Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Happy Feast of St. Ignatius!

To all Jesuits*,

Be assured of my prayers and my rejoicing for the Society on this day. May God grant all Jesuits the strength to worthily wield the charism of St. Ignatius.

As for me, the plan is to go here:



*Fathers, Brothers & in Formation. Yes, even the loony ones...ESPECIALLY the loony ones.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Which half do we have?

[Why BlogSpot has decided to get all hinky with its formatting for this post, I've no clue.]
So what's the deal?

In another blog -- again, I shan't out the blogger unless said blogger does so or gives me explicit permission to do so -- a discussion has risen on whether man's inherent nature is Good or Bad.

It is my assumption, bolstered by Catholic teaching, that man is inherently good. I stated as much in the blog's combox. However, I have a hunch this blogger sensed that the discussion might get a bit, um, heated and wisely decided to issue a cease and desist on further comments.

Although I believe it was wise, it runs against my very poor personality trait of wanting to get the last word in any discussion.

Y'see, there was some sentiment expressed in said combox discussion that man's fallen nature changed his nature. Therefore, humanity needed a Messiah to redeem it because the Fall had rendered humanity inherently wicked. Much Scriptural citation ensued, to bolster the commenter's viewpoint. Furthermore, said commented stated -- pretty explicitly, methinks -- that any effort to undergird the opposing opinion which didn't rely sola scriptura was well nigh inadmissible.

If one is a semi-attentive Catholic, the temptation is to paddle down the tributary of discussing the revelatory validity of Sacred Tradition. I suspect even the most glowing efforts on this front would not have proven satisfactory to the commenter in question. "If it's not in Holy Writ, it simply doesn't count" was my interpretation of the comments posted by this person. One of the things I learned very early on in my education was that one ought seek out refuting evidence, with which to test one's opinions and assumptions. (A person unwilling or incapable to do this is reachable only by prayer.)

Scripture provides such refuting evidence. To counter all those "the heart of man is wicked" citations we can find things such as:

Ecclesiastes 2:26 "God hath given to a man who is good in His sight, wisdom and knowledge and joy: but to the sinner He hath given vexation, and superfluous care, to heap up and to gather together, and to give it to him that hath pleased God: but this also is vanity, and a fruitless solicitude of the mind."

St. Matthew 26:41 "Watch ye, and pray that ye enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh weak."

Psalms 111:4* To the righteous a light is risen up in darkness: he is merciful, and compassionate and just.

Proverbs 11:6 The justice of the righteous shall deliver them: and the unjust shall be caught in their own snares.

Isaiah 44:2 Thus saith the Lord that made and formed thee, thy helper from the womb: Fear not, O my servant Jacob, and thou most righteous whom I have chosen

Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Hus, whose name was Job, and that man was simple and upright, and fearing God, and avoiding evil.

Psalms 10:3** For, lo, the wicked have bent their bow; they have prepared their arrows in the quiver; to shoot in the dark the upright of heart.

St. Luke 2:25 And behold there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Ghost was in him.

Acts Of Apostles 2:5 Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem, Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

Acts Of Apostles 10:28 And he said to them: You know how abominable it is for a man that is a Jew, to keep company or to come unto one of another nation: but God hath shewed to me, to call no man common*** or unclean.

You will notice two things:

a) There is refuting evidence in Scripture for the assertion that man is inherently bad.
b) That there is favorable and refuting evidence for a given assertion doesn't merely damage the assertion, it severely loosens the underpinnings of the sola Scriptura position.

Now, this doesn't mean that man is peachy-keen fine after the Fall. Man didn't just get up, dust off his fig leaf and say "Sorry, Lord. My bad." and go traipsing through Eden looking for less dangerous fruit to bite and less treacherous reptiles with whom to converse. Nononononono. The Catechism says very clearly that, as a result of this apple business our "nature was corrupted [not changed - J.] by the sin of our first parents, which darkened our understanding, weakened our will, and left us a strong inclination to evil."

Because I'm a terrific guy, here is some Scripture to back this up:

Genesis 8:21 "And the Lord smelled a sweet savour, and said: I will no more curse the earth for the sake of man: for the imagination and thought of man's heart are prone to evil from his youth: therefore I will no more destroy every living soul as I have done."

What does this all mean?

1) As we have been created in God's image and likeness, we are inherently good.

2) The Fall has left that goodness in a very precarious state

3) We need a Savior through Whom we can:

a- Reinforce that now-too-fragile goodness (by knowing, loving and serving God in this life, that we may be happy with Him forever in the next), and

b- Receive forgiveness for the times we (too easily) act counter to our (good) nature and fall into sinfulness.

4) Our nature was not altered by the Fall. Just like an egg that goes SPLAT is still an egg, or an apple that rots doesn't become a grapefruit. We are created in His image and likeness and there is NOTHING in Scripture -- correct me if I am wrong -- which even hints that our nature has undergone a substantial change.

We need the redemptive sacrifice of the Messiah because our nature has been corrupted, because our intellect has been darkened, because our willpower is weakened and have an inclination to sinfulness.

But what IS sin? Sin is when we freely and willfully do (or fail to do) something that causes us to separate ourselves from God. But wait. If we do (or fail to do...yeah yeah yeah) something that separates us from God that means that if we DON'T do (or fail to do) anything along those lines then we are not separated from God. Right? That means our nature, our "default setting" if you will, is to be UNseparated from God, right? So, if we are inherently evil and wicked why is it that we must DO something to be separated from Him?

Our inherent goodness remains, but now is wildly compromised. Without the Christ, that compromised nature will, inevitably, fail with fatal consequences for the soul.



*or 112:4, depending how your Bible numbers them

**or 11:2, depending how your Bible numbers them

*** that is, "profane"

"THAT. That's what we're talking about."


Cardinal Martini hath spoken again.




Two-edged swords.

Don't ask how I found this, but I did.

If you do some quick math, you'll notice that in 1998*, 45% (yes, f-o-r-t-y-f-i-v-e) of the population was Protestant or "Not Affiliated." Only three years earlier, it had been 37%. It seems that whole "preferential option for the poor" thing also provides the poor with preferential options of their own which, evidently, they are choosing.

The question is "Why?" and the answer is NOT "Because we need to do more of the same."

Let me know what you figure out.


* I wonder what it is now. My guess is that it's not good news for what's left of the Catholic Church in Guatemala.

I dig Graves.

Warning. This is a post in progress. If you read this warning it means I'm not through. I'm posting it because this has sat in my draft pile forever and it deserves better.

I'm a very, VERY huge fan of Michael Graves.

At some point in the late pleistocene, GQ Magazine had decided to offer a Man of the Year award. The award was designed by Michael Graves. This being 198...3? and me being, what? 19? meant I had no idea who he was.


I liked what he was doing. At that time, a lot of the architecture I was seeing was that horrible Modernist stuff I simply cannot abide, and someone tweaking the Modern Enlighteneds struck me as brilliant. Besides, his stuff was whimsical and had a self-effacing attitude. Several years later, a client of mine's wife worked at the Dolphin Hotel in WDW and when I had to attend the annual PGA Expo in Orlando, we crashed there for a couple of nights. This solidified my enthusiasm for Michael Graves' design style.

