Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Sabbath of all sabbaths!

So, why did God rest on the 7th day, at the beginning? For this day, today, Holy Saturday. From Matins according to the Byzantine rite:

 Today Thou dost keep holy the seventh day, which Thou hast blessed of old by resting from Thy works. Thou bringest all things into being and Thou makest all things new, observing the sabbath rest, my savior, and restoring Thy strength.

Jesus Christ our God rests. It's the completion of the work of creation, which will be renewed tonight when he comes forth from the tomb, on the 8th day. After the resurrection, it's a whole new ball game.

Friday, March 29, 2013

This Is Your Hour, And The Power Of Darkness

***The stained glass images below are used with the permission of Stained Glass, Inc. Thank you, Rachel!

Anyways, I was reading this post's caption passage from Luke 22 not long ago. You'd think that deicide is something so horrible that we'd never manage to pull something like that off again. Unfortunately, that seems to be exactly what is happening. God is gradually being uprooted from society bit by bit. Whether it's the Supreme Court debating on whether or not to legitimize homosexual relationships or schools banning the term Easter, it seems like there is a conscious effort to kill any notion of God and do so all in the name of the rights of man.

Which, of course, there is.

Does this look familiar?

It should because that's us on the left. We're basically washing our hands as Our Lord is abused by His enemies. Considering the current state of affairs, we should probably be praying a lot more? Are we? We should be fasting and doing penance? Are we?

I'm guessing not. We've gotten way to subservient to even do those things.

I hope we remember all this when it's our turn.

Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall put you to death: and you shall be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then shall many be scandalized: and shall betray one another: and shall hate one another.

The Mystical Body will be Crucified just as Our Lord's physical body was. What's happening now is just the warm-up. Maybe we'll see the days of Matthew 24; maybe we won't. That doesn't mean we shouldn't go about Our Lord's business in the interim. Fast. Pray. It's about souls. If our government enjoys facilitating damnation, then we should be praying for those in charge. Secular and ecclesiastical. 

Pray that we don't undergo the temptation because, one day, the Church is going to have the same experience as Peter:

Amen, amen I say to thee, when thou wast younger, thou didst gird thyself, and didst walk where thou wouldst. But when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and lead thee whither thou wouldst not.

See, the servant isn't greater than the Master. If this can happen to Jesus:

It can definitely happen to us. Then, man will exercise his "rights" to the utmost and declare victory over God. And we'll have a serious problem.

Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. the supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

CCC #775

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

All This Marriage Stuff

I've been busy, hence the lack of posting, but I have noticed something in the recent hijinks to redefine marriage.

Very quickly:

1. If homosexuals have a right to be married, where does this alleged right come from?

2. If the right comes from some sort of natural law argument, let's hear it.

3. If the right comes from the positive law, then it doesn't exist, since the positive law doesn't recognize it.
4. If the positive law SHOULD recognize it, then the argument seems to shift back to #2.

5. The entire effort to justify the re-definition of marriage based on #2 seems to be limited thus far to "The traditional definition of marriage is mean and bigoted."

6. To this point, the folks I know who favor the redefining of marriage are vehement in insisting that churches will not be pressured, coerced, etc. into "marrying" homosexuals. I consider this effort to be inevitable. Will those currently in denial recant and defend the Church? Or will societal views by that time be such that they won't care?

This last bit could play out in a number of ways, but I think going after tax exemptions might be the most efficient route.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Curial Reforming Dreaming

I'm throwing this out there just to make sure I beat the Holy Father to the punch. If'we're to believe the reports that internal reform is the big priority and that Pope Francis will soon be getting his hands on the secret report commissioned by his predecessor, there should be some big moves on the horizon. I'm not sure that Pope Francis will have much flexibility to sit on this stuff. Once the ax starts falling, the associates of the dearly departed will start to scramble and aim to make their own ousting that much more difficult.

With that being said, here's my exercise in absolute presumption as I assemble my Curial Dream Team. For the sake of brevity, I'm only dealing with the Congregations + the SecState.

And what about the all-important Secretary of State job? I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that both Cardinals Bertone and Sodano have been disasters. It's also pretty clear that both of those guys seem pretty terrified by Cardinal Scola, since the post-conclave reports have indicated that they were both doing their best to keep him from being elected. Cardinal Scola has never really been an inside-the-beltway guy for Curial affairs, and if Bertone/Sodano don't like him, that's good enough for me. Besides, a lot of the staffers in the Secretariat are Italian, so he wouldn't be completely alien to them. Cardinal Scola would therefore be my pick for the role of Stato.

Next, there's Dottrina, the prefect of the CDF. This is a big deal because it's not only for dealing with heretics but also with the SSPX and abuse cases. This is where I'd put Cardinal Burke. For one thing, he doesn't seem to be afraid of anybody. Next, he's the top guy on canon law. Unfortunately, a lot of these problems are going to have canon law issues tied to them, and there have been efforts to loophole around the current Code of Canon Law. Of course, that his orthodoxy is unimpeachable helps, too. Oh, and I'd call in Bishop Athanasius Schneider to be the CDF Secretary. Make him the doctrinal watch-dog and let Cardinal Burke work on the other issues.

This puts the top two positions in the Curia in the hands of guys who will be feared, which I think should be the #1 consideration for who gets picked.

Next up, Cardinal Ranjith gets drafted for the Congregation of Divine Worship. From all prior reports, the initial reason he left Rome was because the other Curia folks hated him, which now looks like a good reason to put him in a position of real authority. Cardinal Canizares Llovera can move over to Ecclesia Dei, where he'd probably be decently effective.

Here's a wild idea for the Congregation of the Eastern Churches. How about an Easterner? Hell, anybody but +Sandri or somebody else with his utter lack of respect for the job. I don't know who that would be, but I think serious consideration should be given to making Kiev a patriarchate, with Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk as the patriarch. We've screwed around with this issue and the Orthodox for long enough and basically left our Ukrainian brethren out on a limb without much support. Put him in charge of the Congregation, and let things go from there.

