Be Fair to the Pope

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has been getting a lot of heat from the press (and from high ranking Jewish officials) regarding his decision to lift the excommunication of some SSPX (Society of St. Pius X) bishops, one of whom made public comments denying the Holocaust. The Holocaust, however terrible, is not a matter of Catholic faith. The lifting of the excommunications had NOTHING WHATSOEVER TO DO with Bishop Williamson’s comments about the Holocaust, but regarded matters pertaining to the Catholic faith. The Pope already distanced himself from the Bishop’s comments regarding the Holocaust, and reiterated that the Bishop’s comments are completely UNRELATED to the lifting of the excommunication. End of story.

Elie Wiesel, the chief Rabbinate, etc. need to step back and examine the facts… they are attacking the Pope without justification (and making a bad name for themselves in the process). The Church has done a great deal in her relation with the Jews and has been more than fair to them… so, be fair to the Pope!

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50 Years Since Vatican II

Today is the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. Fifty years ago today Pope John XXIII called for the Second Vatican Council. At a relatively peaceful time in the Church, he sought to bring about an “aggiornamento” (a renewal) in the Church that would allow the Church to address the concerns of the modern world in a pastoral light.

You can find a lot of hullabaloo over Vatican II, for a true representation of the Council, actually reading the Conciliar documents is a MUST. This would seem obvious, but far too many have adopted the “spirit of Vatican II” which is completely and utterly opposed to the actual Council. Promoting the “spirit” is their way of being heretical without officially declaring it so. They disagree with the Church, yet desperately want to cling to it, so they attempt to stretch the meaning of the Conciliar documents, ignore the 1900+ years of the Church that existed before the Council, and wallow in their made-up theology.

A few points I think it important to make:

+ Priests celebrating the TLM (Traditional Latin Mass), now known as the Extraordinary Form of the Liturgy do not celebrate with “their back to the people”. They are leading us to the Lord. We are celebrating with the priest, facing east, facing the Lord, the triumph of Christ. Furthermore, no document of the Second Vatican Council calls for the priest to change his orientation during the liturgy… because, exceptions were already noted and provided for [when needed], prior to Vatican II.

+Latin is the language of the Church. Vatican II did not require that the liturgy be celebrated completely in the vernacular. Quite the opposite, the Conciliar documents said that Latin should be retained in the liturgy and the people should be taught to sing/say the responses in Latin. Parts that vary depending on the Feast could be said in the vernacular.

+Vatican II was a pastoral Council. It did not define any new dogmas, nor did it change Catholic teaching on any subject in any way. It sought to better present and explain the teachings of the Catholic Church to the modern world.

So I pray that on this 50th anniversary we go back and re-read (or read) the documents of the Second Vatican Council and seek to understand authentically the teachings of the Catholic Church and her liturgy.

Time for a Little Hope

With so many “downer” entries and concerns about the present world, I thought myself (and perhaps my few readers)  in need of a little dose of hope.

Though I may report with dismay on the various happenings of the present world, I do not despair. For I know that the end is firmly decided. God has won, and Christ has triumphed over Satan and sin and death. This present world is fading away, and with all creation I groan and wait for Hope to come for me (hint, hint… notice blog title). Christ is our Hope (as Pope Benedict XVI so providentially reminded us when he came to visit the US last April)… is a coincidence that this happened before Obama launched his idol-like ad campaign thrusting HOPE at the bottom of his posterized mug shot? I think not. We needed a reminder that Christ is our Hope, not some mere mortal. Christ has conquered the world. Whatever the economy is doing, whatever seems so bad in the world is nothing in the face of Christ the Lord, through Whom all things are possible.

No I do not dispair. I may groan and rumble in my impatience, but I always remain constantly hopeful. Because I know that Hope is coming for me. Christ will come again, and along with a recitation of the Dies Irae on my part, I wait in hope.

CLICK HERE TO READ POPE BENEDICT XVI’S ENCYCLICAL LETTER “SPE SALVI” (ON CHRISTIAN HOPE)

…Only when the future is certain as a positive reality does it become possible to live the present as well. So now we can say: Christianity was not only “good news”—the communication of a hitherto unknown content. In our language we would say: the Christian message was not only “informative” but “performative”. That means: the Gospel is not merely a communication of things that can be known—it is one that makes things happen and is life-changing. The dark door of time, of the future, has been thrown open. The one who has hope lives differently; the one who hopes has been granted the gift of a new life.

…What this means is that every generation has the task of engaging anew in the arduous search for the right way to order human affairs; this task is never simply completed. Yet every generation must also make its own contribution to establishing convincing structures of freedom and of good, which can help the following generation as a guideline for the proper use of human freedom; hence, always within human limits, they provide a certain guarantee also for the future. In other words: good structures help, but of themselves they are not enough. Man can never be redeemed simply from outside.

… man is redeemed by love

…Let us say once again: we need the greater and lesser hopes that keep us going day by day. But these are not enough without the great hope, which must surpass everything else. This great hope can only be God, who encompasses the whole of reality and who can bestow upon us what we, by ourselves, cannot attain. The fact that it comes to us as a gift is actually part of hope. God is the foundation of hope: not any god, but the God who has a human face and who has loved us to the end, each one of us and humanity in its entirety. His Kingdom is not an imaginary hereafter, situated in a future that will never arrive; his Kingdom is present wherever he is loved and wherever his love reaches us. His love alone gives us the possibility of soberly persevering day by day, without ceasing to be spurred on by hope, in a world which by its very nature is imperfect. His love is at the same time our guarantee of the existence of what we only vaguely sense and which nevertheless, in our deepest self, we await: a life that is “truly” life.

…The judgement of God is hope, both because it is justice and because it is grace. If it were merely grace, making all earthly things cease to matter, God would still owe us an answer to the question about justice—the crucial question that we ask of history and of God. If it were merely justice, in the end it could bring only fear to us all. The incarnation of God in Christ has so closely linked the two together—judgement and grace—that justice is firmly established: we all work out our salvation “with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12). Nevertheless grace allows us all to hope, and to go trustfully to meet the Judge whom we know as our “advocate”, or parakletos (cf. 1 Jn 2:1).

On the Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

It has been thirty-six years, and in that time…

MORE than FIFTY MILLION BABIES have been slaughtered, killed, pulled apart, burned alive,  and had the life literally sucked out of them… in the warm and “safe” wombs of their own mothers.

50 Million+.

Five zero. MILLION. M-I-L-L-I-O-N. Plus.

I wish I could impress upon you the enormity of that number. The scope. The depth of what that means. How many friends, brothers, sisters, future husbands, future wives, future fathers, future mothers have been mercilessly wiped out? More than 50 million. There is not one life on this planet that has not been affected; and we’ll never know (in this life) how we would’ve been affected. The chance, the opportunity has been stripped from us by the cold surgical instruments that end life at its earliest.

Each person is unique. I know we hear that so many times that it becomes cliche, but the sublime truth that permeates that statement should impress upon us the vastness of what we have lost to abortion. Of the baby that has been aborted, there will never be, nor can there be, another. That life, that precious life, was distinct, unique, and the only one of its kind that will ever be.  Could it have been the person who would’ve been your best friend? Your child’s best friend? Your child’s future spouse? We’ll never know. We can’t get it back. It is a life lost. A life gone, forever.

50 million. 50 million lost children. 50 million children lost to this world forever.

It really is genocide.

“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” Elie Wiesel, Holocaust Survivor

Did you see this commercial?

This commercial ran (I’m told) ALL day yesterday on BET (Black Entertainment Television) which expected its largest audience ever. Kudos on the timing (and the video!).

The Efficacy of Holy Water

I am not usually one prone to dreaming (or, if you accept the idea that everyone dreams, some people simply don’t remember dreaming: I am one of those people that doesn’t remember dreaming). But the past few nights I had been having “bad dreams”. What exactly about I couldn’t really you, only recalling bits and pieces that didn’t make much sense. Nonetheless, like a child I’d wake up in the middle of the night not feeling so safe. Remembering that I was an adult I would say my prayers to St. Michael the Archangel and our Blessed Mother and drift back to sleep. Tired of waking and sleeping so fitfully I decided to break out the big guns, so to speak: Holy Water. Yesterday I sprinkled my entire bedroom with Holy Water, and then again did so that night before I went to bed, praying:

Deliver us we beseech Thee, O Lord, from all evils past, present, and to come through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Amen.

And then blessed myself (with Holy Water) making the sign of the Cross, prayed to St. Michael the Archangel and the Blessed Virgin Mary again, and drifted off to sleep. Dreamless sleep.  I did not awake in the middle of the night, nor as I’ve said did I have a bad dream.

Thank you Holy Mother Church for giving us Sacramentals, and thank you Most Sweet Jesus for the Church!

… so don’t forget to keep yourself well-supplied with Holy Water!

What Ever Happened to "Inalienable" Rights?

All throughout elementary social studies we were bombarded with the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

I had no idea what “inalienable” really meant until after I graduated high school. Until after I learned a horrid and disgusting word: abortion. Today, in the United States (and, unfortunately elsewhere in the world as well), there is this idea that some persons are not entitled to these inalienable rights. Rights, that are not granted by the government, no, they are rights that are inherent in our very creation as persons. To ignore the inalienable nature of these rights our government strikes a low blow: personhood is no longer a quality of being human, but is controlled by legislative interpretation. Not very long ago, this legislative interpretation denied personhood to humans with dark skin. Dark skinned humans were human property, not human persons. The property of the white men who owned them. They had no inalienable rights.  Cruel, unjust, and narrowminded is what we’ve to say about that today. Of course, now, dark skinned humans are persons according to our current legislative interpretation, and we celebrate the success of our government…  all too soon. A new victim has been found. The perfect victim. The victim who cannot cry out for himself. Indeed, because he cannot yet talk at all. Today, humans in the womb are not human persons, but human property. The property of the mothers that own them. They have no alienable rights. Certainly not the right to life. And when we exclude the right to life, we exclude all other rights; since the right to life is the foundation for all other rights and privileges. It’s a slippery slope that has already shown its fruits: euthanasia. Terri Shiavo, and others who have suffered her cruel fate. We now do away with the lives of those deemed “unfit” to live. Their “quality of life” is worthless to us, and so we “mercifully” kill them thinking that no life is better than the life they currently live. But we are not the arbiters of life. We are not even the arbiters of our own lives. They have been given to us (by our parents, through their cooperation) by God, our Creator. The Author and Sustainer of all Life.

What has gone so wrong with our society that rights once deemed “self-evident” by our ancestors now need proofs to demonstrate their truth?