MEXICO: Another priest kidnapped after two were murdered

Recently two priests in Mexico were kidnapped and killed.

Now I read that another priest in Mexico is missing.

Via Crux:

Another Catholic priest in Mexico kidnapped, remains missing

Coming on the heels of the kidnapping and murder of two Catholic priests in Mexico over the weekend, a third one was reportedly taken from his church on Monday and remains missing.
Father José Alfredo López Guillen of the state of Michoacán, one of the most violent zones in the country, reportedly was taken on Monday by people who remain unknown. Items from the parochial house and his car are also missing.
The news about the kidnapping was shared by Cardinal Alberto Suárez Inda of the diocese of Morelia, the capital of Michoacán. His diocese published a video through YouTube and Twitter, where the cardinal says: “We ask God that his integrity, his life, are respected, so that he can soon go back to his ministry.”
Suárez Inda, created cardinal by Pope Francis in 2015, also prayed for peace, respect for life and the conversion of those who spend their lives doing wrong to others.
“This barbarity is in no way justified,” he said.
Michoacán has long suffered the consequences of organized crime and drug trade, and the disappearance of López Guillen is far from being an isolated case.
Fathers Alejo Nabor Jimenez Juarez and Jose Alfredo Suarez de la Cruz had been kidnapped last week in Veracruz, a region also marred by drug trade and organized crime, and found murdered on Monday, the same day the priest from Michoacán went missing.
[…]
The CMC also said in 2015 there was a decrease in the number of priests killed, from six in the year before to two.  [Gosh!  A decrease!] However, it also said that some 520 priests had been victims of extortion during the year. The fate of Father Carlos Ornelos Puga, who disappeared in November 2013 from La Victoria, Tamaulipas, and Father Santiago Alvarez Figueroa, who disappeared in December 2012 in Zamora, Michoacan, remained unknown.
But priests are not the only targets. Last June three nuns were tied up, gagged, and assaulted by unknown attackers in their parish home in the state of Oaxaca.

Pray for the priests who died.  Pray for the priest who is missing.

Posted in PRAYER REQUEST, Priests and Priesthood, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice, Urgent Prayer Requests | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Acton on giving the powerful a pass because they are famous

I am presently reading Lord Acton by Roland Hill.  US HERE UK HERE  It was highly recommended to me by Fr. Robert Sirico of ACTON INSTITUTE.

I found this passage, which deals with Acton’s most famous quote, relevant to one of the candidates in the presidential campaign.

Then Acton embarked on the passage since become famous, that he could not accept Creighton’s canon that Pope and King should not be judged like other men, but given the benefit of the doubt:

If there is any presumption it is the other way, against holders of power, increasing creasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you supcradd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it…. You would hang a man of no position, like Ravaillac; but if what one hears is true, then Elizabeth asked the gaoler to murder Mary, and William III ordered his Scots minister to extirpate a clan. Here are the greatest names coupled with the greatest crimes. You would spare these criminals, for some mysterious reason. I would hang them higher than Haman, for reasons of quite obvious justice; still more, still higher, for the sake of historical science.

[NB] To Acton, there was no greater error than to lower the standards in consideration of a past age or in deference to station, as the hero worshippers-historians historians like Froude, Macaulay, and Carlyle-had done. “If we may debase the currency for the sake of genius, or success, or rank, or reputation, we may debase it for the sake of a man’s influence, of his religion, of his party, of the good cause which prospers by his credit and suffers by his disgrace. Then History ceases to be a Science, an arbiter of controversy…. It serves where it ought to reign; and it serves the worst cause better than the purest.”

Hans’t Hillary Clinton been given a kind of get out of gaol card?

HILLARY FOR PRISON!
2016

VOTE MILLARD!
FILLMORE & ____
2016

Acton was an amazing fellow.  This book is fascinating.  One of the things I found most interesting was the description of the machinations surrounding the First Vatican Council and the dogma of infallibility.

Fighting over doctrine is serious business!  If you consider that in the ancient Church people would literally riot if they heard an unfamiliar Latin version of Scripture, and that the homoousios was debated even in butcher shops, today’s little spats are calm and bloodless.

Posted in The Drill | Tagged , | 8 Comments

The Autumnal Tipping Point

IMG_6766In addition to today being Bilbo’s and Frodo’s Birthday, my Roman Curia calendar indicates that the Autumnal Equinox occurred at 14:20 GMT. Here at the Cupboard Under The Stairs, the Equinox took place at 9:21 AM CDT.

The word equinox was formed by two Latin words, for “equal” and nox, “night”.  On both the fall and spring, or autumnal and vernal equinox, daylight and darkness are nearly equal in length.

And so in the Northern Hemisphere, we begin the time of year where days are shorter than our nights, to continue until the Winter Solstice.

