Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Discussion on Vatican II

The following is an excellent analysis on Sandro Magister's Chiesa Online.

A proposal for the fiftieth anniversary of Vatican II


by Enrico Maria Radaelli

Third question: If we deny the infallibility of the doctrinal developments of the Council that depart from previous doctrines of the faith or close to the faith, won't we weaken the power of the continuist thesis?

Of course you weaken it, dear Fr. Cavalcoli, and even more: you annihilate it. And you strengthen the opposite thesis, as it should be, that there is no continuity.

No rupture, but also no continuity. So what then? The way out is suggested by Romano Amerio (1905-1997) with what the author of "Iota Unum" calls "the law of the historical preservation of the Church," revisited on page 41 of my book, according to which "the Church would not be lost in the case that it did not 'match' the truth, but in the case that it 'lost' the truth." And when does the Church not match the truth? When it forgets its teachings, or confuses them, muddies them, mixes them up, as has happened (not for the first time, and not for the last) from the Council until today. And when would it lose the truth? (In the conditional: it has been seen that it cannot in any way lose it.) Only if it struck it with anathema, or if vice versa it dogmatized a false doctrine, things that could be done by the pope and only by the pope, if (in the metaphysically impossible hypothesis that) his dogmatizing and anathematizing lips were not supernaturally bound by the two aforementioned oaths of Our Lord. I would insist on this point, which seems decisive to me.

read this fascinating article here

Friday, June 24, 2011

Receiving communion kneeling

A recent post discussed the disturbing situation where a person was denied communion for kneeling to receive it and then dressed down after mass. Today Fr Z has a post on this topic. This Advent there is a new translation of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM), which says:


… The norm established for the Dioceses of the United States of America is that Holy Communion is to be received standing, unless an individual member of the faithful wishes to receive Communion while kneeling (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Instruction, Redemptionis Sacramentum, March 25, 2004, no. 91).

It should be noted that the GIRM hasn't changed, rather the translation with USA norms has changed. Fascinating.

read the full article here:
What Does GIRM 160 for the USA Really Say?

Friday, June 17, 2011


On Friday, June 17th, 2011, the high school principal at Fair Haven Union High School in Vermont said “We are absolutely strong supporters of free speech” but prohibited a valedictorian from giving his talk about God at commencement. How little the principal understands First Amendment jurisprudence. Yet, his ignorance rules the students and their lives.

The relevant text of the First Amendment states:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press . . . "

What is known as the “establishment clause;” it derives from the early colonial period when the many commonwealths established and supported (with taxpayers’ money) an official state church. After the United States was formed, the commonwealths eventually abandoned this practice, with Massachusetts being the last to do so in 1833.

The latter clause in the First Amendment prohibits any restriction on the “free exercise” of religion. After the 14th Amendment was passed, the First Amendment prohibition against the establishment of religion and free exercise was eventually enforced against each state as well as the federal government.

With this background, it is baffling to see a high school principal censor a valedictorian from giving his speech to his fellow students at his high school commencement, while on one hand roundly lauding free speech and on the other stating “federal law limits the kind of religious speech that’s permitted at a commencement at a public high school.” Really? No. More on that below.

The Founding Fathers would have found such an interpretation of the First Amendment bizarre. After all, “free exercise” means precisely that. Also, the valedictorian is not representing or giving the testimony on the state’s behalf; but his own. Here is one part of his censored speech:

"I have peace and can finally enjoy every moment God has given me, good or bad. I wouldn't be standing before you without the blessings God has given me through my tough situations. He is the reason I am the man I am today, made new through Jesus death on the cross."

Does this look like the testimony of the state or the school? Obviously not. It is the valedictorian’s words. With such censorship based on flimsy legal science, our society suffers at the hands of the fearful and witless officials. Without good reason, they stress over lawsuits, religious minorities, political correctness, excellence and the ACLU; but not God. Any mention of His Name or His work in a person’s life, or even a symbol like a Cross is quickly and unceremoniously swatted out of the public eye.

Yet, with all this cowardly fear, what is free speech? If anything, it is the ability to speak about issues that matter, including God, civility, hope, honor and life whether agreeable or not. It gives us the opportunity to seek the truth, to inquire, to challenge, and (like it or not) to offend.

