Thursday, April 29, 2010

Whoa. How Did That Happen?

We just hit two years on the blogging circuit.

Thanks especially to Karl, who provides the good posts here, and the trillions and trillions of loyal readers who visit us every day.

Immodesty Is Unnatural

During a recent outing, we were blessed to have a day with fine spring weather. I'm an autumn guy myself, but spring usually comes in second when we actually have one. All too often, we skip spring and head right on into summer, with the 90+ degree heat and 80% humidity.

Spring is quickly slipping on my list, though, mostly due to the reviling apathy that so many parents exhibit regarding their daughters. Needless to say, the outing in question was very nice, until we began encountering the young girls of the area, dressed in items that can barely be regarded as clothing.

Here's the absolute dumbest part of the whole thing. It was painfully clear that the girls in question felt more uncomfortable and awkward than any of us did about how they were dressed. They were constantly tugging on the well-nigh non-existent legs of their shorts trying to pull them down for more coverage. In talking to us and to others around, they went non-stop grabbing the necks of their shirts/blouses and pulling it up to their chins out of fear that they were showing too much.

So why the hell were they dressed that way? Let's say they all have absentee parents who don't give a crap (which I know isn't the case for all of them, but just roll with it). If the clothes are that irritating and make you that self-conscious about inappropriately exposing yourself, why not put on something else?

More than that, they clearly know that what they are wearing isn't covering them, so they try to make it cover more, presumably because they don't want people to see that much skin. But if they don't want people to see a lot of skin, why wear outfits that are designed for exposure? Doesn't such an outfit, by its nature, demand attention of the eyes, albeit of the wrong kind?

Leaving aside the moral issue of someone presenting themselves as an occasion of sin, I was shocked at the fashions that were on display. All these young girls being willing to throw themselves into clothing they clearly didn't want to be wearing, for a purpose they obviously weren't comfortable with, is mind-boggling. It just goes to show you the level of control that our culture has over minds that it can brainwash someone into doing something completely against their natural impulses of shame for really no reason in particular.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

St. Thomas Aquinas On The Abuse Scandal

Sort of. This is from a little book called The Ways of God from Sophia Institute Press, though it appears to be out of print now. They are having a big sale now, by the way, and you should probably check them out.

Anyway, we aren't entirely sure if St. Thomas wrote this, but it's attributed to him anyway. I found this bit particularly instructive given the popular views on the Church right now:

Among the ways of God there is another perfection, which is that the malice of one person never damages, in the judgement of God, the good that is in another. Thus the fall of Lucifer did not harm the Archangel Michael; and the perfidy of Judas did not lessen the charity of the blessed Peter.

But we, miserable as we are, if a monk is guilty of some excess, we reproach the whole convent and the entire Order and even every monk without exception, with the fault of a single one.

If one of our enemies offends us, we pursue a great number of innocent people with our hatred, all his descendants, his friends and associates. That is something that the Law of God forbids. "The soul that sins, the same shall die, the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, and the father shall not bear the iniquity of the son; the justice of the just shall be upon him, and he wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him." (Ezekiel 18:20). "For everyone shall bear his own burden" (Galatians 6:5).

And then he drops in this bit, which nicely sums up where the secularists are trying to drive this whole conversation:

And how often does it not happen, when our soul is troubled, that we blame God himself, who certainly does not deserve it—for then we no longer wish to sing nor study, nor read nor pray.

Don't doubt for a moment that the most significant element behind this recent attack is the desire to lead mankind to abandon God. Worse than that, by returning us all to the Garden, and convincing us that, since God is who is holding us down, we should aspire to our own godhood. The lie is the same:

You shall be as gods.

Genesis 3:5

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Reign Of Pope Benedict

The Holy Father's Fifth Anniversary didn't get much coverage. There was far too much calumny going on to focus on such a minor occasion.

I'm not going to do any kind of Ebert-ish rating, but I have been surprised at how this papacy has gone thus far. I think most everyone has been. The thing that has caught me most off-guard is Pope Benedict's patience. He definitely isn't governing like a guy who is 83. More like someone in their 60s (or younger) who feels like they have a lot of time to accomplish what they need to do. He has a lot of long-range irons in the fire: SSPX talks, promotion of the TLM (not to mention liturgical reform in general), restructuring the current crop of bishops, etc.

Other than Summorum Pontificum, he hasn't done anything with bold strokes. It's just been chipping away at the edifice of problems. I guess you sort of have to do it that way since the problems are so numerous.