Also on this day the naval Battle of Salamis was fought in 480 BC.  That was one of the tipping points of history, for the Greeks under Themistocles defeated the Persians under Xerxes. He deceived the Persians to sail into a narrow strait where their larger numbers would not be an advantage.  Had the Persians won, the West would … well… not have been the West it was.  In Persians, Aeschylus the Persians heard the Greeks singing a paean or battle hymn as they approached the strait:

ὦ παῖδες Ἑλλήνων ἴτε
ἐλευθεροῦτε πατρίδ᾽, ἐλευθεροῦτε δὲ
παῖδας, γυναῖκας, θεῶν τέ πατρῴων ἕδη,
θήκας τε προγόνων: νῦν ὑπὲρ πάντων ἀγών.

O sons of the Greeks, go,
Liberate your country, liberate
Your children, your women, the seats of your fathers’ gods,
And the tombs of your forebears: now is the struggle for all things.

What shall US troops one day sing when the war of our time is joined, I wonder.

And since North Carolina seems to be at war with itself right now, the Tuscorora War began in 1711.  The great scientist Michael Faraday was born on this day in 1791 and Pres. Lincoln released the text of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862.

 

Posted in Look! Up in the sky! | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Trump campaign forms Catholic advisory group

Once again, I would vote for the corpse of Millard Fillmore to keep the treacherous Hillary Clinton out of the White House.

By posting this, I am not thereby publicly endorsing a candidate.  However, I find it interesting that the Trump campaign has brought some Catholic advisers on board.

Face it… how Catholics vote will figure big time in November.  Which way will they go?  Catholics will be an important swing vote.

From Philly.com:

Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump, who has struggled with Catholic voters in some polls, on Wednesday named an advisory council of respected conservative Catholic leaders.

The list of 33 advisors includes prominent Pennsylvanians, such as former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum, who ran for president in 2012 and 2016; Faith Whittlesey, former U.S. ambassador to Switzerland and a high-ranking political official in the Reagan White House; and U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, Republican of Erie.

Trump, who expressed support for abortion rights earlier in his public career – he has said he changed his mind – has had difficulty winning the trust of some Catholic activists on abortion and other issues.

“The choice for Catholics in this presidential election could not be more stark,” Whittlesey said in a statement. ”

Clinton support a breathtakingly radical cultural agenda and judicial nominees which leave no room for the legal protection of the unborn and the ability of Christians to fully and freely practice their faith that is constitutionally protected by the First Amendment,” she said. “Trump will fight for Catholics in defense of life, and their religious liberty.”

Joseph Cella, founder of the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, will be the chief liaison to the campaign for Catholic affairs. In March, during the primaries, Cella signed an open letter along with other Catholic intellectuals and leaders calling Trump “manifestly unfit to be president.” The letter cited his vulgarity, appeal to racial and ethnic fears, and questioned whether he was committed to stopping abortion and strengthening “marriage culture.”  [So, the campaign is in contact with someone who was very negative.]

The list of Catholic heavyweights signing on to advise Trump includes Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List; Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback; Matt Schlapp, president of the American Conservative Union; former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating (R); U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, Republican of Ohio; Jim Nicholson, former Republican national chairman, secretary of veterans affairs and ambassador to the Vatican; longtime conservative leader Richard Viguerie; and Tom Monaghan of Michigan, founder of Domino’s Pizza and the Ave Maria University.

Exit polls in 2012 showed that Mitt Romney won white Catholics who attended Mass at least once a month by a whopping 38 percentage points – 60 to 38 percent. A recent poll by the Public Religion Research Institute showed Trump winning this group by a slimmer 49 percent to 32 percent margin.

President Obama beat Romney overall among Catholics four years ago, but by just two percentage points (50-48). A Washington Post-ABC News Poll late in late August found that Democrat Hillary Clinton led among Catholics overall by 27 points, 61 percent to 34 percent. It was the biggest demographic shift in the Post-ABC survey, explained in large measure by Trump’s dismal showing among Latinos, many of whom are Catholic. (h/t James Hohmann, author of WP’s The Daily 202.)

The moderation queue is ON.  Please think (and breathe) before posting.

Posted in The future and our choices | Tagged , , | 42 Comments

Jesuit Fr James Martin honored by homosexual advocates condemned by Holy See and USCCB

I just wanted everyone to know that the Jesuit, Fr. James Martin, SJ, involved with Amerika Magazine, has been given an award by the homosexual advocacy group which has been condemned by the Holy See and by the USCCB, New Ways Ministry.

Read the horrid details at LifeSite:

Prominent Jesuit will accept award from pro-homosexual group condemned by Vatican, US bishops

PIKESVILLE, Maryland, September 20, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — One of the most prominent and well-known Jesuits in America is slated to accept an award from New Ways Ministry, a pro-homosexual group that rejects moral teachings of the Catholic Church, on October 30.

New Ways Ministry will honor Father James Martin, the editor at large of America magazine and the author of numerous books, with its Bridge Building Award, which “honors those individuals who by their scholarship, leadership, or witness have promoted discussion, understanding, and reconciliation between the LGBT community and the Catholic Church.”

