Monday, May 31, 2010

United In A Common Ruin

This is from an article entitled "Kirk and Catholic Church strengthen ties."

The two faiths, historically divided along sectarian lines, have taken what the Kirk has described as "a monumental step in inter-church links" by creating a "joint-liturgy" for the reaffirmation of baptismal vows.

As a result, Scotland has the first Protestant church in the world to form such a bond with the Catholic Church. The two churches will also join together to mark the 450th anniversary of the Reformation later this year.

First, I don't know what a "joint liturgy" is. Second, I don't know how one even goes about "creating" liturgies in the first place, especially with folks who aren't Catholic. I always thought the the liturgy was something that God did. Of course, that was before we had the wonders of liturgical committees, though, which clarified that the public worship of the Church was strictly outside of God's omnipotence and very much an entirely human affair.

Check out the occasion for all this what-not, though:

Ms Kesting said the decision to hold a joint ceremony in St Giles' Cathedral, in Edinburgh this year to mark the 450th anniversary of the Reformation – which saw the creation of the Presbyterian Church when it split from the Catholic Church – was a public statement of the strength of their relationship.

Schism and heresy! WooHoo! It's a party!

Peter Kearney, a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland, said: "This is a significant and seminal moment in Scottish church history.

And tragic.

"While the emphasis in the Catholic Church is more about commemorating the event, rather than celebrating, it is still a moment in history that had an impact that must be debated and discussed."

Oh, so it's only SORT OF about celebrating it. It's MORE of a commemoration. I guess that makes it ok then. Did you commemorate this anniversary of sacrilege and blasphemy with prayer and lamentation? No, you got together for "joint liturgy."

"We should not be afraid to tackle it, and we very much want to be involved in the debate about what happened 450 years ago."

It was settled at the Council of Trent. Perhaps you've heard of it?

Mr Kearney said that, while there were differences between the two churches, worshippers from both denominations were "part of the body of Christ".

False and entirely contrary to Church teaching.

What we really have here is a perfect example of fake ecumenism. Nobody here is really concerned about the "debate" of the Reformation. If so, they wouldn't be hauling off with all this pomp and circumstance as though the divisions (that they admit are there) don't exist. They can't even agree on what the baptisms they are promoting actually do. The main interest is in ignoring the divisions so that pretended progress towards a fabricated communion can produce a religion that is completely emptied of any meaning whatsoever. Which means that we'll finally be able to ditch God for good.

But some, through enthusiasm for an imprudent "eirenism" seem to consider as an obstacle to the restoration of fraternal union, things founded on the laws and principles given by Christ and likewise on institutions founded by Him, or which are the defense and support of the integrity of the faith, and the removal of which would bring about the union of all, but only to their destruction.

Venerable Pope Pius XII, Humani Generis

Just give us time, Holy Father. God help us, but we're working on that.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

About Persecution

It is without a doubt that persecution of the Church (and the faithful) is coming, and in fact is already here, as Throwback points out. I came across a prayer by the deceased Patriarch of Serbia which you should read:

“O Lord, how many are the foes who war against us and say: ‘There is no help for them from God or from man.’ Lord, reach out Thy hand to us that we remain Thy people, both in faith and in works. If we must suffer, may it be on the road to Thy justice and Thy truth, and not because of our injustice or hatred toward anyone. Let us all say fervently, Lord have mercy.”

Let the Church suffer because she proclaims God's truth, not because of our sins.

Hate Speech

Both Karl and myself have gotten our share of criticism over the years for predicting that Catholicism would one day be outlawed as hate speech or some other public disturbance. Most folks seem to think that such a scenario is ridiculous. In examining this, let's examine the recent case of Cardinal Marc Ouellet. Here's a nutshell of what he said:

Speaking at a recent pro-life conference in Quebec City, the Cardinal said that abortion is a "moral crime" and that it is unacceptable even in the case of rape. That's an extreme position by this country's standards: Only about 5% of Canadians oppose abortion in all circumstances. But, as a spokesman for the Quebec City Archdiocese later pointed out, the Cardinal wasn't saying anything new: Like many religious Christians, strictly observant Catholics typically regard all fetuses as carrying the divine spark of human life. And so they urge that the tragedy or rape should not be compounded by a second moral tragedy.

So you've got a Catholic prelate saying Catholic stuff to a group of folks who probably weren't all Catholic, but were at least an audience who were in-line with the Church's view here. What could possibly go wrong?

How about the whole government going completely ape-poop.

The National Assembly (basically the congress/parliament/whatever) adopted a resolution BY UNANIMOUS VOTE proclaiming"

That [Quebec’s] National Assembly reaffirms the right of women to free choice and to free and accessible abortion services.” It also asked the Prime Minister “to put an end to the current ambiguity on this issue,” and again “reaffirms that the fact of supporting women’s right to an abortion should not in any case be used by the federal government to cut funding to a woman’s group...

