Saturday, December 12, 2009

Pray for Us - For the End of Abortion

Our Lady of Guadalupe


David C. Engerman writes:

In 1945, the United States faced a dire threat. The rising power of the Soviet Union and the spread of communism in Eastern Europe -- and, soon enough, worldwide -- represented a new enemy that imperiled postwar hopes for a peaceful and prosperous world. The United States was poorly equipped to comprehend, let alone respond to, this emerging global danger. The federal government had few experts who spoke Russian or had a deep knowledge of Russian history and culture; universities were barely better off. The field of Soviet studies emerged as a response and became the catalyst for a network of area studies programs that would soon follow.

Today, the United States faces a similar challenge in understanding the threat posed by Islamic fundamentalism. Much like the Soviet Union, militant Islam represents not just an army but an idea -- and one that fights in novel and highly unorthodox ways..More>>

Friday, December 11, 2009

Catholicism Project

Do you want to be a part of something beautiful for God? Check out Father Robert Barron's The Catholicism Project. Talk about truth, goodness, and beauty.

Protesting ... Urp ... Within the Church

Austin Rose at The Catholic Thing thematizes the dyspepsia of the "Questioning Church":

The Questioning Church is ... having a hissy fit over the Vatican visitation of American nuns. You know the ones: they wear pantsuits, live in their own apartments, work only on “social justice,” and publicly disagree with Church teaching on women’s ordination, abortion, contraception, homosexuality, and God knows what else. I used to see them at Mass at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops: nuns who refused to kneel during the consecration and practically shouted out “God” instead of choking on the word “Him.”

The National Catholic Reporter, bulletin of the First Church of Questioning, has become a cottage industry of angry complaints about the visitation, even encouraging congregations not to cooperate. In recent months, they have published about fifteen bitter stories about the investigation. They are even reporting on the bishops who have had the temerity to help fund it.

The bulletin of the Second Church of Questioning, Commonweal, published an anonymous piece complaining that the Vatican is not investigating priests and bishops, perhaps failing to recognize that they have come under much scrutiny lately. This sister, who wrote the article with a grant “from the Henry Luce Foundation” wouldn’t most of these nuns whoop-up on the Vatican for free? provides us with a sustained howl, mostly about power. Most Catholics would probably think the Vatican might indeed care about nuns, who represent the Church, publicly rejecting Catholic teaching. She uses words like “target,” “collective punishment,” “insulting,” “absurd,” “inquisitorial,” on and bitterly on...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Corpus Christianum - Chivalry for All Ages

Have I invited you lately to join our merrie band? Chivalry isn't solely for the young and strong. It is also for the doughty and stout-hearted grizzlebeard.

Corpus Christianum is an international Private Association of the Faithful, open both to men and women, dedicated to praying for a renewal of Christendom.

Marian in character and guided by a Catholic chivalrous spirit, Corpus Christianum members pray daily for the following key points:

- The renewal, unity, and spread of Christendom
- The Supreme Pontiff and all priests/religious
- The protection of Christians around the world
- The restoration of the family
- The conversion of sinners and the sanctification of all people

We are looking for courageous souls who are willing to take up the standard of Christ the King! We invite you to review the association's statutes for more information about the organization and its obligations.


"The Catholic Church is by far the largest, the most widespread, and the most ancient of Christian communions in the world, and is moreover the mighty trunk from which the other communions claiming to be Christian have broken off at one time or another. If, then, we limit the application of the term Christendom to this, its most authentic expression, the unity of Christendom is not a lost ideal to be recovered, but a stupendous reality which has always been in stable possession. For not only has this Catholic Church ever taught that unity is an essential note of the true Church of Christ, but throughout her long history she has been, to the amazement of the world, distinguished by the most conspicuous unity of faith and government..."

- The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume XV

"Give me an army saying the Rosary and I will conquer the world!"

- Pope Pius IX

Goldman -'European St' on Minarets

David P. Goldman at First Things:
Bernard Lewis famously predicted a Muslim majority in Europe by the end of the century. Whether this will occur is unclear; European countries assiduously avoid reporting birth rates by religion. But the enormous and growing presence of Islamic institutions in Europe jars the existing culture, and provides a host for a truly frightening extremist minority.

