Saturday, August 31, 2013

The New Secretary Of State? (Updated)

Rocco Palma is reporting that it will be Archbishop Parolin if Venezuela. It's an interesting move given that His Excellency is far more a diplomat than an administrator. As Palma points out, the main questions about this appointment is how the position will coordinate/interact with the Super-Curia that was appointed some months ago.

Interesting, and also a bit weird.


Looking at the Rorate report on this issue, they claim that Archbishop Parolin is "considered very close" to Cardinal Sodano. Hoo Boy. I'm not saying that this means they are cut from the same cloth, but it's not a particularly good sign either. Cardinal Sodano's actions relating to the abuse scandal, specifically as it relates to the Legionnaires of Christ, is problematic at best. Nobody ever said reforming the Curia would be easy.

Let us recall that the wolves that surrounded Pope Benedict haven't left and pray for the current Holy Father as he carries out his mission.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The War On Women

I've been asked a couple of times today what I think of the whole deal with Miley Cyrus. Given that I acknowledge that 90% of pop culture as filth, I can only say that she is par for the course.

However, it also reminds me of the real war against women. Pat Archbold has provided examples of what real hate against women looks like.

The saddest thing is that the list's detractors will most likely be made up largely of women. I can already feel the hate email coming in from women who insist upon the greatness of every item mentioned.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Remember This Map?

This first came out after the 2004 presidential election as an explanation for how Bush #43 beat John Kerry. The narrative was usually articulated as Kerry lost because of a wave of insane evangelical religious fervor that motivated people to vote who lacked all good sense and reason. Only bastions of logic and rational thought (you know, like Illinois, Michigan, and California) stood between America and a complete theocratic dictatorship that would destroy not only the United States but the rest of the world as well.

Or something like that.

I'm not familiar with any comparable maps that came out after 2008 or 2012. The funny thing is that we went from being almost nothing but Jesusland to . . . what exactly?

In this day and age, all we hear about is whether or not social issues like abortion and homosexuality should be abandoned by political movements seeking to cast themselves as conservative or, barring that, at least Republican. It's a weird thing how we went from allegedly being a nation of religious fanatics with sufficient numbers to swing an entire presidential election for a guy who admittedly wasn't very popular to a lot of people (Bush) to an Enlightened country that is so completely post-moral regarding these issues that they should be removed from political discourse altogether.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Today's Gospel

First, the text:

Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.

Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” 

He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from. 

And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’ 

Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’ 

And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out. And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God. For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

Luke 13:22-30

A couple of things come to mind:

1. This gives me another opportunity to plug Dr. Ralph Martin's book Will Many Be Saved? which should be required reading for every Catholic layperson, priest, and bishop in the entire world.

2. Going along with #1, for those who think salvation is something that comes easy or even by difficulty through some sort of Pelagian personal effort, Jesus's response should be a bucket of cold water. Just a casual review of some of the greatest saints in history (including recent history) should make us all consider salvation with the utmost gravity.

3. Anyone who attempts to denigrate the natural law or the precepts of the Church as being "against Christ's message of love and inclusiveness" should read this (along with Matthew 7, 12, and 23) and then reflect on what kind of love prompts this sort of language from the Word Made Flesh.

4. Exegesis of this passage and others like it (Good Samaritan, vineyard workers, Prodigal Son, etc.) has suffered over the last few decades. Consider why Christ describes the Last Judgment the way he does. He specifically mentions Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the prophets, and the fact that some in his audience will see them in despair for they themselves will be among those excluded.

He does this while mentioning people coming from all the corners of the world as entering what we know to be the great Wedding Feast of the Lamb.


The missing component is that this is about the Jews and Gentiles. The Kingdom will be taken away from the Jews and handed over to the Gentiles, who are to be grafted into God's covenant by Christ. Jesus is warning the Jews that the Patriarchs and Prophets will be going where they will not go. The last to be received into God's covenant (the Gentiles) will be first, while the first who were invited (the Jews) will be last.

Given the traditional eschatological view of many of the Fathers and Doctors that the End Times will be heralded by a mass conversion of Jews, this makes even more sense.

For those who hold to the weird novelty that Jews do not require conversion, this is a Gospel worth hearing.

A Book Review From Boniface

As previously mentioned, I have a thing for reading histories of Vatican II. They've been instrumental in our ongoing discussion of the Council. One that I have not had a chance to pick up is Roberto de Mattei's new work The Second Vatican Council: An Unwritten Story. Fortunately, Boniface at Unam Sanctam has had a chance to read it and has posted a review over on his blog.

