Sunday, January 31, 2010

Catholics Attacked In Nigeria

Didn't see this on the nightly news or anywhere else really. It was over a week ago. I got an email about it last night, so I'm reproducing it here in case everybody else was as clueless as me. The NY Times Online had the story:

Angry Muslim youths set a church filled with worshippers ablaze in northern Nigeria, starting a riot that killed at least 27 people and wounded more than 300 others in the latest religious violence in the region, officials said Monday.

About 5,000 people lost their homes as rioters also burned mosques and homes in Jos, a city that saw more than 300 residents killed during a similar uprising in 2008, said local Red Cross official Auwal Muhammad Madobi. He said he had no information about deaths. Police officials declined to offer a count of the dead.

Sani Mudi, a spokesman for the local imam, said 22 people died Sunday after rioters set fire to a Catholic church, starting a daylong wave of violence between Christians and Muslims. Five others died Monday from their wounds, and police and soldiers set up numerous road blocks throughout Jos.

An Associated Press reporter saw the bodies of 10 dead youths, marked with bullet holes and machete wounds, at a local hospital on Monday. On Sunday, witnesses told reporters they saw 10 bodies at a mosque in the city. It was unclear if the bodies in the hospital were the same ones seen in the mosque.

The whole thing escalated rapidly but appears to have calmed a bit since then. Everybody claims not to know how it all started. We'll take them at their word for that, I guess.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Another Reason Why It's Hard To Take A Lot Of Atheists Seriously

They actually expend the time and resources for campaigns like this one:

An atheist organization is blasting the U.S. Postal Service for its plan to honor Mother Teresa with a commemorative stamp, saying it violates postal regulations against honoring "individuals whose principal achievements are associated with religious undertakings."

Freedom from Religion Foundation spokeswoman Annie Laurie Gaylor says issuing the stamp runs against Postal Service regulations.

"Mother Teresa is principally known as a religious figure who ran a religious institution. You can't really separate her being a nun and being a Roman Catholic from everything she did," Gaylor told

Even from a regulatory perspective, the stupidity of all this is clear and is amply illustrated by the Postal Service's response:

Postal Service spokesman Roy Betts expressed surprise at the protest, given the long list of previous honorees with strong religious backgrounds, including Malcolm X, the former chief spokesman for the Nation of Islam, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister and co-founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

The atheist in question, though, refuses to keep her mouth shut, instead opting to provide further confirmation of her idiocy:

Martin Luther King "just happened to be a minister," and "Malcolm X was not principally known for being a religious figure," she said.

"And he's not called Father Malcolm X like Mother Teresa. I mean, even her name is a Roman Catholic honorific."

Has she ever heard the "I Have a Dream" speech? Or read Malcolm X's autobiography, in which he explains his taking of the "X" surname as connected with Islam or his post-Hajj view that Islam could be the mechanism for eliminating all racism?

At this point, I think we have to assume that Ms. Gaylor has crossed the line from moron to liar.

Of course, this has nothing to do with postal regulations, and eventually, Ms. Gaylor is kind enough to bring up the real issue:

Gaylor said Mother Teresa infused Catholicism into her secular honors — including an "anti-abortion rant" during her Nobel Prize acceptance speech — and that even her humanitarian work was controversial.

Oddly enough, it seems that the only people who found her humanitarian work controversial are militant atheists. I'm not aware of any Christians who think so, except for the whackjobs who think she's in hell for being Catholic.

"There was criticism by the end of her life that she turned what was a tiny charity into an extremely wealthy charity that had the means to provide better care than it did," Gaylor said. "...There's this knee jerk response that everything she did was humanitarian, and I think many people would differ that what she was doing was to promote religion, and what she wanted to do was baptize people before they die, and that doesn't have a secular purpose for a stamp."

In other words, you can be religious as long you support causes palatable to Ms. Gaylor (eg- civil rights for black citizens).

To be fair, not all atheists are this stupid:

Some atheists, too, spoke out against the group's objections, including Bruce Sheiman, author of "An Atheist Defends Religion." He said the Freedom from Religion Foundation is being "hypocritical" and really "stepping over the line."

"Clearly there are a number of things that you can point to and say it's religious and a number of things you can point to and say that it's areligious," Sheiman told "So it really doesn't make sense to protest it."

So we got that going for us. I actually think that irrational folks like Gaylor and Hitchens do us a favor when they attack the Mother Teresas of the world. It makes them look bad and usually their belief system along with them. Reasoned responses like Sheiman's don't have that benefit.

What About The Children?

I must be a mean person on this blog. I get emails on a bunch of stuff but very few comments. Weird.

My last email surge came from the disaster post (as expected), with the primary emphases being on the above question. The trend seems to be that since the children involved in major disasters haven't done anything wrong, then the bad stuff that happens can't be tagged as a consequence of sin. I think this way of thinking misses a couple of things.