Now, for a number of reasons, having Mr. Graves design a house at any moment in the near future for us is unlikely. But a lot of his stuff has become rather accessible through Target Stores and at fairly reasonable prices. Ironically, as items are discontinued, their price leaps heavenward.

That said, it's perfectly ridiculous -- even if one is a fan -- to outfit one's home in a wall-to-ceiling homage to anyone, regardless of brilliance. So, as much as I enjoy looking at MG's, say, the china service he designed for the Disney company, or bathroom fixtures, I think it wiser to limit myself to one area of the house for all the stuff, lest the whole house being to look like a shrine. I know I have a serious "let's get carried away" gene, and this is the only way I know of to keep it in check. (What makes it doubly difficult is that MG has designed tons of stuff for the Disney company, thereby engaging not only my architecture geek, but also my Disney awful synergy, to be sure. So I could easily see myself going utterly nuts, getting not only the plates and mugs and glassware, but also the coasters, napkin rings, etc., etc.)

I think I'll restrict myself to the kitchen.

So far I have picked up the MG measuring cups and measuring spoons, assorted utensils, the wall clock, the towel holder, and an electric coffee mill which I use for pulverizing spices. If I catch it on sale, I might pop for the egg timer. When the time comes to redo the kitchen, I'll get discreet little items such as drawer pulls and knobs and MAYBE a faucet.

Oh, and Joey demanded (and got) this for his previous birthday. I'm not sure this speaks more disparagingly of nature or nurture, but there ya go.

More on this later.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Mt. 23:24

A coupla posts over at the lovely & gracious Karen's have led me to this mini-rant.

I've said eleventy gazillion times the biggest problem the Church faces is episcovacantism. That is, most of the bishops out there are utterly vacant. The overwhelming majority of them turned a blind eye to the minority of priests who were raping adolescent boys*. A significant number of them have showered bureaucratese -- audits and programs and so forth -- on the problem in the hopes of ameliorating the parents among the flock. A significant number of them have blithely strolled through their tenure, blind to liturgical abuse (ranging from the banal to the bastardized) and dissent and outright imbecility or a benighted combination of the above. A disturbing number have responded to Summorum Pontificum with a shower of platitudes and a plethora of bromides subtly indicating "Um. No, thanks. We're good here, Pope RadTrad."

They have been entrusted with the pastoral care of thousands of souls. For many, this is the only aspect of the job for which they have a lack of zeal. A cadre of wildly undercatechized politicians write a disrespectful -- and civics-challenged -- letter to the Holy Father on the matter of abortion (a dealbreaker, last time I looked it up) and the responsibility of public officials and the ecclesial apparatchiks, in an inspiring show of qui tacet consentire videtur, let the three forlorn crickets chirping in the back 40 do the speaking for them.


Let these selfsame politicians discuss their views on the war in Iraq, inimical to vanquishing terrorism, and the bishops' guild trips all over itself to send olagenous mash notes thereto. Perhaps I shouldn't've followed the white rabbit down the hole, or walked across the looking glass, because this doesn't make a bloody shred of sense.

Not all of the bishops are spinally challenged, of course. But too many have (at best) given themselves in varying degrees to the zeitgeist. Much like the Apostles (mostly) abandoned Christ in His agony, many of their spiritual heirs have done much the same. I'll leave it to more acerbic heads than mine to ascertain if 11:1 is the correct ratio or not. I'd love it if someone would walk me through the thought processes which led us to this intersection. If you think you can, good luck.

In Latin America the situation is not very different. Bishops invariably make common cause with half the collectivist lunatics to show up. In Europe, the passivity of the episcopate has been breathtaking.

In the meantime, souls are being imperiled and not-unreasonable-to-suppose being lost that wouldn't have been otherwise.

Your Excellency/Your Eminence: God has trusted you with the shepherding of souls He has placed in your care. If you don't really care for their salvation, at least engage in enough enlightened self-interest to care for yours. There will be one final reckoning from which you won't be able to keep that filing cabinet locked and at which you'd better have a good answer for the question "What happened to all those souls I asked you to protect? It seems you're several thousand short."


* Memo to any covert disgraces to the holy priesthood who may be contemplating this with either of my sons: I hope you believe in an afterlife, because I will personally usher you thereto with amazing celerity and in a manner which will foreshadow for you, in glorious detail, the rich tapestry of torments which await those consigned to the infernal regions.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Bad words.

Completing my daily lunchtime tour of my fave blogs I've run across a few posts which I have found a bit disturbing. Not so much in the grand specifics of them, but in the tone.

I'll preface today's ruminatin' with this: If a man willingly reaches for something and drinks it, and it turns out -- against his expectation -- to be poison, is he still being poisoned? If he enjoys the taste of the poison and urges others to not fear trying it if they are so inclined, is he still himself the victim of poisoning ?

In the spiritual sense, there are people poisoning themselves and presumably enjoying the process thinking it something else, against all warnings. These are behaviors from whom we must shield ourselves and our families first, and then seek to help those directly afflicted while there is still time.

I'm speaking, natch, of homosexuals. There is a difference, in my estimation, between someone who is homosexual and someone who is "gay." To be gay, as far as I can make it out, implies a complete acceptance of the homosexual attraction and an embrace of the choices derived therefrom. These people, regardless of their attitude towards us, must be viewed with compassion, as they are poisoning themselves. Yes, we must be protective and vigilant about our families and the societal underpinnings therefor. But these are still children of God dying by (self-dosed) poison.

Therefore, it does no good -- if we're trying to help them to the Poison Free Zone -- to start calling them f@gs or sodomites, etc. YES, it's an outrage and offensive to God to have men with deep seated gay tendencies entering the priesthood (we've seen the results of THAT), but hurling verbal abuse to show our displeasure with the way the occupants of the hierarchy have dealt with the matter isn't going to do anything.

So stop it, lest your own sins be measured with the same measure you use for others' sins.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

More from Fr. Dear.

I believe Fr. John Dear is very useful to those of us who are orthodox Ignatiophiles. Fr. Dear, and dicta allow us to point and say "THAT. That's what we mean."

So what are we pointing at now?

This gem:

Many Christians support the Bush Administration, its war on Iraq, torture at Guantanamo, the occupation of Palestine, the development of nuclear weapons, the ongoing starvation of millions, and so forth.

Fr. John Dear SJ
h/t Gerald at The Cafeteria Is Closed

And now...we parse!

Many Christians support the Bush Administration,

its war on Iraq,
True (the fact Father phrases it as "war on Iraq" as opposed to "war IN Iraq" is telling)

torture at Guantanamo,
This is an old canard that equates putting a dog leash on a captured combatant -- remember the detainees at Club Gitmo with right to prayer, halal food, etc. were caught shooting at/bombing/attacking coalition troops in Afghanistan or Iraq -- with torture. If I could be offended, I would be by this inane outlook.

the occupation of Palestine,
If Father cannot be bothered to ascertain who is occupying Palestine, I fear his views are deservedly not to be given much weight, if any.

the development of nuclear weapons,

the ongoing starvation of millions,
Oh, THIS is the money quote, showing us that Father has decided the moorings of factually-derived opinion prove too confining. While the Bush Administration leaves MUCH to be desired, I defy anyone to show me how it has a policy of starving millions and how that policy is enforced. If you believe such a thing -- you have my undying pity, incidentally -- please try to make a case therefor...without using the phrase "moon spores."

and so forth.
"...and so forth.?" Priceless. I may disagree a lot with the Bush Administration, but I am 100% behind them on the "...and so forth."