Please don't take the above comments as disappointment. It's just weird (and inspiring) to see an 83 year old guy with the most important job in the world moving along with the apparent attitude that the work will get done no matter how long it takes.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Return To Discipline

Will we ever see one? I'm not so sure. It's amazing to me how so many bishops can gripe and moan, in the name of collegiality, about the slightest action taken by Rome, yet completely abdicate all their responsibility in situations that demand the chastisement of the Church's admitted enemies.

Consider these stories by LifeSiteNews. The first one features the now-infamous Fr. Pfleger announcing his belief that women should be ordained. Notice how he apologizes for this announcementwhilst his heresy in the same sentence.

In the latest episode in an ongoing controversy, Fr. Michael Pfleger has again publicly voiced his support for women's ordination, this time in a comment posted to his Facebook fan page. In that comment, he also notes that the archdiocese made him issue the apology he put out on Wednesday.

“Sunday, I mentioned in my Sermon that I believe in married Priests and Woman Priests,” the Facebook comment reads. “I was then told that I had to apologize for saying it durning [sic] a Sermon because that is not allowed, even though that is my opinion.

His comment follows a Wednesday statement published on the Archdiocese of Chicago's website, which has since been removed. In the statement he admits that he advocated for women priests and bishops in his homily, but then says that, “While this is my personal opinion, I do respect and follow the Catholic Church teachings and I am sorry I failed to do this.”

What the hell? How is this not leading to a canonical trial? Why should there even be a trial? When St. Pius X wrote Pascendi, he commented on how Modernists would speak out of both sides of their mouths to hide their heresy. Now, they no longer even have to try to hide it.

Where is Cardinal George in all this?

Then you've got this story, which is actually worse than the Obama invitation to ND:

The University of Detroit Mercy, a Jesuit Catholic institution, has come under fire for failing to remove links to pro-abortion groups on its website, as well as for keeping a renowned pro-abortion, pro-same-sex "marriage" nun on its Board of Trustees.

The student advocacy group suggested that the school's insistence in keeping the links may be related to the presence of Sr. Margaret Farley, a Sister of Mercy, on its Board of Trustees. Farley, who earned her Ph.D. at Yale Divinity School, was one of 40 Catholic religious who infamously signed a 1984 statement by "Catholics for Choice" upholding abortion as justifiable from a Catholic standpoint. Several of the co-signers were subsequently excommunicated.

Since then, Farley has published her dissention from Catholic Church teaching on several key issues, including abortion, homosexuality, same-sex "marriage," masturbation, sterilization, divorce, and women priests. Many of these viewpoints are available in her 2006 book "Just Love: A Framework for Christian Sexual Ethics," in which Farley challenges the "simpler ways of interpreting human experience" of traditional Catholic values on marriage and sexuality, with a new framework for "just" sexual gratification outside of marital relations and family life.

And what's being done? Apparently a big load of nothing. How can we do anything but assume that the hierarchs don't give a crap?

In much of the recent talk about the abuse scandal, the core discussion is about how Catholic the Church should be. The Media Magisterium insists that the Church's future is to be Episcopalian. Opposing voices point to the saints. By letting heretics have their way in the above sorts of situations, we know who wins. By compromising, we know who wins. Compromise always favors revolutionaries. The only way to stop all this is to return to being Catholic, which means enforcing Catholicism, which means divesting heretics claiming to be Catholic of any illusion that they remain in the bosom of the Church.

Think of it this way. We're getting all these new Anglicans, right? Why not let the door swing both ways and swap them Fr. Pfleger & Co. for a host of Fr. Longeneckers?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Decline In Abuse Cases

Demonstrated graphically by AmericanPapist. Very interesting, and positive, stuff.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Irony? Pro-Abortion Folks Dying Off

Well, not exactly dying off, but getting so old that they become less of a voice, at least by comparison to the young and the zealous on the pro-life side.

So says the president of NARAL, per LifeSiteNews.

The pro-life movement in America is growing in leaps and bounds, attracting young, zealous women to defend the unborn in droves - a fact that even the president of NARAL has now admitted.

NARAL's Nancy Keenan told Newsweek last week that she considers herself a member of the "postmenopausal militia" – a phrase that captures the situation of pro-abortion leaders who are aging across the board, including the leadership of Planned Parenthood, and the National Organization for Women. Newsweek's Sarah Kliff notes that "these leaders will retire in a decade or so."

How much trouble will I get into if I try to work the phrase "postmenopausal militia" into casual conversation? I'm not sure if I can stop myself from trying.