First, it doesn't take into account that original sin by itself makes for bad stuff.

Second, the focus on the cause of the suffering is misplaced. It tries to make the disaster in question God's fault rather than our own. If a society is sinful and is punished by God for that sinfulness and innocents bear some measure of that punishment, it seems to me that the fault doesn't lie with God, but rather with those sinful people in that society. They (we) caused the suffering of those innocents by their (our) actions. This might be a hard pill to swallow that our actions have such far-reaching consequences, but given the Catholic understanding of the social nature of sin, I don't think it unreasonable.

It's a common human trait to try and blame others for the bad things that we make happen. This isn't a modern thing. It's been going on for a long time:

And he said to him: And who has told you that you were naked, but that you have eaten of the tree whereof I commanded you that you should not eat? And Adam said: The woman, whom you gave me to be my companion, gave me of the tree, and I ate. And the Lord God said to the woman: Why have you done this? And she answered: The serpent deceived me, and I ate.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that when bad things happen, we should take a long look in the mirror instead of trying to find ways to turn it around on God.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Stupidest Comment Of This New Year

By now, you've probably heard that Tim Tebow is going to appear in a pro-life ad during the SuperBowl. This makes sense given that his mom was advised by doctors to murder him in the womb.

What you might not have heard is that folks from the pro-abortion crowd are crapping their pants about it. Per CBS:

A national coalition of women’s groups called on CBS on Monday to scrap its plan to broadcast an ad during the Super Bowl featuring college football star Tim Tebow and his mother, which critics say is likely to convey an anti-abortion message.

Let's take a look at some of the genius rationale behind this uproar:

“An ad that uses sports to divide rather than to unite has no place in the biggest national sports event of the year—an event designed to bring Americans together,” said Jemhu Greene, president of the New York-based Women’s Media Center.

This one is pretty basic. Ms. Greene, the entire nature of sports divides people. Somebody wins. Somebody loses. Perhaps you could look on YouTube for some of the reactions to the Vikings loss this past Sunday. Granted, Ms. Greene might be one of those people who thinks the Olympics is about sitting around and buying the other nations of the world a Coke whilst we all sing Kumbaya.

Is this enough to get upset about an ad, though? Where is the famed left-wing concern for free speech and tolerance of alternative viewpoints?


The protest letter from the Women’s Media Center suggested that CBS should have turned down the ad in part because it was conceived by Focus on the Family.

“By offering one of the most coveted advertising spots of the year to an anti-equality, anti-choice, homophobic organization, CBS is aligning itself with a political stance that will damage its reputation, alienate viewers, and discourage consumers from supporting its shows and advertisers,” the letter said.

Over a SuperBowl commercial? Holy smokes. I wonder what the Women's Media Center reaction would be if they aired an abortion procedure. It's not a good reflection on society that a TV commercial during a football game praising a mother's decision not to kill her unborn child can generate this sort of animosity. They must have really hate Juno.

All this is merely a prelude, though, to what is undoubtedly the most idiotic thing I have heard in this freshly sprouted 2010. I daresay it has the potential to go wire to wire and keep that status secure all the way until 2011.

Terry O’Neill, the president of the National Organization for Women, said she had respect for the private choices made by women such as Pam Tebow but condemned the planned ad as “extraordinarily offensive and demeaning.”

“That’s not being respectful of other people’s lives,” O’Neill said. “It is offensive to hold one way out as being a superior way over everybody else’s.”

Wow. With comments like this, can I get Godwin's Law out of the way here and speculate on Terry's view about the Holocaust? Geez, Terry, at least give yourself the wiggle room to claim that SOMETHING might be good or bad, better or worse. Still, this is a good peek into the minds behind the culture of death. One can't make judgments about the virtue or depravity of anything. The best you can do is say that the moral weight of actions are equivalent. Unless, oddly enough, you assert that life is entitled to the same rights as death, in which case you are branded as a lunatic.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

America Magazine Honors The Usurper Of Canterbury

From Whispers:

The Editorial Board of America is proud to announce that The Most Reverend Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, is the 2009 recipient of the Campion Award. The award is given on a regular basis to a noted Christian person of letters. It is named after St. Edmund Campion, S.J., who is patron of America’s communications ministry.

America, which we've quoted here before, is a famous (infamous?) Jesuit publication. I think Rocco exaggerates by calling it American Catholicism's flagship publication, though.

Anyways, let's consider the above action. First, you've got an ostensibly Catholic publication handing our accolades to an avowed heretic and schismatic who plays at being a real bishop while, in the midst of complete pandemonium amongst his alleged flock, has the audacity to lecture the Vicar of Christ on correct doctrine and proper ecclesiastical government. Just do a search for Rowan's name on this blog for examples.

