Tag Archives: Faith

Year of Faith: Read the Catechism in a Year…

An easy way to study and reflect on the Catechism of the Catholic Church for this Year of Faith

For this Year of Faith, Pope Benedict has encouraged you to study and reflect on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Well, here’s an easy way to do it. Simply subscribe to this List and – starting October 11, 2012 – you’ll start getting a little bit of the Catechism emailed to you every morning. Read that little bit every day and you’ll read the whole catechism in a year.

A very fine Lady to see

By  Abby Bloom Esposito

Just before we leave the house to run our daily errands my 4-year-old daughter Nyelli finds her sparkly handbag.  She fills it with anything in close proximity:  a handful of crayons, vanilla  lip-gloss, and a spray of dried Gingko Biloba leaves we found on our walk that morning.

She plops her feet into pink cowgirl boots.  Right foot on left, left foot on right.  I don’t have the heart to tell her of her mistake.  I quietly savor the tender image of tiny feet walking with toes out.

Dressed in sparkles, she leaps out the door, “Let’s do this day!”

We arrive at the Cancer Center.  Nyelli takes a mint from the basket at the front desk and sneaks another into her purse when she thinks I’m not looking.

She informs Sandy, the receptionist, that she will be starting school soon.  Sandy smiles and offers Nyelli a mint “for the road”.  She thrusts the third into her purse next to the crayons and Gingko leaves.

We proceed back to the “Infusion room” where my husband Roddy is receiving his Chemotherapy treatment.

Nyelli knows the rules, past the colorful carpet we have to be on our best behavior.  But she sneaks in a few somersaults before we get there. Her pink tutu flops up to her shoulder as she rolls and rolls and rolls down the hall.  I know I should correct her, but all the nurses smile… so I don’t.

As we come to the entrance, Nyelli’s demeanor changes.  Walking with her hands at her side she speaks in low tones and minds her manners.

She is regal.  I feel proud to be her mother.

The infusion room is filled with patients receiving Chemotherapy.  Some are wrapped in blankets, some having lunch while others rest with pained looks on their faces.

Nyelli smiles at people who smile at her.

When she finds Roddy, she climbs up next to him in his chair.  She asks him about the medicine and strokes his tired face.

It was no place for a child.  I know this.  A Nurse once criticized me for bringing her to the treatment center, but I knew he was going to be sick, lose his hair, and be down.  I wanted her to a have a frame of reference with which to relate his condition, so I brought her with me to visit…it was a choice I made.  I stand by it.

As well as she handled Cancer; I know she has been affected by it.

The presence of her imaginary friend named Puss in Boots seemed to have become more and more prevalent while Roddy was sick.  Puss came with us everywhere and had his own car seat next to hers.

She informed me that he was a songwriter in San Diego and wrote a song called “Rock and Roll down the Stream”.

(She plays the Tuba in his band.)

She told me that if she had boots like Puss, people would say that she was a “very fine lady to see.”

(Where does she get this beautiful stuff?)

The only time Nyelli cried was when Roddy came home from work without hair.  It had happened suddenly and caught us all off guard.

She had never seen him without a beard and I suppose he just didn’t look like Dad anymore.

When he sat on the couch to be with her, she turned her head and wouldn’t look at him.  She went in the other room and felt scared and cried.

I went in and got her.  I took her back to Roddy.

I remember him swallowing back his own tears as he reassured Ny that it was just hair and that it would grow back soon.  She lay in his arms until she was sure that he was the same Daddy.  She patted his shoulder and they lay like that until dinnertime.

The Vocation of  motherhood has been a blessing to me.  It has given me something to protect…a constant to attend to during these tempestuous times.

But, there is only so much pain that we can absorb on behalf of the ones we love.  In our family we leave the rest up to prayer and Gods goodness.

I am grateful for the abundant graces that have preserved my daughters innocence during this very difficult time.

I marvel at the little girl she has become and regardless of the boots I say that she is already a “very fine lady to see!”

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The Pillars of Unbelief: Six modern thinkers who’ve harmed the Christian mind — Part I: Niccolo Machiavelli (1496-1527)

SOURCE(1) The Pillars of Unbelief – Machiavelli 

By Dr Peter Kreeft

Machiavelli – inventor of “the new morality”

We need to talk about “enemies” of the faith because the life of faith is a real war. So say all the prophets, Apostles, martyrs and our Lord Himself.

Yet, we try to avoid talking about enemies. Why?

Partly because of our fear of confusing spiritual with material enemies; of hating the sinner along with the sin; of forgetting that “our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens” (Eph. 6:12).

But that fear is more unfounded today than ever in the past. No age has been more suspicious of militarism, more terrified of the horrors of physical war, than ours. And no age has been more prone to confuse the sin with the sinner, not by hating the sinner along with the sin but by loving the sin along with the sinner. We often use “compassion” as an equivalent for moral relativism.

We’re also soft. We don’t like to fight because fighting means suffering and sacrifice. War may not quite be hell, but it’s damned uncomfortable. And anyway, we’re not sure there’s anything worth fighting for. Perhaps we lack courage because we lack a reason for courage.

This is how we think as moderns, but not as Catholics. As Catholics we know life is spiritual warfare and that there are spiritual enemies. Once we admit that, the next step follows inevitably. It is essential in warfare to know your enemy. Otherwise, his spies pass by undetected. So this series is devoted to knowing our spiritual enemies in the struggle for the modern heart. We’ll discuss six modern thinkers who’ve had an enormous impact on our everyday life. They have also done great harm to the Christian mind.

