Thursday, January 31, 2008

Keeping up with the Lees

Mike Lee sends an update; a new semester is starting at the International Theological Institute in Gaming, Austria.

read more at Idaho Hicks in Austria and Friends of the Mike Lee Family

May the Lord be with you and your family, Mike!

Keeping up with Will:

From today's online edition of the Weekly Observer:

The "here" is Uganda
The question: a haunting from the past.
That it is being openly discussed is perhaps the best sign.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Faith of our Fathers

This evening, reading this concise book by James Cardinal Gibbons, I have run into an explanation which I'd not heard expounded before, except from my own meditations, and it is comforting to know that where the spirit has led in prayer, better men than me have gone before, and with greater erudition and eloquence, stating it simply and concisely. Suffice to say, that the protestant doctrine of sola scriptura (private interpretation) is prefigured in the Old Testament by the typology of the Tower of Babel; man erects an edifice on which he attempts to climb to heaven, but instead is confounded and unable to communicate with his brother, resulting only in confusion and discord instead. This is the logical and inevitable result of private interpretation of scripture cut loose from the divinely authorized teaching church as a guide.

In the copy of "The Faith of our Fathers" which I recently obtained (1893 edition, original price $1), I notice in the back, listed for sale, that there are several titles by "Faber", including "All for Jesus," "Bethlehem," "Foot of the Cross," "Hymns," and more. Scratch my head... Faber, that's a familiar name. Sure enough, "The Life of St. Rose of Lima" which I transcribed and is linked on the side bar, is an edition edited by Fr. F. W. Faber, who it turns out is Frederick William Faber, Tractarian convert, founder of the Oratorians of St. Philip Neri with Newman, and author of the Hymn "Faith of our Fathers" (title of my current read)!

Faith of our fathers! Mary's prayers
Shall win our country back to thee;
And through the truth that comes from God
England shall indeed be free
Faith of our fathers, Holy Faith
We will be true to thee till death...

When I used to sing this (well, the sanitized OCP version) in the Episcopal Church, I used to wonder about it, 'cause I certainly could not sing about my father's faith, so what the heck was it about anyway? I had the suspicion that there were things I wasn't being told. The journey of discovery continues, because there are still things untold, in the Catholic Church as well; and sometimes I think I am like a forensic examiner trying to reconstruct what was once living and vibrant, but now it is hard to find a reliable guide; but these little things reassure me that The Guide is still active, if one looks and is docile to Him, rather than seeking the novelty of being tossed around by every wind of doctrine.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Blessed are the poor in spirit

Fr. Speekman "Homilies and Reflections from Australia" has an excellent homily on next Sunday's scripture;

4th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A
Zephaniah 2:3; 3:12-131Corinthians 1:26-31Matthew 5:1-12
How happy are the poor in spirit; theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

I’m sure we have all experienced that some people are somehow special and that when we speak with them, or work with them, or fight with them, the expression poor in spirit comes spontaneously to mind. But what does it mean to be poor in spirit?
well, that's the big question, right? read on...;

Defining "Protestantism"

There is a protestant response to the Catholic's charge of a lack of a body of truth to guide a believer that responds with "we disagree about non-essentials, but agree on essentials." Thus, the mark of the truth needed for salvation, by their own rule, is universal agreement on the essential truth(s) of faith. However, when you attempt to catalogue "essentials" with complete agreement among all protestants, there is a problem, because there are always some who deny this or that, leaving only one constant essential between all of them:

"Not Catholic"

You can lead this horse to water, but rather than drink, he usually comes back with "But we agree on essentials..."

Now I see that the obvious has long been obvious; here's James Cardinal Gibbons in "The Faith of our Fathers" in the chapter on the perpetuity of the church:

A remark of De Maistre is worth quoting: "If Protestantism bears always the same name, though its belief has been perpetually shifting, it is because its name is purely negative, and means only the denial of Catholicity, so that the less it believes, and the more it protests, the more consistently Protestant it will be. Since, then, its name becomes continually truer, it must subsist until it perishes, just as an ulcer disappears with the last atom of the flesh which it has been eating away."

There is something almost current in his description of the rise and fall of Arianism:

The Arian schism, soon after its rise, spread rapidly through Europe, Northern Africa, and portions of Asia. It received the support of immense multitudes, and flourished for awhile under the fostering care of several successive emperors. Catholic Bishops were banished from their sees, and their places were filled by Arian intruders. The Church which survived the sword of Paganism, seemed for awhile to yield to the poison of Arianism. But after a shor career of prosperity, this gigantic sect became weakened by intestine divisions, and was finally swept away by other erros which cam following in its footsteps.
One does not have to stretch the immagination too hard to see the "now" in this description.

...and now for something completely different, Will writes:

Did I mention this is the biggest grass hut in the world? It's about as tall as a four story building. The picture I'm sending now is me and Davis (a teacher at the Anglican school. He was my ride today) sitting in front of a shrine where four generations of Bugandan kings are buried.

This kings were interesting characters. One of them killed 22 Catholics (now saints, I think you've told me about them before [St. Charles Lwanga and companions, martyrs of Uganda]) because he was scared the "Kingdom of Heaven" would overtake his kingdom! And these guys were polygamists who would put fundamentalist Mormons to shame. One had 112 wives and 136 kids (oh, the nagging!). The most conservative one of the four still had 32 wives and had one kid with each wife. The tour guide jokingly called this 'family planning'. Which reminds me, with all that McLovin going around these guys have lots of ancestors, and all of the tour guides are descendants of these kings.

