Monday, April 28, 2014

Marriage: Important Enough To Die For

And it wasn't even their marriage at stake.

If someone is daft enough to question whether or not the issues of marriage, divorce, annulment, and the Church's views on these subjects are important, recall that these two men were martyred essentially for defending the Church precisely on these topics. If the Church's jurisdiction over marriage is really something dispensable or if first marriages really don't matter (as Cardinal Kasper suggests), then both saints died for nothing.

Of course, we tend to forget what all martyrs died for because a lot of it is stuff that many of us Catholics do on a regular basis anyway. Not being able to take the cognitive dissonance, we write it off to "dying for Christ" so that we aren't faced with "died to convert pagans to Christ," "died to defend Christ's Truth against heretics," "died for refusing to commit sacrilege against Christ by attending schismatic liturgies," and so forth.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Before The Canonizations

Something to think about. I know that a lot of folks are spending their time analyzing whether or not the act of canonization is infallible. I'd like to shift the discussion to what we should be considering in light of the fact that it's these two popes who are the ones being canonized. In doing so, specifically, I'm focusing on the most important part of the pope's job. It isn't to look good for the camera. It isn't to visit with secular leaders or any other such thing. It's to safeguard the deposit of faith. With that being said up front and with events stirring as they are today, what should we take away from this canonization?

First, let's look at John Paul II. If you were to think about JPII's magisterium, what would stand out the most? I suggest that it would be the focus on the immutability of the moral law and the unchanging nature of marriage and the marital act. These are precisely the items for which Pope Francis is currently being praised by the secular media because he is viewed, for whatever reason, as being decidedly non-Catholic on these issues.

Why would Pope Francis proceed with the canonization of a guy so opposed to his own alleged views? When you hear people say the Holy Father is going to abolish sin or sanction homosexual relationships, does that really seem likely after granting the Church's highest honor to this particular predecessor? Women priests, abortion, or divorced/remarried Catholics receiving Holy Communion, you name the "Pope Francis will change that issue" and it's going to be something that was in JPII's wheelhouse for special condemnation. It would seem kind of hypocritical, no?

With regards to Pope John, this is an opportunity to re-present his magisterium to the world. Not the fabricated person that he's portrayed by heretics and schismatics. I'm talking about the stuff he actually wrote and believed in.

Whether it's liturgical Latin, the need for non-Catholics to convert, his stance on imposing ecclesiastical penalties for political views at odds with the Church, the authority of the Pope, the (lack of) authority of Vatican II, most people have no idea what this man actually stood for. A huge numbers of Catholics and non-Catholics would be utterly shocked if they read a JXXIII encyclical or apostolic constitution or whatever. You should do just that and encourage others to do so as well.

Here is our series of posts on John XXIII and our article about him at Unam Sanctam as places to start.

If you are disturbed by these events, pray more. Fast more. Stop reading the news.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Good Grief

Have you heard the one about the Pope, the divorcee, and the phone call where the Pope approved of sinful conduct? Judging from my email, lots of folks have.

So has Fr. Zuhlsdorf and I link to his take on things for a measure of analysis.

I'd like to examine a different aspect of this, namely, the "so what?" factor. For comparison, I will now link to a prior post of mine on the same sorts of issues, and I ask the same question I did then. What would you do if we were living at the height of the Pornocracy? Or if the 24-hour news cycle was flapping its collective gums about Honorius letter to the Sergius allegedly promoting monothelitism?

Would you lose your faith as a result?

Are we at a point where Catholics are so fragile in constitution or ignorant of the Faith that second-hand accounts of phone calls make this much news?

Again, I'm leaving aside the issue of what the Pope said, if anything along these lines. My question is, so what? If someone brings it up, what is wrong with just saying "I'm not sure what the Pope said, but I know what the Church teaches. Catholics can't receive communion after a post-divorce second marriage." What's so wrong with that?

I swear it seems like we are actually buying into the secular view that the Church's teachings are transient and that the Pope is just an absolute monarch who can do anything he wants. So it would be a scandal. So were the events mentioned above. The Church survived. Some fell away. Some would fall away now if Pope Francis was St. Pius X, St. Gregory VII and St. Leo I all rolled into one.