St. Ed Campion was a Jesuit himself, martyred by Elizabeth I during her quest to elevate herself and Rowan's ancestral pretenders above the Church established by God Himself. St. Edmund was famous for his "Brag" against Elizabeth and the Privy Council. it's clear from the Brag that he very much wanted a public disputation on the issues of the Faith:

I would be loath to speak anything that might sound of any insolent brag or challenge, especially being now as a dead man to this world and willing to put my head under every man's foot, and to kiss the ground they tread upon. Yet I have such courage in avouching the majesty of Jesus my King, and such affiance in his gracious favour, and such assurance in my quarrel, and my evidence so impregnable, and because I know perfectly that no one Protestant, nor all the Protestants living, nor any sect of our adversaries (howsoever they face men down in pulpits, and overrule us in their kingdom of grammarians and unlearned ears) can maintain their doctrine in disputation. I am to sue most humbly and instantly for combat with all and every of them, and the most principal that may be found: protesting that in this trial the better furnished they come, the better welcome they shall be.

Of course, Liz and Company didn't give him any such thing and opted instead to torture him repeatedly, usually on the rack. This proved St. Edmund wrong on at least one point:

Moreover I doubt not but you, her Highness' Council, being of such wisdom and discreet in cases most important, when you shall have heard these questions of religion opened faithfully, which many times by our adversaries are huddled up and confounded, will see upon what substantial grounds our Catholic Faith is builded, how feeble that side is which by sway of the time prevaileth against us, and so at last for your own souls, and for many thousand souls that depend upon your government, will discountenance error when it is bewrayed [revealed], and hearken to those who would spend the best blood in their bodies for your salvation.

You probably didn't get much of this in the Cate Blanchett BS hagiography of Liz.

Eventually, St. Edmund was hanged, drawn, and quartered.

And centuries later, his brothers, claiming to be faithful Sons of Ignatius, grant honors to the leader of the cause against which he fought. This is offensive to the point of blasphemy:

The prohibition of blasphemy extends to language against Christ's Church, the saints, and sacred things.

Catechism of the Catholic Church #2148.

And people wonder why the Jesuits are viewed in such a negative light. I wonder what St. Ignatius himself would think of such an action.

I conclude with some final bits from Campion's Brag, which the staff of America either haven't read or hold in complete disdain:

And touching our Society, be it known to you that we have made a league—all the Jesuits in the world, whose succession and multitude must overreach all the practice of England—cheerfully to carry the cross you shall lay upon us, and never to despair your recovery, while we have a man left to enjoy your Tyburn, or to be racked with your torments, or consumed with your prisons. The expense is reckoned, the enterprise is begun; it is of God; it cannot be withstood. So the faith was planted: So it must be restored.

Monday, January 25, 2010

This Will Probably Get Me In Trouble

By now, everyone has heard about Pat Robertson's comments on the situation in Haiti. He has been roundly thrashed from every corner.

Before proceeding, let me get this out of the way. I bring up Robertson's shpiel as the inspiration for this post. This is not meant as support or endorsement of his views on Haiti being cursed or making pacts with Satan or whatever else he might have said on this topic.

I want to discuss the idea that God can chastise a nation/group/person for their offenses. Much of the ire directed against Robertson seems to presume that such chastisements are impossible because "God doesn't do that kind of stuff."

Why not?

Let's just ignore the Biblical examples (of which there are many). Why exactly could God not punish a nation with storms, earthquakes, etc.? I get a mixed bag of answers.

1. God wouldn't want this to happen.

How exactly does this work without denying Providence? This would mean that God was either asleep at the wheel and the disaster just slipped by Him or He wasn't strong enough to stop it.

If you believe in Providence, you have to at least believe that God permitted the disaster to strike.

2. God loves us too much.

Too much to punish us if we do wrong? Don't tell my kids about this thinking or they will likely revolt. I know, I know. There's a big difference between sending someone to their room and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. True, but there's also a big difference between breaking a sibling's toy and abortions. Not to mention an additional big difference when the toy breaking occurs only on occasion, while the abortions are repeated thousands of times a day.

3. There would be another way of correcting the nation without a disaster.

This is a popular refrain for a lot of topics. In my opinion, this is really saying, "If I was God, I would do things differently." I usually refer folks with this mindset to Job. Besides, such reasoning seems to underestimate the mystery of iniquity. The Church and others have been decrying the vast amounts of sin in the world for a while now and folks seem to care less and less.

4. Disasters are counter-productive if God is looking to draw people to Himself.

I've never really ciphered this as being true. After hugely horrible events, whether it's natural like this earthquake or man-made like 9/11, there always seems to be a bunch of new stories about how church attendance and faith have increased. Even on a more personal, anecdotal basis, the most faithful people I know tend to have gotten that way after being completely trounced by some form of extreme hardship.

