Tuesday, October 31, 2006
His Excellency Archbishop Louis-Joseph
Arthur Melanson (1879-1941)
Second Bishop of the Gravelbourg
Diocese from 1933 to 1937.
His Excellency Archbishop Louis-Joseph-Arthur Melanson was born in Trois-Rivières on March 25, 1879. Soon after, his family moved to New Richmond in Cascapedia Bay, New Brunswick. He studied theology in the seminairies of Rimouski and Montréal.
Arthur Melanson joined the Chatham Diocese in New Brunswick where he was ordained into priesthood by Bishop Barry on July 9, 1905. He was assigned to the Campbellton Parish as assistant priest where he dedicated his first years of ministry to the pioneers living in the forest near Colebrook and Glenlivet. Pastor of Balmoral in 1907, he was also entrusted with the care of the lumber camps. His efforts initiated a movement of colonization which succeeded in the founding of two new parishes.
In 1909, he was confided to the Campbellton Parish. In 1925, Father Melanson founded the teaching order of the Daughters of Mary of the Assumption. In 1930, he became Vicar General of the Chatham Diocese and was made Protonotary Apostolic by the Holy See. He was elected second Bishop of the Gravelbourg Diocese on November 25, 1932, and was consecrated in Chatham by the Apostolic Delegate, the Most Reverend Andrea Cassulo, on February 22, 1933.
Bishop Melanson was a firm supporter of all forms of Catholic action : youth movements, religious or lay vocations, Collège Mathieu, study groups and the Catholic Press. He was committed to the task of ensuring the survival and development of the young Church of the prairies assigned to him by the Sovereign Pontiff. His first pastoral letter, "Catholic Action; The Apostolate of the Laity in the Diocese", was published at the beginning of Lent during his first year in Gravelbourg.
Bishop Melanson founded an annual pilgrimage in honour of Mary and chose Our Lady of Auvergne Sanctuary in Ponteix. Gravelbourg's first diocesan congress on Catholic Action was held in 1935. Soon after, Bishop Melanson started a diocesan newspaper, "La Voix Catholique". The Most Reverend Arthur Melanson was promoted to Archbishop of Moncton on December 16, 1936, and was consecrated on February 22 of the following year. Archbishop Arthur Melanson died on October 23, 1941, in Moncton.
Monday, October 30, 2006
VATICAN CITY, OCT 28, 2006 (VIS) - Archbishop Celestino Migliore, permanent observer of the Holy See to the United Nations in New York, participated yesterday in the 61st session of the U.N. General Assembly, which is currently considering the question of the promotion and protection of human rights.
In his English-language talk, Archbishop Migliore concentrated on three themes which, he said, "merit particular attention, namely, the coexistence of different religions and religious communities, the propagation of religion, including the sensitive issue of proselytism and the relationship between freedom of expression and religion." He also expressed his concern that, "as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the 1981 Declaration on the Elimination of all Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, ... freedom of religion or belief does not exist for individuals and communities, especially among religious minorities, in many parts of the world."
He continued: "The high level of religious intolerance in some countries is leading to an alarming degree of polarization and discrimination. ... While religious tolerance is sometimes characterized as accepting or permitting those religious beliefs and practices which disagree with one's own, the time has come to move beyond this type of religious tolerance, and to apply instead the principles of authentic religious freedom.
"Religious freedom," he added, "is the right to believe, worship, propose and witness to one's faith. It grants the opportunity and creates the occasions for people to profess freely the tenets of their faith. Furthermore, it includes the right to change one's religion and to associate freely with others in order to express one's religious convictions. ... We know well that, historically, tolerance has been a contentious issue among believers of different faiths. However, we have come to a turning point in history which demands more of us, including a commitment to inter-religious dialogue."
In this context, the archbishop emphasized "the indispensable importance of reciprocity, which, by its very nature, is apt to ensure the free exercise of religion in all societies. The Holy See continues to be concerned by a number of situations where the existence of enacted or proposed legislative and administrative measures for placing limits on the practice, observance or propagation of religion are a reality. Likewise, the Holy See is concerned with those situations where religion or freedom of religion is used as a pretext or a justification for violating other human rights."