In a nutshell, here is what the Supreme Court said about this issue:

"[T]here is a "crucial difference" between government speech endorsing religion, which the Establishment Clause forbids, and private speech endorsing religion, which the Free Speech and Free Exercise Clauses protect. We think that secondary school students are mature enough and are likely to understand that a school does not endorse or support student speech that it merely permits on a nondiscriminatory basis .... The proposition that schools do not endorse everything they fail to censor is not complicated."

Bd. of Educ. of Westside Comm. Sch. v. Mergens, 496 U.S. 226, 250 (1990). The school administers cannot censor because it isn’t politically correct or it tends to offend some. The First Amendment prohibition against establishment of a religion binds the school administrators—not the valedictorian in this case. The views belong to the student not the school.

In the end, the valedictorian honored the school officials because, as he said, one is “supposed to respect [the school’s] authority.” It is debatable whether the valedictorian in this case is obligated to obey his higher authorities [Romans 13] or to obey God rather than men. [Acts 5:29]; but one thing is clear that this valedictorian respected the school principal. Yet, I confess a hope, which we all can do, that all such students will resist the perceived duty to conform to authority which is based on a fearful, confused and politically-correct mind.

It helps to know the truth about the law, so that honest men and women of good will may bring God and His principles back to the public square without fear that it is an “establishment of religion.” However, isn’t it ironic that those who fear such public expression of a religious mind will trample all over the “free exercise” of religion to prohibit free speech about religion and religious principles?

What do they fear?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Clear thinking v. confused thinking

The Psychopathology of “Sex Reassignment Surgery”: Assessing its Medical, Psychological and Ethical Appropriateness
published in The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly
Moral Issues in Major Surgery
Spring 2009
Richard Fitzgibbons, Philip Sutton, and Dale O’Leary

AbstractIs it ethical to perform a surgery whose purpose is to make a male look like a female or a female to appear male? Is it medically appropriate? Sexual Reassignment Surgery (SRS) violates basic medical and ethical principles and is therefore not ethically or medically appropriate. (1) SRS mutilates a healthy, non-diseased body. To perform surgery on healthy body involves unnecessary risks; therefore, SRS violates the principle “primum non nocere (first, do no harm).” (2) Candidates for SRS may believe that they are trapped in the bodies of the wrong sex and therefore desire, or more accurately demand SRS; however, this belief is generated by a disordered perception of self. Such a fixed, irrational belief is appropriately described as a delusion. SRS, therefore, is a “category mistake”—it offers a surgical solution for psychological problems such as a failure to accept the goodness of one’s masculinity or femininity, lack of secure attachment relationships in childhood with same sex peers or a parent, self-rejection, untreated gender identity disorder, addiction to masturbation and fantasy, poor body image, excessive anger, severe psychopathology in a parent, etc. (3) SRS does not accomplish what it claims to accomplish. It does not change a person’s sex; therefore, it provides no true benefit. (4) SRS is a "permanent," effectively unchangeable, and often unsatisfying surgical attempt to change what may be only a temporary (i.e., psychothepeutically changeable) psychological/psychiatric condition.
the entire article may be read here

hat tip to the C-Fam Friday Fax (link)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Living in the moment

A gem from "All Men Have a Special Vocation" in "Spiritual Conferences" by Fr. Frederick William Faber

