23 January 2015

Bishop Johnston of Springfield-Cape Girardeau Rightly Rebukes Mercy Health

"Lord, I obeyed all your commandments until Caesar told me I couldn't!"  Is that what passes for martyrdom these days?

Bishop Johnston reminds Mercy Health that real martyrdom is a real possibility for real Catholics.

As for complying with unspecified “government regulations,” he said “no believing Christian worthy of the name should violate God's law because of ‘regulations.’ Our ancestors refused to abandon the faith even when subjected to the cruelty and torture of the Roman Empire, but in our age unspecified 'regulations,' government funds, and fear of public ridicule is sufficient in order to secure the compliance of some.”


Assumes facts not in evidence.

P.S.  Sustained.

Rabbit Redux

I, like most of you, wish I had never read the Holy Father's rabbit in the air discourse, that perhaps it didn't really happen.  You know, like on Dallas, when Bobby was in the shower and the whole thing was a dream?

So, forgive me for one more rabbit post which just prolongs the embarrassment, but this piece from a mother of six in Brasil caught my eye. She makes her point very well, as only a Catholic mother could.  The article is in English, though be patient with a few idiomatic eccentricities that come from writing in her non-primary language.  There are a few places where she just nails the absurdities and horrors so well, I just had to post it.


About those “catholic-rabbits” criticized by the Pope

I have been blessed with six children. Children I had by six C-sections. My C-sections were never because of convenience or fear of labor pains. Quite the contrary. I have always wanted to give birth naturally, but my firstborn went into fetal distress after 13 hours of labor. Meconium[1] and blood made his birth a medical emergency and the C-section inevitable to save his life. Thank God I gave birth in a time when the C-section is an option. Some decades before, and me and my boy would both be dead. Even though he had a very low initial APGAR[2], my firstborn recovered well and is a bright, family loving, good son.

Unfortunately, in Brazil, the practice of VBACs[3] is still very much discouraged. Down here, the saying goes “once a C-section, always a C-section”. And so, by no fault of my own, I had 6 C-sections. Even though I did not go through the pains of labor, I offered to God the post-surgery sufferings, which can be quite long and painful.

I‘ve had good and responsible doctors. Doctors who assured me I could go on having children despite the number of C-sections. I even know mothers who have more than a dozen children via C-section. Anyway, I was blessed 6 times. Seven, if I count a pregnancy that did not went ahead.

Every day, I face the curiosity, the disrespect, the jokes, the whispers and the comments by many people who think that, just because I have six children, they have the right to give their opinion on what is so sacred to me. I have way too many anecdotes. I have been stopped on the street walk and asked if “I did not care about the environment”. I have been laughed at dozens of times when asked if I did not have a TV at home (BTW, no! We do not, Thank God!), if I knew what caused pregnancies, if I did not have a hobby. And all that spoken inconveniently, without modesty, in front of my small children! I have been called ignorant, irresponsible. I’ve had to give financial explanations to strangers. Our family is frequently looked with disdain. Once, a doctor discretely suggested that I abort my 3rd child because it was somehow “dangerous”. My husband is always asked if his six children are from “the same wife”! Once, when we were outside under a pouring rain and in need of a cab, many taxi drivers went past us making signs with their hands meaning we were too many people. Too many people…. Can heaven be too crowded?

Anyway, we have always endured the criticism with a few compliments here and there. The compliments that exalt my so-called courage were never our support for the sacrifice of having many children. People’s opinions, either good or bad, are irrelevant. Our focus, my husband’s and mine, was always Our Lord. It was always to do God’s will. And to do God’s will in what is the very purpose of matrimony: the procreation of children. Despite the antichristian society. Despite the cost. Despite the world! And now, I am afraid to say, despite the Pope!

In all these years, and there goes 17 years of marriage, I have never heard the pearl the Bishop of Rome gave to the mothers of large families: rabbits! His Holiness was, and I say this with an aching heart, vulgar! Yes, vulgar! I would never dare to compare a catholic lady, wife and mother to an irrational animal. And a rabbit too! How would you think fathers would feel if compared to asses for working too much? Or poor people being called rats for not being dressed up? Or if people in a coma were called sloths? Shall I go on? The comparison is vulgar and denigrates the target of the criticism. It is disrespectful. It is, pure and simple, a lack of charity!