Ultimately, I think the above kinds of thinking are rooted in our inability to acknowledge our own sinfulness and the fact that said sinfulness merits punishment. All disasters like what's happened in Haiti are the consequence of sin, even if we're just talking about original sin. We cannot expect God, Who loves us, to leave us to our sins/fallenness and allow us to continue on our merry way to hell. Therefore:

For whom the Lord loves he chastises: and he scourges every son whom he receives. Persevere under discipline. God deals with you as with his sons. For what son is there whom the father does not correct? But if you be without chastisement, whereof all are made partakers, then are you bastards and not sons. Moreover, we have had fathers of our flesh for instructors, and we reverenced them. Shall we not much more obey the Father of spirits and live?

Hebrews 12:6-9

Sunday, January 24, 2010

As If The Haitians Haven't Suffered Enough

The Scientologists are invading. Per Newser:

Any Haitians who feel a lack of L. Ron Hubbard's teachings in their lives are in luck. A 168-seater plane chartered by the Church of Scientology left for Haiti last night carrying medics, and some 80 volunteer ministers who will assist the injured with Scientology techniques and "spiritual first aid," said a statement from the organization. The mission is apparently being funded by Scientologist John Travolta. "I have arranged for a plane to take down some volunteer ministers, supplies and medics," said the actor.

Geez. So much for all that aid cash that folks have been donating. By the time Hubbard's disciples are through, they will have had at least half of it completely blown on auditing sessions.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Oakland A's Prospect Pursues The Priesthood

Make sure you send up some prayers for this guy:

Grant Desme, a 23-year-old minor league outfielder in Oakland's system, is retiring from baseball to follow a calling into the Catholic priesthood.

The story was first reported by Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi — perhaps appropriately with that first name of his — and this isn't a case of a struggling player going through an early-life crisis. Desme was ranked the A's eighth-best prospect by Baseball America after hitting .288 with 31 home runs and 89 RBIs in A ball in 2009 and he was just named MVP of the Arizona Fall League.

Great quote here:

I'm doing well in baseball. But I had to get down to the bottom of things, to what was good in my life, what I wanted to do with my life. Baseball is a good thing, but that felt selfish of me when I felt that God was calling me more. It took awhile to trust that and open up to it and aim full steam toward him ... I love the game, but I'm going to aspire to higher things.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Abortion And Christianity

This is a chart purporting to show the various Christian denominational positions on abortion.

I knew some of this. For example:

The Episcopal Church as late as 1958 held a strong pro-life position, stating, "Abortion and infanticide are to be condemned." In 1967, the 62nd General Convention of the Episcopal Church supported abortion law "reform," to permit the "termination of pregnancy" for reasons of life, rape, incest, fetal deformity, or physical or mental health of the mother. In 1982, the 66th General Convention condemned the use of abortion as a means of gender selection and non-serious abnormalities.

By 1988, the 69th General Convention had developed a position that stated, "All human life is sacred. Hence it is sacred from its inception until death." The statement goes on to call for church programs to assist women with problem pregnancies and to emphasize the seriousness of the abortion decision. In 1994, the 71st General Convention expressed "unequivocal opposition to any ... action ... that [would] abridge the right of a woman to reach an informed decision about the termination of her pregnancy, or that would limit the access of a woman to a safe means of acting upon her decision." In 1997, at the 72nd General Convention, the delegates approved a resolution that did not condemn partial-birth abortions but expressed grave concerns about the procedure, "except in extreme situations."

In other words, they are sliding into the culture of death's embrace.

Some other stuff was more of a revelation:

The United Methodist Church began in the early 1970s to view abortion as a "choice". The United Methodist position in favor of abortion has been so strong that two of its institutions helped organize and affiliate with the Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights. For many years RCAR used office space in the United Methodist Building which is located across the street from the U.S. Supreme Court. In both 1996 and 1997 the United Methodist Church publicly supported President Clinton’s veto of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act. While the 1996 United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline still maintains a strong pro-abortion position, it now includes wording recognizing the "sanctity of unborn human life." It further states, "We cannot affirm abortion as an acceptable means of birth control and we unconditionally reject it as a means of gender selection."

This was shocking. I had no idea. Is there someone who can confirm this? Wikipedia seems to slant Methodism a bit more to the pro-life side, but with all kinds of bet-hedging.

Any comments are appreciated.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Beware The Church Fathers

They just might make you Catholic.

This is the warning sounded by this guy, David Cloud, on his web site. He appears to be a variety of Baptist. He is also refreshingly honest (about some things).

Basically, he has noticed all these fairly well-known converts to Catholicism who first stuck their toe in the Tiber's waters via an exposure to the Fathers. He's alarmed by this and so has taken it upon himself to make sure that as many Protestants as possible remain ignorant of how novel their own beliefs really are.