Keenan also remarked on the enormity of this year's March for Life in Washington, D.C., and, according to Newsweek, is troubled that such passion has faded among the youth on her side of the movement.

"I just thought, my gosh, they are so young," Keenan said about stumbling on this year’s March for Life in Washington. "There are so many of them, and they are so young."

Enormity? At the March For Life?

There was a March For Life? Did somebody tell the mainstream press about it?

The article talks a lot about how pro-life groups have staying power, while the energy behind the pro-abortion movement burns out quickly. That's the punchline to all this. The selfishness rooted in the act of abortion is giving way to the selfishness of feeling that there are better things to do with one's time. Oh, I'm sure it gives their supporters a great adrenaline rush to be all politically active for 5 minutes or so, but after that, Facebook or some other equally productive activity beckons.

And so we see how the inward gaze of the worldly and secular eventually consumes itself by its own sloth.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What Is Humanity's Most Likely Future?

Soylent Green?

Logan's Run?

Brave, New World?

I'm left to wonder lately.

More Look-Back On JPII

Previously, we talked about how folks might re-consider what all this abuse stuff was going to mean for JPII's legacy. The NYT has picked up on this. Most of it is contrasting the JPII style with that of Pope Benedict. It's not overwhelmingly unfair or anything. It just makes me wonder how much of this is going to turn into a attempt at demolition as far as possible on the Church.

John Paul II is dead, so it's kind of hard for him to mount a defense. The media manipulated his image into a less dangerous version of himself once he was incapacitated. Now, with all the talks of "subito," I think we'll see a pretty heavy assault in the near future.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Struggles Of A Gay Catholic

This is from the Mirror of Justice:

Over the past three years, "Chris" (let's call him) has experienced a pronounced attraction to other males-for one old friend from high school in particular. A crush, maybe, or an infatuation. Whatever it was, he knew it wasn't healthy. And though he had never acted on the attraction, he explained, it led to fantasies and lusts he didn't want. So he made a resolution never to embrace them as essential to his identity or accept them as permanent or untreatable-a resolution he has kept practically alone, without the support of community, family, or friends.

Sounds typical enough, right? Read on:

Chris' situation is sad, but it seems to be moving somewhere. He told me how he had cried daily for the first two years of his same-sex attractions, knowing that he was becoming someone he didn't want to be. But during the third year he found a good therapist and began making progress. He set out to find "healthy male affirmation through deep, non-erotic same-sex friendships"-along with a "purification of memory regarding the hurts of the past" and a more masculine view of himself. Without any reason to exaggerate his progress, he assured me he is "100 times happier and healthier than before-though not yet whole." Even friends and relatives who do not know about his struggles have remarked on his increased serenity and joy.

Very positive, yes? Read on:

Like many schools, Chris' university has an LGBTQA center (an official office supporting "lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered, queer, and allied" students). Had he been seeking advice on how to embrace his same-sex attractions, perform sexually as a gay man, or develop a romantic homosexual relationship, he would have been welcomed. Wanting instead help to live chastely, he found nothing. Worse than nothing, he found rejection. Such centers routinely sponsor public lectures attacking Christian responses to same-sex attractions, calls to chastity, and attempts to seek therapy.

You might think Chris could find help at the university's religious-life center. But with pink pride triangles on every interior door, that office, too, has embraced the gay-pride movement. The college hosts an annual Pride Sunday Liturgy in lieu of regular chapel worship-for pride, apparently, is the proper liturgical response to homosexuality-and sponsors public lectures with titles such as "Overcoming Christian Fear of Homosexuality."

There you have it. Modernity's obsession with sex and irrational disregard for sin made manifest. For a guy like Chris, he either chooses to be defined by his sexual desires and yield to his impulses or he is functionally worthless to those who claim to help people in his situation.

Yet Chris marches on.

In the end, though, I found myself feeling grateful. Grateful for knowing Chris. Grateful for the chance to see him carry a cross he did not choose. Offering up his daily struggles, he strives for holiness, refuses surrender, and resists temptations. He labors to remedy the unwanted causes and side effects of attractions he never desired, aware all the while that a cure isn't certain, that in this fallen world some disorders may always be with us.

I am witnessing my friend's unique path to holiness: a remarkable instance of grace working through a broken earthly vessel, making all things new, and leading to fullness of life. I think how blessed I am that I've been fortunate enough to witness it and find inspiration for my life in his struggles.

Amazing grace.

