Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats?

A friend sent this essay, written by a the British Baptist Charles Spurgeon in 1890. It ought to ring some bells, especially in light of the new tell-all book by Dale Fuschek, defrocked founder of the "Life Teen" program. (Catholic-hostile news report here)

Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats?
attributed to Charles H. Spurgeon, 1834-1892 (edited)
An evil is in the professed camp of the Lord, so gross in its impudence, that the most shortsighted can hardly fail to notice it. During the past few years it has developed at an abnormal rate, even for evil. It has worked like leaven until the whole lump ferments. The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing, than hinting to the Church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. From speaking out as the Puritans did, the Church has gradually toned down her testimony, then winked at and excused the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses.

My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the Church - if it is a Christian work why did not Christ speak of it? 'Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature'. That is clear enough, so it would have been if He had added, 'and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel'. No such words, however, are to he found. It did not seem to occur to Him. Then again, 'He gave some apostles, some prophets, some pastors and teachers, for the work of the ministry'. Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people or because they refused? The concert has no martyr roll.

Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all His apostles. What was the attitude of the Church to the world? 'Ye are the salt', not the sugar candy - something the world will spit out, not swallow. Short and sharp was the utterance 'Let the dead bury their dead'. He was in awful earnestness!

Had he introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into His mission, He would have been more popular when they went back, because of the searching nature of His teaching. I do not hear Him say, 'Run after these people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow - something short and attractive with little preaching - we will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it. Be quick, Peter, we must get the people somehow!' Jesus pitied sinners, sighed and wept over them, but never sought to amuse them. In vain will the epistles be searched to find any trace of the gospel of amusement. Their message is. 'Come out, keep out, keep clean out' - anything approaching fooling is conspicuous by its absence. They had boundless confidence in the gospel and employed no other weapon.

After Peter and John were locked up for preaching, the Church had a prayer meeting, but they did not pray, 'Lord, grant unto thy servants that by a wise and discriminating use of innocent recreation we may show these people how happy we are'. If they ceased not for preaching Christ, they had not time for arranging entertainments - scattered by persecution they went everywhere preaching the gospel. They turned the world upside down, that is the only difference! Lord, clear the Church of all the rot and rubbish the devil has imposed on her and bring us back to apostolic methods.

Lastly, the mission of amusement fails to effect the end desired. It works among young converts. Let the careless and scoffers, who thank God because the Church met them half way, speak and testify. Let the heavy laden who found peace through the concert not keep silent! Let the drunkard to whom the dramatic entertainment had been God's link in the chain of their conversion, stand up! There are none to answer! The mission of amusement produces no converts.

The need of the hour for today's ministry is believing scholarship, joined with earnest spirituality, the one springing from the other as fruit from the root. The need is Biblical doctrine, so understood and felt, that it sets men on fire.
With good reason Leo XIII ordered the St Michael prayer be said at the end of mass.

Saint Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into Hell, Satan and all the other evil spirits, who prowl throughout the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Interview with Abby Johnson

The March-April issue of "Truth Be Told" contains an original interview by Denise Harvey with Abby Johnson, author of "UnPlanned". It is reproduced here in full.

An Interview With Abby Johnson

Lent is a grace filled season for conversion, which prepares us to receive Jesus at Easter. One woman’s dramatic story captures the essence of Lent and captivates our attention. Her name is Abby Johnson. She went from a career at Planned Parenthood to a staunch pro-life advocate overnight. She has appeared on numerous television programs and has traveled around the country sharing her testimony. Abby is also the author of the best selling book “unPlanned”.

Denise: Thank you, Abby for being with us in this interview.

I’d like to get right to the heart of your story and start with the day that changed your life. You were working on an ultrasound guided abortion when you actually saw an abortion procedure being done for the first time. Tell us about that day and explain to us exactly what you witnessed.