Abandoned by their leaders, Switzerland’s voters took matters into their own hands. It is hard not to recall the famous lines of from the Swiss national drama, Schiller’s William Tell: “When oppression becomes intolerable, you reach into the heaven and grab hold of your eternal rights, which are hanging up there, inalienable and indestructible as the stars themselves.” Of course it is the wrong way to respond to an urgent problem. But if Europe’s leaders exclude the right way to respond, the European street will choose whatever way remains..More>>

The Chivalry of Father Kapaun

Just as surely as I predicted Drew Brees' astronomical success this season, I predict that the following story will be the keeper of Advent 2009.

At sunrise on Easter Sunday, March 25, 1951, Father Emil Kapaun startled POWs by donning his purple priest’s stole and openly carrying a Catholic prayer missal, borrowed from Ralph Nardella.

He had talked atheist guards into letting him hold an Easter service, a favor they soon regretted.

No one there would ever forget this day. The most moving sight the POWs ever saw.

At sunrise, 80 officers — bearded, dirty and covered with lice — followed Kapaun up a little rise, to the cold steps of a bombed-out church. They gathered in a circle around him. Kapaun held a crude crucifix made from broken sticks. He looked thin and filthy; except for the black eye patch, he looked to Walt Mayo like one of the ragged apostles.

Kapaun began speaking, and his voice caught; he said he didn’t have the equipment to give them a proper Mass. But then he held up his ciborium, the tiny gold container that before his capture had held communion hosts he had placed on tongues of soldiers.

He opened Nardella’s prayer missal, and as he began to recite from it, the Christians among them realized what a risk he was now taking. He was beginning not from the Easter promise of rebirth but from the dark brutality of Good Friday.

As the guards glared, Kapaun read the Stations of the Cross, describing Christ’s condemnation, torture and death. Captives who had been mocked and tormented and beaten listened as Kapaun spoke of Christ being mocked and tormented and beaten.

Tears flowed.

Kapaun held up a rosary. He asked the non-Catholics to let the Catholics indulge for a bit; they knelt as he said the rosary, recited the glorious mysteries of Christ rising, ascending, defying death for all time.

A voice rose in song. A POW, Bill Whiteside, had a beautiful voice, and he raised it now to sing the Lord’s Prayer, a recital that gave goosebumps to Sidney Esensten, the Jewish doctor.

Kapaun spoke. His theme: forgiveness.

And he said he did not feel qualified to advise them about life because, “I am not any better than you are.”

Then they all sang as Kapaun had taught them: loud so that the enlisted men could hear. Starving men sang at sunrise, the same song Whiteside had sung, the Lord’s Prayer, a song they laced with reverence..Read all …

If in the dark days of an Advent filled with news like "hope and change" mandatory funding of abortuarial murder (read: "health care reform") that makes America resemble ancient Carthage, or the Scimitar threatening lands once part of Christendom (again), remember this:

Father Kapaun was only human. What he did was perform his priestly duties faithfully. Our Lord and his Real Presence in the Holy Eucharist empowered the prisoners of war. He will continue to do so for us, prisoners in an unholy age.

God bless our faithful, wise, and loving priests. And God bless us as we gain sacramental grace and strength to be witnesses, joyful, jovial, chivalrous sons and daughters of the Most High. God bless you this Advent!

Galileo Code

I have been quiet intentionally about the recent global warming/ non-global warming brouhaha and the apparent suppression of data by certain groups whose theories are more valuable to them than facts. But, for the record, it seems to me that Scott Walter does the best job of placing it in context at The Catholic Thing in The Galileo Code.

In Case of Gunfire ... at Mass

Sad but timely, Fr Z answers the question, What rubrics to follow at Mass in case of gunfire?

Lest you think, gentle reader, this is a scandalizing question, or in the parlance of folklore, "Speak of the devil and he will appear," remember that the great martyr, Oscar Romero, was shot and killed serving the Holy Eucharist.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Baa, Mr. President, Baa

Our president is a man of rare qualities and abilities. If one notices, one never sees him contradict claims that he is carrying out a reformation of the United States of America. It is a reformation away from the norms and mores what used to be called the "silent majority." Today, the mandarins of hope and change do not consider it a silent majority, but a helpless if not hapless majority.