Monday, January 28, 2008


"The Catholic preacher does not amuse his audience with speculative topics or political harangues, or any other subjects of a transitory nature. He preaches only "Christ, and Him crucified."
-James Cardinal Gibbons, "The Faith of our Fathers" (p38, "HOLINESS OF THE CHURCH")

When I read the above, I thought of this...

which just might also bring on ... yawn...

so when I offer an observation about abuse of the liturgy, inevitably I hear the response "don't judge." I in turn, when you are upset by the snoozers in the pews, suggest the same (for the reason previously posted on this subject tag). After all, they may be "resting in the spirit"

or even "slain in the spirit!"

please join me in offering a prayer for Anita, that our Lord lead her to the work she needs and strengthen her in this time of trial.

Turning to the Lord

Interesting quotes from Sandro Magister at Chiesa Online; I wanted to focus on just one item because we shall be seeing more of it.

The Roman Curia Wakes Up and Strikes Three Blows

As for the celebrant "turning his back to the faithful":

"In the circumstances in which the celebration takes place in this manner, this is not so much a question of turning one's back to the faithful, but rather of orienting oneself toward the Lord, together with the faithful. From this point of view, instead of being closed the door is opened for the faithful, to lead them to the Lord. In the Eucharistic liturgy, the participants do not look at one another; they look to the One who is our East, the Savior."

[. . .]

Returning to the orientation of the celebration, to understand to what extent the words of master of pontifical ceremonies Guido Marini reflect the thought of Benedict XVI, it is enough to note what the pope said in this passage from his last general audience on Wednesday, January 23:

"In the liturgy of the ancient Church, after the homily the bishop or presider of the celebration, the main celebrant, said: 'Conversi ad Dominum'. Then he himself and everyone else stood up and faced the East. Everyone wanted to look toward Christ."

Turning to the Lord; the disciples on the road to Emmaus turn and recognize the risen Jesus; we see Mary Magdalene turn and recognize the risen Jesus; let us hear what the Holy Father is telling us, and turn to Jesus as well.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Faith of our Fathers

My thanks to "Marmion" who posted the link in the com box for the online version of Faith of our Fathers by James Cardinal Gibbons.


MY DEAR READER. Perhaps this is the first time in your life that you have handled a book in which the doctrines of the Catholic Church are expounded by one of her own sons. You have, no doubt, heard and read many things regarding our Church ; but has not your information come from teachers justly liable to suspicion ? You asked for bread and they gave you a stone. You asked for fish and they reached you a serpent. Instead of the bread of truth, they extended to you the serpent of falsehood. Hence, without intending to be unjust, is not your mind biased against us because you listened to false witnesses? This, at least, is the case with thousands of my countrymen whom I have met in the brief course of my missionary career. The Catholic Church is persistently misrepresented by the most powerful vehicles of information.

She is attacked in romances of the stamp of Maria Monk ; in pictorials, like Harper s ; in histories, so called like those of Peter Parley. In a large portion of the press, and in pamphlets, and especially in the pulpit, which should be consecrated to truth and charity, she is the victim of the foulest slanders,



Upon her fair and heavenly brow her enemies out a hideous mask, and in that guise they exhibit her to the insults and mockery of the public ; just as Jesus, her spouse, was treated when He was clothed with a scarlet cloak and crowned with thorns, and, thus disfigured, was mocked by a thoughtless rabble. They are afraid to tell the truth of her, for

"Truth has such a face and such a mien
As to be loved needs only to be seen." *

It is not uncommon for a dialogue like the following to take place between a Protestant Minister and a convert to the Catholic Church.

MINISTER. You cannot deny that the Roman Catholic Church teaches gross errors, the worship of images, for instance.

CONVERT. I admit no such charge, for I have been taught no such doctrines.

MINISTER. But the priest who instructed you, did not teach you all. He held back some points which he knew would be objectionable to you.

CONVERT. He withheld nothing; for I am in possession of books treating fully of all Catholic doctrines.

MINISTER. Deluded soul! Don t you know that in Europe they are taught differently?

1 DRYDEN. Hind and Panther.


CONVERT. That cannot be, for, the Church teaches the same creed all over the world, and most of the doctrinal books which I read, were originally published in Europe.

Yet ministers who make these slanderous statements are surprised if we feel indignant, and accuse us of being too sensitive. We have been vilified so long, that they think we have no right to complain.

We cannot exaggerate the offence of those who thus wilfully malign the Church. There is a commandment which says : " Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor."

If it is a sin to bear false testimony against one individual, how can we characterize the crime of those who calumniate two hundred and twenty-five millions of human beings, by attributing to them doc trines and practices which they repudiate and abhor?

I do not wonder that the Church is hated by those who learn what she is, from her enemies. It is natural for an honest man to loathe an institution whose history he believes to be marked by blood shed, crime, and fraud.

Had I been educated as they were, and surrounded by an atmosphere hostile to the Church, perhaps I should be unfortunate enough to be breathing vengeance against her to-day, instead of consecrating my life to her defence.


It is not of their hostility that I complain, but because the judgment they have formed of her is based upon the reckless assertions of her enemies, and not upon those of impartial witnesses.