Abby: The doctor said to me, “just hold the probe in place during the procedure so I can see what I’m doing.” The cannula—a straw shaped instrument attached to the end of the suction tube---had been inserted into the uterus and was nearing the baby’s side. It looked like an invader, out of place. Wrong. It just looked wrong. The next movement was the sudden jerk of a tiny foot as the baby started kicking, as if it were trying to move away from the probing invader. As the cannula pressed its side, the baby began struggling to turn and twist away. It seemed clear to me that it could feel the cannula, and it did not like what it was feeling. The cannula was already being rotated by the doctor, and now I could see the tiny body violently twisting with it. For the briefest moment the baby looked as if it were being wrung like a dishcloth, twirled and squeezed. And then it crumpled and began disappearing into the cannula before my eyes. The last thing I saw was the tiny, perfectly formed backbone sucked into the tube, and then it was gone.

What happened to you immediately after seeing that procedure?

I knew that I had to leave Planned Parenthood. I knew that I could not continue to stay and spread the lies that they had been creating for so many years.

Planned Parenthood, in their own words, states: “Pro-choice means supporting access to all reproductive options whether its motherhood, contraception, abortion or adoption”. However, their statistics show that for every one adoption referral they perform 62 abortions. That’s certainly not the unbiased ratio that’s suggested in their statement. Does Planned Parenthood encourage women to have abortions?

Yes. They have to coerce women into having abortions. There is no information available concerning prenatal care, fetal development or adoption. They are not concerned in providing that, because those services do not increase their bottom line.

Planned Parenthood claims that only 3% of their business is abortion. They further claim to provide vital medical care including mammograms, STD tests, and ultrasounds for women who otherwise might not receive these services. Are these statements true?

While Planned Parenthood says abortions make up just 3 percent of its services, I found they used an sleight of hand, unbundling family planning services so each patient shows anywhere from five to 20 "visits" per appointment (12 packs of birth control would show up as 12 individual visits). It does the opposite for abortion visits, bundling them together so each appointment shows as one visit. This skews the numbers. You have an overwhelming number of "visits" for family planning compared to abortion, even though you may have seen the same number of patients.

Does Planned Parenthood prey on low income women, and if so, how?

They have placed 76% of their clinics in low income and minority areas. They have special health educators designed to go into low income areas and convince women and men that PP is the only place they can go for healthcare in their area.

Most of us have seen the videos produced by Live Action exposing Planned Parenthood in their concealment of underage women and human trafficking crimes. Were you aware of this illegal activity, and were you also encouraged to “work” the system?

We weren’t given any specifics on how to necessarily work the system. But it is common for PP clinics to cover up child sexual abuse.

With all the media attention lately, it seems that the truth is finally being discovered about Planned Parenthood. What’s at stake for them right now and how important is it for them to keep up appearances?

It is extremely important for them to keep their government funding. They cannot keep their clinics open without it. They need for this political battle to appear as an attack on women…instead of what it really is…an attack on Planned Parenthood and their poor quality of health care.

Spiritually speaking, did you ever feel the presence of evil or experience any struggle in your life when you were working at Planned Parenthood?

No. I didn’t feel it while I was there. I now see how evil was pervasive in my life. I am able to see how my thoughts, actions, speech and so many other things were completely taken over by evil.

Would you say that prayer vigils outside of clinics are effective?

Absolutely. I wouldn’t be here today, fighting in this movement, if people hadn’t been outside of my clinic. When people are outside of clinics, it is reminding the workers and clients that there is something morally objectionable about what they are doing inside of that building. We also have to be a public witness to our communities. Being outside abortion clinics helps bring about that awareness.

Some pro-life advocates have, shall we say, a less than Christian approach in defending life. Did you ever witness that yourself and if so, what effect did it have on you and your co-workers?

We did have a group of very angry protestors outside of our clinic. They only invigorated our movement. When people would be hostile towards us and our clients, it would make us feel very protective of our clients. It almost helped to form a sort of camaraderie with our clients. They were harassing our clients and we were saving them. It also did not serve the “Christian” population very well. It made Christians seem judgmental, harsh, mean, condemning and hateful. The patients and the workers saw that…there was little chance of conversion.

Eighty-five percent of our country’s population consider themselves to be Christian; yet its “legal” to kill children. In your experience, what would you attribute this to; and. what advice would you give to pro-life advocates so their message will be more effective?