It is majority that does not know what is good for it. Or, rather, its values, faith, morals, and goals do not stand in the way of the agenda being laid out for it by the oligarchs presently in power, the president being the chief exemplar of this reformation. They are ignorable because they are, in the president and his ilk's estimation, ignorant of a progressive future known by the elite, and, therefore, must be superseded because and in spite of their sheepish foolishness.

What he, the president, does not know is that the majority of Americans are indeed sheep, and willingly admit it. They will, in fact, admit that our president is also a sheep. The profoundly large electorate has not forgotten that from the most powerful commander-in-chief on Pennsylvania Avenue to the short-order chef in Adams Morgan all have an absolute and irrevocable need for a Good Shepherd.

The wisdom of this majority of Americans runs deeper in the collective psyche of the Christian West than the commander-in-chief will either admit or presuppose in the progressive agenda he propounds and is pounding into legislation. The taxation of the American majority to pay for abortion murder of unborn Americans is probably the most tell-tale ritual of the dumb-as-a-sheep agenda.

Good Shepherd, forgive our leaders for veering so far into the culture of death. Forgive us for electing them into power. Come help us, your sheep and our president who needs shearing. Amen.

Sheen - A Life

For the record: George Marlin discusses the life and vocation of Archbishop Fulton Sheen who died thirty years ago today here. A quote of Sheen that he expressed in 1933:
Never before in the history of the world was there so much knowledge; and never before so little coming to the knowledge of the Truth. Never before so much straining for life; never before so many unhappy lives. Never before so much science; never before was it used so for the destruction of human life.

A 20th-Century Knight for Truth

What does a modern-day knight look like? Margaret Datiles makes the case for the knight errantry of Dietrich von Hildebrand at Headlinebistro.

He was chased by Nazis. He was a philosopher before his time. His revolutionary thoughts on the nature of marriage and sexuality left a lasting mark on modern Church teachings. One day, he might be a Doctor of the Church.

Who is this unsung hero? His name is Dietrich von Hildebrand.

Sometimes referred to as a “Knight for Truth,” von Hildebrand stands out as a much-needed voice of Catholic faith, reason and courage in today’s over-sexualized, relativistic world.

With the recent passage of laws re-defining marriage and consideration of health care “reforms” that may unleash a policy of abortion-on-demand throughout the nation, von Hildebrand’s writings are a beacon of light to all who strive to stay true to Christian principles. He is a breath of fresh air amidst the cloud of moral subjectivity that chokes our legal system, culture and society.

If you’re looking for a contemporary Catholic role model who lived his life as a witness to Christ, or for a writer who can provide guidance on the application of Christian principles to modern situations involving subjectivism, sexuality and marriage, von Hildebrand is your man ...

Read more of Dietrich von Hildebrand: A Knight for Truth in a Relativistic World.

Saint Juan Diego

Saint Juan Diego - Miguel Cabrera
Thousands of people gathered in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe July 31, 2002, for the canonization of Juan Diego, to whom the Blessed Mother appeared in the 16th century. Pope John Paul II celebrated the ceremony at which the poor Indian peasant became the Church’s first saint indigenous to the Americas.

The Holy Father called the new saint “a simple, humble Indian” who accepted Christianity without giving up his identity as an Indian. “In praising the Indian Juan Diego, I want to express to all of you the closeness of the church and the pope, embracing you with love and encouraging you to overcome with hope the difficult times you are going through,” John Paul said. Among the thousands present for the event were members of Mexico’s 64 indigenous groups.

First called Cuauhtlatohuac (“The eagle who speaks”), Juan Diego’s name is forever linked with Our Lady of Guadalupe because it was to him that she first appeared at Tepeyac hill on December 9, 1531. The most famous part of his story is told in connection with the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (December 12). After the roses gathered in his tilma were transformed into the miraculous image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, however, little more is said about Juan Diego.