That wasn't all.

Quebec Liberal Premier Jean Charest told The Globe: “Today’s motion sends a clear message to the federal government on the need to protect an essential right for all women.”

“Quebec has fought and won its battles over abortion rights, he said. “That battle is over and is no turning back” (Globe, Ibid).

Pauline Maurios, leader of the provincial Bloc Quebecois, declared the Cardinal’s statement “unacceptable.”

As someone who is "openly pro-choice" (her words), federal Conservative Minister Josée Verner joined her voice to the critiquing choir.

There was equally outrageous reaction from the media.

On May 17, Patrick Lagacé from the daily La Presse compared Cardinal Ouellet to an Imam from Teheran who stated that earthquakes could be attributed to women who dressed immodestly. According to Lagacé, the Cardinal and the Imam "are both religious fundamentalists that attack women". Lagacé mentioned that the only member of the Quebec clergy who "came up to the plate to publicly denounce Quebec is (again) Raymond Gravel." Gravel is a self-excommunicated priest and former Bloc Québécois MP. Lagacé himself stated that he hopes "Cardinal Ouellet dies of a long and painful death" so that he understands why some people might want to get legal help to die.

Holy smokes people. Just look at the story. The context is a Catholic talking Catholicism to a bunch of pro-lifers. The response is action at almost every level of government to make sure that said Catholicism is put in his place, which in this case, is the back of the bus. Is outright suppression really that hard to imagine?

As for His Eminence, he's taking all this pretty well:

"Why such a big reaction? Because I am just reminding people of the teaching the Church," he said.

"The Church has to teach the truth of the Gospel and the understanding of the human being from the Gospel of Christ," he said. "And the Church has to care for the formation of conscience."

"What I see in the country is the fact that we have for 40 years legalized abortion without any restriction, it has a great effect on conscience," he said, referring to the role the law plays as teacher. There are about 30,000 abortions a year in Quebec, more than 100,000 in Canada as a whole.

Ouellet said as a bishop he had a duty to teach Catholics the moral law. The Church also has to call for justice in society, he said. "For the unborn, there is not justice. He is the weakest human being; nobody is protecting him.

"After these four decades the moral state of our culture, it has become unthinkable to revise the law, it is also symptomatic of the effect of the law on the culture," he said. "In the future we should be more prudent on what kind of laws we pass in Parliament."

"I am aware that in Canada, in Quebec in particular, you will not reform society at the moral level by teaching morals first," he said.

"It will be through a new evangelization. If you do not meet Jesus Christ, it is very difficult to accept the teaching, the moral teaching of the Church. I am aware of that, even if what we teach is coherent at the rational level."

He had one other comment, though, that really brings out a lot of the problem, even if people don't want to talk about it.

"I have no power," the archbishop of Quebec and primate of Canada said in an interview. "The Church in Quebec has no power anymore."

This is equally true everywhere. Remember the days when Henry IV would walk around out in the snow doing penance until St. Gregory VII absolved him? The Church has no power anymore and the State has forsaken God. No wonder things are so crappy around the world right now. Nobody wants to bring it up because we are far too wedded to the idea of compartmentalizing the Faith away from politics. Of course, it's probably not that far off when ideas like the Social Kingship of Christ will be classed as sedition anyway.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

So I Was Watching Jack Van Impe

It's come up a few times here that I watch Jack Van Impe. So sue me.

About a week ago, my wife and I were tuned in to see him and Rexella go off on a completely unexpected tangent. Like he's been doing for the last couple of decades, Jack was letting us know that we are in the End Times and that Jesus is coming back soon. Pretty typical stuff, complete with Bible verses interspersed every 3 words or so.

Then he shifted gears.

All of a sudden, he brings up the Prophecies of St. Malachy. He starts talking about how we're down to one more pope. Jack goes nuts talking about the rise of Peter the Roman.

Aside- Peter the Roman is often referred to as the last pope in the above-mentioned prophecies. It says:

During the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church, the seat will be occupied by Peter the Roman, who will feed his sheep in many tribulations: and when these things are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the formidable Judge will judge His people.

Back to the regular program.

Anyways, Jack is blasting away that Peter the Roman is going to be an apostate and how all us Catholics best gear up for the long haul down the road to oblivion. He was even quoting Malachi Martin by the end of his shpiel.

Once I got over the initial shock of seeing Malachi Martin featured as a legit source by Jack Van Impe, I was left to wonder why the hell Jack is putting any stock in anything St. Malachy said (or allegedly said). More than that, why should give the remotest crap about anything that should refer to popes in the first place? Does he think that Venerable Pius XII was an "Angelic Pastor" or that Pius XI was of "Intrepid Faith."? How can Jack think that any pope is other than an apostate?