I believe abortion has been legal for 38 years because of apathy. Our churches aren’t frequently talking about abortion. Our churches don’t have ministries for women who might be considering abortion, or may have already chosen abortion. We are fighting a spiritual battle…and unfortunately, many of our churches are part of the problem.

What would you like to say to Christians who don’t actively take part in the pro-life movement simply because they think others are doing it?

There is a place for everyone in this movement. My 4 year old daughter prays with me outside of the abortion clinic. Everyone should be involved. There really is no excuse. One day, we will stand in front of Christ and He will ask us what we did for the “least of these.” I hope we all have an answer.

With your change of heart came not only a change in employment but also a change of faith. You and your husband are being received into the Catholic Church this Easter. You were formally members of the Episcopal Church and were asked to stop attending services because of your pro-life activity. What did you feel when they asked you to leave? Did you see it coming?

I felt very sad and betrayed by them. This was our faith community…people who we loved. But on the other hand, we had started to attend there because of their liberal views, so it made sense. It was still very hurtful.

Tell us about your journey home to the Catholic Church.

We are very excited about becoming part of the Catholic Church. After we left the Episcopal Church, we went searching for a different church home. After attending our first Mass in the Catholic Church, we knew we were home. In particular, I think I have always longed for a relationship with our Blessed Mother. I can see this even as a child. Being able to fulfill that devotion has truly completed my faith.

It’s beautiful to see how God is working in your life. When you gave up a job that took away the body and blood of a human being, He replaced that with The Body and Blood of Jesus.

Thank you again, Abby for your time and all your good work. May Our Lord bless you and Our Lady wrap her mantle of protection around you. I am so happy and excited that very soon you will be brought into The Church. You will be in my prayers and I would also ask the Western Province to pray for you as well.

God Bless you,
In Jesus and St. Dominic,

Denise Harvey, Vice President
Lay Provincial Council, Western Dominican Province

I would encourage everyone who can to pick up a copy of Abby’s book. It’s a fascinating story that unmasks all the lies about abortion and reveals the truth. You will also be supporting Abby and her mission to end abortion in this country. I would also encourage you to get involved with “40 days for life” which is underway now. The 40 days for life folks pray, fast and hold peaceful vigils outside abortion clinics. I’ve become more and more convinced that abortion is the greatest threat to peace and safety in our country. The first chapter of unPlanned can be read at the publisher's web site:
Abby Johnson holds a B.S. in psychology from Texas A&M University and an M.A. in counseling from Sam Houston State University. She was hired by Planned Parenthood in 2005 and was later promoted to health center director. Abby ran both the family planning and abortion programs. In 2009 she left Planned Parenthood and joined the local Coalition for Life as a volunteer. She now serves as Chief Research Strategist for Live Action and works on projects with the national 40 Days for Life campaign.

"Aquinas" by Fesser

I've finished reading Edward Feser's "Aquinas, a Beginner's Guild." The book ends delightfully:

For Aquinas, we are not here for ourselves, but for the glory of God, and precisely because this is the end set for us by nature, it is in him alone that we can find our true happiness. And it must be emphasized that [] he takes this conclusion to be a matter, not of faith, but of reason itself.

Therein lies the sting of Aquinas's challenge to modernity.
Yes, I'd recommend this book to anyone embarking on trying to understand St. Thomas's work.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Must be seen to be appreciated

From the Pendleton men's conference last month, Go West Catholic Men

And a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years, 15 who (had spent her whole livelihood on doctors and) was unable to be cured by anyone, came up behind him and touched the tassel on his cloak. Immediately her bleeding stopped. Jesus then asked, "Who touched me?" While all were denying it, Peter said, "Master, the crowds are pushing and pressing in upon you." But Jesus said, "Someone has touched me; for I know that power has gone out from me." When the woman realized that she had not escaped notice, she came forward trembling. Falling down before him, she explained in the presence of all the people why she had touched him and how she had been healed immediately. He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has saved you; go in peace." Lk 8:43-48

Saturday, March 19, 2011

On the New Translation

the following excerpt is from the Friar's Blog of the Eastern Province:

There is a strange temptation in the world today to see religion in terms of what we get out of it. We are supposed to find the religion or the church that gives us the best service, the most for our money. I'm sure we have all heard people complain, "I don't get anything out of Mass." Perhaps when we've been frustrated with the music or preaching at our parish, we've even shared that sentiment ourselves. Yet, when we gather to celebrate Mass, we do not come to get to hear beautiful music, to get insightful instruction from the priest, or to get to share in our community of faith. All these things are good, but we come not to get them but to give-to give our worship to God.

