Monday, May 28, 2012

If The Vatican Was A Nelson DeMille Novel

If we are to believe this latest report, then that's basically what is going on. If this guy is right, then a lot of the other stuff that has been coming out about Cardinal Bertone and his contingent amongst the Curia is true. And if it's true, then the stakes are astronomically high for reasons I'll go into at the end.

Who are the Vatican whistleblowers? "There isn't just one brain behind the operation, there are several. There are cardinals, private secretaries, monsignors and the small fry. Men and women, priests and laypeople. The whistleblowers even include cardinals. But the Vatican Secretary of State cannot admit that and has the small fry arrested, like "Paoletto" (as Paolo Gabriele is affectionately known), the Pope's valet. Who has got nothing to do with it apart from having passed on some letters."

A suburb in the north of Rome, a table in a bar, traffic passing by. It is lunchtime on a now limpid Sunday morning and one of those behind the flow of confidential letters from the Holy See 1 is explaining how the operation works.

"Those doing it are acting to protect the Pope."

The Pope? Why?
"Because the whistleblower - or rather whistleblowers, because there are more than one of them - want to reveal the corruption inside the church in recent years, since 2009-2010."

Who are they? Who are you?
"There are those opposed to the Secretary of State, Tarcisio Bertone. And those who think that Benedict XVI is too weak to lead the church. And those who think that this is the time to step forward. So it's become everyone against everyone else. It's war and you no longer know which side anyone is on."


How did the leaks from the Vatican start? 
"Out of fear that the power accumulated by the Secretary of State was not in the interest of others in the Vatican." 

But is money also involved?
A hand runs through the hair, eyes look around, fingers torment a ring. "Money is always involved. There are also economic interests in the Holy See. In 2009-2010 some cardinals began to sense a loss of central control: partly from attempts to restrict the freedom of the inquiry that Monsignor Carlo Maria Viganò was running against corruption, partly because of the Pope's gradual detachment from internal matters." 


What happened then? 
Viganò wrote to the Pope denouncing cases of corruption. He asked for help, but the Pope couldn't do anything. He couldn't do anything because it would create an open rift with his right-hand man. In order to keep the Church united he sacrificed Viganò. Or rather, pretended to sacrifice him, because, as you know, the nuncio in Washington (where Viganò was sent) is the most important. So the Cardinals realised that the Pope was weak and sought protection from Bertone." 

What did the Pope do then? 
"The Pope realised that he had to protect himself. He summoned five people he knew he could trust, four men and one woman. The so-called rapporteurs, Benedict's secret agents. The Pope asked these people for advice, giving everyone a role, with the woman coordinating all five."

Make sure you read the rest. The Windswept House/Keys of This Blood comparisons continue, right up to the point of having the intrigues focused on the Secretary of State's office. Some of the guy's story didn't make much sense to me. I couldn't figure out if he was claiming the Pope was behind the leaks or not. I certainly hope that nobody would be arrogant enough to embark on a mission like this with the intention to force the Pope into some kind of action. That is just about as dangerous as the allegations against Cardinal Bertone.

All that being said, consider the stated goal. What's being plotted is the Pope's de facto abdication. He'd be about as much use as an English monarch. Or Rowan, for that matter. How much would the enemies of the Church love that? The effect just here in America would be huge. If the Vicar of Christ, for whatever reason, suddenly stopped making such strong stands on the moral decline of the world, would the bishops beneath him be able to maintain their strength and cohesiveness against the current assaults by the government? I doubt it very much. And that's just here.

And so we renew our request that everyone here please pray for the Pope. This is all that sifting of wheat stuff. The brethren must be strengthened and there's only one guy who has that job.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Word On Pentecost

Well, not so much on Pentecost itself, maybe. More on the charismatic movement and the perception of Pentecost these days. Let me say as a qualifier that just about everyone I've met with any sort of involvement in the charismatic movement has creeped me out. This is just anecdotal, but what I've found is an incredible lack of respect for the sacraments and the nature of revealed Truth. If I had a nickel for every time such a person has just so happened to get a "word" from the Holy Spirit that is utterly contrary to defined teaching, I could probably balance the national budget all by myself.