Suppose that I wanted to obtain a correct estimate of the Southern people, would it be fair in me to select, as my only sources of information, certain Northern and Eastern periodicals which, during our civil war, were bitterly opposed to the race and institutions of the South? Those papers have represented you as men who always appeal to the sword and pistol, instead of the law, to vindicate your private grievances. They heaped accusations against you which I will not here repeat.

Instead of taking these publications as the basis of my information, it was my duty to come among you ; to live with you ; to read your lives by studying your public and private character. This I have done, and I here cheerfully bear witness to your many excellent traits of mind and heart.

Now I ask you to give to the Catholic Church the same measure of fairness which you reasonably demand of me when judging of Southern character. Ask not her enemies what she is, for tfeey are blinded by passion ; ask not her ungrateful, renegade children ; for you never heard a son speaking well of the mother whom he had abandoned and despised.


Study her history in the pages of truth. Examine her creed. Read her authorized catechisms and doctrinal books. You will find them every where on the shelves of booksellers, in the libraries of her clergy, on the tables of Catholic families.

There is no Freemasonry in the Catholic Church ; she has no secrets to keep back. She has not one set of doctrines for Bishops and Priests, and another for the laity. She has not one creed for the initiated and another for outsiders. Everything in the
Catholic Church is open and above board. She has the same doctrines for all for the Pope and the peasant.

Should not I be better qualified to present to you the Church s creed than the unfriendly witnesses whom I have mentioned ?

I have imbibed her doctrine with my mother's milk. I have made her history and theology the study of my life. What motive can I have in misleading you ? Not temporal reward, since I seek not your money, but your soul, for which Jesus Christ died. I could not hope for an eternal reward by deceiving you, for I would thereby purchase for my self eternal condemnation, by gaining proselytes at the expense of truth.

This, friendly reader, is my only motive. I feel, in the depth of my heart, that, in possessing Catholic


faith, I hold a treasure compared with which all things earthly are but dross. Instead of wishing to bury this treasure in my breast, I long to share it with you, especially as I lose no part of my spiritual riches by communicating them to others.

It is to me a duty and a labor of love to speak the truth concerning my venerable Mother, especially as she is so much maligned in our days. Were a tithe of the accusations true which are brought against her, I would not be attached to her ministry, nor even to her communion, for a single day. I know these charges to be false. The longer I know her, the more I admire and venerate her. Every day she develops before me new spiritual charms.

Ah ! my dear friend, if you saw her as her children see her, she would no longer appear to you as typified by the woman of Babylon, but she would be revealed to you, " Bright as the sun, fair as the moon ; " with the beauty of heaven stamped upon her brow, glorious "as an army in battle array." You would love her, you would cling to her and embrace her. With her children, you would rise up in reverence " and call her blessed."

Consider what you lose and what you gain in embracing the Catholic religion.

Your loss is nothing in comparison with your gain. You do not surrender your manhood or your dignity


or independence or reasoning powers. You give up none of those revealed truths which you may possess already. The only restraint imposed upon you is the restraint of the Gospel, and to this you will not reasonably object.

You gain everything that is worth having. You acquire a full and connected knowledge of God's revelation. You get possession of the whole truth as it is in Jesus. You no longer see it in fragments, but reflected before you in all its beauty, as in a polished mirror. Your knowledge of the truth is net only complete and harmonious, but it becomes fixed and steady. You exchange opinion for certainty. You are no longer " tossed about by every wind of doctrine," but you are firmly grounded on the rock of truth. Then you enjoy that profound peace which springs from the conscious possession of the truth.

And in coming to the Church, you are not entering a strange place, but you are returning to your Father s home. The house and furniture may look odd to you. But it is just the same as your forefathers left it three hundred years ago. In coming back to the Church, you worship where your fathers worshipped before you; you kneel before the altar at which they knelt; you receive the Sacraments which they received, and respect the authority of the clergy whom they venerated. You come back like the Prodigal Son to the home of your Father


and Mother, and the garment of joy is placed upon you, and the banquet of love is set before you, and you receive the kiss of peace as a pledge of your filiation and adoption. One hearty embrace of your tender Mother will compensate you for all the sacrifices you may have made, and you will exclaim with the penitent Augustine : " Too late have I known thee, O Beauty, ever ancient and ever new ; too late have I loved thee."

Should the perusal of this book bring one soul to the knowledge of the Church, my labor will be amply rewarded.

Remember that nothing is so essential as the salvation of your immortal soul ; " for what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ? " l Let not, therefore, the fear of offending friends and relatives, nor the persecution of men, nor the loss of earthly possessions, nor any other temporal calamity, deter you from investigating and embracing the true religion. " For our present tribulation, which is momentary and light, worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory." 3

May God give you light to see the truth, and, having seen it, may He give you courage and strength to follow it.

1 Matt. xvi. 26. II. Cor. iv. 17.

If you made it this far, do you not see how this introduction, with very little work, could be changed from an address to the American protestants of the 19th century, to an address to the CINOs of the current disordered time?

On the footnote trail

I recently finished reading Msgr. Kelly's "The Battle for the American Church." I read it because I read a reference to it by Pope Benedict XVI. In that book, and in other books by Msgr. Kelly, he mentions repeatedly the book "Faith of our Fathers" by James Cardinal Gibbons, a masterpiece which went through over 100 editions. My copy just came.

I'll be reading this along with "Testimony of Hope" by Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan, which was quoted and referenced in Pope Benedict XVI's recent encyclical Spe Salvi.