But the surest method of arriving at a knowledge of God's eternal purposes about us is to be found in the right use of the present moment. We must esteem our present grace, and rest in it, and with tranquil assiduity correspond to it. Our present grace is the most infallible will of God. It is a revelation from God, which almost always brings its own authoritative interpretation along with it. What we want for our sanctification is not merely grace, but the right grace, the right grace at the right time and in the right place. God's will does not come to us in the whole, but in fragments, and generally in small fragments. It is our business to piece it together, and to live it into one orderly vocation. Like a lantern in the night, grace gives light around our feet, a circle of light just wide enough to prevent our stumbling. But then we must look at our feet. If we strain our eyes into the gloom ahead of us, we shall stumble in spite of the lantern: nay sometimes we shall even stumble because of it, its shadows move so suddenly, and with such unwieldy strides. Our present grace is also the one least beset with delusions, and we can act safely upon it, although perhaps not comfortably, even when we do not see how it matches with what has just gone before, or how it can fit into any conceivable future which our circumstances will allow. The hours are like slaves which follow each other, bringing fuel to the furnace. Each hour comes with some little (censored) of God's will fastened upon its back. If we thus esteem our present grace, we shall begin to understand God's purposes. It seems an easy thing to do, and yet it cannot really be easy because so few do it. One man is always pulling the past to pieces, while another man is marching with his head erect into the uncertain future, disdainful of the present. Strange to say, intentions are more exciting than actions, and therefore more attractive. For safety and for swiftness, for clear light and successful labour, there is nothing like the present. Practically speaking, the moment that is flying holds more eternity than all our past, and the future holds none at all, and only becomes capable of holding any, as it is manufactured piecemeal into the present. The spiritual direction of multitudes of men consists of nothing but keeping them to this; and it is one of those unlikely works which has the misfortune of being seldom successful, even though it is indispensable, and on the whole least successful, where most indispensable.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The Fall 2012 Idaho Dominican Colloquium: Social Doctrine of the Church.

On May 27, 1537, Pope Paul III issued his encyclical entitled Sublimus Dei that addressed the Church’s social doctrine with regard to the Indians in the New World. Indeed, the Americas were a new country with peoples not yet seen or experienced by the Christian realm. They were called “Indians.” The Pope concisely and unambiguously stated the Church’s position on the new peoples in the New World. He made three points: (1) “that the Indians are truly men and that they are not only capable of understanding the Catholic Faith but . . . they desire exceedingly to receive it[;]: (2) that even though the Indians live “outside the faith of Jesus Christ; [ ] that they may and should, freely and legitimately, enjoy their liberty and the possession of their property[;]” (3) that the Indians should not be “any way enslaved; should the contrary happen, it shall be null and have no effect[;]” and, (4) that the “Indians and other peoples should be converted to the faith of Jesus Christ by preaching the word of God and by the example of good and holy living.”

This early expression of the Holy Gospel and the Church’s social doctrine finds that the Christians should respect and permit the Indians to enjoy their liberty and the possession of their property and that any enslavement would be nullified. He urged Christians to convert the Indians by their holy example.

The history books are brimming with examples of sorrowful stories and events where the American Indian was not treated rightly per the papal instructions--before and after they were conquered. The one thing that impresses me is the papal admonition warned Christians to respect the Indians as fellow human beings and their respective and equal rights to liberty and to property. They were not to be enslaved. As human beings, the rights to liberty and to property were necessary to the independence and honor of the Indians and to the economic freedom to provide for themselves and their families.

The focus here is on social justice, the ability of men and women to be free, to own property, and to enjoy the fruits of labor, and to provide in charity for the less fortunate in their respective communities. These principles are no different today in the modern world of the 21st Century. Human dignity demands that life be respected, that law regard no difference between humans regardless, among other things, of their ethnic, racial, or economic background, and that liberty is key to that human dignity; and laws that are grounded in liberty and the natural law and that no man is above the law.

The concept of “Social Justice” is a big subject but the social doctrine of the Catholic Church is based on the wise counsel of Jesus Christ and His Church and not on the ideologies and political platforms of this World. It is toward the end of justice, adhering to what is good and right, and with the goal of ordered liberty, and freedom under law, that the Blessed Margaret of Castello Chapter of the Lay Fraternities of St. Dominic, dedicates its coming Idaho Dominican Colloquium on the Social Doctrine of the Church in the Fall of 2012. The exact date and place will be announced at a later date.

What is a Colloquium? The term “colloquium” is a conference or seminar in which a particular subject or topic is discussed. Unlike many a conference or seminar in which people simply listen to guest speakers, a colloquium invites dialog and discussion among many people. This Colloquium will focus on the social doctrine of the Catholic Church and its effect upon Idaho and the modern world.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Fr Boniface Willard OP - First mass at his home parish

The Idaho Dominican laity turned out in force to assist at the first home mass of Fr Boniface Willard OP on Saturday, June 4. There was a long line to receive blessings, and a wonderful potluck dinner afterward.