Everybody just needs to calm down and stop letting these reports create this kind of confusion and division. Ignore them. Pray more. You'll feel better.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Thought Experiment From Today's Readings

Consider this text from the first reading:

On the day of Pentecost, Peter said to the Jewish people, “Let the whole house of Israel know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and they asked Peter and the other Apostles, “What are we to do, my brothers?” Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is made to you and to your children and to all those far off, whomever the Lord our God will call.” He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”

Acts 2:36-40

Let's think about this for a moment. What would happen to a Catholic layman, priest, bishop, or even Pope Francis himself if they spoke in these terms, whether to a crowd of Jews, pagans, or Protestants who eschew baptism?

How would they be treated by their colleagues or even their fellow Catholics by saying something so non-ecumenical?

Let's also notice that Peter doesn't engage in dialogue here. He does not speak to the crowd as though their beliefs are on equal footing with his own. Instead, he speaks to them with authority. He argues. He is in full-blown evangelization mode here. What would happen if Peter was around today?

I submit that many ostensibly Catholic parishes would call for him to be cast out at best and stoned at worst.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Christos Anesti!

Exult, let them exult, the hosts of heaven,
exult, let Angel ministers of God exult,
let the trumpet of salvation
sound aloud our mighty King's triumph!

Be glad, let earth be glad, as glory floods her,
ablaze with light from her eternal King,
let all corners of the earth be glad,
knowing an end to gloom and darkness.

Rejoice, let Mother Church also rejoice,
arrayed with the lightning of his glory,
let this holy building shake with joy,
filled with the mighty voices of the peoples.

Therefore, dearest friends,
standing in the awesome glory of this holy light,
invoke with me, I ask you,
the mercy of God almighty,
that he, who has been pleased to number me,
though unworthy, among the Levites,
may pour into me his light unshadowed,
that I may sing this candle's perfect praises.

It is truly right and just,
with ardent love of mind and heart
and with devoted service of our voice,
to acclaim our God invisible, the almighty Father,
and Jesus Christ, our Lord, his Son, his Only Begotten.

Who for our sake paid Adam's debt to the eternal Father,
and, pouring out his own dear Blood,
wiped clean the record of our ancient sinfulness.

These, then, are the feasts of Passover,
in which is slain the Lamb, the one true Lamb,
whose Blood anoints the doorposts of believers.

This is the night,
when once you led our forebears, Israel's children,
from slavery in Egypt
and made them pass dry-shod through the Red Sea.

This is the night
that with a pillar of fire
banished the darkness of sin.

This is the night
that even now throughout the world,
sets Christian believers apart from worldly vices
and from the gloom of sin,
leading them to grace
and joining them to his holy ones.

This is the night
when Christ broke the prison-bars of death
and rose victorious from the underworld.

Our birth would have been no gain,
had we not been redeemed.
O wonder of your humble care for us!
O love, O charity beyond all telling,
to ransom a slave you gave away your Son!

O truly necessary sin of Adam,
destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!

O happy fault
that earned for us so great, so glorious a Redeemer!

O truly blessed night,
worthy alone to know the time and hour
when Christ rose from the underworld!

This is the night
of which it is written:
The night shall be as bright as day,
dazzling is the night for me, and full of gladness.

The sanctifying power of this night
dispels wickedness, washes faults away,
restores innocence to the fallen, and joy to mourners,
drives out hatred, fosters concord, and brings down the mighty.

On this, your night of grace, O holy Father,
accept this candle, a solemn offering,
the work of bees and of your servants' hands,
an evening sacrifice of praise,
this gift from your most holy Church.

But now we know the praises of this pillar,
a flame divided but undimmed,
which glowing fire ignites for God's honour,
a fire into many flames divided,
yet never dimmed by sharing of its light,
for it is fed by melting wax,
drawn out by mother bees
to build a torch so precious.

O truly blessed night,
when things of heaven are wed to those of earth,
and divine to the human.

Therefore, O Lord,
we pray you that this candle,
hallowed to the honour of your name,
may persevere undimmed,
to overcome the darkness of this night.
Receive it as a pleasing fragrance,
and let it mingle with the lights of heaven.
May this flame be found still burning
by the Morning Star:
the one Morning Star who never sets,
Christ your Son,
who, coming back from death's domain,
has shed his peaceful light on humanity,
and lives and reigns for ever and ever.

The essence of the Gospel. Who could imagine that the message of our salvation and the ultimate act of love from Almighty God could ever be so despised as it is in our day? Pray for those who reject this message, and remember Our Savior's love for us.