>>completely unrelated>>>

Son sends a picture of the backyard in Kampala.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Embracing VII is to reject abortion/contraception/euthanasia/etc

From Bishop Robert Vasa's column in the Catholic Sentinel:

Unheard joy, unseen hopes of unborn should 'raise an echo'

The snow can provide a temporary reprieve from invasive external decibels but a silence of the mind and a silence of the heart is a bit more difficult to achieve. I find this to be particularly true during this season of presidential primaries. There is a lot of talk, a lot of rhetoric, a lot of "noise." Since the matter at stake is not only that of choosing presidential candidates but, more importantly, what they represent, there can be no doubt that there are matters of life and death at stake. There are a lot of genuinely important human rights and human dignity issues which need to be addressed. Some of these, particularly abortion, contraception and assisted suicide, have a direct bearing on the promotion of a culture of life or a culture of death. Our nation claims to seek "liberty and justice for all" but the word "all" is not as inclusive as it needs to be and the definition of "liberty" is often quite self serving. In truth there is great emphasis on granting licensed liberty to many different classes of persons but there is not yet an adequate granting of genuine "liberty and justice" to the poorest and the most helpless of persons; the pre-born child in the womb. As we think about how to translate the echoes of the cries of human concerns into definitive and life giving action during this politically charged year it is essential that we listen in contemplative silence, perhaps both external and internal, to the voice of God and remember that Christ "was crucified and rose again to break the strangle hold of personified evil, so that the world might be fashioned anew according to God's design and reach its fulfillment." [1] There is much emphasis these days on fashioning a newer and a better world but much that has been purportedly better and newer in the past has failed to be in accord with God's design and thus, despite the apparent progress, does not in reality bring us any closer to God-centered fulfillment.

(1)Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes "On the Church in the Modern World", 12-7-65)

The good bishop exposes as frauds those who purport to embrace Vatican II while also embracing the host of social evils currently unleashed (abortion, euthanasia, contraception, sodomy, denegration of marriage, etc).

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Doctrine of Jesus

The following reading from DIVINE INTIMACY by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D., ties in directly to the thoughts I posted about estoppel.

#51 The Doctrine of Jesus

The truths Jesus taught are so important and essential that, to know them or not, to believe them or not, is a matter of life or of death. His doctrine is not optional; rather, it is so essential that we cannot attain eternal life without it. “Whosoever believeth in Him . . . may have life everlasting . . . but he that doth not believe is already judged: because he believeth not in the Name of the only-begotten Son of God”( Jn 3:16-18). Compared to the truths taught by Jesus, all others are insufficient.

Because the doctrine of Jesus is absolutely indispensable, he proved its truth by miracles in order to help our weak faith to adhere to it. To the blindly obstinate Jews who refused to believe in Him, He said, “The works which the Father hath given Me to perfect; the works themselves which I do, give testimony of Me” (ibid. 5:36). When the disciples of John the Baptist asked Him if He were the Messiah in whom they were to believe, He answered simply, “Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen: the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, t he deaf hear, the dead rise again” (Mt 11:4-5). The Gospel almost always concludes a recital of the wonders perfomed by Jesus with such words as: “and His disciples believed in Him” (Jn 2:11); “All wondered and glorified God” (Mk 2:12). Jesus is the only Teacher who can guarantee with miracles the truth of His doctrine.

Jesus wants everyone, even the simple and the ignorant, to understand his doctrine; He often said that He came especially to evangelize the poor. Jesus is not a teacher seeking glory and praise; He seeks only the good of His disciples. He uses simple language which can be understood by all, and He illustrates the most sublime truths by very ordinary things. Thus, for example, He uses the water in the well to represent the living water of grace, and the vine to explain the mystery of our union with Him, the true Vine. Further, Jesus does not wait for us to seek Him; He is the Master who goes Himself in search of His disciples, and he seeks them everywhere - in the tax-collectors’ office, in the homes and haunts of the publicans, in the streets and squares, in the country. He teaches in the synagogues and from the porch of the Temple as well as in Peter’s boat or on the grassy slopes of the hillsides. He welcomes Nicodemus at night and stops at the well of Sichem to wait for the Samaritan woman.

Jesus explains His doctrine in a manner which is adapted, not only to the mentality and needs of the people of Palestine, but also to that of all future generations. His words are always living and timely, suited to the needs of every age and every people.

His hearers were divided into two groups: the proud, obstinate hearts who refused to believe, even when they saw the most astounding miracles, and of whom Jesus said, “If I had not come, and spoken to them, they would not have sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin” (Jn 15:22); and the upright hearts, sincerely eager for the truth, who accepted His words with faith and love. Jesus rejoiced because of them saying, “I confess to Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones” (Mt 11:25).

“O Lord, my God, Thou hast indeed the words of life, wherein, if we seek it, we mortals shall all find what we desire. But what wonder is it, my God, that we should forget Thy words, when our evil deeds have made us infirm and foolish? … What is this, Lord? … How blind of us to seek repose where it cannot possibly be found! … Reflect that we do not understand ourselves or know what we desire, nor are we able to ask as we should. Give us light, Lord. Behold, we need it more than the man who was blind from his birth, for he wised to see the light and could not, whereas nowadays, Lord, no one wishes to see it” (Theresa of Jesus).

