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.