Let's review what is really his jumping off point:

The fact is that the “early Fathers” were mostly heretics!

Ok, well, at least he's willing to use the h-bomb. I can respect that.

The only genuine “church fathers” are the apostles and prophets their writings that were given by divine inspiration and recorded in the Holy Scripture. They gave us the “faith ONCE delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). The faith they delivered is able to make us “perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). We don’t need anything beyond the Bible. The teaching of the “church fathers” does not contain one jot or tittle of divine revelation.

So we can chalk up sola scriptura as perhaps the root of his errors. Ironically, the book shelf behind his picture contains many books, but I don't see a single Bible among them.

All of the “church fathers” were infected with some false doctrine, and most of them were seriously infected. Even the so-called Apostolic Fathers of the second century were teaching the false gospel that baptism, celibacy, and martyrdom provided forgiveness of sin (Howard Vos, Exploring Church History, p. 12). And of the later “fathers”--Clement, Origen, Cyril, Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine, Theodore, and John Chrysostom--the same historian admits: “In their lives and teachings we find the seed plot of almost all that arose later. In germ form appear the dogmas of purgatory, transubstantiation, priestly mediation, baptismal regeneration, and the whole sacramental system” (Vos, p. 25).

I'm sure at some point he'll provide a thorough review of all the early Christians who denounced these doctrines and were Bible-believing Baptists.

Ignore for a moment that there was no Bible when most of these guys were alive.

In fact, one of the Post-Nicene “fathers” is Leo the Great, the first Roman Catholic Pope!

Ok, so we're also going to have to ignore the previous 400 years of popes.

Peter devoted the entire second chapter of his second epistle to this theme. He warned in verse one that there would be false teachers who hold “damnable heresies,” referring to heresies that damn the soul to eternal hell. If someone denies, for example, the Virgin Birth, Deity, Humanity, Sinlessness, Eternality, Atonement, or Resurrection of Jesus Christ he cannot be saved. Heresies pertaining to such matters are damnable heresies. The corruption of the “doctrine of Christ” results in a “false christ.”

I think it's great that Mr. Cloud can differentiate the damnable heresies from the non-damnable ones, especially since the Scriptures don't really break them down for us that way. I wonder if he also caught St. Peter's comments about how you aren't supposed to rely on private interpretation of Scripture.

Rome did everything in its power to destroy the writings of those who differed with her. Consider the Waldenses. These were Bible-believing Christians who lived in northern Italy and southern France and elsewhere during the Dark Ages and were viciously persecuted by Rome for centuries. Though we know that the Waldenses have a history that begins in the 11th century if not before, their historical record was almost completely destroyed by Rome. Only a handful of Waldensian writings were preserved from all of those centuries.


Let's take people from centuries after the last of the Fathers died to show why the Fathers were wrong. By the way, here's some stuff on the Waldenses. They were about as Baptist as I am.

It is not surprising, therefore, that the extant writings from the early centuries are ones that are sympathetic to Rome’s doctrines. This does not prove that most of the churches then held to Roman Catholic doctrine. It proves only that those writings sympathetic to Rome were allowed to survive. We know that there were many churches in existence in those early centuries that did not agree with Roman doctrine, because they were persecuted by the Romanists and are mentioned in the writings of the “church fathers.”

What did logic ever do to Mr. Cloud to deserve such rough treatment at his hands? It seems his point goes something like this: We've never read anything by these "many churches," but we can know that they are right because they disagree with Catholics. I wonder if he has ever read anything Waldensian.

Oddly enough, Mr. Cloud provides no real analysis for how these other churches were Baptists.

Not to let facts get in his way, Mr. Cloud then provides a synopsis of some of the Fathers and their alleged heresies. He actually gets some of them right. No Catholic, for example, would endorse a lot of the views ascribed to Origen. But then you've also got stuff like this:

Augustine instigated persecutions against the Bible-believing Donatists who were striving to maintain pure churches after the apostolic faith.

This is even funnier than the bit on the Waldenses. Does Mr. Cloud think that the sacraments can only be administered by those in a state of grace? I'm going to guess not. The Donatists did, though.

The article concludes with a long denunciation of folks like the Hahns, Thomas Howard, Peter Kreeft, Sharon Mann, and Francis Beckwith.

I'm wrapping up here with an appeal for everyone to pray for Mr. Cloud. He is clearly deceived by a number of pretty bad heresies and needs the intercessions of ourselves and the saints he has slandered in his writing.

All you holy Fathers, pray for Mr. Cloud and those who may be misled by his writings.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Riposte To Fr. Ryan

Remember Fr. Michael Ryan? This was the guy who was basically advocating disobedience and schism over the new translation of the Mass.

I have to give props to America for deigning to publish this response from Fr. Peter Stravinskas.

When the English Missale Romanum appeared in 1970, it was clear we had been handed a paraphrase instead of a translation. As a young priest required to use these texts, I quickly determined that something needed to be done to return to the people of God what Father Ryan dubs “their baptismal birthright”—that is, an English liturgy that seeks to convey all the depth, truth and beauty of the original Latin. By 1992, I had assembled a team of scholars who produced an alternative translation of the Ordinary of the Mass and presented that effort to the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy in Washington, D.C., and the Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome. Hostility was the response from Washington—copies of our draft were gathered and destroyed at the bishops’ meeting—while Rome expressed a guarded interest in our project.

Keep in mind that Fr. Ryan was up for anything to forestall a shift away from the aforementioned "paraphrase." In fact, he claimed that the laity had a right to such a watered down translation.

Not only does he give a good historical overview, he actually takes what VII actually said (in context) in doing so. How refreshing:

What curial officials and the pope are arguing for, with the enthusiastic support of junior clergy, is not a moribund “rubricism” but a genuine ars celebrandi that makes the sacred mysteries palpable. Not a few observers have noted that much of the liturgical change that occurred after the council—both officially sanctioned as well as in explicit violation of church law—would have been unthinkable to the council fathers.

Unthinkable. Yet we still wound up with the product that we did. Weird.

On a side note, I wonder what sorts of things he might be thinking of here. Something like Latin, maybe?

Father Ryan shares the concern of Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie, Pa., the former chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy, who has complained that the U.S.C.C.B. did not have a direct hand in the antiphons of the Missale Romanum. In a speech to the bishops conference in November, Bishop Trautman cited paragraph 36 of Sacrosanctum Concilium, which he argued gave the episcopal conferences the authority to produce and approve liturgical translations. Yet the paragraph in question in no way calls for what Bishop Trautman demands: it stipulates that episcopal conferences are to approve translations (not produce them), with subsequent approval by the Holy See.

Ironically, the very same paragraph of the conciliar constitution also states that, “The use of the Latin language, with due respect to particular law, is to be preserved in the Latin rites....Care must be taken to ensure that the faithful may also be able to say or sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.” In other words, if paragraph 36 had been followed in regard to the primacy of Latin, the Ordinary of the Mass would not have been translated into the vernacular in the first place!

Let me go out on a limb and say that Bishop Trautman will never, ever, ever, ever quote from this part of Vatican II.

Nice work by Fr. Stravinskas and, again, thanks to America for putting it in print.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Apologies For The Lack Of Updating

I am very, very tired. Hopefully, things will turn around after this week, and we can get back to regular postings.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Christians Persecuted In Malaysia

Per FoxNews:

A fourth church in Malaysia was hit by firebombs Saturday, stoking concern among Christians as a dispute rages over the use of the word "Allah" by non-Muslims.

The latest incident occurred after three other churches were firebombed Friday, just days after a Kuala Lumpur court ruled non-Muslims to use the word "Allah" to refer to God in their literature.

Bishop Philip Loke said two firebombs were believed to have been thrown at his Good Shepherd Lutheran Church early Saturday but missed the glass windows, hitting the building wall instead.

And, as usual, us Catholics started it:

The court ruling followed a petition by Malaysia's Roman Catholic Church, whose main publication, the Herald, uses the word "Allah" in its Malay-language edition. The ruling also applies to the ban's broader applications such as Malay-language Bibles, more than 10,000 copies which were seized last year by authorities because they translated God as Allah.

The Herald says its Malay edition is read mainly by Christian indigenous tribes in the remote states of Sabah and Sarawak, who speak a variety of languages but pray mostly in Malay.

But the government contends that making Allah synonymous with God may confuse Muslims and ultimately mislead to them into converting to Christianity, a punishable offense in Malaysia despite a constitution that guarantees freedom of religion.

When will we ever learn to just be good dhimmis and keep our mouths shut?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sacrosanctum Concilium, Pt. 3

In the earthly liturgy we take part in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, a minister of the holies and of the true tabernacle; we sing a hymn to the Lord's glory with all the warriors of the heavenly army; venerating the memory of the saints, we hope for some part and fellowship with them; we eagerly await the Saviour, Our Lord Jesus Christ, until He, our life, shall appear and we too will appear with Him in glory.

The sacred liturgy does not exhaust the entire activity of the Church. Before men can come to the liturgy they must be called to faith and to conversion: "How then are they to call upon him in whom they have not yet believed? But how are they to believe him whom they have not heard? And how are they to hear if no one preaches? And how are men to preach unless they be sent?" (Rom. 10:14-15).

This is significant, especially in this day and age of objections to closed communion. The Council is clear that participation in the liturgy is not some kind of right. There must be faith and conversion first.

