Wednesday, March 31, 2010
In the words of Dr. Dietrich Von Hildebrand, "There were sinners in the Church yesterday and there are sinners in the Church today. But the Church Herself, in her divine teaching, emerges gloriously unspotted in a history stained by human weaknesses, errors, imperfections, and sins." In the words of the great Cardinal Journet:
"All contradictions are eliminated as soon as we understand that the members of the Church do indeed sin, but they do so by their betraying the Church. The Church is thus not without sinners, but She is without sin. The Church as person is responsible for penance. She is not responsible for sins....The members of the Church themselves - laity, clerics, priests, Bishops, and Popes - who disobey the Church are responsible for their sins, but the Church as person is not responsible...It is forgotten that the Church as person is the Bride of Christ, 'Whom He has purchased with His own blood.'" (Acts 20:28).
"..the grandeur of this restoring and life-giving Sacrament...so forgotten and even scorned by ungrategul men.."
As I warned last year, "Having abandoned the God of love, the Supreme Creator, 21st-century man is now ready to worship himself and to usurp the divine powers of creation and destruction. In the words of Dr. Edmund Leach of King's College at Cambridge: 'The scientist can now play God in his role as wonder-worker, but can he - and should he - also play God as moral arbiter?...There can be no source for these moral judgments except the scientist himself. In traditional religion, morality was held to derive from God, but God was only credited with the authority to establish and enforce moral laws because He was also credited with supernatural powers of creation and destruction. Those powers have now been usurped by man, and he must take on the moral responsibility that goes with them' (Edmund Leach, "We Scientists Have the Right to Play God," The Saturday Evening Post, November 16, 1968, p. 16).
But make no mistake about it, when man becomes God society becomes, in the words of the French philosopher Gabriel Marcel, 'a termite colony.' We are still in the twilight. But unless we take a stand now, we will have the Moloch state. As at Auschwitz, men will determine who has quality of life and who should be "mercifully terminated."
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
And when he is thinking of these opponents, he takes care to form the most degrading images of them possible - they are 'lubricious vipers' or 'hyenas and jackals with typewriters' - and the ones that reduce them to most grossly material terms. In fact, he no longer thinks of these opponents except as material obstacles to be overturned or smashed down. Having abandoned the behaviour of a thinking being, he has lost even the feeblest notion of what a thinking being, outside himself, could be. It is understandable therefore that he should make every effort to deny in advance the rights and qualifications of those whom he wishes to eliminate; and that he should regard all means to this end as fair. We are back here again at the techniques of degradation." (Gabriel Marcel, Man Against Mass Society, pp. 135-136).
As this article explains, the New York Times has donated monies to Planned Parenthood, an organization with an anti-life and anti-Christian bias. Responding to the paper's failure to report a Pro-Life March of some 300,000 people, Don Feder correctly noted that the paper's ideology determines its reporting. See here.
In a previous Blog post, I noted that, "Planned Parenthood is virulently anti-life and anti-Christian. In one pamphlet, Planned Parenthood says: 'In every generation there exists a group of people so filled with bigotry and self-righteousness that they will resort to any means - even violence - to impose their views on society. Today, such fanatics dominate a movement ironically called 'the Right-to-Life,' a movement which threatens the most basic of all human rights.'" And, as Dr & Mrs Willke explain, "Planned Parenthood has promoted a pro-abortion 'comic book,' geared for teenagers, entitled Abortion Eve. On the back cover is a caricature of the 'Assumption of the Blessed Virgin' depicting a pregnant Mary with the idiot face of Mad Magazine's Alfred E. Neumann. The caption says, 'What, me worry?'"
George Weigel has written of the New York Times descent into tabloid journalism. But the newspaper has degenerated to such a point that one might justifiably compare it to a Jack Chick publication. In other words, a hate publication.
Monday, March 29, 2010
"Just because your voice reaches halfway around the world doesn't mean you are wiser than when it reached only to the end of the bar."
- Edward R. Murrow.
Related reading here.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
It was C.S. Lewis who so eloquently answered this charge of "escapism" with the simple question "Who talks the most against 'escapism'? Jailers." No doubt this point would be lost on Mr. Harris.
Heaven is not escapist because it is real. An idea is only "escapist" if it is a lie. By asserting that the afterlife is somehow "escapist," Mr. Harris is presupposing atheism. But if Heaven is real (and it is), it is escapism not to think about it and realistic to do so. One can almost hear Mr. Harris responding, "There is no scientific evidence to show that Heaven (or the "afterlife") exists." But this argument also falls flat. Where is the scientific evidence proving the notion that nothing exists except what may be proved by scientific evidence? There is no scientific evidence for such an assumption. In fact, such an assumption represents merely a desire to narrow the bounds of reality to that which may be demonstrated by the scientific method.
If Heaven is real and it is our ultimate destination, then it is really our primary task. Which is why we are commanded to "strive first for the kingdom of God" (Matthew 6: 33) because "our citizenship is in heaven." (Phil 3: 19-20). And what of Mr. Harris' assertion that "Religion causes people to fixate on issues of less moral importance"? What could be more important than saving one's soul and attaining eternal life in Heaven with God? How is such an issue of "less moral importance"?
Does concern for the afterlife necessarily distract one from "concerns about suffering"? Did it serve to distract Moses, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Avicenna, Augustine, Aquinas and, of course, Jesus the Christ from such concerns?
God preserve us from such nonsense!
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Vatican City, March 25, 2010 (Zenit.org).