"There appears to exist a recurring case of intolerance when group interests or power struggles seek to prevent religious communities from enlightening consciences and thus enabling them to act freely and responsibly, according to the true demands of justice. Likewise, it would be intolerant to denigrate religious communities and exclude them from public debate ... just because they do not agree with options nor conform to practices that are contrary to human dignity."
In our world, the prelate concluded, "religion is more than an internal matter of thought and conscience. It has the potential to bind us together as equal and valuable members of the human family. ... Nor should we underestimate its power, especially in the midst of conflict and division, ... to enable enemies to speak to one another, to foster those who were estranged to join hands in friendship, and have nations seek the way to peace together."
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Thursday, October 26, 2006
It is easy to see that they have absorbed the poison of hell and that they are inspired by the devil; for no one can condemn devotion to the Holy Rosary without condemning all that is most holy in the Catholic faith, such as the Lord's prayer, the Hail Mary and the mysteries of the life, death and glory of Jesus Christ and his holy Mother.
These free-thinkers, who cannot bear to have people saying the Rosary, often fall into an heretical state of mind without realizing it and come to hate the Rosary and its mysteries."
- The Secret of the Rosary, Ninth Rose, St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
"Yet now take courage, O Zorobabel, saith the Lord, and take courage, O Jesus the son of Josedec the high priest, and take courage, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord of hosts: and perform (for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts)." (Agg. 2, 5)
"Et nunc confortáre, Zoróbabel, dicit Dóminus ; et confortáre, Jesu, fili Jósedec, sacérdos magne ; et confortáre, omnis pópulus terræ, dicit Dóminus exercítuum : et fácite (quóniam Ego vobíscum sum, dicit Dóminus exercítuum)." (Agg. 2, 5)
Monday, October 23, 2006
"Criticism is the 'honest appraisal of the value of ideas or actions.' When thorough and fair, it addresses strengths and weaknesses. Pursued in the right spirit, it is a positive undertaking whose purpose is to gain an accurate understanding for the sake of growing in wisdom and virtue...
Although most of us do not like to be criticized (at least as to the shortcomings of our work), constructive criticism is helpful to us. It makes us aware of what is lacking in our work and thus allows us to improve. If I am never criticized, I may become 'self-satisfied' and not try to do better. Worse, I may grow comfortable with my faults. This is also bad for the community, for my uncorrected ideas and actions will likely harm others. Thus, criticism is a public service."
This is why Pope John Paul II said that "There is room for constructive criticism in the Church." Such criticism helps us to grow and become better persons. This fact is not appreciated by a parishioner of Ste. Marie's Parish in Manchester, who posted some anonymous comments at this Blog today. This parishioner was responding to a couple of previous posts I had written detailing how I was made to feel very unwelcome at Ste. Marie's and that I was prohibited from volunteering at the parish or participating in any way whatsoever. This individual wrote:
"Sounds like the rantings of a child having a temper tantrum. Anyone that has any knowledge of Rev. Montminy knows that he values every individual as created in the image and likeness of God. Your bad experience is no excuse for your poor behavior at this point..." This person then cited Mark 11:25, which reads "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins."
Lastly, this individual wrote, "You have mentioned your desire to become a priest, that you might have a vocation. I would assume with this kind of attitude, that will not happen."
Let's address these points one by one. First of all, constructive criticism is a public service, not "the rantings of a child having a temper tantrum." And my posts were constructive in both tone and tenor. At no time have I ever engaged in condemnation, which is defined as the devaluation of a person. Again, in the words of Montague Brown, "Condemnation goes beyond evaluation of an idea or action to a declaration of the worthlessness of a human being."
Therefore, while I have never engaged in condemnation of any person (and certainly not Rev. Montminy), this individual has devalued me as a person by ascribing childish motives to my person and suggesting that I am "having a temper tantrum."
Secondly, while I refuse to judge Rev. Montminy's interior dispositions, the comment that "Anyone that has any knowledge of Rev. Montminy knows that he values every individual as created in the image and likeness of God. Your bad experience is no excuse for your poor behavior at this point.." would appear to be inaccurate.