Anyways, one of the things that seems to come up a lot is a lot of prayers for what I would call extraordinary manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Typically, this is the whole "speaking in tongues" thing. Keep in mind that this isn't the speaking in tongues of Pentecost itself. That was the phenomenon of speaking something and everyone understanding regardless of what their normal ability to comprehend might be. What the charismatic movement seeks is speaking in "angelic tongues," which is sort of the opposite of Pentecost, since the speaker, who normally speaks in a discernible language, then speaks in what the masses comprehend as gibberish.

For the purposes of this post, let's put aside whether or not what you might think of the glossolalia phenomenon or whether it's usual exercise in these congregations abides by St. Paul's directives in 1 Corinthians 14. Let's consider the counsel of people already in heaven for a moment. The following is taken from St.Vincent Ferrer's Treatise on the Spiritual Life. I'm taking his word for this because, if anybody had experience with the whole speaking in tongues deal, it was St. Vincent. He regularly spoke to diverse crowds that all understood him in their own languages. With that in mind, consider his opinion of spiritual gifts:

The first remedy against the spiritual temptations which the devil plants in the hearts of many persons in these unhappy times is to have no desire to procure by prayer, meditation, or any other good work, what are called revelations, or spiritual experiences, beyond what happens in the ordinary course of things; such a desire of things which surpass the common order can have no other root or foundation but pride, presumption, a vain curiosity in what regards the things of God, and, in short, an exceedingly weak faith.

These are pretty strong words, and such sentiments are not uncommon among the blessed. For example, St. John of the Cross spends a whole chapter in the Ascent of Mount Carmel warning against people getting caught up in this kind of stuff. So how did we get from something that probably could be classed as the common teaching of the Church to the kind of free-for-all services that seem to be entirely devoted to invoking these sorts of events?

I think St. Vincent probably hits the nail on the head when he talks about pride. People seem absolutely convinced that they can't be deceived, either by themselves or The Adversary. This is a bit scary for me since the charismatic movement is kind of a big deal around here. I'm not saying there aren't good people or good Catholics involved with the movement. It's just that I always get the mental image of playing with matches when the subject comes up.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Militia Est Vita Hominis Super Terram

Life in the Curia, too, apparently. It's just one more update on the long knives coming out behind the scenes at the Vatican. This new book coming out is apparently going to air a lot of the dirty laundry, especially as it pertains to the Secretariat of State. One more thing to distract Pope Benedict and try to throw him off. Oddly enough, all this reminds me of a recent comment from Bishop Fellay quoting the Holy Father:

To use the words of the Pope that describe the situation quite well: 'I know,' he said, 'that it would be easier both for the Society and for myself to leave the situation as it currently is.'

Yeah, I think that sums it all up pretty well. The current Successor of Peter probably would have had a much easier reign if he would have left a lot of the problems he's tackled alone. Lucky for us, he opted to take up the Cross.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

You Just Freaking Can't Make This Up

Hans Kung- Sedevacantist

It's like something from a Catholic version of The Onion or The Weekly World News. It's actually from Rorate, and it probably means that Kung's absurdity has reached it's pinnacle. Other than streaking down the road and claiming to be Napoleon or something, I can't see him topping this one. Let's take a look at this latest bit of bad comedy:

The pope would be including in the Church bishops and priests that are definitely invalidly ordained. According to the Apostolic Constitution of Pope Paul VI "Pontificalis Romani recognitio", of July 18, 1968, the ordination of bishops and priests by Archbishop Lefebvre is not only illegal but also invalid. This view is shared among others by a relevant member of the "Doctrinal Commission", Karl Josef Becker, SJ, now a cardinal.

As Rorate points out, this is simply stupid and most likely a lie. Unless, of course, Cardinal Becker went completely insane in the last little while.

With such a scandalous decision, Pope Benedict would, in his overall regretted isolation, be even more separated from the People of God. The classical doctrine regarding schism should be a warning to him.

When was the last time Kung referenced the "classical doctrine" on anything? This one segment alone is like something from a theological version of MAD Magazine.

According to it, a schism of the Church happens when there is separation from the Pope, but also when the latter separates himself from the body of the Church. "Even the Pope could become a schismatic, if he will not guard the unity and communion proper to the whole body of the Church." (Francisco Suárez, major Spanish theologian of the 16th/17th centuries).