The following is the full text of the statement given to the New York Times on Wednesday by Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office.
The tragic case of Father Lawrence Murphy, a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, involved particularly vulnerable victims who suffered terribly from what he did. By sexually abusing children who were hearing-impaired, Father Murphy violated the law and, more importantly, the sacred trust that his victims had placed in him.
During the mid-1970s, some of Father Murphy's victims reported his abuse to civil authorities, who investigated him at that time; however, according to news reports, that investigation was dropped. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was not informed of the matter until some twenty years later.
It has been suggested that a relationship exists between the application of Crimen sollicitationis and the non-reporting of child abuse to civil authorities in this case. In fact, there is no such relationship. Indeed, contrary to some statements that have circulated in the press, neither Crimen nor the Code of Canon Law ever prohibited the reporting of child abuse to law enforcement authorities.*
In the late 1990s, after over two decades had passed since the abuse had been reported to diocesan officials and the police, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was presented for the first time with the question of how to treat the Murphy case canonically. The Congregation was informed of the matter because it involved solicitation in the confessional, which is a violation of the Sacrament of Penance. It is important to note that the canonical question presented to the Congregation was unrelated to any potential civil or criminal proceedings against Father Murphy.
In such cases, the Code of Canon Law does not envision automatic penalties, but recommends that a judgment be made not excluding even the greatest ecclesiastical penalty of dismissal from the clerical state (cf. Canon 1395, no. 2). In light of the facts that Father Murphy was elderly and in very poor health, and that he was living in seclusion and no allegations of abuse had been reported in over 20 years, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith suggested that the Archbishop of Milwaukee give consideration to addressing the situation by, for example, restricting Father Murphy's public ministry and requiring that Father Murphy accept full responsibility for the gravity of his acts. Father Murphy died approximately four months later, without further incident.
* Readers of this Blog know that I addressed this fact years ago here at La Salette Journey. See this post and this one.
Friday, March 26, 2010
"Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in Heaven." (Matthew 5: 11-12).
"Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty...of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2477).
Throughout the history of the Church, there have been many saints who were wrongly accused. For example, Blessed Miguel Pro was executed in 1927 by Mexican authorities after being charged with attempting to assasinate government officials. There was no evidence against him. But that didn't concern those who had their own agenda to discredit the Church and her ministers.
Likewise, Pope St. Paschal I was falsely accused of instigating the murder of two of his own papal officials who opposed one of his decisions.
We can expect such attacks to escalate. There are forces determined to undermine the Church's authority in order to advance an unholy agenda. We must now rally behind the Holy Father. We must come to the defense of Christ's Vicar on earth. We must pray for Peter's successor. Just as those who hated the Church assasinated Blessed Pro, so now there is an effort to assasinate the character of our beloved Holy Father.
Related reading here.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
"Is there not a vigorous and united movement in all countries to cast down the Church of Christ from power and place?"
Surely, there is at this day a confederacy of evil, marshalling its hosts from all parts of the world, organizing itself, taking its measures, enclosing the Church of Christ as in a net, and preparing the way for a general apostasy from it. Whether this very apostasy is to give birth to Antichrist, or whether he is still to be delayed, we cannot know; but at any rate this apostasy, and all its tokens, and instruments, are of the Evil One and saviour of death. Far be it from any of us to be of those simple ones, who are taken in that snare which is circling around us! Far be it from us to be seduced with the fair promises in which Satan is sure to hide his poison! Do you think he is so unskillful in his craft, as to ask you openly and plainly to join him in his warfare against the Truth? No; he offers you baits to tempt you. He promises you civil liberty; he promises you equality; he promises you trade and wealth; he promises you a remission of taxes; he promises you reform. This is the way in which he conceals from you the kind of work to which he is putting you; he tempts you to rail against your rulers and superiors; he does so himself, and induces you to imitate him; or he promises you illumination,-he offers you knowledge, science, philosophy, enlargement of mind. He scoffs at times gone by; he scoffs at every institution which reveres them. He prompts you what to say, and then listens to you, and praises you, and encourages you. He bids you mount aloft. He shows you how to become as gods. Then he laughs and jokes with you, and gets intimate with you; he takes your hand, and gets his fingers between yours, and grasps them, and then you are his."
Man is being conditioned to worship himself. The crisis of faith is a crisis of the supernatural. Once this crisis of faith has reached its zenith, once men have deified themselves, the one whom St. Paul calls "the man of iniquity" will reveal himself to the world. For he can only reveal himself within the context of apostasy, loss of faith - open rebellion against God. Until then he is restrained.
Dostoyevsly makes this point in The Brothers Karamazov:
"Once humanity to a man renounces God (and I believe that period, analogous with the geological periods, will come to pass) the old outlook on life will collapse by itself without cannibalism and, above all, the old morality too, and a new era will dawn. Men will unite to get everything life can give, but only for joy and happiness in this world alone. Man will be exalted with a spirit of divine, titanic pride, and the man-god will make his appearance. Extending his conquest over nature infinitely every hour by his will and science, man will every hour by that very fact feel so lofty a joy that it will make up for his old hopes of the joys of heaven..."
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
"There is yet another form of wrongdoing which is all the more deplorable in that it is more common, and that is licentious talk. There is nothing more abominable, my dear brethren, nothing more horrible than such talk. Indeed, my children, what could be more out of keeping with the holiness of our religion than impure language? It outrages God, it scandalises our neighbour. To put it even more clearly, loose talk releases all the passions. Very often it requires only one immodest or unseemly word to start a thousand evil thoughts, a thousand shameful desires, perhaps even to cause a fall into an infinite number of other sins and to bring to innocent souls evil of which they had been happily ignorant.
