Sunday, June 30, 2013

Behold The Lack Of Man

I don't know about you, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of guys going to Mass anymore. It's not just my parish. I see it when I travel. Sort of. It's not a problem in the Eastern Rite or TLM parishes I attend. Maybe this is just a self-selecting group. However, it's noticeable in the parishes that are offering the Pauline Mass.

Maybe I'm wrong. If I'm not, though, there must be an explanation. Rorate has a great article that gives one possibility. It all comes down to the liturgy. By way of introduction, I provide the prediction of Cardinal Heenan:

The correspondence between Cardinal Heenan of Westminster and Evelyn Waugh before the promulgation of the Novus Ordo Mass is well known, in which Waugh issues a crie de coeur about the post-Conciliar liturgy and finds a sympathetic, if ineffectual, ear in the Cardinal. What is not as well known is Cardinal Heenan’s comment to the Synod of Bishops in Rome after the experimental Mass, Missa Normativa, was presented for the first time in 1967 to a select number of bishops. This essay was inspired by the following words of Cardinal Heenan to the assembled bishops:

"At home, it is not only women and children but also fathers of families and young men who come regularly to Mass. If we were to offer them the kind of ceremony we saw yesterday we would soon be left with a congregation of women and children."

Make sure you read the whole thing. It's a pretty fascinating analysis. I"m not sure whether it's right, but Cardinal Heenan seemed to see something coming down the tracks.

Tangentially, Cardinal Heenan's autobiography Crown of Thorns is also excellent reading and gives a good picture of what happened at Vatican II and in the post-conciliar chaos.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

No Freaking Way- Update

Looks like there might be some stuff getting ready for the fan here:

And if Voris isn't a good enough source for you, it's popping up in other places as well.

Kyrie Elieson.

Your List of Reforms

Everybody should check out Boniface's post on Unam Sanctam about some no-frills, no-hassle reforms that could be made in the Church that would have long-term positive impacts. He gives a list of twelve.

Eucharistic Fast and Manner of Reception 


Restoration of Chant (Again) 

Location of Tabernacle and Posture at Mass 

Reaffirm Episcopal Authority in Cases of Private Revelations 

Cease Interreligious Events 

Encyclical on Catholic Missions 


New Orders 

Reinstate the Oath Against Modernism 

Bring out the Triregnum 

Interpretive Norms for the Documents of Vatican II

I honestly don't think that number 12 would do a lot of good. Nobody reads what the documents say anyway. Having dealt with too many heretical clerics, I can honestly say that none of them refer to anything the Council actually says.

I'd rank 1, 4, 6, and 7 as my highest priorities, if only because they'd be the easiest (I think) to pull off.

Any other suggestions?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Priest Killed In Syria

From the Distorter.

A 49-year-old Syrian priest and hermit was killed Sunday, apparently when a group of rebels attacked the Franciscan Convent of St. Anthony in Ghassanieh, a village in the north near the Turkish border. Franciscan Fr. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the head of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, told Vatican Radio on Monday that Fr. Francois Murad was not a Franciscan, but had taken refuge in the convent when it became clear he was not safe at the Syriac Catholic hermitage he was building nearby.

Syriac Catholic Archbishop Jacques Behnan Hindo of Hassake-Nisibi told Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, that Murad "sent me several messages which showed he was aware of living in a dangerous situation and was willing to offer his life for peace in Syria and the world."

Pizzaballa told Vatican Radio that Ghassanieh -- "like other Christian villages -- has been almost completely destroyed and is almost totally abandoned." He said he believes the only people left in Ghassanieh "are the rebels with their families, rebels who are not from Syria and who are extremists."

I wonder if they were using American weapons. I wonder if the President (or anybody else at the federal level) gives a crap. Probably not, given that we have a history of arming criminals to kill non-criminals, and nobody cared about that either.

It will be something if this continues to escalate. It wouldn't be a bridge too far to imagine this turning into a situation like when Coolidge armed Calles to destroy the Church in Mexico. Assad isn't going anywhere anytime soon, but that won't stop the opposition from using their new toys to murder Christians when they have the chance.

Is This Good Or Bad?

I honestly don't know.

Pope’s eight cardinal advisors say the Curia is not the only thing they’ll be reforming

Although their official meeting will be in October, they are already moving full steam ahead with their work and will use the summer months to prepare thoroughly for their first meeting. The eight cardinals Francis chose as his advisors last 13 April, exactly one month after his election, are currently mulling over ideas and proposals. And they will not just be dealing with Curia reform.