We are sometimes tempted to imagine a god who doesn't want to be worshiped, a god who is much more egalitarian, a regular Joe just like us. But in imaging such a god, we imagine something that is not God. Worshiping doesn't fit well into our American culture as we have managed to obliterate so many signs of respect and honor from ordinary life. This makes it hard for us to see anything as worthy of honor. It also leads us to forget that man's greatest attribute is being made in the image and likeness of God. Our fellow men and women deserve to be respected and honored because each one is like God. God Himself deserves not just to be respected and honored but to be worshiped and adored because he is God.

The new translation of the Mass that we will start using next advent intentionally highlights this aspect of the Mass. It uses loftier language and sometime even big words-words that were chosen not because they were the easiest options for us but because they were the most worthy options for God. Those who fret that average Americans won't be able to understand these words not only insult average Americans but also forget who is being addressed throughout most of the Mass-not us but God. The language used at Mass will be a bit different from the language we use for other activities, but that is because what we do at Mass is different from any other activity.

The effort we spend to prepare and celebrate Mass is not so we or others can get more out of it, but it's so we can give more honor to God. The art and beauty of our Churches is not meant for our eyes or ears but is a sacrifice rising up to God. We come to Mass to give- to give everything to God. Like the Magi, in giving, we will find our greatest joy. We will discover a God who is not only a source for grace and enlightenment but one who is Emmanuel, God with us. God dwells with us giving us his very flesh and blood so that we can receive him and adore him.

Fr. Darren Pierre, O.P.

Promoter for the Lay and Priestly Fraternities of St. Dominic, Province of St. Joseph
Read the whole article here, it is well worth it! And while you are at it, Part 1 is here

Friday, March 18, 2011

Movie: Of Gods and Men

Here's an interesting movie with a limited release. Check the web site by clicking the image.

This movie will play in Boise at "The Flicks" on Friday, April 22.

Exploiting chaos to advance abortion

Enough to make one sick.
From the C-Fam Friday Fax

Activists Say Political Chaos Can Advance Abortion Rights

By Amanda Pawloski

NEW YORK, March 17 (C-FAM) Activists and lawyers shared advice on how to exploit chaotic political situations to advance abortion rights during a recent UN side event. Panelists boasted of their successes in influencing the new constitutions of both Kenya and Nepal to include provisions allowing for legalized abortion.

“Strategic moments can surface in chaos,” said Melissa Upreti, a legal advisor of the Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR). She advised audience members at the UN Commission on the Status of Women event to seize those moments as opportunities to advance abortion and “reproductive rights.”

Activists at the CRR have swayed abortion policies by filing test cases to push the envelope on abortion laws. As a result of these lawsuits, many governments have adopted policies to ensure that access to “reproductive rights” includes state-funded abortion and contraceptive services.

Speakers from the Kenyan Federation of Women Lawyers recounted how just last February they were afraid progressive reproductive health provisions would not be included in the new Kenyan constitution, due to vocal opposition by religious groups. At an informal discussion, a Kenyan audience member said, “we would not have won if the Christian denominations hadn’t splintered.”

The Kenyan women lawyers attributed their success to peeling away opposition in other Christian denominations and isolating the Catholic Church as the only major group in opposition to a constitutional article that provides reproductive healthcare rights, and legal access to abortion.

At another panel, with the entire Kenyan delegation and Minister of Gender present, experts explained that the new Kenyan constitution provides for international law directly in the legal structure, which may also at times even override local law. The new constitution also provides that the new rights, which include reproductive healthcare, are progressive and that the state must continually adapt to meet the demands of such rights.