Can the Christian really afford to occupy his mind with such horrible images, a Christian who is the temple of the Holy Ghost, a Christian who has been sanctified by contact with the most adorable Body and precious Blood of Jesus Christ? Oh, Lord, if we had but some small idea of what we do when we commit sin! If our Lord has taught us that we may judge the tree by its fruit, you may judge after listening to the talk of certain people what must be the corruption of their hearts; and yet such corruption is very commonly encountered.
What sort of conversation do you hear among young people?
Is there anything in their mouths but this kind of loose talk?
Go -- I dare to say it with St. John Chrysostom -- go into these cabarets, into these haunts of impurity! What does the conversation turn upon, even among elderly people? Are they not trying to make a name for themselves by seeing who can be the most outrageous? Their mouths are like some sewer that Hell makes use of to spew its filth and its impurities over the earth and drag souls down to its depths. What are these bad Christians -- or rather these envoys from the nether regions -- doing?
Instead of singing the praises of God, their songs are shameful and hideous; they are songs which ought to make a Christian die of horror. Oh, great God, who would not tremble at the thought of what God's judgment of all this will be! If, as Jesus Christ Himself tells us, not a single idle word will be unpunished, alas! What will be the punishment for these licentious conversations, these indecent topics, these shameful and horrible images, which make the hair stand on end? If you would imagine how blind these poor unhappy people are, just listen to them talking after this fashion: "I had no bad intention," they will tell you, "it was just for a laugh; these things are only trifles, little stupid things, that mean nothing at all."
Is that so, my dear brethren? A sin so horrible in God's eyes that sacrilege alone surpasses it in evil! This is a trifle to you?
No, it is your hearts which are destroyed and corrupted! No! No! No one can afford to laugh or joke about something from which we should fly in horror, as we would from some pursuing beast which wanted to devour us. Besides, my dear brethren, what a crime it is to like something which God wants us to detest with all our hearts! You may tell me that you had no bad intentions, but tell me this, too, miserable and wretched tool of Hell, what about those who are listening to you -- do they have less bad thoughts and criminal desires after they have heard you? Will your harmless intention stay the workings of their imaginations and their hearts? Be honest and tell me that you are, in fact, the cause of the loss and eternal damnation of their souls! How many souls are hurled into Hell because of this sin?
The Holy Ghost tells us that this ugly sin of impurity has covered the whole surface of the earth.
I will say no more now on this subject, my children. I will return to it in an instruction when I shall do my best to depict it for you again with even more horror."
Meditation: Matthew 12: 34.
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Our Lady told Sr. Marianne de Jesus Torres (17th century - Our Lady of Good Success, Quito, Ecuador):
"The Church will find itself attacked by waves of a secret sect ... corrupted priests will scandalize the Church ... Moreover, in these unhappy times there will be unbridled luxury which, acting thus to snare the rest into sin, will conquer innumerable frivolous souls who will lose themselves. Innocence will almost no longer be found in children, nor modesty in women, and, in this supreme moment of need of the Church, those whom it behooves to speak will fall silent."
“As for the Sacrament of Matrimony, which symbolizes the union of Christ with His Church, it will be attacked and deeply profaned. Freemasonry, which will then be in power, will enact iniquitous laws with the aim of doing away with this Sacrament, making it easy for everyone to live in sin and encouraging the procreation of illegitimate children born without the blessing of the Church. The Catholic spirit will rapidly decay; the precious light of Faith will gradually be extinguished until there will be an almost total and general corruption of customs. Added to this will be the effects of secular education, which will be one reason for the dearth of priestly and religious vocations. “The Sacrament of Holy Orders will be ridiculed, oppressed, and despised, for in this Sacrament, the Church of God and even God Himself is scorned and despised since He is represented in His priests.
The Devil will try to persecute the ministers of the Lord in every possible way; he will labor with cruel and subtle astuteness to deviate them from the spirit of their vocation and will corrupt many of them. These depraved priests, who will scandalize the Christian people, will make the hatred of bad Catholics and the enemies of the Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church fall upon all priests. "This apparent triumph of Satan will bring enormous sufferings to the good Pastors of the Church, the many good priests, and the Supreme Pastor and Vicar of Christ on Earth, who, a prisoner in the Vatican, will shed secret and bitter tears in the presence of his God and Lord, beseeching light, sanctity, and perfection for all the clergy of the world, of whom he is King and Father. Our Lord told her: "My Justice will be tried to the limit by the evils and sacrileges of the 20th Century ... I shall punish heresy, blasphemy and impurity."
Or do we?
Monday, March 22, 2010
Related reading: The myth of the pro-life Democrat.
Related reading: A secular messiah A secular messiah Part II.
Related reading: Obama poised to create New World Order
Sunday, March 21, 2010
I remember reading a couple of his books in the 1980's when he was being heavily promoted on PBS. I was immediately struck by the fact that Fr. Powell was a liberal priest with some very strange ideas. For example, in one book he mocks the Salve Regina as being something of an exercise in morbid spirituality since it refers to life as a "vale of tears." The Salve Regina (Hail, Holy Queen) dates from the eleventh century. It is attributed to various authors and was added to the Liturgy of the Hours by Pope St. Pius V in the sixteenth century. (See Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 966).