Yeah, I know. He was quite complimentary of JPII and has said good things about Catholicism throughout the life of his program, but geez. At some point, we have to look at each other honestly.

Thomas Merton

One of the things that never fails to surprise me is how influential Thomas Merton is. Honestly, I had never even heard of the guy until I made it to college. His work was required reading in some classes. More than that, there were a bunch of students who were actually picking up items like Zen and the Birds of Appetite and other books that I suppose I would describe as compilations or biographies.

Interested, I read The Seven Storey Mountain. I thought it was great. I'd later find out that this was his most read and least popular work among my fellows. I read some more Merton, then stopped. Anyone who has read a decent amount of Merton knows that he got into a bunch of weirdness later in life. That was enough for me. I was getting enough weirdness already (isn't that what college is all about?) and really didn't think I could take any more.

I bring this up after stumbling across this article by Donna Freitas. It's called "Why I Can't Forgive Thomas Merton." Those are pretty strong words, so I was intrigued. Anyways, she starts with this:

Like every other grad student who studies religion, in particular Catholicism and its spiritual traditions, I had romantic notions about the various and prolific writings of Thomas Merton and what wisdom of his awaited me. Merton is so beloved. People just adore him. I couldn't wait to offer my share of the adoration.

This was precisely my experience, which is why Merton's later weirdness was so striking. People quoted him like he was the Catechism. When you're experimenting with all these erroneous religious beliefs like he was, having that much influence over people so many decades after death is scary.

Ms. Freitas never even got to the weirdness, though:

But before I could even pick up "The Seven Storey Mountain" I learned of Merton's love affair with the woman he calls M. from his journal "Learning to Love," published posthumously in 1998. I learned of the poetry he wrote for her. That they met when he was convalescing in the hospital and that M. was his nurse. That he felt so passionately about M. that he contemplated leaving his life of celibacy and solitude to be with her. That they were sexually intimate, though they never "consummated" their relationship.

This is a famous incident from Merton's life which is treated in different lights by his supporters. Some are embarrassed by it and try not to bring it up. Sadly, others actually praise him for this. After all, nothing beats a good old priest-parishioner affair to show the glorious liberation from Catholic oppression.

Here's where Ms. Freitas's unforgivingness sets in:

But the combination of Merton's disregard of his vow of celibacy and learning M's age has truly colored my opinion of him ever since. M. was in her early twenties and Merton in his fifties, with almost three decades between them. She was practically a girl and he almost an old man. I can't seem to get this business enough out of my head to read Merton like the brilliant intellectual and writer I once imagined him to be.

I can't forgive him.

I can't forgive Merton for having this affair because she was so young and he so old and supposedly a celibate man and a powerful, famous one.

Strong stuff. And why? Where does this come from? Well, the first thing she does is tie it to the current sex scandal in the Church. This is coupled with some direct quotes from Merton where he refers to the relationship as "a gorgeous game" that he is "playing." She sets up her final unforgiving declaration by saying that:

And I think, once you read some of the things that Merton said about M and in response to his confusion about the affair, it's difficult to feel sympathy for him. He said such disturbing things, after all.

Here's the deal as I see it. Merton's saying disturbing things is why he's so adored in the first place. He's presented as a theological rebel, upholding all the syncretist and indifferentist values that are trumpeted by the modern world. That's why most folks read him and why they don't like The Seven Storey Mountain, as those elements are notably absent. I find it very significant that Ms. Freitas does not seem one bit disturbed by Merton's quotes that have led people to consider abandoning the Faith.

The biggest thing here, though, is the declaration of unforgiveness. I'm not saying that Merton is a saint or anything, but geez, there have been plenty of saints who did a whole lot worse than him. We all know that St. Augustine was shacking up for a while before his conversion. Henry II made St. Thomas Becket an archbishop precisely because he felt his character would make him a good pawn. Blessed Bartolo Longo was a Satanic priest, for crying out loud.

I guess my point is that making statements about being unwilling to forgive is dangerous and a potential cause for scandal. I don't know where Thomas Merton is right now. Frankly, just speculating on such things is unhealthy for me. I'm way too judgmental as it is.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pop Culture Update


Mr. Eko got screwed.
The finale sucked. And it was indifferentist crap.

American Idol:

Does it even deserve commentary? Except perhaps to show that our nation's ability to discern quality in anything must be at an all-time low.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Did You Pray For The Church In China Today?

The Pope asked for you to.

Dear Pastors and all the faithful, the date 24 May could in the future become an occasion for the Catholics of the whole world to be united in prayer with the Church which is in China. This day is dedicated to the liturgical memorial of Our Lady, Help of Christians, who is venerated with great devotion at the Marian Shrine of Sheshan in Shanghai.

