.

It's interesting to read some of the comments about why the Archdiocese is wrong for doing this. The reasons, as a rule, are irrelevant; what they amount to is little more than a general disdain for the Catholic Church and/or Catholic teaching. Prejudice is alive and well in the AJC readership (that it also thrives at the AJC is just a given).

Monday, September 17, 2012

Why You Can’t Have The Latin Mass

When the new form of the Mass was introduced in the 1960s, there was no popular demand for it. Supply was not thought to be a detriment either: all the priests in the world were trained in the old form of the Mass, but the changes were implemented anyway.

What made the change possible were the bishops simply saying, “We are doing this for your own good. The Church needs to adapt, and we will shepherd you through the process.” The average parishioner in the pew, then, was not asking for the change; instead, the change was imposed from above, under color of authority.

The bishops today are the souls who championed the changes to the new form of the Mass; they imposed it; they directed the change to take place; they allowed the innovations to occur, and all this without a request or mandate from the majority of the faithful. The chief reason that the new Mass remains the norm, then, is that the bishops want it; they simply do not want the old Mass.

With sufficient motivation by the authorities, the lack of a demand and the lack of a supply were not an impediment to change in the 1960s. Absent the leadership of the hierarchy, all the demand in the world for the Latin Mass will not be supplied.

And that is why more people cannot have the Latin Mass.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

DNC and the Russian Navy

During last week's Democratic National Convention, images of the Russian Black Sea Fleet were used on the giant screen when a retired Navy four-star toook the stage.


Perhaps someone will eventually apologize for the mistake/Freudian slip.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

O Gloriosa Virginum

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Three years ago today I was a guest in the Benedictine Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Silver City, New Mexico. I kept the hours the week I was there, so I was able to hear the beautiful plainchant sung in choir. There was a wealth of spiritual singing that will stay with me to the end of my days, but one hymn to our Lady stands out in my memory. I've heard the hymn done well in other places at other times, but the simple chant of the brothers in that monastery remains my favorite. The brothers sang it several times during the week, and at some point it occurred to me to snag a bit of it with my phone's audio recorder. Have a listen to this amateur bit of video and audio handiwork.
O Gloriosa Virginum
Imagine having that sung for you on your birthday.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Fake IDs - Online


A bestselling British crime novelist has been caught red-handed using false online personas to write positive reviews of his own works and to attack the literature of his rivals.

It appears that the Achilles' heel of the crowd-wisdom philosophy has been somewhat exposed.

No doubt advocates will say that this conduct is not typical (how would they know?) and that an online shopper's ability to solicit opinions from peers (how would they know?) remains a viable aid in deciding what merchandise to purchase.

The ability to rate the raters (c.f. sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?) is intended to weed out this sort of activity. But has such a safeguard simply become theater security? We're not likely to find out one way or the other.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dolan's Waltz

Cardinal Timothy Dolan is to close the conventions of both political parties. By playing to either side of the aisle, he has helped make himself -- and the Catholic Church -- irrelevant to both.

The conventional wisdom is that by attending both conventions, he is demonstrating that he is nobody's servant; that he is not beholden to any political party; that he is above partisanship.

What's he's really done, of course, is try to appease everybody, which is why he satisfies nobody.

Yet I should qualify that last remark. He has not satisfied those who are on the front lines fighting the tyrannical HHS Mandate (e.g. this open letter). What he has done, however, is given approbation to people who would seek to benefit from the good name of "Catholic" without bothering to honor its principles.

This is what happens when you give priority to being politically savvy instead of just doing the right thing: the souls doing the good work are betrayed and demoralized, while the characters who despise you simply exploit your weakness.

How significant is Cardinal Dolan's actions? It's as if St. John the Baptist left off the sermons so that he could waltz with Salome. Quo vadis, Eminence?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

NYT Has a Liberal Bias?


The recent public editor for the New York Times, Arthur Brisbane, observed in his final column that:
* NYT staffers "share a kind of political and cultural progressivism" that "virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times."
* Times reporters approached liberal issues "more like causes than news subjects."

Executive editor Jill Abramson took exception to Brisbane's remarks. Said she:
* "The Times sometimes reflects its urban and cosmopolitan base."
* "The way we view an issue in New York is not necessarily the way it is viewed in the rest of the country or world."


