Thursday, August 31, 2017

In Supremo Apostolatus

In 1839, Gregory XVI issued the apostolic letter In Supremo Apostolatus against the slave trade and chattel slavery, in which he wrote:

In the process of time, the fog of pagan superstition being more completely dissipated and the manners of barbarous people having been softened, thanks to Faith operating by Charity, it at last comes about that, since several centuries, there are no more slaves in the greater number of Christian nations. But - We say with profound sorrow - there were to be found afterwards among the Faithful men who, shamefully blinded by the desire of sordid gain, in lonely and distant countries, did not hesitate to reduce to slavery Indians, negroes and other wretched peoples, or else, by instituting or developing the trade in those who had been made slaves by others, to favour their unworthy practice. Certainly many Roman Pontiffs of glorious memory, Our Predecessors, did not fail, according to the duties of their charge, to blame severely this way of acting as dangerous for the spiritual welfare of those engaged in the traffic and a shame to the Christian name; they foresaw that as a result of this, the infidel peoples would be more and more strengthened in their hatred of the true Religion...

[W]e have judged that it belonged to Our pastoral solicitude to exert Ourselves to turn away the Faithful from the inhuman slave trade in Negroes and all other men...[D]esiring to remove such a shame from all the Christian nations, having fully reflected over the whole question and having taken the advice of many of Our Venerable Brothers the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church, and walking in the footsteps of Our Predecessors, We warn and adjure earnestly in the Lord faithful Christians of every condition that no one in the future dare to vex anyone, despoil him of his possessions, reduce to servitude, or lend aid and favour to those who give themselves up to these practices, or exercise that inhuman traffic by which the Blacks, as if they were not men but rather animals, having been brought into servitude, in no matter what way, are, without any distinction, in contempt of the rights of justice and humanity, bought, sold, and devoted sometimes to the hardest labour...
 

We reprove, then, by virtue of Our Apostolic Authority, all the practices above mentioned as absolutely unworthy of the Christian name. By the same Authority We prohibit and strictly forbid any Ecclesiastic or lay person from presuming to defend as permissible this traffic in Blacks under no matter what pretext or excuse, or from publishing or teaching in any manner whatsoever, in public or privately, opinions contrary to what We have set forth in this Apostolic Letter.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Latter-day Puritans

Puritanism has long been a part of the American mind-set. Like their forebears, latter-day Puritans eschew any nuance as utter betrayal; they see human conduct only in terms of extremes and absolutes, and they want to burn away whatever (or whoever) they deem inadequate while covering their excesses in self-righteous feigned piety. Their new City of God is to be populated by people who would appear good without actually being good. As Jonathan Edwards put it in his Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God screed, "The wrath of Almighty God is now undoubtedly hanging over a great part of this congregation."

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Tolerance vs. Indifferentism


If a fellow speaks the truth, then he has my assent.

If a fellow speaks a falsehood and I can correct him, then I will; otherwise, I am indifferent to the truth, which makes me an accomplice to the evil.

If a fellow speaks a falsehood and I cannot correct him, then I will avoid him. If I cannot avoid him, then I will tolerate the evil of the falsehood, but I will never treat the falsehood as a matter of indifference.

Uncertain if what a fellow says is true or false? Then it is my business to establish the veracity of the matter without evading my responsibility out of laziness or cowardice to discern the truth by pretending something of import is merely a matter of opinion, preference, or conjecture. Not everything is relative.

No fellow has the right to use his power of speech to spread falsehood, the sincerity of his conviction notwithstanding.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Signing of the Constitution

Commissioned in 1939 as part of the congressional observance of the Constitution's sesquicentennial, the scene of this painting is set on September 17, 1787 in Philadelphia's Independence Hall.

Signing of the Constitution
by Howard Chandler Christy
Oil on canvas (20' x 30'), 1940
Location: U.S. Capitol, house wing, east stairway

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Queen of Heaven and Earth

Queenship of Mary

From Vespers for the Sunday of the Ascension (Ukrainian Greek Catholic):

Who would not call you blessed, O Virgin most holy?
 

Who would not sing a hymn of praise to the glory of your giving birth without pain or travail?
 

The Only-begotten Son Himself, begotten of the Father before all ages, was made flesh out of you in a manner that cannot be explained, O Woman most pure!
 

And for our sake, He Who is God by nature assumed the nature of a man.
 

He is not divided into two persons;
 

He is understood to have two natures without commixion or confusion.
 

O noble and blessed Woman, intercede with Him that He may mercy on our souls.

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Evangelical Counsels

"Charity alone places us in perfection. But the three great means of attaining it are obedience, chastity, and poverty. Obedience consecrates our heart, chastity, our body, and poverty our worldly means to the love and service of God. These are the three branches of the spiritual cross, and all have their foundation in the fourth, which is humility."
– St. Frances de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Virtue Signaling

Easter Sunday

Virtue Signaling: the act of appearing good without being good.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Assuming, Healing, Sanctifying

What did God take on a human nature and become a man, both fully God and fully human at once? The following passages of St. John Damascene set out the teaching of the Catholic Church:

"Complete God assumed me completely and complete man is united to complete God so that he might bring salvation to complete man. For what was not assumed could not be healed."
- "De Fide Oerth.," III, 6 P.G. XCIV, 1006.

He therefor assumed all that He might sanctify all."

- "De Fide Oerth.," III, 20 P.G. XCIV, 1081.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Epicurean Constraints

What precisely is it about Vatican II and its Revolution that is so alluring to some people? In what exactly resides its strength?

"as soon as you eat this fruit your eyes will be opened, and you yourselves will be like gods, knowing good and evil…”

The Revolution is the putting into practice of the absolute autonomy of every person along all lines of human activity, without reference to the authority of the Deity. It’s flattering to one’s ego, in a serpentine sort of way.

Sycophantic enticements are merely a start, however; with time these give way on the part of the recruit to habits of action (by repetition), speech (cliches are preferred), and thought (if you must) that serve as shackles indeed – not so much because the constraints are so strong, but because the contrary virtues that would liberate have atrophied.

A great aid is a quarantined sterile, shallow, banal pop-media environment where the progression of Revolutionary faculties can ferment without disruption – and where opposing instincts, talents, and aptitudes are starved and suffocated.

Eat, drink, and be merry, my lads – and tomorrow, play this recording again.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Epiphany Monuments

The word "epiphany" means "manifestation."

On January 6th the Catholic Church celebrates in its Mass the Epiphany, which commemorates a triple manifestation of Christ:
(1) to the Magi - i.e. to the Gentiles;
(2) in His Baptism, when the Voice from Heaven declared, "This is my beloved Son;"
(3) in the miracle of changing water into wine at Cana.

Since the time of the Apostles, Christians in the Holy Land have marked the spots where these events took place. When they were able, the Christians built churches and other monuments at the locations. Even when war and various disasters leveled or ruined the structures, the Christians always built again on exact the same spot.


Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem - Holy Land 
Built on the site of the stable where Christ was born

Cologne Cathedral - Germany
Where the relics of the three wise men are kept
The practice of building monuments in honor of the Faith holds true in Gentile lands too


Jordan River - Holy Land
At the spot where John baptized Christ
 The structure on the right is a church,
of necessity made of wood (i.e. easily rebuilt) due to frequent flooding

Cana of Galilee - Holy Land
Church at the site of the wedding where Christ performed His first miracle at the request of His mother

All photos by the author.