Fr. Dear,

On behalf of the nomination committee of ALB, I regret to inform you that consideration of your candidacy for inclusion in the Chosen Dozen list cannot be entertained at the moment. Personally, I advise reflection and prayer and laying off The Nation and Pacifica Radio.

The Management

Give me "and so forth" or give me death!


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It caught my eye. (LONG)

I've said it before a gazillion times: Thank God (literally) for converts. They often provide a holding-to-account that those of us who were born* into the faith usually overlook. When you inherit a house you don't look at the documents as carefully as when you buy one, right?

At any rate, I was at one of the blogs -- no, I shan't "out" the author -- at which I often stop and lurk. This blogger is a convert from one of the more, er, robust Protestant communities and was having a very, VERY rough time with devotions. The Rosary, in particular, gave this blogger a particularly trying experience, given said blogger's roots in the Christian faith.

This blogger considered the Rosary, with its surfeit of Hail Marys, to be somewhat questionable and possibly overly Mariocentric. Now, I think I can address these concerns because I have traveled many of the same roads as our blogger friend in question. Although, yes, I was a cradle Catholic, I also spent the formative part of my Wilderness Years in the Very Deep South, surrounded by people whose religious outlook was very, very skeptical of Catholicism. These people and their faith affected me somewhat and all the solid Jesuit catechesis I had received grew, er, pliable since the climate at the time was inimical to "connecting the dots" of the catechesis I had received.

So I'm familiar with the obstacles that many converts from the various sectors of Protestantism see to praying the Rosary.

But a funny thing happened on my way through life. I began -- too long a story, just play along for now -- to actually read what the Catholic Church said and how it explained itself. In doing so not only did my singularly egocentric exegesis dissolve, but I began...slowly, see the wisdom and beauty in what I had once shrugged as something fit only for little old ladies.

It wasn't until I got a clear perspective on the Rosary that it made sense, that it all crystallized neatly for me. Much like St. Philip explained Scripture to the eunuch, the Rosary is Mary taking us by the hand and meditating on Scripture. The Rosary isn't a prayer to some goddess, it's Mary highlighting certain crucial aspects of the life and ministry of her son, Our Lord.

Y'see, most people assume the Rosary is some sort of pattern of prayers: __ Our Fathers, __ Hail Marys, etc. But it's not. These are the background music, the score if you will to our meditating on certain seminal aspects of Christ. If you see a movie (say, Going My Way to use a perfectly innocent example) that has a song ("Swingin' on a Star") would you say the film is about people using astronomical bodies as trapezes? No, you wouldn't. The music is there to further the narrative of the film. Same as the Rosary. These narrative episodes upon which we are to meditate are called "Mysteries" and that means something we will never fully understand on this side of Heaven.

We must not get hung up on is the word “Mysteries.” Usually, when we think of Mysteries we think of Sherlock Holmes. We have been conditioned to think of mysteries as things to solve, or at the very least things to bang our heads about. But this isn’t that kind of mystery. This kind of mystery means something that we cannot, and will never be able to, fully wrap our brains around. We can and should TRY to understand more and more, but you have a better shot at putting an ocean in a bucket. For the purposes of this discussion, let’s just say that each set of mysteries are really the names -- like I-95 or The Florida Turnpike -- for roads by which we come to Christ.

Furthermore, the Rosary is not unbiblical. First of all, the word "unbiblical" drives me mental. The manual to my new cell phone is "unbiblical." That doesn't mean Satan is behind it. The word some are groping for is "anti-biblical." Which the Rosary, most emphatically, is's the exact opposite.

It is important to realize that as Christians, we rely on the Bible to provide the structure for what we believe, but as Catholics we also have knowledge passed down from Jesus Himself directly through the Apostles (Sacred Tradition) to help us properly interpret the writings of the Bible. Think of your grandma and her favorite cookbook. It doesn’t really matter how good the recipes are...if she can’t make out the letters because she doesn’t have her glasses on. The Bible is, in a way, our cookbook, and the Sacred Tradition given directly to the Apostles by Christ and passed on throughout time, is “our set of eyeglasses.”

So what does this have to do with the Rosary? The Rosary puts into prayer the writings of the Bible, through the prayers we recite and the mysteries we contemplate. The more you read the Bible, the more of an impact these prayers and meditations will have on you, and the more you pray and meditate the more you will understand what God is telling you in the Bible.

So, after this long and meandering preamble, I'll post now what I discuss with my CCD students on the Scriptural rootedness of the Rosary. I hope you derive a new (or better) appreciation for the Rosary. There will be a quiz next class.

To help with the meditation on the Mysteries, we have a Scripture verse to be said before each Hail Mary. There is no “official” list of what verse goes with what Hail Mary that goes with what Mystery. If there is another verse that covers the same territory and it helps YOU meditate, use that one. If you prefer to read the whole set of verses before each decade, that’s fine too. The best way to pray the Rosary is the way YOU pray with faith and reverence and frequency. Use whatever approved Catholic version of the Bible you prefer.

The verses which we have for the first three Hail Marys are a type of introduction to the Mysteries. These remind us of a) the three Persons of the Trinity and b) the grace of salvation we find in the main virtues of faith, hope and charitable love. Ideally the prayerful use of Holy Scripture enhances our use of the Holy Rosary, and bring you closer to Christ with the aid of His mother.

(If you're following along with Rosary in hand, it might seem a little jerky, with a lot of stop and go. This is because it’s important for you to have a good understanding and foundation of what the Rosary can accomplish. After you do it this way, you can just run with it in whatever direction your heart requires.)

Let’s start:
[On the crucifix]
+ "In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit (or Holy Ghost)"
(The words: "In the name" express the Unity of God; the words that follow, "of the Father, etc." refer to the Trinity.)

“I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created heaven, and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit

Luke 1:31-5 “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." But Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?" And the angel said to her in reply, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.”

and born of the Virgin Mary.

Luke 2:2-3 While they were [in Bethlehem], the time came for [Mary] to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

He suffered under Pontius Pilate,

John 19:1 Then Pilate took Jesus, and scourged him.

was crucified, died, and was buried.

John 19:41-42a Now there was, in the place where Jesus was crucified, a garden; and in the garden a new tomb, where no man yet had been buried. There, because of the Passover, they laid Jesus[.]

He descended into Hell.

Ephesians 4:9 What does "He ascended" mean except that He also descended into the lower regions of the earth?

On the third day he rose again from the dead.

Luke 24:7 [Jesus said]: “The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.”

He ascended into heaven,

Luke 24:51 As He blessed them He parted from them and was taken up to heaven.

and is seated at the right hand of the Father.

Colossians 3:1 Therefore, if you are risen with Christ, seek the things that are above; where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God.

He will come to judge the living and the dead.

Revelation 14:7 Saying with a loud voice: Fear the Lord, and give him honor, because the hour of His judgment has come; and adore Him who made heaven and earth, the sea, and the fountains of waters.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,

Acts 2:3-4 Then there appeared to [the Apostles] tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.

the Holy Catholic Church,

Matthew 16:18 [Jesus said]: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.

the communion of saints,

Hebrews 12:1a And therefore we also having so great a cloud of itnesses [that is, saints] over our head, laying aside every weight and sin which surrounds us

the forgiveness of sins,

Matthew 6:14 For if you will forgive men their offences, your heavenly Father will forgive you also your offences.

the resurrection of the body,

2 Macabees 7:9 And when he was at the last gasp, he said thus: “Thou indeed, O most wicked man, destroy us of this present life: but the King of the world will raise us up, who die for His laws, in the resurrection of eternal life.”

and the life everlasting.