Holy smokes. Now Kung is quoting from one of the most prominent Thomists in the history of the Church. One  wonders why guys like Suarez are so reliable on this topic, yet Hans is willing to completely ignore them on, oh, just about everything else.

A schismatic pope loses his position according to that same teaching of the constitution of the Church. At least, he cannot expect obedience.

That's alright, Hans. I'm pretty sure Pope Benedict gave up on any expectations for your obedience a few decades ago.

Pope Benedict would be therefore encouraging the already widespread popular movement of "disobedience" against a hierarchy that is disobedient to the Gospel.

Wait a minute. If the hierarchy is already disobeying the Gospel, then aren't the people being disobedient to the hierarchy following the Gospel? If that's the case, shouldn't we rejoice over Pope Benedict fanning the flames of this disobedience to the disobedience of the Gospel?

Aren't there people who claim that Kung is some kind of genius? Other than  himself, I mean.

Instead of reconciling with the ultra-conservative, anti-democratic, and anti-Semitic SSPX, the Pope should rather care about the majority of reform-minded Catholics and reconcile with the churches of the Reformation and the entire ecumenical movement.

This point is really just an aside and the typical Kungian suck-up to faux ecumenism. However, I'm actually kind of happy he said this, as it's a not uncommon sentiment. The Holy Father actually brought it up in his 2009 letter on the SSPX issue. What unity is there to be had with the Reformed groups who don't even have a principle of unity to work from? There isn't a Pope of Wittenberg to have discussions with. Pope Benedict is working on the unity of THE CHURCH and making sure that this kind of situation  with the SSPX doesn't turn into a schism. Working piecemeal with Lutherans, Calvinists, etc. is a logistical impossibility, so why even bother?

Back to the main point, though, should we count this as some kind of sign the Apocalypse is upon us? I would suggest that somebody turn this into a weekly satire column, but nothing could ever top this entry. Let's just pray that Hans realizes just how ludicrous he's gotten over the years and repents of all the mischief he's wrought during that time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Why Should Eastern Priests Have To Be Celibate?

I maintain that this is one of the absolute dumbest moves on the part of the Curia. I'm not sure I recall any pope from the last two centuries (or even before then) being in favor of such bone-headed terms. Every Holy Father who has spoken on the topic has condemned this kind of stuff. Part of me wonders if this is just one more move of sabotage against the Holy Father at such a critical time in his pontificate. This is something that just needs to go the hell away, as Karl commented at this post.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

ND Has Sued Over The HHS Mandate

News came out yesterday. There's been a good bit of exultation over this among alums. I'm not entirely sure why. This reminds me of an old Chris Rock routine (WARNING: HIGHLY INAPPROPRIATE LANGUAGE AT THE LINK) where he chastises people for trying to be praised for stuff they are naturally SUPPOSED to do.

Fr. Jenkins, of course, hasn't apologized for the damage wrought by his previous poor decision making. That being said, his statement on the lawsuit is a remarkable about-face from the "secular common good" nonsense that he was spewing in his intro for the President. Maybe he even believes it (even though he appears to make contraception out to be a matter of conscience than a mortal sin; the statement would have been fine without such commentary). For me, though, this isn't something that deserves praise any more than a guy not going to jail or taking care of his kids.

If Fr. Jenkins opts for the Henry II route of penance for his prior actions, then perhaps there might be a reason for some kudos.

Monday, May 21, 2012

How Long, Lord?

I don't even have words for this:

A British citizen has been arrested in Bangkok on suspicion of smuggling human infant corpses for use in black magic rituals after the bodies of six babies were found in a suitcase in a hotel room, Thai police have said. 

Chow Hok Kuen, 28, a British citizen born in Hong Kong of Taiwanese parents, was arrested in Bangkok's Chinatown and was being held for possession of human remains, according to reports. 

The bodies belonged to babies aged between two and seven months, Wiwat Kumchumnan, sub-division chief of the police's children and women protection unit, told Reuters, though other reports suggested they were aborted human foetuses rather than dead full-term babies. Photographs obtained by Reuters appeared to show corpses too small to have survived to term. 

Some of the remains had been covered in gold leaf, said police, apparently for use in black magic rituals.

I thought about maybe drawing the connection between this kind of stuff and embryonic stem-cells, but the horror of this whole situation made me decide to put that post off to another day.