The contents of faith required for belief (the obedience of faith, as Vatican II put it) are no more optional than the components of the commercial airliners we travel in; sure, the coffee, movie, and meal are optional, but the engine, hydraulics, navigation system, etc? If the pilot came on the intercom and said that one of these systems had failed, but he was going to take off any way, cause who really needs it... would you stay in your seat?

So when you hear the same put forth in a Sunday homily... ? well?

LA Times Opinion

This is a very revealing article. Never mind that the abortion movement never had the moral high ground...

Abortion's battle of messages

It's not 1973. Pro-choice forces must adjust to regain the moral high ground.
By Frances Kissling and Kate Michelman
January 22, 2008

Science facilitated the swing of the pendulum. Three-dimensional ultrasound images of babies in utero began to grace the family fridge.
I just never thought I'd never see the day when prominent feminazis would refer to the pre-born as "babies." No moral high ground to reclaim (except by abandoning their homicidal high-horse), the only high ground they ever occupied was that of raw power.

Forfeiting the right to enforce

Forfeiting the right to enforce

Let us look for a moment at two pivotal “doctrinal” positions put forth by those who believe that Vatican II brought to an end the “repressive old Church” and created a “new Church” in its place.

The first doctrine, “Primacy of Conscience”, puts forth the individual’s right to be bound by only those beliefs which one’s conscience agrees with. The final arbiter of truth becomes the individual, not the Church; the keys have passed from Peter to each individual. This, in effect, produces personal moral autonomy. “Tolerance” is then promoted to a virtue.

The second doctrine, loosely constructed, may be called “Social Justice”, which loosely seems to encompass a political activism which seeks to have the state impose solutions to all problems. A concomitant intolerance for opposition to state social policy is absolute.

Both of these doctrines are preached energetically today, in word and deed. Yet oddly, justice does not seem to be advancing in the world, but retreating. For those would be prophets of the new age, this must be very frustrating, and this frustration is observable in the way they hammer a congregation week after week with their message. Pew warmers are still pew warmers, it would appear. Or are they?

Consider for a moment, that the first doctrine grants me the primary underlying right to pick and choose that by which I will agree to be bound; remember, you gave me the keys. Now, when I hear the second, I may hear many thing which I think are great goals, but to achieve these goals, I’m also told that I need to change this or that, or give up this or that. Therefore, I apply the doctrine of “Primacy of Conscience,” and with perfect consistency with what I’ve been taught, conclude that any requirements of “Social Justice” that seem to impinge on my personal autonomy, do not apply to me.

This conclusion is actually in accord with law; John Keenan has been trying to educate me on the legal doctrine of “Estoppel.” Although it is hard for the uninitiated to understand the full language, in essence it comes down to the implied rights granted to the faithful by the first doctrine (the truth of the doctrine is irrelevant) precludes any enforcement against the faithful by clergy under the second. In other words, the majority of those who promote “Social Justice” as a binding Catholic responsibility have relinquished their ability to claim its binding nature since they have already relinquished the ability to bind in toto. The pew warmers, it turns out, are practicing what has been preached.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Idaho March for Life; Boise

Here are a few pictures from the March for Life (this is my first [and perhaps last?] experiment with video). the march started at the park...

and went to Boise City Hall (the state capitol is closed for renovation)

more of the marchers reach city hall.

We found our spots and hunkered in for the duration in the cold.

A nice group of young folks!

It wasn't an easy task to get a sense for the number of people attending; the space was crowded between Capitol Blvd and City Hall. Anita took the camera and made a valiant, if not OSHA approved, attempt to gain the high ground and get a picture.

Idaho Dominicans carried a banner in the march, and stood in the freezing weather and held it behind the speakers.

Our very own John & Timmy Keenan at the microphone!

A breath of fresh air

I've lifted a paragraph from an interesting article that Fr. Z linked to in an article on "Looking to the Lord"

A breath of fresh air is wafting through St Peter’s

James MacMillan
Friday January 18, 2008

This is the basis of the new positivist impulse among young Catholics, disdained and dismissed by some of their elders as conservative and reactionary. In the new generation, we need to rediscover the optimism that lay at the heart of Vatican II. We need to confront the radical dissatisfaction that led many 1960s Catholics to turn away from or against the Church. We need to challenge their disdain for tradition and that smug superiority that many Catholics of a certain age display towards the deep pieties of the ordinary, “old-fashioned” faithful. Catholic liberalism has had its day, and the legacy of Vatican II requires us to understand the pernicious, corrosive effects of the pick-and-mix tendency.

The entire article is worth a read

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The end of civilization as we know it

10 years ago, Steve Woods spoke to a men's gathering at the parish. During the Q&A someone asked if the soon coming Y2K (remember that?) would be "the end of civilization as we know it." his answer was:

that already happened in 1973 with Roe vs Wade

so today once again we commemorate the demise of civilization in our country, 35 years ago.

Recently recommended by Tom at Disputations:

I read this book yesterday, a short read, a reminder of what invariably happens when man replaces God with man. My second on Tom's recommendation. support Zaccheus Press if you order a copy!

