Sunday, December 21, 2014

Jolly Modern

Modernists: pirates engaged in their trade without flying the Jolly Roger.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Ism Week

Back in my university days I was witness to a collegiate episode sponsored by the campus Residence Life Department titled “Ism Week.” Each day of the week was dedicated to spotlighting a different problematic -ism, complete with posters, speakers, workshops, and sponsored discussions intended to raise consciousness of an alleged societal ill.

Thus, one day was dedicated to Racism, subtitled “The -ism race,” another day was dedicated to Sexism, or “The -ism sex,” and so on. The normal leftist stereotypes and clichés were on display throughout the week.

The entry that had me laughing out loud was Theism, which was qualified as “The –ism of religion.”

At first I gave Res Life the benefit of the doubt and said that they were confused by the coincidental use of the letters I-S-M in a word that meant merely “belief in the existence of God” and nothing more. I later learned, however, that the Residence Life staff thought that to be religious was to be discriminatory. Well, at least if you were a Christian; if you were a religious minority, you were exempt.

I asked if a future installment of Ism Week would include a day for addressing the Ism of Atheism. I was told that wasn’t funny.

These days we could start our own ISM week.
* Monday: Atheism, the -ism of godlessness
* Tuesday: Feminism, the -ism of misandry
* Wednesday: Liberalism, the -ism of unthinking rebellion
* Thursday: Socialism, the -ism of institutionalized envy
* Friday: Modernism, the synthesis of all -isms

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Clare's First Impression

Blogger Clare Short made it to her first Latin Mass recently, and she wrote about her impressions here.

From the article:

"There was an atmosphere of joy and beauty and reverence."

"The Tridentine Mass made it suddenly clear to me where the Holy Trinity is during Mass."

"I learned more about the Mass in 1 second than I have in 35 years."

Friday, October 24, 2014

Thus Spake St. Proclus

"We do not proclaim a deified man, but we confess an incarnate God."
- St. Proclus, Archbishop of Constantinople (+466 AD)

Sanctus Deus, Sanctus Fortis, Sanctus Immortális, miserére nobis.

Holy God, holy Strong One, holy Deathless One, have mercy on us.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Teresa on Intelligence

Feast of St. Teresa of Avila
"An intelligent mind is simple and submissive; it sees its faults and allows itself to be guided. A mind that is deficient and narrow never sees its faults, even when shown them. It is always pleased with itself and never learns to do right."
- St. Teresa of Avila

Monday, September 15, 2014

From Sorrow to Joy

From Mary alone our Lord took His flesh, dwelling nine months in her womb that was a temple more splendid that Solomon’s, maturing in stature near her heart that was endowed with an unspeakable treasury of resplendent virtues. It was Mary who stood at our Lord’s feet when His own heart was pierced with a Roman lance, piercing her heart through as well with the sword of sorrow. Yet joyfully did she offer her Son with her own hands for the salvation of the world, for her sorrow was not the grief of despair, but the source of pity, of perseverance in hope, and of repentance unto salvation. To her children who remember her at her Divine Son’s sacrificial celebration she bestows strength of spirit, turns grief to wisdom, and beautifies their acts of penance so that they acquire greater merit. In Mary most holy is an example of how to unite one’s self with the perfect sacrifice offered to Almighty God upon the altar. In loving Mary, we love what God Himself loved. “Mary was the most perfect among the saints only because she was always perfectly united to the will of God” (St. Alphonsus de Ligouri).

The Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary
From the responsories at Matins.

(i) The prophecy of holy Simeon
“There was a man named Simeon, and this man was just and devout; and he said unto Mary: Thine own soul also a sword shall pierce.”

(ii) The flight into Egypt
“Arise, and take the Child and His mother and fly into Egypt; and be there until I shall tell thee.”

(iii) The three days’ disappearance of the boy Jesus
“Son, why hast thou done so to us? Behold thy father and I have sought thee, sorrowing.”