In any event, one is reminded of
Bernie Goldberg's 2003 magnum opus.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Petra - With Video

In this post I described a brief trip I made in the ancient city of Petra in Jordan.
To arrive at the Treasury Building, you walk through a very high and narrow narrow canyon -- more of a rift really. Here's a brief video snippet of what it looked like.
Petra - First Look at the Treasury Building

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Keep Holy the Sabbath

One keeps holy the Sabbath by refraining from servile work and by adoring God in worship that pleases Him and is worthy of Him. Ages ago the Church in Her Divine Wisdom decided that the best way to accomplish the latter is to celebrate the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

The new Mass deprives God of a good owed to Him in justice — specifically, by failing to offer a sacrificial form of worship worthy of His dignity and majesty. Instead of giving back to God something He desires, it substitutes a shabby and banal imitation. Even when the new Mass is valid, it lacks the integrity, the decorum, the fidelity that God demands and deserves in a sacrifice.

Plenty of people in the modern Church are doing the best they can, and they do not comprehend or fully realize that their own clerical leaders have taken them astray by providing a simulacrum. God knows how to make allowances for their good will exercised in ignorance.

For those of us who do realize that the modern Church is trafficking in a counterfeit sacrifice, however, we avoid participating in or favoring a form of worship that deprives God of what is His due. Thus, we do not attend the new Mass, which does not honor God the way he deserves, which fails to state clearly the Catholic Faith whole and entire, and which tends to erode and diminish the Catholic Faith of those who do attend.

We do God more honor on a Sunday by refusing to attend an unworthy form of worship than by attending. He gave us His very best, and we owe the same in return; we will not short-change Him.

Rather than view this as a shocking refusal to fulfill the Sunday obligation, take it as an indication of how shocking an affront the new Mass is to the Almighty. Refrain from servile work; pray the Propers of the day and a full Rosary; spend extra time in spiritual reading; but avoid the new Mass at all costs.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Gunman who Attacked FRC Worked for LGBT Group


A politicially-motivated domestic terrorist tried to shoot up the socially conservative Family Research Council (FRC) headquarters. He was stopped by security guards, one of whom was shot in the process.

From the article: "Gunman Floyd Corkins II from Herndon, Va., had been working with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender community center for six months, according to The Associated Press."

Not surprisingly, this fact -- along with the fact that ther incident even happened -- is receiving only anemic media attention.

The gunman also had what are being described as "Chick-fil-A promotional materials" in his backpack. Chick-fil-A had given the FRC a $1,000 donation in the past; as a result, the Souther Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reported that Chick-fil-A supports a "hate group."

Did the SPLC put the cross-hairs on the FRC for Corkins? I think it's a fair question.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Job 19

19:25. For I know that my Redeemer lives, and in the last day I shall rise out of the earth.

19:26. And I shall be clothed again with my skin, and in my flesh I shall see my God.

19:27. Whom I myself shall see, and my eyes shall behold, and not another: this my hope is laid up in my bosom.
CommentaryVer. 25, 26, and 27 show Job's explicit belief in his Redeemer, and also of the resurrection of the flesh, not as one tree rises in place of another, but that the selfsame flesh shall rise at the last day, by the power of God, changed in quality but not in substance, every one to receive sentence according to his works in this life.

Friday, August 3, 2012


On Sundays the priest sings the Creed at Mass. This profession of Faith was drawn up in the councils of Nicea (325 AD) and Constantinople (381 AD) as a response to heresies that denied the Divinity of Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost.