Their names: Machiavelli, the inventor of “the new morality”; Kant, the subjectivizer of Truth; Nietzsche, the self-proclaimed “Anti-Christ”; Freud, the founder of the “sexual revolution”; Marx, the false Moses for the masses; and Sartre, the apostle of absurdity.

Niccolo Machiavelli (1496-1527) was the founder of modern political and social philosophy, and seldom in the history of thought has there been a more total revolution. Machiavelli knew how radical he was. He compared his work to Columbus’ as the discoverer of a new world, and to Moses’ as the leader of a new chosen people who would exit the slavery of moral ideas into a new promised land of power and practicality.

Machiavelli’s revolution can be summarized in six points.

For all previous social thinkers, the goal of political life was virtue. A good society was conceived as one in which people are good. There was no “double standard” between individual and social goodness-until Machiavelli. With him, politics became no longer the art of the good but the art of the possible. His influence on this point was enormous. All major social and political philosophers (Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Mill, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Dewey) subsequently rejected the goal of virtue, just as Machiavelli lowered the standard and nearly everyone began to salute the newly masted flag.

Machiavelli’s argument was that traditional morals were like the stars; beautiful but too distant to cast any useful light on our earthly path. We need instead man-made lanterns; in other words, attainable goals. We must take our bearings from the earth, not from the heavens; from what men and societies actually do, not from what they ought to do.

The essence of Machiavelli’s revolution was to judge the ideal by the actual rather than the actual by the ideal. An ideal is good for him, only if it is practical; thus, Machiavelli is the father of pragmatism. Not only does “the end justify the means” — any means that work — but the means even justify the end, in the sense that an end is worth pursuing only if there are practical means to attain it. In other words, the new summum bonum, or greatest good is success. (Machiavelli sounds like not only the first pragmatist but the first American pragmatist!)

Machiavelli didn’t just lower the moral standards; he abolished them. More than a pragmatist, he was an anti-moralist. The only relevance he saw morality having to success was to stand in its way. He taught that it was necessary for a successful prince “to learn how not to be good (“The Prince, ch. 15), how to break promises, to lie and cheat and steal (ch. 18).

Because of such shameless views, some of Machiavelli’s contemporaries saw “The Prince” as a book literally inspired by the devil. But modern scholars usually see it as drawn from science. They defend Machiavelli by claiming that he did not deny morality, but simply wrote a book about another subject, about what is rather than about what ought to be. They even praise him for his lack of hypocrisy, implying that moralism equals hypocrisy.

This is the common, modern misunderstanding of hypocrisy as not practicing what you preach. In that sense all men are hypocrites unless they stop preaching. Matthew Arnold defined hypocrisy as “the tribute vice pays to virtue.” Machiavelli was the first to refuse to pay even that tribute. He overcame hypocrisy not by raising practice to the level of preaching but of lowering preaching to the level of practice, by conforming the ideal to the real rather than the real to the ideal.

In fact, he really preaches: “Poppa, don’t preach!”-like the recent rock song. Can you imagine Moses saying, “Poppa, don’t preach!” to God on Mount Sinai? Or Mary to the angel? Or Christ in Gethsemane, instead of “Father, not my will but thine be done”? If you can, you are imagining hell, because our hope of heaven depends on those people having said to God, “Poppa, do preach!”

Actually, we have misdefined “hypocrisy.” Hypocrisy is not the failure to practice what you preach but the failure to believe it. Hypocrisy is propaganda.

By this definition Machiavelli was almost the inventor of hypocrisy, for he was almost the inventor of propaganda. He was the first philosopher who hoped to convert the whole world through propaganda.

He saw his life as a spiritual warfare against the Church and its propaganda. He believed that every religion was a piece of propaganda whose influence lasted between 1,666 and 3,000 years. And he thought Christianity would end long before the world did, probably around the year 1666, destroyed either by barbarian invasions from the East (what is now Russia) or by a softening and weakening of the Christian West from within, or both. His allies were all lukewarm Christians who loved their earthly fatherland more than heaven, Caesar more than Christ, social success more than virtue. To them he addressed his propaganda. Total candor about his ends would have been unworkable, and confessed atheism fatal, so he was careful to avoid explicit heresy. But his was the destruction of “the Catholic fake” and his means was aggressive secularist propaganda. (One might argue, perhaps peevishly, that he was the father of the modern media establishment.)

He discovered that two tools were needed to command men’s behavior and thus to control human history: the pen and the sword, propaganda and arms. Thus both minds and bodies could be dominated, and domination was his goal. He saw all of human life and history as determined by only two forces: virtu (force) and fortuna (chance). The simple formula for success was the maximization of virtu and the minimization of fortuna. He ends “The Prince” with this shocking image: “Fortune is a woman, and if she is to be submissive it is necessary to beat and coerce her” (ch. 25). In other words, the secret of success is a kind of rape.

For the goal of control, arms are needed as well as propaganda, and Machiavelli is a hawk. He believed that “you cannot have good laws without good arms, and where there are good arms, good laws inevitably follow” (ch. 12). In other words justice “comes out of a barrel of a gun,” to adapt Mao Tse-tung’s phrase. Machiavelli believed that “all armed prophets have conquered and unarmed prophets have come to grief” (ch. 6). Moses, then, must have used arms which, the Bible failed to report; Jesus, the supreme unarmed prophet, came to grief; He was crucified and not resurrected. But His message conquered the world through propaganda, through intellectual arms. This was the war Machiavelli set out to fight.