The group chose Martin “as a recipient of our Bridge Building Award for his strong promotion of LGBT acceptance through his communication ministry.”

“With his hundreds of thousands of social media followers and as Editor at Large for ‘America’ magazine, Fr. Martin has initiated a dialogue on LGBT issues with Catholics across the political spectrum, opening minds and hearts to greater acceptance,” the award’s Facebook event page says.

In addition to promoting the “coming out” of “LGBT Catholics” for “the way God created them,” Martin supports a number of progressive political causes.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Vatican have denounced New Ways Ministry for its opposition to Church teaching. The group has been banned from speaking in Catholic dioceses across the country but it maintains that it is a “Catholic” group.

[…]

The moderation queue is ON.

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Posted in Sin That Cries To Heaven | Tagged , , | 42 Comments

FOLLOW UP: Fr. Z asks help from priests: Can you take a Gregorian Mass set, stipend?

UPDATE 22 September:

Since I updated, 10 priests have contacted me to say that they can take Gregorian Masses, in either the Ordinary Form or Extraordinary Form.  You can work it out with them. If you need Masses said, drop me a line and I will try to connect you with the priests… and then I will get out of the way.

UPDATE 21 September:

I just crossed the last priest off the list of those who had written to me saying that they could take a Gregorian Mass intention.  That makes 11 people connected to 11 priests.

Priests who can take a Gregorian intention can drop me a line.  Put “PRIEST CAN TAKE GREGORIAN MASSES” in the subject line.  Indicate if you can do all of them Extraordinary Form or only Novus Ordo or mixed… etc.

If some of you readers need a Gregorian Mass set said for a loved one, drop me a line and I will try to set you up with one of the priests who might write to me.  I promise nothing but to pass your email along to a priest who might write.  After that you can then work it out yourselves.  Indicate if you want all of them Extraordinary Form or only Novus Ordo or mixed, no preference, etc.

I am not vouching for any of the priests.  That’s up to you.

And, just to be crystal clear, I have no part in the stipend or anything else once you have made your contact on your own.

__________________

Originally Published on: Jun 9, 2016

I had a call from a friend of many decades to ask if I could take a stipend for a set Gregorian Masses.  Alas, when I also have to take parish intentions that makes a Gregorian set hard to do.

For those of you who don’t know, I wrote about Gregorian Masses HERE.

So… I need to shake the tree a little.

FATHERS:

Are any of you priests out there, diocesan or religious, able to take a 30-day Gregorian Mass set using – NB – the Traditional Latin Mass? 

Please drop me a line and I will get you in touch with my friend who asked.  Put GREGORIAN MASSES in the subject.  Indicate if you will accept Novus Ordo also, or only… whatever.

 

Some priests really need the stipends, friends.

You will have to work out the stipend between you.

However, I noted on a page of the SSPX that they recommend $800.  Keep in mind that a Gregorian set is a big undertaking for a priest, because he has that one intention for 30 days.  He would have to find a priest to take the intention for him where he impeded for any reason.

 

Posted in Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests | Tagged | Leave a comment

ASK FATHER: Confession line very slow and Father looks out at people waiting

Artgate_Fondazione_Cariplo_-_Molteni_Giuseppe,_La_confessione 945From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

In our parish, when our Associate Pastor is hearing Confessions, he comes from behind the screen, opens the door and “greets” each person, in view of all waiting in line, then is very insistent upon hearing Confession face-to-face. This sometimes makes me very uncomfortable, and my husband refuses to go to him. Also, before he gives a Penance, he “counsels” for a significant amount of time. This past Saturday, he heard the Confessions of 8 penitents in the 40 minutes left, turning away another 7. Are these legitimate grounds for complaint to our Pastor, and if so, do you have recommendations as to how I might structure / word my comments? Thanks and God bless!

First, it sounds as if the Associate is trying to be personable and welcoming and that he isn’t trying to do something intimidating or confusing.

The pastor should help this priest by giving him some big-brotherly counsel cum directives.

The associate should NOT get out of the confessional or greet anyone outside the confessional.  He should not make eye contact with people outside the confessional or even look toward them.   In fact, if he is a little behind schedule, he should not even raise his eyes or look up from the floor as he walks to the confessional!  He should, if at all possible, pass by people who are in line without the slightest idea of who is there.  If he should recognize anyone, he should make no sign of recognition or greeting or anything else.

If the confessional is one of these horrid rooms that has a screen that people can go around so they make their confession “face to face”, then the penitent herself has complete control of her anonymity.   The penitent must have complete control of anonymity!

If might happen that, if there is a gap or break in the stream of penitents, a priest with a Mass coming up or another appointment will momentarily get out or look out to see if there is anyone else waiting.  That’s a different matter.  Even then he should engage at the lowest possible level.