A representative of the Center for Reproductive Rights spoke on their success in influencing the interim constitution of the Nepalese government, which was adopted in 2007. Progressive legal experts are celebrating Nepal’s constitution as a major victory for abortion rights because it intentionally excludes a right to life. She highlighted its similar features to South Africa and Kenya, including rights to healthcare, education, and rights against exploitation in the name of custom and tradition.

The important distinction in the Nepalese constitution is that instead of a right to life it guarantees a “right to freedom, and to live with dignity.” A legal advisor explained that the right to life, included in other constitutions, has been interpreted in favor of the fetus regarding abortion cases. This has sometimes deterred abortion activists, however, Nepal’s constitution is a huge step forward for abortion rights and sets a precedent in international law.

The movement to expand human rights to include economic, social, and cultural rights has found many critics. Experts say that instead of ensuring economic and social progress, expansive rights eventually deter healthy economic growth and promote a social ideology that is not commonly shared.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

World's Largest Human Cross

From the Dominicans in the Phillipines, reported by the Eastern Province, we have this bit of uber-coolness!

Some 24,000 Filipino students at the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, reportedly broke a Guinness book of world records by forming the largest human cross. The students gathered at University of Santo Tomas in Manila which is run by the Dominicans, to send a message against a reproductive health bill in the Philippines. Wearing black and white T-shirts, students and teachers formed a Dominican cross. The previous record was by 935 participants at the Oslo Opera House in Norway in May 2010.
Watch the slide show at:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Professor Edward Feser and the Thomas Aquinas Anselm “straw-man”

I went to Bend for the weekend, but sometimes I "go around the bend" so to speak. One of my hobbies is trying to understand the writings of Thomas Aquinas; which, without a formal training in philosophy, is not an easy task. Yet, one of the popes (Pius X I think) wrote that you cannot understand Catholic dogmatic theology if you do not understand Aquinas. I consider the gauntlet thrown, and have nibbled around the edges of Aquinas’ works for some years.

Some years ago I encountered a list of books which should be read as primers to Aquinas; so I purchased all the books. I did not make it past GK Chesterton’s “The Dumb Ox.” Was Chesterton by this title having a spot of fun at the expense of his readers, the title referring to readers like me?

Some years ago I purchased a reprint of Etienne Gilson’s “The Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas” on a $1 markdown shelf. At the time I did not make it past the first chapter, and each time I’ve tried to read it, I’ve gotten a little further. Last time I tried, about five years ago, I made it as far as the fourth “proof,” but I’d plowed that far on sheer will to continue, without gaining much understanding from the read. I think this is because he writes close to his subject, not just his style. I derived tremendous benefit from Gilson’s book on the social justice encyclicals of Leo XIII, “The Church Speaks to the Modern World”, and his book “God and Philosophy”.

I have read and will heartily recommend Fr Walter Farrell OP’s “Summa Companion”, which is on the internet and extremely readable; a delightful work. One of his excellent quotes even appears on the sidebar of this blog. The delightful little book, “My Daily Life”, based on the Summa, is also excellent and readable. Yet, after reading these, when I return to the source, Thomas in the Summa, I am more often than not befuddled.

All of this is a lead in to my most recent attempt to “crack” the Aquinas Gordian knot; Professor Edward Feser’s “Aquinas,” published in the “Beginners Guides” series by Oneworld Publications, Oxford (2009). The author is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Pasadena City College, California. I actually found first him and then the book through a social justice web forum, and was encouraged to try one more time. The book contains the following endorsement on the back cover:

“At last. A concise, accessible and compelling introduction to Aquinas’ thought. Feser shows that Aquinas’s philosophy is still a live option for thinkers today.” – Kelly James Clark, Professor of Philosophy, Calvin College.
I am making an effort to go through this book, taking my time, and trying to understand. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Nothing substitutes for the rigor of training the mind! I will say that I have gained a deeper appreciation for Thomas’ “proofs,” the objections against them and the refutation of said same objections.