Why would Deacon Jim Couture want to cite anything from Father Powell's books? With all the Saints and Doctors and Fathers of the Church, he chooses to promote the work of a predator-priest?
Lord Jesus, Maranatha!
Related reading here.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Related reading here.
Friday, March 19, 2010
"You Jesus freaks are outright stupid. This debate has nothing to do with religion, it has to do with whether or not an organization (with state funding) should be allowed to operate in our city. An organization mind you, that will provide free birth control and contraceptives to your $LUT daughters and your horny sons, and keep kids still in high school from having kids that the taxpayers have to pay to support. Planned Parenthood is a great organization who has positively served thousands of cities in the country for years. Go hide behind your crucifix just don't complain when your 14 year old daughter gets knocked up by some PR kid behind Market Basket and expects a handout from uncle sam. Begone hypocrites.
Kevin Starr is right. His comments ensure that both he and the city council stay on issue and dont get swayed by talks of the second coming of jesus and how god wouldn't want the state handing out condoms to kids who are just gonna **** with or without them. That's the truth, deal with it." (See here).
This debate has nothing to do with religion asserts this unhappy individual as he labels opponents of Planned Parenthood "Jesus freaks" while exhorting them to "go hide behind your crucifix."
Hatred for the crucifix is growing as intolerance and discrimination against Christians continues to widen. In Bad Soden, Germany, crosses were removed from hospital walls and thrown into trash bags [much as aborted babies are thrown into trash bags] as patients watched.
Fanaticism, as proven by the items listed above, stems from the will to power and not religion.
The French philosopher Jacques Maritain addresses this fact in his work entitled "On the Use of Philosophy," which is actually a compilation of three essays.
His second essay is entitled "truth and human fellowship." He writes:
"'O liberty, how many crimes are committed in thy name!' Madame Roland said, mounting the scaffold. O Truth, it may be said, how often blind violence and oppression have been let loose in thy name in history! 'Zeal for truth,' as Father Victor White puts it, 'has too often been a cloak for the most evil and revolting of human passions.' As a result, some people think that in order to set human existence free from these evil passions, and make men live in peace and pleasant quiet, the best way is to get rid of any zeal for truth or attachment to truth. Thus it is that after the violence and cruelty of wars of religion, a period of skepticism usually occurs, as at the time of Montaigne and Charron. Here we have only the swing of the pendulum moving from one extreme to the other. Skepticism, moreover, may happen to hold those who are not skeptical to be barbarous, childish, or subhuman, and it may happen to treat them as badly as the zealot treats the unbeliever. Then skepticism proves to be as intolerant as fanaticism - it becomes the fanaticism of doubt. This is a sign that skepticism is not the answer. The answer is humility, together with faith in truth...
The problem of truth and human fellowship is important for democratic societies; it seems to me to be particularly important for this country [United States], where men and women coming from a great diversity of national stocks and religious or philosophical creeds have to live together. If each one of them endeavored to impose his own convictions and the truth in which he believes on all his co-citizens, would not living together become impossible? That is obviously right. Well, it is easy, too easy, to go a step further, and to ask: if each one sticks to his own convictions, will not each one endeavor to impose his own convictions on all others? So that, as a result, living together will become impossible if any citizen whatever sticks to his own convictions and believes in a given truth? Thus it is not unusual to meet people who think that not to believe in any truth, or not to adhere firmly to any assertion as unshakeably true in itself, is a primary condition required of democratic citizens in order to be tolerant of one another. May I say that these people are in fact the most intolerant people, for if perchance they were to believe in something as unshakeably true, they would feel compelled, by the same stroke, to impose by force and coercion their own belief on their co-citizens...
The only remedy they have found to get rid of their abiding tendency to fanaticism is to cut themselves off from truth. That is a suicidal method. It is a suicidal conception of democracy: not only would a democratic society which lived on universal skepticism condemn itself to death by starvation; but it would also enter a process of self-annihilation, from the very fact that no democratic society can live without a common practical belief in those truths which are freedom, justice, law, and the other tenets of democracy; and that any belief in these things as objectively and unshakeably true, as well as in any other kind of truth, would be brought to naught by the preassumed law of universal skepticism....
It is, no doubt, easy to observe that in the history of mankind nothing goes to show that, from primitive times on, religious feeling or religious ideas have been particularly successful in pacifying men; religious differences seem rather to have fed and sharpened their conflicts. On the one hand truth always makes trouble, and those who bear witness to it are always persecuted: 'Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth; I came not to send peace, but the sword.' (Matthew 10:34). On the other hand - and this is the point we must face - those who know or claim to know truth happen sometimes to persecute others. I do not deny the fact; I say that this fact, like all other facts, needs to be understood. It only means that, given the weakness of our nature, the impact of of the highest and most sacred things upon the coarseness of the human heart is liable to make these things, by accident, a prey to its passions, as long as it has not been purified by genuine love. It is nonsense to regard fanaticism as a fruit of religion. Fanaticism is a natural tendency rooted in our basic egotism and will to power. It seizes upon any noble feeling to live on it. The only remedy for religious fanaticism is the Gospel light and the progress of religious consciousness in faith itself and in that fraternal love which is the fruit of the human soul's union with God. For then man realizes the sacred transcendence of truth and of God. The more he grasps truth, through science, philosophy, or faith, the more he feels what immensity remains to be grasped within this very truth. The more he knows God, either by reason or by faith, the more he understands that our concepts attain (through analogy) but do not circumscribe Him, and that His thoughts are not like our thoughts: for 'who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath become His counselor.' (Isaias 40:13). The more strong and deep faith becomes, the more man kneels down, not before his own alleged ignorance of truth, but before the inscrutable mystery of divine truth, and before the hidden ways in which God goes to meet those who search Him....