St. Joseph, please intercede for this brave man.

Excomming Nazis

Don't tell Wills, Foxman, or Cornwell, but it actually happened:

An interreligious group trying to discover the facts regarding Pope Pius XII and his efforts to help Jews during World War II has announced the discovery of documents showing how the Church excommunicated Catholics who joined the Nazis.

The New-York based Pave the Way Foundation said that its representative Michael Hesemann found a large series of documents from 1930 to 1933.

The documents indicate that any Catholic who joined the Nazi party, wore the uniform or flew the swastika flag would no longer be able to receive the sacraments.

This policy set three years before Hitler was elected chancellor made clear that the teachings of the Church were incompatible with Nazi ideology.

How about that? I've been wondering if future generations will look back on all the attempts to link Pope Benedict to the abuse scandal in the same growing light that is shattering the Hitler's Pope myths.

“The documents clearly show an ideological war between the Catholic Church and National Socialism already in the pre-war decade," Hesemann explained. "The German bishops and the Roman Curia considered the Nazi doctrine not only as incompatible with the Christian faith, but also as hostile to the Church and dangerous to human morals, even more than Communism."

Among the documents is a handwritten letter from a leading member of the Nazis, Hermann Goering, requesting a meeting with Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli (the future Pius XII), which was flatly refused.

There are also documents asking for a removal of the excommunication, which was also denied

On my repeated ponderings about the likelihood of an apology from Venerable Pius XII's slanderers, it takes me back to the Media Magisterium. Isn't it weird how they demand apologies from the Church for just about every evil that has occurred in the history of the world, yet for their own part, they remain silent when proven so emphatically wrong about such a critical historic detail?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New Bishop Alert

Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando is heading to Miami to replace Archbishop Favalora. I don't know anything about him, other than what we've covered in the past, which is good news. In case you don't recall, Bishop Wenski offered a Mass of Reparation for Obama's invitation to ND. The homily was great.

In other news, Bishop Thomas Paprocki, an auxliary from Chicago, is going to Springfield. I don't know anything about him, other than his condemnation of Rod Blagojevich's executive order requiring pharmacists to provide contraceptives. That's good news, too, I suppose.

Thanks to Whispers in the Loggia for getting the word out on this.

An Entry Of Its Own

I know I said that I was doing a quick run-down of the scandal stuff on Sunday, but I saw this and knew that it should have a distinct post. This is from the Pope's homily to the Pontifical Bible Commission:

“We have,” he said, “a certain fear of speaking about eternal life.”

“We talk of things that are useful to the world,” continued Pope Benedict, “we show that Christianity can help make the world a better place, but we do not dare say that the end of the world and the goal of Christianity is eternal life – and that the criteria of life in this world come from the goal – this we dare not say. . .”

"Now, under the attacks of the world, which speak to us of our sins, we see that to be able to do penance is a grace – and we see how necessary it is to do penance, that is, to recognize what is wrong in our lives: to recognize one’s sin, to open oneself to forgiveness, to prepare for pardon, to allow oneself to be transformed.

The pain of penance, the pain of purification and transformation – this pain is grace, because it is renewal – it is the work of the Divine Mercy."

Man, oh man. I love Pope Benedict.

Monday, April 19, 2010

More On The Church In China

Things aren't really improving there, per the Union of Catholic Asian News. To the contrary:

Several mainland bishops, approved by the Vatican and recognized by the government, say following some of the advice from the Vatican’s China Commission will put them in a difficult position.

The communiqué for the third plenary meeting released on March 25 said the commission unanimously hoped that all mainland bishops could avoid gestures that run counter to communion with the Pope.

It specifies such gestures like: sacramental celebrations (with illegitimate bishops), episcopal ordinations (without a papal mandate) and participation in meetings (like the planned National Congress of Catholic Representatives of the “open” Church community in China).

In other words, stay away from scandal with the schismatics. The bishops interviewed in the article all seem to think that this is going to generate more persecution and martyrdom.

Bishop Peter said the communiqué’s advice is difficult to follow practically, since bishops will find it “hard to say no” to government officials who will coerce them to attending the congress or illicit ordinations.

“We bishops feel perplexed about what to do. We no longer have room for maneuver since the papal letter came out. We can only choose between surviving in the cracks and breaking off relations with the government,” he lamented.

“The open community is unwilling to break the good relationship with the government, which it has struggled to build over a long period of time,” he explained

The upcoming national congress is probably going to make things worse, in that it could make the schism more open. On the other hand, attendance might be viewed as contrary to the Vatican directives mentioned above.