John 6:69 And Simon Peter answered him: “Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.”


[The first "Our Father bead]

Our Father,

I Chronicles 29:10 “Then David blessed the LORD in the presence of the whole assembly, praying in these words: "Blessed may you be, O LORD, God of Israel our father, from eternity to eternity.”

Who art in heaven,

Deuteronomy 4:39a “Know therefore this day, and think in thy heart that the Lord is God in heaven above”

hallowed be Thy name;

Exodus 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that shall take the name of the Lord his God in vain.

Thy kingdom come;

Mark 1:15 “The time is accomplished, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent, and believe the gospel.”

Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

II Chronicles 20:6 “O Lord God of our fathers, thou art God in heaven, and rule over all the kingdoms and nations, in thy hand is strength and power, and no one can resist thee.”

Give us this day our daily bread;

Exodus 16:4a “Then the LORD said to Moses, "I will now rain down bread from heaven for you. Each day the people are to go out and gather their daily portion.”

and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us;

Matthew 16:32b-33 “I forgave you all your debt, because you pleaded me: Should you not have had compassion on your fellow servant, even as I had compassion on thee?”

and lead us not into temptation,

Sirach 2:1 “Son, when thou comest to serve God, stand in justice and in fear, and prepare thy soul for temptation. [that is, to be tested]

but deliver us from evil,

Exodus 6:6 “Therefore say to the children of Israel: I am the Lord who will bring you out from the work prison of the Egyptians, and will deliver you from slavery: and redeem you with a high arm, and great judgments.”


(then on the first three "Hail Mary" beads)

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.

Luke 1:28 "And coming to her, the angel said, "Hail, you who are full of grace, the Lord is with you."

The original wording means “permanently favored by grace.” When the St. Gabriel the Archangel says that Mary is full of grace, he means that, not that Mary has had her tank of grace filled up and she’s good-to-go until she needs another refill. Charity, the divine love within us, comes from the same word (the Greek kecharitomene). God is infinite Goodness, infinite Love. Mary is perfect created goodness, filled to the limit of her finite being with grace and charitable love.

Blessed art thou among women

Luke 1:41-42a "When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Most blessed are you among women..."

Luke 1:48 "For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed."

Mary is being named the greatest of all women, greater than Ruth, greater than Sarah, greater than EVE! Since Eve was created immaculate (without original sin), Mary must have been conceived immaculate; and by her own free will, Mary must have responded to God's grace, remaining sinless. Otherwise, she could not be greater than Eve.

Blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus

Luke 1:42b "and blessed is the fruit of your womb."

Jesus is Mary's fruit. Good fruit cannot come from anything but a good tree (Mt. 7:17-18)! The all-holy Son of God could not be the fruit of anything other than the Immaculate Virgin.

Holy Mary, Mother of God

Luke 1:43 "And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

In greeting Mary, Elizabeth is saying: "How is it that the mother of my God should come to me." Jesus is a single Person, a Divine Person, the 2nd Person of the Most Holy Trinity. To be mother of the human Person of Jesus is to be mother of the Divine Person of Jesus who is God.

Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Luke 2:35 "...and your very soul will a sword will pierce that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
John 2:5 "His mother said to the servers, "Do whatever he tells you."

Mary sees a need and asks Jesus to meet it. He does. We turn to Mary to ask her to intercede with Jesus, her Son, in our daily needs. We will NEVER have a greater need than at the moment of our death. At that instant our salvation hangs in the balance as Satan makes one last attempt to keep us from God (Rev. 2:10). That’s why both the Hail Mary and the Our Father wrap up with asking to be delivered from the evil one.

Now that we know the “inner structure” of the Hail Mary, we can apply other bits of the Bible to individual Hail Marys, depending on where they placed within the whole Rosary.

(First three Hail Marys)

a) Romans 5:1b …by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
b) Romans 5:2 By [Him] also we have access into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
c) Romans 5:5 And hope does not disappoint; because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
We then conclude the "intro" with the "Glory Be":

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. Amen.

John 1:1-3 "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by
him: and without him was made nothing that was made. "

And the Fatima Prayer:

O my Jesus,

John 20:28 Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!"
forgive us of our sins.

John 8:28 Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Now go and sin no more.”
Save us from the fires of hell.

Acts Of Apostles 2:27a Because thou wilt not leave my soul in Hell
Lead all souls into heaven,

John 14:6a Jesus saith to him: I am the way, and the truth, and the life.
especially those in most need of thy mercy.

Luke 23:43 And Jesus said to [the repentant thief]: Amen I say to thee this day, thou shalt be with me in paradise.

Since on Tuesdays we customarily pray the Sorrowful Mysteries, we'll go over those.

We announce the mystery before reciting the prayers and meditating upon the Mystery.

The First Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden
The Our Father

John 18:1 [Then Jesus] went forth with His disciples over the brook [of] Cedron where there was a garden, into which He entered with His disciples.
Hail Mary

Matthew 26:38 Then [Jesus] saith to [the disciples]: “My soul is sorrowful even unto death: stay you here, and watch with Me.”
Hail Mary

Luke 22:41 And [Jesus] withdrew from [the disciples] about a
stone's throw away and, kneeling down, He prayed[.]
Hail Mary

Mark 14:35 And when He was gone forward a little, He fell flat on the ground and He prayed that if it might be, the hour might pass from Him.
Hail Mary

Luke 22:42 [Jesus said] “Father, if Thou wilt, remove this chalice from me: but yet not My will, but Thine be done.”
Hail Mary

Luke 22:43 And there appeared to Him an angel from Heaven, strengthening Him. Being in agony, He prayed even longer.
Hail Mary

Luke 22:44 And His sweat became as drops of blood, trickling down upon the ground.
Hail Mary

Matthew 26:42 A second time He went and prayed, saying: “My Father, if this chalice may not pass away, but I must drink it, Thy will be done.
Hail Mary

Matthew 26:44 And leaving them, he went again and he prayed a third time, saying the same words.
Hail Mary

Mark 14:41 And He came a third time, and saith to them: Sleep ye now and take your rest. It is enough, the hour is come. Behold the Son of Man shall be
betrayed into the hands of sinners.
Hail Mary
Glory Be
Fatima Prayer

The Second Sorrowful Mystery: The Scourging At The Pillar
The Our Father

Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our iniquities, he was bruised for our sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his injuries we are healed.
Hail Mary

Psalms 72:14 And I have been scourged all the day; and my chastisement hath [started] in the mornings.
Hail Mary

Luke 18:32 For he shall be delivered to the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and scourged, and spit upon.
Hail Mary

Luke 18:33a And after they have scourged him, they will put him to death
Hail Mary

Luke 23: 16 [Pilate said to the assembled] “I will chastise him therefore, and release him.”
Hail Mary

Luke 23: 22 And [Pilate] said to them the third time: “Why, what evil hath this man done? I find no cause [worthy] of death in him. I will chastise him
therefore, and let him go.
Hail Mary