As far as the “counsels” are concerned, they should be brief… brief.  There are few things more awkward than having to listen to the priest confessor drone on and on in what he thinks is a tone that is simultaneously fatherly and nice with one pious platitude after another.  Beyond awkward, it is frustrating for penitents in line who want to be able to make their confession before Father has to get out and say Mass.

Fathers, please be brief.  I implore you.

At the same time, let’s not always blame the priest for the length of a confession!   Some penitents have no idea what they are going to say because they haven’t examined their consciences before getting into the confessional.  Also, some penitents overwhelm even themselves with unnecessary details.

Sinners, please be brief.  I implore you.

I think that you could bring your concerns to the pastor, but don’t do so in a mean or angry way.  While what the priest says or doesn’t say in the confessional is entirely off limits for the pastor to bring up, he can bring up the observable fact that the priest isn’t allowing for his penitents anonymity.   The pastor could gently remind the associate to pick up the pace without compromising the integrity of confessions by shortening his counsels.

Otherwise, depending on the temperament of the associate, and your familiarity with him and involvement in the parish, one could drop him a line with an explanation of how uncomfortable his reviewing people in line makes you feel, and that it is sometimes frustrating not to be able to make a good confession in the scheduled time allotted because the line moves slowly.  Again, there should be no anger in the letter.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, GO TO CONFESSION, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Priests and Priesthood | Tagged , , , | 38 Comments

UPDATE Road Warrior Tips: Cheaper data abroad (KeepGo) and soft landings

UPDATE 20 September 2016

Some of you have availed yourselves of getting a KeepGo through the link I provided, below.   Thanks!  I have received some additional data. HERE

I was very satisfied with how my KeepGo kept me connected in both Rome and in Spain.  Great gizmo.

In early October I am heading to Italy again for a pilgrimage.  After the first pilgrimage, I’ll remain in Italy, mostly in Rome, so I can take part in the Summorum Pontificum pilgrimage at the end of October.  As part of that pilgrimage, there is a Pontifical Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, this year with my old friend Archbishop Sample.  I’ll be one of the sacred ministers for the Mass, which should be a wonderful experience.

In any event, if you have any travel coming up, and you plan to use data on your phone, try a KeepGo.   If you use my link, I’ll get some data credited to my own KeepGo gizmo.

Also, you may see the Vatican flag waving on some posts for a while.  Feel free to click it early and often.

_____

ORIGINAL Published on: Jun 20, 2016

I fly a lot. More than most. Less than some. But still, a lot.

These videos, sent by a priest friend, reminds me of how amazing is the technology that gets us from point A to point B safely.

First, landing in incredible fog at Malpensa. You’ll hear them counting off the feet from the runway. Keep in mind that the plane is at an angle, tip nose up.

Next, landing in New Zealand, skirting mountains, narrow swirvy approach. He wrote:

It’s an RNP (Required Navigation Performance) Approach, and its track is a 3D path, which before technology allowed it was limited to straight-line approaches. This kind of instrument approach (fully automatic) seems out of a sci-fi movie, but this is more and more common in commercial aviation.

keepgoFinally, a hint to those of you who travel out of these USA and who want to use your phones abroad.

Buying a data package for your international travel can be pretty spendy. During this last trip I used a KeepGo portable wifi hot-spot gizmo. It is a heck of a lot cheaper than, for the example the blood-drainers of ATT, and the data is usable for a year, rather than 30 days.

ATT will provide 800MB for something like $120 that expires in 30 days. KeepGo provides 1GB for $49 and it expires in 1 year. 5GB for $194 ($39/GB).

I used a KeepGo during my last trip to Rome and Spain and it functioned admirably. Also, you can easily monitor your data usage and top up.  You can connect multiple devices to the same little unit, that looks a little like a thin bar of white soap.  It fits in your pocket easily, charges quickly, and operates on a charge for a long time (depending on how heavily you use it, of course).

And have you stayed at a hotel that charges you to use wifi and… to add insult to injury… it’s lousy?

Or via Amazon

It works in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Azores, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Canary Islands, Chile, China Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Great Britain UK, Greece, Guatemala, Hawaii, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay, USA, Vatican City, Venezuela.

Note: If you use my link to get a KeepGo, I will get some complimentary data added to my account because of the referral. HERE

I was really pleased with my gizmo.  It is going to save me a lot of money in the future when I travel abroad.

Posted in Just Too Cool, On the road, What Fr. Z is up to | Tagged , , , | 16 Comments

ASK FATHER: How to “steel ourselves” and not come down off from our crosses?

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

Dear Father Z, In your post regarding the 18th Sunday after Pentecost you advised us to steel ourselves and not come down off from our crosses. Would you be so kind as to offer some specific devotions/practices to help in building the strength necessary to steel ourselves? I apologize if this seems to be an ignorant question. I am a convert to Catholisim and I have a lot to learn.