(iv) The painful progress to Calvary
“And bearing His own cross He went forth. And there followed Him a great multitude of people, and of women who bewailed and lamented Him.”

(v) The crucifixion
“And when they were come to the place which is called Calvary, they crucified Him there. Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother.”

(vi) The taking down from the cross
“Joseph of Arimathaea begged the body of Jesus. And taking it down from the cross His mother received it into her arms.”

(vii) The entombment
“What a sadness of heart was thine, Mother of sorrows, when Joseph wrapped Him in fine linen and laid Him in a sepulcher.”

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Poetry of the Temperaments

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

The king of the hill,

Is me and not you!

Roses are red,

Violets are blue…

Hey, let’s write a new poem!

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

My life is pointless,

And so are you.

Roses are red,

Violets are blue…

Friday, August 8, 2014

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Hanse on Error

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

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Here Until the End

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

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Modern Polytheism

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

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

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

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

Friday, April 11, 2014

Prayer in Stone

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

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

Monday, March 31, 2014

Lose One's Life to Save It

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

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Tolkien Lecture

Michael D. C. Drout, professor of English and director of the Center for the Study of the Medieval at Wheaton College, recently visited his alma mater at Carnegie Mellon (home of CAPTCHA) to gave a worthwhile lecture on how to read Tolkien.

Have a gander at

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Prayer to the Trinity

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880–1906) was a young nun of the Carmelite monastery in Dijon, France. Her life was simple, one of prayer and sacrifice. A quotation from her sums up her mission. "I think that in Heaven my mission will be to draw souls by helping them to go out of themselves in order to cling to God by a wholly simple and loving movement, and to keep them in this great silence within which will allow God to communicate Himself to them and to transform them into Himself."

Prayer to the Trinity

O my God, Trinity whom I adore, let me entirely forget myself that I may abide in you, still and peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity; let nothing disturb my peace nor separate me from you, O my unchanging God, but that each moment may take me further into the depths of your mystery! Pacify my soul! Make it your heaven, your beloved home and place of your repose; let me never leave you there alone, but may I be ever attentive, ever alert in my faith, ever adoring and all given up to your creative action.

O my beloved Christ, crucified for love, would that I might be for you a spouse of your heart! I would anoint you with glory, I would love you – even unto death! Yet I sense my frailty and ask you to adorn me with yourself; identify my soul with all the movements of your soul, submerge me, overwhelm me, substitute yourself in me that my life may become but a reflection of your life. Come into me as Adorer, Redeemer, and Savior.

O Eternal Word, Word of my God, would that I might spend my life listening to you, would that I might be fully receptive to learn all from you; in all darkness, all loneliness, all weakness, may I ever keep my eyes fixed on you and abide under your great light; O my Beloved Star, fascinate me so that I may never be able to leave your radiance.

O Consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, descend into my soul and make all in me as an incarnation of the Word, that I may be to him a super-added humanity wherein he renews his mystery; and you O Father, bestow yourself and bend down to your little creature, seeing in her only your beloved Son in whom you are well pleased.

O my `Three’, my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in whom I lose myself, I give myself to you as a prey to be consumed; enclose yourself in me that I may be absorbed in you so as to contemplate in your light the abyss of your greatness!


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Be Rational

THE FAITHFUL: While I was out and about I dined at a small shop where the cook served the most delicious and beneficial dish I’ve ever tasted. Not only was it a delight for the palate, but it restored my failing eyesight.

THE RATIONALIST: What was this miracle meal called?

FAI: I don’t know the name, but I can take you there to try it yourself.

RAT: Why would I follow you some place when you can’t even tell me the proper name? That’s not reasonable.

FAI: Well, I like to think I have some credibility and can be trusted. Isn’t that enough to get you to check it out?

RAT: Of course not. You have to cast everything in terms of what my limited, finite intellect can comprehend. Only then will I contemplate leaving my comfort zone to investigate what you described.

FAI: And you imagine this to be a rational position to take?

RAT: Don't be impertinent.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014