Social relativism also emerged from Machiavelli’s philosophy. He recognized no laws above those of different societies and since these laws and societies originated in force rather than morality, the consequence is that morality is based on immorality. The argument went like this: Morality can only come from society, since there is no God and no God-given universal natural moral law. But every society originated in some revolution or violence. Roman society, e.g., the origin of Roman law, itself originated with Romulus’ murder of his brother Remus. All human history begins with Cain’s murder of Abel. Therefore, the foundation of law is lawlessness. The foundation of morality is immorality.

The argument is only as strong as its first premise, which-like all sociological relativism, including that which dominates the minds of writers and readers of nearly all sociology textbooks today-is really implicit atheism.

Machiavelli criticized Christian and classical ideals of charity by a similar argument. He asked: How do you get the goods you give away? By selfish competition. All goods are gotten at another’s expense: If my slice of the pie is so much more, others’ must be that much less. Thus unselfishness depends on selfishness.

The argument presupposes materialism, for spiritual goods do not diminish when shared or given away, and do not deprive another when I acquire them. The more money I get, the less you have and the more I give away, the less I have. But love, truth, friendship and wisdom increase rather than decrease when shared. The materialist simply does not see this, or care about it.

Machiavelli believed we are all inherently selfish. There was for him no such thing as an innate conscience or moral instinct. So the only way to make men behave morally was by force, in fact totalitarian force, to compel them to act contrary to their nature. The origins of modern totalitarianism also go back to Machiavelli.

If a man is inherently selfish, then only fear and not love can effectively move him. Thus Machiavelli wrote, “It is far better to be feared than loved…[for] men worry less about doing an injury to one who makes himself loved than to one who makes himself feared. The bond of love is one which men, wretched creatures that they are, break when it is to their advantage to do so, but fear is strengthened by a dread of punishment which is always effective” (ch. 17).

The most amazing thing about this brutal philosophy is that it won the modern mind, though only by watering down or covering up its darker aspects. Machiavelli’s successors toned down his attack on morality and religion, but they did not return to the idea of a personal God or objective and absolute morality as the foundation of society. Machiavelli’s narrowing down came to appear as a widening out. He simply lopped off the top story of the building of life; no God, only man; no soul, only body; no spirit, only matter; no ought, only is. Yet this squashed building appeared (through propaganda) as a Tower of Babel, this confinement appeared as a liberation from the “confinements” of traditional morality, like taking your belt out a notch.

Satan is not fairy tale; he is a brilliant strategist and psychologist and he is utterly real. Machiavelli’s line of argument is one of Satan’s most successful lies to this day. Whenever we are tempted, he is using this lie to make evil appear as good and desirable; to make his slavery appear as freedom and “the glorious freedom of the sons of God” appear as slavery. The “Father of Lies” loves to tell not little lies but The Big Lie, to turn the truth upside down. And he gets away with it-unless we blow the cover of the Enemy’s spies.

The reasons which ought to lead all men to seek God — Intimations of Immortality by Dr. Jeff Mirus

VISIT THE SOURCE: Catholic Culture

Intimations of Immortality

by Dr. Jeff Mirus

When I was growing up in the 1950s and early 1960s, my world was a Christian world, at least nominally. My earliest efforts at apologetics were all designed to explain the “oddities” of the Catholic Faith to Protestants, and to show why their version of certain Christian ideas was wrong while the Catholic version was right. Since then much has changed. Now we are just as likely to be starting from scratch with people who don’t accept any version of Christianity, or perhaps any serious version of God either.

So from time to time we may profit from reviewing some of the reasons people ought to be interested in God, and especially interested in seeking a revelation from God that can set us on the right path. While people are often brought to a serious examination of the existence of God and the truth of the Christian Faith through personal experiences—whether tragic or triumphant—there are also some intellectual starting points that can get us wondering about these things. I’ll briefly review four of them here.

Our Own Sense of Continuation

There are several indicators of the existence of an immaterial, intellective soul that is necessarily immortal, but the one that impacts us most is simply our own sense of identity and our continuation in that identity. There is no evidence that any other creature has such a sense, that any other bodily creature understands itself as a unique individual with an identity which “ought” to continue beyond the vicissitudes of this earthly life. And no other creature manifests anything like a religious sense.

It is otherwise with us. No matter what age we are, no matter how many changes and struggles we’ve lived through, no matter how many times our cells have died and been replaced in the constant cycle of growth and decay, we still think of ourselves as “ourselves”. I look out from a 62 year-old body feeling exactly like the same “me” who was once fifteen. I am astonished that I should be old, and that life should be drawing inexorably to its close. This is unfathomable; it is a contradiction of everything I instinctively feel about myself. I cannot imagine my own non-existence. I cannot imagine a time when I will be unable to reflect on myself, on who I am. So it is with every man and woman who has ever lived.

Ralph McInerny, in his memoir of his life at Notre Dame (see I Alone Have Escaped to Tell You) makes the telling statement that even after his beloved wife of 50 years died he went on each day feeling immortal. That captures what it means to be human very well. We expect to continue as ourselves, and this leads us inescapably to ponder whether we have a persistent spiritual identity capable of transcending our current bodily existence. This in turn opens our minds to a spiritual world, and to the possibility of a God who is the very ground of our being. As the expression goes, nature abhors a vacuum. If we instinctively expect continuation, yearn for continuation, and seek continuation, then this is reason enough to presume that we will continue, and to examine carefully the question of whether in fact what our instincts tell us is so, and how this can be.