In addition, the Pope, he who should confirm our Faith, he who should support us, defend us, just threw mothers and fathers of large families to the lions! My husband just tells me that tomorrow at work he will be questioned about the Pope’s words. Evidently, the neocons, the type of Catholic who appears so clever, so obedient, so faithful, even though so coward and so full of human respect, they will defend the His Holiness’ words with some mental gymnastics saying the media distorted his words, that they put out of context what he said, that he said “rabbits” in the best possible way. They might even say that yes, those mothers of many children are indeed irresponsible. And they will feel so clever, so obedient, so faithful!

Notwithstanding, me, my husband and my six children will not defend him. We will defend what the Church has always taught. I will never perform intellectual pirouettes to publicly excuse Peter whenever he assaults what has been always true and holy! I rather look up to heaven than to bury my head in the sand.

In one of his comments, he even gave the dubious number experts defend is the ideal number per Family: 3. He also said the Church gives “many licit ways to limit procreation”. He used the example of a mother who is pregnant with her 8th child, having had 7 previous C-sections before that. She would be irresponsible. “Does she want to leave 7 orphans”? , asked the Pope. What does he suggest now that the child is already in the belly? Am I the only one who sees the very dangerous implications of the Bishop of Rome’s words? His Holiness does not know what he has done. He threw us to the lions of UN, of the NOW, of the Masons. Those lions, you know?!, that walk around us looking for someone to devour….

But I have something to say to the many mothers of large families (many friends of mine, from our Chapel, in which blessed pews the many families of 3,4,5,6,7,10 children barely fit!), to the mothers who are discriminated for having had multiple C-sections, to the mothers who keep on having children despite the opinions of family members, of society and, unfortunately, of liberal sectors of the Church: “Let us run to embrace the cross! So many Christian women were given to the lions to be martyred. Let us not run from the cross! Ahead! Let us fill this Earth with holy priests and Christian parents andfill heavenwith many saints”. Heaven is the prize, said Saint Therese.

And let us pray for the Pope. He knows not what he’s done.

A Lovely Sermon on the Espousal of Our Lady and St. Joseph, by Cardinal Burke

New Liturgical Movement has it here.  Really, it is so refreshing to hear Catholic content in a Catholic sermon by a Catholic prelate these days.  Yes?

22 January 2015

St. Barnabas Parish in O'Fallon Now Offers the Traditional Mass on Sundays

Jennifer Brinker of The St. Louis Review has the good news: the Traditional Latin Mass is again on the grow in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. This is a very welcome development, consistent with the stated expectations of Summorum Pontificum, in the Northwest portion of the Archdiocese, and with the exemplary cooperation of many. The parish wanted it, the pastor sought to serve his parishioners, the Archbishop blessed it, the Institute of Christ the King gave its practical support, and the Church as a whole benefits.

Very welcome indeed. This kind of development is possible at the parish level. Though (in my opinion) nothing can beat the majesty and beauty of the Oratory and the Institute's loving and meticulous care of the liturgy, it is a simple fact that the Mass of the Ages is the right and patrimony of every single Catholic wherever they live. It could and should, in time, be celebrated everywhere.

I will excerpt portions of the in-depth article below. If you are pleased with this development, I am sure that letters of thanks to the priest and the Archbishop would be well received and encouraging:


With a single intoning of the bell, Mass had begun at St. Barnabas.

But this was no Ordinary Form of the Mass.

"In Nomine Patris, et Filii et Spiritus Sancti ..."

For the first time in nearly 50 years, the Extraordinary Form of the Mass -- better known as the Traditional or Tridentine Latin Mass -- is being celebrated at the northern O'Fallon parish. In January, Father Raymond Hager began offering the Mass at 10 a.m. on Sundays, after a group of parishioners wrote a letter last January requesting it.

At one of the first Masses, the pews in the modest church were about three quarters full with at least 300 people -- the church seats about 450; the parking lot was nearly filled to capacity. There was a mixture of young and old, middle-aged -- some who had lived in the boundaries of St. Barnabas but attended the Latin Mass at other churches, and some who were new or had not participated in this form of the Mass since before the Second Vatican Council. Some had come from nearby communities including Warrenton, Millwood and Wright City.