To sum up, the real problem has to do with the human subject, endowed as he is with his rights in relation to his fellow men, and afflicted as he is by the vicious inclinations which derive from his will to power. On the one hand, the error of the absolutists who would like to impose truth by coercion comes from the fact that they shift their right feelings about the object from the object to the subject; and they think that just as error has no rights of its own and should be banished from the mind (through the means of the mind), so man when he is in error has no rights of his own and should be banished from human fellowship (through the means of human power).
On the other hand, the error of the theorists who make relativism, ignorance, and doubt a necessary condition for mutual tolerance comes from the fact that they shift their right feelings about the human subject - who must be respected even if he is in error - from the subject to the object; and thus they deprive man and the human intellect of the very act - adherence to the truth - in which consists man's dignity and reason for living." (Jacques Maritain, On the Use of Philosophy: Three Essays, pp. 16, 17, 21-23).
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Lifesite News is reporting that Planned Parenthood once acknowledged (in an October 1952 pamphlet), that abortion "...kills the life of a baby after it has begun" and that "it is dangerous" to a woman's "life and health." But Mayor Lisa Wong and certain members of the Fitchburg City Council appear determined to welcome Planned Parenthood and its anti-life agenda into the city.
It was the first Bishop of Worcester, John J. Wright, in an address to the Worcester Ministers' Association given on January 15, 1952, who said, "The undermining of God's standard in community affairs has been further hastened by the denial or neglect of the primacy of the spiritual, with a consequent debasing of human personality and degradation of human society. Ours is a technical civilization, a know-how rather than a know-why civilization, and therefore one in which material and mechanical values tend to dominate thought and action. Excessive emphasis on know-how and impatience with know-why have produced the cult of the body, the predominance of the material, the worship of the gadget, an indifference to the spiritual and a repudiation of the moral...In the practical order, from the repudiation of the sovereignty of God and the denial of the primacy of the spiritual, comes the refusal, born, as it were, out of the blend of the two, to acknowledge the necessary relation which must exist between all human positive law worthy of the name and the moral law that God has writ in nature, that He causes to echo in the healthy conscience and that He has clarified through Revelation....
Before the appeal to conscience can recover its ancient power to change men, to renew the very face of the earth, there must be universal all-out witness to the sovereignty of God, the spiritual responsibility of man and the all-inclusive application of His law....Against the idea of God's Law there are a host of rival norms of conduct which plague our generation. Expressions such as my life is my own affair or I may do as I please or who cares? or in politics, anything goes or all's fair in love and war - all betray a gross misunderstanding of the moral order of those interlinking relations among men and nations of which God's standard is the only correct measure. All human rights and duties have their source in God's law*; otherwise they are meaningless.."
* Exodus 20:13
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
"...democracies...which seem at times to have lost the ability to make decisions aimed at the common good."
Even in countries with democratic forms of government, these rights are not always fully respected. Here we are referring not only to the scandal of abortion, but also to different aspects of a crisis within democracies themselves, which seem at times to have lost the ability to make decisions aimed at the common good. Certain demands which arise within society are sometimes not examined in accordance with criteria of justice and morality, but rather on the basis of the electoral or financial power of the groups promoting them. With time, such distortions of political conduct create distrust and apathy, with a subsequent decline in the political participation and civic spirit of the general population, which feels abused and disillusioned. As a result, there is a growing inability to situate particular interests within the framework of a coherent vision of the common good. The latter is not simply the sum total of particular interests; rather it involves an assessment and integration of those interests on the basis of a balanced hierarchy of values; ultimately, it demands a correct understanding of the dignity and the rights of the person."
Men have succeeded in using the courts to attain legal approval for many types of immoral conduct, including abortion and homosexuality, without any consideration for the common good. And this is precisely why America is deteriorating, it has succumbed to a moral cancer which will ruin it from within. In the words of English correspondent Ian Brodie: "The keys to this personality change [from God-fearing nation to pagan society] are a number of Supreme Court decisions which virtually outlaw censorship and decree that obscenity is not illegal...It is a curious irony that the Supreme Court, dedicated to preserving the freedom which is the foundation of American life, has confused it with license. In doing so it has given its seal of approval to the sick society which will undermine the United States from within." (Sir Arnold Lunn and Garth Lean, Christian Counter-Attack, London: Blandford Press, 1969, pp. 50-51).
Or as Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn so eloquently warned: "Destructive and irresponsible freedom has been granted boundless space. Society appears to have little defense against the abyss of human decadence, such as, for example, the misuse of liberty for moral violence against young people, motion pictures full of pornography, crime and horror. This is considered to be part of freedom, and theoretically counterbalanced by the young peoples' right not to look or not to accept. Life organized legalistically has thus shown its inability to defend itself against the corrosion of evil." ("A World Split Apart," Commencement Address at Harvard University, June 8, 1978, reprinted in National Review, July 7, 1978).
Where is all of this leading? Initially to a thinly disguised and then an eventually open totalitarianism. When man becomes God, as Gabriel Marcel noted, society becomes a termite colony and collapses from within. Enter the Man of Sin and the concentration camp. - for this is where atheistic humanism will lead us. To absolute despotism.
Related reading: The first Bishop of Worcester and the common good.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
"...And his tail was dragging along the third part of the stars of heaven and he dashed them to the earth.."