When the Vatican Secretariat of State announced Francis’ decision to set up the advisory group, it specified that it was established “to advise him [the Pope] in the government of the universal Church and to study a plan for revising the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia, 'Pastor Bonus'.” Advising the Pope on the running of the universal Church is certainly no less important than the council’s task of reforming the Curia, but the latter will be the council’s main focus...

The eight cardinals will look beyond the Curia and its reform – necessary though it is. They will also focus on proposals regarding Church life in general, following Francis’ indications. Some of these topics have been mentioned in the Pope’s recent speeches. When Francis met members of the Synod’s Secretariat, he emphasised the need to reflect on family related problems, on the fact that so many people today do not marry but choose to live together and marriage becomes “provisional”.

The Pope encouraged reflection on the new evangelisation, using Paul VI’s Evangelii nuntiandi as inspiration and an awareness of the fact that society’s conditions force us to rethink our methods and to try to think of how to bring the Christian message to the people of today. On 13 June, Francis said we need to allow ourselves to be guided by the Holy Spirit, even if this leads us down new paths.

Another key subject is the ecumenical path. These issues were also widely discussed during the course of the pre-Conclave General Congregations. Francis’ decision to appoint eight cardinals as advisors and the issues the group is to address shows the Pope’s willingness to listen and take on board common requests made by the majority of cardinals before the election of the new Pope.

I reiterate my concern. I'm not sure that you can fix something like the Curia by forming a Super-Curia. Not to mention all this other stuff they are supposed to be tackling. Plus, I really don't know enough about these guys individually to have any expectations. Which I understand is probably why more than a couple of them were picked.

Jimmy Carter Speaks; Send In The Clowns

Keep in mind that the following are statements made by someone who was once the most powerful man on the planet:

Item #1

Well, religion can be, and I think there’s a slow, very slow, move around the world to give women equal rights in the eyes of God. What has been the case for many centuries is that the great religions, the major religions, have discriminated against women in a very abusive fashion and set an example for the rest of society to treat women as secondary citizens. In a marriage or in the workplace or wherever, they are discriminated against. And I think the great religions have set the example for that, by ordaining, in effect, that women are not equal to men in the eyes of God.

This has been done and still is done by the Catholic Church ever since the third century, when the Catholic Church ordained that a woman cannot be a priest for instance but a man can. A woman can be a nurse or a teacher but she can’t be a priest. This is wrong, I think. As you may or may not know, the Southern Baptist Convention back now about 13 years ago in Orlando, voted that women were inferior and had to be subservient to their husbands, and ordained that a woman could not be a deacon or a pastor or a chaplain or even a teacher in a classroom in some seminaries where men are in the classroom, boys are in the classroom. So my wife and I withdrew from the Southern Baptist Convention primarily because of that...

Item #2

But there are a lot of them [Scriptures about women's rights], for instance if you look at some of the verses I think in Romans, I can’t remember exactly, maybe Acts, or Romans in the 16th chapter, Paul delineates a lot of top leaders in the church and about a third of them are women. So I think in the original status of the Christian church, women played a very important role, even in the leadership role. And then after about the third century when men took over control of the Catholic Church, then they began to ordain that women had to play an inferior position, not be a priest.

And then, the coup de grace:

To repeat myself in a way, I think that what the major religious leaders say is used by others who discriminate against women as justification for their human rights abuse. For instance if an employer, who might be otherwise enlightened, if he is a religious person and he sees that, he might be a Catholic, and a Catholic does not let women be priests, then why should he pay his women employees an equal pay [as men]?

I find it very impressive that the recorded interview was eight questions, and Carter was able to work in an insult to Catholics in three of his responses. The sad thing is that Carter could announce his candidacy for president in 2016 and, even as possibly the worst occupant of the office in our nation's history, he'd still probably garner half of the "Catholic" votes in the country.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

No Freaking Way

I often take Voris's stuff with a grain of salt, but it's a pretty big deal to just throw something like this out into the universe on just a whim. If the Holy Father cashiers the whole Curia at once, I'm not sure I can conceive of a bigger "Holy Crap!" moment in my lifetime.

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Most Significant Book Of The Last Three Decades

I picked the last three decades only because I'm not as certain if I go back any further. It's not that I actually know of a more significant book.

It's called Will Many Be Saved?: What Vatican II Actually Teaches and Its Implications for the New Evangelization by Dr. Ralph Martin. You probably haven't heard of it. That's ok. It's still that big of a deal.