Bishop Peter believed the national congress, which is supposed to convene later this year, will cause a split in the open community.

“I will passively attend the meeting to gain space for pastoral work and not to embarrass local officials,” he said. He believed the majority of open bishops will also attend, adding that it is unrealistic not to go.

Those who wish to follow the Vatican’s advice should be prepared for poorer relations with the authorities and stronger controls, which is another way of being God’s witness, he said.

We've mentioned in the past our requests for support to the Cardinal Kung Foundation. Please consider them again, if you haven't already. At the very least, offer to pray for a member of the clergy there. Ask them for a prayer card. They will send it to you.

Through the intercession of Our Lady of She-shan and Ignatius Cardinal Kung, may God bless all Chinese Catholics.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

In Order To Save Time

I figured I'd just give a quick run-through on some of the more highlighted articles going around on the abuse scandal and the continuing media hatchet job.

My personal favorite to this point is a ditty from Bob Ellis, who unfortunately seems to be suffering from a disorder that prevents him from engaging in coherent thought. His article is basically oriented towards fulfilling the Third Secret of Fatima by murdering the Pope and bombing the Vatican:

No-one has yet suggested bombing the Vatican and pursuing the Pope through the sewers of Europe till he is caught and riddled with bullets in order to stop priests buggering choirboys in Boston, Chicago, Dublin and Sydney. . .

The crimes are comparable pretty much and well-attested and well known from enquiries here and in Germany, the US and Ireland. Why then do we not bomb the Vatican and obliterate Italy for harbouring this criminal mastermind, this known protector of evil predators? Why do we not pursue him through the sewers of Europe and riddle his corpse with bullets?

Even with that, though, the Pope continues to see defenders rising up from some really wild areas. Who would have thought that Alan Dershowitz would be a guy to respond to barbs hurled at the Holy Father?

Not only that, but you have SpikedOnline coming out with the idea we've thrown out here that this is all because secularists are afraid of who the Pope is and what he can do to their cause.

As Karl pointed out below, though, none of this is going to change the media's view of its own godhood in attempting to dictate what the Church should be doing.

The Pope himself? He seems to be handling all this pretty well, I think, all things considered.

From Malta:

One of the eight victims of sexual abuse who met Pope Benedict XVI today in Malta described the encounter as "very emotional," saying most of those present were crying, and even the pope had "tears in his eyes."

"I made peace with the church," said Joseph Magro, one of the victims who met the pope.

This is all very good. However, do not doubt that the attacks will continue. Fear does weird things to people, especially whackjobs like Bob Ellis and Richard Dawkins. Before this is all over, I wouldn't be surprised at all if someone tried to implement a lower-level version of the Ellis Solution by taking a shot at Pope Benedict. If whoever it is manages to pull it off, mark my freaking word, the prevailing sentiment among the media will be that the Holy Father deserved it.

Roman Polanski, though, that guy should be let back in this country and given another Oscar.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

If only nuns were in charge

Such is the trope these days, that the sex-abuse scandal would never have happened if only nuns were in positions of authority. Peggy Noonan recently opines thus.

Of course, women never do anything wrong, certainly not like celibate old men. Except when they do.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"Jesus Christ Had Only One Will."

How many people would be offended by such a statement? Would it be worth holding an ecumenical council (and one with far more urgency than Vatican II)? How many would find it so reprehensible that they would be willing to endure torture and death?

I'm willing to bet that most wouldn't even care about the question that would prompt it, much less the actual response above. To discuss it in a general council or go to one's death to combat it would probably be passed off as insanity.

Pope Martin I had his feast day yesterday. He was a guy who went through unspeakable tortures and eventual death because he dared to oppose the Byzantine emperors who sought to propagate the heresy of monothelitism, which is embodied in the title of this post.

It's a sad state of affairs that these kinds of issues that so many of our Fathers went to their deaths over are now things that would be sneered at by so many. Whenever I hear folks who denounce doctrine and orthodoxy as insignificant, or even harmful, I feel nauseous. My old priest used to constantly remind us that "People died for this," meaning the Truth.

We seem to live in a world of worse-than-Pilates, who won't even ask "What is Truth?" And why? Because they might hurt someone's feelings or be uncomfortable or maybe just tax themselves too much in thinking a little.

The scarier part: Would the reaction be any different if the statement was "Jesus wasn't Divine"?