Our Perception of the World

Another profitable line of thought which is very near to us arises from our normal reactions to the world around us. There are at least two questions concerning our experience of the world which strike most of us fairly forcefully in a rather philosophical way. The first is the question of where it all came from. Ultimately, the human mind is not satisfied with the idea that the universe is eternal (which is far harder to believe than that an eternal God created it, given that everything we know about the material world suggests that it is contingent). Nor are we satisfied with the idea that the universe “just happened”, a concept which makes no logical sense to anyone who can think his way out of a paper bag.

It is not even too much to say, I think, that the human mind tends to be unsatisfied with the notion that the world could have evolved randomly from some primordial chemicals without any teleology (or tendency toward an end) having been built into it from the beginning. On the one hand, pure atheistic evolutionism simply pushes the God question beneath a few more layers of cosmic dust. On the other, the imagination has to stretch farther to see the plausibility of atheistic evolutionary theory than it does to see the plausibility of an uncaused Cause. We don’t claim to be able to encompass the Cause in our minds; but logic drives us to assume Its existence. Thus the questions “Where did this come from?” and “How was it designed?” set both the human mind and the human heart to work.

The other obvious question is why, in such a highly ordered universe, so many things are out of sync. How is it that the law of the jungle rules the beasts, that natural disasters occur, that men mistreat each other, that we lack so much in equality, justice and peace? No sooner does our experience of reality enable us to see how things are supposed to work than it shows us the proverbial sticky wicket. It is almost as if something that began flawlessly has somehow been broken, but we don’t see how. In Orthodoxy, G. K. Chesterton explains that the doctrine of Original Sin fit his experience of reality perfectly, and Blessed John Henry Newman saw things exactly the same way. We anticipate in this Christian doctrine the answer to the question, but the question itself should at least prompt us to seek an answer.

Our Sense of Justice

In An Essay in Aid of a Grammar of Assent, Newman also offered a third line of thought, a highly developed argument based on the personal conscience (see Newman’s Final Argument). It is a universal experience, Newman rightly states, that we instinctively apprehend a difference between right and wrong; we also apprehend that we are under an obligation to do what is right, and we sense strongly that we will be subject to some sort of judgment on this score. Very few indeed are those who have never entertained such thoughts, or who manage to keep them at bay so continually as to forget them altogether.

At the same time, we cannot escape the observation that what is right is very frequently ignored, and that justice in this world is so imperfect as often to be laughable. Too often justice is a standard to which men are more likely to hold others than themselves, yet it remains a standard all the same, and people very typically look forward to a harmonious day when perfect justice will be achieved. Some, it is true, have sought this perfect justice through utopian schemes, and have ended by attempting (unjustly!) to effect it by force. But many, many more have thought it likely that the imbalances of this life would be redressed in another life. If we find ourselves with an outraged sense of justice then, and if nature really does abhor a vacuum, we must be made for a time and place when justice will be done.

Now a sense of right and wrong presumes some sort of law, which in turn presumes a lawgiver; and a judgment rather obviously demands a judge. This realization actually suggests two parallel lines of thought. First, it reinforces the idea that there must exist a God who somehow represents the Good and cares enough to punish those who violate it. Second, it leads us to a near-certainty that such a Judge would certainly wish to reveal Himself so that we should know clearly what He approves and what He abhors. In other words, the argument from conscience points directly at Revelation. It leads us naturally to inquire whether such a revelation has, in fact, been made.

The Christ

Though destined for universal acceptance, Christ entered the world at a particular time in history; His person, His preaching, and His works impress themselves upon the minds of men now at one time and now at another. It cannot be said that every human person, in his lifetime here on earth, will have heard about Jesus Christ. For many, indeed, He would be the end of a sincere search for revelation, if they could but know Him. But not all have known Him; not all, through ordinary human means at least, can know Him.

Nonetheless, a great many have now heard of Him, or have the opportunity of hearing of Him if they are in fact sincerely searching for God and His Revelation—as their consciences and personal reflections naturally lead them to do. For it is again a universal experience of the human mind (unless a man is in proud rebellion or has been carefully taught to the contrary) that one would expect to find a revelation from God precisely in that realm of activity which deals with God most directly, namely religion. And so one who has not already found this revelation ought to be spending some reasonable amount of time and energy in examing the different religions on offer throughout the world.

Now in thus canvassing the various religions, great and small, which vie for our allegiance, it becomes evident that very few claim to be based on a divine revelation, as opposed to the mere insights of their founders. And of those which claim a divine revelation, even fewer (exactly two, Judaism and Christianity) claim to be based on a revelation which was objectively validated by wonders that God alone could perform. Of these two, one claims to be the fulfillment of the other, and its founder is said to have risen from the dead—a claim as arresting as it is unique, and a claim also supported by a considerable historical testimony. My point is simply this: Someone who sincerely seeks answers, and who has heard the claims made on behalf of Jesus Christ, truly owes it to himself to take a closer look.

The Big Picture

The larger issue here is that too often atheists and agnostics dismiss believers by arguing that the claims of religion cannot be proven absolutely, such that on rational grounds doubt becomes impossible. That is true, but it puts the shoe on the wrong foot, as if the unbeliever has no call to look into the matter unless someone first convinces him of a particular religious position. To the contrary, any person who reflects on himself, on the world around him, on the moral order, and even on what he has heard of the claims of Christianity ought to be very serious about exploring and answering the God question. He certainly ought not to seek to ignore it, to isolate himself from its influence, or to heap scorn on those who do not give up so easily. Inquiring minds—which are the very best minds and the only responsible minds—really do want to know.

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Why Catholics Should Never Sing Negro Spirituals

A Woman Pope is not coming…

Overview:

This past week the Vatican announced changes made last May to procedures for dealing with what it calls “exceptionally serious crimes”. The revised list addressed serious crimes (graviora delicta) directed against both morals and the celebration of sacraments. Certain dissident groups within the Catholic Church having long sought the ordination of women–a serious abuse concerning the celebration of sacraments–were angered that the attempted ordination of women would be set on par with the moral crime of pedophilia. This wasn’t the case. But, it was an opportunity to gain some badly needed press for their long-frustrated and empty cause. 

Most of the fringe press releases following the Vatican’s annoucement were filled with the same-old angry diatribes directed against “those mean old patriarchal types and the institutional church”, but at least one clever fellow was creative in his own criticisms–Although clear proof before both God and man that Catholics should never, ever, sing Negro spirituals…  

For an accurate report on the Vatican annoucement: [CLICK HERE]

Hat Tip to Fr. Z at WDTPRS

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Video: Dutch Catholic Mass Goes Orange, Priest Suspended

Think, Dutch Catechism…

 

A CATHOLIC priest in the Netherlands who held an orange-themed Mass in support of the national soccer team before last weekend’s World Cup final has reportedly been suspended.

The Reverend Paul Vlaar wore an orange robe and decked out his church in orange before Sunday’s match against Spain, the BBC reported.

He even acted as a goalkeeper as a parishioner kicked a soccer ball down the aisle.

Footage of the unique service in the village of Obdam north of Amsterdam was seen around the globe after making it on to YouTube.

Bishop of Haarlem Jozef Punt was not impressed however, saying it had not paid sufficient respect to the sacred nature of the Eucharist.

In a statement, he said the service had “caused outrage” in the Netherlands and overseas, and he ordered Vlaar to enter “a period of reflection”.

The Netherlands lost the World Cup final one-nil in extra-time to Spain.

This from the fine blog In Caelo et in Terra who broke the story:

The Diocese of Haarlem-Amsterdam has published a statement regarding Father Paul Vlaar and his World Cup Mass, about which I wrote a few days ago. Here is my translation:

On Sunday 11 July, Pastor Paul Vlaar of Obdam celebrated the Holy Eucharist in the spirit of the Football World Cup, wearing an orange chasuble, and did insufficient justice, in text and form, to the sanctity of the Eucharist. The footage of this has caused indignation among faithful here and abroad.

In the past the bishop had impressed upon Fr Vlaar not to mix the Holy Eucharist with profane events. The pastor has said to fully support this and promised to abide. The pastor’s pastoral zeal and commitment are not under discussion.

Following this new incident the bishop again met with Fr. Vlaar, imposed an immediate time of reflection on him and relieved him of his priestly duties for the time being. Things will once again be considered at a later date.

The situation created by the ‘orange Mass’ was a difficult and painful one for many people. The comments in my blog reflected that. I am glad to see that Bishop Punt made the best decision at this time. Change must ideally not be imposed from Rome, but must come from the person in question. A time of reflection allows for that.

Let’s keep Fr. Vlaar in our prayers, that his time of reflection may be fruitful.

Yes, Fruitful.

SOURCE 

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It’s the Pope’s turn to retaliate in Catholic civil war by Gerald Warner

Well, here’s a tasty piece from friends across the pond in Scotland…

It’s the Pope’s turn to retaliate in Catholic civil war

by Gerald Warner

Scotland on Sunday

HT/PM – CATHOLIC TRUTH SCOTLAND

‘NEVER let a good crisis go to waste” was the political maxim formulated by Hillary Clinton. It has been adopted by the fading trendies in the Catholic Church who still carry the burnt-out torch of the Second Vatican Catastrophe, in their Intifada against Pope Benedict XVI.

The sex abuse scandal in the Church – the product of the post-Conciliar nihilists’ own iconoclastic destruction of traditional Catholic morals and spirituality – has audaciously been conscripted to serve their desperate agenda to overthrow the Pope, secure a “progressive” successor and eventually replace the Papacy with some kind of lay soviet (well, that is what happens to your brain if you inhaled substances other than incense, back in the 1960s).

Such an inversion of the truth is not without precedent: the Venerable Pius XII saved 860,000 Jews from the Nazis; but today, thanks to defamation by a German playwright, propagated by “liberal” Catholics, the one individual who did more than anyone on earth to help the Jews is demonised and bracketed with Heinrich Himmler. Now, the Spirit-of-Vatican II groupies are going after Benedict XVI on the child abuse ticket.

“Radical” Catholics are attacking the Vatican, like the chav mobs that sporadically besiege the houses of paediatricians. Our television screens are filled with geriatric ex-Jesuits, feminist nuns, “progressive” theologians and every variety of Lollards and Fifth Monarchy Men. Even their 1960s poster-boy Hans Küng (yes, he is still alive) has emerged from obscurity to throw his pebble at Benedict.

