23 July 2014

Jane Austen or Willa Cather?


Now Boarding the Bishop Athanasius Schneider Bandwagon

Just to make it official, mind you. I'm certainly not the first, and the Bear posted about this article already, but man, is it good.

Thus, I thought that in addition to linking the story, I would post a few excerpts, with some great quotes from His Excellency:

In his interview, Bishop Schneider said the “banal” and casual treatment of the Blessed Sacrament is part of a major crisis in the Church in which some laity and clergy, including some in positions of authority, are siding with secular society. At the heart of the problems, he believes, is the creeping introduction of a man-centred agenda, while in some churches God, in the tabernacle, really is materially put in a corner, while the priest takes centre stage. Bishop Schneider argued that this situation is now coming to a head. “I would say, we are in the fourth great crisis [of the Church], in a tremendous confusion over doctrine and liturgy. We have already been in this for 50 years.”

How long will it last? “Perhaps God will be merciful to us in 20 or 30 years."


“I think this issue of the reception of Holy Communion by the remarried will blow up and show the real crisis in the Church. The real crisis of the Church is anthropocentrism and the forgetting of Christo-centrism…

“This is the deepest evil: man, or the clergy, putting themselves in the centre when they are celebrating liturgy and when they change the revealed truth of God, for instance, concerning the Sixth Commandment and human sexuality.”


The bishop said he hopes “the majority of the bishops still have enough Catholic spirit and faith that they will reject the proposal and not accept this”.

Nevertheless, he can foresee a split coming, leading to an eventual renewal of the Church on traditional lines. But, he believes, this will not be before the crisis has plunged the Church further into disarray. Eventually, he thinks, the “anthropocentric” [man-centred] clerical system will collapse. “This liberal clerical edifice will crash down because they have no roots and no fruits,” he said.


Bishop Schneider also rejected the idea that concern for the liturgy is less important than, or even separate from, concern for the poor. “This is erroneous. The first commandment which Christ gave us was to adore God alone. Liturgy is not a meeting of friends. It is our first task to adore and glorify God in the liturgy and also in our manner of life. From a true adoration and love of God grows love for the poor and our neighbour. It is a consequence.”

Such critics may assert that Bishop Schneider’s concern over Holy Communion is like worrying over the numbers of angels on a pinhead. But the bishop insists that treatment of the Eucharist is at the very heart of the crisis. “The Eucharist is at the heart of the Church,” he said. “When the heart is weak, the whole body is weak.”

But despite his concerns, Bishop Schneider is not pessimistic and believes that there is already a groundswell of support for traditional values that will, in time, renew the Church: “Little ones in the Church have been let down and neglected,” he said. “[But] they have kept the purity of their faith and they represent the true power of the Church in the eyes of God and not those who are in administration.

“I spoke with young students in Oxford and I was so much impressed by these students. I was so glad to see their purity of faith and their convictions, and the clear Catholic mind. This will renew the Church. So I am confident and hopeful also in respect of this crisis in the Church. The Holy Ghost will win this crisis with this little army.”

He added: “I am not worried about the future. The Church is Christ’s Church and He is the real head of the Church, the Pope is only the vicar of Christ. The soul of the Church is the Holy Spirit and He is powerful.”

21 July 2014

It's Coming

Two weeks from tomorrow:  His Eminence, Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, will ordain four new American priests for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest at St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis

Tuesday, August 5, 2014, at 10 am, Sacred Priestly Ordinations.  Refreshments afterward.

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014, First Masses and Te Deum.

8am Rev. Canon Francis Altiere
9am Rev. Canon Benjamin Coggeshall
10am Rev. Canon Joel Estrada
11am Rev. Canon Andrew Todd
Solemn Te Deum and Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament

18 July 2014

Family Life Woven into the Calendar of the Church

Today is the Feast of St. Camillus de Lellis, a saint of very dear connection to my family, as his feast day also marks the birthday of our oldest child. My daughter turns 20 today. Twenty! Yesterday's feast of the Holy Carmelite martyrs of Compiegne is the feast day of the patron saint of our youngest daughter, who is named after Blessed Juliette Verolot-- who was killed, like her sisters in faith, by a Revolution claiming Reason as its guide and still wreaking destruction today. Our little Juliette turns 6 months tomorrow. Six months!