Happy Easter, everyone.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Before The Resurrection

Today we recall when Christ descended into hell. Not in the disgusting Balthasarian sense, but in the knowledge that:

Because Christ also died once for our sins, the just for the unjust: that he might offer us to God, being put to death indeed in the flesh, but enlivened in the spirit, In which also coming he preached to those spirits that were in prison: Which had been some time incredulous, when they waited for the patience of God in the days of Noe, when the ark was a building: wherein a few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water.

1 Peter 3:18-20

It's in the Creed, so don't ignore this part of the Triduum. There's more to it than just suffered, died, rose again, and it goes to the entire reason for the Passion. Nobody went to heaven before this. They waited on salvation with faith in the Messiah to come. That faith is why they weren't condemned.

28 Q. How, then, were the Patriarchs of old, the Prophets, and the other just men of the Old Testament, saved?

A. The just of the Old Testament were saved in virtue of the faith they had in Christ to come, by means of which they spiritually belonged to the Church.

The Catechism of Pope St. Pius X

This is significant because it truly shows that God gives sufficient grace of all to be saved, whether they lived in time to hear the fullness of His revelation or not. He makes allowances for such, which should strengthen our own hope for heaven some day.

Have a blessed Easter Vigil this evening.

Friday, April 18, 2014

For By Thy Holy Cross, Thou Hast Redeemed The World

Remember what Our Blessed Lord suffered for us.

PS: The Divine Mercy Novena begins today.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Point To Ponder

I frequently hear folks of all stripes who find certain sinful activity "personally objectionable" make the argument that we shouldn't worry about whether or not the law sanctions such activity. This especially comes up a lot with homosexuals claiming the "right" to marry, but it also goes with stuff like the HHS mandate. "Just let them get married." "It doesn't really matter if the insurance pays for contraceptives." It's also something that tends to come up with certain businesses objecting to performing services for things like homosexual ceremonies.

Consider the following item:

For this cause God delivered them up to shameful affections. For their women have changed the natural use into that use which is against nature. [27] And, in like manner, the men also, leaving the natural use of the women, have burned in their lusts one towards another, men with men working that which is filthy, and receiving in themselves the recompense which was due to their error. [28] And as they liked not to have God in their knowledge, God delivered them up to a reprobate sense, to do those things which are not convenient; [29] Being filled with all iniquity, malice, fornication, avarice, wickedness, full of envy, murder, contention, deceit, malignity, whisperers, [30] Detractors, hateful to God, contumelious, proud, haughty, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, [31] oolish, dissolute, without affection, without fidelity, without mercy. [32] Who, having known the justice of God, did not understand that they who do such things, are worthy of death; and not only they that do them, but they also that consent to them that do them.

Romans 1:26-32

In an interesting tidbit, St. Paul introduces this list of sins by starting with a condemnation of homosexuality. He closes it, however, with a condemnation not only of the sinners themselves, but also for those who consent to those sinners. I would think that this should be enough to give anyone thinking that we should blithely allow for the law to approve such sins or that we should devote portions of our business to activities celebrating sin at least some pause.


While I Was Out

Since a few people have asked, here's a musical answer:

Yeah, I know most of you probably hate Creed, but I couldn't think of another song with appropriate subject matter.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Archbishop Rummel: April 16, 1962

This is Archbishop Joseph Rummel of New Orleans. Fifty-two years ago today, he excommunicated three laypersons in his diocese. Why? Because they had actively organized against his efforts to desegregate the Catholic schools in his jurisdiction. One was a parish judge. Another was a journalist.

When you hear about how bishops can't or shouldn't invoke canonical penalties against politicians or general laypeople for agitating against the Church or flaunting the authority of the ordinary, remember Archbishop Rummel. He was 85 years old when all this happened and, as you can imagine, not in the best of health. But he went ahead with the ultimate weapon in his arsenal.

So what do we have now? Lots of excuses, to be sure. Ask your friends if they think Archbishop Rummel's actions were justified. I'm sure you'll get unanimous kudos and praise for his courage. Yet a bishop who dared to exhibit such fortitude against proponents of homosexuality or women priests or indifferentism or sacrilegious liturgies or whatever would be crucified not just by the media but even by allegedly faithful Catholics simply because he chose to act like a bishop and refuse to allow the tides of sin to sweep away his flock without there being consequences.

We live in utterly diabolical times.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014