Who was to blame for child sex abuse but precisely the generation of Vatican II revolutionaries who are now wringing their gnarled hands in hypocritical outrage? As the official Irish government report into abuse in the archdiocese of Dublin proves, this orgy of evil was overwhelmingly perpetrated in the post-Vatican II era. During the 1970s and 1980s, when it was at its height, there was only one mortal sin in the Catholic Church: attempting to celebrate or attend the Latin Tridentine Mass.

Contrast the vicious persecution of traditionalist priests and laity with the extravagant indulgence extended to serial child abusers. Today, their chickens have come home to roost. These were the children of Paul VI, of aggiornamento, of the great Renewal: now they must be made to take ownership of their own scandal. It is they who are in denial, not the Pope.

They are being supported by the media, whose agenda is to pressurize the Catholic Church into moral relativism, to withdraw its condemnation of abortion, contraception, divorce, homosexuality, embryo experimentation, ordination of priestesses and every other precept that conflicts with the secularist New World Order.

That will not happen. The fatuity of much of the attack is blatant. Evidently priests abused altar boys because of clerical celibacy. There is no compulsory celibacy in the Church of England, yet vicars and boy scouts have been mainstays of the Sunday tabloids for a century. The Dublin report recorded a ratio of 2.3 boy victims to one girl: the last thing these men wanted was a wife.

The much-hyped Wisconsin scandal, used to traduce Benedict XVI, is another example of forcing the wrong pieces into the jigsaw to fabricate the required picture. The local police investigated Father Murphy in 1974 and refused to believe his accusers. More than 20 years later, when Murphy was dying, his case was referred to the then Cardinal Ratzinger. In 1998 he declined to unfrock the now repentant offender who died four months later.

The Milwaukee district attorney had refused to prosecute Murphy because the statute of limitations had run out; the Vatican faced the same canonical problem. Why are the Milwaukee authorities not blamed instead of the Vatican? Why was Cardinal Ratzinger expected to unravel a case that had baffled the local police 24 years earlier?

Unfrocking would not have deprived Murphy of his priesthood – that is irremovable. It would only have prevented him functioning as a priest, which he was no longer capable of doing.

It is time for the Pope to retaliate. He should adopt the liberals’ strategy of not wasting a crisis. The media are howling for the heads of bishops. Very well: give them dozens, even hundreds. This is an opportunity to get rid of every mitred 1960s flower-child obstructing the return of the Tridentine Mass, liturgical reverence and doctrinal orthodoxy. The episcopal gerontocracy, along with the flared-trousered seminary rectors promoting the ordination of social worker priests and blocking genuine vocations, is ripe for a cull. The abuse scandal is only a part of the larger crisis that has engulfed the Church since the Second Vatican Catastrophe – it really is too good to waste.

A Spring of Grace in the Desert: Novena To Merciful Love

FIRST DAY

Introductory Prayer
My Jesus, I am deeply sorry when I consider the many times I have offended you.
However, with a Father’s heart you have not only forgiven me but with the words “Ask, and you shall receive” you invite me to seek from you whatever I need.
With complete confidence I appeal to your Merciful Love to give me what I request in this novena. Above all, I ask for the grace to change my behaviour, from now on to prove my faith by me deeds, to live according to your precepts and to be aflame with the fire of your charity,

Meditation “Our Father”
“Our”: while God has only one natural Son, in his infinite charity he wishes to have many adopted children with whom he shares his riches; and by having the same Father we are all brothers and sisters, and so should love each other.
“Father”: is the title which is fitting for God, because we owe him whatever we have in the order of nature and in the supernatural order of grace. This makes us his adopted children. He wants us to call him Father, so that we may love, obey and honour him as children, and to revive in us the love and confidence to obtain what we ask.

Request
My Jesus, I turn to you in this difficulty. Should you wish to show compassion to this wretched creature of yours, may your kindness triumph. Though your love and mercy pardon my sins. Though I am unworthy to obtain my request please grant it to me if it be for your glory and the good of my soul.

( Here ask the favour you desire to obtain through this novena).

Prayer
My Jesus, be to me a Father, protector and guide in my pilgrimage, so that nothing may distract or mislead me on the road which leads to you. And you, my Mother, who looked after Jesus with such gentleness and care, educate and help me to fulfil my duty, and lead me along the paths of the commandments. Say to Jesus: “Receive this child; I recommend him/her to you with all the insistence of my maternal heart”.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

SECOND DAY

Introductory Prayer and Request as on the First Day.

Meditation
“Who art in heaven”

While God is everywhere as Lord of heaven and earth, we say “who art in heaven” because the though of heaven moves us to love him with more veneration and to aspire to the things of heaven while living as pilgrims in this life.

Request
My Jesus, I turn to you in this difficulty. Should you wish to show compassion to this wretched creature of yours, may your kindness triumph. Though your love and mercy pardon my sins. Though I am unworthy to obtain my request please grant it to me if it be for your glory and the good of my soul.

( Here ask the favour you desire to obtain through this novena).

Prayer
My Jesus, I know that you raise the fallen, free those in prison, reject nobody who is afflicted and look with love on all who are in need. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me, because I need to talk to you about the salvation of my soul and to receive your salutary advice.
My sins frighten me, my Jesus; I am ashamed of my ingratitude and distrust. I am greatly worried because instead of using the time you gave me to do good, I spent it badly, even by offending you.
I turn to you, Lord. You have the words of eternal life.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

THIRD DAY

Introductory Prayer and Request as on the First Day.