All the baptized are participants in the priesthood of Christ. Priests are essentially for sacrifice. They are not priests in the same way that ordained priests are priests, but they are, nonetheless, participants in their own way in the priesthood of Christ. The main purposes of offering sacrifice in a priestly way are to surrender to God in adoration, in thanksgiving, in atonement begging for forgiveness and reconciliation, and in raising up petitions. Performing sacrifice means, not just offering the sacrificial victim, but in a wider sense the giving up of something or self-surrender to God and the outer manifestation of one’s interior disposition of surrender to God. The principle outward manifestations on the part the baptized of this priestly surrender are prayer, alms giving and mortifications such as fasting.

We have to take stock of our own states in life, our vocations, the duties and responsibilities that flow from them, and then, in a careful way, like a general does in mapping out strategy and tactics to attain the goal, determine the practices that we offer. Then, like soldiers, we have to train. The essence of training is drilling, repetition. This is how we also build up virtues. Performance of a good act once or a few times, doesn’t mean that we have a virtue. We have the virtue when the thing becomes easy to perform and a regular aspect of our lives in a stable way. Virtues are habits. Soldiers drill so that their actions become nearly automatic, even with “muscle memory”. This is what piano players do: they practice for years, even rudimentary exercises, so that when they see the music, their fingers just know what to do. The same goes for guitar playing or football, or whatever.

Repetition of acts results in getting tougher. When we work with our hands, we develop calluses. Doing drills in hockey and playing a lot makes you harder, able to take hits, to get up off the ice, to skate and react to extremely fast situations.

As Catholics, we have to do things repeatedly to develop virtues and to toughen up, so that when our old enemies the world, the flesh and the Devil strike, we are ready, like soldiers of the Church Militant.

Pray, alms giving, mortifications such as fasting.

Pray daily in the mornings and evenings and at time in the day when it occurs to you. These can be even very fast, silent prayers. Pray before and after meals. Fast: reduce what you eat. Give alms and perform other acts of mercy, corporal and spiritual. Examine your consciences every night before going to sleep. Use the sacraments – GO TO CONFESSION! – and sacramentals well, including Holy Water and blessed objects.

Regarding the Examination of Conscience: We must know who we are before we can make improvements. This takes brutal honestly in self-examination. This is a sine qua non of the spiritual life. Once we find things that are problems, especially habitual sins that are vices, we have to map out tactics to overcome them. Be smart. Make plans that you will implement the next time you see yourself heading down the path to a sinful act. For example, make the determination that the next time you sense yourself heading toward sin X, implement your plan to do Y instead (such as, go out and scrub oil stains off the floor of the garage). Make it concrete. Instead of using a particular set of words that you should not use, make a list of words you will use instead and then implement that list until those words are habitual. Make your efforts concrete.

Remind yourself that fighting temptations and sins will make you suffer. Be ready to suffer, so that it doesn’t surprise you. Soldiers know training and fighting will hurt. They toughen and prepare for the suffering by training and mental conditioning. The same goes for many other activities, especially in sports. When you know and prepare for the crosses you will bear, you will be less likely to fail. Also, you are not alone: the saints and angels WANT to help you, and God will give you graces. He never lets us be tempted beyond what we can bear.

And say that you have dealt with many or all of your principle faults and that you have developed good, virtuous habits… you can still do more. Then it is time to start working on those smaller things. They become more important as we conquer the bigger things.

We must also remember the Four Last Things: death, judgment, Heaven and Hell. Don’t let a day pass without thinking about these four important things. They will help you figure out what you really want and spur you to the necessary actions and sacrifices to perform in order to attain the happiness of Heaven.

Also, never forget that we are all in this together. Your sins hurt others. You successes raise us all up. You can help others. You can even do penances, mortifications, in reparation for the sins of others, asking God for help and graces of conversion and forgiveness for others.

Being a Catholic is an everyday thing, not a Sunday thing.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Our Catholic Identity, Semper Paratus, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices | Tagged , | 8 Comments

ASK FATHER: Why are we responsible for the sin of Adam and Eve when weren’t there?

adam-and-eve-original-sinFrom a reader…

QUAERITUR:

Father, no priest/bishop/theologian/book has ever answered my question on how human beings after Adam & Eve can be responsible for their sins when, apart from our first parents, we weren’t even participants in their disobedience. I really don’t understand and it troubles me greatly! Thanks.

The simple answer is: We are all in this together.

The human race has great solidarity.

When our First Parents committed the Original Sin, the entire human race sinned.  The human race at the time consisted only of two people, but that was the entire race that sinned.

Similarly, our bonds of humanity and of baptism mean that when we sin voluntarily, we hurt everybody else.  Our sins hurt the whole Church, which means that we must be reconciled with the Church.  That is one of the effects of the Sacrament of Penance.

There remains the manner of “transmission” of Original Sin from our First Parents to everyone who followed (with one exception).  The Church teaches dogmatically (it must be accepted) that Adam’s loss of sanctity was not just for him alone, but also for us as well.  He transmitted to all posterity both death and suffering as well as the guilt of the Original Sin.  We are not guilty of Original Sin by imitation, but by natural generation.  The fact that we descend from our First Parents means that we, too, have the effects of Original Sin.