I really don't think so.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Homosexuality And Genetics

Listening to some recent talk about homosexuality has me wondering about something. The specific topic was about how homosexuals are genetically predisposed to be that way. That being the case, they must have been made with same-sex attraction. Ergo, God actively desires homosexual relationships.

This line of thinking is presented as self-evident, leaving me to wonder what logic ever did to such people that they would resort to such violence against it.

First off, there has to be at least SOME homosexual activity that isn't genetic. History is clear that we've had some pretty homosexual societies in the past.

Moving on, I'm not exactly sure why being genetically predisposed to anything makes the action ok. This is a bit of a rehash on the whole Immaculate Corruption thing and our prior comments about Ian McKellen. Nor am I particularly sure why such a predisposition is supposed to demonstrate that God actively wills such a thing. Is the simultaneous claim that God actively wills everything, all the way up to, say, child abuse? Usually, the claimant isn't trying to go there, but it seems to me that this is the only thing that would function to make the argument work.

Haven't we seen pedophiles make these same kinds of arguments about how they were born that way? Last I checked, nobody was looking to limit their moral culpability. I'm sure we've all got plenty of our own sins that I would like to chalk up to DNA.

More and more, I'm seeing this exact reasoning as the come-back against anyone arguing conventional, God-based morality as their main objection to homosexual behavior. I just don't see why it's viewed as effective.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Media Magisterium

If there's one thing that I've learned from the recent coverage of the abuse scandal, it's that the mass media, without a doubt, believes in the dogma of infallibility. Their own.

Consider the flood of articles and opinion pieces that have erupted into the public on this topic. What does all of this pseudo-intellectual feces have in common? It's the pervasive use of the words "need" and "must."

"The Church NEEDS to abolish celibacy."
"The Pope NEEDS to resign."
"Catholicism MUST embrace modernity."
"Women MUST be ordained."

Blah, blah, blah, yakity-shmakity. (If you need any concrete examples, just check any of the lunacy currently being spewed by Lisa Miller at Newsweek. I'd give a link, but the liars on these issues are getting enough exposure as it is.)

Am I the only guy finding this ironic? The people who are blasting the Church for its claim as a teaching authority are presuming to lecture said authority as though they themselves held such a position. To paraphrase Al Czervik, "Who died and made them pope?"

Of course, the media's behavior is also hypocritical beyond measure. Consider how such comments are usually presented in the context of how people should be free to do and believe how they wish, ie- if women want to be priests, they should be allowed to do so. The only thing that can't be permitted is for Catholics to believe and practice as Catholics.

Back to the original point on infallibility, though. I'm not sure that I've ever seen such a unified chorus of media voices before, all totally convinced of their own rightness. Not even the Obama love-fest matches up to the current ubiquitous rancor directed at the Catholic Church, and especially at Pope Benedict. Was this what the days of Thomas Nast were like? I have to believe so.

Anyways, it's just very striking to me that a group of individuals who tend to reject the notion of Truth altogether, who claim that the idea of an infallible teacher is nonsense, who consistently misstate (or lie) regarding the most basic facts, and who have no real standing or expertise other than the command of mass distribution, are able to opine so forcefully and without qualification that their own views are right.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Spiritual Bouquet For Pope Benedict

The Institute of Christ the King has set this up. Sign on today!

Thanks to the folks at Rorate for helping get the word out.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I Saw Punisher: War Zone

I'm sure that many of you are appalled. Would it shock you more to learn that I thought the last Punisher movie, starring Thomas Jane as Frank Castle, was excellent? Even my wife thought it was good.

Note for fanboys: Straight to video Dolph Lundgren version isn't being counted here.

Being the stupid person that I am, I actually thought that this more recent effort might be of similar substance. Of course, this did nothing but affirm my dumb-headedness.

The first movie focused a lot less on violence than it did on Frank's inability to cope with his tragedy. Much of it centered on his family relationships, then his attempts to forge new relationships with his neighbors. His activities against Howard Saint, while featuring some bloodshed, were of a more cerebral nature, as he gradually eroded Saint's organization from within.

This second movie is almost(?) pornographic in its violence. More explode than in the entire Scanners franchise. People being blown to bits, cut into pieces, etc. is supposed to be interesting, I guess. Not only that, Frank is basically a moron.

About once every 20 minutes or so, the movie attempts to show some humanity on Frank's end, usually with about ten seconds of flashback to his family, Ray Stevenson (who really mails it in) staring woefully at someone who reminds him of his family, or some sad sounding music. Did I mention what happens to MicroChip? Probably best not to.

Anyways, the result is a bunch of people getting blowed up real good with a couple of "Let's all go to the lobby" moments inserted to make it look like someone tried to manufacture a plot. I should have anticipated this. Why bother making something that even vaguely resembles a real movie when you can cater to the base urges of the masses by depicting slaughter?

The first movie was good because it wasn't about slaughter. It was about the person of Frank Castle and his reaction to the bad things that happened to him. The comics are the same way. Frank is only interesting when someone talks about who he is, rather than what he does. The latter is a consequence of the former. When folks try to portray what he does as being identical to who he is, the door is opened for things to suck. Punisher: War Zone kicked the freaking door open, lobbed in a crap grenade, then laughed while it splattered all over the audience.

Anyways, avoid this movie. It is awful. Oh, and the ending is blasphemous (in the literal sense), but hopefully, even if you began watching this cinematic turd, you had the good sense to turn it off before you got to the blasphemy part.

Looks Like The Word From LA Was Right

Bishop Gomez will be succeeding Cardinal Mahony upon his retirement. I first saw it confirmed over at Whispers. Interesting note from the story: San Antonio has 28 seminarians now. That's double what +Gomez found upon his arrival. This is a heavy departure from Cardinal Mahony's insistence that fewer priests was a good thing.

I'm very anxious to see how this will work out. If Bishop Gomez is like the other Opus Dei folks I know, his take on lay spirituality alone is going to be an epic adjustment from what has been presented in Los Angeles over the last couple of decades.

Monday, April 5, 2010

LA Diocese Bracing For Whiplash?

There are reports that Cardinal Mahony's replacement has been named. The projected shift would take the Diocese of Los Angeles away from a guy who applauded the priest shortage, engaged in numerous liturgical abominations, and carried one of the worst records in terms of responding to the abuse scandal. In his place, you'd have a guy from Opus Dei.

Based on earlier reports that Cardinal Mahony is stepping down at 75, from American Papist, we have a report as to the identity of the man who will head the wealthiest and possibly most troulbed Archdiocese in the world.

According to Maximilian Hanlon, and other sources, the replacement for Cardinal Mahony should be the Opus Dei Archbishop from San Antonio, His Lordship, Jose Gomez.

Bishop Gomez was sent to the San Antonio See in 2004 and had been shepherding the Archdiocese of Denver as Auxiliary Bishop prior to that.

Talk about reversing course. Disco liturgy out. Cilices in. If this is true, this will be an extraordinary opportunity to see just how well Pope Benedict's policies can be implemented. There's a whole lot of crap that has to be uprooted out in LA. A lot of it isn't going to go quietly. Bishop Gomez (or anybody else really) is going to need your prayers in tackling this job. Please remember him.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

He Is Risen!


Friday, April 2, 2010


Karl posed the question below:

I really would like to know the proximate cause of the latest smears. Was it just to discredit catholic pro-life witness on the eve of the American health care vote? Is it the annual Easter-Christianity-Bash?

Or is there some other reason why Catholicism has become the worst thing in the world, according to the NY Times?

I don't really think the health care vote was a direct cause. Maybe that was the straw that broke the camel's back, but I think the underlying feeling on the part of the secularists is terror.

For the last decade or so of his life, my recollection of Pope John Paul II's media coverage was mostly portraying him as a force of ecumenism and little else. Lots of comments made about his various apologies, very little mention of, say, his final encyclical on the Eucharist. Controversy erupted when Dominus Iesus came out, but it seemed to me at the time that most people went around blaming that on then-Cardinal Ratzinger anyway.

My point is that there wasn't much in the way of controversy stirred for that period, at least, not that I can remember. JPII's stances on abortion and contraception were put more and more in the background. The attempts to tie him to the abuse scandal never really stuck. Basically, the secularists didn't really fight him, so much as massage his persona to something they found to be more acceptable. They've done the same thing with Blessed John.

Pope Benedict, thus far, isn't giving them much of an opportunity for that. His first few writings have mostly focused on basic doctrinal stuff. Caritas in Veritate is the exception, but that was basically forgotten in the media after about 2 days once they were done painting the Vicar of Christ as a socialist. Best to put it away after that, lest people actually bother reading the document itself.

His other actions, from Regensburg to Summorum Pontificum to the SSPX-excom stuff to the Anglican situation, have been blatant pokes in the eye to the prevailing liberal view. He hasn't really changed directions or done anything else worth talking about. The more he does, the more he sets himself in opposition to what they want from a Supreme Pontiff.