Lord, have mercy.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Cristiada Is Upon Us!

Cristiada is a way cooler name, so that's what I'm calling it. Anyways, it will finally be here in just a couple of weeks (June 1). Check this web site to find out where it will be showing. Hopefully, you'll have better luck than me since I have to drive all the way to Baton Rouge to catch it.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

This Just In: Contraception Is Bad For The Environment

Of course, these reports have been coming out for a long time, so it's really nothing new. Interesting that we haven't seen any of the "environmental protection" groups target the birth control industry for this sort of thing. It would be pretty weird to hear a story about the ELF or someone similar targeting Yaz distributors or some such. Part of me wonders which phenomenon has more evidence: the destructiveness of the pill or global warming.

Anyways, Zenit is the latest source:

While its impact is still being widely studied, there is no doubt that the exposure is occurring: multiple international studies have documented elevated levels of natural and synthetic hormones in drinking water, and one such study conducted in France noted that progestins in particular were more resistant to removal by water treatment methods, compared with other types of pharmaceuticals (3). 

Due to the accumulation of synthetic steroids in water, much of the research conducted on its impact has been done using water-dwelling vertebrates such as fish and frogs. An ever-increasing collection of studies report harmful effects of these hormones on aquatic vertebrates, particularly with regard to their reproduction, as would be predicted given the nature of the contaminants (4). One study focused on the effects of exposure to the progestin Levonorgestrel (LNG) on the frog Xenopus tropicalis. While the male reproductive system did not appear to be impaired, female tadpoles exhibited severe defects in the development of their ovaries and oviducts, rendering them sterile (5). 

While studies such as these cannot be taken as a direct assessment of the impact of environmental EDCs on humans, they do have certain advantages: the capability of controlling for the duration and concentration of exposure, and the fact that these animals’ life cycles are much shorter than those of humans, thus enabling multigenerational studies in far less time. Like the proverbial “canary in the coal mine,” animal studies can serve as early indicators of environmental conditions that may prove harmful to humans and direct our attention toward seemingly innocuous substances we encounter in the air we breathe, the food we eat, and, as in this case, our water supply. However, the effects of EDCs are not limited to water-dwelling frogs: female sterility resulting from early exposure to progestins has been reported in studies involving rats and mice, whose mammalian reproductive systems more closely resemble those of humans (6). The female reproductive system undergoes many key developmental changes in the early stages of life, and these changes are dependent on endocrine signaling events that are sensitive to contaminating environmental hormone exposure. A series of studies by a group at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have demonstrated that mice exposed to phytoestrogens – plant estrogens such as those found in soy products – at key developmental time points exhibited impaired fertility (7). In contrast to mice, in which the critical period of time is during the neonatal period, the human female reproductive tract is undergoing development from prior to birth through adolescence. Therefore, it is necessary to evaluate the risk of exposure to EDCs across a broader window of time, beginning in the womb.

Go ahead and read the whole thing. It returns us to a point we made a couple of months ago. What kind of story would it take to get people to stop taking the pill? Environmental catastrophe? Sudden, instant, immediate death? Or nothing.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Big Honking Deal

Take a look at this from Fr. Z:

The Archbishop of Colombo, Albert Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith Patabedinge would be ready to entrust the management and training of the seminarians of his Archdiocese to the SSPX. Such a step, according to the Cardinal would be possible if the SSPX is accepted and canonically erected. The The Cardinal expects this project to improve training of future priests. The reports come from the Roman Rite website Messa in latino.  

The District Superior of the SSPX in the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg, Father Benoît Waillez made this known in a sermon last Sunday. He stressed that the motives, concerns and arguments of tradition begin to spread in the Catholic Church. 

Cardinal Ranjith Patabedinge was appointed by the Pope as Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments of the Roman Curia. Since June 2009 he is the Archbishop of Colombo in Sri Lanka and was made Cardinal in November 2010.

A Cardinal talking about having the SSPX run his seminary? Would this have even been an item of speculation a year ago, much less 1988? If anything, this is hopefully a sign to the SSPX that they do have people who would stick up for them upon their regularization. Cardinal Ranjith is a guy who probably isn't the sort to have just been joking (if the story is actually true, of course).

Keep praying for a positive conclusion to this matter.