In doing so, I remind all those who are unfamiliar with the Council's history to understand a very significant point. There is no "traditionalist" or "conservative" accounting of the facts that surrounded Vatican II that is not in complete accordance with the "liberal"/"progressive"/"dissenting" view. Everybody basically agrees on what happened. The question is always whether the author feels that what happened was good or bad.

As painful as it might be for Catholics to grasp, nobody argues that the Council was derailed from its original intentions, that the doctrinal formulations are deliberately ambiguous in spots, and that the ambiguities were placed there for the purpose of creating a doctrinal shift in favor of Protestant (or other heterodox) views.

Everybody admits this. Including the previous Pope, so it shouldn't be controversial.

Anyways, check out the review then check out the book. Then read a similar work by someone like Gary MacEoin to prove my point.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

The Pilgrims

I recently had the opportunity to see Monumental, Kirk Cameron's documentary about the founding of the United States. If you've ever seen his show on any of the preacher channels, you probably have a good feel for what Cameron's perspective on things.

For me, the striking thing was the image folks have of the Pilgrims. I guess I've never really thought about it much, but the prevailing idea is a bunch of cheery folks shaking hands with the Indians before sitting down for lunch at Thanksgiving.

These were Puritans. They would be utterly horrified with modern Protestantism, especially of the doctrinally debased and morally antinomian variety that seems so popular these days. Even taking that out of the equation, moderns would probably consider most Puritans to be jerks (and pretty much everybody else from that era, but especially Puritans). 

It's just sort of funny to see guys like Cameron promoting Puritans when the Puritan view of everything from religion to entertainment is so anathema to even what the strictest of contemporary Christians would hold.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

MST3K For Catholics

I thought this was pretty funny:

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Movie Review: Brother Sun, Sister Moon

We've had a couple of Brother Sun, Sister Moon references in the last several months, in large part thanks to our new Pope. I direct you to this movie review by Boniface and the main Unam Sanctam web site for a good take on why the film is both bad yet popular among hippies and Catholic dissenters.

Weird Standards

Donnie McClurkin is a gospel singer. He also happens to be an ex-homosexual. He was originally scheduled to sing at a memorial concert celebrating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.

However, because he claims that God delivered him from his disordered passions, several homosexual activists objected to his presence at the concert. Per the Register:

The mayor of Washington canceled a prominent gospel singer’s invitation to headline a civil-rights concert after homosexual-rights activists objected to the singer’s past comments that God “delivered” him from a same-sex-attracted lifestyle.

“These are bully tactics, simply because of stances that I took, never ever demeaning, never ever derogatorily addressing any lifestyle,” Rev. Donnie McClurkin, a black Christian minister, said in a seven-minute video statement Aug. 10.

The singer said Mayor Vincent Gray “uninvited me from a concert that I was supposed to headline.” McClurkin called it unfortunate that “a black man, a black artist is uninvited from a civil-rights movement depicting the love, the unity, the peace, the tolerance..."

Several homosexual-rights advocates objected to McClurkin’s appearance, including local activist Phil Pannell...

In previous statements, McClurkin attributed his same-sex inclinations to being molested by male relatives at age 8 and age 13. “I’ve been through this and have experienced God’s power to change my lifestyle,” he said in 2002. “I am delivered, and I know God can deliver others, too.”

Maybe I'm just imagining things, but it seems like whenever a person struggling with their sexual orientation decides that they are a homosexual, they are cheered and commended for their bravery, courage, etc. On the other hand, when a person undergoing the same struggle decides that they are actually heterosexual, they are despised.

Why is that? Or am I just wrong? Mr. McClurkin certainly isn't being accepted. So what's the difference?

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Ukrainians Are Having A Synod

How did we miss this? Surely the Russians have thrown out some kind of outraged invective at all this Catholicism going on. Per Catholic Culture:

The bishops of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church -- the largest of the Eastern Catholic churches in full communion with the Holy See -- have gathered in Kiev to begin a weeklong synod devoted to the new evangelization, the Religious Information Service of Ukraine reported. 

The task of the synod, said Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, is “to make a modern man see how to share the faith, how we, the believers of the twenty-first century, can know the Word of God in today’s culture.”

Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Middle East Burns, Christians Die, Nobody Cares

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

As per usual, it doesn't matter who is in charge in the Middle East. The one thing we can be sure of is that Christians are going to be attacked. The Muslim Brotherhood was removed from power in Egypt. That hasn't stopped them.

For 67 years, the Virgin Mary Church has been a peaceful refuge for Shenouda El Sayeh, much like the Giza province village of Kafr Hakim where it rests and where he has lived all those years.