Saturday, March 13, 2010
This is an ongoing spiritual battle. It would be a grave error to believe that this battle may be won by human action alone (as important as such action is). It will only be won through prayer and fasting. This because some demons are only driven out in this manner.
Won't you offer your prayers - and especially at Holy Mass and while praying the Holy Rosary - for the success of the Pro-Life movement in Fitchburg. Together with the help of God's grace, Fitchburg can (and will) be made new.
Friday, March 12, 2010
"The partisan, when he is engaged in a dispute, cares nothing about the rights of the question, but is anxious only to convince his hearers of his own assertions." - Socrates, Phaedo 85.
In an editorial entitled "Councilor Starr, Old Glory's a symbol of freedom of speech," (Friday, March 12th edition of the newspaper, the Sentinel & Enterprise rightly chides Fitchburg City Councilor Kevin Starr for inappropriately lashing out at pro-life advocates saying, "We couldn't disagree more with Starr's comments. First of all, one of the most important things the American flag stands for is freedom of speech. That means when people, including his constituents, take the time to show up at City Hall to speak out about an issue, they have the absolute right, and we believe responsibility, to tell city councilors how they feel. We think it's exactly the kind of discussion that should be taking place at City Hall and frankly are puzzled with Starr's comments about the issue...as a city councilor, we believe Starr has a responsibility to listen to his constituents' concerns, as long as they are presented in a civil way, even when he disagrees with them."
But then the newspaper drops the ball toward the end of this editorial when it says, "We don't believe that Starr owes anyone an apology, because we believe firmly that Starr, like the pro-life advocates he criticized and like Hughes [Rev. Thomas Hughes, Pastor of New Creation Community Church in Fitchburg], has the solemn right to say what's on his mind."
This misses the point entirely. Mr. Starr doesn't owe anyone an apology for exercising his free speech rights. He owes an apology to the community because, as an elected governmental official, he expressed a desire to restrict expression because of its message or content.
There is a paramount principle in American jurisprudence that "above all else, the First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content." Police Dep't of Chicago v. Mosley, 408 U.S. 92,95, 33 L. Ed. 2d 212, 92 S. Ct. 2286 (1972); see also Consolidated Edison Co. v.Public Serv. Comm'n, 447 U.S. 530, 537, 65 L. Ed. 2d 319, 100 S. Ct. 2326(1980). And that: "For the State to enforce a content-based exclusion it must show that its regulation is necessary to serve a compelling state interest and that it is narrowly drawn to achieve that end." Perry Educational Ass'n v. Perry Local Educators'Ass'n, 460 U.S. 37, 45, 74 L. Ed. 2d 794, 103 S. Ct. 948 (1983). Cannon v. Cityand County of Denver, 998 F.2d at 871-72
Just as Mr. Starr's constituents have a responsibility to present their views to him [and other government officials] "in a civil way," so too Mr. Starr owes his constituents the courtesy of remaining civil while not attempting to restrict expression because he doesn't happen to like the message.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Ward 4 Councilor Kevin Starr, speaking at a recent City Council meeting about pro-lifers who oppose a Planned Parenthood proposal to open an office in the city, said that he “will not tolerate those morals being pushed on me and these members of the Council” and added that people should “keep their personal beliefs to themselves.” Apparently Mr. Starr doesn’t believe that he should keep his personal beliefs to himself.
Mr. Starr has a distorted notion of tolerance. Tolerance is the willingness to accept actions which we believe are inappropriate or even wrong because it would be worse to take action against them. In other words, tolerance is community oriented. But to tolerate crimes such as rape and murder (and abortion is murder) would be wrong since tolerating them would do greater harm to the community, to the common good, than correcting them would.
I submit that Mr. Starr is not really advocating “tolerance” but relativism, which is profoundly anti-community. Why is relativism anti-community? Because if there are no standards of morality to which we should adhere, tolerance is no better than intolerance. It was C.S. Lewis who reminded us that, “…if truth is objective, if we live in a world we did not create and cannot change merely by thinking, if the world is not really a dream of our own, then the most destructive belief we could possibly believe would be the denial of this primary fact. It would be like closing your eyes while driving, or blissfully ignoring the doctor’s warnings.” (“The Poison of Subjectivism,” in Christian Reflections).
Not long after the City Council meeting, Mr. Starr maintained that some of the pro-life advocates are “narrow-minded.” This was obviously intended as an insult. But Mr. Starr may have inadvertently paid the highest tribute to these pro-lifers. After all, reality is terribly narrow. It was the Christ who warned us to, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road broad that leads to destruction, and those who enter through it are many. How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.” (Matthew 7: 13, 14).
Perhaps Mr. Starr is too “broad-minded”?
Related reading here.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
The United States Supreme Court, in its Opinion in Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School District (June 7, 1993), said that, 'The principle that has emerged from our cases is that the First Amendment forbids the government to regulate speech in ways that favor some viewpoints or ideas at the expense of others." And yet, Fitchburg City government appears to be doing just that as Catholic blogger JayG reports here.
Monday, March 08, 2010
"Since, like all the faithful, lay Christians are entrusted by God with the apostolate by virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation, they have the right and duty, individually or grouped in associations, to work so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all men throughout the earth. This duty is the more pressing when it is only through them that men can hear the Gospel and know Christ. Their activity in ecclesial communities is so necessary that, for the most part, the apostolate of the pastors cannot be fully effective without it." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 900).