If it is true that Rev. Montminy "values every individual as created in the image and likeness of God," why wasn't I ever welcomed at the parish by either him or his staff? And why was it such a struggle just to register at the parish? And why is it that no one ever got back to me to follow up on my desire to volunteer, a desire which I expressed on the registration form? Why have others written comments at this Blog as well as emails indicating that they too were not made to feel welcome at Ste. Marie's?
And how do such questions and observations constitute "poor behavior" on my part?
Thirdly, I love the Scripture which reads: "And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins." (Mark 11;25). But this is a conditional statement. The word "if" is operative here. And I hold absolutely nothing against Rev. Montminy - or anyone else for that matter. Therefore, there is nothing to forgive.
Lastly, this charitable soul wrote, "You have mentioned your desire to become a priest, that you might have a vocation. I would assume with this kind of attitude, that will not happen." Again, constructive criticism does not indicate a "bad attitude" or negativity. Constructive criticism is aimed at building up rather than tearing down. But bearing this in mind, what shall we say of the criticism levelled against me by this anonymous (and that fact itself is very revealing) individual?
This anonymous person accuses me of engaging in the "rantings of a child having a temper tantrum," of falsely judging a Catholic priest (in reality I never judged his interior dispositions, only actions which I - and others - believe to be unwelcoming), of "poor behavior," of holding something against Rev. Montminy (again, I forgave him), and of having the "kind of attitude" which will prevent me from ever realizing my desire to become a religious.
Ironic is it not? Often, the very fault we accuse others of is the very fault which lies within. At any rate, if this sister in Christ is reading these words, I hold no animosity toward you whatsoever. Nor am I holding a grudge against Rev. Montminy or anyone else. But I reserve the right to engage in constructive criticism. Its purpose is the building up of community and of the common good.
Just as the priest offers me constructive criticism and advice before granting me absolution (and I welcome such advice/criticism because I am a sinner who needs to grow), so too I have a duty to offer constructive criticism to other members of the Mystical Body whenever I see actions or ideas which fail to hold up to the Lumen Christi.
As a member of the lay faithful, I already possess a vocation. And I will not deny my vocation to act as salt and light simply because someone is unable to look at a matter objectively and assumes a defensive posture.
The Scripture tells us that "People sharpen one another just as iron sharpens iron." Fraternal correction is not the sole domain of the clergy. Nor is constructive criticism. The sooner we all realize that fact, the better off we'll all be.
God love you,
Paul Anthony Melanson
VATICAN CITY, OCT 22, 2006 (VIS) - After praying the Angelus with thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square, the Pope sent "a cordial greeting to Muslims all over the world who, during these days, are celebrating the end of the month of fasting of Ramadan. To all of them, my best wishes for serenity and peace.
"In dramatic contrast to this climate of joy," he added, "is the news coming from Iraq of the grave situation of insecurity and of the pitiless violence to which so many innocents are exposed, simply for being Shias, Sunnis or Christians.
"I am aware of the great concern being felt by the Christian community, and wish to give assurances of my closeness to them, as to all the victims, asking that strength and consolation be granted to everyone.
"I invite you," he concluded, "to join me in my plea to the Almighty that He may give the necessary faith and courage to religious and political leaders, both locally and all over the world, to support [the Iraqi] people on the road of rebuilding their homeland, in their search for a shared equilibrium, with mutual respect, and an awareness that the multiplicity of [the country's] components is an integral part of its wealth."
As Catholics, we are called to pray and work for peace. We are being called by our Holy Father to pray for such a peace and to support the Iraqi people on their long and arduous journey of rebuilding their homeland and their quest for mutual respect. Violence is not the answer. Violence begets violence. Standing with Pope John Paul II, we must cry out "no more war!"
The alternative is destruction, chaos and untold suffering. Which is precisely what we have been witnessing in Iraq. Our true weapon must be the Holy Rosary and not machine guns, tanks, fighter-planes and nuclear weapons. The Holy Rosary is far more powerful. It is a weapon for building up a civilization of love. It is easy to resort to violence. It is far more difficult to love one's enemies and to pray for them. But then, no one ever said that being a Christian was easy. It's difficult. It can be painful. Love can bring pain. But in the end, it is love which conquers hatred, hostility and death. Amor vincit omnia - love conquers all!