But, as he swept its floors on Thursday, it was painfully obvious things had changed.

The night before, a mob -- chanting against Coptic Christians such as El Sayeh and calling for Egypt to become an "Islamic state" -- had torched and looted the Virgin Mary Church.

"I didn't expect this to happen," El Sayeh said.

He's not alone. Christians all around Egypt are cleaning up in the aftermath of a spate of attacks, which came on the country's deadliest day since the 2011 revolution that overthrew longtime President Hosni Mubarak.

Just more churches burning. That's all. In a hilarious bit of propaganda, the Muslim Brotherhood has denied any attacks on churches. Somebody should explain that to Shenouda in the video below.

Note that the Copts there are familiar with who attacked them.

Somebody really needs to explain to the Brotherhood guys that (a) they don't have a great record of not burning churches as it is and (b) when you call for a "Day of Rage," don't act all shocked if some people interpret that as a call to burn churches. After all, that's sort of your thing.

Naturally, the Obama Administration is quick to point out that the violence against the church burners is unacceptable. I'm sure there will be a statement at some point condemning violence against the Christians there. Remember how strong the President came out against the previous assaults against Copts and Coptic churches? Probably not, since it never happened.

But hey, that kind of persecution can't be something that happens on a regular basis, right? Is it not utterly amazing that the long-suffering and persecuted Christians of Egypt can't even get a single sop of compassion from this administration?

Nor is there going to be a whole lot of focus on this aspect. I've seen CNN and Fox reports already today that talk about the horrible situation and the military crackdown. Nobody mentioned the MB violence. On that note, the Coptic Church issued a statement that expresses no small amount of frustration with how western media is covering the situation.

The world waits with bated breath for the last of our brethren in the Middle East to be exterminated. Then, perhaps, there can be some measure of peace. Peace bought at the price of regional genocide, but I'm sure our world leaders are willing to see that paid if it means that they don't have these kinds of flare-ups to worry about anymore.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Re: Honorius

I forgot to follow-up on some email questions and some on-blog comments about Pope Honorius and his status as a monothelite. My apologies for that. Thanks to Joe for the email reminding me.

The issue was how to construe Honorius as not a monothelite and what my reference was for Pope John IV's denial of the claim that his predecessor was a heretic. Pope John's comments were as follows:

One and He alone is without sin, the mediator of God and of men, the man Christ Jesus (cf. 1 Tim. 2:5) who was conceived and born free among the dead (Ps. 87:6). Thus in the dispensation of His sacred flesh, He never had two contrary wills, nor did the will of His flesh resist the will of His mind. . . . Therefore, knowing that there was no sin at all in Him when He was born and lived, we fittingly say and truthfully confess one will in the humanity of His sacred dispensation; and we do not preach two contrary wills, of mind and of flesh, as in a pure man, in the manner certain heretics are known to rave. In accord with this method, then, our predecessor [Honorius] is known to have written to the (aforenamed) Sergius the Patriarch who was asking questions, that in our Savior two contrary wills did not exist internally, that is, in His members, since He derived no blemish from the transgression of the first man. . . . This usually happens, that, naturally where there is a wound, there medicinal aid offers itself. For the blessed Apostle is known to have done this often, preparing himself according to the custom of his hearers; and sometimes indeed when teaching about the supreme nature, he is completely silent about the human nature, but sometimes when treating of the human dispensation, he does not touch on the mystery of His divinity. . . So, my aforementioned predecessor said concerning the mystery of the incarnation of Christ, that there were not in Him, as in us sinners, contrary wills of mind and flesh; and certain ones converting this to their own meaning, suspected that He taught one will of His divinity and humanity which is altogether contrary to the truth.

In fact, my edition of Denzinger actually contains Honorius's letter that makes the statements in controversy.

Anyways, the above is why I maintain that Honorius was not a heretic himself, just lax in disposing of monothelitism and negligent in refusing to use his teaching authority to combat it. This got him condemned by an ecumenical council.

Remember that last part when you hear people being happy that popes aren't so forceful in their defense of orthodoxy. 

Friday, August 16, 2013


Given The Adversary's standard operating procedure of corrupting the holy and mocking the sacred, it has recently occurred to me how modernity has adopted certain practices that seem to be blatant inversions of the sacraments.

Of course, the recent push to have homosexual "marriages" is pretty obvious.

Contraception seems to be the evil twin for baptism. In baptism, we rise to new life in Christ. Contraception blocks life from even beginning.