By Original Sin the entire race was deprived of sanctifying grace and the praeternatural gifts of integrity (we suffer from mortality, ignorance, a weakened will, disordered passions, bodily weakness and suffering, etc.).  Therefore, we are also deprived of the Beatific Vision if we depart this life without the cleansing of our guilt and the gift of sanctifying grace which comes through baptism, made effective by the Passion and Death of the Lord in His expiatory Sacrifice on Calvary.

Our personal, voluntary sins are not like this.  Each of us is guilty of our own sins. It is possible, however, that because of our own actions and choices we can share in the guilt of others for sins.  For example, when we counsel someone to sin, we, too, can be guilty of that sin.  When we conceal sins which we are obliged to expose, aid in them, praise them, provide the means, provoke them, etc., we can be guilty of the sinful acts others commit.  However, those are all instances of person, voluntary sins.  Original Sin is a different matter.  We are guilty of the sin of our First Parents because we belong to the human race and, hence, because that guilt is transmitted to every member of the human race through the fact of our generation.

The exception, of course, is Mary.  Through a singular (unique) grace, God preserved her from the stain of Original Sin.  That was fitting, since she would be the Mother of God.  When Christ took our human nature from Mary, the stain of Original Sin was not in Mary to pass along.  Mary, however, was still a member of this fallen human race, which was in need of a Divine Savior.  Therefore, while she was untouched by sin, she was nevertheless also redeemed by her Son.  Dante famously called Mary the daughter of her Son.

I hope that helps.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Our Solitary Boast | Tagged | 33 Comments

ASK FATHER: Why MUST one be in communion with Rome?

From a reader…

QUAERITUR:

Why MUST one be in communion with Rome? The Eastern Church has celebrated the sacraments without communion with Rome for 1000 years, but still they have wonderworking Saints.

GUEST “ASK FATHER” ANSWER from a priest who participates here:

Why MUST one be in communion with Rome? Well, I suppose, on one level, one need not be in communion with Rome. Some perfectly wonderful people have lived wonderful lives without being in communion with Rome. God’s grace and mercy is beyond our comprehension, and it is entirely possible that He may welcome into heaven some of those who have lived their lives outside of the visible bonds of communion with Rome. As you note, there are elements of sanctification and truth found outside the visible structure of the Roman Catholic Church. The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council affirmed this as well, while noting that these elements of sanctification and truth that can be found outside the visible structure of the Church are also found within the Church and are elements that impel towards Catholic unity (Lumen Gentium, 8).

Jesus Christ clearly wanted His followers to be united. John 17:21 was not just a fond, impossible wish of Our Lord, but was a fervent prayer He uttered as He entered into the most solemn moments of His life. He offered no exception either. He did not pray, “…that they may be One as Thou, Father, in me, and I in Thee, except when being One causes hardship, stress, confusion, or difficulties. Then, forsooth, mayest they be not more than two thousand or so, depending on the varied and sundry interpretations of Thy Holy Word that may perchance arise.”

No other Church, or denomination, or ecclesiastical gathering expresses the unity which Christ willed for His Church more effectively than the Roman Catholic Church. No stronger principle ensures unity of the faithful in this world than the visible successor of St. Peter, to whom Christ entrusted the task of confirming the faith of the brethren. For some 1,983 years, despite the sometimes motley characters that have sat on the throne of St. Peter, and even occasional confusion about who was, truly, the Pope, the papacy has served that role of a principle of unity and a beacon drawing attention to that fervent prayer of Our Lord on the night before He died.

Why MUST one be in communion with Rome? Well, if one truly loves the Lord Jesus Christ, and takes His words seriously, and strives to do what He has told us, I can’t see how one could not wish to be in communion with Rome.

Posted in "How To..." - Practical Notes, ASK FATHER Question Box, Both Lungs, Hard-Identity Catholicism, Mail from priests | Tagged , | 25 Comments

Recent Islamic terror attacks in NYC and Minnesota

I have tangential connections to the place where the recent Islamic terror bomb was planted in New York City and to the city where the Islamic terrorists stabbed people in a mall in my native Minnesota.

First, I went to St. Cloud State for a year before transferring to the University of Minnesota.

Next, the bomb in the Chelsea area of Manhattan….

I’ve been listening to talking heads wonder why the Islamic terror bomb was placed where it was, on 23rd between 6th and 7th.  Next to the Islamic terror bomb site is the now-closed Catholic Church of St. Vincent de Paul.  I stayed at the rectory there many times.   Of course the church is closed now, but it is unlikely that an Islamic terrorists would know that.  There would not have been a place to hide a bomb on the steps of the church.  But there was scaffolding and dumpster nearby.