Love conquers all.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
It is a hundred years since your shy feet Ventured to stand upon the pasture grass of the high Alps,
Coming no deeper in our smoky atmosphere Than these blue skies,
the mountain eyes Of the two shepherd children, young as flowers,
Born to be dazzled by no mortal snow.
Lady, it is a hundred years Since those fair, terrible tears Reproved,
with their amazing grief All the proud candor of those altitudes:
Crowning the flowers at your feet With diamonds, that seized upon,
transfigured into nails of light The rays of the mountain sun!-
And by their news, (Which came with cowbells to the evening village And to the world with church-bells After not too many days,)
And by their news We thought the walls of all hard hearts Had broken down,
and given in, Poured out their dirty garrisons of sin,
And washed the streets with our own blood, if need be - - Only to have them clean!
And though we did not understand The weight and import of so great a sorrow,
We never thought so soon to have seen The loss of its undying memory,
Passing from the black world without a word, Without a funeral!
For while our teeth were battling in the meat of miracles and favors,
Your words, your prophecies, were all forgotten!
Now, one by one, The things you said Have come to be fulfilled.
John, in the might of his Apocalypse, could not fore- tell
Half of the story of our monstrous century, In which the arm of your inexorable Son,
Bound, by His Truth, to disavow your intercession For this wolf-world, this craven zoo,
Has bombed the doors of hell clean off their hinges, And burst the cage of antichrist,
And roused, with His first two great thunderbolts, The chariots of Armageddon.
Friday, October 20, 2006
VATICAN CITY, OCT 20, 2006 (VIS) - Yesterday afternoon at the Bentegodi Stadium in the Italian city of Verona, the Pope presided at a Eucharistic concelebration attended by more than 40,000 people. This was the second event - following the address he delivered earlier in the day at the Fair of Verona - of his pastoral visit to the city for the 4th Italian Ecclesial Congress, which has been considering the theme: "Witnesses of the Risen Christ, Hope of the World."
Apart from the faithful present in the stadium, a further 60,000 people were able to follow the Holy Father's homily on giant screens erected throughout the city. He told them that "the certainty that Christ arose assures us that no adverse power will ever be able to destroy the Church. We also draw encouragement from our awareness that only Christ can fully satisfy the profound expectations of the human heart and respond to the most disturbing questions of pain, injustice and evil, of death and the hereafter.
"Therefore," he added, "our faith is well founded; but it is necessary that this faith become part of our lives. A great effort must therefore be made in order for all Christians to transform themselves into 'witnesses,' ready and able to shoulder the commitment of testifying - always and to everyone - to the hope that animates them."
The Pope went on to highlight the importance of "going back to a vigorous and joyful announcement of the death and resurrection of Christ, the core of Christianity, the bedrock of our faith, the powerful lever of our certainties, the great wind that blows away all fear and indecision, all doubt and human calculation. Only from God can the decisive change of the world come. Only by going back to the Resurrection can the true nature of the Church and of her witness be understood."
Benedict XVI expressed the hope that the Church in Italy "may start out anew from this congress, ...impelled by the Word of the Risen Lord Who repeats to all mankind and to each individual: be, in today's world, witnesses of my Passion and my Resurrection. In a changing world, the Gospel does not alter. The Good News is always the same: Christ died, and He rose for our salvation! In His name bring everyone the announcement of conversion and the forgiveness of sins, but be yourselves the first to bear witness to a life of conversion and forgiveness." This is only possible, he added, with "the interior strength of the Spirit of the Risen Christ."
"Consecrated with the 'anointing' of the Holy Spirit," the Pope exclaimed, "go forth! Carry the good tidings to the poor, bind the wounds of the brokenhearted, proclaim freedom to slaves, open the doors of prisons to those within, promulgate the year of the Lord's mercy. Rebuild the ancient ruins, ... restore the wasted cities. There are so many difficult situations that await a decisive intervention! Bring into the world the hope of God, which is Christ the Lord Who rose from the dead and lives and reigns forever. Amen."