They are afraid. We have to admit that it's been a while. Blessed John was not a guy who inspired fear. Paul VI had a tendency towards accommodation (just ask Cardinal Mindszenty). No fear there either. John Paul I wasn't around long enough. John Paul II was a guy I think folks were afraid of, especially in his confrontations with the Soviets. However, his declining health and the above-mentioned focus-shift let some of that fear go.

Popes used to make even the world's greatest monarchs tremble. Good times. Pope Benedict might not have the temporal power to make that happen anymore or the threat of excom or other ecclesiastical sanction as a weapon, but he does have the Truth. That scares the folks preaching the lies.

After so many years of madness and loss of Faith afflicting so many Catholics (prelate and laity alike), there are only two options right now, per Fr. Raymond DeSouza. The Church can either become more Catholic or less Catholic. Pope Benedict wants the former. The world wants the latter. So far, the Pope isn't backing down. Being scared as all hell, but not wanting to back down either, the world attacks.

Hopefully, the Pope, remembering Our Lord's promise, will invite them to bring it on.

Pray for the Holy Father this Easter.

St. Thomas More On Prayer

This was something else that came to mind last night. Why do I suck at prayer? I can stay riveted to an episode of SuperHero Squad, but I can't focus on my correspondence with the Almighty for more than 2 seconds before my mind wanders.

St. Thomas More put it thusly:

And then further do we every way discover, how far wide our mind is wandering from God. We claw our head, we pare our nails, we pick our nose and say therewhiles one thing for another, since what is said or what is unsaid both having clean forgotten, we be fain at all adventures to aim what we have more to say. Be we not ashamed, thus madly demeaning ourselves both secretly in our heart, and also in our doings openly, in such wise to sue for succour unto God, being in so great danger as we be; and in such wise to pray for pardon of so many horrible offences; and over that in such wise to desire him to preserve us from perpetual damnation? So that this one offence so unreverently to approach to the high majesty of God, all had we never offended him before, were yet alone well worthy to be punished with a thousand endless deaths.

Well now suppose that thou hadst committed treason against some mighty worldly prince, which were at his liberty either to kill thee or save thee, and this notwithstanding that he would be so merciful unto thee, as upon thy repentance and humble suit for his gracious favour again, be content favourably to change the punishment of death into some fine and payment of money, or further upon the effectual proof and declaration of thine hearty and exceeding shame and sorrow for thy fault, clearly release thee of altogether. Now when thou comest in presence of this prince, suppose thou wouldst unrever-ently, as one that carelessly passed not what he did, tell thy tale unto him, and while he sat still and gave good ear unto thee, in the uttering of thy suit all the while jet up and down before him, and when thou hadst jetted thy fill squat thee down fair and well in a chair, or if for good manners' sake thou thoughtest it most seemly for thee to kneel on thy knees, yet then that thou wouldst call somebody first, to fetch thee a cushion to lay underneath thee, yea and besides that to bring thee a stool and another cushion therewithal to lean thine elbows on, and after all this gape, stretch, sneeze, spit, thou carest not how, balk out the stinking savour of thy ravenous surfeiting, and finally so behave thyself in thy countenance, speech, gesture, and thy whole body beside, that he might plainly perceive that while thou spakest unto him, thy mind were otherwise occupied; tell me now, I beseech thee, what good, trowest thou, shouldst thou get at his hand by this tale thus told afore him?

St. Thomas More, The Sadness of Christ

Every once in a while, you read something from a saint that makes you feel like you aren't the worst sinner in the world. Thank you, St. Thomas.

The above is taken from The Sadness of Christ, which I must promote as the best Lenten reading I've ever done. Get a print copy or read the whole thing here.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The St. Michael Prayer You Don't Know

We all learn the Prayer to St. Michael at some point. The short version. I post the long version here after reflecting on the bit in the Gospel where Christ was strengthened by an angel while He prayed in the Garden.

The Church is under attack. We should call upon Her Defender:

O Glorious Archangel St. Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and Powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in his own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil.

Fight this day the battle of the Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in Heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan, who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold, this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the name of God and of his Christ, to seize upon, slay and cast into eternal perdition souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. This wicked dragon pours out, as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity.

These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered.

Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and Patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious power of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.

Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
The Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered, the root of David.
Let thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
As we have hoped in thee.
O Lord, hear my prayer.
And let my cry come unto thee.
Let us pray.

O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon thy holy name, and as suppliants we implore thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel St. Michael, thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of souls.


Pope Leo XIII