John 19: 1 Then, therefore, Pilate took Jesus, and scourged Him.
Hail Mary

Matthew 27: 26 Then [Pilate] released to them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him unto them to be crucified.
Hail Mary

Matthew 20:19 [They] shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to be mocked, and
scourged, and crucified, and the third day He shall rise again.
Hail Mary

I Peter 2:24 Who His own self bore our sins in His body upon the wood[en cross]: that we, being dead [due] to sins, should live to justice: by Whose [flogging] stripes you were healed.
Hail Mary
Glory Be
Fatima Prayer

The Third Sorrowful Mystery: Crowning with thorns
The Our Father

Mark 15:16 And the soldiers led [Jesus] away into the court of the palace, and they called together the whole band[.]
Hail Mary

Matthew 27:27 Then the soldiers of the governor, taking Jesus into the hall gathered, together, unto Him; the whole band [of them].
Hail Mary

Matthew 27:27 Then the soldiers of the governor, taking Jesus into the hall gathered, together, unto Him; the whole band [of them].
Hail Mary

Mark 15:17 And they clothe[d] Him with purple, and platting a crown of thorns, they put it upon Him.
Hail Mary

John 19:2 And the soldiers [who were] platting a crown of thorns, put it upon His head; [having] put on Him a purple garment[.]
Hail Mary

Matthew 27:29 And platting a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand. And bowing the knee before Him, they mocked Him, saying: “Hail, king of the Jews.”
Hail Mary

Mark 15:18 And they [all] began to salute Him: “Hail, king of the Jews!”
Hail Mary

Matthew 27:30 And spitting upon Him, they took the reed, and struck His head.
Hail Mary

John 19:5 Jesus therefore came forth, bearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment. And [Pilate] saith to them: “Behold the Man”
Hail Mary

Matthew 27:31 And after they had mocked Him, they took off the cloak from Him, and put on Him His own garments, and led Him away to crucify Him.
Hail Mary
Glory Be
Fatima Prayer

The Fourth Sorrowful Mystery: Carrying of the Cross
The Our Father

Luke 9:23 And [Jesus] said to all: If any man will come [with] me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Hail Mary

Mark 15:20 And after [soldiers] had mocked [Jesus], they took off the purple [cloak] from Him, and put His own garments on Him, and they led Him out to
crucify Him.
Hail Mary

John 19:16 Then, therefore, [Pilate] delivered [Jesus] to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led Him forth.
Hail Mary

John 19:17 And, bearing His own cross, He went forth to that place which is called Calvary, but in Hebrew [is called] Golgotha.
Hail Mary

Luke 23:27 And there followed Him a great multitude of people, and of women, who bewailed and lamented [for] Him.
Hail Mary

Luke 23:28 But Jesus turning to them, said: “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not over me; but weep for yourselves, and for your children.”
Hail Mary

Luke 23:29 For behold, the days shall come, wherein they will say: “Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that have not borne, and the breasts that have not given suck.”
Hail Mary

Luke 23:30 Then shall they begin to say to the mountains: “Fall upon us;” and to the hills: “Cover us.”
Hail Mary

Luke 23:31 For if in the green [times] they do these things, what shall be done in the dry?
Hail Mary
Luke 23:26 And as they led Him away, they laid hold of one Simon of Cyrene, coming from the country; and they laid the cross on him to carry after Jesus.
Hail Mary
Glory Be
Fatima Prayer

The Fifth Sorrowful Mystery: The Crucifixion
The Our Father
John 19:23-24 The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified Him, took His garments, (and they made four parts, to every soldier a part,) and also His
coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said
then one to another: “Let us not cut it, but let us cast lots for it, whose it
shall be” that the scripture might be fulfilled, saying: “They have parted my
garments among them, and upon my vesture they have cast lot.” And the soldiers
indeed did these things.
Hail Mary
Luke 23:34 And Jesus said: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” But they, dividing His garments, cast lots [for them].
Hail Mary
Mark 15:27-28 And with Him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith: “And with the wicked he was reputed.”
Hail Mary
Luke 23:39-43 And one of those robbers who were hanged, blasphemed Him, saying: “If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.” But the other answering, rebuked him, saying: “Neither dost thou fear God, seeing thou art condemned under the same
condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds;
but this man hath done no evil.” And he said to Jesus: “Lord, remember me when
thou shalt come into thy kingdom.” And Jesus said to him: “Amen, I say to thee
this day, thou shalt be with me in paradise.”
Hail Mary
Matthew 27:46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying: “Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”
Hail Mary
John 19:26 When Jesus, therefore, had seen His mother and the disciple standing whom He loved, He saith to His mother: “Woman, behold thy son.” After that, He saith to the disciple: “Behold thy mother.” And from that hour, the disciple
took her to his own.
Hail Mary
John 19:28-30a Afterwards, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said: “I thirst.” Now there was a vessel set there full of vinegar. And they, putting a sponge full of vinegar and
hyssop, put it to his mouth. Jesus therefore, when he had taken the vinegar, said: “It is [finished].”
Hail Mary
Luke 23:46 And Jesus crying out with a loud voice, said: “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” And saying this, He gave up the ghost.
Hail Mary
John 19:34, 36-37 But one of the soldiers with a spear opened his side, and immediately there came out blood and water. For these things were done, that the
scripture might be fulfilled: “You shall not break a bone of him.” And again
another scripture saith: “They shall look on him whom they pierced.”
Hail Mary
Luke 23:47 Now the centurion, seeing what was done, glorified God, saying: “Indeed this was [the Son of God].
Hail Mary
Glory Be
Fatima Prayer

And that's it.



* It is often said a Cuban is "born Republican and baptized Catholic"

Monday, July 23, 2007

Oh yeah, while we're at it.

Those of you who read this, if you could add to your prayers a little something about my most recent project (the one from way back in 2006 that keeps popping back up with fresh, new migraines and heartburn), I'd be VERY appreciative.

Veritas, this is why you got that beeping on your radar. (See how that works?)



P.S. Naturally, I keep all of you and your intentions in my prayers.

Faith, yes, but faith in what?

Over at her blog, the lovely and gracious Karen posted something based on an article which appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

Basically, the piece to which she alludes details the loss of faith, borne of the scandals which are rocking that Archdiocese and the behavior of officials thereof in relation thereto. According to Karen, who has -- sacrificially -- lived no small time in Los Angeles, much of the responsibility for this is attributable to H.E. Roger Cardinal Mahony. In the interest of full disclosure, I am no fan at all of His Eminence, nor in his way of proceeding and, frankly, I deeply fear for his soul as things now stand.

I also deeply fear for the souls under his care. In fact, I'm terrified for their well-being.

On the one hand, I can understand and sort of swallow the pastoral care of someone who is heavily invested in the bongos-and-kumbaya liturgy, or of someone who trafficks in Jesus as a sort of relatively nonviolent Che' *. But when a scandal of such manifold and manifest wickedness (as Fr. Federico Lombardi SJ aptly put it) as has been witnessed in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the faithful expect and should get an unambiguous and forceful response.

When they don't -- and by my lights, they haven't -- people become disheartened. When they see those in charge of their pastoral care seemingly more concerned about their position and their wellbeing than the souls of millions of the flock, they lose faith. Which is inevitable, given the appalling-to-nonexistent state of catechesis these days.