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Cautionary End of the Spirit of Vatican II

Jeff Mirus at Catholic Culture has written an intersting fisk of a Commonweal article, The Other Health Crisis: Why Priests Are Coping Poorly,
in which he notes that the author has admitted the bankruptcy of the so-called Spirit of Vatican II, and has only despair to offer:

Jeff writes:

What are we to make of an article which, in the process of concluding that there is nothing to be done, displays such an animus against precisely those spiritual solutions which have ever been at the heart of a vibrant Catholicism? What does it all mean? That’s the question which makes the article so fascinating, the question to which it is critical to understand the answer. For what it all means is that the Milwaukee mindset is so far gone in its sins that the only way open is despair. The so-called spirit of Vatican II which has wielded such a terrible power for the past forty years was nothing more than a euphoric baptism of secular utopianism. After such a long and continuous demonstration of its bankruptcy, many of its proponents have prudently stopped calling for more of the same. One might now hope for self-understanding, repentance and true renewal. But if our Commonweal article is any guide—and I believe it is—what we are witnessing instead is the only result consistent with a lack of repentance, that is, despair.

An interesting article, well worth reading.

as an aside, I finished reading "The Second Spring of the Church in America" by Msgr George A. Kelly, and one of the keys he offers is "De-nationalize the problem" - which I took to mean "dismantle the USCCB" - One of the prime agents working for the destruction of the Church in the US for the last 40 years.



We have a choice in our world. We can choose to see that the hearts and minds of humankind are cloudy and dull. We can choose to see the world suspiciously or skeptically—full of broken vows and promises. Too often, we can observe that government seems corrupt, the courts vacant of justice, and the city halls barren of hope.

We can also choose to see what is good and right in the world, and well-ordered.

In the end, what difference does it make? In our own lives, what differences do we, or can we make?

We can make a choice of hope.

We can be a witness of hope.

That is why we march this Saturday, January 19, 2008, at 1:00 p.m., from Julia Davis Park, to City Hall here in Boise, Idaho. In the midst of the cold, we witness to each other, to our community and to the world that our hearts are full of hope and that this Hope endures.

We do so because faith demands it. Reason demands it. Reason reveals to all people of good will, that the born and the unborn, the disabled and the able, have a right to live and to experience love and freedom. Faith tells us that there is hope, and hope is that transcendent virtue that turns reason to action and delivers people from despair and wrongful choices.

We witness to hope because in the affliction of the world, our witness endures and gives our neighbor good example, in this we prove our character not only in our soul but in society as well, that life in all its forms really is good and that aids others to choose rightly.

We express hope about the family table or at work. We also express it in society as we march for life in Boise and elsewhere in our Nation. As we pray and become witnesses of hope to family and friends, we realize that hope does not disappoint. [Romans 5:5]

That is why we witness to life!

Please join other Idahoans this coming Saturday, January 19, 2008, at 1:00 p.m. at Julia Davis Park, as we march to city hall for a brief program and prayers that our society will choose life.

John Keenan, OPL

Saturday, January 12, 2008

St. Raymond

I’ve bee catching up on readings since I fell Monday, which was the feast of St. Raymond of Penyafort, early Dominincan and one time Master of the Order. Now for Dominicans, the reading of the Divine Office is mandatory, but doesn’t bind under sin. A two edged sword if ever there was, but Monday I started to work deferring the Office till later… Anyway, what St. Raymond has to say does stand apart from the culture, awash in the “health and wealth” gospel and all the other perversions…

From a letter by St Raymond of Penyafort

The preacher of God’s truth has told us that all who want to live righteously in Christ will suffer persecution. If he spoke the truth and did not lie, the only exception to this general statement is, I think, the person who either neglects, or does not know how, to live temperately, justly and righteously in this world.

May you never be numbered among those whose house is peaceful, quiet and free from care; those on whom the Lord’s chastisement does not descend; those who live out their days in prosperity, and in the twinkling of an eye will go down to hell.
Got your attention yet? He continues…

Your purity of life, your devotion, deserve and call for a reward; because you are acceptable and pleasing to God your purity of life must be made purer still, by frequent buffetings, until you attain perfect sincerity of heart. If from time to time you feel the sword falling on you with double or treble force, this also should be seen as sheer joy and the mark of love.
Does one not wonder about all the folks searching for God’s love but expecting to find it in exactly the opposite way?

The two-edged sword consists in conflicts without, fears within. It falls with double or treble force within, when the cunning spirit troubles the depths of your heart with guile and enticements. You have learned enough already about these kinds of warfare, or you would not have been able to enjoy peace and interior tranquility in all its beauty.

The sword falls with double and treble force externally when, without cause being given, there breaks out from within the Church persecution in spiritual matters, where wounds are more serious, especially when inflicted by friends.

This is the enviable and blessed cross of Christ, which Andrew, that manly saint, received with joyful heart; the cross in which alone e must make our boast, as Paul, God’s chosen instrument, has told us.

Look then on Jesus, the author and preserver of faith: in complete sinlessness he suffered, and at the hands of those who were his own, and was numbered among the wicked. As you drink the cup of the Lord Jesus (how glorious it is!), give thanks to the lord, the giver of all blessings.

May the God of love and peace set your hearts at rest and speed you on your journey; may he meanwhile shelter you from disturbance by others in the hidden recesses of his love, until he brings you at last into that place of complete plentitude where you will repose for ever in the vision of peace, in the security of trust and in the restful enjoyment of his riches.

This reading is a good reminder of what the reality of following Christ is about, as the Christmas season ends.