The Liturgical Calendar handed down over centuries of faith and faithful is so rich in its celebration of our forefathers and brothers in the true Church that God Himself established in the Person of His Son through Blessed Peter. The communion of saints, the connection among the Church Triumphant, the Church Suffering, and the Church Militant is one of the many reasons that the Faith rings true. We are a family created by God and destined for eternal happiness and communion with Him and through Him. These celebrations of our saints, and of course of Our Lady and Our Lord in the events of their lives, mark the integrally Catholic way of life. Feasts and Fasts. Life and Death. Sanctification and the Narrow Way.

Every year, as a family, we celebrate the joys and struggles-- with each other, and with "our" Saints. We salute and ask intercession from these heroes of God.

St. Gregory the Great. SS. Nereus, Achillius and Domitilla. St. Paulinus. SS. Peter and Paul. Our Lady of the Snows. St. Nicholas. All of our named patrons. All of the patron saints of our states of life, our hometown, our Church. Even "St. Feria" for little Anna's birthday. I don't think I would even know anything about some of these saints if it weren't for this intentional effort to live out the faith in the cycle of the year.

Finally, the great feasts mark the year for us all. As a man who can't believe and can hardly mark the passage of 20 years of my daughter's life, and who is soon enough sentenced to see her leave the family home for her own life, it is of unspeakable comfort to return, to reacquaint, to embrace our Catholic year feast by feast, fast by fast, saint by saint.

But this is, or ought to be, the common experience of every Catholic family. Do we ever thank God enough for His boundless kindness to us? No offense, but you can keep your Year B, Cycle II, 237th Wednesday in Ordinary Time. Thanks, but no thanks. I need that recurrent and cyclical Liturgical Year to bring me along. It rings true. It is true. It is part of the beauty of the faith.

So, please join our family today in honoring St. Camillus of Lellis, and in praying to him for my daughter, all the children of the faith whose patron he is, for nurses, and for our Church Militant, under fierce attack.

A faith that does not acknowledge God's friends is a poor faith indeed.

From The Catholic Encyclopedia:

St. Camillus de Lellis

Born at Bucchianico, Abruzzo, 1550; died at Rome, 14 July, 1614.

He was the son of an officer who had served both in the Neapolitan and French armies. His mother died when he was a child, and he grew up absolutely neglected. When still a youth he became a soldier in the service of Venice and afterwards of Naples, until 1574, when his regiment was disbanded. While in the service he became a confirmed gambler, and in consequence of his losses at play was at times reduced to a condition of destitution. The kindness of a Franciscan friar induced him to apply for admission to that order, but he was refused. He then betook himself to Rome, where he obtained employment in the Hospital for Incurables. He was prompted to go there chiefly by the hope of a cure of abscesses in both his feet from which he had been long suffering. He was dismissed from the hospital on account of his quarrelsome disposition and his passion for gambling.

He again became a Venetian soldier, and took part in the campaign against the Turks in 1569. After the war he was employed by the Capuchins at Manfredonia on a new building which they were erecting. His old gambling habit still pursued him, until a discourse of the guardian of the convent so startled him that he determined to reform. He was admitted to the order as a lay brother, but was soon dismissed on account of his infirmity. He betook himself again to Rome, where he entered the hospital in which he had previously been, and after a temporary cure of his ailment became a nurse, and winning the admiration of the institution by his piety and prudence, he was appointed director of the hospital.

While in this office, he attempted to found an order of lay infirmarians, but the scheme was opposed, and on the advice of his friends, among whom was his spiritual guide, St. Philip Neri, he determined to become a priest. He was then thirty-two years of age and began the study of Latin at the Jesuit College in Rome. He afterwards established his order, the Fathers of a Good Death (1584), and bound the members by vow to devote themselves to the plague-stricken; their work was not restricted to the hospitals, but included the care of the sick in their homes. Pope Sixtus V confirmed the congregation in 1586...He resigned the generalship of the order, in 1607, in order to have more leisure for the sick and poor. Meantime he had established many houses in various cities of Italy. He is said to have had the gift of miracles and prophecy.