Sadly, people lose faith because they have no idea what it is and how integral to the soul it is. Faith, has been defined as a gift, a grace, something God has given you or He hasn't. Et cetera. Faith, as the Catechism clearly tells us is the fruit of the Holy Spirit living within you. The result of your using the gifts (as intended) of the Holy Spirit received at Confirmation. The better you use them, the more fruit you have available to survive the siege.

The problem is in mispacing your faith. Much like misplacing your keys, it's a lot easier to lose stuff when you put it in the wrong place. When we put our faith on the individual personnel of an institution, you run the risk of losing your faith if they disappoint you )and they will) in a sufficiently impressive (which they might) way. Your house isn't built on a proper foundation. It's built on sand, and you're hoping against hope you picked really, really good sand.

You're supposed to do, as Christ taught in St. Matthew's Gospel (23:2-4), honor the positions held by these men.

"[Jesus said]: The scribes and the Pharisees have sitten on the Chair of Moses. All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you, observe and do: but according to their works do ye not; for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy and unsupportable burdens, and lay them on men's shoulders; but with a finger of their own they will not move them."

(Incidentally, the message Christ had for the Pharisees and scribes seems eerily appropriate for many of today's bishops and their support staffs, dunnit?) But don't let their poor example lead you to spiritual suicide. Therefore, adultery is a sin, even if Pope XYZ in the middle ages kept a harem of 876 concubines. Murder is a sin even if Cardinal ___ personally whacked everyone he'd ever met. To have faith that endures, it has to be placed in Christ and in His Church; in those whom He delegated His authority. Not in the people who are manning those posts, because they are all invariably sinful and weak to one degree or another, but in the Sacraments which He has given us, and which don't vary because the priest or bishop is an embezzler, a drug addict or has $3million in unpaid parking tickets and some overdue library books.

If you lose your faith because of what Cardinal Mahony has or hasn't done, then your faith was on a guy named Roger Mahony...not on Christ, Whose Church he represented in a specific place at a specific time in a specific position.

Keep your eyes on the ball. Not where Satan wants them, but on God.


* Incidentally, "Che' " is Argentine slang for "Dude."

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Apostolic Exhortation, Pt. 18

Did you miss me?

This covers paragraphs 80-83 of the Apostolic Exhortation. Please read my "introduction" to this effort if you haven't done so already. (Be patient, not only is the translation from Latin a bit rough, but also formatting in Blogger is a pain in's my croix du jour to bear, let's just say.) The stuff I find to be incorrect will be stricken out, what I consider the best (or most approximate) translation will be in bold. If there is something that isn't in the text to be translated, but which adds sense, I put it in [brackets]. Sometimes a translated word or phrase needs a little extra help in making itself clearer, so in put any such clarification(s) [italicized in brackets]. I haven't made any comments yet, and I know that I have been VERY nitpicky in the translatin' so that anyone with a better sense of these things than I can piece together something, meaningwise, which might not have been apparent to me.

The Eucharist and priestly spirituality

80. The Without a doubt the eucharistic form of the Christian life is seen emerges in a very special particular way in the priesthood priestly life. Priestly spirituality is intrinsically eucharistic. The seeds of this spirituality are already found in the words spoken by the Bishop during the ordination liturgy: "Receive the oblation of the holy people to be offered to God. Understand what you do, imitate what you celebrate, and conform your life to the mystery of the Lord's Cross." (222) In order to give an ever greater fuller [i.e. more complete] eucharistic form to his existence, the priest, beginning with his years in the seminary time in formation and throughout the ensuing years, should make his spiritual life his highest priority dedicate [his] time to his spiritual life. (223) He is called to always seek God tirelessly with authenticity, while remaining attuned to the concerns of his brothers and sisters men. An intense spiritual life will enable him to enter more deeply into communion with the Lord and to let himself be possessed by God's love, bearing witness to that love becoming its witness at all times, even the darkest most adverse and most difficult. To this end I join the Synod Fathers in recommending "the daily celebration of Mass, even when the faithful are not present." (224) This recommendation is consistent congruent with the objectively infinite value of every celebration of the Eucharist, and is motivated by the Mass's unique spiritual fruitfulness singular spiritual efficacy. If celebrated lived in a faith-filled faithful and attentive way, the Holy Mass is formative in the deepest sense of the word, since it fosters promotes the priest's configuration to Christ and strengthens him in his vocation.

The Eucharist and the consecrated life

81. The relationship of the Eucharist to the various ecclesial vocations is seen in a particularly [i.e. necessarily] vivid way visible in "the prophetic witness of consecrated men and women, who find in the celebration of the Eucharist and in eucharistic adoration the strength necessary for the radical following of Christ, obedient, poor and chaste." (225) Though they provide many services in the area of human formation and care for the poor, education and health care for the sick, consecrated men and women know that the principal purpose of their lives is "the contemplation of things divine and constant assiduous union with God in prayer." (226) The essential contribution that the Church expects from consecrated persons is much more in the order of being than of doing. Here In this context I wish to reaffirm underscore the importance of the witness of virginity, precisely in relation to the mystery of the Eucharist. In addition to its connection to priestly celibacy, the eucharistic mystery also has an intrinsic relationship to consecrated virginity, inasmuch as the latter is an expression of the Church's exclusive devotion to Christ, whom she accepts as her Bridegroom with a radical and fruitful fidelity that is total and fruitful. (227) In the Eucharist, consecrated virginity finds inspiration and nourishment for its complete dedication self-giving to Christ. From the Eucharist, moreover, it draws encouragement solace and strength encouragement to be a sign, in our own times too, of God's gracious free [literally, gratuituous] and fruitful love for humanity. Finally, by its specific witness, consecrated life becomes an objective sign reference to and foreshadowing [literally, anticipation] of the "wedding-feast of the Lamb" (Rev 19:7-9) which is the goal of all salvation history. In this sense, it points to that eschatological horizon against which the choices and life decisions of every man and woman should be situated.

The Eucharist and moral transformation

82. In discovering the beauty of the eucharistic form of the Christian life, we are also led to reflect ponder on the moral energy strength it provides for sustaining the authentic freedom of the children of God. Here I wish to take up a thematic discussion that took place during the Synod about the connection between the eucharistic form of life and moral transformation. Pope John Paul II stated that the moral life "has the value of a 'spiritual worship' (Rom 12:1; cf. Phil 3:3), flowing from born of and nourished by that inexhaustible source of holiness and glorification of God which is found in the sacraments, especially in the Eucharist:; [amazing how much a meaning can change from a colo to semi-colon... -J.] by sharing participating in the sacrifice of the Cross, the Christian partakes of Christ's self-giving love and is equipped becomes capable of and committed to live this same charity in all his thoughts and deeds" (228). In a word, " 'worship' itself, eucharistic communion, includes the reality both of being loved and of loving others in turn. A Eucharist which does not pass over into the concrete practice practical exercise of love is intrinsically fragmented" (229).