Abortion, as the sacrifice of an innocent in an act of utter selfishness that rips apart the union of mother and child, is a parody of the Eucharist, where the Sacred Victim gives up His own life in an act of pure love to bring about the union of God and man. One says, "This is my body and I'll do whatever the hell I want." The other says, "This is My Body, given up for you."

Euthanasia is the Culture of Death's version of Anointing of the Sick.

I think you can probably work in a comparison of Holy Orders and the current trend to view political figures as infallible. Whether it's the Founding Fathers or the current president, our secular leaders have taken on an iconic status (literally) for many.

For Penance, I'm going to go with the pervasiveness of social media inflating personal egos to the point where everyone thinks that their slightest random thought contains sufficient profundity to be broadcast to the universe. Contrast that sort of prideful blather with confession, which is a deliberate reflection upon one's faults and weaknesses that are admitted to the Almighty in the presence of a human spiritual superior who then commands behavior from the penitent commensurate with his/her failings. The former puffs people up, gives rise to scandal, and contributes to a general degrading of culture by flooding us with tripe. The latter humbles, forces us to consider our lowliness, and makes us holy so that we may assist in the sanctification of the world.

I'm at a loss for Confirmation, though. Anybody got any ideas?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Papal Consecration To The Our Lady of Fatima's Immaculate Heart


In response to the desire of Holy Father Francis, the Statue of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima, venerated in the Little Chapel of Apparitions, will be brought to Rome on October 12/13 to be present at the Marian Day promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization. On October 13, next to the Statue of Our Lady, Pope Francis will make the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

No comment on what some will obviously make of this. It's a big deal, regardless.

Monday, August 12, 2013

What To Make Of This?

The latest government bureaucracy is an arm of the State Department. The Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives is described as follows:

The Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives is the State Department’s portal for engagement with religious leaders and organizations around the world. Headed by Special Advisor Shaun Casey, the office reaches out to faith-based communities to ensure that their voices are heard in the policy process, and it works with those communities to advance U.S. diplomacy and development objectives. In accordance with the U.S. Strategy on Religious Leader and Faith Community Engagement, the office guarantees that engagement with faith-based communities is a priority for Department bureaus and for posts abroad, and helps equip our foreign and civil service officers with the skills necessary to engage faith-communities effectively and respectfully. The office collaborates regularly with other government officials and offices focused on religious issues, including the Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom, the Department’s Office of International Religious Freedom, and the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Sounds like a propaganda machine. Outside of John Kerry, who has had no difficulty declaring that he has no king but Caesar, the boss of this operation is a guy named Shaun Casey. For those who don't know Mr. Casey, he was at the forefront of trying to get President Obama out of the Jeremiah Wright hot water back in 2008, even going so far as to compare the Wright/Obama situation with JFK's Catholicism.

He's also expressed delight that "American civil religion is dying" and affirms that he and Secretary Kerry share the same belief that religion cannot "save and solve everything." Think about all this in light of anything you've heard Pope Francis say. Or Pope Benedict. Or any other Vicar of Christ. I'll let Pius XI sum it up:

If the kingdom of Christ, then, receives, as it should, all nations under its way, there seems no reason why we should despair of seeing that peace which the King of Peace came to bring on earth - he who came to reconcile all things, who came not to be ministered unto but to minister, who, though Lord of all, gave himself to us as a model of humility, and with his principal law united the precept of charity; who said also: "My yoke is sweet and my burden light." Oh, what happiness would be Ours if all men, individuals, families, and nations, would but let themselves be governed by Christ! "Then at length," to use the words addressed by our predecessor, Pope Leo XIII, twenty-five years ago to the bishops of the Universal Church, "then at length will many evils be cured; then will the law regain its former authority; peace with all its blessings be restored. Men will sheathe their swords and lay down their arms when all freely acknowledge and obey the authority of Christ, and every tongue confesses that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father."

Pope Pius XI, Quas Primas

I'm guessing we'll see our fair share of hostility from this newest tentacle of Leviathan. We'll also see a decent share of capitulation in the name of dialogue.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Pope Francis And New Jack City

I'm willing to bet that most of my readers probably aren't familiar with New Jack City. It's a drama from the early 90s about a drug lord and the cops trying to take him down. I know that's a very superficial description, but it's a show well worth watching. While it did have certain drawbacks, like unleashing Ice-T's acting career upon an unsuspecting world, it actually has a lot of depth to it and is unique in its genre.

Did I mention that Christ Rock (yes, THAT Chris Rock) should have won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for portrayal of a struggling crack addict? I'm not exaggerating. He is phenomenal in this movie.