All of which leads to the subject of this particular meditation; Aquinas and Anselm’s Ontological Proof. At the end Chapter 3 (Natural Theology), Feser writes:

“Much more could be said about Aquinas's account of the divine attributes, but this much suffices to show that there is no basis whatsoever for the widespread assumption that Aquinas never justifies the claim that the being whose existence he argues for in the Five Ways is the God of traditional theism. It also gives a sense of how much Aquinas thinks we can know about God through purely philosophical reasoning. But there is also a sense in which Aquinas thinks that we ultimately cannot know the essence of God, at least not as it is in itself. For in the strict sense knowledge of the essence of a thing requires the ability to define it in terms of its genus and difference, and as we have seen, there is for Aquinas no distinction in God between genus and difference, and thus no way to define him (CT 26). It is in this sense that Aquinas holds that "we cannot know what God is, but rather what He is not" (ST 1.3). And this is why the famous ontological argument associated with St. Anselm is not considered by Aquinas to be one of the ways in which we might prove the existence of God. For Anselm, God is by definition the greatest conceivable being, and it is (Anselm holds) greater to exist than not to exist. Hence if God did not exist it would follow, absurdly, that there could be something conceivably greater than the greatest being. Anselm's argument thus begins with a definition of God's essence and attempts to show that given knowledge of that essence, we can know also that there must be something in reality corresponding to it, and thus that God exists. Since Aquinas holds that God's essence and existence are identical, he agrees that if we could have knowledge of God's essence we could see that he must exist. But since in fact we cannot, in his view, have knowledge of that essence, we cannot know the starting point of the ontological argument (ST 1.2.1). Our knowledge of God must therefore be a posteriori, based on observation of his effects. But that, as we have seen, affords us in Aquinas's view with ample grounds indeed for affirming God's existence and predicating of him the traditional divine attributes.
Edward Feser, Aquinas for Beginners, Ch 3, p 130

First, I will say that I do not know if I am writing about Aquinas’s view of Feser’s view of Aquinas, so please keep that in mind. So let’s look at Anselm’s proposition: “God is that which a greater-than cannot be conceived.” In response to this, Feser says that Anselm’s proof states that God is “the greatest conceivable being” (see quote above). This is a derived conclusion (the conceivability of God) which I do not think is justified nor even intended by Anselm. I believe Anselm, had he been able to sit at table with Aquinas, would have agreed that this knowledge is beyond our conception, and complete agreement would be attained, at least on that point. I will attempt to explain what I think Anselm has in mind by way of an analogy.

I remember in the early days of the US Space Program, would-be astronauts were trained in the experience of working in a weightless environment. How? They were put in an airplane which flew in an arc to the maximum altitude and then curved back to earth. This provided a few brief minutes where the trainees and their equipment were completely free of the earth’s gravity, which at that point had the plane along with the contents of the plane, resulting in zero net gravity. We used to enjoy watching the news clips of floating men trying to work with wrenches and doing weightless acrobatics in the belly of the plane. From a physical standpoint, if you fly high enough, at the stall point gravity takes the plane but inside the plane all the contents are falling at the same rate, so that the net effect to the passenger is that of no gravity at all; for a moment, one can slip the bonds of earthly bondage to gravity without actually going into space.

And this is the key, I propose, to understanding what Anslem desired us to know. For if you begin a chain of conceiving of things and their “greater than,” you will, in contrast to regressing to infinite causes or movers, expend your efforts considering God as greater than what God has ever been conceived of, one at a time from statue upwards; and finally, like that airplane, slip for a moment beyond your ability to conceive of a thing at all. In this momentary “weightless state,” the tool which we have used all our life is no longer functional, and it is here in this moment that our limited intellect can encounter God. And granted that this “proof” of the existence of God is not one of rigorous logic, such as those of Thomas’s five, but rather one of direct experience, and experience of the sort that inclines one to say “all else is but as straw.”