Robert McAffee Brown in his account of the Council presents the problem as follows, while recollecting his attendance at Mass during Vatican II:

I have never felt closer to my Roman Catholic brethren than at those services. I have never felt more cut off from my Roman Catholic brethren than at those services. There is something terribly wrong about the fact that we can given and receive the peace of Christ (during the sign of peace) but not the body of Christ. And there is a terribly urgent and holy discontent lodged in the hearts of those who have given and received the first and then find that they can neither give nor receive the second.

He then spends a lot of time angsting about why we all can't get along and just commit a little sacrilege every now and then by having everyone receive communion. Sure, he hedges by giving examples of mass, imminent death (such as a war) as "beginnings of a breakthrough" on how we can make intercommunion happen. The over-arching point, though, is to start with such emergencies and then come to the time when we say, "If we can do it then, why not all the time?"

This contradicts what the Council actually says, not that Brown lets that get in his way. To be fair, he does say that Catholics are welcome to receive communion in Protestant arenas. WooHoo.

On a slightly different note, it would be interesting to see this line dragged out to deal with the politicians who vote for abortion rights and access.

Therefore the Church announces the good tidings of salvation to those who do not believe, so that all men may know the true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, and may be converted from their ways, doing penance. To believers also the Church must ever preach faith and penance, she must prepare them for the sacraments, teach them to observe all that Christ has commanded, and invite them to all the works of charity, piety, and the apostolate. For all these works make it clear that Christ's faithful, though not of this world, are to be the light of the world and to glorify the Father before men.

Faith and penance. Penance and faith. All for the purpose of converting others. How many homilies have you heard on these topics?

When was the last time you saw McBrien and his ilk promote this aspect of VII?

Nevertheless the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows. For the aim and object of apostolic works is that all who are made sons of God by faith and baptism should come together to praise God in the midst of His Church, to take part in the sacrifice, and to eat the Lord's supper.

Does this sound like something that should be treated as a disco or a committee project?

The liturgy in its turn moves the faithful, filled with "the paschal sacraments," to be "one in holiness"; it prays that "they may hold fast in their lives to what they have grasped by their faith"; the renewal in the Eucharist of the covenant between the Lord and man draws the faithful into the compelling love of Christ and sets them on fire. From the liturgy, therefore, and especially from the Eucharist, as from a font, grace is poured forth upon us; and the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God, to which all other activities of the Church are directed as toward their end, is achieved in the most efficacious possible way.

First, the quotes there are from the Postcommunion for both Masses of Easter Sunday and the Collect of the Mass for Tuesday of Easter week.

Second, notice the continued emphasis on faith.

Third, the concept of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, as the sources of sanctifying grace.

Fourth, ALL activities of the Church being directed toward making men holy and glorifying God. Whether or not you are having fun or are entertained is not the Church's job.

But in order that the liturgy may be able to produce its full effects, it is necessary that the faithful come to it with proper dispositions, that their minds should be attuned to their voices, and that they should cooperate with divine grace lest they receive it in vain. Pastors of souls must therefore realize that, when the liturgy is celebrated, something more is required than the mere observation of the laws governing valid and licit celebration; it is their duty also to ensure that the faithful take part fully aware of what they are doing, actively engaged in the rite, and enriched by its effects.

This is one point that folks will start trying to shoe-horn in weirdness.

"Fully aware of what they are doing" becomes defined as "abolition of Latin." By what rationale? Surely not that of the Magisterium (and, as we'll see, the Constitution itself). The "what" of the Mass has already been discussed in Section 2. Why not ask the Council Fathers what they thought they were getting with regards to Latin?

"Actively engaged" gets twisted into "says and does a lot of stuff." According to whom? Not the Constitution here, which has already said that contemplation is superior to action.

The spiritual life, however, is not limited solely to participation in the liturgy. The Christian is indeed called to pray with his brethren, but he must also enter into his chamber to pray to the Father, in secret; yet more, according to the teaching of the Apostle, he should pray without ceasing. We learn from the same Apostle that we must always bear about in our body the dying of Jesus, so that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest in our bodily frame. This is why we ask the Lord in the sacrifice of the Mass that, "receiving the offering of the spiritual victim," he may fashion us for himself "as an eternal gift."

Popular devotions of the Christian people are to be highly commended, provided they accord with the laws and norms of the Church, above all when they are ordered by the Apostolic See.

Devotions proper to individual Churches also have a special dignity if they are undertaken by mandate of the bishops according to customs or books lawfully approved.

Probably one of the most widespread and vicious lies spread about Vatican II is that it wiped out traditional Catholic devotional practices. This has been used as the rationale for tearing out the high altars, curbing the saying of the Rosary, restricting prayers to the saints, and the general collapse of Catholic culture.

It was only a couple of weeks ago that my wife was in our Church's library and a fellow parishioner asked her who was the saint portrayed on a medal for sale there. My wife told her it was St. Michael. The response: "Oh, well, I don't think we're supposed to believe in him anymore." This parishioner labors under the illusion that Vatican II destroyed all these things.

Strange how an ecumenical council has been used to resurrect the heresy of iconoclasm. Especially given the language of the Council that is exactly opposite to what folks are saying.

But these devotions should be so drawn up that they harmonize with the liturgical seasons, accord with the sacred liturgy, are in some fashion derived from it, and lead the people to it, since, in fact, the liturgy by its very nature far surpasses any of them.

I don't think anybody argues with this. Who would do the Stations of the Cross on Easter? Who would deny that the whole point of devotions is to increase the piety of the faithful so that they are better disposed and desirous of the Eucharist?

But consider Gary MacEoin, a professed Catholic, writing at the close of the Council:

As liturgical reform progresses, further changes in the forms of worship will be introduced. . . There will be a parallel stress on the community aspects of worship, a trend to smaller church buildings to encourage active participation of the faithful, a relocation of altars to promote a union of the priest and people in the Eucharistic liturgy. Novenas to the Miraculous Medal and to St. Jude and other private devotions will be de-emphasized.

Where the hell did he get all this stuff? Not from what the Council actually says. That's for sure. Which is the whole point in looking at what the Council did say.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Repent! The End Is Nigh!

May 21, 2011 to be exact.

According to this guy, at least.

By Camping's understanding, the Bible was dictated by God and every word and number carries a spiritual significance. He noticed that particular numbers appeared in the Bible at the same time particular themes are discussed.

The number 5, Camping concluded, equals "atonement." Ten is "completeness." Seventeen means "heaven." Camping patiently explained how he reached his conclusion for May 21, 2011.

"Christ hung on the cross April 1, 33 A.D.," he began. "Now go to April 1 of 2011 A.D., and that's 1,978 years."

Camping then multiplied 1,978 by 365.2422 days - the number of days in each solar year, not to be confused with a calendar year.

Next, Camping noted that April 1 to May 21 encompasses 51 days. Add 51 to the sum of previous multiplication total, and it equals 722,500.

Camping realized that (5 x 10 x 17) x (5 x 10 x 17) = 722,500.

Or put into words: (Atonement x Completeness x Heaven), squared.

"Five times 10 times 17 is telling you a story," Camping said. "It's the story from the time Christ made payment for your sins until you're completely saved.

"I tell ya, I just about fell off my chair when I realized that," Camping said.

Why the hell didn't I think of that? Or anyone else from the last 2000 years?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Another Liturgical Reform Thought Experiment

Most of the Orthodox folks I know think the Pauline Mass is awful. Some even use it as an example of Rome's departure from the True Faith. I know a couple of Eastern Catholics who got started that way because they couldn't countenance the Ordinary Form.

Anyways, having had the good fortune to attend an Extraordinary Form Mass today (shout out to St. Agnes in Baton Rouge) and having gotten a lot of responses on my question below, I started ciphering on some stuff.

What if all the Orthodox wanted a full reunification with Rome, with signed statements from each Patriarch agreeing with Rome on all points of Faith. Think Florence and Lyons II on steroids.

All they want in exchange is a return by the Latin Rite to traditional liturgical practices. In other words, they want a complete suppression of the Pauline Mass.

Who would object to this arrangement? Calling out guys like Kaspar is too easy. The Anglican situation has shown us that he doesn't seem to want anyone in full communion with Rome. Think about it, though. Would this crown jewel of pure ecumenism, a thing sought after by every pope for the last 550 years or so, be rejected by more than a few people out of their desire to retain a liturgy that has only been around for the last 4 decades or so?

It's a shame that I even have to wonder.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy Feast Of Mary, Mother of God

Therefore, because the holy virgin bore in the flesh God who was united hypostatically with the flesh, for that reason we call her mother of God, not as though the nature of the Word had the beginning of its existence from the flesh (for "the Word was in the beginning and the Word was God and the Word was with God", and he made the ages and is coeternal with the Father and craftsman of all things), but because, as we have said, he united to himself hypostatically the human and underwent a birth according to the flesh from her womb. This was not as though he needed necessarily or for his own nature a birth in time and in the last times of this age, but in order that he might bless the beginning of our existence, in order that seeing that it was a woman that had given birth to him united to the flesh, the curse against the whole race should thereafter cease which was consigning all our earthy bodies to death, and in order that the removal through him of the curse, "In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children", should demonstrate the truth of the words of the prophet: "Strong death swallowed them Up", and again, "God has wiped every tear away from all face". It is for this cause that we say that in his economy he blessed marriage and, when invited, went down to Cana in Galilee with his holy apostles.

Council of Ephesus, 431 AD.

Pray for us, Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

(And yes, it's a holy day of obligation. Go to Mass.)