I would like that date to be kept by you as a day of prayer for the Church in China. I encourage you to celebrate it by renewing your communion of faith in Jesus our Lord and of faithfulness to the Pope, and by praying that the unity among you may become ever deeper and more visible. I remind you, moreover, of the commandment that Jesus gave us, to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us, as well as the invitation of the Apostle Saint Paul: "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way. This is good, and it is acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim 2:1-4).

On that same day, the Catholics of the whole world – in particular those who are of Chinese origin – will demonstrate their fraternal solidarity and solicitude for you, asking the Lord of history for the gift of perseverance in witness, in the certainty that your sufferings past and present for the Holy Name of Jesus and your intrepid loyalty to his Vicar on earth will be rewarded, even if at times everything can seem a failure.

Our Lady of Sheshan, intercede for your persecuted children in China.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Now That The Voting Is Over

Let me say that I'm surprised that Brave New World came out the winner. Sure, there were only 7 votes, but for me, Logan's Run is the clear winner. I agree that we're pretty much already at the level of folks wandering around with no other purpose than to eat, drink, bang, and be merry. The divergence between the two images of the future, though, is the level of toleration granted to the non-conforming.

Personally, I think we're all screwed in the long term. There aren't going to be "reservations" for the folks who don't fall in line with modernity. We (and I use the term for the like-minded, since I grant that I might not be here to see it) will be left for the Sandmen to exterminate.

If this sounds grim, that's because it is. It's also what should be expected from the End of Days (whenever that is; again, don't take this as a prediction of something imminent). As crappy as Brave New World might be. It's going to be roses and rainbows compared to the reality.

Yeah, I've had a bad couple of weeks. Maybe that's coloring this post a little. Maybe I've been watching too much of the news. I'm honest that I could be biased right now. I'm willing to entertain scenarios that the three possibilities that were the subject of the poll are off-base. Anybody want to give that a shot?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hooray! We're Back!

And in appreciation for all those who stuck with us during our down time, I hereby present the funniest thing I've seen in quite a while. Yes, even funnier than the Oscar trailer:

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Sincerest Apologies For The Lack Of Updates

My computer has been assailed by some really nasty crap. We're working on it and hope to be back to normal soon.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Is It Warm In Here, Or Is It Just The Coptic Bishop With The Blowtorch?

Holy smokes. Check out these quotes from Bishop Anba Suriel, a Coptic bishop who was invited as an observer to a meeting of the Anglican Global South to South Encounter meeting. Let's hit the highlights as reported by VirtueOnline.

On modernity:

I want to share with you a saying of Saint Anthony the Great, the father of monasticism. This great Egyptian saint said, "There will come a day when the mad people will look at the normal people and say, 'Look at these mad people because they are not like us.'" I think this prophecy has been fulfilled in our day and age. Abnormality has become the new normality. Certain factions of the Christian Church are becoming desensitized to the truth of the Gospel. I call it the frog in the kettle syndrome.

If you place a frog in a kettle at room temperature the frog will be comfortable, if you raise the temperature slightly, the frog will quickly adapt. If you continue to raise the temperature very gradually the frog will continue to adapt to its new environment until finally the water is boiling and the frog is fried inside the kettle and loses its life. This is what today's Post Modern society is doing; it is pushing the limit of immorality further and further till it tries to make some lose their spiritual life and die.

I wish more Catholic bishops spoke that like.

On Gene Robinson:

He was a married man and had two daughters. He divorced his wife and left his daughters to live this unthinkable life of abomination. Is this the holiness and perfection and the image and likeness of God? How then can such a person be ordained to the highest level of authority in a Church, the episcopate? What example does he give to young people, what long term effects will such a decision by The Episcopal Church USA (TEC) have on the North American Episcopalians in generations to come?

Holy smokes.

On John Shelby Spong:

Today's heresy often becomes tomorrow's orthodoxy. Well, let me say the orthodoxy of God will never allow for these heresies.

That is why TEC allows a heretic like Bishop Spong to promulgate his poison all over the world and publish books advocating a cocktail of heresies ranging from denying the divinity of Christ to a complete and shocking attack on the inspired Word of God. And yet at the same time they depose an orthodox Episcopal bishop for upholding the true faith of the Scriptures that marriage is between one man and one woman... I cannot even begin to get comprehend that.

Am I the only one shocked to see him refer to Spong and Robinson as actual bishops? Do the Copts actually recognize the validity of Anglican orders? If so, it would be (for me) the most shocking part of this.

On ecclesiology:

Perhaps if some studies can be made, historical studies on the conciliar nature of the church and to see it from the Orthodox perspective may be helpful to you in setting up a viable structure for the Anglican Global South.

No, no, no. Let me wag my finger at this one. Pope Benedict already beat you to the punch here.

Haven't seen words this strong in a while, though. Can you imagine if a Catholic bishop had said such things? It would have been a media day massacre.