Monday, May 14, 2012

There Is Nothing Wrong With The Society Of Jesus

Ask any Jesuit. He'll be more than happy to tell you that all is well. Or any person affiliated with a Jesuit school or other institution. Everything is fine, and the Society is just as strong, vibrant, and orthodox as it was in the days of Ignatius, Canisius, Bellarmine, etc. Things are perfectly ok and nobody can say otherwise. So feel free to ignore the following from CWN:

Three theologians who teach at Jesuit institutions--Paul Lakeland of Fairfield University, Daniel Maguire of Marquette University, and Frank Parella of Santa Clara University--blasted the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for its opposition to same-sex marriage.

“[Cardinal Timothy] Dolan and the United States Catholic Conference are misrepresenting ‘Catholic teaching,’ and are trying to present their idiosyncratic minority view as the ‘Catholic position,’ and it is not,” said Maguire in an e-mail. “The bishops will stand with Dolan and the US Catholic Conference, but on this issue, they are in moral schism since most in the Church have moved on [to] a more humane view on the rights of those whom God has made gay.”

There's more at the article, but I'm not going to bother reproducing it here. There's no need because we all know that there's nothing wrong with the Society. It's merely a coincidence that these are theologians from Jesuit institutions. So what if these guys just essentially declared the entire USCCB to be in some sort of theologically fabricated schism? They are Jesuits, so things must be ok.

Remain calm. All is well.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Anglican Ecumenism

ARCIC (Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission) has wrapped up another meeting! How momentously earth-shattering! The world of theology no doubt is simply aquiver with all of the brilliant doctrinal apologetic and exposition that will be unleashed from this most recent confabulation.

Or maybe nobody will care.

I'm betting on the latter option.

In case you've never heard of this before, ARCIC is an ecumenical meeting between Anglicans and Catholics that has about as much use as surgically grafting mammaries onto a boar hog. We've discussed it before here and here. Per the Zenit article, the current mission is as follows:

The group was charged with considering the Church as communion, local and universal, and how in communion the local and universal Church comes to discern right ethical teaching. They were also asked to examine how commitment to restoring full visible unity is to be understood and pursued today. The ARCIC is also preparing case studies regarding theological matters on differing issues such as divorce, remarriage, and contraception. They also will set out to discuss evolving issues such as the economy and the theology of work.

I'm sure, dear readers, that your adrenaline peaks just by thinking of what grand fruits will be brought forth from these labors. Here's my favorite part, though:

The ecumenical commission has made it clear that they do not intend to seek to resolve disputed ethical questions. Rather, its purpose is to “analyze the means by which our two traditions have arrived at or are currently determining right ethical teaching.”

Ok. How about I save everyone a lot of time and money and just get that question out of the way right now? Here's how the respective traditions have arrived at and currently determine right ethical thinking.



Do we really need to have meetings to understand this?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Re: Lord Of The Dance

I wouldn't have thought this post necessary, but my recent experience at a funeral suggests otherwise. Please heed the following items, as they are not controversial in the least. Rather, they are statements of absolute, irrefutable fact.

1.    Lord of the Dance is one of the worst songs ever written.

2.    When we say this, we are not limiting "songs ever written" to merely those of the Christian bent. It is one of the worst songs of all the songs of any genre of any time period in the history of the world.

3.    It's worst-ness is exacerbated by several orders of magnitude when it is performed at a Catholic funeral as the coffin departs the church for transport to the burial site.

I daresay that not having this song performed at my own funeral is a greater reason to draw up a last will and testament than having an appropriate division of my property.

I Never Thought I'd See The Day

Bishop Fellay speaking to the CNS? The journalistic arm of the USCCB? Holy Smokes.

Naturally, it's a shpiel that is full of prudence and caution.  He's got to be pretty careful now, I think, what with all this stuff flying about regarding these letters. His words are weighted with a lot of care.  Even moreso, though, there is hope.

"There are some discrepancies in the society," Bishop Fellay told CNS. "I cannot exclude that there might be a split."

But the bishop defended his generally favorable stance toward the Vatican's offer against the objections of his peers. "I think that the move of the Holy Father -- because it really comes from him -- is genuine. There doesn't seem to be any trap," he said.

"So we have to look into it very closely and if possible move ahead." He cautioned, however, that the two sides still have not arrived at an agreement, and that unspecified guarantees from the Vatican are still pending. He said the guarantees are related to the society's traditional liturgical practices and teachings, among other areas.

"The thing is not yet done," the bishop said. "We need some reasonable understanding that the proposed structure and conditions are workable. We are not going to do suicide there, that's very clear." Bishop Fellay insisted the impetus for a resolution comes from Pope Benedict XVI. "Personally, I would have wished to wait for some more time to see things clearer," he said, "but once again it really appears that the Holy Father wants it to happen now."

This is all very nice, but let's skip down to the most important statement of the whole talk:

Although he stopped short of endorsing Pope Benedict's interpretation of Vatican II as essentially in continuity with the church's tradition -- a position which many in the society have vocally disputed -- Bishop Fellay spoke about the idea in strikingly sympathetic terms. 

"I would hope so," he said, when asked if Vatican II itself belongs to Catholic tradition.

"The pope says that ... the council must be put within the great tradition of the church, must be understood in accordance with it. These are statements we fully agree with, totally, absolutely," the bishop said. "The problem might be in the application, that is: is what happens really in coherence or in harmony with tradition?"

That's a pretty huge deal considering some of the comments that have gone before. At the close of the article, he mentions how it's not just the SSPX who works to defend the Faith. The Pope does so as well since that's his job. It's also every other Catholic's job as well, so please pray for the success of the Holy Father's (and Bishop Fellay's) efforts in this endeavor.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fr. Z Must Read This Blog

He seems to be swiping our keys for understanding Nancy Pelosi.

A reporter asked Pelosi: “Many of the people that are opposed to gay marriage cite their religion as the reason why they’re opposed. You’re a Catholic that supports gay marriage. Do you believe that religion and the idea that you can support gay marriage can be separated? And how do you grapple with the idea that you support gay marriage as a Catholic?” 

Pelosi responded: “My religion has, compels me–and I love it for it–to be against discrimination of any kind in our country, and I consider this a form of discrimination. I think it’s unconstitutional on top of that.”

I'd suggest looking at the whole write-up the good Father provides for this entry. He even has video available if you somehow doubt that Nan is stupid enough/insane enough/liar enough to make the above claims. This is a true shame.

The deeper question continues to rise though. As the enemies of Christ's Church become more and more bold in taking a stance adverse to the Church, when do the shepherds finally say that enough is enough? This step will take courage, so we should pray for them. As part of these prayers, I'd advise making friends with Archbishop Becket:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Short Note On The SSPX

First, we're going to refer everyone who is asking questions to this post on Rorate. Go ahead and read it, then come back here.

Everybody got that? Ok, now you can read the letter from Bishop Fellay here.

In brief, all I can say is that it looks like the SSPX isn't immune to the kinds of intrigues that are currently afflicting the Curia. Frankly, said intrigues are probably related. Lots of folks are terrified of an SSPX with a regularized canonical status. I wonder why that is. Aren't we supposed to rejoice over such things?

For what it's worth, I think +Fellay's letter is dead-on. There seems to be a creeping sedevacantism in the Society. More than that, and something that the Superior General doesn't spell out as explicitly, is the measuring stick of WWALD? What Would Archbishop Lefebvre do? All indications are that he would have taken a deal this sweet back in 1988.

More importantly, he'd probably remind everyone of the virtue of obedience and wonder at how/why the Superior General is being treated this way.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Joy Of Carmel

It is so wonderful to see things like this pop up on YouTube. God bless these wonderful sisters!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Re: The LCWR (aka What Does Heresy Look Like)

First off, I'm posting this to help out some folks who don't seem to understand why Pope Benedict is "going after a bunch of nuns" in the form of the LCWR

Second, to answer the question I posed in the title, it looks like this:

This is Sr. Brigid McDonald of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. Let's examine her comments:

MinnPost: What are you hearing in your community about the (Pope's) decision?

Sister Brigid McDonald: Well, some are shocked that he would go that far, you know, to start using his power. To me, it is a misuse of power, a misuse of authority where he can step into religious communities and dictate how they should speak about these issues.

Yeah, who does this guy think he is? The Pope or something?

MP: When you say “he,” you are talking about Benedict? 

SBM: Yes. I still call him Ratzinger. That fits him better. 

Not really heresy. Just hubris and disrespect hardly befitting one who takes a vow of obedience.

But that is just a personal bias. I think they are overstepping their jurisdiction to expect that nuns are going to think as they tell us to think. To me those issues are not spiritual issues; many of them are political issues and some, of course, are social justice issues. I think that our personal spiritual life, it is another matter and that is our private belief. I can't even begin to imagine what he could say or do that would change religious women's beliefs. I don't know how he plans to change that. That is of concern. That could be scary — what will he do to change our beliefs. You know, that scares me.

Sister, as a Catholic, let me say that there's not much that scares me more than you and those like you. Let's reflect a bit on these comments. She has just said that she and other women's religious will believe what they want to believe and think what they want to think. And that the Holy Father's efforts to change those things are "scary." If ever there was a case for a mass excomming, it's this right here. The scary things that popes used to do was just fire off an anathema and let it be known that these people had placed themselves outside the Church. The Sister here has been nice enough to reveal herself as not Catholic. Not content with leaving the Church, she now endeavors to destroy it by shattering the unity of Faith. And talks about it like that's a good thing!

MP: Can you speak a little bit more about that, the difference between changing your belief and silencing you, and where that line gets murky?

SBM: You are right, those are two different issues. If he wants us just to shut up about how we believe and don't put it out in public, that is one issue. Or if he is really trying to get us to make statements that are opposite of our beliefs, I don't know what his motivation is for this. Other than control, I don't know what his motivation is.

Perhaps he's motivated to try and keep your soul out of hell? Or the souls of those you might be misleading? Maybe?

I think it is pretty impossible for us to all change our beliefs on these issues to coincide with his beliefs. That sounds impossible.

Yeah, the Pope's beliefs are obviously the problem here.

MP: Can you tell me what you are hearing? Are people afraid?

SBM: It is interesting. The nuns that I talk to aren't really afraid, because they can't see or they can't imagine what he would do to change us. I mean, like, excommunication? That is a thing of the past. You can't excommunicate hundreds of nuns. Wouldn't that be kind of funny? Excommunicate the whole order! It is irrational. I don't know what other consequences there would be.

Sure, it would be freaking hilarious to have hundreds of nuns excommed. How can having that many heretics and schismatics forcibly cast out of the Church not be funny? It's just salvation that we're talking about here. That she speaks of it so lightly is very illuminating, I'm afraid. I will give SBM some credit here. She has summed up the major problem with the post-conciliar era quite well in her response.

Skipping down a bit:

Why is he picking old nuns? More than half of us are over 75. We are almost an endangered species now. If he is trying to really change the church, he should start at the level with youth and talk to youth groups or something like that.


Ok, Sister. Now that one WAS funny. There are almost too many jokes we could build just from this one paragraph. For readers who might not know the situation that well, here's a hint. Take a look at SBM's statistic. Then check out the stats from the Dominican Sisters of Mary as a counter-example.

MP: Somebody suggested to me that nuns in the past had enjoyed some latitude because you were thought to be powerless, and that in a strange way, this might be recognition that your ministry is powerful.

SBM: That is good insight. Because [before] we were just school teachers and we just had nice little kids in front of us, you know, and we just emptied bed pans in the nursing homes and in the hospitals. But now they are right, we are out there in the different movements. We help with the Occupy movement and the right-to-choice movements.

So you promote violent socialist movements and the murder of children? And you still wonder what the Holy Father's motivation is? Throughout her talk, by the way, see if you can find anything in her mission statements that involves holiness, salvation, and so forth.

MP: The other thing people have said is possibly dangerous about nuns is that you understand church teachings and can talk about the ways in which they might be being subverted or perverted.

SBM: Nuns [traditionally] haven't been educated in theology. There are more theologians now. We go to workshops and we are at schools and we are taking classes and people are going on for further degrees in theology and stuff like that. So, maybe that is a threat that we are getting educated, especially in theology. I see the bishops and priests don't get updated in theology. They are still back, for an expression, with Noah's ark. But, that is a point: People will ask our opinion of theological insight and possibly not ask Father anymore, you know. So, he might be losing his authority in theology particularly. We should get into cooking or something, I suppose he thinks.

Well, I guess that's that then. Somebody went to a workshop somewhere. Or took a class. How can there be any questioning the LCWR now? Somebody needs to check Pope Benedict's resume and see if he ever took a class or got a degree in anything.

This reminds me a lot of Fr. Zuhlsdorf's comments re: the Magisterium of Nuns. Notice how the question is phrased. SBM apparently understands Church teachings better than anyone else. So when the Church teaches about the authority of the Pope, she understands it to mean that the Pope has no such authority.

Weird how someone can be that smart.

MP: Who do you think will be hurt by this move?

SBM: I have a feeling women theologians who are partners with the nuns and some of our teachers in our schools will be really hurt. It will be a fear hurt and they may not feel free to speak out. I am suspicious of the motivation. I don't think it is for the common good. They are trying to get us back, bring us back, as it was in the beginning and now as it will ever be, amen, or something like that. They want us back in the habits and being obedient. You don't belong out here with social workers.

Don't you have to take vows and stuff on the whole obedience issue? And again, we see her impression of what a woman religious has as their mission. They are social workers.

MP: Do you think that it will work? 

SBM: I can't imagine it working. I think we are too wrapped up in the issues of the time. 

This from the same person who just admitted that they are an endangered species.

You can't just forget the common good and the people who are suffering right now. The more you are with those in pain, the more radical you become to overcome that pain. I don't think it is possible to go backwards. I really feel that Jesus would want us to go forward and to be out there where the people are in pain. I believe that about Jesus. I always say, Jesus never said worship me, he said follow me, so that is what I am trying to do. 

Let's hope that what is implied by this comment isn't what she actually means. Pray for this woman. Not to make light, but it's clear she probably doesn't have much time left. If we trust her to her words, heresy and schism are all over the place. Pray that she overcomes her pride and remembers that she did take a vow once.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Is "Cultural Modification" In The Liturgy Necessary?

I've never really understood a lot of the arguments in favor of radical liturgical changes for the purpose of evangelization. We see these kinds of things all the time, especially with stuff like liturgical dance. Is the Mass not enough simply as the Mass? An essentially unaltered TLM was sufficient to evangelize most of the world. I doubt the natives in South America would have been clamoring for some Aztec elements to be introduced into the Christian worship there. There are tragic instances like the Chinese Rites controversy, but that might have more to do with Pope Clement being somewhat undiplomatic in dealing with it than anything else.

As Exhibit A in this inquiry, I present the following from the New Liturgical Movement

I am always rather interested in showing images of the usus antiquior from outside the context of the usual North American and European venues; not because of any lack of interest in seeing these things from those venues, but instead out of a keen interest in showing the life of the usus antiquior in as broad as possible a spectrum. It was by way of Accion Liturgica that I came across the following images from the ICRSS showing the installation of a new parish priest in their parish of Notre Dame de Lourdes in Libreville, Gabon by Mgr. Basile Mvé Engone.

How wonderful!

I'm sure there are whackjobs aplenty who will decry this as some sort of Western cultural gentrification since there are probably not any native Latin speakers in the congregation. The fact that it's beautiful will be completely lost of such tooth-gnashers. Luckily, the folks actually at the Mass don't seem to mind all that much. There are more pictures at the link. Have a look.

Blessing Of Purses?

The hell is this?

(courtesy of Fr. Zuhlsdorf)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A John Paul II Follow-Up

Regarding our JPII post from a couple of days ago. In reading some of the comments, I recalled this entry from Boniface over at Unam Sanctam. Basically, he's noting how, all of sudden, some of the same folks who hated Blessed John Paul II just a few years ago now think he's all kinds of awesome. From Boniface's reckoning, this has nothing to do with the actual JPII and more to do with the actions of Pope Benedict. This kind of revision isn't anything new.

Read any popular account of Blessed John XXIII. Or any of our posts tagged with his name. The contemporary memory of Good  Pope John  has no basis in fact. If Pope John was reigning today, he would be considered a backwards-thinking, medieval-minded jerk, with no sensitivity at all to the teachings of Vatican II. All this would come as a great shock to the Holy Father, of course. That's all a shame, but it's all people know about him these days (ie- nothing).

Expect JPII to get the same treatment  over time. Especially if Pope Benedict keeps up his reform efforts and/or his successor is somebody like Cardinal Burke or Cardinal Ranjith.