Following Mass, the Pope travelled to the airport of Verona-Villafranca where he boarded a plane for his return to Rome.
Although I was made to feel totally unwelcome and denied the opportunity to volunteer at the parish (most likely because of my orthodoxy) - among other things the parish has promoted New Age Centering Prayer - and I'm on record as opposing it as well as dissent from Church teaching, the pastor of Ste Marie's - Fr. Marc Montminy - did manage to find the time to send me a letter asking for financial help for the parish.
In his letter dated October 19, 2006, he writes in part: "..our church is a priceless treasure; but like all treasures, it costs money to preserve....We cannot modernize these beautiful buildings without significant financial commitment on the part of everyone in the parish...now I need your help! If everyone does his/her best we can accomplish this goal."
And so it would seem that my money is welcome at Ste Marie's Parish but I am not. When I was new to the parish and looking to fit in, I was denied the opportunity to belong and to volunteer. In short, it would seem that while Fr. Montminy considers the parish buildings to be priceless treasures, he does not believe me to have any worth as a human being. If he had, I would have been welcomed and not to made to feel like a pariah.
I guess we all have our priorities.
VATICAN CITY, OCT 20, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today was the annual Message to Muslims for the end of the month of Ramadan from the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue. It bears the signatures of Cardinal Paul Poupard and Archbishop Pier Luigi Celata, respectively president and secretary of the council. The theme of the Message this year (1427 AH / 2006 AD) is, "Christians and Muslims: in confident dialogue aimed at solving together the challenges of our world."
The document as been published in English, French, Italian and Arabic. Extracts are given below:
"It is good to be able to share this significant moment with you in the context of our ongoing dialogue. The particular circumstances that we have recently experienced together demonstrate clearly that, however arduous the path of authentic dialogue may be at times, it is more necessary than ever.
"The month of Ramadan which you have just completed has also undoubtedly been a time of prayer and reflection on the difficult situations of today's world. While contemplating and thanking God for all that is good, it is impossible not to take note of the serious problems which affect our times: injustice, poverty, tensions and conflicts between countries as well as within them. Violence and terrorism are a particularly painful scourge. ... So much, which has taken years of sacrifice and toil to build, destroyed in a few minutes!
"As Christian and Muslim believers, are we not the first to be called to offer our specific contribution to resolve this serious situation and these complex problems? Without doubt, the credibility of religions and also the credibility of our religious leaders and all believers is at stake. If we do not play our part as believers, many will question the usefulness of religion and the integrity of all men and women who bow down before God.
"Our two religions give great importance to love, compassion and solidarity. ... In recalling this point, the first Encyclical Letter of Pope Benedict XVI, 'Deus Caritas Est' (God is Love), underlines the importance of fraternal charity in the Church's mission: love, to be credible, must be effective. ... True love must be of service to all the needs of daily life; it must also seek just and peaceful solutions to the serious problems which afflict our world."
"In those places where we can work together, let us not labor separately. The world has need, and so do we, of Christians and Muslims who respect and value each other and bear witness to their mutual love and cooperation to the glory of God and the good of all humanity. ... [This will] offer a significant contribution to the re-establishment and strengthening of peace both within nations and between peoples."
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Such confused Catholics are drawn to the message of people like Norman Vincent Peale and the Chicken Soup books. The "I'm okay, you're okay" school of sacharrin-coated spirituality which avoids any mention of sin or at least downplays its seriousness.
Many priests and religious have succumbed to this "positive" feel-good spirituality. This is why they cannot muster the courage to speak out against sin and a culture of death which is envelloping our society.
As for me, I stand with the Catholic writer who said, "I find Peale appalling and Paul appealing." Amen. It is our vocation as baptized Catholics to take a stand against a society saturated in sin - institutionalized sin - and to be salt and light to a troubled and hurting world. The choice is ours: we can continue to live in denial and pretend that everything is "okay" and denounce those Christians who actually possess the Holy Spirit's gift of Fortitude and who are not afraid to stand with Christ and His Church or we can stand with the Son of Man and refuse to be ashamed of His Person and message.
The choice is ours. A meditation: Revelation 3:16.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Monday, October 16, 2006
VATICAN CITY, OCT 14, 2006 (VIS) - In St. Peter's Square at midday today, Benedict XVI met with 30,000 people from Italy and other countries who have come together to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the foundation, by St. Pio of Pietrelcina, of the hospital, "Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza" (House for Relief of Suffering).
Among those present were the Capuchin Fathers of the Shrine of St. Mary of Grace and of the new church dedicated to St. Pio, located in San Giovanni Rotondo in southern Italy, as well as directors, doctors and nurses of the hospital, and members of various prayer groups.
In his address to them, the Pope called on the Capuchin Fathers, "spurred on and supported by the example of Padre Pio and by his intercession," to make every effort "to imitate him and help everyone to live a profound spiritual experience focussed on the contemplation of the Crucified Christ, Who reveals and mediates the merciful love of the heavenly Father.
"From the heart of Padre Pio, which burned with charity, arose the House for Relief of Suffering," he added. The saint "chose to call it 'house' so that sick people, especially the poor, might feel at ease there, ... and might find 'relief' from their suffering ... thanks to two converging forces: prayer and science. ... Faith in God and scientific research work together towards the same aim, that can best be expressed in Jesus' own words: 'that they may have life, and have it abundantly.' Yes, God is life, and wants man to be healed from all of the evils of the body and of the spirit."
The Holy Father then went on to recall how the prayer groups came into being following a call to pray for peace made by Pope Pius XII in 1942 during World War II. "Padre Pio," he said, "encouraged his spiritual children to give a prompt response to the appeal of the Vicar of Christ."
"The prayer groups have spread to parishes, convents and hospitals, and today number more than 3,000 with a presence on all the continents. ... Your prayer, as it says in your Statutes, is 'with the Church, through the Church and in the Church,' to be experienced always in full accordance with the Magisterium, with ready obedience to the Pope and the bishops, under the guidance of a priest appointed by the bishop. The Statues also prescribe another vital commitment of the prayer groups: 'effective and assiduous charity to bring relief to the suffering and the needy as a practical demonstration of charity towards God.' Here again is the combination prayer and charity, God and our fellow man."
Benedict XVI concluded his remarks by thanking the faithful for "the support you give me with your prayers. May the Lord repay you! At the same time, for the community of the House for Relief of Suffering I ask the special grace of remaining ever faithful to the spirit and project of Padre Pio."
May the spirit of St. Padre Pio be with all of us during these difficult times.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
St. Catherine of Sienna and the Dialogue
In her own day, St. Catherine of Sienna found much corruption within the Holy Church. Homosexuality and many other deeply rooted problems were found among the clergy and Our Lord spoke to this Doctor of the Church about these problems (pride, loss of sacred identity, loss of faith, worldliness, and sensuality). These conversations were laid out in St. Catherine's book entitled "Dialogue," and most especially in that portion of the book labelled "The Mystical Body of Holy Church."
While St. Catherine cautions her readers not to engage in blanket condemnations aimed at the clergy in general (using scandals as an excuse to denigrate priests in general), and refers to such people as "irreverent persecutors" of the clergy, still, she was told by Our Lord that those who will not receive correction and those who will not give it are like the limbs of a body beginning to rot.
In our sacharrin society, medicinal rebuke is often mistaken for a "lack of charity" when in actuality such constructive criticism aids in healing. In his excellent work entitled "Liberalism is a sin," Fr. Felix Sarda Y Salvany writes:"If the propagation of good and the necessity of combating evil require the employment of terms somewhat harsh against error and its supporters, this usage is certainly not against charity. This is a corollary or consequence of the principle we have just demonstrated. We must render evil odious and detestable. We cannot attain this result without pointing out the dangers of evil, without showing how and why it is odious, detestable and contemptible. Christian oratory of all ages has ever employed the most vigorous and emphatic rhetoric in the arsenal of human speech against impiety. In the writings of the great athletes of Christianity the usage of irony, imprecation, execration and of the most crushing epithets is continual. Hence the only law is the opportunity and the truth.