The Credo
I believe in One God (Hebrews 11:6)
The Father (1 Corinthians 8:6)
Almighty (Apocalypse 1:8)
Maker of Heaven and earth (Exodus 20:11)
And of all things visible and invisible (Colossians 1:16)
And in One Lord (Acts 10:36)
The only Begotten Son of God (John 1:14)
Born of the Father before all ages (1 John 4:9)
God of God, Light of Light (John 1:4)
True God of true God (John 5:18)
Begotten, not made (John 8:58)
Consubstantial with the Father (John 10:30)
By Whom all things were made (John 1:3)
Who for us men and for our salvation (Matthew 1:21)
Came down from Heaven (John 3:31)
And was incarnate by the Holy Ghost (Luke 1:35)
Of the Virgin Mary (Luke 2:6-7)
And was made man (John 1:4)
He was crucified also for us (Mark 15:25)
Suffered under Pontius Pilate (Matthew 27:26)
And was buried (Matthew 27:60)
The third day He rose again (Matthew 28:6)
According to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 5:4)
And ascended into Heaven (Luke 24:51)
Sitteth at the right hand of the Father (Mark 16:19)
And He shall come again with glory (Matthew 25:31)
To judge both the living and the dead (2 Timothy 4:1)
Of whose Kingdom there shall be no end (Luke 1:33)
And I believe in the Holy Ghost (John 14:26)
Giver of Life (Romans 8:2)
Who Proceedeth from the Father (John 15:26)
And the Son (Romans 8:9)
Who, together with the father and the Son, is adored and glorified (Apocalypse 4:8)
Who spoke by the prophets (2 Peter 1:21)
And in One (John 10:16)
Holy (Ephesians 5:26)
Catholic (Romans 10:18)
Apostolic Church (Ephesians 2:20)
I confess one Baptism (Ephesians 4:5)
For the remission of sins (Acts 2:38)
And I look for the Resurrection of the dead (Romans 6:5)
And the Life of the world to come (Matthew 25:34)

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Healthy Horse

Some people regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look on it as a cow they can milk. Not enough people see it as a healthy horse, pulling a sturdy wagon.
- Winston Churchill

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Innocent Pope

"It is necessary to obey a Pope in all things as long as he does not go against the universal customs of the Church, but should he go against the universal customs of the Church, he need not be followed."
– Pope Innocent III, De Consuetudine

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Forgiveness in Vegas


Arturo Martinez-Sanchez says he had no choice but to forgive the man suspected of sexually assaulting and killing his wife and young daughter in an April 2012 attack that also left him seriously wounded. “I have to forgive him, to go the way of life,” the Las Vegas man said in a July 17 interview. “It’s in the Bible…I forgive him because I believe in God.”

I’m reminded of the death of Garcia Moreno (1821–1875), president of Ecuador who was assassinated. As he lay dying from his knife and gun wounds, the priest at his side commanded him, “You must forgive this. You must forgive your killer.” Moreno replied, “I do forgive him;” he expired soon after.

We do not exercise vengeance, and it is a Divine prerogative to exact justice. Those in authority who have the duty to administer justice are executing a mandate that has its source in Heaven.This does not mean that as individuals we ignore or quietly accept every harm inflicted on us — our Lord (John 18:23) and St. Paul (Acts 23:3) both rebuked their attackers and serve as our example.

We must be more eager to forgive than to retaliate. Justice must also be served.

Blessed are:
* the poor in spirit

* the meek
* they who mourn
* they that hunger and thirst after justice
* the merciful
* the clean of heart
* the peacemakers
* they that suffer persecution for justice's sake

Monday, July 16, 2012

Prayer From the Heart


Make my dissipated heart into a recollected one,

My unmortified heart into a mortified one,

My ambitious heart into a humble one,

My faint and timid heart into a brave and courageous one,

My irritable and peevish heart into a mild and patient one,

My sinful heart into a holy one.

- After Fr. Michael MΓΌeller, C.SS.R.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Order in Variety?

An oxymoron is a contradiction with good PR.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

La Messe de Toujurs

La Messe de Toujurs is the French, of course. There is no English equivalent, but the best approximation is "The Mass of All Time."

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Democrat Resigns From Party, Cites Her Catholic Faith

Jo Ann Nardelli (from the Altoona, PA area) has been a pro-life Catholic Democrat her entire life. Her father was one before her. And she couldn't imagine a day where that wouldn't be true. But that day was Wednesday of last week.


From the article:

* Nardelli was the president and founder of the Blair County Federation of Democratic Women, Vice President of the PA State Women’s Caucus, and 1st Vice President of the PA State Federation of Democratic Women (she had been in line for the presidency of that organization in 2014).

* She's met with Hillary Clinton and gave a rosary to Joe Biden.

* She's never shied away from speaking about her Catholic faith or her pro-life views as a Democrat.

* Nardelli says she simply had no other choice than to leave the Democrat party for its pro-abortion, pro-gay stances. When it came to choosing between her faith and her party, she chose her faith. "God is the reason for all being," she said. "We have to follow our faith."

Monday, May 28, 2012

Purpose of Education

The purpose of education is to bring out what is best in our nature.

Monday, May 14, 2012

For Greater Glory

In this post I described a film coming out about the Cristeros war (1926-1929) in Mexico.

The date for the release is June 1. The film's name is to be For Greater Glory. See

Monday, May 7, 2012

Medical Breakthrough

Recently I was discussing the evidence for a medical link between the pill and abortion.

I offered that drug companies have progressively reduced the amount of estrogen in the pill; this has resulted in a drop in the number of blood clots. With the reduced estrogen, however, there has been an increase in “breakthrough ovulation” in which the estrogen level is so low that it doesn’t sufficiently suppress ovulation (i.e. it is simply a plain old ovulation). When fertilization occurs in this circumstance, implantation within the nutrient lining of the womb is prevented by the pill through a hardening of the lining of the womb. And this is an induced micro-abortion at one week of life -- source:

This netted the following response: “Are you aware that the cell mass can split until day 14 because the cells are totipotential ...which is after implantation and thus divide into twins and souls cannot divide? Individuation and the primitive streak occur thereafter…and it’s every case because in the lab, the cell mass can be teased into twinning. Calling the first 14 days as equivalent to a real abortion is not accurate. Persons don’t divide into twins or quints etc…totipotential cell masses do.” I was also provided a link to the “Theological Studies” by the liberal Lisa Cahill.

I responded that such a formulation baked the conclusion into the premise: “Persons don’t divide into twins or quints etc…totipotential cell masses do” assumes that early-stage fertilized cells are not humans. Unsupported assertion does not an argument make.

The Cahill study, meanwhile, simply misstates the Catholic Church’s teaching – e.g. that the modern Church has “tended to view human life as personal from ‘conception’” based on “improved scientific data.” That modern Catholic scientists rely on the latest science is not a fact that could ever have produced the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. Giving weight to a heretic like Richard McCormick does no good to Cahill’s position either.

Also, while Aquinas quibbled over the simultaneity of conception and the presence of the soul (he ended up being incorrect on that point), he also recognized that even absent a soul, ending the life of the unborn is still murder – something that is not possible for an undifferentiated cell mass. Even when the philosophical opinion of the succession of souls was accepted, abortion was still forbidden, and was still considered an abortion even though it was not certain if a human soul was present. Thus we find amongst the list of moral errors condemned by Bl. Pope Innocent XI in 1679, proposition 34, which states that "it is permitted to bring about an abortion before the animation of the fetus". This is what liberals commentators propose by their 14 day distinction. Proposition 35 states that no homicide is committed in an abortion, since it seems probable that the fetus lacks a rational soul. This is also what these people are saying. They are condemned by the Catholic Church. Even the post-conciliar Magisterium is very clear on this issue, such as Donum vitae, and indicates that the fetus must be regarded as a human being from conception – i.e. as having a soul.

Finally, one might ask if an unlimited number of angels can dance on the head of a needle, why can’t the fertilized matter that will soon divide into twins serve as host to multiple souls? A soul, after all, takes up no space. The better answer, though, is that it is true that two souls cannot be contained in the one matter, later separating to make two individuals when the matter separates. One living being can have only one soul, which is the form of the one living being. The second soul has to be created and infused into the matter when it separates from the first blastocyst. It might, of course, be difficult for us to determine which is first and which is second, but the second soul is only created when the matter is separated. Likewise with other multiple births.

Thus, the point remains: when fertilization occurs after an instance of breakthrough ovulation, implantation within the nutrient lining of the womb is prevented by the pill through a hardening of the lining of the womb. And this is an induced micro-abortion at one week of life.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Rocky Heart

Today a friend wrote, "In an attempt to be PC, my kid's math book calls a snowman a snow statue."

My reply: That inanimate snow can imaginatively become an animate man is what gives snowmen their charm. Now it seems an inanimate object it to be simply another inanimate object; how pointless. After all, there is a personality behind the universe – Three Persons in fact; someone with a statue's rocky heart and head is attempting to obscure that point.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Change the Clocks

"Do we even still need daylight savings time?" my sister asked.

"Only in the Fall," I replied.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Catholic Voting Principles


From this PDF guide published by the SSPX, the following:

I. "In the rare case that there is a clearly, publicly Catholic candidate who supports the teaching of the Church, there is a strict moral obligation to vote, under the pain of mortal sin. Where there is a clear gain possible from the correct use of a vote for some other candidate, it can be recommended or counseled. However, when there is no clear advantage, it would be better to abstain so as not to contribute even to a material participation.

II. "However, it can be permissible to tolerate the lesser of two evils for a proportionate reason, and such toleration can be for the common good, precisely because it is the lesser of two evils. Thus, it is possible to vote or even campaign for a candidate whose platform contains evils with which we do not agree. Everything depends upon a hierarchy of the most important values and issues taking priority over lesser ones.

"For a Catholic, there can be no doubt that the issues that take the highest priority must be the moral issues, and not personal or economic issues. The whole continuation of society as we know it depends upon this, and those who deny the most basic principles of the natural order are bringing about an unheard of perversion. Consequently, it is permissible and prudent to vote on the one single issue of proscribing abortion, or forbidding same-sex marriages, or putting an end to euthanasia, or freedom of the Catholic Church to run educational institutions. All of these issues are of the utmost importance. Consequently, it is likewise permissible to vote for a candidate who is known to be a Freemason, although Freemasonry is an evil society condemned by the Church and opposed to the Catholic Church, if he maintains an important principle of the natural law such as the evil of abortion.

"Lesser issues are also of moral importance such as the justice or injustice of a particular war, or the paying of a just wage to employees, maintaining the right to private property by limiting government intervention, and so on. All other things being equal, one could vote on the basis of such issues. However, it would be wrong to vote for a candidate who has a correct position of one of these issues, but a perverse and wrong position on more important issues."

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Buried News

Here's is a time-lapse sequence from March of last year: the procession of a few hundred thousand marchers is condensed from 90 minutes into 60 seconds.

They're on Constitution Avenue in D.C. to publicly and peacably remind political figures of the need to end state-sanctioned abortion.

Tomorrow another such march is scheduled. This sort of item doesn't really make much news -- after all, giving a sympathetic airing of this kind of story could cost a reporter his job. Which is why I'm showing it here.

Prediction: a larger march this year than last, with just as little media coverage.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bury Me, Don't Burn Me

One advantage to finally building our own church is that we now have a property where we can house our own cemetery. One chap at the parish was able to bury his mother in the chapel cemetery last year.

Jason had previously bought a plot in the Catholic section of an existing Atlanta cemetery – Arlington, which is a nice location - so after burying his mother at St. Michael’s he attempted to sell the purchased plot: he contacted quite a few parishes in the area to let them know there was this plot at Arlington for sale if anyone was interested.

The overwhelming response he received - from the priests, married deacons, and bereavement committees - was “we don't do that anymore” (i.e. bury the dead).

The reason? They are now actively encouraging cremation and are building cremation walls (i.e. “columbariums” with niches for urns) at their churches.

Modernism is the new paganism.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

More on Marriage

"Until death do us part" is the old fashioned formula that went with the marriage ceremony; any more one is far more likely to hear "for as long as we both shall live." The two statements mean the same thing, and they are rooted in the realization that valid marriage does not end until one spouse dies.

The Protestant response, in my experience, normally includes a reference to this line from Matthew 5:32 "But I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, excepting for the cause of fornication, makes her to commit adultery: and he that shall marry her that is put away, commits adultery."

Yet this passage must be read in light of the other Scriptures on the topic.

Mark 10:11 reports that "Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another commits adultery against her."

Luke 16:18 records "Every one that puts away his wife and marries another commits adultery: and he that marries her that is put away from her husband commits adultery."

Patristics -- the study of the writings of the Church Fathers -- and the constant, uninterrupted practice of Christians for 2,000 years supports my point.

So is there a contradiction between the passage from St. Mark and the other sources? Only an apparent one. Christ did allow couples to separate for sufficiently grave reasons - the example He gave was for infidelity, but others exist such as abuse, criminal activity, alcoholism, etc. Even then, He allowed only for separation; remarriage while the spouse was living was out of the question.

So what is the proper way to read St. Mark? Like this:

"Whosoever shall put away his wife (I am now speaking of mere separation without remarriage, for that is lawful in the case of infidelity), but whosoever puts away his wife and marries another commits adultery himself and by this adulterous union forces his wife into adultery if she marries another."

Friday, January 13, 2012

Waugh on Feeney

Evelyn Waugh described his visit to Fr. Leonard Feeney, S.J., in this letter of November 20, 1948 to his wife Laura (pp. 292/3, Letters of Evelyn Waugh ed. Mark Amory, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1980).

The most disturbing event at Boston was a visit to a Father Feeney S.J. at Harvard. Mrs Luce told me he was a saint & apostle and on no account to be missed. He has a Catholic Center, as it is called, just outside the University campus & has made some showy converts. Well when I asked about him in Boston clergy and laymen alike looked embarrassed and said: 'We haven't seen him for a long time'. I went one morning by appointment & found him surrounded by a court of bemused youths of both sexes & he stark, raving mad. All his converts have chucked their Harvard careers and go to him only for all instruction.

He fell into a rambling denunciation of all secular learning which gradually became more and more violent. He shouted that Newman had done irreparable damage to the Church then started on Ronnie Knox's Mass in Slow Motion saying 'To think that any girl of 12 could have this blasphemous and obscene book put into her hands' as though it were Lady Chatterley's Lover. I asked if he had read it. 'I don't have to eat a rotten egg to know it stinks'.

Then I addressed him in strong words. His court sat absolutely aghast at hearing their holy man addressed like this. And in unbroken silence I walked out of the house. I talked to some Jesuits later & they said that he is disobeying the plain orders of his provincial by staying there. It seemed to me he needed an exorcist more than an alienist. A case of demonic possession & jolly frightening."

Evelyn Waugh, 1940

Fr. Leonard Feeney, S.J.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Upside-Down Marriages

Feast of the Holy Family

A saint like Francis of Assisi would joyfully stand on his head with the intention of delighting the Mother of God. In the process the energetic Italian would observe that he was actually looking at things right-side up: it was the world that had gone topsy-turvy, and by assuming an inverted posture he was finally looking at things from the proper perspective.

In the modern western view the predominant wisdom is that one should follow his heart in matters of marriage (or concubinage), and then having landed a more or less long-term partner he should carefully and in calculated fashion determine how many children he will have. The beginning is essentially romantic, and the end tends to devolve into business-like practicality.

The perspective of the God who fashioned marriage, meanwhile, is that one should carefully and soberly enter into marriage, and then after being permanently bound in the matrimonial state he should be generous and spontaneous and have as many children as the good God sends. The beginning is essentially practical and business-like, and the outcome is an ongoing romantic adventure.

To the moderns who substitute convenience for happiness and who view children as an interruption of their lives, the latter is foolishness and matter for derisive dismissal.

As one who observes the small-family moderns incessantly complaining about the inconveniences endured due to their spouses, children, jobs, in-laws, neighbors, any just about everything under the sun, I'll side with the kindly folks who take the family adventure God sends their way.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Modernism Defined

Modernism: the critique of our supernatural knowledge according to the false postulates of contemporary philosophy.

I am not a modernist.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Vatican II: New Teachings Contrary to Tradition


On at least four points, the teachings of the Second Vatican Council are obviously in logical contradiction to the pronouncements of the previous traditional Magisterium, so that it is impossible to interpret them in keeping with the other teachings already contained in the earlier documents of the Church’s Magisterium. Vatican II has thus broken the unity of the Magisterium, to the same extent to which it has broken the unity of its object.

These four points are as follows.

(1) The doctrine on religious liberty, as it is expressed in no. 2 of the Declaration Dignitatis humanae, contradicts the teachings of Gregory XVI in Mirari vos and of Pius IX in Quanta cura as well as those of Pope Leo XIII in Immortale Dei and those of Pope Pius XI in Quas primas.

(2) The doctrine on the Church, as it is expressed in no. 8 of the Constitution Lumen gentium, contradicts the teachings of Pope Pius XII in Mystici corporis and Humani generis.

(3) The doctrine on ecumenism, as it is expressed in no. 8 of Lumen gentium and no. 3 of the Decree Unitatis redintegratio, contradicts the teachings of Pope Pius IX in propositions 16 and 17 of the Syllabus, those of Leo XIII in Satis cognitum, and those of Pope Pius XI in Mortalium animos.