Meditation
“Hallowed by thy Name”

This is the first thing that we should desire; the first thing that we should seek in prayer, the intention that should inspire all our works and actions: that God be known, loved served and adored, and that every creature should submit to his power.

Request
My Jesus, I turn to you in this difficulty. Should you wish to show compassion to this wretched creature of yours, may your kindness triumph. Though your love and mercy pardon my sins. Though I am unworthy to obtain my request please grant it to me if it be for your glory and the good of my soul.

( Here ask the favour you desire to obtain through this novena).

Prayer
My Jesus, open to me the doors of your mercy; imprint on me the seal of your wisdom. Ensure that I am free from every unlawful affection and that I serve you with love, joy and sincerity.
Comforted by your divine word and commandments, may I always grow in virtue.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

FOURTH DAY

Introductory Prayer and Request as on the First Day.

Meditation
“Thy kingdom come”

In this petition we ask that the kingdom of his grace and heavenly favours would come in us, that is the kingdom of the just, and the kingdom of glory where he rules in perfect communion with the blessed.
Therefore we also ask for an end to kingdom of sin, of the devil and of darkness.

Request
My Jesus, I turn to you in this difficulty. Should you wish to show compassion to this wretched creature of yours, may your kindness triumph. Though your love and mercy pardon my sins. Though I am unworthy to obtain my request please grant it to me if it be for your glory and the good of my soul.

( Here ask the favour you desire to obtain through this novena).

Prayer
Lord, have mercy on me and mould me in the likeness of your heart.
My God, have mercy on me and free me from all that prevents me from reaching you.
Ensure that at the hour of death I shall not hear a dreadful sentence but your salutary words: ” Come, you blessed of my Father”, and my soul shall rejoice to see your face.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

FIFTH DAY

Introductory Prayer and Request as on the First Day.

Meditation
“Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”

Here we ask that God’s will be done by all creatures with fortitude and perseverance, purity and perfection. We ask that we ourselves may achieve this by whatever means and in whatever way we come to know it.

Request
My Jesus, I turn to you in this difficulty. Should you wish to show compassion to this wretched creature of yours, may your kindness triumph. Though your love and mercy pardon my sins. Though I am unworthy to obtain my request please grant it to me if it be for your glory and the good of my soul.

( Here ask the favour you desire to obtain through this novena).

Prayer
My Jesus, give me a lively faith; make me observe faithfully your divine commandments and to travel the way of your precepts with a heart full of your love and charity.
Let me taste the sweetness of your spirit, and have a hunger for the fulfilment of your divine will, so that my poor service may be acceptable and pleasing to you.
My Jesus, may the omnipotence of the Father bless me. May your wisdom bless me. May the most kind Charity of the Holy Spirit bless me and protect me for eternal life.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

SIXTH DAY

Introductory Prayer and Request as on the First Day.

Meditation
“Give us this day our daily bread”

Here we ask for the Bread which is the Blessed Sacrament; and also the ordinary nourishment of our soul which is grace, the Sacraments and heavenly inspirations.
We also ask that the nourishment necessary for our bodies be given to us in moderation.
We call the Eucharistic Bread “ours” since it was instituted because of our need and because our Redeemer gives himself to us in Communion.
We say “daily” to express our ordinary dependence on God for everything, body and soul, every hour and every moment.
In saying “give us this day” we make an act of charity, asking on behalf of everyone, without worrying about the future .

Request
My Jesus, I turn to you in this difficulty. Should you wish to show compassion to this wretched creature of yours, may your kindness triumph. Though your love and mercy pardon my sins. Though I am unworthy to obtain my request please grant it to me if it be for your glory and the good of my soul.

( Here ask the favour you desire to obtain through this novena).

Prayer
My Jesus, you are the Fountain of Life. Let me drink the living water which flows from you, so that, having tasted you, I may thirst only for you. Immerse me completely in the abyss of your love and mercy, and renew me with your Precious Blood with which you have redeemed me.
With water from your sacred site wash away all the stains with I have soiled the beautiful robe of innocence which you gave me in Baptism.
My Jesus, fill me with your Holy Spirit and make me pure in body and soul.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

SEVENTH DAY

Introductory Prayer and Request as on the First Day.

Meditation
“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.

We ask God to forgive our debts, that is, our sins and the punishment deserved because of them; an enormous penalty which we could never pay except through the Blood of Jesus, through the talents of grace and nature which we received from God, and with everything we are and have.
In this petition we undertake to forgive others their debts to us, without taking revenge on them, but rather forgetting the injuries and offences which they have caused us.
Thus God places in our hands the judgement he will give us, if we pardon, he will pardon us; if we do not pardon, he will not pardon us.

Request
My Jesus, I turn to you in this difficulty. Should you wish to show compassion to this wretched creature of yours, may your kindness triumph. Though your love and mercy pardon my sins. Though I am unworthy to obtain my request please grant it to me if it be for your glory and the good of my soul.

( Here ask the favour you desire to obtain through this novena).

Prayer
My Jesus, I know that you call everyone without exception. You dwell in the humble, you love the person who loves you, you champion the cause of the poor, you show mercy to all and despise nothing your power has created. You conceal people’s defects, await their repentance, and receive the sinner with love and mercy. Lord, open also to me the spring of life; pardon me and wipe away everything in me which is contrary to your divine love.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

EIGHTH DAY

Introductory Prayer and Request as on the First Day.