But there is another justification for such an usage. Popular propagation and apologetics cannot preserve elegant and constrained academic forms. In order to convince the people we must speak to their heart and their imagination which can only be touched by ardent, brilliant, and impassioned language.To be impassioned is not to be reprehensible----when our heat is the holy ardor of truth. The supposed violence of modern Ultramontane journalism not only falls short of Liberal journalism, but is amply justified by every page of the works of our great Catholic polemicists of other epochs. This is easily verified. St. John the Baptist calls the Pharisees "race of vipers," Jesus Christ, our Divine Savior, hurls at them the epithets "hypocrites, whitened sepulchers, a perverse and adulterous generation" without thinking for this reason that He sullies the sanctity of His benevolent speech. St. Paul criticizes the schismatic Cretins as "always liars, evil beasts, slothful bellies." The same apostle calls Elymas the magician a "seducer, full of guile and deceit, child of the Devil, enemy of all justice."
If we open the Fathers we find the same vigorous castigation of heresy and heretics. St. Jerome arguing against Vigilantius casts in his face his former occupation of saloonkeeper: "From your infancy," he says to him, "you have learned other things than theology and betaken yourself to other pursuits. To verify at the same time the value of your money accounts and the value of Scriptural texts, to sample wines and grasp the meaning of the prophets and apostles are certainly not occupations which the same man can accomplish with credit." On another occasion attacking the same Vigilantius, who denied the excellence of virginity and of fasting, St. Jerome, with his usual sprightliness, asks him if he spoke thus "in order not to diminish the receipts of his saloon?"Heavens! What an outcry would be raised if one of our Ultramontane controversialists were to write against a Liberal critic or heretic of our own day in this fashion!
What shall we say of St. John Chrysostom? His famous invective against Eutropius is not comparable, in its personal and aggressive character, to the cruel invectives of Cicero against Catiline and against Verres!The gentle St. Bernard did not honey his words when he attacked the enemies of the faith. Addressing Arnold of Brescia, the great Liberal agitator of his times, he calls him in all his letters "seducer, vase of injuries, scorpion, cruel wolf." The pacific St. Thomas of Acquinas forgets the calm of his cold syllogisms when he hurls his violent apostrophe against William of St. Amour and his disciples: "Enemies of God," he cries out, "ministers of the Devil, members of antiChrist, ignorami, perverts, reprobates!" Never did the illustrious Louis Veuillot speak so boldly. The seraphic St. Bonaventure, so full of sweetness, overwhelms his adversary Gerard with such epithets as "impudent, calumniator, spirit of malice, impious, shameless, ignorant, impostor, malefactor, perfidious, ingrate!"Did St. Francis de Sales, so delicately exquisite and tender, ever purr softly over the heretics of his age and country? He pardoned their injuries, heaped benefits on them even to the point of saving the lives of those who sought to take his, but with the enemies of the faith he preserved neither moderation nor consideration. Asked by a Catholic, who desired to know if it were permissible to speak evil of a heretic who propagated false doctrines, he replied: "Yes, you can, on the condition that you adhere to the exact truth, to what you know of his bad conduct, presenting that which is doubtful as doubtful according to the degree of doubt which you may have in this regard."
In his Introduction to the Devout Life, that precious and popular work, he expresses himself again: "If the declared enemies of God and of the Church ought to be blamed and censured with all possible vigor, charity obliges us to cry 'wolf' when the wolf slips into the midst of the flock, and in every way and place we may meet him."
This is real meat for real Catholics. It was Sir Edmund Burke who said that, "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph in the world is for good people to do nothing." When we witness another Catholic (and yes, even a priest) promoting homosexuality, abortion, contraception, New Age, witchcraft, or dissent in general, we have an obligation (in charity) to speak the truth and to show others how that individual's words, ideas or actions fail to hold up when placed in the Lumen Christi - when held up to the Magisterial teaching of the Church. If someone wants to accuse us of "having an axe to grind," simply because we speak the truth, that's their affair. But such people should recall what St. Catherine had to say about medicinal rebuke and should meditate upon these passages from Sacred Scripture:
"Do not be deceived; God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life." (Galatians 6:7-8)."
"Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Whatever you have said in the dark SHALL BE HEARD IN THE LIGHT, and what you have whispered in private rooms SHALL BE PROCLAIMED FROM THE HOUSETOPS." (Luke 12:2-3).
The Word of the Lord.
Paul Anthony Melanson
Thursday, October 12, 2006
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Monday, October 09, 2006
VATICAN CITY, OCT 9, 2006 (VIS) - Made public today was a Letter from Benedict XVI to Cardinal Edward Idris Cassidy, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, for a meeting of Australian bishops commemorating the 20th anniversary of John Paul II's visit to their country. The meeting was held in Alice Springs, Australia, from October 2 to 7.
In his Letter, written in English, the Pope indicates how recalling John Paul II's visit provides an opportunity to renew the aims and repropose the challenges he identified. These include faithfulness "to your worthy traditions," the capacity to "adapt your living culture whenever this is required," and above all the ability to open hearts "to the consoling, purifying and uplifting message of Jesus Christ."
"How," the Holy Father asks, "might these challenges be embraced when there is much that could lead to discouragement or even despair? As Jesus, during His time on earth, moved from village to village preaching the Good News of truth and love, He captured the attention of those who heard Him." He "made a deep impression because He taught them with authority. Indeed, every human community needs and seeks strong, inspiring leaders to guide others into the way of hope.
"Much rests therefore," he adds, "upon the example of the elders of communities. I encourage them to exercise authority wisely through faithfulness to their traditions, ... and most especially through a renewed expression of their deep awareness of God, made possible through the Good News of Jesus Christ."
Addressing young people, the Pope writes "keep alight the flame of hope and walk tall. ... Don't allow your 'dreaming' to be undermined by the shallow call of those who might lure you into the misuse of alcohol and drugs, as promises of happiness. Such promises are false, and lead only to a circle of misery and entrapment."
The Pope praises achievements "along the path of racial reconciliation," though warning that "there is still much to be accomplished. No one can exempt themselves from this process. While no culture may use past hurt as an excuse to avoid facing the difficulties in meeting the contemporary social needs of its own people, it is also the case that only through the readiness to accept historical truth can a sound understanding of contemporary reality be reached and the vision of a harmonious future espoused.
"I therefore again encourage all Australians to address with compassion and determination the deep underlying causes of the plight which still afflicts so many Aboriginal citizens. Commitment to truth opens the way to lasting reconciliation through the healing process of asking for forgiveness and granting forgiveness - two indispensable elements for peace."
Indeed, a commitment to truth opens the way to reconciliation. It's not that the message of reconciliation doesn't grab young people anymore. It's that young people are hungry for the truth. A truth which paves the way for an authentic reconciliation with God and neighbor. The La Salette Missionaries should reflect upon this truth.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
This is not to say that there are not many good and faithful La Salette Missionaries. But a spiritual dry-rot has seeped into the community and this fact itself calls for a return to Magisterial fidelity and to an earnest commitment toward the message of reconciliation.
According to one La Salette priest (who once said that there is "wiggle room" on the question of ordaining women to the ministerial priesthood), young people are deterred from even considering religious life "because they are shaped by a culture obsessed with material wealth."
This may be a factor to some degree. What this priest neglects to mention is that many young people do come forward only to be rejected because they are too "Magisterial" or "pre-Vatican II" and others are turned off because of the infidelity they witness or the lack of commitment to an authentic prayer life.
It's always easy to blame the laity or young people's commitment to faith or our society in general. It's much more difficult to take some responsibility and to begin with an examination of one's own attitudes. But a pharisaical approach to the vocations crisis, a crisis which is largely man-made, will not produce any positive fruit.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Last year, I warned my readers of attorney Daniel Shea's attempt to smear our Holy Father's name and explored the troubled background of this angry attorney from Houston, Texas who has a passionate hatred for the Church and has been involved with the transgender movement.
Watch and pray. Make your homes a fortress under the mantle of Our Lady. Pray the Rosary daily. Have recourse to the Sacrament of Penance. The Son of Perdition is ready to initiate the final persecution of the Church. Already the Dragon has waged a tremendous war against our priests, tempting so many of them into sin and compromise with the world.
Catholics who remain loyal to the Holy Father may soon find it necessary to go underground.