(4) The doctrine on collegiality, as it is expressed in no. 22 of the Constitution Lumen gentium, including no. 3 of the Nota praevia [Explanatory Note], contradicts the teachings of the First Vatican Council on the uniqueness of the subject of supreme power in the Church, in the Constitution Pastor aeternus...

The profound desire of any Catholic who is faithful to his baptismal promises is to adhere with complete filial submission to the teachings of the perennial Magisterium. The same piety demands also, with increasing urgency, a remedy for the serious deficiencies that have paralyzed the exercise of this Magisterium since the last Council. To this end the Society of Saint Pius X still desires, now more than ever, an authentic reform, meaning that it is up to the Church to remain true to herself, to remain what she is in the unity of her faith, and thus to preserve her original form, in fidelity to the mission that she received from Christ. Intus reformari.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Card to Remember

This morning Gail was ringing me up at the grocery store checkout counter when she spied the mother's birthday card I'd selected.

"Everyone's mother's birthday seems to be this month," Gail said.

"January sixth," I replied. "And she should get her card on time too."

Gail laughed. As she was bagging me up, she said, "Now don't forget your card!"

"It's funny you would say that," I said. "I bought this exact same card on Saturday, but when I got home it wasn't in the bag."

After a brief exchange we determined that I'd left it in the shopping cart in the parking lot.

Gail turned to her manager, who was standing just behind her, and asked if a birthday card had been found on Saturday. The manager looked up from the checklist on her clipboard and asked, "Was it a blue card?"

Hopeful, I said, "Yes -- in fact, I just bought the same exact card right here." The manager smiled and nodded.

"Can I take it off?" Gail asked.

"Yep," the manager replied, returning to her clipboard.

Gail reversed the charge for the birthday card. I gave her a big smile and said thank you.

If you're ever shopping at the Publix on Rucker Road in Alpharetta, drop in and tell Gail hi for me and mom.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Te Deum Laudamus

Te Deum Laudamus
Te Deum laudamus: te Dominum confitemur.
Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur.
Tibi omnes Angeli, tibi Caeli et universae Potestates:
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim incessabili voce proclamant:
Sanctus: Sanctus: Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus:
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus:
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.
Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur Ecclesia:
Patrem immensae maiestatis:
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium:
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum.
Tu Rex gloriae, Christe.
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem,
non horruisti Virginis uterum.
Tu devicto mortis aculeo,
aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris.
Iudex crederis esse venturus. (Kneel)
Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni,
quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.
Aeterna fac cum Sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.
Salvum fac populum tuum Domine,
et benedic haereditati tuae.
Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum.
Per singulos dies, benedicamus te.
Et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum,
et in saeculum saeculi.
Dignare Domine die isto,
sine peccato nos custodire.
Miserere nostri Domine, miserere nostri.
Fiat misericordia tua Domine super nos,
quemadmodum speravimus in te.
In te Domine speravi:
non confundar in aeternum.


We praise Thee, O God
We praise Thee, O God: we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship Thee and the Father everlasting.
To Thee all Angels:
To Thee the heavens and all the Powers therein.
To Thee the Cherubim and Seraphim cry with unceasing voice:
Holy, Holy, Holy: Lord God of Hosts.
The heavens and the earth are full of the majesty of Thy glory.
Thee the glorious choir of the Apostles.
Thee the admirable company of the Prophets.
Thee the white-robed army of Martyrs praise.
Thee the Holy Church throughout all the world doth acknowledge.
The Father of infinite Majesty.
Thine adorable, true and only Son
Also the Holy Ghost the Paraclete.
Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
Thou having taken upon Thee to deliver man
didst not abhor the Virgin's womb.
Thou having overcome the sting of death
didst open to believers the kingdom of heaven.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God
in the glory of the Father.
We believe that Thou shalt come to be our Judge.
We beseech Thee, therefore, help Thy servants:
whom Thou has redeemed with Thy precious Blood.
Make them to be numbered with Thy Saints in glory everlasting.
Lord, save Thy people:
and bless Thine inheritance.
Govern them and lift them up forever.
Day by day we bless Thee.
And we praise Thy name forever:
and world without end.
Vouchsafe, O Lord, this day to keep us without sin.
Have mercy on us, O Lord: have mercy on us.
Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us:
as we have hoped in Thee.
O Lord, in Thee have I hoped:
let me never be confounded.