In his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles Laici (The Lay Members of Christ's Faithful People), Pope John Paul II reminded us that, "The voice of the Lord clearly resounds in the depths of each of Christ's followers who, through faith and the sacraments of Christian initiation is made like to Jesus Christ, is incorporated as a living member in the Church and has an active part in her mission of salvation." (No. 3).
Sadly, there are all too many clerics who haven't really embraced this authentic teaching of the Magisterium. For such clerics, the laity are second-class citizens who are tolerated but not really embraced fully as collaborators in the life and mission of the Church. This is most unfortunate. It was Pope Pius XII who said that, "The Faithful, more precisely the lay faithful, find themselves on the front lines of the Church's life; for them the Church is the animating principle for human society. Therefore, they in particular, ought to have an ever-clearer consciousness not only of belonging the Church, but of being the Church, that is to say, the community of the faithful on earth under the leadership of the Pope, the head of all, and of the Bishops in communion with him. These are the Church..." (Pius XII, Discourse to the New Cardinals, February 20, 1946: AAS 38 (1946), 149).
The truth of lay participation in the priesthood of Christ follows logically from the doctrine of the Mystical Body. Everyone who is incorporated into the Mystical Body participates in the dignities, honors, and offices of the Mystical Head (Jesus). "Because Christ is our head," says St. Thomas Aquinas, "that which was conferred upon him, was also in him conferred upon us" (Summa Theologica, III, q. 58, a.4, ad 1). Or, as Pope John Paul II put it: "Referring to the baptized as 'new born babes', the apostle Peter writes: 'Come to him, to that living stone, rejected by men but in God's sight chosen and precious; and like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ ... you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light' (1 Pt 2:4-5, 9).
A new aspect to the grace and dignity coming from Baptism is here introduced: the lay faithful participate, for their part, in the threefold mission of Christ as Priest, Prophet and King. This aspect has never been forgotten in the living tradition of the Church, as exemplified in the explanation which St. Augustine offers for Psalm 26: 'David was anointed king. In those days only a king and a priest were anointed. These two persons prefigured the one and only priest and king who was to come, Christ (the name "Christ" means "anointed"). Not only has our head been anointed but we, his body, have also been anointed ... therefore anointing comes to all Christians, even though in Old Testament times it belonged only to two persons. Clearly we are the Body of Christ because we are all "anointed" and in him are "christs", that is, "anointed ones", as well as Christ himself, "The Anointed One". In a certain way, then, it thus happens that with head and body the whole Christ is formed..'
In the wake of the Second Vatican Council, at the beginning of my pastoral ministry, my aim was to emphasize forcefully the priestly, prophetic and kingly dignity of the entire People of God..." (Christifideles Laici, No. 14).
Related reading here.
Saturday, March 06, 2010
Aperitifs were served in the colonnaded temple. Thereupon the guests entered the magnificent open-air dining area and were seated at tables laid with white and gold linen. Candlelight bathed the scene, and the floodlit, ancient columns formed a stunning backdrop on three sides. The air was laden with rich spices and the aromas of the East. Waiters in traditional costume glided from one table to another, serving a four-course dinner as music emanated from a classical quartet.
'This is the life, eh?' someone said. 'Sure beats an all-you-can-eat shrimp supper down at Al's Seafood Diner.' His friends chuckled. The food was excellent, the company convivial. The wines, too, were fine and copious.
Halfway through the meal, however, just as the musicians had ended one piece and were about to embark on another, the tranquil atmosphere of the evening was shattered. A terrifying scream rent the air, sending a chill through the assembled diners.
'It was like a wounded animal, not human at all,' Malachi recalls, 'and it frightened the life out of everybody, because everybody stopped eating at once. You could've heard a pin drop, as they say.' All eyes were fixed on a solitary man at one of the tables. He seemed oblivious to what he had just done and sat staring into the middle distance, at something it appeared only he could see. Moments later he got to his feet, letting the chair fall back with a clatter. Malachi recognized him; he had spoken with him earlier - the usual friendly chitchat. His name was Walter Ehrlich and he seemed an amiable sort. He had been to Egypt on a previous occasion, he said, many years before. His wife had been with him then but she had died in 1978. This year he had come alone.
Perhaps that brief conversation had endeared Malachi to Ehrlich, because he now appeared to single him out. Slowly but deliberately, he approached the Gants' table, a glass of wine in his hand. The other guests could only stare; some were frightened, others uneasy. Their hosts seemed unsure of what to do.
'Where did you say you were from?' Ehrlich asked, fixing Malachi with a look of mild aggression.
'Catholic, right?' He emptied his wine glass and replenished it at once from a decanter. In a loud voice he said: 'All you Irish are Catholics, that right?'
Somebody tut-tutted. Mr Ehrlich was introducing a very sour note into what should have been a perfect evening.
He pointed directly at Malachi and lowered his face to meet the Irishman's eyes. For a fleeting moment, Malachi could not believe what he was seeing. Even now, years later, his voice quavers as he recalls the incident.
'God Almighty, I'll never forget that face,' he says. 'Blenny saw it too and she was very upset.'
The face before him was no longer that of Walter Ehrlich. The features had transmogrified into something thoroughly freakish, a mask of utter malevolence. The lips were pulled back in a terrible grimace. And the eyes - they were no longer the eyes of a human but hooded, like those of a cold-blooded creature predating mankind.
'Let's go, Malachi,' Blenny urged.
He felt her hand on his wrist. She was trembling. But he was already recoiling from that awful face. He felt that he could not get far enough away from it.
Walter Ehrlich was not through with him just yet, though. As quickly as the dreadful, reptilian aspect had taken hold of his features, so did it seem to leave. The face returned to normal. Walter straightened and stepped back from the table.
'F*** you!' he roared. He looked fiercely about him, and Malachi will never forget the shocked expressions of the other diners. 'F*** you all! We f*** you all, and to hell with the lot of you. There's no God here. Your God is dead!'
To everyone's astonishment, the troubled guest emitted a loud squeal, ran in the direction of the pillars to one side of the temple, and vanished into the darkness beyond. All present - dinner guests, organizers, waiters, musicians - were appalled.
'Alcohol,' muttered the Egyptian maitre d', shaking his head, his Islamic sensibilities repelled by the display. 'To drink so much, not good.'
'I don't think so,' said a white-haired man, turning to Malachi. 'No, I don't think it's alcohol. There are demons at work there.'
'You're joking,' said Malachi.
'No joke'....When a man starts using that kind of language - and referring to himself in the plural - it's pretty clear that there are demons at work.'" (The Dark Sacrament: True Stories of Modern-Day Demon Possession and Exorcism, pp. 198-200).
Friday, March 05, 2010
George Orwell (Eric Blair), 1984.
Related reading here and here.
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
children; and we have permitted the moral polluters to dump their garbage
into our culture with abandon. Why then, are we surprised that ours
has become a stunted and sick society?" - Patrick J. Buchanan
In his book "Apologetics: A Philosophic Defense and Explanation of the Catholic Religion," Monsignor Paul J. Glenn, Ph.D, S.T.D., writes, "Let Catholic apologists..not surrender the cause of Christ...by a milk-and-water philosophy of tolerance. Tolerance is for external conduct; it is not for the mind; the mind cannot tolerate error for an instant." (p. 278). And this because error and truth are not "equally good." In other words, we must always strive to tolerate people [including those who disagree with us; and our worst enemies], but we cannot tolerate error. Differing opinions are not equally valid.
And in his important work "The New Tower of Babel," Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand explains that, "Although the dethronement of truth manifests itself in the most drastic and radical way in Nazism and Bolshevism, unfortunately many symptoms of this spiritual disease are also to be found in democratic countries. For example, in discussions we sometimes hear the following argument: 'Why should your opinion be more valid than mine? We are equal and have the same rights. It is undemocratic to pretend that your opinion is preferable.' This attitude is extremely significant because it reveals the complete absence of the notion of truth, the tacit elimination of truth as the determining norm for the value of an opinion....The immanent theme of every opinion is truth; the only thing that matters here is whether or not it is in conformity with reality..This brings us to another slogan disclosing the dethronement of truth. It is the often repeated statement 'It is true for me, but it may not be true for you.' The truth of a proposition is essentially objective; a truth which as such would be valid for one person only is a contradiction in terms. A proposition is true or false, but it can never be true for one person and false for another. The statement that a certain action is morally good may be true or false; but if it is true, it can never be false for any other person.." (pp. 56-58).
Some might be tempted to believe that the rejection of error and falsehood [ and here, again, we are speaking of ideas not persons] is something "negative" and even cult-like. But such is simply not the case. Again, Dr. Hildebrand explains: "Perhaps never before has there been as much intellectual fraud as there is today. In the mass media - and even in discussions on university campuses - this intellectual fraud appears chiefly as the manipulation of slogans designed to bluff the hearer or reader, and prevent him from thinking clearly. For a typical example, let us consider how the terms positive and negative are now most often used to discredit the refutation of pernicious errors and to give credit to the most shallow speculations. The intellectual swindlers who play such an important role in public discussions will often denominate as 'positive' propositions and attitudes they favor. They thereby seek to forestall questions of truth and value by enveloping their prejudices in a vague suggestion of 'creativity,' 'originality,' 'openness,' 'unaggressiveness.' This is the device of the cuttlefish. The moment one tries to grasp it, it emits a murky substance to confuse and deceive.
In reality, the popular slogan usages of positive and negative is a distortion of the genuine meanings of the terms. In proper usage they can refer to existence and nonexistence or to value and disvalue. They can refer to desirability and undesirability, or to answers to questions and demands, or to results of tests and inquiries. But when these terms are applied to attitudes of mind or to theses - by way of suggesting an evaluation - an intellectual fraud is committed; for they are then being used to evoke vague associations that distract from the question that alone matters - namely: Is this attitude objectively called for? Or: Is this thesis true?...It is the nature of truth to exclude every contradiction of itself. Thus, the rejection of errors and falsehoods can never be separated from the affirmation of truth. The one implies the other...
To give the impression that affirmations are 'positive' and denials 'negative' is to misrepresent completely the nature of judgments and propositions. This abuse of the language transforms the terms positive and negative into deceptive slogans and thus amounts to an intellectual swindle..." (The Charitable Anathema, pp. 45-47).
When others falsely accuse you of seeing only "black and white" because you accept the authoritative teaching of Jesus Christ as made known through His Church's Magisterium, remind them that you aren't dealing with "black and white" but right and wrong. Remind them that while we must respect persons, still "..the task of authentically interpreting the Word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.." (Dei Verbum, No. 10 of the Second Vatican Council).
If we insist that 2 + 2 = 4, this does not make us cult-like or "negative." If we respect the demands of truth while still respecting the person who disagrees with us, we are not cult-like. We are being faithful to Christ and His Church.