This appeal to the moral value of spiritual worship should not be interpreted in a merely moralistic way. It is before all else the joy-filled joyful discovery of the dynamic love at work in the hearts of those who accept take up [literally shelter] the Lord's gift, abandon themselves to him and thus find true freedom. The moral transformation implicit in the new worship instituted by Christ is a heartfelt yearning and cordial desire to respond to the Lord's love with one's whole being, while remaining ever conscious of one's own weakness fragilities. This is clearly reflected in the Gospel story of Zacchaeus (cf. Lk 19:1-10). After welcoming Jesus to his home, the tax collector is completely changed: he decides to give half of his possessions to the poor and to repay fourfold those whom he had defrauded. The moral urgency intention born of welcoming Jesus into our lives is the fruit of gratitude for having experienced the Lord's unmerited closeness.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


Dear John Brown, SJ:

When I re-templated this blog (the hard way) and had to rebuild it, I accidentally jettisoned your blog from my sidebar.

Mea maxima culpa.

Management deeply regrets the oversight, which has been corrected.


If reality knocks, shall I say you're here?

How jarring is the following?

"The current abortion situation is unacceptable and unsustainable," wrote Bishop Thomas G. Wenski of Orlando, Fla., chairman of the bishops' Committee on Life Issues, in a July 17 letter to Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio. A copy of the letter was released July 18 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Kinda jarring, right? Sadly, it strikes us as jarring because it'd be so alien and out of character for the USCCB.

Instead, this is what Bp. Wenski wrote:

"The current situation in Iraq is unacceptable and unsustainable," wrote Bishop
Thomas G. Wenski of Orlando, Fla., chairman of the bishops' Committee on International Policy, in a July 17 letter to Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio. A copy of
the letter was released July 18 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The lovely and gracious Karen resides in the Diocese of Orlando, Florida and thus is particularly aggrieved by this. The Bishop of said Diocese is Thomas Wenski, formerly an assistant Bishop here in the Archdiocese of Miami. This has allowed me the vantage point of being familiar with Bp. Wenski's way of thinking for some time.

What strikes me as interesting is that Bp. Wenski's letter is addressed to Rep. Tim Ryan and, incidentally, references "Our shared moral tradition can guide this effort and inform our dialogue with other leaders as we seek a way to bring about a morally responsible end to the war in Iraq." Rep. Ryan, you see, is a Catholic.

Of course, you may wonder -- as cynics are wont to -- what sort of actions Rep. Ryan has taken based on this moral tradition which he shares with Bp. Wenski. Well, some of these actions are a remarkably, decidedly not pro-life cast. Hmm. Interesting. Rep. Ryan also signed a letter authored by the staffers of Catholic Democrats chastising the Pope for suggesting that politicians who vote in ways inconsistent with the culture of life place themselves in risk of excommunication.

Implicit in this mash-note is the message that politicians who are pro-life Catholics and in favor of military action in Iraq are not sharing the same moral tradition as Bp. Wenski. But set that aside for now.

So, you may well ask, why the USCCBB is getting into bed with people who have shown a rather intermittent and convenience-tinged adherence to Church teaching, and an intemperate tone in discussing the particulars thereof? Well, that's the $660,000,000.00 million-dollar question, innit?

For some reason, the USCCB doesn't mind cleaving to politicians whose votes on matters where Catholic doctrine is clear and unambiguous. Liberal Democrats certainly don't mind holding fast to the Bishops when they make a pronouncement which, although it's in an area where Church teaching isn't pellucidly clear, both suits their purposes and allows them to wear the mantle of Faithful Catholics...even if it's often a bit askew.

In sum: The rapid erosion of trust and respect for the episcopacy in this country continues unabated. Politicians who claim to be Catholics in good standing can expect "air cover" as long as their outright dissent doesn't otherwise disturb the ideological oases of the ivory cathedra...and the band plays on.

The problem, as I see it, with the Church in the USA is a crisis of episcopacy. Like the Holy Father said at CELAM: Bishops are supposed to be bishops. We can get weathervanes for less than this.


P.S. Next post will be more Sacramentum Caritatis, I promise.

An interesting way to put it.

As longtime readers, you guys will know I do not always agree with Fr. Thomas J. Reese, SJ. Mark Mossa, for whom I have violent respect, considers him (Fr. Reese) a friend and as I respect Mark, and Mark respects Fr. Reese, it makes sense for me to give serious consideration to the things Fr. Reese expounds, even if I come to a different conclusion...or even a bewilderingly different conclusion.

Therefore, in doing so, I ran across a piece by Fr. Reese wherein he makes the following observation about the Holy Father: "For Benedict, the world is his classroom." Now, while there are some things which Father writes that give me pause and where I believe his analogy stretches well beyond its natural elasticity, I believe this thought is the money quote.

Once you look at it that way, much of the Holy Father's modus operandi becomes pellucidly clear. JP2 has been said to have considered the papacy in the light of a parish priest...only that his parish encompassed the globe. If you look at JP2 under that light, a lot of his pontificate comes into suddenly sharp focus. "It makes more sense now." The same holds for B16.

To put the two men in context, and a slightly different context than you are likely to see, it can be argued that JP2, with all his world-hopping, showed the world (and his Catholic flock in particular) that there was so much more to their faith than they had thought...and, once this flock realizes there is that much more to learn, they thirst for someone who will teach* them. Voila'...B16, compliments of the Holy Spirit.



* Acts 8:30-31...look it up, it will do you good.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Three guesses why.

From National Catholic Reporter (emphasis mine):
"Though an aging readership [the average age of an NCR reader is 68] is not unique to us, it does raise concerns when planning for the future. At NCR, we’ve been discussing for some time the ongoing polarization within our church. Whichever way one turns in the church, there’s a new battleground taking shape. It’s hardly life-giving for anyone, regardless of where one falls on the political spectrum. Many Catholics, particularly the young, have left quietly in search of something more meaningful."

Look inward, angel.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The dogs that didn't bark.

By now I'm sure you guys all know of the $660,000,000.00 sex abuse settlement between the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and the assorted plaintiffs involved therein.

Here is a bit from the L.A. Times:

J. Michael Hennigan, attorney for the Los Angeles Archdiocese, said he is "generally a big fan of Steve Cooley," but that the district attorney's remarks were "irresponsible."

"It is irresponsible for a law enforcement official to suggest that a crime has been committed when he has no evidence of it," Hennigan said.

Did you catch that? Notice how Mr. Hennigan specifically does not protest on grounds of innocence. His gripe is not that His Eminence is being besmirched falsely, but that His Eminence is being besmirched without evidence. If this doesn't translate to: "I didn't do it, you didn't see me." please write to me and explain to my why it does not.


"Father Thomas Reese, an expert on U.S. bishops and senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University, predicted that the settlement would deflate the abuse issue, freeing Mahony to reassert himself on his signature causes, such as immigration, labor and poverty."
Notice Fr. Reese points out to what His Eminence's pet causes are: "immigration, labor and poverty." Read verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry carefully. Glaring by their absence are issues such as "abortion, same-sex marriage, Mass attendance, reception of the Sacraments, devotions, etc."

Of course, those who have been following His Eminence's career arc would not be remotely surprised by this.

There are those, whose minds turn in ways far more cynical than mine, who'll muse aloud what sort of dent in the poverty within the Archiocesan borders would $660,000,000.00 have made.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

What we didn't hear in Today's Gospel Reading.

Did you hear this (or the NAB version thereof)?

