Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Francis: Liberal Catholic? Conservative Catholic? or Roman Catholic?

Fr. Richard McBrien
But I, brethren, could not address you as spiritual men, but as men of the flesh, as babes in Christ.   I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not ready for it; and even yet you are not ready, for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving like ordinary men? For when one says, "I belong to Paul," and another, "I belong to Apollos," are you not merely men?     -1 Corinthians 3; 1-4


"Lest we forget, there were indeed reform-minded Council Fathers who responded to Pope John’s vision of the Church growing in spiritual riches. Archbishop Wojtyla of Krakow was first among them. Given what has been said thus far, it should not surprise the reader that many “progressive Catholics” regarded the pontificate of John Paul II as too “conservative,” as out of touch with the modern world, while the traditionalists view many of the Pope’s writings and teachings as modernist in outlook.

Thus the schema of “liberal” (progressive, left) vs. “conservative” (traditionalist, right) which followed upon the close of Vatican II is wholly inadequate for explaining the present-day crisis of faith within the Church of Jesus Christ, though it is most unfortunate that usage of these terms persist among many Catholics and in the media today. Division within Christ’s Church is a clear attack by the evil one. Satan’s strategy here is the time-honored one of divide et impera—divide and conquer. Remember, too, Jesus ’ words to the Pharisees: “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.” Quite simply, no ideology, no matter how sincerely embraced, may substitute for personal conversion...." 
Fr. John Hardon, S.J.

And so most impressed I was after reading this talk by the Archbishop of Philly, whose diocese Il Santissimo Padre will soon visit.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Libido Redux: Mommy Porn Revisited

Earlier I posted on the release of the book version of Fifty Shades of Grey. The movie version is due out St. Valentines Day next. It is not getting good reviews...

The Most Sublime Prayer We Have

Following Luther’s 1517 revolt, Protestants rejected both what they perceived to be abuses in Church practice and the liturgy of the Church, choosing to break away from Sacramental worship in favor of the reading of Scripture and preaching and the adoption of the vernacular in worship. This produced an anti-liturgical revolution in breaking away from the historical evolution of the liturgy in conjunction with the reformer’s heterodox beliefs. The Church responded to the Reformation at the Council of Trent from 1543-1563, adopting liturgical reforms which remained substantially unchanged for the next four hundred years. In studying the history of reform of the liturgy, it is important to note that the Council of Trent manifested reforms true to the traditional principles of organic development of the liturgy, as noted by a well-known liturgical authority:

The Tridentine liturgical reform, initiated in order to correct abuse and ensure doctrinal orthodoxy, was thoroughly traditional. It produced nothing radically new…. And there is no evidence of disparity between the mandate of the Council and the work of its liturgical commission. It was another growth of the living organism that is the Roman rite, involving little substantial change.

                                                                               -from The Smoke of Satan in the Temple of God



Sunday, July 27, 2014


On July 25 the Church celebrated the 46th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, the encyclical written by Pope Paul VI which re-affirmed the Church’s teaching against abortion and contraception and upheld the Church’s defense of the sanctity of marriage. Before anyone is tempted to quit reading due to a belief that no Catholic female in her right mind would not contracept after marriage, read this please! Humanae vitae is not very long, but it is prophetic, so if you haven’t read it,just do so!. The Church reminds us that for love to be real and truthful, it must be free, total, faithful, and fruitful (FTFF). 

Jesus is the faultless model of free, total, faithful, and fruitful love. At Calgary we see that Jesus gave up His life for us freely, a total gift of Himself in perfect fidelity to His Heavenly Father and to us. His death on the Cross was and is perfectly fruitful, because it redeems us from our sins and gains for us eternal life.
In Catholic teaching married life must be free, total, faithful, and fruitful. When it is, it is a perfect image of Christ’s love for us. SO-FTFF is the key to understanding why the Church teaches that contraception oppose God’s plan. When husband and wife use artificial contraception, the barrier that they place between them and the fear of pregnancy prevents them from loving freely and from making a total gift of themselves. In reality they say one to the other, “I give you everything…except my fertility”. And certainly, a couple using birth control cannot be fruitful. We do not pick grapes from thorns.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Paul the Prophet

Paul VI and Karol Wojtyla
I am reading Peter Hebblethwaite's biography of Paul VI. Clearly, Hebblethwaite writes as a historian sympathetic to "the spirit of Vatican II" in his account of Paul's life. Nevertheless, it is a worthwhile read for one capable of recognizing those personal asides where the author's' objectivity leaves much to be desired. Also, I was amazed also to read that Paul, sensitive to criticism from both orthodox and heterodox Catholics over his 15-year pontificate, boldly predicted that one day he would be referred to as a prophet! How right he was. Paul VI’s beatification come October 2014 offers us an opportunity to reintroduce the world to the prophetic nature of Battista Montini, Paul VI. As readers know, in my book I describe in detail  why the word “prophetic” is used to describe his final encyclical, Humane Vitae. Not only did it fall to Paul to complete and promote Vatican II, it was he who shouldered defining and exemplifying Church teaching and tradition in a world increasingly hostile and alien to it. That his teaching has taken root today is marvelously exemplified here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


"The life of prayer calls for continuous battles. It is the most important and the longest effort in a life dedicated to God.  This effort has been given a beautiful name: it is called the guard of the heart. 
Dom Augustin Guillerand

The human heart is a city; it was meant to be a stronghold.  Sin surrendered it.  Henceforth it is an open city, the walls of which have to be built up again.  The enemy never ceases to do all he can to prevent this.  He does this with his accustomed cleverness and strength, with stratagem and fury.  He puts before us such happy thoughts (and occasionally useful ones), pictures so attractive or frightening, and he clothes it all with reasons so impressive that he succeeds all along the line to distract us and entice us away from the divine presence.
We must always be starting again.  These continual recoveries, this endless beginning again, tires and disheartens us far more than the actual fighting.  We would much prefer a real battle, fierce and derisive. But God, as a rule, thinks otherwise.  He would rather we were in a constant state of war.  He prefers these ambuscades and snares; these precautions and the need for constant vigilance.  He is love, and this continuous warfare calls for more love and develops that love still further."

Women vs. Men: The Feminine Genius

As a single male who has longed to have a helpmate, but has never been able to find one, I am intrigued by recent findings on young American men and womenCatholics believe that
marriage comes as a gift from the hand of God. The Catholic vision of marriage is rooted in Sacred Scripture and is expressed in the teachings and practices of the Church. It has these main elements:

  • Marriage unites a couple in faithful and mutual love
  • Marriage opens a couple to giving life
  • Marriage is a way to respond to God’s call to holiness
  • Marriage calls the couple to be a sign of Christ’s love in the world

In Mulieris dignitatem St. Pope John Paul II wrote: 

When we say that the woman is the one who receives love in order to love in return, this refers not only or above all to the specific spousal relationship of marriage. It means something more universal, based on the very fact of her being a woman within all the interpersonal relationships which, in the most varied ways, shape society and structure the interaction between all persons - men and women. In this broad and diversified context, a woman represents a particular value by the fact that she is a human person, and, at the same time, this particular person, by the fact of her femininity. This concerns each and every woman, independently of the cultural context in which she lives, and independently of her spiritual, psychological and physical characteristics, as for example, age, education, health, work, and whether she is married or single.

It seems one such woman from the culture is on to this!