Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam

Essential thinking for reading Catholics.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

G'head, swamp 'em.

Sr. R. let me know that the good Carmelite Sisters* are now -- gasp! -- blogging.

Go welcome them!



* Whom I lovelovelove.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

What? You thought this'd be easy?

A while ago, I reported on the (IMCO) lamentable way the Diocese of St. Augustine, FL was handling Summorum Pontificum. In the combox, The Irish Apologist had this to say by way of update:


I attended this meeting last night and was saddened at the way Rev. Father Willis conducted himself..

The meeting started with an excellent presentation by the Director of Adult Education for St. Joseph's Parish and when Fr. Willis took the podium, the tone and mood of the meeting changed to one of controlled hostility and back-handed comments. He expressed his wish to NOT have the meeting recorded which of course was his right.

When honest questions were put to him, his answers were a beautiful exposition on various topics having nothing to do with the actual question answered....UNLESS the question was slanted against The Holy [Traditional] Mass.

Fr. Willis gave an extremely one-sided presentation of the history of liturgy that left alot to be desired.

Near the end of the meeting Fr. Willis in an effort to make some sort of joke I assume, mentioned a study that was conducted by Creighton University about individuals who prefer the Mass being linked to having A.D.D. This did in fact make me laugh because I thought Fr. Willis (who I heard can be rather intimidating) would have better stuff to say that that. I was not intimidated, but I was a bit offended.

Now, something that Fr. Willis did say that I agree with is the fact that he mentioned that on the internet he has been blasted and very un-charitable things have been said of him. Now, I say that when we resort to those sorts of slander, we are no better than our Novus Ordo counterparts who blast The Saintly Arch Bishop Lefebvre.*

Prayer and fasting for their hearts to change should be our business. Living a TRULY Catholic life should be our silent but powerful example.

Anyway, the meeting went as the majority of us expected with the basic gist being, His Excellency will asses the situation but Fr. Willis made clear that The Mass is NOT a priority for Bishop Galleone...

So, that's how it stands. The glimmer of good news for Floridians is that it seems that not all the state's Bishops have taken this line. So far the Archdiocese of Miami has not been particularly hostile -- mostly silent and neutral-ish, if you must characterize it somehow -- and the Diocese of Venice, FL (which really means Naples/Ft. Myers, but never mind) has actually been pretty sanguine.

Still, keep praying.



* Regardless how one feels about Abp. LeFebvre (and I freely admit to being somewhat conflicted in my views on him) slander and character assassination are so wildly counterproductive that it's practically Sysyphean. So, and you know who you are, cut it out.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


1- I have been swamped with stuff.

2- I have been blessed with a HUGE number of CCD students this year. By the time registration closes, I'll probably have 30-32. For you new readers, I am nowhere near being a "real" teacher. (I'm really more of a smart@$$ with a Catechism and a bushel of analogies.)

3- I'll be wrapping up my protracted translation of Sacramentum Caritatis soon.

4- My wife's sonogram came back just fine. Thanks to everyone for your prayers.

5- Forgiveness. I have to work on forgiving myself after God does, because when I don't I end up doing the same stupid $#!+ that got me to the Confessional last time.

6- I gotta go to Confession again. Among other things -- above and beyond needing to access Divine forgiveness again -- I am trying to get up to speed with going weekly. About two years ago I started going monthly, itself a huge leap from going yearly which was a vast improvement from not going between Confirmation and Matrimony. (A 16 year gap, for those scoring at home.)

7- Secret encoded message to Karen: "West Berlin has, through diplomatic channels, said it wants the airlift to proceed as planned."

Thus endeth the post.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

We are winning.

God bless Bp. Finn, who celebrated the taking effect of Summorum Pontificum by celebrating the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.


To have a USCCB full of Bishops like him...


P.S. Mass at the cathedral was SO PACKED they ran out of consecrated hosts. Stop and ponder that for a moment.

Friday, September 14, 2007

I LOVE this.

(It bears repeating on such a great day as today!)

Fr. Z came up with the Officially Very Clever idea for a graphic to illustrate (to the more recalcitrant bishops) the importance of Summorum Pontificum. He asked for graphics and here is my favorite:

Karen and Veritas, please feel free to swipe this.