First, because of who wrote it. Ralph Martin is a guy that you might see on EWTN. He is thoroughly mainstream and doesn't have any of the "baggage" that so many Catholics might associate with the SSPX or even the FSSP or Opus Dei. He's also a big figure in the charismatic renewal. There's no way that this guy can be painted with the "traditionalist" brush or slandered with any of the other epithets that might be readily hurled against somebody just because they go to a Latin Mass.

Given the subject matter, he needs that kind of background to be taken seriously. It's sad, but it's true.

Second, the aforementioned subject matter. Far too many Catholics these days have a somewhat nausea-inducing view of salvation. "Soft universalism" is the term in Martin's book. Basically, there is a radical view that almost everyone is going to heaven. Except maybe Hitler and Ted Bundy, but that's about it. Everybody else probably makes it. Sure, this is contrary to Scripture, the Magisterium, most of the Church Fathers, all of the Doctors of the Church, and pretty much every approved apparition and private revelation on record, but that's not good enough for some people. "Vatican II says..." is all people really care about on this subject. Martin takes these folks at their word and examines exactly what the Council says. It's an unpopular method of exegesis, using far too much common sense, but it makes for some interesting conclusions.

As you can probably guess, his findings paint a bit more serious picture than what you typically hear.

This is staggeringly important and yet a message that is greeted by almost unanimous apathy in the modern pew. The Church's primary mission is to save souls. This is the lost message. It doesn't do a poor man much good if you feed him and give him shelter if he just winds up in hell for eternity.

How controversial is this? Take a look at this post from Rorate. Note the embedded link where you see that reviews of Will Many Be Saved? are being edited or deleted entirely. Mark Brumley, a regular on Catholic Answers is responsible for some of this censorship. This should tell you something.

The book itself is fairly short, only 208 pages. Throw in another 80 or so pages of appendices and endnotes, and you've still got a very densely packed work. Martin makes the most of it, giving a pretty whirlwind history of the dogma that outside of the Church, there is no salvation. Part of me wishes he'd spent a little more time on the dogma's patristic roots to drive home exactly how revolutionary the "soft universalism" is. Frankly, a lot of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church are downright pessimistic about salvation, including their own prospects. That can be forgiven, though. It's clear from the get-go that the current view is a novelty, so there isn't much of a need to harp on it. After all, the book's focus is on what Vatican II said.

The middle section of the book is primarily devoted to the text of Lumen Gentium 16, what it actually says, and what Scripture says. This might seem weird, but in the book's overall structure, it's not. On a side note, despite my point above for more of a historical overview, I think the author chose wisely in not harping on references from the Magisterium or Tradition for his hermeneutical cues. Too many Catholics won't care. Most still have a respect for the Bible, I think, so that's where Martin really makes his bones, especially when he starts to wind things down.

Winding things down means dealing with the theologians who he believes are mostly responsible for the naive optimism that has destroyed the post-conciliar missionary drive, namely Karl Rahner and Hans Urs von Balthasar.

Let me get this out of the way. I've stated before that I have little use for Rahner. I don't think genius and incomprehensibility are the same thing. What is discernible from his writings is problematic to say the least. Frankly, I've never bought into the "anonymous Christian" bit because [A] it relies on something that Rahner made up (the supernatural existential) and [B] it bears little resemblance to what we know from the Magisterium about what man is and why he is that way.

Von Balthasar is a different story. I actually like a good bit of his stuff. His work on the theology of beauty has some stunning insights, for example. On other items, he's completely cracked in the head. His view of Christ's descent is just plain blasphemous. One other thing that always bothered me was his idea of hell and that we can hope that it's empty. The weird thing is that when he talks about this, especially in his book Dare We Hope?, he doesn't treat it as just "hope." More like "certainty."

If anything, Martin deserves major props for taking on these two, since they are viewed with reverence that would make the medievals' respect for Aquinas pale in comparison.

What he winds up showing is that Rahner's views are based on fantasy, while Balthasar's are the products of sentimentality and the latter's weird fascination with the visions of Dr. Adrienne von Speyr. To his credit, Martin keeps the discussion on Scripture and how even the two rogue theologians admit that they are battling against not only the weight of the Magisterium but also the words of Christ Himself.

I need to point out as well Martin's excellent description of Rahner and Balthasar's attitudes towards those who disagree with them. It is fairly typical of the dissenting modern theologian. If you don't go along with the dissent, you are either mean or just a moron. There's a reason Rahner ridiculed "Denziger theology." It actually, you know, started with what the Church teaches. Balthasar accused people who thought a soul might go to hell of being unable to love truly. Consider all the saints he just insulted with such remarks.