In time he lived near the shrine constructed at Tepeyac, revered as a holy, unselfish and compassionate catechist who taught by word and especially by example.

During his 1990 pastoral visit to Mexico, Pope John Paul II confirmed the long-standing liturgical cult in honor of Juan Diego, beatifying him. Twelve years later he was proclaimed a saint.


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

The Immaculate Conception (1618-19) - Diego Velázquez

Commentary by Fr. James Schall here

Secularist "Values" Imposed on Catholics


Health Care, Politicians

and the Catholic Conscience

A Troubling New Development Appears in American Politics

By Carl Anderson

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut, DEC. 7, 2009 ( For decades, Americans have been subjected to the arguments of certain Catholic politicians who argued that while "personally opposed" to unjust policies like abortion, they were nonetheless unwilling to "impose" that view on the rest of the country.

The argument was disingenuous, premised on the fact that somehow a "Catholic" conscience had to be put to the side in the public square.

Now, the very people who argued that they couldn't bring their private conscience into a secular public square are poised to use the law to impose a particular view on their fellow Catholics.

By working and voting to include abortion coverage in health care legislation, several Catholic politicians stand at the precipice of being the deciding votes in forcing a particular immoral view on their fellow Catholics, by forcing them to fund abortion through their tax dollars.

While professing that they cannot impose their conscience on anyone else, these politicians seem to have little hesitation about imposing a political view -- one they claim to oppose in principle -- on the consciences of their fellow Catholics..More>>

Monday, December 7, 2009


"And therewith on his hands and on his knees he went so nigh that he touched the holy vessel"
Sir William Russell Flint (1880-1969)

Hentoff - Cold Heart Obamacare

Too good not to post: Nat Henthoff's The Cold Heart of Obamacare:

In this country, bureaucrats keeping tabs on patients - without actually seeing them and their condition - will mean, as Tanner notes, that "every time a doctor decides on a treatment, he or she would have to ask: 'Does the government think I'm doing this too much? Will I be penalized if I order this test?'" (Disclosure: As a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, I have access to its continuing research.)

President Obama and his supporters in Congress insist that clinical studies prove how many needless and expensive tests and procedures are so often performed. But these are collective statistics. Individual patients are left out.

Harvard Medical School faculty members Jerome Groopman and Pamela Hartzband bring the individual back into this crucial debate in "Sorting Fact From Fiction on Health Care" (Wall Street Journal, Aug. 31): "Data from clinical studies provide averages from populations and may not apply to individual patients.

"Clinical studies routinely exclude patients with more than one medical condition and often the elderly or people on multiple medications. Conclusions about what works and what doesn't work change much too quickly for policy-makers to dictate clinical practice." Everyone, regardless of political party, should keep in mind:

"If doctors and hospitals are rewarded for complying with government-mandated treatment measures or penalized if they do not comply, clearly, federal bureaucrats are directing health decisions," Groopman and Hartzband wrote.

If congressional Democrats succeed in passing their health care "reform" measure to send to the White House for President Obama's signature, then they and he are determining your health decisions..More>>

New Pagans Within the Gates

Kevin Ryan at Mercatornet describes a recent visit to Paris:
As we walked out to the sidewalk, the streets literally exploded with roaring cars and trucks packed with young Algerians screaming at the top of their lungs at one another and at the watching bystanders. Horns were blaring at ear-splitting volume. Rockets and firecrackers flew from car windows. From at least every other car there was a huge Algerian flag or an Islamic banner with a green crescent and star. There were so many cars that quickly the traffic jammed and the young French Algerians ran from car to car shouting at one another in sheer joy.

The automobile caravans brought to mind the spontaneous celebrations I witnessed in my suburban New York village at the end of World War II (yes, I am that old!), but it was a sedate event compared with this outpouring of intensity and energy. Clearly, these young French young men and women have deep and alive Algerian roots. While the celebration was loud and long, going on for a good four hours, it was, by and large, joyous. The gendarme sat in their cars, observing, but ready. And as the honking motorcade roared past the older citizens, passively observing from cafés and a street side restaurants, these newer French seemed to be sending a message. “We are here. And here to stay. It is no longer your Christian France. Get used to it”..Read all ...