Friday, January 11, 2008

January meeting

For January, the Blessed Margaret of Castello chapter is doing something different; we are going to participate in the March for Life, to witness our commitment to the poorest and most marginalized among us, the pre-born child.

we will meet at 11:00 AM Saturday, January 19, at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist for a rosary, followed by a special mass at 11:30 AM. after mass we will go to the Julia Davis Park banshell, where the March for Life begins at 1:00 PM and works its way to City Hall for the presentations. At 2:00 PM we will return to the Cathedral where there will be a reception. Chapter members will stay after the reception for a brief meeting to discuss life.

I understand that Fr. Flores, pastor of Our Lady of the Valley, will be the mass celebrant; last year his homily was outstanding, you won't want to miss it! The speaker at City Hall will be Brandi Swindell, so this promises to be an outstanding event.

Update: Our Lady of the Valley's Fr Jorge Ramirez, not Fr. Flores, will be saying mass for the March for Life. This will be outstanding!

Bishop Vasa reflects on HOPE

Additional musings on Pope Benedict's writings
E-Column by Bishop Robert Vasa

BEND "Augustine refers to Saint Paul, who speaks of himself as straining forward to the things that are to come (cf. Phil 3:13). He then uses a very beautiful image to describe this process of enlargement and preparation of the human heart. 'Suppose that God wishes to fill you with honey [a symbol of God's tenderness and goodness]; but if you are full of vinegar, where will you put the honey?"'

The vessel, that is your heart, must first be enlarged and then cleansed, freed from the vinegar and its taste. This requires hard work and is painful, but in this way alone do we become suited to that for which we are destined.

Even if Augustine speaks directly only of our capacity for God, it is nevertheless clear that through this effort by which we are freed from vinegar and the taste of vinegar, not only are we made free for God, but we also become open to others. It is only by becoming children of God, that we can be with our common Father.

To pray is not to step outside history and withdraw to our own private corner of happiness. When we pray properly we undergo a process of inner purification which opens us up to God and thus to our fellow human beings as well.

In prayer we must learn what we can truly ask of God - what is worthy of God. We must learn that we cannot pray against others. We must learn that we cannot ask for the superficial and comfortable things that we desire at this moment - that meager, misplaced hope that leads us away from God. We must learn to purify our desires and our hopes. We must free ourselves from the hidden lies with which we deceive ourselves. God sees through them, and when we come before God, we too are forced to recognize them. "'But who can discern his errors? Clear me from hidden faults' prays the Psalmist (Ps 19:12). Failure to recognize my guilt, the illusion of my innocence, does not justify me and does not save me, because I am culpable for the numbness of my conscience and my incapacity to recognize the evil in me for what it is. If God does not exist, perhaps I have to seek refuge in these lies, because there is no one who can forgive me; no one who is the true criterion. Yet my encounter with God awakens my conscience in such a way that it no longer aims at self-justification, and is no longer a mere reflection of me and those of my contemporaries who shape my thinking, but it becomes a capacity for listening to the Good itself." ("Spe Salvi," 33)

As I continue to read and re-read Pope Benedict's encyclical on Christian hope, I am repeatedly struck by one phrase or another which haunts me for an extended period of time. The relatively long passage cited above is one such phrase.

There are several parts of it which we would do well to reflect upon and allow to take root in our own hearts. The first of these is that wonderful reflection on prayer. "We must learn that we cannot ask for the superficial and comfortable things that we desire at this moment - that meager, misplaced hope that leads us away from God." How many of the things for which we pray are really indicators of a meager and misplaced hope. Perhaps we consider all these prayers for things to be rather harmless, but the Holy Father indicates that a focus on these meager, misplaced hopes really leads, and perhaps even draws, us away from the very God to whom we are making our appeal. A similar thought is found in the Holy Father's book, "Jesus of Nazareth": "Prayer (and by this he means authentic prayer, not the one born of meager, misplaced hope) is a way of gradually purifying and correcting our wishes and of slowly coming to realize what we really need: God and His Spirit."
Authentic prayer, then, does not focus so much on trying to convince God that He ought to give us what we think we need but rather on purifying "our desires and our hopes." This makes praying much riskier. It is very easy to discern what we want, what would make our here-and-now lives much more pleasant. It is quite another thing to stand quite naked before God and ask Him to tell us what we should want and what we truly need. In a rather stark indictment of our modern culture, Pope Benedict points out that even people of faith do not necessarily want eternal life. He writes: "What they desire is not eternal life at all, but this present life, for which faith in eternal life seems something of an impediment." ("Spe Salvi," 10)

A further difficulty or perhaps impediment to praying well or praying properly is a sense of our own righteousness. When that sense of self-righteousness precludes the consideration of the possibility that I could be wrong, especially when my opinion is in direct opposition to the clear teaching of the Church then prayer becomes an exercise in further self deception. The Holy Father says very bluntly: "I am culpable for the numbness of my conscience and my incapacity to recognize the evil in me for what it is."

In an era in which praise of the individual conscience has reached fever pitch the thought of being culpable for the numbness or the malformation of one's conscience is a real wake up call. A failure to repeatedly and ongoingly question in prayer the positions and attitudes which we hold closes us off from the real value of prayer.

"When we pray properly we undergo a process of inner purification which opens us up to God and thus to our fellow human beings as well."

In "Jesus of Nazareth," the Holy Father talks about this needed purification on the part of the Zealot party members who became Apostles. "For example, how much purification must the zeal of the Zealots have needed before it could be united with Jesus' 'zeal,' about which John's Gospel tells us? (Cf. John 2:17) His zeal reaches its completion on the Cross."