It's also demonstrated that none of these wacky views are promoted by Vatican II in any way. They are fabrications. It's a good showing by Martin, and I very much wish I could see a response from the opposing camp.

The conclusion of the book is a simple call for real evangelization. It's a shocking thing to the modern ear, but somebody had to say it. Given the polarization of the Church, Martin is the only sort of guy who could pull it off and get any kind of audience to listen to him. An FSSP priest would be playing to an echo chamber. Here, at least, there's a shot of getting to the wider Catholic demographic.

It's not perfect. I think he could have hammered on Ad Gentes 7 a LOT more. I disagree with some nitpicking theological points and extrapolations, such as suggesting that Spe Salvi 45-47 somehow contributed to the universalist current. These are minor details and do not, in any way, detract from the overall magnificent effort.

Every Catholic should read this book. Seriously. We need to all reflect on how serious salvation is and how many folks far wiser and holier than ourselves feared for their souls. What are we doing to help tend the vineyard? Are we helping at all? Or are we contributing to the destruction of those around us by being content to let the Truth be suppressed or silenced?

Thursday, June 20, 2013

French Lose- Again

But at least they didn't surrender this time.

The French are famous for anything these days, it's being losers. Nobody talks about the great French military victories. You hear a lot about Waterloo and the Maginot Line, though. Other than that time they kicked the crap out of Greenpeace, recent history hasn't been kind to the Frenchman in conflict.

This year is no different, as French culture fell to the onslaught of disordered passions in legalizing homosexual faux marriages. It's a shame, but for the first time in a long while, a goodly number of French citizens remembered something of who they were and tried to defeat this measure. Tancred deserves all the credit for reporting on the protests, as I must confess that I saw none of this reported on the news or in the papers.

There wasn't just a meek surrender this time, which is good. Perhaps the roots of Christendom haven't been completed severed after all. As Tancred also mentions, Pope Francis has made a direct appeal to French lawmakers to get them to override this nonsense. So maybe things aren't so inevitable there.

I wish I could say likewise about the United States. There will be no protests here as traditional morality is swept away. There will be only surrender. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Caption Contest

"I find your lack of faith disturbing."

Sunday, June 16, 2013

An Observation Regarding Pope Francis

I think the Holy Father has a remarkable knack for being forthright in identifying the problems in the Church. However, it seems that he has a difficult time targeting where the problems are most obvious.

For example, we recently spoke about his frustration with Church "triumphalism."

More recently, in some well-publicized comments, he expressed worry about Pelagianism. I'm linking to the Rorate take on the story because it gives the full text, rather than because I have agreement with the commenters there.

Here is the relevant section:

I share with you two concerns. One is the Pelagian current that there is in the Church at this moment. There are some restorationist groups. I know some, it fell upon me to receive them in Buenos Aires. And one feels as if one goes back 60 years! Before the Council... One feels in 1940... An anecdote, just to illustrate this, it is not to laugh at it, I took it with respect, but it concerns me; when I was elected, I received a letter from one of these groups, and they said: "Your Holiness, we offer you this spiritual treasure: 3,525 rosaries." Why don't they say, 'we pray for you, we ask...', but this thing of counting... And these groups return to practices and to disciplines that I lived through - not you, because you are not old - to disciplines, to things that in that moment took place, but not now, they do not exist today...

Let's be honest with ourselves. Pelagianism is probably the most rampant heresy in the Church. It's where people get this whole idea that just being a "nice person" will get someone into heaven. Granted, Pelagius would have taken a far more rigorous view than than, but the underlying principle remains the same. So the Holy Father's point is well-taken.

Worrying about this as a trend among "traditionalists" or "restorationists" or whatever you want to call them is weird, though. Most folks who fit this label are probably the furthest thing from Pelagian that you can imagine, hence their constant harping on the loss of the Faith among Catholics, the tendency to ignore/disregard the Magisterium, or the lack of prayers for the grace of conversion to those who need it. For example, why worry about, say, whether or not the Fatima consecration was done properly if grace is a superfluity?

Where do we see Pelagianism most operative? How about liberation theologians, who are so busy building base communities and such that the preaching of the Faith is a secondary item? How about the leaders of the ecumenicool movement who preach a unity of good works but not a unity of Faith or alliegiance to the Truth?

Pope Francis's second concern was expressed as follows:

The second [concern] is for a Gnostic current. Those Pantheisms... Both are elite currents, but this one is of a more educated elite... I heard of a superior general that prompted the sisters of her congregation to not pray in the morning, but to spiritually bathe in the cosmos, things like that... They concern me because they ignore the incarnation! And the Son of God became our flesh, the Word was made flesh, and in Latin America we have flesh abundantly [de tirar al techo]! What happens to the poor, their pains, this is our flesh...

Sure, it's the hippies that are part of this, but this is hardly a news flash. Where is the Gnostic element the strongest? I'd suggest that this is a glaring feature of the charismatic movement, where the focus on and desire for extraordinary manifestations of the Holy Spirit lead people to proclaim belief in personal revelations and mystic knowledge of things like syncretism, the benefits of liturgical horrors, and the rejection of obedience.

Anyways, I don't expect the Pope to know everything, but to single out "restorationists" and hippies seems wrong in the former case and ignoring the 800 pound gorilla in the latter.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Request For Clarification

Buying condoms?
Go right ahead. There's a right to privacy for that.

Murdering babies?
By all means. There's a right to privacy for that.

Keeping the IRS from leaking your tax returns or the NSA from data-mining your phone and internet records?
Absolutely not. There's no right to privacy for that.

Is this pretty much the sum of things?

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

More Lemmings

The latest Reformed group to run off the cliff is the Evangelical Lutheran Church in American (ECLA).

They have now promoted their first homosexual bishop.

A North Hollywood theology professor ordained just two years ago after the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America dropped its ban on same-sex ministers was elected Friday as the church's first openly gay bishop.

The Rev. R. Guy Erwin won a six-year term to the Southwest California Synod, which encompasses the greater Los Angeles area, according to church officials.

The historic vote came Friday during a three-day assembly of the synod held in Woodland Hills.

Erwin's election marks a welcome turning point for the congregation's gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered members, said Emily Eastwood, executive director of Reconciling Works, an arm of the church that worked for decades to lift the ban on gay and lesbian clergy.

I wonder if the Missouri Synod folks will offer a condemnation. I haven't seen one yet, but I'd imagine something would be forthcoming.

On top of that, how do you think Martin Luther would react to this? This makes for one more example of my confusion over Reformed folks. Are there any Lutherans left who believe what Luther believed? Ditto for Calvinists and Calvin. Maybe it's just that there aren't any around here.

Monday, June 10, 2013

It's A Man, Baby!

Yeah, probably not the image you came up with when you read the subject line. After all, while we've always thought of Queen Liz as a genocidal whore, we've never really thought of her as a dude.

Until now.

Steve Berry has a book out this week called The King's Deception that is based on a real-life theory that Liz was a Shanghai Surprise. You can check out the details at the Daily Mail.

Basically, it comes down to a young Liz dying whilst in the custody of Thomas Parry and Kate Ashley. Knowing the Henry would kill them both for allowing this happen, they substituted a boy in her place, and the King was never the wiser for it. If you're looking for famous people who bought into this idea, there's Bram Stoker for one.

This would be so freaking awesome, if true. In fact, even though the evidence is thin, I'm going to believe it anyway just because it's so great. Sort of like believing in the Loch Ness Monster. Instead of Cate Blanchett or Helen Mirren, maybe they can get Hugh Grant to play him in the next movie.

However, if they ever do exhume the remains and find out that she was pulling a Crying Game, I might have to re-post this story every month or so just to re-live the hilarity of it all.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Somebody Else Wonders About Fr. Greeley

We asked a couple of questions about this earlier. Just to show we aren't crazy, I figured it would be good to note that others aren't letting the point drop. Matt Abbot continues to push the issue even as the mainstream media ignores it.

In ignoring this story, can we maybe assume that uncovering the truth in all this is a lower priority than what is often portrayed?

Sunday, June 2, 2013

News Flash: Lots Of Christians Are Getting Persecuted

Archbishop Tomasi addressed the UN Human Rights Council in an effort to draw attention to the persecution of Christians around the world. Here's the Zenit headline:

Greater Awareness Needed of Christian Persecution

With all respect to His Excellency, what is needed more is an awareness on the part of the Church, both laity and hierarchy, that nobody gives a crap. Especially at the UN. Holy smokes, how could anybody think the UN is going to be doing the Church any favors?

What Catholics need to realize is that we're basically on our own. When people hear about our brethren being murdered, they write books and make YouTube videos about how Christian persecution is a lie. Then they go cash their paycheck from an allegedly Catholic university.

That being said, these kinds of appeals are just a waste of time.