He died at the age of sixty-four while pronouncing a moving appeal to his religious brethren. He was buried near the high altar of the church of St. Mary Magdalen, at Rome, and, when the miracles which were attributed to him were officially approved, his body was placed under the altar itself. He was beatified in 1742, and in 1746 was canonized by Benedict XIV.

[Note: In 1930, Pope Pius XI named St. Camillus de Lellis, together with St. John of God, principal Co-Patron of nurses and of nurses' associations.]

St. Camillus de Lellis, pray for us! Procure for us the grace of a happy death!

17 July 2014

This is Profound Enough to Steal

By that, I mean, to steal in full from the Rorate Caeli blog, where it was posted today.  What follows are the words of Martin Mosebach, the great German author of The Heresy of Formlessness, in a talk he gave on Ash Wednesday 2013. 

One side note about The Heresy of Formlessness: despite its rather unexciting title, it is a fascinating and compelling read.  Every Catholic-- especially every Catholic seminarian-- ought to read it.  I loaned it to a friend who was fairly new in St. Louis and somewhat new to the timeless Mass.  I was in the immediate aftermath of having read it the first time, and was going on and on about how great it was as I loaned it to him.  I'm sure he regretted the dinner invitation during this spiel (if not before).  Anyway, the first thing I noticed when I said the title of the book was his eyes glazing over.  I assured him the book was better than title would suggest, but that the title was perfect for the book.  He said something polite. 

Much later he confirmed my suspicions when he confessed he had no interest in the book and merely took it to be polite.  He didn't read it for a long time, but when he did, he couldn't believe how great it was.

It is.

So, read the book, OK? 

Anyway, Mosebach's words as posted at Rorate:

One difficulty that arose from the Church's abandonment of her traditional liturgy was surely quite unexpected. Many who observe the Church from a distance, and this includes many nominal Catholics, now see the Church as embodied principally in the moral teachings that she requires her faithful to follow. These teachings include many prescriptions and proscriptions that contradict the customs of the secular world. In the days when the Church was above all oriented toward the immediate encounter with God in the Liturgy however, these commandments were not seen merely in relation to the living of daily life, but were concrete means of preparation for complete participation in the liturgy.
The liturgy  gave morality its goal. The question was: What must I do in order to attain to perfect Communion with the Eucharistic Christ? What actions will result in my only being able to look on Him from afar? Moral evil then appeared not merely as the that which is bad in the abstract, but as that which is to be avoided in order to attain to a concrete goal. And when someone broke a commandment, and thus excluded himself from Holy Communion, Confession was ready as the means to repair the damage and prepare him to receive Communion again. A surprising result of the reform is that while the Church of the past, which was really oriented toward the liturgy, appeared to many outside observers as being scandalously lax in moral matters, the current Church appears to contemporaries (and not only to those outside) as unbearably moralistic, unmerciful, and meanly puritanical. (From: "Das Paradies auf Erden: Liturgie als Fester zum Jenseits," Una Voce Korrespondenz 43 (2013), pp. 213-214; translation by Sacerdos Romanus).

16 July 2014

The Bible is Catholic, the Church is Catholic

St. Corbinian's Bear has another fine post today. This time, he writes some trenchant observations on the the interpretation of the Bible and the problems inherent in the Protestant position.

In short, did Christ come to write a book or to establish a Church? Excerpts:


How Protestants Think

Protestantism makes sense -- not perfect sense, but good enough for most people -- if you start out with one assumption:

God gave us a Bible, not a Church.

Once you get your mind around that, you can understand Protestants. And you can understand why trying to talk to one is so frustrating.

... The Bible is the oracle of all divine teaching, not a church. Don't like what your pastor says? Move on down the road to the next "church."

Don't like what your denomination teaches? Quit it entirely and join one that is more agreeable in its teachings....

The Bible is infinitely mutable.

You're saved by baptism.
No, you're saved by believing in your heart and confessing with your lips that Jesus is Lord. (That's when you say "The Sinner's Prayer" and become "saved.")
Once you're saved, you can't lose your salvation no matter what.
No, that's wrong; you can lose your salvation.
God's sovereign will has already predestined every person who is going to Heaven, and every person who is going to Hell, and there's not a damned thing -- literally -- you can do about it.
No, we can choose to cooperate with grace or not.
Homosexuality is an abomination.
No, homosexuality is merely approved or disapproved by one's culture without having anything to do with sin. It is a preference. (Like enjoying oysters, young Antoninus.)
St. Paul wrote that he does not permit a woman to teach in the congregation.
St. Paul just meant it would seem weird in those days -- now we have priestesses, and lesbian ones at that!

So much for perspicacity of scripture. Without guidance, every man is his own Pope, infallibly interpreting Holy Writ.

But set all that aside for a moment. The Bible-believing Protestant is like a man who spends his life in a room papered with pages of the Bible. He believes he knows all he needs to know, and turns away people who try to get him out of the room and show him the big wide world outside. "I don't need any guide!" he hisses, then gestures wildly about his room.

The Catholic may safely study the Bible, because he has a guide in the Church. As Scott Hahn -- an ex-Presbyterian minister turned Catholic -- points out in Consuming the Word (one of the too-many books the Bear is reading at the moment):

Jesus never wrote a word we know of, unless it was in the dirt on one occasion
Over half his apostles never left a scrap of writing behind, as far as we know
the Church was up and running before the canon of Scripture was established (by the Church, so that was handy)
Jesus came to establish a Church, not write a book

It makes the Bear's heart glow with love for scripture to think that he can study it all he wants, and will never be led astray by his own ideas or interpretations. The Church has gone before, with her saints and doctors and councils and popes. The traditional fourfold sense of scripture is seldom invoked by Protestants, but is the joy of Catholics.


We are fortunate to have both sources of revelation: the Church and our Bible.

800 ans du Baptême de Saint Louis

Prière de l'année jubilaire
Dieu notre Père,
Nous Vous rendons grâce pour les merveilles
que Vous avez accomplies en Saint Louis, à qui nous demandons
d'intercéder pour nous et pour la France.
Saint Louis,
Vous qui considériez votre baptême comme le plus grand don reçu,
ravivez en nous le désir de vivre en enfants de Dieu.
Vous qui méditez chaque jour la Parole de Dieu,
aidez-nous à retenir les enseignements de la Passion de Jésus,
et à offrir notre vie par amour.
Vous qui comprîtes en votre jeunesse l'horreur du péché,
aidez les jeunes à grandir dans la droiture et la fidélité.
Vous qui fûtes un époux et un poète très aimant,
aidez nos familles à être ferment d'unité pour notre monde.
Vous qui serviez les pauvres, qui cherchiez la justice et la paix,
ouvrez nos coeurs aux petits et venez en aide à nos dirigeants.
Seigneur, à l'exemple et à l'intercession de Saint Louis,
accordez-nous de prendre chacune de nos décisions de la terre,
en ayant en vue la vie du Ciel.
Ainsi soit-il !

15 July 2014

Pope to Visit Pentecostal Site in Italy

His visit, according to the story, will be "private", and likely "extremely quick".

Oh good, I was momentarily worried. As long as it's extremely quick.

At Last, Strong Words from the Vatican in Support of Church's Teaching on Marriage

"Some people say 'Well the culture is predominantly divorcist and therefore the Church in her practice has to adapt herself to the situation of the culture.' That is not the nature of the Church. When the Church confronts a culture that is in some way weak or defective, or failing, as our culture is, Her mission is to call the culture to conversion and to teach ever more strongly the truth about marriage and to help, of course, individuals to live according to that truth."

Did the Pope really say this?

No, it's a quote from Raymond Cardinal Burke. God bless him.