Anyways, I've determined that New Jack City actually has a lot of content that carries a good illustration of Pope Francis's messages to this point.

For example, Nino Brown (played by Wesley Snipes) is the perfect example of the "savage capitalism" condemned by the Holy Father. Sure, Nino was doing illegal stuff, but if modernity has taught us anything, it's that what's sinful isn't necessarily illegal and vice-versa. What with the love of money (and cash and hos) being at the root of all evil, the corrupting influences of what's legal in capitalism can be analogized to the crack trade of the film without a lot of effort.

Second, the movie contains an overt accusation of greed being a form of idolatry. Pope Francis has made much the same point since his election. He's echoing Pope Benedict in saying so.

Third, Pope Francis has made a big deal out of asking people to look around at who their brothers are. When the question comes up of "Am I my brother's keeper?", the Holy Father expects people to understand that, yes, they are. Cain's question, "Am I my brother's keeper?", is the major catch-phrase in New Jack City. Basically, Nino's drug dealing crew, the Cash Money Brothers, has members who are family in both the literal and figurative senses. They maintain that they will treat each other like family no matter what and that nothing will break up that relationship. Of course, the aforementioned idolatry does exactly that.

I'm not sure why all this has come to mind recently. Just something that popped into my head whilst considering some of the Pope's comments. He'd probably be a huge fan of the show if it wasn't for all the sex, profanity, and violence (of which there is a lot of all three). It's still a somewhat unknown, and consequently highly underrated, flick that might be useful in illustrating some of the lessons of Catholic social doctrine in light of the current Pontiff's rhetoric.

"Am I my brother's keeper?"

"Yes, I am."

Friday, August 9, 2013

Funny Because It's True

What are a woman's favorite things? If you watch enough TV commercials, there is only one conclusion.


Thanks to the Creative Minority Report for this.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Secularism At ND

A senior at ND recently penned an article about The Secularization of Notre Dame: Is There Hope?

It doesn't have much in the way of surprises. Excluding guys like John Cavadini, it's been on its way to secularism since the Land O Lakes statement and the subsequent nose-thumbing at Ex Corde Ecclesiae. Sure, it's not completely desolate and still has a lot of Catholic students and a basilica on campus, but it seems like we're stretching the definition of "Catholic university" if that's all it takes to count.

The funny thing is that when this is brought up in front of ND folks, even the ones who aren't particularly religious, there is enormous offense taken. It's weird. Given the number of people I know who completely lost their faith there, I think that much of what the school does now is not good, and that was way before the Obama invite.

My favorite retort to the question of ND's secularization usually involves comparing it favorably to Georgetown. Nothing like lowering the bar, I guess. What's even better about this is that the Catholic Georgetown folks I know use almost the exact same kind of defense. "We're Catholic! Have you ever been to (fill in blank with public college which is usually LSU since I'm from Louisiana and is sort of ironic because LSU is teeming with Catholics)."

So I guess we're in a tallest dwarf competition now.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

For Consideration

Consider the following statements:

1. Outside of the Church, there is no salvation.
2. All the gods of the Gentiles are devils.
3. Without faith, it is impossible to please God.
4. Homosexual activity is an abomination before God.
5. God punishes sin in both the temporal and spiritual arenas.
6. The death penalty is an illicit form of punishment and should be abolished.
7. Union between Church and State is the most ideal form of government.
8. Missing Mass is a mortal sin and renders a soul worthy of hell.
9. The Bible is inerrant.
10. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the most important event on the planet.

Which of these items has the least amount of support from the Magisterium?

Which of these items would most Catholics most readily agree with?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Sainthood For Venerable Pius XII?

There's a story going around that Pope Francis is considering canonizing Venerable Pius XII.

While I'm all for this under normal circumstances, if it means another miracle waiver, I'd prefer it not happen. It would be awesome to watch the press squirm trying to reconcile The Hippy Father image they've painted for Pope Francis with this sort of honor bestowed on Pius XII, who, let's face it, is universally loathed by secularists and modernist Catholics alike. I would thoroughly enjoy the conniption/stroke that we'd see out of Abe Foxman, Garry Wills, Richard McBrien, etc.

However, none of this would be worth a further watering down/precedent for the canonization process. Discipline is sorely lacking in most facets of Church life these days. Maintaining order, where it is functional, is important, I think. Including in the declaration of saints.

That being said, if he's got his two miracles, then the aforementioned Foxmans, Willses, and other liars should not serve as a bar to raising the Venerable Papa Pacelli to the altars.