Meditation
“Lead us not into temptation”

In asking the Lord not to let us fall into temptation, we know that he permits temptation for our good, our weakness to overcome it, divine fortitude for our victory. We know that the Lord does not refuse his grace to the person who does what is necessary to overcome our powerful enemies.
When we ask him not to let us fall into temptation, we ask not to contract more debts than those we have already incurred.

Request
My Jesus, I turn to you in this difficulty. Should you wish to show compassion to this wretched creature of yours, may your kindness triumph. Though your love and mercy pardon my sins. Though I am unworthy to obtain my request please grant it to me if it be for your glory and the good of my soul.

( Here ask the favour you desire to obtain through this novena).

Prayer
My Jesus, be the comfort and protection of my soul; be my defence against every temptation and cover me with the shield of your truth. Be my compassion and my hope, my defence and my refuge against all dangers to soul and body.
Lead me in the vast ocean of this world, and deign to console me in this trial.
May the abyss of your love and mercy be a safe haven for me. Thus I can be free from the snares of the devil.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

NINTH DAY

Introductory Prayer and Request as on the First Day.

Meditation
“but deliver us from evil. Amen”

We ask God to deliver us from all evil, that is, from evils of the soul and of the body, from eternal and temporal evils; from evils past, present and future, from sins, vices, disordered passions, evil inclinations and the spirit of anger and pride.
By saying “Amen” we ask with intensity, love and confidence, because God wishes and commands us to ask in this way.

Request
My Jesus, I turn to you in this difficulty. Should you wish to show compassion to this wretched creature of yours, may your kindness triumph. Though your love and mercy pardon my sins. Though I am unworthy to obtain my request please grant it to me if it be for your glory and the good of my soul.

( Here ask the favour you desire to obtain through this novena).

Prayer
My Jesus, wash me with the Blood from your divine side, and let me return without stain to the life of your grace.
Lord, sustain my weak spirit and console my worried heart. Tell me that, because of your mercy, you will not cease to love me for a single moment, and that you will always be with me.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father.

Pope Benedict XVI: Cuban Church Called To Offer The Only True Hope: Christ

VATICAN CITY, 2 MAY 2008 (VIS) – This morning in the Vatican, Benedict XVI received prelates from the Conference of Catholic Bishops of Cuba, who have recently completed their quinquennial “ad limina” visit.The Holy Father began his address to the bishops by underlining “the vitality of the Church in Cuba, as well as its unity and its commitment to Jesus Christ”. He also remarked upon the “profound change” in ecclesial life in Cuba “especially since the celebration of the Cuban National Ecclesial Meeting, now more than 20 years ago, and above all following the historic visit to Cuba in 1998 by my venerated predecessor Pope John Paul II”.

“At this historic moment, the Church in Cuba is called to offer all Cuban society the only true hope: Our Lord Jesus. … This means that the fomentation of ecclesial life must be given a central role in your aspirations and your pastoral projects”.

After thanking priests for “their faithfulness and tireless service to the Church and the faithful”, the Holy Father expressed the hope that “an increase in vocations and the simultaneous adoption of appropriate measures in this field, may soon enable the Cuban Church to have a sufficient number of priests, as well as the churches and places of worship necessary to accomplish her strictly pastoral and spiritual mission”.

“It is necessary”, he went on, “to continue promoting a specific form of vocational pastoral care, one that is not afraid of encouraging the young to follow the footsteps of Christ, Who alone is capable of satisfying their longing for love and happiness”. At the same time he encouraged the prelates to ensure seminarians have “the best possible spiritual, intellectual and human formation” so that, “identifying themselves with the Heart of Christ”, they can shoulder “the commitment to the priestly ministry”.

Benedict XVI highlighted “the exemplary efforts of so many male and female religious”, whom he encouraged to continue “enriching the whole of ecclesial life with the wealth of their charisms and their generous commitment”. He also thanked “the numerous missionaries who offer the gift of their consecration to all the Church in Cuba”.

He then turned to focus on “one of the main objectives of the pastoral plan”, the promotion of “a committed laity”, and he invited the prelates to encourage “an authentic process of education in the faith at various levels, with the help of well-trained catechists”. He also asked them to facilitate “reading and prayerful meditation upon the Word of God”, for the faithful, “as well as their frequent attendance at the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist”.

The Pope also stressed how, with an “intense spiritual life and the support of a solid religious education”, the laity “will be able to offer convincing testimony of their faith in all areas of society, illuminating them with the light of the Gospel. In this context, it is my hope that the Church in Cuba, in keeping with her legitimate aspirations, may enjoy normal access to the social communications media”.

On the subject of the pastoral care of marriage and the family, the Holy Father encouraged the prelates “to redouble their efforts so as to ensure that everyone, and especially the young, gains a better understanding of – and feels ever more attracted by – the beauty of the true values of marriage and the family. At the same time, it is necessary to encourage and offer the appropriate means so that families can exercise their responsibilities, and their fundamental right to a religious and moral education for their children”.

The Pope spoke of his joy at realising “the generosity with which the Church in your beloved nation is committed to serving the poorest and the most disadvantaged, for which she receives the appreciation and recognition of all the Cuban people. I give you my heartfelt encouragement to continue bringing a visible sign of God’s love to those in need, the sick, the elderly and the imprisoned”.

Benedict XVI concluded by expressing the hope that the forthcoming beatification of Servant of God Fr. Jose Olallo Valdes “may give fresh impulse to your service to the Church and the people of Cuba, always being a leavening for reconciliation, justice and peace”.