While this makes grim reading during the darkening days of Advent, I wish I might say it is merely the youth of the Scimitar who are acting out in such pagan fashion. Truth is, we are witnessing the death of a culture premised not on Judeo-Christian ethics and faith, but one posited on the Doric pillars of democracy - the result of the sacrifice of kings, as per the keen insight of Robert Hamerton-Kelly - but which harkens back much further to the sacrificial origins of democracy per se in ancient Greece.

The "bait and switch" took place in the 16th century during the rise of the pagan cloaked in the Enlightenment, so-called. With what Hillaire Belloc called "the new money" taking control of the lands, monasteries, and system of subsidiarity of the Catholic Church came the usurpation of any hope for the continuation of Christendom. The Counter-Reformation yielded huge harvest, but the "powers and principalities" of England, the Netherlands, even France would not willingly turn that Mammon once gained back to control of the Church.

They sowed the wind. We are now reaping the whirlwind of the downfall of the West.

All we can look forward to in the foreseeable future is shrinking outposts of truth, goodness, and beauty; the grandest and strongest is the Catholic Church, Peter's Barque, against which Our Lord promised the gates of hell shall not prevail (Mtt 16).

But alone and without recourse to Her sacramental grace, He warns, "Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters" (Lk 11,23).

Let those with ears to hear, hear.

St. Ambrose

051_AmbroseWriting.jpg - 33455 Bytes

St. Ambrose wrote in defense of the Church against the Arian heresy

St. Ambrose left us two great examples from his life.

The first was what he did with St. Augustine.

St. Ambrose was a man of enormous talent, one of the Doctors of the Church, famous for his works and actions throughout both Christendom and the Roman Empire of his time. In his memoirs, St. Augustine wrote that he converted because of St. Ambrose. He described the true fascination he had for the great saint. Once in a while St. Augustine used to visit the episcopal house of St. Ambrose in Milan. He would sit in the same room with St. Ambrose just to watch him write and work. Many times Ambrose did not have time to give to St. Augustine. The latter simply wanted to be in his presence, taking advantage of the atmosphere created by St. Ambrose. (Emphasis added) It was mainly because of that atmosphere and some few conversations they had that St. Augustine converted..More>>

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Fesch - The Narrow Path

IN THIS TEMPORAL LIFE we are led along a narrow path, at the end of which is a little door opening onto true life. In order to pass thorugh that door we must first let ourselves be crucified on the cross which stands at the entrance. If suffering and fear turn us away, we will not enter.

It is true that for the most part our advice is not asked - otherwise how few of the elect would pass through! But with trial comes faith, and with faith, graces, which are not distributed parsimoniously but with profusion. The yoke becomes sweet and the sorrow is turned into joy. What is hidden from the eyes of men becomes luminous for those whom the Lord is drawing. "Do not fear those who can kill the body and who after that can do no more."

Do you know this word of Christ: "I give you thanks, Father, for having revealed these things to little ones and having hidden them from the wise." It is true. All that is despised by the world becomes precious for the Lord's sake. What a troop of lame men, thieves, assassins must surround him! ...

These are great mysteries we are living through. Do not let us struggle against redemption, under the pressure of egotistical thoughts ...
- Jacques Fresch (+1957) was a murderer who experienced a profound conversion before his execution in a French prison.

Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra

Father Christmas - The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe

This is the feast day of Saint Nicholas of Myra. Although details of the saint's life are sketchy, Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) put to his own compositions the legendary events surrounding him in a series of Nine Scenes in his Saint Nicolas Cantata.

I was privileged to play in the First Violin section of a staging of the cantata at DePauw University, Advent, 1976, the year Britten died. It was one of those moments in my life during which the Holy Spirit broke through the egoism to reveal to me a reality of truth, beauty, and goodness beyond my meager life's boundaries. I am still thankful to Dr. Frank Jacobs for producing it there at DePauw.

Today, I can, blessedly, still play a recording of that live performance. I highly recommend you find a copy of it - many fine recordings are out there. (Reposted from 12/6/08)