"At the first Mass, people had tears in their eyes," said Father Hager. He said that all of this is "directed toward God and what's called the 'mysterium tremendum,' or the tremendous mystery. The sense of the sacred, and the mystery of God becoming present in His most sacred Body and Blood is proclaimed profoundly in and through the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.


Ordained in 1997, Father Hager taught himself how to celebrate the Mass according to the 1962 Missal. Born in 1960, he has no memories of going to the Traditional Latin Mass as a child. As a seminarian, he would occasionally visit St. Agatha, where the Latin Mass was offered in St. Louis at the time. "I was blown away by the beauty and sacredness of the liturgy," he said.

The process of learning the language and rubrics took several months. Father Hager approached Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, who connected him with Canon Michael Wiener, rector of St. Francis de Sales Oratory, one of two churches designated specifically for the Latin Mass in St. Louis. Canon Wiener, the episcopal delegate for the implementation of the Traditional Latin Mass in the archdiocese, offered his guidance.


In December, before several members of the parish and finance councils, Canon Wiener and others, Father Hager celebrated the Mass for the first time. There were very few corrections to make, according to Canon Wiener.

"I think it speaks to the spiritual solidity of the spiritual life of the archdiocese," said Canon Wiener. "It's a sign of the normality that these Masses are offered in both forms of the one Roman rite. As the archbishop emphasizes, it should be done well; if it's done well, it's extremely edifying and beneficial for the faithful and a great source of consolation and edification. The rite is full of beautiful and rich symbolisms of the truth of our faith. Every Mass recapitulates the life of Christ, His suffering and resurrection."

Father Hager said he had once been approached by Catholics to offer the Latin Mass when he was pastor at Sacred Heart in Elsberry. "But what I found is it was really coming from outside of the parish, and not the parishioners. Here it's the opposite. I am called to serve my parishioners, and if they're wanting this, if I could possibly do it, I'm going to do it for them."


Read the whole article. Congratulations to St. Barnabas!

Bob Will Understand

21 January 2015

Temporally Speaking, of Course

All I need is bourbon, Bob, and the Beer Baron.

But not in that order.

I'm Not Saying the Super Bowl is Rigged, but...

... The NFL has unveiled a new design for the fabled Lombardi Trophy:

A Twitch of the Ear...

...to Rorate Caeli for finding and posting Titian's Madonna of the Rabbit, which I have taken the liberty of placing at the sidebar.

God is good.

Run, Rabbit, Run

The Holy Father today in his weekly audience took time to praise large families.  As this article describes it, this is an obvious attempt to undo some of the damage of His Holiness' lamentable Rabbit Discourse in the Air, 2015.

Of course, the modern media being what it is, and modern man being what he is, this is too late to really fix things.

That being said, I like to give credit where credit is due, and you have to admit that this is a rare occasion where the Vatican gives at least some semblance of awareness that the Pope put his sacred foot in it.  That to me is a very welcome development.  So bravo.  Good on him, I say.

However, do not mistake today's remarks for an apology.  That would be progress indeed.  

I had an idea of how this might have been handled a bit better, so I will repost below part of a comment I left at Creative Minority Report's post on this issue:

What would be more effective, and in fact, humble, would be something like this: "In a spur-of-the-moment Q&A, I used a poor choice of words in trying to relate to the press the nuances of the Church's position on contraception and related issues. These words were then taken out of context, and the result is that it is made to appear that I, and the Church, somehow wish to denigrate or discourage large families. This is not true; in fact, large families are a great gift from God, as I have said in the past. They are not the source of problems in the world; in fact, in many ways they are the solution to many of the problems facing the world. 

I apologize for using the coarse expression about rabbits. Human beings are not rabbits! I was merely trying to explain in everyday terms what the Church has always taught-- and the world has always failed to understand-- that there is no requirement that a Catholic couple must have as many children as possible. That is not what being open to life means. 

Large families are heroic witnesses to this openness, but obviously God does not require such a heroic witness from all."

Such a statement and apology would make the point that every Catholic would understand, even if the press didn't. And we wouldn't be left waiting for Mark Shea to assure us we didn't hear what we actually heard, and that in fact, we are stupid.

Now, for a true disclaimer:  What right have I to advise the Pope on humility, being the person that I am?  What right have I to blame someone for saying something stupid, being the non-stop stupid quote generator that I am?

None and none. God bless.