I think you could probably leave the Causes of Saints alone. Ditto with the Congregation for the Clergy, unless there's a better role out there for +Piacenza.

Right now, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz is over the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life. This is allegedly over the desire to have somebody with a less harsh tone than Cardinal Rode. Frankly, harsh tones are probably what are needed right now, so I'm going with Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne. He's Opus Dei and has a bad rap in the press for cracking down on liberation theologians. That's a good thing, though. He also doesn't have a lot of Curial ties, so he might not be beholden to anybody.

By most accounts, Cardinal Ouellet is a good guy for handling the Congregation of Bishops. I honestly don't know too much about how he's worked things out there. Since I can't really come up with an argument for why he should go, I have to think he should stay.

The Congregation for Catholic Education was a tough one. Considering what happened to the seminaries when nobody was minding the store, this position should be held by somebody fearless and unwilling to budge. Maybe Cardinal Caffarra. His orthodoxy is solid, and he'd keep a close watch on any doctrinal or moral aberrations that would try to surface among the next generation of priests. The problem here is that he is a bit on the old side, so I'm not sure if this might be something  he could handle.

Finally, there's the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. First off, I think there should be some clarity between this entity and the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. It looks like a lot of inefficiency and overlap there. Second, and I'm sure this will cause some gasps, but the Pontifical Councils for Interreligious Dialogue and for Promoting Christian Unity should be abolished, with all of their functions being reduced to the point of evangelization. I'm not sure I've seen any more wasteful expenditure of Church funds than on functions for these two groups. It's a bunch of prelates jet-setting around the world and accomplishing nothing except occasionally drafting documents that are scandalous to the Faith.

Ditch the whole concept of dialogue. Let's face it. When St. Francis went out to confront the Sultan, he wasn't going there to "dialogue" with him. He went to convert him and every other Muslim he could find.

For this job, I don't know who I'd take. For some reason, I look at Cardinal Sarah as possibly the guy who could pull this off. He's certainly dealt with all types given that (a) he's from Guinea and (b) he's been running Cor Unum. He comes across as staunch without being egotistical. It just seems like this is a job best left for a non-European since it means that he won't be as vulnerable to claims of "Western imperialists spreading a white man's religion among the noble savages" or to notions that he's "disconnected from the developing world" or whatever other such nonsense is out there. For the Western press that is always looking to make people of color into raging liberals, he would be the perfect foil.

Those are my picks. Where did I go wrong? Who do you think would be better. Please recall that these are who I would like to see in these jobs, not who I think will actually get tapped for them.

Rowan Is Good For Something!

He clocked Richard Dawkins in an atheist vs. theist debate at Cambridge as to whether or not religion has a place in modern society.

Granted, this isn't a huge accomplishment if you've ever seen Dawkins "debate" anyone. All he's good for is firing off one ad hominem after another.

Dawkins . . . put his argument forward with stronger rhetoric, referring to religion as a "cop-out", a "betrayal of the intellect and everything human that is good".

Labelling religion as "a phoney substitute for an explanation" both "redundant and irrelevant", Dawkins also referred to God as an "almighty knob-twiddler" - a comment which was met by laughter and applause from the student audience. The renowned scientist closed his speech with: "As the century goes by, religion has less and less place to exist. It's high time to send it packing."

You get the point. Even the students seemed to realize this. And what the hell is a knob-twiddler?

Some students voiced that Dawkins was in fact "the least intriguing speaker" at the debate.

The funny part in all this is that Dawkins, like a good many of his "new atheism" compadres, claims to represent intellectual values like logic and reason. When they are faced with an actual argument, though, all they have to fall back on are insults.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Re: Curial Reform

Pope Francis has re-appointed the Curial heads on a provisional basis. None of this is overly shocking. I will reiterate that whatever his final decisions are in this area will be the first real sign of where his priorities are and what can be expected of his pontificate.

An Interesting Thought From St. John Eudes (with an Edit)

This was referenced in a book I was reading, but no specific citation was given.

The most evident mark of God's anger, and the most terrible castigation He can inflict upon the world, is manifest when He permits His people to fall into the hands of a clergy who are more in name than in deed, priests who practice the cruelty of ravening wolves rather than the charity and affection of devoted shepherds. They abandon the things of God to devote themselves to the things of the world and, in their saintly calling of holiness, they spend their time in profane and worldly pursuits. When God permits such things, it is a very positive proof that He is thoroughly angry with His people and is visiting His most dreadful wrath upon them.

It made me think that what we normally consider as a chastisement might come off radically different than our preconceived notions. A less dramatic punishment would be far more awful, as it would consist in basically abandoning us to our sins with no watchmen for our souls to give us warning of how far away we have fallen and what the appropriate measures are for correction.

At least with fire and brimstone raining out of the sky, we might be moved to repentance or acknowledgement of God's sovereignty. Bad priests and bishops, though? That would just be devastating.


Speaking of the above, John Allen is reporting that the story about Pope Francis and Cardinal Law is false. That's a shame. Thanks to George7622 for letting us know about this. Between this and some of the gleeful tweets from Cardinal Mahony, it looks like we'll have to wait a bit for any big moves. Which was expected, I might add.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Another Epic Event: Patriarch Bartholomew Will Be At The Papal Installation

Thanks to Karl for bringing this up. It looks like the first among Orthodox equals is going to show up for Pope Francis's formal installation ceremony. Given that this hasn't happened in a millennium or so, I'd say it's a pretty big deal.

We should probably say more than a few prayers for Patriarch Bartholomew and I mean aside from the ones we should be saying for the Orthodox to come back into the fold. I have a bad feeling that his attendance is going to be at great personal cost. Everything he's done seems to be met with hostility from the other Orthodox churches, especially Russia given that they see Constantinople as the only thing standing in their way of full-blown dominance in the East. He's going to get blasted for this. Maybe that will help make re-union possible. I'd imagine he's tired of being treated like crap all the time.

On another note, this is another reason why Orthodox ecclesiology doesn't work. Sure, they reject papal primacy, but they don't seem to have an idea of what the ecumenical patriarch's primacy is either. What does a first among equals actually do? From what I've seen of Bartholomew I's experience, he just gets yelled at a lot.

Friday, March 15, 2013

It's Been A Busy Few Days

Pope Francis has had a couple of pretty remarkable items for so early on in his pontificate.

First, I'd advise you to read his first homily. My favorite parts:

We can walk as much as we want, we can build many things, but if we do not profess Jesus Christ, things go wrong. We may become a charitable NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of the Lord.

This is a good thing to hear. Despite society's efforts to cast the Church as primarily a philanthropic organization, that's only a secondary matter. Salvation is what counts. Otherwise, we really are just a charitable NGO.

When we do not profess Jesus Christ, the saying of Léon Bloy comes to mind: "Anyone who does not pray to the Lord prays to the devil." When we do not profess Jesus Christ, we profess the worldliness of the devil, a demonic worldliness.

Which is basically what the Psalms and St. Paul say. I can only hope that this will put a damper on interreligious nonsense. On a side note, I'm aware of a lot of criticisms of Pope Francis from his past. I'm not interested in entertaining those here anymore than I wanted to delve into comments from Cardinal Ratzinger's history that I thought were weird.

This Gospel continues with a situation of a particular kind. The same Peter who professed Jesus Christ, now says to him: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. I will follow you, but let us not speak of the Cross. That has nothing to do with it. I will follow you on other terms, but without the Cross. When we journey without the Cross, when we build without the Cross, when we profess Christ without the Cross, we are not disciples of the Lord, we are worldly: we may be bishops, priests, cardinals, popes, but not disciples of the Lord.

Not that there was ever any chance of this, but it's good to see that we don't have Pope Prosperity Gospel. We need to hear more about suffering and the Cross.

Second, Pope Francis apparently had an encounter with Cardinal Law. The first reports I got about this basically just said that they had a brief, but cordial, meeting. This brought down the wrath of SNAP, who I've found only have limited credibility anyway. However, later on I started getting stuff in that told a very different story. Instead of exchanging pleasantries, Pope Francis pulled a Don Corleone.

So when the appearance of a disgraced cardinal threatened to cast a shadow over his first engagement, Francis I made sure it couldn’t happen again - by banning him from his own church.

Cardinal Bernard Law resigned as Archbishop of Boston in 2002, after being accused of actively covering up for a litany of paedophile priests...'

So hearing that the new Pope was offering prayers at the very same church, it seems he couldn’t resist a discreet peak.

But when Pope Francis recognised him, he immediately ordered that Law be removed, according to Italian media reports. He went on to command: ‘He is not to come to this church any more.’

One of the new Pope’s first acts will be to arrange new ‘cloistered’ accommodation for the disgraced cardinal, the Italian daily, Il Fatto Quotidiano, reported.

The firm stance was greeted with cautious enthusiasm by campaigners for victims of sexual abuse. David Clohessey of Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests (SNAP) said: ‘If he is permanently banned we are slightly encouraged.

Given Mr. Clohessey's comments there at the end, I'm assuming the story is legit. Which is good. It's probably too much to hope for an act of formal degradation or the Henry II treatment (the Fredo solution is probably out of the question entirely)

Finally, on a sort of smaller note, Tancred is hoping some reports that Pope Francis has the tiara on his coat of arms are true. It's probably a "fanciful aspiration" as he calls it, but I've gotten a couple of indications on that aside from his post and the Coulombe citations are legit. If it means anything, the Vatican's web site has the tiara. Did it ever switch to the mitre?

I'll probably have a whole post dedicated to the tiara and the splendor of Catholic ritual in the next few days, but for right now, I suggest everyone read this bit from Fr. Zuhlsdorf's blog and consider that maybe St. Francis isn't the guy you see in Brother Sun, Sister Moon.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Didn't See That One Coming

Ok, ok, so it wasn't +Ranjith or +Burke. I'll survive and so will the Church.

But I definitely didn't expect Cardinal Bergoglio. Even if we'd known with certainty that he was the 2005 runner-up. Why so? For a few reasons:

1. He's a Jesuit.
2. He's from South America.
3. I know a couple of things about the Church in Argentina. Things aren't going so well. I didn't think they'd elect someone from a place where the Church was down so much. This was the big reason I didn't think +Schonborn would be elected.
4. If there was one thing I felt that was a certainty this time around, it was that the new pope wouldn't be over 75. Well, His Holiness (boy that feels weird to type) is 76, so that shows you how much I know.

On a side note, the first thing I thought when he walked out was "Wow, he looks just like Johnathan Pryce."

Anyways, lots of folks have been emailing and calling me for my reaction. As I said before, I was shocked. Now, I'm just confused, I guess. I'm not sure what to make of this pick.

First off, since the conclave was so short, it seems pretty fair to guess that he pulled a huge amount of votes from the get-go. He allegedly topped out at 40 in 2005, so he must have brought almost all those back with him. I'm not sure who rounded out his bloc, but more on that later.

Second, I'm not exactly sure how this helps things so much if we're really to believe that governance was the main driving issue. He's not really known as a Curia guy or an administrator of any sort. He's not a big-time theologian. He isn't a dynamic personality. He is known for great personal holiness and love for the poor, though. I don't know how that equates to a guy geared up to clean house nor has it done anything to reverse the Church's decline in Argentina.

Third, this almost seems like a repudiation of Pope Benedict. I'm not going to delve into specifics, but let's just say that the push on liturgical reform is probably dead. I hope very much that he will leave Summorum Pontificum alone. There is a chance that he will not.

Fourth, all the media types who were wanting women priests and birth control and homosexual marriages are probably not in the best mood right now. He's been pretty firm on all those.

Fifth, I still can't get past the second (age) thing. Pope Benedict resigned because whatever he saw in the future of the Petrine Office appeared to entail a lot of heavy lifting. We just recruited a 76 year-old guy with one lung to do said heavy lifting. On cleaning up the Curia, I don't know where he will land. I've always thought of Cardinal Bergoglio as an establishment type of guy who wasn't into making a lot of waves. I'm already seeing reports about his having a mandate to clean up the Curia.

Does he? Or are they the ones who elected him?

We must be honest and admit that we don't know. To go to Atticus's comment below, if he picks a heavy as SecState and likewise cans Archbishop Mueller and puts in a real enforcer at the CDF, you can bet that the purge is underway. If +Bertone is re-appointed or +Sodano re-installed as Secretary of State, or even +Sandri (who is also Argentinian, by the way), then we'll know that nothing is going to happen, and it will be left to the next pope to clean out the stables.

Do I have concerns? Sure, because I'm a weak-willed person who wants to know that everything is perfect. It isn't. Instead, I have to trust in Providence and pray for Pope Francis to guide the Church according to God's will. I ask that all of you do the same.

Swing And A Miss And An Observation

I've been hearing a lot of folks profess the need for "another John Paul II." Is this a widespread view? Even JPII himself said he was a less than ideal administrator for the Church. Given that a lot of our current problems are very much a product of poor administration, why do we need another mediocre pontiff in that role?

The reasoning I get is that we need another big, pastoral (whatever that means) presence that will bring in converts. Let me be frank by repeating something I said on another message board. The best evangelism tactic the Church could use right now is by electing a pope that will clean house and cast out all the abusers, heretics, and other corrupt persons that have been sabotaging the Church's mission. That will bring in (and back) more people than anything else.

Sometimes Machiavelli's advice should be heeded. It is occasionally better to be feared than loved. A pope who is feared now and does what should be done will be beloved for generations to come.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Strike One

Extra Omnes

Gregory The Great

In the 1962 calendar, it's the Feast of Pope St. Gregory the Great. I'll take that as a good sign.

Ora pro nobis.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Handicapping And Hope

I'm not a professional, so I'm not going to pretend that I know who is going to be the next Successor of Peter. I'll just continue to relay what other folks are saying. In the battle of what Rocco Palma has labeled as "The Curia vs. The World," most sources now have it as a race between Cardinals Scola (as the reformer) and Cardinal Scherer (as the guy who won't do anything).

Yeah, I know. Walk in a Pope; walk out a cardinal.

That being said, I feel compelled to offer the following. It wouldn't shock folks here to find out that I'm hoping for Cardinal Burke or Cardinal Ranjith. That's nothing against Cardinal Scola or any of the other guys who we think would be good picks (+Piacenza, +Sarah, etc.). All I'm saying is that I think there are two candidates who seem especially equipped for what is going down in the modern age.

That being said, I offer the following item from Professor John Rao, who is covering the conclave for Rorate.

Aside from calling attention to the contagious excitement around me, I can also pass on one small, encouraging bit of information that will be of interest to the readers of Rorate Caeli. Aside from the usual papabili, such as Cardinals Scola and Scherer, the name of one solid favorite, Malcolm Ranjith, has come up more than once in my hearing in just one single afternoon.

No less a source than the highly influential Corriere della Sera has noted Ranjith’s “outsider” chances, but other rather knowledgeable figures on the Vatican side of the Tiber as well. I heard him mentioned as having some dozens of supporters in the College - a not insignificant number if a horse race develops. Interestingly enough, moreover, Ranjith’s name was brought up not for, for instance, the liturgy - but on other grounds entirely. What I heard underlined was the fact that he is an impressive polyglot - Ranjith is conversant in many, many languages, a skill of great value to a Supreme Pontiff - and that his renowned administrative, diplomatic, and conciliatory talents have been confirmed by the honored role that he plays in public affairs in his own religiously divided country.

In short, in addition to quiet conservative cardinals who might find him attractive for his doctrinal and liturgical solidity, there may be others who would join in electing Ranjith for neutral reasons of serious merit.

From your pen to God's ears, Professor. Let us all pray that God will grant us the Holy Father that we need, rather than the one we deserve.

Secular Sources (blech!) Picking Up On Conclave Coverage

The mainstream media is starting to increase their conclave coverage. What we have now is a focus starting to turn on the factions forming among the cardinals. This isn't a surprise, especially since we already have reports of certain folks trying to use the media to influence the outcome of the election.

The news that I've found interesting are the reports from cardinals, specifically Cardinal Wuerl, saying that they don't expect a short conclave. "Short" can be a relative term for these things. The longest conclave of the last 200 years was (I think) five days. Do they mean short as in less than that? Or are they talking about something that goes a couple of weeks?

It's also interesting to note that Cardinal Scherer's status as a preferred candidate by the anti-reform party is now all over the place.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Our Favorite Popes: Pope Clement XI

In dealing with the 18th century, a bunch of you probably guessed that our favorite would have been Clement XIV, given that he suppressed the Jesuits. The difference is that the Jesuits were actually Jesuits, unlike now, when so many of them would be utterly unrecognizable as Sons of Ignatius.

Our favorite is actually Pope Clement XI, who was elected to the See of Peter at the relatively young age of 51. In a lot of ways, His Holiness was a failure. Politics weren't kind to him, and he reigned during a period where the Spanish monarchy was up for grabs, Poland was in an uproar, Church properties were being divvied up among the worldly powers, and the Muslims were invading (again). Only in this latter affair did the Pope really prevail, as his financial and spiritual support made the Christian victory possible. Almost all of his other dealings with the temporal authorities went bad.

On the more ecclesiastical side of the equation, he suffered the continuing rebellion of the Jansenists, which he utterly condemned in the bull Unigenitus. He also established the Church in the Philippines, so when you see all the Filipino priests that we have now, remember to give a prayer of thanks for Clement XI. He's also remembered for the Chinese rites controversy, which involved him judging that certain practices being used in the mission field of China basically amounted to paganism. Whether or not he was fully informed of what was actually being done, I don't know. The fact that he had the guts to make the call and protect the Church against syncretism is something that I greatly appreciate, though. Pius XII later repealed some of these prohibitions, but I think Clement gets a bad rap for really just stepping up and trying to deal with the problem.

The bigger reasons that we bring up Pope Clement XI right now is that he was very reform-minded and pretty much shut down nepotism in the Vatican. We could use a heavy does of this kind of idea now. Moreover, the aforementioned political struggles meant a lot of secular pressure that was applied to the Holy See back then. Nothing new under the sun there either. Overall, when we look at Pope Clement, we see a guy who was dealt a lot of bad hands and played them to the best of his ability and with trust in Providence.

If you've ever heard of the Universal Prayer for All Things Related to Salvation, it is attributed to him. It's one of my favorite prayers.

My God, I believe in You; strengthen my faith. All my hopes are in You; secure them. I love You; teach me to love you daily more and more. I am sorry that I have offended You; increase my sorrow.

I adore you as the Author of my first beginning. I aspire after you as my last end. I give you thanks as my constant Benefactor, I call upon you as my sovereign Protector.

My God, be pleased to conduct me by your wisdom; to restrain me by the thought of Your justice; to comfort me by Your mercy; to defend me by Your power.

To You I desire to consecrate all my thoughts, words, deeds, and suffering, that henceforth I may think of you, speak of you, refer all my actions to You greater glory, and suffer willingly whatever You shall appoint.

Lord, I desire that in all things Your Will be done, because it is Your Will, and I desire that all things be done in the manner that You will them.

Grant that I may always esteem whatsoever is pleasing to You, despise what You abhor, avoid what You forbid, and do what you command.

I beg You to enlighten my understanding, to inflame my will, to purify my body, and to sanctify my soul.

My God, give me strength to atone for my sins, to overcome my temptations, to subdue my passions, and to acquire the virtues proper to my state of life.

Fill my heart with tender affection for Your goodness, hatred of my faults, love of my neighbor, and contempt of the world.May Your grace help me to be obedient to my superiors, kind and courteous to my inferiors, faithful to my friends, and charitable to my enemies.

Assist me to overcome sensuality by self-sacrifice, avarice by alms-giving, anger by meekness, and carelessness by devotion.My God, make me prudent in my undertakings, courageous in danger, patient in trials, and humble in success.

Grant that I may be ever attentive at my prayers, temperate at my meals, diligent in my work, and faithful in my good resolutions.

Let my conscience be ever upright and pure, my behavior modest, my conversation kind, and my actions edifying.

Assist me that I may continually strive to overcome the evil inclinations of my nature, to cooperate with Your grace, to keep Your commandments, and to work out my salvation.

My God, make me realize the nothingness of this world, the greatness of heaven, the shortness of time, and the length of eternity.

Grant that I may prepare for death; that I may fear Your judgment; that I may escape hell and in the end obtain heaven. Through Christ our Lord. 


Cardinal Burke's Chances

Haskovec recently sent me a article about the Ten Reasons Why Cardinal Burke Will Be The Next Pope. The author recently did a follow-up to answer the two most common objections to His Eminence's prospects, namely that he doesn't speak Spanish (which he apparently does) and that he's American (of which he's an atypical sort).

You can read the details at the link, but the ten reasons are:

1. Burke is an open advocate for using canon law in defense of the sacraments and God's honor.
2. Burke thinks seriously. 
3. His Eminence celebrates and promotes the Latin Mass and a reverent Novus Ordo. 
4. ...which leads to the SSPX [reconciliation]. 
5. Speaking of the Latin Mass, Cardinal Burke has traditional liturgical flare (for example, he wears the cappa magna without blinking an eye). 
6. Burke will help the cardinals and bishops do what they know they need to do: discipline dissenting Catholic politicians. 
7. Cardinal Burke speaks the minimum languages necessary for a Supreme Pontiff: English, French, Latin and Italian. 
8. Cardinal Burke is the perfect age: 64. 
9. He is the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. 
10. Most importantly, Cardinal Burke is extremely Marian. Let me add one more - an eleventh reason: nobody suspects Cardinal Burke to be elected.

The unofficial "11th reason" given by the author is that nobody is expecting +Burke as a serious candidate.

I can't help but read this and think to myself that these are all reasons (save for the 11th) that he will not be elected. Cardinal Burke would be a fantastic selection, in my opinion. However, I don't think that 2/3 of the College of Cardinals are looking for someone who is a "hardliner," even if they acknowledge that this is precisely the type of guy needed to fill the Shoes of the Fisherman.

I hope I'm wrong.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Time For Ecumenism

Per Rorate, and most appropriate:

It is very likely that the new Pope will be Italian, as before John Paul II": it is the prediction given to public television Vesti 24 by Metropolitan Hilarion, head of the of External Relations of the Moscow Patriarchate. ... "I hope that the new Pope is a traditionalist," he concluded.

This brings up a point we've mentioned before but that apparently never occurred to perhaps the entire Catholic episcopacy.

Ecumenism with Protestants is largely worthless because they have no authority that can speak on their behalf. The only gains that can really be made here are on a one-on-one basis.

The Orthodox, on the other hand, are a field ripe for ecumenism. The more they are ignored, though, and more efforts are focused on Protestants, the more the Orthodox are alienated. Look at the Pauline Mass and any Orthodox commentary about it. Do you think they want any part of something like that? When was the last time you heard the Orthodox wanting to talk more about how great man is? How all Church-related matters have to be modernized?

Keep that in mind the next time you hear the call from the masses about "getting with the times" while simultaneously being more "open-minded towards other religions." Most of the Orthodox are more than willing to tell you that the more open-minded we become, the more closed off to them we are.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Conclave To Begin Tuesday

Kyrie Eleison.

What A Coincidence

Just when we have published our article about the efforts to get Cardinal Scherer elected pope, I go over to the FoxNews web site and see this. And this.

All just happenstance, I'm sure.

Lines Being Drawn, Sides Being Chosen

But, if we're to believe Sandro Magister, there are some weird champions popping up on both sides. By the way, to fully grasp the significance of this report, make sure you at least take a glance at the previous story on the apparent hijinks to inflate Cardinal Scherer's profile before the conclave.

First, Sandro gives us his thoughts on the move amongst the cardinals to flush the establishment types in the Vatican who have created so many of our current problems. He cites none other than Cardinal Timothy Dolan as the prospective tip of the spear for this faction.

But the fracture remained intact. On one side the feudal lords of the curia, in strenuous defense of their respective centers of power. On the other the oecumene of a Church that no longer tolerates that the proclamation of the Gospel in the world and the luminous magisterium of Pope Benedict should be obscured by the pitiful chronicles of the Roman Babylon.

It is the same fracture that characterizes the imminent conclave. Dolan is the consummate candidate who represents the impulse in the direction of purification. Not the only one, but certainly the most representative and audacious.

On the other end of the spectrum, you've got the aforementioned establishment guys, who know that folks are clamoring for them to be ousted. In an attempt at a romanita end around, they are allegedly throwing their weight behind Cardinal Scherer.

On the opposite side, however, the magnates of the curia are closing ranks and counterattacking. They are not pushing forward one of their own, knowing that in this way the game would be lost from the start. They are sniffing the wind that blows in the college of cardinals and are themselves pointing far from Rome, across the Atlantic, not to the north but to the south of America.

They are looking to São Paulo, Brazil, where there is a cardinal born from German immigrants, Odilo Pedro Scherer, 64, who is well known in the curia, who was in Rome for years in the service of Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re when he was prefect of the congregation for bishops, and who today is part of the cardinalate council of supervision over the IOR, the Vatican “bank,” reconfirmed a few days ago with Bertone as its president.

Scherer is the perfect candidate for this maneuver, completely Roman and curial. It doesn't matter that he is not popular in Brazil, not even among the bishops, who when called to elect the president of their conference two years ago rejected him without appeal. Nor that he does not shine as archbishop of the great São Paulo, the economic capital of the country.

Consider that this raises the impact of the earlier story about media manipulation to a whole new level. Now, you've got the prospects of not just some Brazilian cadre looking to put +Scherer in the Big Chair but also an entire enclave of the College of Cardinals working this angle. And why for this particular candidate?

The important thing for the curial magnates is that he is docile and bland. The progressive halo that envelops his candidacy is of purely geographic derivation, but it too serves to ignite in some naïve cardinals the boast of electing the “first Latin American pope.”

As in the conclave of 2005 the votes of the curials and of the supporters of Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini converged together upon the Argentine Jorge Bergoglio, in a failed attempt to block the election of Ratzinger, this time as well a similar marriage could take place. Curials and progressives united around the name of Scherer, with the little that remains of the ex-Martinians, from Roger Mahony to Godfried Danneels, both under fire for their lax conduct in the scandal of pedophile priests.

The pope who pleases the curials and progressives is by definition weak. He pleases the former because he leaves them alone. And the latter because he makes room for their dream of a “democratic” Church, governed “from below.”

This is what happens when so many cardinals come into a conclave touting Curial reform as a priority. Since the Curia is basically run by a whole bunch of cardinals, it's pretty much one group telling the folks minding the store that they're incompetent.

Now note this next bit:

It should come as no surprise that an outspoken representative of worldwide progressive Catholicism, the historian Alberto Meloni, should have expressed the hope in “Corriere Della Sera” of February 25 that from the next conclave there should emerge not a “sheriff pope” but a "pastor pope,” should have scoffed at Cardinal Dolan and indicated precisely in four magnates of the curia the cardinals who in his judgment are most “capable of understanding the reality” and of determining “the effective result of the conclave”: the Italians Giovanni Battista Re, Giuseppe Bertello, Ferdinando Filoni, "and obviously Tarcisio Bertone".

That is, precisely the ones who are orchestrating the Scherer operation. To these four should be added the Argentine member of the curia Leonardo Sandri, who is rumored to be the next secretary of state.

First off, anybody willing to make Cardinal Sandri the SecState after his utterly asinine comments about requiring Eastern priests to be celibate should have his freaking head examined. I swear, we can have ecumenism out of our collective wazoos when it comes to giving pagans a forum for their false gods, but we can't leave the Easterners' traditions alone?

Second, anybody who thinks that we don't need a "sheriff pope" has no credibility. Anyone who thinks that person has credibility is either a moron, a loser, or insane.

Third, can anybody really be following +Bertone's lead anymore? At this point, that would be like someone voting for Obama to get a second term.

Oh wait...

Anyways, Sandro sums up his views of Cardinal Dolan pretty well.

For a curia constituted in this way, the mere hypothesis of the election of Dolan is fraught with terror. But Dolan as pope would also shake up that Church made up of bishops, priests, faithful who have never accepted the magisterium of Benedict XVI, his energetic return to the articles of the “Credo,” to the fundamentals of the Christian faith, to the sense of mystery in the liturgy.

Sandro also mentions the prospects for Cardinals O'Malley and Ouellet but essentially concedes that they are also-rans when compared with +Dolan. I haven't understood the hype with +Ouellet myself. I just don't know what people see in him that would qualify him for the most important job in the world. I would be pretty scared of a Pope O'Malley but not in a good away. I have nothing against him, but I think the wolves would devour him. Frankly, we need a pope who will take a stand against stuff like the Kennedy funeral. There isn't time for anymore waffling on these kinds of issues. When we talk about the need for a house-cleaning, it's not just among abusers, enablers, and all the worse elements of the Vatican culture. It's also for every publicly obstinate heretic, schismatic, and enemy of the Church.

All we can do is to continue to watch and pray. Let us please be sure to do so.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

How Can One Be Less Catholic Than An Atheist?

Piers Morgan shows us how, as Penn Jillette (devout atheist) completely exposes him as being not just a heretic, but a complete douche as well.

Yeah, yeah, I know. It's not exactly like Penn is planting a flag here or revealing anything more shocking than the wetness of water. It's not every day that you see someone apply nothing more than simple, consistent thinking to such devastating effect, though. It's clear that Jillette doesn't even know the theology that well. He's just working with the basic premises. And Morgan is still helpless against it.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

And We're Off

We've been waiting for this type of stuff to come up. Didn't have to wait long.

First, you've got folks going ape over the possibility (inevitability) of leaks. To me, this is a legit concern given everything else that's been going on. Rocco Palma has probably the most balanced account of the story:

After an anonymous cardinal leaked details of yesterday's sessions to the Italian press, in the kind of move that only makes sense in Vatiworld, the US delegation yielded to apparent pressure in shutting down its daily on-record briefings at the Pontifical North American College as the General Congregation agreed to maintain a media "blackout" by the cardinals in the run-up to the Conclave. (Above, the primate of the Gauls, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon, is shown being hounded by reporters as he arrived at the GC on his bike.)

Featuring a half-hour of lunchtime Q&As with a rotating cast of two among the 11 Stateside electors, the NAC sessions rapidly became a big draw – a major US network livestreamed one of the briefings in full, and by yesterday's round, over 100 media were said to have converged as Cardinals Seán O'Malley OFM Cap of Boston and Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston provided general summaries of the scene, yet without violating the oath taken by each cardinal against divulging specifics. (An audio file of the event posted shortly after its close attracted so much interest that the server hosting it crashed under the demand.)

While the clamp-down was communicated by e.mail to reporters an hour or so in advance, it still came so suddenly that some press only learned of the change after arriving at the college for today's previously-scheduled briefing. 

Fr. Lombardi gave his standard "nothing to see here," but the press is treating this like Obama going to see Tiger Woods. It's insane. Hell, the whole conclave is going to be on lock-down, so is this really that big of a deal?

Second, you've got the latest from Rorate, which is a pretty horrible story about media manipulation to try and raise Cardinal Sherer's profile and get him elected. This is way out there, and I'm waiting for the backlash. Cardinal Turkson took flak for some comments he made that came off as campaigning. I can't imagine what the reaction should be for outright collusion. Disgust is what registered for me.

Third, and this is more of an aside, you've only got one cardinal who hasn't made it to Rome yet: His Eminence Jean-Baptiste Pham Minh of Viet Nam. He's expected to make it in tomorrow.

Remember Pope Benedict's lament about how the media helped hijack the Council. Hopefully, the cardinals will be on their guard this time.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

They Aren't In A Rush (And Maybe More On That Report)

Per Rorate, there are still 5 cardinals who haven't even made it to the General Congregation in Rome yet. That blasts the whole prospects of a start to the conclave this week. They've gone ahead and shut down the Sistine Chapel, though, so at least they're getting that out of the way. At this rate, all the measures taken to give the cardinals a jump on the process will be moot.

In other news, while the report itself might be reserved to the next Vicar of Christ, it's possible that its contents will be made known to the conclave's participants, according to this report from CNA.

Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley said he trusts the cardinals taking part in the papal election will be informed on the necessary background information related to the Vatileaks scandal.

“The cardinals feel confident that we will get all the information that we need for our deliberation,” said Cardinal O’Malley at a March 5 news conference at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.

“It does not necessarily mean that the report will be shared with us, but if anything remains that we need to know about, I’m sure they will inform us,” said the cardinal.

The Archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, was also at the Tuesday afternoon briefing.

“In general, obviously, we want to know as much as we can regarding the governance of the Church,” said Cardinal DiNardo.

The "background information related to the Vatileaks scandal" is pretty broad, but given the fact that the report commissioned by Pope Benedict was directly related to the aforementioned scandal, it seems plausible that it's the same stuff here. Plus, there were already indications from some sources that the three cardinals charged with the investigation would be able to share their knowledge, albeit not the entire report, with the other members of the College.

It's times like this when I really hate my complete and utter lack of patience.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Culture Of Death

They've privatized the video now, but I'd like for everyone to read the description provided by Creative Minority Report in order to understand the critical fact that many of our nation's youth are growing up to be sociopaths.

College students at Hunter College, a public college in New York City, celebrated a birthday with ice cream cake, balloons, and a horrific birthday game they called "Abortion Wars" where students put a balloon under their shirt and try to pop the balloon with a fork while some students even yell "Kill the baby!!!" and "Kill it!!!"

The laughter surrounding the game and the cavalier nature towards life should chill the hearts of anyone with a shred of concern for the sacredness of life. (Language warning.)

Such a Brave, New World that we've forged for ourselves. Remember this for when people tell you how great it is that modern women have the license to murder their children. This is the sort of behavior that is spawned from such a viewpoint.

We deserve destruction.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Cardinal O'Brien's Statement

Very interesting bit from Rorate. The relevant part:

In recent days certain allegations which have been made against me have become public. Initially, their anonymous and non-specific nature led me to contest them.

However, I wish to take this opportunity to admit that there have been times that my sexual conduct has fallen below the standards expected of me as a priest, archbishop and cardinal.

There is a ton of weirdness packed into those three sentences. Regardless, it's pretty obvious that he's throwing in the towel.

Onto the General Congregations for tomorrow. Most rumors seem to be indicating the conclave will start Thursday.

Christians Leaving Iraq In Droves

Normally, we'd say this was because they were being exterminated. Thankfully, an enlightened ND theology professor has cleared it up for us that there is no such thing as persecution of Christians in our times. My guess is that they are leaving the country because they want to live near a Starbucks or something. Per Zenit:

Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako of the Chaldean Church, the archbishop of Baghdad, told Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need that Christians are continuing to leave Iraq for a number of reasons, but the key factor is the lack of security.

The patriarch, who was elected Jan. 31, said: "They are leaving the country because there is no stability. Another reason is the rise of fundamentalism.

"Christians have lost their trust in the future. They are disappointed."

Patriarch Raphaël added that "security and freedom" were the most important issues for the survival of the Church in Iraq.

"When they feel secure, free and equal with the others, they will stay, otherwise they will leave."

According to Church sources, Christians in Iraq have plummeted from 1.4 million in 1987 to perhaps fewer than 250,000 today.

Many Christians who fled initially to the north of Iraq have since departed there as well, unable to find jobs or housing or because they have been reluctant to settle in a region that continues to experience sporadic acts of violence.

Somebody should send the Chaldean Patriarch a copy of that woman's book so that he will stop trying to mislead everybody about this. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Couple Of Things

First, here is a link to a Novena for the election of the next Pope. It's on an SSPX site, but you can get over that by recalling the magnitude of what is currently happening.

Second, there's a tidbit in Sandro Magister's latest entry. He's talking about Cardinal O'Brien's non-attendance at the conclave and the pressure on Cardinals Mahony and Danneels not to attend. Check this out:

And yet, just a few years ago, the three were on the crest of the wave. Among the nine votes that Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, the flagship candidate of the progressive cardinals opposed to the election of Ratzinger, received in the first scrutiny of the conclave of 2005, there were precisely those of O'Brien, Mahony, and Danneels.

Today almost nothing of this progressive current remains within the sacred college.

It's comments like this that make me wonder if Sandro isn't just messing with his readers sometimes. Is he claiming to know that all three of these guys voted for Martini last time around. That's some pretty wild info to be claiming.


Maybe not, per FoxNews:

A Planned Parenthood doctor forced a woman to undergo an abortion without anesthesia and then botched the procedure leaving her to seek treatment at a nearby hospital, according to a lawsuit filed in a Colorado court. An emergency room doctor later discovered parts of the baby’s body had been left inside the woman’s womb.

Byer is represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom. They said she changed her mind about the abortion after Planned Parenthood could not provide her with the agreed-upon intravenous anesthesia. They allege the doctor proceeded with the abortion anyway... 

ADF alleges that the abortion doctor began the procedure while Byer was fully awake – without any anesthesia. The court documents state the doctor turned on the vacuum machines and told Byer it was too late to stop the abortion... 

According to the emergency room doctor, Byer arrived in “septic with a high fever and elevated white blood count. She required immediate high-risk surgery to remove the remaining body parts – left behind by Planned Parenthood.

As one of the plaintiff's attorneys mentions in the article, isn't it wonderful to know that your tax dollars are going to fund this monstrosity?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Could I Be A Sedevacantist?

What with all the media buzz praying for a Pope that will destroy the Church via women priests, contraception, theological inclusiveness, dogmatic relativism, and so forth, I've been asked a lot by people what I would do in the event that the next Pope did all these things. Basically, they are asking if I could ever think that the Pope was a heretic or schismatic and therefore incur automatic excommunication, meaning that he'd no longer be Catholic, and therefore meaning he'd no longer be Pope. Keep in mind that this isn't going to be the case of a guy making some errors in a homily or audience or in a personal theological opinion. I'm talking about full-bore, Church-binding formal heresy here.

In a nutshell, I don't think this scenario is possible. If the Pope attempted to do these things, I feel like God would stop him, even if it meant striking him dead in order to do so. This is what the gates of hell not prevailing comes down to.  It's why the image Christ used was that of a rock or a fixed peg if we use the Isaiah 22 version. These things are not moved. So it is with the office of the papacy.

If you pushed me into a hypothetical where I was forced to come up with an alternative if something like this happened, I would have to consider the Pope in question to be an antipope. Either something was wrong with his election or, in the sort of case that we have now, Pope Benedict's abdication was somehow invalid and he remains the real Vicar of Christ.

For those who have doubts about this sort of thing, I point to the curious historical phenomenon that was so convincing to Cardinal Newman. In the early days of the Church, all of the other sees of Christianity fell into obvious and blatant heresy. Except for Rome. Somehow, Rome was always on the right side. And it has been the case ever since.

I don't think God is going to change things up on us now. Could we have an antipope at some point? Sure. Hell, we've got them now. Just ask Pope Michael or any of those Palmarian folk. Could we have one on a larger scale? Sure. Lots of Catholics seem to think they're the Pope now anyway, as our Lutheran friends recently pointed out.

Could we have a Successor of St. Peter who was evil or immoral? Absolutely. We've had them before. No reason to think we couldn't have one again. I hate to say it, but people are just way to sensitive about these things now. Can you imagine what the uproar would have been like if we'd have had the internet when a freak show like Benedict IX came to town? St. Peter Damian, a Doctor of the Church, called him "demon from hell in disguise as a priest." What do you think the New York Times would say about him?

We all need to relax, and I include myself in that. It's good to know what is going on in the Church, but that's so we'll know who and what to pray for. When to laugh, cry, whatever. We shouldn't feel anxious, though, or despairing.

If you start to feel disturbed, remember this one simple thing:

These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you shall have distress: but have confidence, I have overcome the world.

John 16:33