Thursday, September 13, 2007


It's been a lot on my mind of late, this forgiveness thing.

In recent days I have flirted with a return to sins of habit. In my pride -- yeah, I got that; I think we've covered it previously -- I had assumed it was all overwith. But hubris breeds nemesis, like the Ancient Greeks said and Satan, not being stupid, managed to slip in a pry bar. It was by sheer grace that I woke up and swerved back on the road, as it were.

Where flirting-with-disaster fits in the Great Chart of Sins, I'm not sure. I'm pretty sure it's in there somewhere, though; and, much like when I get a paper cut I go and scrub it with something antibacterial, I'll be hauling this to Confession. The purpose of Confession, natch, is forgiveness. We have already had our sins dealt with by Christ's salvific sacrifice on the cross. So our forgiveness is there. All we have to do is pick it up.

Previously, I had referred to the Confessional as God's "Will Call" window. It's just like when someone buys you a ticket to a concert or opera or whatever and he (or she) leaves them at the Will Call window of the box office. Do you have tickets to see ___ Live In Concert? Yes, you do. Just go pick them up.

What I suggest as re. Confession is doing it the Old School way wherever possible. Anonymous, in a confessional, unscheduled. There is nothing particularly more noble or "better" about doing it off-hours and face-to-face. In my opinion, you introduce the possibility of Human Error into the equation, both on the part of the confessor and the penitent.

That said, our "worst" sins are the ones which have carved a groove of habit in our lives. The sins that prey on our inattention or exhaustion or imperfect/inconstant vigilance. You know which one it is in your life. Sometimes it spirals utterly out of our control like a hurricane, and sometimes it just comes back to wreck things and leaves until the next time, like an earthquake. The thing not to be hung up about is the role of the confessional in exploring the root causes of sinfulness. When you go in for open heart surgery, that's not the time to discuss diet and exercise.

However, in the Act of Contrition, you (we!) promise to sin no more and to avoid the "near occasion of sin." Plainly put, if you don't want to fall off a cliff, don't walk up to its edge and start wiggling your toes over the abyss. But with sins of habit, this requires something different from Confession. If Confession is surgery, you need the equivalent of a rehabilitation therapist. You need a spiritual director to deal with the implications of your attitudes and behaviors that leave you with, like the Catechism says, "an inclination to sin."

It goes without saying that none of this will work if you undertake it (or try to) without examining your conscience (the Jesuit "Examen of Conscience" is ideal for this, IMCO) and most importantly asking prayerfully for God's help.

Arise and walk, however awkwardly, to God.



Friday, September 07, 2007

"THAT. That's what we're talking about." Pt. 6

WARNING: I know several of you hold Fr. Daniel Berrigan, SJ in very high regard. Alas, this is one area where our opinions sharply diverge.

While there seems to be much Jesuit-y goodness coming out of Fordham and I have trumpeted as much over at ALB, it would appear there is still some residual lunacy from the Days of Rage.

One sad example: it is now required reading for Fordham freshpersons to plow through play titled The Trial of the Catonsville Nine. (Cynical persons would ask what other great books were shunted aside to make room for this. Not I, you understand, but cynical persons would.)

The Cliffs Notes of the Catonsville Nine is that one fine day in 1968 they marched into the offices of a draft board, grabbed a bunch of files and set them aflame with -- get this -- homemade napalm. Among the nine were Fr. Daniel Berrigan, SJ and Fr. Philip Berrigan, SJ. My sense is they remembered Jesus admonishing His disciples for wanting Him to call down fire upon the Samaritan village and theorized the problem was not so much with the "fire" part if the equation as much as the "calling down" bit.

Stop and ponder this for a moment: Jesuits making homemade napalm.

For some inadequately explored reason, nobody -- save the judicial and law enforcement mechanisms of the State of Maryland -- seems to have had a problem with this. At any rate, when asked why they had committed such an act, they said it was to stop the flow of soldiers to Vietnam. "We do this because everything else* has failed" chimed in one of the nine. Then they all clasped hands (You troglodyte TLM-types, please shush.) and recited the Our Father.

They were arrested and tried and sentenced. In a rather novel and creative imitation of Christ, the Frs. Berrigan went (not literally) underground, as did three of their acolytes. Another died in a car accident before serving his sentence and the remaining three -- who seemed to have been the ones to actually exhibit a tenuous grasp the whole concept of ::cough, cough:: civil disobedience -- served time in prison.

That's pretty much the whole thing in a nutshell.

There is a website that, albeit being an outright mash note to the Catonsville Nine, offers much detail on the affair. Of course, being an outright mash note thereto means I am disinclined to afford you a link, because I'll be hanged if I help their numbers. If you should so desire it, please feel free to perform the necessary due diligence your own bad self.

However, the entire enterprise is betrayed rather badly, I thought, by said mash-note website when it attempts to set the stage for this event. (Mind you, it tries to sound balanced and dispassionate, but it does so so stiffly and artificially that it's laughable.) What gives it away right at the very start is this glittering diamond of a quote, emphasis mine:

The principles of U.S. [postwar] foreign policy centered on protection of our growing international interests and containment of the perceived threat of communist expansion.**
And therefore, as is inevitable in these sorts of cases, a play was written. Yes, I have read the play and no, I will not spoil anything for you. But it's pretty much what any sentient being'd expect. If you had no idea what to expect owing to, say, a prolonged comatose episode or having been marooned until quite recently, suffice it to say it bears the imprimatur of noted moderate theopolitical thinker Tim Robbins (the Costa Gavras of our time) and the nihil obstat of Beau Bridges.

And it must be read by all Fordham freshpersons.

Why must it be read by all Fordham freshpersons?

Because according to a student, Brian O'Connell, "The fact that [we were] asked*** to read it says to me that the school takes its heritage seriously." Cynics might consider it interesting to test this outlook by asking Fordham freshpersons how well versed they are in matters dealing with, say, St. Ignatius or St. Francis Xavier or St. Paul Miki, etc.

Not I, naturally, but cynics.

The reasons why this play has become, by diktat, required reading appear to me as monumentally specious. One of the reasons offered is that Fr. Daniel Berrigan, SJ is the greatest Jesuit poet of our generation. Setting aside the issue of Fr. Berrigan's poesy, it would be safe to say that if any other Jesuit shows up, Fr. Berrigan will not be considered the greatest Jesuit playwright.

Also troubling to me is the rather incestuous logrolling involved. It would be tossing things well afield of the bounds of charitable credulity to say a university can view objectively the work of its most celebrated poet when it comes to said poet's dramatization**** of the time he got some people to make a righteous mess of a gummint office and then set a trashcan on fire in a parking lot and then ran away for several months.

It will surprise exactly no one that my views on the Frs. Berrigan et Cie. are, um, However, I am trying not to express them with quite the, er, warmth I would be predisposed to affording them. Being the product of a Communist-impelled diaspora and growing up around the time when these things were happening are not, y'see, conducive to a sympathetic view of these actions or those who seek to ennoble or glorify them. I suspect the least of my brethren might also look askance at the whole enterprise.

The moral of the story? Just because there are many, MANY wonderful, glorious, exciting things happening at XYZ University doesn't mean there aren't antiquated relics still roaming around. Those of us who are strongly considering sending our sons and daughters to such places would be best advised to be aware of these snares, and govern ourselves accordingly.

The prayer for St. Michael the Archangel's intercession seems particularly apt.



* Further research into the matter, including interviews with several historians, shows that this tactic seems to have failed as well. Not mentioned as a dandy solution, oddly enough, was having voted for Barry Goldwater.

** Which is pretty much how it worked out in my family. Castro's "militia" showed up at my late grandmother's house with machine guns to seize it and all the stuff inside (for the people, you see) and she perceived a threat that communism was expanding into her house. Our family then took all the international interests it could carry (figure $40) and fled the impending socialized medicine.

*** Kind of like how the gummint asks you to pay taxes.

**** Important word, that.


...and speaking of which...

Look at THIS hunk-a-brilliance.