Be that as it may, straw is good, very good. I continue to seek to understand Thomas, and I thank Professor Feser for some of the best assistance I have yet found. I will also concede that it is entirely possible that I have misunderstood Anselm and have done little more than stumble through a contemplative crack in the philosophical matrix, which the thick fog of my mind is too dense to penetrate. Either way, “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." [Mt 6:33]

I hope to go 'round the bend again soon.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

In defense of Dominic as originator of the Rosary

an interesting article from eLumen, the newsletter of the Eastern Province:

Letter to the Editor

The following is a letter addressed to Mr. Raimondo Di Bona, OP, who reviewed the book The Rosary: The John Paul II Method, by Mr. Robert Feeney, OP. in July 2010, eLumen, Volume 6, # 7, p. 13. Mr. Feeney writes:

I came across eLumen ‐‐ July – 2010…. Thank you for recommending it. In it, you made comments regarding the tradition of St. Dominic as author of the Rosary. I enclose some excerpts from my books: The Rosary: The Little Summa (4th ed.). They are from the chapter – The Papal Tradition. I send these excerpts to throw some light on your comments. My high school teacher used to always say: “A word to the wise is sufficient.”

The Papal tradition of the Rosary is singled out in official documents written by Popes starting with Pope Urban and ending with Leo XIII in the early 20th century. These documents consist of facts about the Rosary that have gone through tests of research and verification. These Popes did not accept these facts without reasonable proofs. They had learned men assist them in the composition of these papal documents on the Rosary.

In the 17th century, because some Belgian Jesuits (Bollandists) had cast doubt on St. Dominic being the author of the Rosary, Pope Benedict XIII, in 1724, asked Cardinal Prospero Lambertino, a scholar and promoter of historical studies with a Vatican Congregation, to look into the matter. The cardinal thoroughly investigated the Bollandists’ research. After doing this, he affirmed the tradition of St. Dominic as the true author of the Rosary. He rejected the Bollandists’ research and claim that St. Dominic was not the author of the Rosary. Pope Benedict accepted his conclusions. The Cardinal published: “The Popes in their decrees, to which assent is to be given, rightly designated St. Dominic as author of the Rosary.

Cardinal Lambertini would become Pope Benedict XIV (1740‐58). During his papacy, he taught that faith should be given to papal documents in which St. Dominic is rightly called author of the Rosary. He alluded to the fact that even writers of his time did not credit St. Dominic with being the author of the Rosary. The same could be said of some writers today

Men's Conference in Pendelton Oregon

Last Friday I traveled with three other Cathedral parishoners to Pendleton Oregon, for the third annual "Go West Catholic Men" conference. (link)

The conference feature presentations by Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Apostolic Signatura of the Vatican (think: Chief Justice of the Vatican's Supreme Court), Bishop Robert Vasa (late of the diocese of Baker Oregon and soon to be installed in Santa Rosa, California), Father Clement of St. Mary Church, Pendleton, the host, and Doug Barry, host of EWTN program "Life on the Rock". Music was provided by the Wyoming Catholic College Choir, with 26 students travelling from Lander Wyoming under the direction of Dr. Peter Kwasniewski, professor of Theology and Philosophy, and one time novice of the Dominican laity.

The link above now has the presentation, audio, and pictures, and I'd direct you there. however, I want to include one here because it was such a remarkable experience. Fr. Clement preceeded eucharistic adoration with a brief meditation on the scripture where the woman was healed from a 12 year hemorage by touching the hem of Jesus' garment; Jesus asks who touched him while he is being crushed by a crowd "for power went out..."

Father held the monstrance for 45 minutes while two acolytes held the ends of the humeral veil stretched out (it must have been 20 feet long!), and some 500 men nealt before Jesus and touched/kissed/wept on the hem of His garment.

There also was an "International Rosary" with the Boise Diocese's own Fr Eladio Vieyra (Immaculate Conception, Buhl) and our friend from the Baker Diocese, Fr. Andrew Szymakowski, recently of St Brigit, Nyssa Oregon, now at Wasco Oregon. first time I'd heard the Hail Mary in German; beautiful!

and who doesn't love a Professor, a Cardinal, a Bishop, and the wonderful young people who gave up their weekend to be the choir for our masses? They sang beautiful chant, sacred polyphony, and sacred hymns, earning a comment from Cardinal Burke: "thank you for providing the sort of music that the Holy Father has been asking for!"