Judas was a member of the Zealot party who was chosen to be an apostle, but he was never able to give up his form of "zeal" in favor of the Lord's "zeal."

Judas was so convinced that he was right that he actively engaged himself in a process of undermining the very one whom he had committed to serve. One could surmise, in his case, that he did not pray well despite his proximity to the Lord. He set his sights on a meager and misplaced hope, and it led him very far from the God whom he thought he was serving.

by Bishop Robert Vasa as printed in the Catholic Sentinal

Some outstanding teaching here on conscience and misguided zeal. This is the examination that the pope has said that we need to make. Have we, as the people of God, drawn closer to Him since Vatican II, or have we, like Judas, set our sights on meager hope, and been led away despite close proximity, as the dear bishop asks? It is time for those bound to be close to Him to ask, and for us to consider our answers carefully. Thank you, dear bishop, for placing the question on the table.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Anita called to report that the electrification of the Chapter House is now complete! Wohoo!

Now, we just need the electrician back to make it work in more than one room. But it's still a huge step towards year-round use of the facility!

it's a few days late, but here's the view out my door Sunday morning. Really enjoying the snow, but not the ice (click picture, but not if squeamish).

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Jesuits to elect new Superior General

The Jesuit General Congregation is meeting to elect a new Superior General. Some interesting comments directed to them in an address by Cardinal Franc Rode, Prefect of the Congregation for Religious. I like the opening paragraph, which endears St. Ignatius to me all the more, cClearly St. Ignatius was not a bureaucrat at heart!
Vatican Challenge to Jesuit Leaders

St Ignatius considered the General Congregation “work and a distraction” (Const. 677) which momentarily interrupts the apostolic commitments of a large number of qualified members of the Society of Jesus and for this reason, clearly differing from what is customary in other religious Institutes, the Constitutions establish that it should be celebrated at determined times and not too often.

what is interesting is the call to give up the missguided post Vatican II path for the authentic Vatican II path; not to roll back Vatican II as some whould accuse the good Cardinal, but to roll out Vatican II; it's about time.
The Second Vatican Ecumenical Council teaches that “this consecration will be the more perfect, in as much as the indissoluble bond of the union of Christ and His bride, the Church, is represented by firm and more stable bonds” (LG 44) Consecration to service to Christ cannot be separated from consecration to service to the Church. Ignatius and his first companions considered it thus when they wrote the Formula of your Institute in which the essence of your charism is spelled out: “To serve the Lord and his Spouse the Church under the Roman Pontiff” (Julio III, Formula I). It is with sorrow and anxiety that I see that the sentire cum ecclesia of which your founder frequently spoke is diminishing even in some members of religious families. The Church is waiting for a light from you to restore the sensus Ecclesiae. The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius are your specialty. The rules of sentire cum Ecclesiae form an integral and essential part of this masterpiece of Catholic spirituality. They form, as it were, a golden clasp which holds the book of The Spiritual Exercises closed.
With sadness and anxiety I also see a growing distancing from the Hierarchy. The Ignatian spirituality of apostolic service “under the Roman Pontiff” does not allow for this separation. In the Constitutions which he left you, Ignatius wanted to truly shape your mind and in the book of the Exercises (n 353) he wrote” we must always keep our mind prepared and quick to obey the true Spouse of Christ and our Holy Mother, the Hierarchical Church”. Religious obedience can be understood only as obedience in love. The fundamental nucleus of Ignatian spirituality consists in uniting the love for God with love for the hierarchical Church. Your XXXIII Congregation once again took up this characteristic of obedience declaring that “the Society reaffirms in a spirit of faith the traditional bond of love and of service which unites it to the Roman Pontiff” You once again took up this principle in the motto “In all things love and serve”.

This is a very interesting bit of direction for another Order. It also seems to take tha approach so ineffective since Vatican II; to point out that the train is off the track, to point out the track, to suggest that the train be put back on the track, and to leave the results to the hijackers....

Thursday, January 03, 2008


I once assisted at a mass where the priest, after saying the words: “protect us from all needless anxiety” made a comment to the effect that this statement was absurd, as he did not think that any anxiety was needful; all anxiety was pointless. Today provides two reminders of the anxiety that is needful:

From today’s DIVINE INTIMACY by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen O.C.D.

“You draw us all to You by grace, not by force, and this, only if we are willing to be drawn to You, that is, if our will does not rebel against Yours” (St. Catherine of Sienna)

From Psalm 81 from Morning Prayer of today’s Liturgy of the Hours:

But my people did not heed my voice
And Israel would not obey,
So I left them in their stubbornness of heart
To follow their own designs.
Let us be anxious, then, to conform our will to the Will of God. Abandoned by God to our own will, per Ps 81 above, is the consequence of the rebellion St. Catherine speaks of above, and it is the fear of this abandonment, a needful anxiety, of which is said:

The fear of the Lord is holy, abiding forever. (Ps 19:10)
The steps along the Way: one who does not believe in God, fears not His justice. When one first believes in God, one is overcome by the fear of His Justice. But as grace causes charity to grow, the new man puts aside the rebellion of his former ways, and assumes the easy yoke of Christ, aligning his life in accord with God’s Holy Will, this charity casts out the initial fear of Divine Justice, gradually replacing it with the holy fear that endures.