16_09_19_map_01

There may be other reasons for the Islamic terrorists to have chosen that area: Chelsea is, or at least was, known also for its large presence of homosexuals.

This is entirely speculation on my part.  But that fact is, the bomb was right next to a Catholic church.

Speaking of speculation, I suppose one might wryly ask this question: Is this Islamic terrorist bomber also a homosexual, as was the murderer in Orlando who shot up the “gay” (I detest what’s been done to that word) club?

In any event, we are going to see a lot more of this. Please, everyone, give thought to what I have constantly asked: situational awareness.

Meanwhile, may I remind you of a useful book?  HERE

Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War by Sebastian Gorka. (UK HERE)

In this book, Gorka describes one of the reasons why these people choose terror.

According to the Pakistani general, there is only one target of importance in war: the soul of the enemy. The infidel foe must be converted to Islam or crushed. Lastly, since the only target that matters in war is the soul of the infidel, Malik concludes that the most effective weapon in war isterror. Here we see the relevance of his book to groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS. The enemy’s belief system must be utterly destroyed, and terror is the most effective way to do that. That is why 9/ 11 was so important. It is the highly symbolic suicide attacks, the crucifixions, the beheadings, the bombings of civilian crowds, and the videos of immolations that will destroy the will of the infidel to go on.

According to the Quranic concept of war, and because these terrorists are inspired to bring about the eschatological fulfillment of their religion, they wage war on the souls of the non-Muslim or, in their view, insufficient-Muslim.  Their war has an eschatological view.  They must destroy the spirit of their enemy.  This is why they use terror and why they commit atrocities which they record and broadcast.

Pray…

Deus, qui conteris bella, et impugnatores in te sperantium potentia tuae defensionis expugnas: auxiliare famulis tuis, implorantibus misericordiam tuam; ut, inimicorum suorum feritate depressa, incessabili et gratiarum actione laudemus.

O God, who bringest wars to nought and shieldest by Thy power all who hope in Thee, overthrowing those that assail them; help Thy servants who implore Thy mercy; so that the fierce might of their enemies may be brought low, and we may never cease to praise and thank Thee.

Sts. Nunilo and Alodia, pray for us.
St. Lawrence of Brindisi, pray for us.
St. Pius V, pray for us.
Martyrs of Otranto, pray for us.
Our Lady of Victor, pray for us.
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.

Posted in Semper Paratus, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Religion of Peace | Tagged , | 26 Comments

YOUR URGENT PRAYER REQUESTS

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Registered or not, will you in your charity please take a moment look at the requests and to pray for the people about whom you read?

Continued from THESE.

I get many requests by email asking for prayers. Many requests are heart-achingly grave and urgent.

As long as my blog reaches so many readers in so many places, let’s give each other a hand. We should support each other in works of mercy.

If you have some prayer requests, feel free to post them below.

You have to be registered here to be able to post.

I still have a pressing personal petition.  Two, in fact.

Posted in SESSIUNCULA | 38 Comments

This saint, after 1969, never said Mass using the Novus Ordo

Summorum Pontificum was a tremendous gift to the whole Church.  It was certainly one of the most – if not the most – important achievements of Benedict XVI, part of what I cal his Marshall Plan.  It is a great tool of the potential revitalization of Catholic identity which is so desperately needed.

At NLM Peter Kwasniewski reminds us about something important.

St. Josemaría Escrivá (1902-1975), the founder of Opus Dei, celebrated the traditional Latin Mass all his life as a priest. He had mystical experiences in connection with it. He loved it so much that he obtained permission (it was thought at the time that such permission was necessary) to continue with the Mass he had always offered, rather than shifting over to the Novus Ordo Missae. These are facts that deserve to be better known.[1] A marvelous gallery of photos of the saint celebrating the usus antiquior may be found here.

The footnote says: There are, as one might expect, different stories circulating around about what exactly happened after 1969, some of them more colorful than others. This is a fairly sober account, although its title is oddly anachronistic: “Why St. Josemaría Escrivá Only Celebrated the Extraordinary Form.”

 

It is possible that some of you newer readers here haven’t yet seen my Marshall Plan reference.

I have argued that Summorum Pontificum, the centerpiece of Benedict XVI’s “Marshall Plan” (my image) for the Church, is one of our greatest tools for a true revitalization of the Church and Catholic identity.

After World War II these United States rebuilt war-ravaged Europe for humanitarian reasons, but also to help create trading partners and a prosperous bulwark against Communism.

After Vatican II, many spheres of the Church were devastated, ravaged by internal dissent, a loss of continuity with our tradition, and from erosion by the secularism and relativism of the prevailing modern world.

We need a Marshall Plan for the Church in the modern world.  Certainly what we have been doing up to this point isn’t producing fantastic results across the board.  That’s because we don’t seem to know who we are anymore.

Joseph Card. Ratzinger had been concerned for years about the loss of Christian identity, which is at the heart of Western Civilization. Later, as Benedict XVI, he gave us a great tool by which we could reinvigorate our Catholic identity and, so, resist the negative influences of secularism and relativism.

I think that Benedict intended Summorum Pontificum to play a key part in a long-term strategy to rebuilt our Catholic identity, to correct our way of reading … well… just about everything over the last half century or so, and to establish a strong defense against the dictatorship of relativism.

Only with a solid identity can we, as Catholics, have something positive and healthy to offer to the world at large, a clear voice offering important contributions in the public square.  Look, for example, at the clarity and courage of the Little Sisters of the Poor against the evil machinations of the Obama Administration.  They have a clear identity and they are steadfast.  As a result they provide an inspiring example and they keep certain values before the public eye.

Our identity as Catholics is inextricably bound together with the way we pray as a Church.

To give shape and strength to our Catholic identity in these difficult times, we need an authentic liturgical renewal, a renewal that reintegrates us with our tradition, brings us into continuity with the deep roots of our Catholic Christian experience of two millennia.

Contrary to the notions of most progressivists, “the Catholic thing” did not begin in the 1960s.

There can be no authentic change for a better future without continuity with our past.

Liturgy is the tip of the spear.

Benedict XVI pointed us toward a healthier vision of the Church’s doctrine, history, public worship and our very identity as Catholics.

Just as a return to, for example, reading the Fathers of the Church can help us, collectively, correct the way we have been reading Scripture, so much and too long under the domination of an over-played historical-critical method, so too the Extraordinary Form can help us learn how to worship God as a Church which is not fragmented into tiny shards, and to reorient ourselves away from ourselves.

No positive initiative that we undertake in the Church will succeed unless it is rooted in and oriented by a revitalized sacred liturgical worship of God.  Everything comes from worship and everything goes back to worship in a dynamic, ongoing commercium.

Start your local movement for the implementation of Summorum Pontificum NOW.  I don’t think we have a lot of time to waste.

¡Hagan lío!

Posted in ¡Hagan lío!, Benedict XVI, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Our Catholic Identity, Saints: Stories & Symbols, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

19 Sept – NAPLES: The blood of St Januarius liquefied!

Il cardinale Crescenzio Sepe durante la celebrazione in occasione della festa di San Gennaro a Napoli, 19 settembre 2015. ANSA / CIRO FUSCO

Il cardinale Crescenzio Sepe durante la celebrazione in occasione della festa di San Gennaro a Napoli, 19 settembre 2015. ANSA / CIRO FUSCO

According to ANSA the miracle was repeated today: the preserved blood of the 4th c. martyr St. Januarius (San Gennaro) liquified.  Good thing for Naples!

Here is something that I wrote for the UK’s best Catholic weekly, the Catholic Herald:

The feast of the bishop martyr St Januarius (d c 305), known in Italian as San Gennaro, is celebrated this week.  He is the patron saint of Naples where the faithful venerate vials of his dried blood which regularly liquefies on three days a year: 19 September (the saint’s feast), 16 December (anniversary of the 1631 eruption of the volcano Vesuvius which looms over the Bay of Naples), and the 1st Sunday of May (the day of the translation or moving of the saint’s relics to Naples).

16_09_19_Gennaro_02The liquefaction of San Gennaro’s blood is taken seriously by the people of the area. When it fails to change state, bad things tend to happen, such as famine, disease and earthquakes, for example, the terrible quake of 1980 which killed almost 3000 people and injured thousands more.  Hence, on these special liquefying days, throngs jam the Cathedral. The Cardinal Archbishop displays the reliquary with the larger of the two ampoules and slowly oscillates it.  When it changes, he announces “The miracle has happened”, thus launching the corybantic assemblage into that great hymn of praise the Te Deum.

Scientists can’t explain this phenomenon.  One inexplicable detail is that the weight and volume of the blood isn’t always the same after the blood solidifies again.  Sometimes the weight increases and the volume decreases, and vice versa.  Sometimes the liquid bubbles or foams becomes bright red.  At other times it is duller and rather viscous.  And it seems truly to be blood. In 1902 it was examined. The spectral lines produced by the light that passed through it had the characteristics of hemoglobin.  In any event, this miraculous transformation has been observed consistently since it was first noticed during a procession in 1389.  That’s a solid track record.

Speaking of miracles, if we do not believe in miracles, we do not ask for them.  While we accept God’s will and schedule in all things, if we do not ask for miracles they will not be granted.

We are not alone. The Church Militant (us) and the Church Triumphant (saints and angels) are closely knit, interwoven in charity. In this vale of tears we must intercede for each other.  We must believe in and ask for the intercession of saints.  No one is too small to be an occasion of grace for others.

How often do you invoke the help of the saints and holy angels?

 

UPDATE:

Check out the entry on St. Januarius by my friend Greg DiPippo at NLM.  Very cool stuff there.

Posted in Just Too Cool, Pray For A Miracle, Saints: Stories & Symbols | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments