Angels and Snakes: How they fit in with Divine Providence

It seems that I have earned myself a new label. Not only am I your run of the mill anti-semitic-prudish-rad-trad-chauvinistic-sinning-meat-eating(except on Fridays)-Catholic ... I am also a Providentialist! (I have no idea where to put that in my ever growing hyphenated list of qualifications.)

Why is this label fitting for me? No, I do not I sit around all day expecting God to fill the fridge, and buy my kids their clothing. It is not because I expect my bank account to have enough money in it to pay the bills while I waste away on the social networks. I do not fail to set an alarm expecting God to send His angels to wake me up when He wants me to get up. I do not let snakes bite me and expect... well... that might be some other thing people do.

I am a "Providentialsist" because my wife and I are not in any serious (by our own estimation, or as defined by the Church) situation where we need to postpone the potential for having children, and we thank God for this blessing. This situation is not our doing, but God's.

As far as name-calling is concerned, this one is odd. (I suppose many of them are.) At the root, It suggests one who depends on Divine Providence. (who doesn't?) However. It is used in a way that hints that we are tempting God with our actions. Acting without "prudence" and due care for the future well being of my family.

My wife and I love each other dearly. We love our children. We are not perfect, and don't have it all figured out, but there is nothing wrong or sinful with trusting God and working with Him towards the welfare of our souls, and those of the Children he has given us. The Catholic Church bolsters us in these choices, and I am thankful for that too.


Future Sellout Elected to Lead SSPX "Strict Observance"

Fr. Joe Pfeiffer, leader of the SSPX-SO
Pfeiffer (above) denies he's unpopular
with the priests of the SSPX-SO.
Pfeifferville, KY (TradNewsNetwork) -- According to an SSPX-SO press release, Father Joseph Pfeiffer has been elected as the first leader of the so-called "Society of St. Pius X of the Strict Observance" (SSPX-SO) by his fellow priests, and has announced a Pacific Tour to bring former SSPX priests and laypeople into the organization.  This recruiting tour, however, is already being met with suspicion by fellow SSPX-SO priests.  "We don't trust him -- we are self-sufficient the way we are, we don't need to grow the organization" said one priest who asked we not use his name. "How can we be sure these new recruits aren't spies trying to infiltrate us? This sounds like a complete sell-out of the principles on which we were founded!"   Another priest questioned Pfeiffer's leadership agenda of "growing the SSPX-SO organization" as a failing of the group's core mission to criticize Bernard Fellay and the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX). Paraphrasing Saint Bernard of Clairvoux, the priest rhetorically asked "What good is the leader of the SSPX-SO if he's not barking at the SSPX?"

Pfeiffer dismisses reports of dissension and is asking for complete transparency at each of his organization's venues. "Communications are to be open, unambiguously antagonistic of [Bishop] Fellay, and our Mass locations are to be made publicly known."  Pfeiffer asserts that Fellay has used "Communist tactics" in attempting to scare the priests and supporters of the SSPX with threats of reprisals should they consider supporting the SSPX-SO.  This message will be at the heart of his Asian tour, which will begin at the end of April 2013 and include appearances in Australia, India, and Singapore. Pfeiffer indicated that other venues will be added as traditional Catholics in other countries request a visit (Catholics interested in a visit from Fr. Pfeiffer are advised to visit the SSPX-SO's MySpace page and leave a comment).

"I'm excited about this tour and hope to greatly expand our organization" Pfeiffer said. He will need to act fast. According to unnamed sources there are already plans afoot to launch a new organization dubbed the "SSPX-SO-SO" whose goal would be the "conservative, non-evangelical preservation of sacred tradition" though all SSPX-SO priests contacted for comment claimed not to know anything about such plans.


Washing the feet, of the gentler sex, on Thursday

Dietrich von Hildebrand asks the question: "Does Catholic orthodoxy and filial submission to the Vicar of Christ require one to hail every practical decision of the Holy Father?" There are Catholics who answer this question with a strong resolved: "Yes, and those who do not hail or praise every practical decision of the Holy Father are acting against orthodoxy." I believe this unfortunate conclusion is founded on a common misunderstanding of papal infallibility and on some well-intentioned but misguided respect of the one who holds this Holy Office.

It is ridiculous to 'hail' or 'praise' some action of the Holy Father only because it is an action of the Holy Father. It is also ridiculous to condemn some action of the Holy Father because it is an action of the Holy Father. It just does not make any sense. It is unreasonable. While I know that examples do exist, I do not believe the later scenario happens nearly as frequent as the former. (That is only my observation, and not something I would argue very strongly on if challenged.)

If the pope were to modify or adapt some legal requirement for this or that, you should not say, that modification is good because the pope did it. Knowing this modification has come from the Holy Father, you might first choose to seek a good reasonable explanation. You might resolve to state that you do not have enough information to understand the decision made. In the end if there is a judgment to be made, you would state that it is good or unfortunate because of something having to do specifically with the change itself. You would not base the judgment simply on the fact that the pope made the modification. (I hope it is clear what I took three paragraphs to say.)

So to the topic. I should confess that while I knew of the foot washing -- of the gentler sex -- by the Holy Father... I have ignored the topic completely -- until today. For whatever reason I choose to read G+ as my first activity after consecrating my day. Much of this post comes from my participation in a discussion on the Holy Thursday washing of feet.

Some facts (by which I mean that I do not think they are debatable):
1) There currently (at least before Thursday) exists a law that directs the washing of feet to take place with men only.
2) This law is an example of such a law that the Holy Father has authority to change.
3) The Holy Father washed women's feet without formally changing the law.

Now, I honestly do not know if this law in this specific circumstance can be changed simply by the action of the Holy Father. I suspect that good canon lawyers might even have some disagreement on the subject. I had an opinion... but I am not a canon lawyer, and I am fairly sure that my opinion was wrong.

What I will say is that I find it unwise that the Holy Father, who as supreme legislator could have formally changed this law -- didn't -- before performing an action (licitly or illicitly) that was contrary to the law as written. I say it is unwise because even if the Holy Father's action is within the law, the fact remains that the contrary is still "on the books" and confusion has resulted. Those who disobediently went against the law, acting as their own pontiffs for years, point to the Holy Father's action to support their disobedience. Many who have defended the law are now set in confusion. The defense of "caritas ante lex" with references to our Lord and the Pharisees only serves to cloud the subject further. All the while... the importance of Holy Thursday seems left the dust.

Please note that I did not say it was "unwise because Pope Francis did it." (I also have not offered judgment on the washing of 'non-viri' feet!) I hope that if one were to explain why they believe it was a good idea to forgo a formal change before the action, that they also provide more than "it is good because Pope Francis did it." For those of you who do not think I can love our Holy Father and find this practical action unwise -- please read Dietrich von Hildebrand's response to the question above: Belief and Obedience: The Critical Difference

If the pope intended to change the law, it seems that it would have been better for him to change law prior to performing the action. He could have done this but from what I know, he did not. To date Fr. Lombardi has given comment, but I think more (read better) explanation could be given. Hopefully more explanation comes long before next Holy Thursday. 

Edit: Fr. Byers provides some thoughts and addresses some commentary that I should have read before writing this post.


Unfinishable Poetic Attempt at Honor: Feast of St. Joseph

This past weekend I started a poem intended to be published today for the Feast of St. Joseph. My aim was to flash moments of Joseph's life and virtue, their relation to our Holy Queen, and Her Son our Lord. I wanted to start with the choosing of Joseph, and move through to the flight into Egypt. Ridiculously, I procrastinated despite the fact I was excited to work on it. The rushed effort started as well as it could have until I got to the Circumcision of our Lord. I could not push past it. One mangled stanza was not enough. (Three where not enough.) My thoughts on previous moments were juvenilely dull, and the evidence matched.

As Christ wished to fulfill the law and to show His descent according to the flesh from Abraham. He, though not bound by the law, was circumcised on the eighth day (Luke 2:21), and received the sublime name expressive of His office, Jesus, i.e. Saviour.

A significant amount of art and imagery depicts the sacred event being performed by a priest in the temple, or in synagogue. However there are some paintings, and some Catholic authors who in fact have the event being performed by St. Joseph. It is my opinion, along with some of the Doctors of our Faith, that the later is the accurate. As my dribblings on St. Joseph are inadequate, I instead quote from Edward Healy Thompson's book titled: "The Life and Glories of St. Joseph". Emphasis mine:

But who was the minister of the rite? The Evangelist is silent on this point. Imagination has accordingly allowed itself full scope, and painters have been pleased to introduce into their representations a priest in his sacerdotal vestments; but we have no authority for supposing that any priest came to the stable of Bethlehem to circumcise Jesus. The opinion of those doctors who believe that the minister of the circumcision of Jesus was Joseph appears the most probable. St. Ephrem the Syrian, a most ancient writer and contemporary of St. Basil, one who was well acquainted with the traditions of his native land, and highly esteemed both for his science and his piety, says expressly that it was Joseph who circumcised Jesus. Writing in confutation of those heretics who ascribed to our Lord a phantastic body, he says: "If Jesus Christ had not true flesh, whom did Joseph circumcise?" Thus he refers to it as to an unquestioned fact. St. Bernard, Suarez, and many others also believe that Joseph circumcised Jesus, because he who circumcised an infant was the same also who imposed the name; and it was Joseph who gave Jesus His name. This opinion, then, has been generally adopted. The precept of circumcision was addressed to the heads of families; it was the office of the father, unless a priest took his place.

There is nothing written there that is overly remarkable. It contains evidence and facts or support for something much deeper. (Please pray to the Blessed Virgin before reading this next quote.)

Joseph, then, as Isolano says, circumcised Jesus as his son. On him we may believe devolved this solemn and painful duty. Jesus was circumcised by Joseph on Mary's knees, no other eyes beholding the first drops of the Precious Blood flow except those of the holy angels, and no other ears save theirs hearing the wail of the Divine Infant. In this act Joseph accomplished three sacrifices in one: the sacrifice of Jesus, who began the great work of our redemption by suffering in His innocent members; the sacrifice of Mary, who with indescribable sorrow, but with perfect resignation, offered her Son to the Eternal Father, and held, as it were, the victim bound; and the sacrifice of himself, who had to nerve his hand to perform an act so painful and repugnant to his tender heart. It was an act of heroic obedience and fortitude on his part, greater, St. Bernard says, than was that of Abraham in sacrificing his son Isaac; for Joseph loved Jesus incomparably more than Abraham did his son Isaac, and well knew the difference between the son of any mortal man and the Son of the Eternal God. Thus the knife which cut the flesh of Jesus wounded the heart and pierced the soul of Joseph. Here there was no angel to stay his hand. The act must be accomplished, and in performing it Joseph was, indeed, more than a martyr.

Then, too, was that name pronounced over the Divine Infant at which "every knee," as the Apostle tells us, should bow of those who are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth; and it was by the lips of Joseph that it was pronounced. St. Luke only says that His name was called Jesus, without specifying by whom; but from St. Matthew it would appear that it was Joseph; for the angel had said to him: "Thou shalt call His name Jesus". It was, indeed, no little glory to Joseph to receive an embassage from Heaven commissioning him to confer this name. Jesus is the Son of the Eternal Father; to the Eternal Father, therefore, it belonged to impose the name; and yet He commissioned St. Joseph to exercise that right in His place. Joseph, says Isidoro Isolano, is the Enos of the New Testament, who first began to invoke the Name of the Lord. That profound theologian, Salmeron, who was present at the Council of Trent, did not scruple to say that in this sole act of giving to Jesus His name was declared the whole paternal office of Joseph, as by the sole act of feeding the sheep of Christ was signified the full power and jurisdiction of Peter over the Church. Whence Isidoro Isolano draws the conclusion that Joseph in God's sight is superior to all the other saints, because no other was exalted to so high a dignity.

St. Joseph, circumcisor of God, Pray for us.
St. Joseph, name conferrer of God, Pray for us.


Which St. Francis is it?

From which saints did our Holy Father name himself? St. Francis of Assisi? St. Francis Xavier? There are many other Saints by that name. This is a shortened list.
  1. St. Francis Ch’oe Kyong-Hwan
  2. St. Francis Trung Van Tran
  3. St. Francis Xavier Bianchi
  4. St. Francis of Assisi
  5. St. Francis Borgia
  6. St. Francis Caracciolo
  7. St. Francis Chieu Van Do
  8. St. Francis de Morales
  9. St. Francis de Sales
  10. St. Francis Fasani
  11. St. Francis Ferdinand de Capillas
  12. St. Francis Galvez
  13. St. Francis Gil de Frederich
  14. St. Francis Isidore Gagelin
  15. St. Francis Jaccard
  16. St. Francis Jerome
  17. St. Francis Nagasaki
  18. St. Francis of Paola a good friend!
  19. St. Francis of Pesaro
  20. St. Francis of St. Bonaventure
  21. St. Francis of St. Mary
  22. St. Francis of St. Michael
  23. St. Francis Pacheco
  24. St. Francis Page
  25. St. Francis Rod
  26. St. Francis Solano
  27. St. Francis Tchang-Iun
  28. St. Francis Trung
  29. St. Francis Xavier
  30. St. Francis Xavier Can
  31. St. Francis Xavier Mau
All of the above?

Pope Francis: First Sermon

The text that follows is quote from the Holy Father Pope Francis' first sermon. Can you say "New Evangelization"? The rest of his sermon with my emphasis and links are after the break.

...we can walk as much we want, we can build many things, but if we do not confess Jesus Christ, nothing will avail. We will become a pitiful NGO, but not the Church, the Bride of Christ. When one does not walk, one stalls. When one does not built on solid rocks, what happens? What happens is what happens to children on the beach when they make sandcastles: everything collapses, it is without consistency. When one does not profess Jesus Christ - I recall the phrase of Leon Bloy"Whoever does not pray to God, prays to the devil." When one does not profess Jesus Christ, one professes the worldliness of the devil.

My 'trad' Thoughts on Pope Francis

I have started, and then trashed this post multiple times now. Every time I have started this post, I do so in response to emails, chats, G+ comments and conversations where it has been pointed out that some 'trads' online are posting opinions and speculation about Pope Francis. I get almost all the way through writing the post, and then sense that the storm has passed... so I delete the draft. This afternoon I received too many comments in too close a time period to believe that this is stopping.

Yes, I saw some of the bitter hateful comments posted by various Catholics yesterday and today. I saw the same people making the same comments under multiple venues. Shame on them, but is this a surprise? I bet you can't guess what the perpetual sedevacantists are saying? (I honestly have a hard time understanding, why they even care?) Thank goodness we are not like them -- right?

There are a number of blogs that, with Charity, have called out the bitter minded fellow Catholics on their actions. However, there are also those who have taken the opportunity to act just as bitter in their rants on traditionally minded Catholics.

I emphasize that there is no universal 'trad' creed other than the Creeds of our Catholic Faith. There are some obvious similarities between traditional minded Catholics, but stop presuming that you have them all figured out because you attend a parish that was in the same city of an 'Indult' Mass back in the 1980's; or because you once got in an argument with someone over chapel veils. (Will chapel-veil-Nazis ever learn?)

Show some reserve before you pick off the low hanging fruit that some bitter Catholics leave dangling. Many of these bitter individuals can be likened to the way a child acts when they have been abused or neglected by a parent, such as their father. Some of these people have been neglected and abused by their spiritual fathers. (No, I am not talking specifically of sexual abuse.)

Do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that 'bad' actions are 'good', or that misguided 'intentions' somehow magically make their actions 'sweet'. I agree that people need to accept crosses that have been given to them instead of letting it crush them in sadness and despair.

Do you really care what I think about Pope Francis? To answer the question-- in spite of my latent stoicism, I am overwhelmed with joy that we have a pope. I was welled up with it during the papal blessing. What do I think about our Holy Father who used to be a cardinal? Before yesterday I knew hardly a thing about him. What about the Jesuit background? It gives me pause, but I actually know of some good Jesuits. What do I think about him now that he is Pope Francis? I hardly know him, he has only been our pope since yesterday. I am excited to see what Pope Francis does to live up to the name he chose. I am excited to pray and fast for him -- and as it is still the Holy Season of Lent, I plan on doing quite a bit of that.


White Smoke!

"Miserando atque eligendo"

Francis, born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on 17 December 1936) is the 265th and current pope of the Catholic Church, elected on 13 March 2013. In that role he is both the leader of the Church and Sovereign of the Vatican City State. Francis is the first Jesuit pope, the first from outside of Europe in more than a millennium, the first from the Americas, and the first from the Southern Hemisphere.

Conclave: YouTubeLive Stream



Past Sede Vacante periods

How long might we have to wait before we hear the Habemus Papam? The Transalpine Redemptorists have provided a list of some of the historic time periods. Keep in mind that these past periods started with the death of the preceding pope. Today, March 12th 2013, we are on the 12th day.

1799: Pius VI - Pius VII ~207 days (longest)
1823: Pius VII - Leo XII ~39 days
1829: Leo XII - Pius VIII ~49 days
1830: Pius VIII - Gregory XVI ~63 days
1846: Gregory XVI - Pius IX ~15 days
1878: Pius IX - Leo XIII ~13 days (shortest)
1903: Leo XIII - Pius X ~15 days
1914: Pius X - Benedict XV ~14 days
1922: Benedict XV - Pius XI ~15 days
1939: Pius XI - Pius XII ~20 days
1958: Pius XII - John XXIII ~19 days
1963: John XXIII - Paul VI ~18 days
1978: Paul VI - John Paul I ~20 days
1978: John Paul I - John Paul II ~18 days
2005: John Paul II - Benedict XVI ~17 days
2013: Benedict XVI - ??

Conclave: Live Video Link

I have embedded the live video feed from Vatican Radio. Be sure to change the audio to your preferred language.

Ballot 1: 3/12 ~1:40pm CST - Black Smoke
Ballot 2 & 3: 3/13 morning - Black Smoke
Ballot 5: Habemus papam!

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1st Ballot

At 11:00am CST, the first ballot of the conclave will begin.  Prayers... fasting...

Prayer for the election of the Sovereign Pontiff
Novena for the election of the Supreme Pontiff
Novena to St. Joseph


Novena to St. Joseph

Today, March 10th starts the Novena to St. Joseph. The novena could also be started on March 11th. Consider the conclave in your intentions.

O Glorious St. Joseph, * faithful follower of Jesus
Christ, * to thee do we raise our hearts and hands * to
implore thy powerful intercession * in obtaining from
the benign Heart of Jesus * all the helps and graces
necessary * for our spiritual and temporal welfare, *
particularly the grace of a happy death, * and the
special intentions that have been committed to us.
O guardian of the Word Incarnate, * we feel animated
with confidence * that thy prayers in our behalf * will
be graciously heard before the throne of God.

(Then the following V. & R. are to be said seven times,
in honor of the seven joys or sorrows of St. Joseph.)

V. O glorious St. Joseph, through the love thou does
bear to Jesus Christ, and for the glory of His name,
R. Hear our prayers and obtain our petitions.

Let us Pray
O Glorious St. Joseph, * spouse of the
immaculate Virgin, * obtain for me a pure, humble, and
charitable mind, * and perfect resignation to the divine
will. Be my guide, father, and model through life, *
that I may merit to die as thou did * in the arms of
Jesus and Mary.

St. Joseph, friend of the Sacred Heart, pray for us.

(Novena Prayer [PDF] from Audio Sancto)


Conclave Begins on Feast of Pope St. Gregory the Great

The Transalpine Redemptorists have noted that the conclave is set to begin on March 12th, the feast of Pope St. Gregory the Great. I have included an excerpt from the Catholic Encyclopedia entry on Pope St. Gregory the Great. I encourage you to read the article in its entirety.

Gregory and monasticism

Although the first monk to become pope, Gregory was in no sense an original contributor to monastic ideals or practice. He took monasticism as he found it established by St. Benedict, and his efforts and influence were given to strengthening and enforcing the prescriptions of that greatest of monastic legislators. His position did indeed tend to modify St. Benedict's work by drawing it into a closer connection with the organization of the Church, and with the papacy in particular, but this was not deliberately aimed at by Gregory. Rather he was himself convinced that the monastic system had a very special value for the Church, and so he did everything in his power to diffuse and propagate it. His own property was consecrated to this end, he urged many wealthy people to establish or support monasteries, and he used the revenues of the patrimony for the same purpose.

He was relentless in correcting abuses and enforcing discipline, the letters on such matters being far too numerous for mention here, and the points on which he insists most are precisely those, such as stability and poverty, on which St. Benedict's recent legislation had laid special stress. Twice only do we find anything like direct legislation by the pope. The first point is that of the age at which a nun might be made abbess, which he fixes at "not less than sixty years" (Epistle 4.11). The second is his lengthening of the period of novitiate. St. Benedict had prescribed at least one year (Reg. Ben., lviii); Gregory (Epistle 10.9) orders two years, with special precautions in the case of slaves who wished to become monks.

More important was his line of action in the difficult question of the relation between monks and their bishop. There is plenty of evidence to show that many bishops took advantage of their position to oppress and burden the monasteries in their diocese, with the result that the monks appealed to the pope for protection. Gregory, while always upholding the spiritual jurisdiction of the bishop, was firm in support of the monks against any illegal aggression. All attempts on the part of a bishop to assume new powers over the monks in his diocese were condemned, while at times the pope issued documents, called Privilegia, in which he definitely set forth certain points on which the monks were exempt from episcopal control (Epistles 5.49; 7.12; 8.17; 12.11; 12.12; 12.13). This action on Gregory's part undoubtedly began the long progress by which the monastic bodies have come to be under the direct control of the Holy See.

It should be mentioned that in Gregory's day the current view was that ecclesiastical work, such as the cure of souls, preaching, administering the sacraments, etc., was not compatible with the monastic state, and in this view the pope concurred. On the other hand a passage in Epistle 12.4, where he directs that a certain layman "should be tonsured either as a monk or a subdeacon", would suggest that the pope held the monastic state as in some way equivalent to the ecclesiastical; for his ultimate intention in this case was to promote the layman in question to the episcopate.


Correcting Prelates?

Article 3. Whether fraternal correction belongs only to prelates?

Objection 1. It would seem that fraternal correction belongs to prelates alone. For Jerome [Origen, Hom. vii in Joan.] says: "Let priests endeavor to fulfil this saying of the Gospel: 'If thy brother sin against thee,'" etc. Now prelates having charge of others were usually designated under the name of priests. Therefore it seems that fraternal correction belongs to prelates alone.

Objection 2. Further, fraternal correction is a spiritual alms. Now corporal almsgiving belongs to those who are placed above others in temporal matters, i.e. to the rich. Therefore fraternal correction belongs to those who are placed above others in spiritual matters, i.e. to prelates.

Objection 3. Further, when one man reproves another he moves him by his rebuke to something better. Now in the physical order the inferior is moved by the superior. Therefore in the order of virtue also, which follows the order of nature, it belongs to prelates alone to correct inferiors.

On the contrary, It is written (Dist. xxiv, qu. 3, Can. Tam Sacerdotes): "Both priests and all the rest of the faithful should be most solicitous for those who perish, so that their reproof may either correct their sinful ways. or, if they be incorrigible, cut them off from the Church."

I answer that, As stated above (Article 1), correction is twofold. One is an act of charity, which seeks in a special way the recovery of an erring brother by means of a simple warning: such like correction belongs to anyone who has charity, be he subject or prelate.

But there is another correction which is an act of justice purposing the common good, which is procured not only by warning one's brother, but also, sometimes, by punishing him, that others may, through fear, desist from sin. Such a correction belongs only to prelates, whose business it is not only to admonish, but also to correct by means of punishments.

Reply to Objection 1. Even as regards that fraternal correction which is common to all, prelates have a grave responsibility, as Augustine says (De Civ. Dei i, 9): "for just as a man ought to bestow temporal favors on those especially of whom he has temporal care, so too ought he to confer spiritual favors, such as correction, teaching and the like, on those who are entrusted to his spiritual care." Therefore Jerome does not mean that the precept of fraternal correction concerns priests only, but that it concerns them chiefly.

Reply to Objection 2. Just as he who has the means wherewith to give corporal assistance is rich in this respect, so he whose reason is gifted with a sane judgment, so as to be able to correct another's wrong-doing, is, in this respect, to be looked on as a superior.

Reply to Objection 3. Even in the physical order certain things act mutually on one another, through being in some respect higher than one another, in so far as each is somewhat in act, and somewhat in potentiality with regard to another. On like manner one man can correct another in so far as he has a sane judgment in a matter wherein the other sins, though he is not his superior simply.

Article 4. Whether a man is bound to correct his prelate?

Objection 1. It would seem that no man is bound to correct his prelate. For it is written (Exodus 19:12): "The beast that shall touch the mount shall be stoned," [Vulgate: 'Everyone that shall touch the mount, dying he shall die.'] and (2 Samuel 6:7) it is related that the Lord struck Oza for touching the ark. Now the mount and the ark signify our prelates. Therefore prelates should not be corrected by their subjects.

Objection 2. Further, a gloss on Galatians 2:11, "I withstood him to the face," adds: "as an equal." Therefore, since a subject is not equal to his prelate, he ought not to correct him.

Objection 3. Further, Gregory says (Moral. xxiii, 8) that "one ought not to presume to reprove the conduct of holy men, unless one thinks better of oneself." But one ought not to think better of oneself than of one's prelate. Therefore one ought not to correct one's prelate.

On the contrary, Augustine says in his Rule: "Show mercy not only to yourselves, but also to him who, being in the higher position among you, is therefore in greater danger." But fraternal correction is a work of mercy. Therefore even prelates ought to be corrected.

I answer that, A subject is not competent to administer to his prelate the correction which is an act of justice through the coercive nature of punishment: but the fraternal correction which is an act of charity is within the competency of everyone in respect of any person towards whom he is bound by charity, provided there be something in that person which requires correction.

Now an act which proceeds from a habit or power extends to whatever is contained under the object of that power or habit: thus vision extends to all things comprised in the object of sight. Since, however, a virtuous act needs to be moderated by due circumstances, it follows that when a subject corrects his prelate, he ought to do so in a becoming manner, not with impudence and harshness, but with gentleness and respect. Hence the Apostle says (1 Timothy 5:1): "An ancient man rebuke not, but entreat him as a father." Wherefore Dionysius finds fault with the monk Demophilus (Ep. viii), for rebuking a priest with insolence, by striking and turning him out of the church.

Reply to Objection 1. It would seem that a subject touches his prelate inordinately when he upbraids him with insolence, as also when he speaks ill of him: and this is signified by God's condemnation of those who touched the mount and the ark.

Reply to Objection 2.
To withstand anyone in public exceeds the mode of fraternal correction, and so Paul would not have withstood Peter then, unless he were in some way his equal as regards the defense of the faith. But one who is not an equal can reprove privately and respectfully. Hence the Apostle in writing to the Colossians (4:17) tells them to admonish their prelate: "Say to Archippus: Fulfil thy ministry [Vulgate: 'Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.' Cf. 2 Timothy 4:5." It must be observed, however, that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly. Hence Paul, who was Peter's subject, rebuked him in public, on account of the imminent danger of scandal concerning faith, and, as the gloss of Augustine says on Galatians 2:11, "Peter gave an example to superiors, that if at any time they should happen to stray from the straight path, they should not disdain to be reproved by their subjects."

Reply to Objection 3. To presume oneself to be simply better than one's prelate, would seem to savor of presumptuous pride; but there is no presumption in thinking oneself better in some respect, because, in this life, no man is without some fault. We must also remember that when a man reproves his prelate charitably, it does not follow that he thinks himself any better, but merely that he offers his help to one who, "being in the higher position among you, is therefore in greater danger," as Augustine observes in his Rule quoted above.


Ritual Hand Purification

I will therefore that men pray in every place, lifting up pure hands, without anger and contention.
(1 Timothy 2:8)

There exists a local parish in some close by town that currently does not offer the extraordinary form of the Holy Mass. One might note that the Agnus Dei is often punctuated with the echoing call of a permanent deacon: "We need Eucharistic Ministers. Could Eucharistic Ministers please volunteer?" Of course there are no priests, deacons, or acolytes within ear shot that are not already standing up at Altare Dei. One might think that such urgency and need would suggest that there is standing room only in the Church; or that both the priest and permanent deacon are somehow incapable of keeping up with the potential communicants, who if were optimized in their seating arrangement for the ever important worship of efficiency, together might fit in one or two smallish pews.

While attempting to ponder why and how our Lord wants us to be worthy -- one might happen to notice a legion of those adorned with pastels and polyester pant suits parading pompously to the Altar. The hoard of extraordinary Eucharistic ministers enter the sanctuary by crossing over where once stood the communion rail. One by one this extraordinary league presents themselves to "lavabo stations" dispensing hand-sanitizer for their ritualistic cleansing.

After turning back to recollect oneself from the royal rumpus, one will be strongly encouraged to merge systematically with the "unity queue". If a person manages to stay the course they tilt their head back and extend their tongue in anticipation of being in Communion with their Lord through this most Holy Sacrament. The eyes and tongue of Faith see and taste the sweetness of our Lord. The eyes of our material body see what only looks like bread, our material tongue tastes the acrid chemical laden perfume of the hand-sanitizer dripping off the fingers of the extraordinary Eucharistic minister.

Forgive my tone. I do believe that most are deluded into believing that the overuse (abuse) of extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers (EEMs) is for the good of the Church. I do believe that the reason hand-sanitizer is often used is that many sincerely care about the health of their fellow parishioners. (I will also note that many EEMs are not pompous or covered in brightly colored synthetic textiles.) It is hard not to juxtapose this 'serious' concern for health, along with the ignorance of discipline surrounding this Sacrament with the ritual hand washing of the Pharisees.

And when they had seen some of his disciples eat bread with common, that is, with unwashed hands, they found fault. For the Pharisees, and all the Jews eat not without often washing their hands, holding the tradition of the ancients: And when they come from the market, unless they be washed, they eat not: and many other things there are that have been delivered to them to observe, the washings of cups and of pots, and of brazen vessels, and of beds. And the Pharisees and scribes asked him: Why do not thy disciples walk according to the tradition of the ancients, but they eat bread with common hands? But he answering, said to them: Well did Isaias prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. And in vain do they worship me, teaching doctrines and precepts of men. For leaving the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men, the washing of pots and of cups: and many other things you do like to these. And he said to them: Well do you make void the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition. (Mark 7:2-9)
And the Pharisee began to say, thinking within himself, why he was not washed before dinner. And the Lord said to him: Now you Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter; but your inside is full of rapine and iniquity. Ye fools, did not he that made that which is without, make also that which is within? But yet that which remaineth, give alms; and behold, all things are clean unto you. But woe to you, Pharisees, because you tithe mint and rue and every herb; and pass over judgment, and the charity of God. Now these things you ought to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Woe to you, Pharisees, because you love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and salutations in the marketplace. Woe to you, because you are as sepulchres that appear not, and men that walk over are not aware. And one of the lawyers answering, saith to him: Master, in saying these things, thou reproachest us also. But he said: Woe to you lawyers also, because you load men with burdens which they cannot bear, and you yourselves touch not the packs with one of your fingers. Woe to you who build the monuments of the prophets: and your fathers killed them.Truly you bear witness that you consent to the doings of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and you build their sepulchres. For this cause also the wisdom of God said: I will send to them prophets and apostles; and some of them they will kill and persecute. That the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation, From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, who was slain between the altar and the temple: Yea I say to you, It shall be required of this generation. Woe to you lawyers, for you have taken away the key of knowledge: you yourselves have not entered in, and those that were entering in, you have hindered. And as he was saying these things to them, the Pharisees and the lawyers began violently to urge him, and to oppress his mouth about many things, Lying in wait for him, and seeking to catch something from his mouth, that they might accuse him. (Luke 11:38-54)

The actual Lavabo and emphasis on Ordinary Minsters of Holy Communion would sufficiently address both abuse and health (spiritual and material) concerns.


Novena for the election of the Supreme Pontiff

Starting today 1st of March, 2013:

Veni, Creator Spiritus
Mentes tuorum visita
Imple superna gratia
Quae tu creasti pectora

Qui diceris Paraclitus
Altissimi donum Dei
Fons vivus, ignis, caritas
Et Spiritalis unctio

Tu septiformis munere
Digitus paternæ dexteræ
Tu rite promissum Patris
Sermone ditans guttura

Accende lumen sensibus
Infunde amorem cordibus
Infirma nostri corporis
Virtute firmans perpeti

Hostem repellas longius
Pacemque dones protinus
Ductore sic te prævio
Vitemus omne noxium

Per te sciamus da Patrem
Noscamus atque Filium
Teque utriusque Spiritum
Credamus omni tempore

Deo Patri sit gloria
Et Filio, qui a mortuis
Surrexit, ac Paraclito
In sæculorum sæcula. Amen.
Come, Holy Ghost, Creator
Take possession of our souls
Infuse with heavenly grace
The hearts Thou hast created

Thou Who art called the Paraclete
Best gift of the Most High God
Living fountain, fire, charity
And spiritual unction

Thou sevenfold gift
Finger of God’s right hand
Thou promise of the Father
Teaching speech and understanding

Enkindle the light of our minds
Pour love into our hearts
The infirmity of our body
Confirm with perpetual strength

Repulse the enemy even further
And give peace in his stead
May Thou so lead us
That we evade all harm

Through Thee grant us to know
Father as well as Son
And with Both Thee, Spirit, Trinity
Forever may we believe in

Let glory be to God the Father
And to the Son, Who from the dead
Has arisen, and the Paraclete
Unto ages of ages. Amen.

O Lord, with suppliant humility, we entreat Thee, that in Thy boundless mercy Thou wouldst grant the most Holy Roman Church a pontiff, who by his zeal for us, may be pleasing to Thee, and by his good government may be ever honored by Thy people for the glory of Thy name. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son who with Thee livest and reignest world without end. Amen.
V. Most Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.
R. Pray for us who have recourse to thee!
St. Pius V, pray for us.
St. Pius X, pray for us.
St. Gregory the Great, pray for us.


Prayer for the election of the Sovereign Pontiff

V. Suscitabo mihi sacerdotem fidelem, qui iuxta
cor meum, et animam meam faciet.
R. Et aedificabo ei domum fidelem, et
ambulabit coram Christo meo cunctis diebus.

Orémus -
Súpplici, Dómine, humilitáte depóscimus: ut
sacrosánctæ Románæ Ecclésiæ concédat
Pontíficem illum imménsa píetas; qui et pio in
nos stúdio semper tibi plácitus, et tuo pópulo pro
salúbri regímine sit assídue ad glóriam tui
nóminis reveréndus. Per Christum Dóminum

V. I will raise Me up a faithful priest, who shall do
according to My Heart and My soul.
R. And I will build him a faithful house: and he
shall walk all day before My Anointed.

Let us pray -
We most humbly entreat Thee, O Lord, that Thy
boundless goodness may grant as pontiff to the
most holy Roman Church one who shall ever be
both pleasing to Thee, by his loving zeal in our
regard, and, by his beneficent rule, deeply revered by
Thy people to the glory of Thy name. Through
Christ our Lord.



The Morality of using Vaccines derived from Fetal Tissue Cultures

Fr. Phil Wolfe, FSSP has provided a few consideration on The Morality of using Vaccines derived from Fetal Tissue Cultures. Here is a short clip from the article. Please read the rest on the Children of God for Life website.

At this point a feeling of extreme unease might overcome the Catholic who is attempting to assess the morality of this procedure. He recognizes that the moral object of the act is good – to immunize a child against these diseases - and he recognizes that if all the attending circumstances were good, he could safely conclude that this act would be good. But now he reaches the uneasy notion that this vaccine is tainted in some fashion, since it was produced using fetal tissue. May he then use it – since he is not directly approving of the abortion which made production of this vaccine possible? He wonders, does this circumstance "by what aid" pertain here? Can he disclaim the origin of this vaccine, as some have argued, on the basis that his use would only be a remote material cooperation with the intrinsic evil of the direct abortion and use of the aborted baby's tissue?


Where is St. Simon?

And going out, they found a man of Cyrene, named Simon: him they forced to take up his cross.
(Matthew 27:32)

And they forced one Simon a Cyrenian who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and of Rufus, to take up his cross. And they bring him into the place called Golgotha, which being interpreted is, The place of Calvary.
(Mark 15:21-22)

Does Pope Benedict XVI have a Simon of Cyrene? Does he only have soldiers pushing him to die before the crucifixion?

St. John says that Christ went out carrying his own cross, while the other three evangelists state that they forced Simon of Cyrene to carry it for him. Both are true: for seeing Christ unequal to the weight, they compelled the other to take it up for him; not a part only, as some painters represent, but the whole, to Mount Calvary, as Jesus Christ had carried the whole before. -St. Augustine of Canterbury


Einstein on the Catholic Church

"Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks... Only the Catholic Church protested against the Hitlerian onslaught on liberty. Up till then I had not been interested in the Church, but today I feel a great admiration for the Church, which alone has had the courage to struggle for spiritual truth and moral liberty."

- Albert Einstein, Time magazine, 23rd December, 1940 p. 38


Considerations on Mental Illness from St. Teresa

Book of the Foundations
by St. Teresa of Avila
Chapter VII - Treatment of Melancholy Nuns

1. These my sisters of St. Joseph's in Salamanca, where I am staying while writing this, have pressed me much to say something about the treatment of melancholy; for, however careful we may be not to admit nuns subject to it, the disease is so subtle that it counterfeits death whenever it is necessary, and accordingly we do not find it out till it is too late. I think I have said something about it in a little book of mine : I do not remember: if I speak of it now there can be no harm, if our Lord will be pleased to help me to do it aright. It may be that I have said it already at some other time: I would say it a hundred times if I thought I could once say anything that would be of any use. The devices which this temper searches out for the purpose of doing its own will are so many that it becomes necessary to look into them, to enable us to bear with it and control it, lest it should do a mischief to others.

2. It is to be observed that they are not all so troublesome who are subject to melancholy; for humble and gentle persons thus afflicted, though very troublesome to themselves, never do any harm to others, especially if they have good sense. And, moreover, there are varieties of this temper. I verily believe that Satan lays hold of it in some people as a means whereby to draw them to himself if he can, and he will do so if they are not very careful: for, as the chief work of this temper is to bring reason under its control, which then becomes obscured, what then, under such conditions, will our passions not do? They who have no reason, it seems, must be mad, and so it is; but in those of whom we are now speaking the evil has not gone so far, and it would be a much less evil if it had; for to be obliged to live as a reasonable person, and treat another as reasonable who has no reason, is an unendurable hardship. Those who are altogether sick of this malady are to be pitied, but they do no harm; and, if there be any means whereby they may be kept under control, those means are fear.

3. Those in whom this evil, which is so hurtful, has only begun, though it may not have gained so much strength, yet as it has the same nature and source, and because it grows from the same root, it must be treated in the same way if other remedies be not sufficient; the prioresses must have recourse to the penances in force in the order, and strive to bring under subjection nuns who thus suffer, that they may feel they are never, and in nothing, to do their own will; for if they find that their clamour, and the despondency into which Satan casts them for the purpose of driving them if he can to destruction, can at any time prevail, they are lost, and one sister in this state is enough to disquiet a monastery. As the poor soul has nothing in herself that can help her to defend herself against the suggestions of the evil one, the prioress must be very watchful in her direction of her, not only outwardly but inwardly also, for reason, which in the sickly sister is already darkened, ought to be the more clear in the prioress, that the devil, making use of this weakness, may not bring that soul under his own power.

4. The matter is dangerous; for at times this temper is so overbearing as to conquer reason, and there is no sin then, as there is none in madmen, whatever disorders they may commit; but it is necessary that those sisters who are not so overcome, in whom reason is only weakened, not lost altogether, and who are good at other times, should not, on those occasions when they are afflicted, begin to take any liberties, lest they should be unable when well to control themselves, for the cunning of Satan is fearful. And accordingly, if we look into it, we shall find that what they are most given to is the doing of their own will, saying whatever comes into their head, observing the faults of others that they may hide their own, and amusing themselves with that wherein they find pleasure; in short, they are like a person without the power of self-restraint. Then, with passions unmortified, and everybody bent on having their own way, what will be the result if there be none to control them?

5. I say it again, for I have seen, and have had much to do with, many persons troubled with this disease, that there is no other remedy but to conquer them by every way and means in our power. If words be not enough, have recourse to penances, and let them be heavy if light penances will not do: if one month's imprisonment be not enough, let them be shut up for four; you cannot do their souls a greater service. For, as I said before, and say again, it concerns them to understand this: though once or occasionally they may not be able to restrain themselves, it is not a confirmed madness, whereby all blame is taken away; though it may be so at times, yet it is not so always, and the soul is in great danger unless, as I say, they are so deprived of their reason as to do or say those things which they do or say when they cannot help themselves. It is of the great compassion of God that those who are thus disordered are obedient to their superior, for all their good consists in that amid the dangers I speak of. And, for the love of God, let her, whoever she may be, that reads this, look into it, for it may perhaps concern her salvation.

6. I know some who very nearly lost their senses, but who are so humble in spirit, and so afraid of offending God, that, though in secret they waste away in weeping, yet do only what they are commanded, and bear their infirmity like the others. But this is a greater martyrdom, and they will therefore have a greater glory, and in this life their purgatory that they may not have it in the next. But I say it again, that they who will not do this with a willing heart must be compelled to submit by the prioress, and they must not delude themselves by their indiscreet devotions in their disorderliness so as to be a trouble to all their sisters. It must be done, because of another very grave evil over and above the danger to the weak sister herself: for when the others see her, to all appearance in good health, not knowing what her soul suffers interiorly from the violence of her disorder—we are naturally so miserable—they will all think themselves subject to melancholy, that they may be borne with in the same way: moreover, Satan will make them think so, and the havoc he will then make will be, when found out, very difficult to undo. So important is this that no negligence ought to be tolerated in the matter, and the melancholy sister, if disobedient to the superior, must suffer for it as if she were in her right mind, and nothing must be forgiven her; if she speaks in an unbecoming manner to any of her sisters she must be punished as the others, and for every imperfection of the same kind.

7. It seems unjust to punish the sick sister, when she cannot help herself, as if she were well: so does it also to bind madmen and to correct them, instead of leaving them free to kill everybody. Trust me, for I have tried it, and I believe have had recourse to many remedies, but never found any other than this. And the prioress who, out of pity, will have allowed these to begin with taking liberties, will not be able to bear with them in the end; and when she comes to correct them she will find that much harm has been done to the others. If madmen are bound and chastised to keep them from killing people (and that is rightly done; yea, and seems a great kindness, because they cannot help themselves), how much more must these sickly sisters be looked after, that they, with the liberties they take, may not do harm to the souls of others! And I really believe that the mischief comes very often, as I am saying, from a spirit undisciplined, wanting in humility, and badly trained, and that the melancholy temper is not so strong as this. I say it is so in some, for I have seen them obey, and control themselves in the presence of one they fear; why, then, not do as much for God?

8. I am afraid that Satan, under the pretence of this temper, seeks to gain many souls. It is more common in our day than it used to be; the reason is that all self-will and licence are now called melancholy. I have therefore thought that in these houses, and in all houses of religion, this word should never be uttered, because it seems to bring licence with it, and that the disorder it implies should be called a serious illness—and how serious it is!—and treated accordingly; for it is very necessary at times to correct the peccant humours by the use of medicines to make them tolerable; and the sister should be in the infirmary, and be made to understand that when she comes out to join the community she must be humble like everybody else, and that if she is not her melancholy shall be no defence for her, because that is necessary for the reasons I have given, and I might give more. It is necessary that the prioress, but without letting them know it, should treat them with great tenderness, like a true mother, and search out every means she can to cure them.

9. I seem to be contradicting myself for I have been hitherto saying that they are to be severely dealt with. So I say again; they should never be allowed to feel that they may have their own way, neither should they have it, it being a settled thing that they shall be obedient, for the evil consists in their feeling that they can have liberty. However, the prioress may refrain from laying upon them a command which she knows they will disobey; because they are not strong enough to do violence to themselves; she should manage them and influence them by affection to do that which is required of them, in order, if possible, to make them submit out of affection, which will be far better and is generally successful when the prioress shows them much affection, and makes them feel it by her acts and words.

10. And the superiors must see that the best remedy within their reach is to employ them largely in the duties of the house, that they may have no opportunity of giving way to their imagination, for all the mischief is there; and though they may not do their work very well, their faults must be borne with, in order that there may be no occasion for bearing with greater after they shall have been ruined. I know this to be the most complete remedy that can be furnished them. Means also must be found to keep them in general from spending too much time in prayer, seeing that for the most part their imagination is weak, and that will do them much harm; if that be not done, they will be filled with fancies, which neither they nor those who may hear of them will ever be able to understand.

11. Care must be taken that they eat fish but rarely, and it is necessary also that they should not fast so much as the others. It may seem superfluous to give so much advice about this evil and none about any other, when the evils of our wretched lives are so grievous, especially those arising from the weakness of women. There are two reasons for it: the first is, they think themselves well, for they will not confess that they suffer from this disorder; and as their illness, not being a fever, forces them neither to keep their bed nor to call in the physician, the prioress must be their physician, for the disease is more hurtful to perfection than is theirs who, in danger of their life, remain in their beds.

12. The second reason is, that in other illnesses they either recover or die; but it is very rarely that people recover from this or die of it either, but they lose all sense, and that is a death which kills all the others. They carry about within themselves a cruel death of sorrows, fancies, and scruples, and therefore merit very much thereby, though they always call them temptations; for if they were once persuaded that all flows out of this one evil they would be greatly relieved, provided they made no account of it. Deeply, indeed, do I feel for them, and it is right that all who are living with them should feel for them in the same way, considering that our Lord might have visited us with a like affliction; and above all, bearing with them, as I said just now, without letting them know that we are doing so. May our Lord grant that I have found out what ought to be done with so grave a malady!