"And Jesus answering, said: A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among those driven to desperation by societal oppression, who also stripped him, and having wounded him went away, leaving him half dead. And it chanced, that a certain plutocrat went down the same way: and seeing him, passed by. In like manner also a traditionalist, when he was near the place and saw him, passed by. But a certain Social Justice/Liberation Theologist being on his journey, came near him; and seeing him, was moved with compassion. And going up to him, took out his Health Ministry Card, and he read therefrom: and setting him upon the beast provided him by the Beast of Burden Bureau, brought him to a State Run Caref Facility, and made sure government approved personnel took care of him. And the next day he took out two vouchers issued him by the Health Ministry, and gave to the Assistant Manager, and said: Take care of him; and whatsoever thou shalt spend over and above, I, at my return, will fill out the requisite reimbursement forms for thee."


Well, my guess is that unless you hear Mass in one of the more extremely benighted places in Catholic-dom, you didn't.

You probably got something like:

"And Jesus answering, said: A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among robbers, who also stripped him, and having wounded him went away, leaving him half dead. And it chanced, that a certain priest went down the same way: and seeing him, passed by. In like manner also a Levite, when he was near the place and saw him, passed by. But a certain Samaritan being on his journey, came near him; and seeing him, was moved with compassion. And going up to him, bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine: and setting him upon his own beast, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two pence, and gave to the host, and said: Take care of him; and whatsoever thou shalt spend over and above, I, at my return, will repay thee."

Notice something? Notice that the Good Samaritan not only was kind and compassionate and merciful to the man waylaid by robbers...he was kind and compassionate and merciful because he used his own property to help his fellow man in his hour of need. He didn't demand that something be done. He didn't publish long and tortured exegeses on what the Mosaic Law demanded be done for those waylaid by robbers. He didn't hunt down the priest and/or the Levite and insist they help. He used his goods to help by himself.

This is what we are called to do. Act individually for the good. Not to "support" things, but to do things. This is probably the hardest thing about Christianity, in that it demands that we, individually, turn, repent, forgive, i.e., do stuff. It explicitly demands we do not hide behind others or blend into the crowd in regards to following the commands set down by Christ. It's like when you and your friends are moving a heavy couch. You know the opportunity exists for someone to slack in his share of the burden. But when it's just you moving something you have been commanded to move, there is -- quite literally -- nowhere to hide.

The Samaritan, Levite and priest had nowhere to hide and thus their reactions become painfully plain for all to see and, by extension, OUR actions become plain.

So, knowing that we cannot be camouflaged from God's eyes, let's act accordingly.


Friday, July 13, 2007

A new tack.

If you've been keeping up with the fallout from the Motu Proprio related to the Traditional Latin Mass, you may have noticed a certain, say, jiu-jitsu sort of move on the part of many Bishops.

Look carefully and you will note that those Bishops who had a rather peculiar notion of "wide and generous" when they were asked to extend permission for this liturgy, now have published official reactions to the MP that run along these lines:

"At the Diocese of X, we welcome the Pope's new directives. We are pleased to have received this document and are studying it intently, in order to implement it optimally. At our diocese, we have had the Tridentine[sic] Mass at St. Really Far Away and, prior to that, at St. Very Bad Neighborhood, to ensure that all of the faithful within our jurisdiction have access to this liturgy."

The basic tone is "It's great! We, of course, have been up to speed all along with this by having the TLM in one it doesn't really apply here. Still, pretty cool, huh?"

Therefore, I think it means its time for the TLM crowd and the TLM-friendly crowd to nudge the hierarchy into a more receptive mood as re. this MP. If not, the reform-of-the-reform might well die of SIDS.

Never say I didn't give you a heads-up.


P.S. Oh, and keep a weather eye for ::cough, cough:: discrepancies in the English translation.

Monday, July 09, 2007

"God help me, I do love it so."

Of course, you've been following the unfolding Motu Proprio aftermath.

Now, if you're like me -- and you should strive for this because I am a great cook, snappy dresser and all-around good guy -- you might have noted there have been two main sorts of reactions thereto.

One kind of reaction has been joy and thanksgiving. "This is great, we are happy, thank you God." The other sort of reaction has been to characterize the Motu Proprio as the death knell for the Catholic faith and those who have rejoiced therein much the way Post-Civil War Southern Democrats did enfranchised ex-slaves, and those who aided and abetted their efforts.

Stop and contrast. On the one hand, those who are happy (and I number myself among them) are not gloating in victory. There is none of the "I won, you lost, now get out of my Church" attitude. The opponents, alas, feel no constraints whatever and gave given voice to their displeasure with relatively little concern.

The question nobody is asking is "why?" Why characterize people who have "legitimate aspirations," as JP2 said?

Mull that over a bit, will ya?


Sunday, July 08, 2007

If you can read this...

...then I fixed whatever afflicted my blog.


Saturday, July 07, 2007

Ps. 39:2-3*

"Expectans expectavi Dominum et intendit mihi et exaudivit preces meas et eduxit me de lacu miseriae et de luto fecis et statuit super petram pedes meos et direxit gressus meos."

Today, people, is a day of unbridled joy for the Bride of Christ. The Holy Father has written and the Holy See released the long awaited Motu Proprio. If you want the Full Monty** repair directly to Fr. Z's blog. As is to be expected these days, the Official English translation*** suffers a bit, but less than might have been feared. It doesn't seem to change or omit anything, although it has that watered-down thing going on.

I reiterate that I am not one of those RadTrad types who reject Vatican II ("and just to be safe Vatican I, also") and I am not one of those who will give this Mass my exclusive attendance. But I like the probable cross-pollination between the "Novus Ordo" and the "Tridentine."

Today is not a day of anything but Joy. I realize there are many who are not joyful or, worse, might be angry. Let's pray the Holy Spirit (Mark Mossa, SJ once commented the Holy Spirit gets short shrift, and I believe he is right.) will imbue and soften these hearts.

Truly, today we have witnessed something AMDG,


* Look it up, it'll do you good.
** Which is a tailoring term, not something naughty.
*** The USCCB has taken the initiative of creative translation, alas.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Fr. Z's Rules of Engagement

Dear Internet,

The very estimable Fr. Z. has suggested the following for when the Holy Father releases the long-awaited Motu Proprio de-restricting the Traditional Latin Mass. I think Father is spot-on, and those of us on "this" side of the issue would be very well served to heed them:

Fr. Z’s 5 Rules of Engagement for after the Motu Proprio is released:

1) Rejoice because our liturgical life has been enriched, not because "we win." Everyone wins when the Church’s life is enriched. This is not a "zero sum game".

2) Do not strut. Let us be gracious to those who have, in the past, not been gracious in regard to our "legitimate aspirations."

3) Show genuine Christian joy. If you want to attract people to what gives you so much consolation and happiness, be inviting and be joyful. Avoid the sourness some of the more traditional stamp have, sadly, worn for so long.

4) Be engaged in the whole life of your parishes, especially in works of mercy organized by the same. If you want the whole Church to benefit from the use of the older liturgy, then you, who are shaped by the older form of Mass, should be of benefit to the whole Church in concrete terms.

5) If the document doesn’t say everything we might hope for, don’t bitch about it like a whiner. (Father is not one to pull punches.) Speak less of our rights and what we deserve, or what it ought to have been, as if we were our own little popes, and more about our gratitude, gratitude, gratitude for what God gives us.



Monday, July 02, 2007

Fate has a certain air of inevitability.

In case the embedding didn't work so well, here is the link: