Category Archives: Catholic

The Martrydom of St. Lawrence

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Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., describes the scene of St. Lawrence’s Martrydom, that great saint that joyfully joked about his torture and joyfully went to his death rather than deny Christ.

The August sun has set behind the Vatican, and the life and animation which his burning heat, and had stilled for a time, began once more upon the seven hills. Lawrence was taken down from the rack about midday. In his prison, however, he had taken no rest, but wounded and bleeding as he was, he baptized the converts won to Christ by the sight of his courageous suffering. He confirmed their faith, and fired their souls with a martyr’s intrepidity. When the evening hour summoned Rome to its pleasures, the prefect recalled the executioners to their work, for a few hours’ rest ha sufficiently restored their energy to enable them to satisfy his cruelty.

Surrounded by this ill-favoured company, the prefect thus addressed the valiant deacon: ‘Sacrifice to the gods, or else the whole night long shall be witness of your torments.’ ‘My night has no darkness,’ answered Laurence. ‘and all things are full of light to me.’ They struck him on the mouth with stones, but he smiled and said: “I give Thee thanks, O Christ.’

The iron bed or gridiron with three bars was brought in and the saint was stripped of his garments and extended upon it while burning coals were placed beneath it. As they were holding him down with iron forks, Laurence said: ‘I offer myself as a sacrifice to God for an odour of sweetness.’ The executioners continually stirred up the fire and brought fresh coals, while they still held him down with their forks. Then the saint said: ‘Learn, unhappy man, how great is the power of my God; for your burning coals give me refreshment, but they will be your eternal punishment. I call Thee, O Lord, to witness: when I was accused, I did not deny Thee; when I was questioned, I confessed Thee, O Christ; on the red-hot coals I gave thanks.’ And with his countenance radiant with heavenly beauty, he continued: ‘Yea. I give Thee thanks, O Lord Jesus Christ, for that Thou has deigned to strengthen me.’ He then raised his eyes to his judge, and said: ‘See, this side is well-roasted; turn me on the other and eat.’ Then continuing his canticle of praise to God: ‘I give Thee thanks, O Lord, that I have merited to enter into Thy dwelling place.’ As he was on the point of death, he remembered the Church. The thought of the eternal Rome gave him fresh strength and he breathed forth this ecstatic prayer: ‘O Christ, only God, O Splendour, O Power of the Father, O Maker of heaven and earth, and builder of the city’s walls! Thou hast placed Rome’s sceptre high over all. Thou hast willed to subject the world to it, in order to unite under one law the nations which differ in manner, customs, language, genius, and sacrifice. Behold the whole human race has submitted to its empire, and all discord and dissensions disappear in its unity. Remember thy purpose: Thou didst will to bind the immense universe together under the Christian Kingdom. O Christ, for the sake of Thy Romans, make this city Christian; for to it Thou gavest the charge of leading all the rest to sacred unity. All its members in every place are united—a very type of Thy Kingdom; the conquered universe has bowed before it. Oh! may its royal head be bowed in turn! Send Thy Gabriel and bid him heal the blindness of the sons of Iulus that they may know the true God. I see a prince who is to come—an Emperor who is a servant of God. He will not suffer Rome to remain a slave; he will close the temples and fasten them with bolts for ever.’

Thus he prayed, and with these words he breathed forth his soul. Some noble Romans who had been conquered to Christ by the martyr’s admirable boldness, removed his body; the love of the most high God had suddenly filled their hearts and dispelled their former errors. From that day the worship of the infamous gods grew cold; few people went now to the temples, but hastened to the altars of Christ. Thus Laurence, going unarmed to the battle, had wounded the enemy with his own sword.’ (Dom Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B., The Liturgical Year, Volume 13, Time after Penteocost, Book IV, pp. 307-308.)

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Through Mary, the Church will be restored

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Read here excerpts from a beautiful sermon given by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre on August 22, 1987, wherein he speaks of the Blessed Virgin Mary and her role in this crisis, namely to restore the Catholic Faith in the hearts and homes of the world.

~Damsel of the Faith

What else can She wish but to see Her Divine Son reign over the whole earth, over souls, over families, and over societies, as He reigns in heaven? This is why She comes down to earth, to beg us, every one of us: “It is necessary for Jesus to reign over you.” She wishes it, She desires it, and She gives us the means.

They often tell us: do not rend the Church, do not divide the Church, do not cause a schism; yet, my dear brothers and sisters, tell me: where is the unity of the Church? What causes the unity of the Church? Open all the theology books, open all the books by the saints, open all the books by the doctors and theologians: what causes the unity of the Church is the unity of faith. When someone no longer has the Catholic Faith, he separates himself from the Church. There you have it! And every person invested with authority in the Church since Our Lord founded it, every person who has some authority in the Church and particularly all the clergy, and particularly the bishops, and especially the Pope, all of them are at the service of this unity, they are at the service of this faith: “Go teach the Gospel,” not some other Gospel and not just any Gospel: “Go teach the Gospel.” Be at the service of this message that I have given you, but you must not change the message.

Well, then, we keep and cherish the whole faith; not for anything in the world would we want to remove one iota, the least bit of our faith; we want to keep it intact, absolutely intact. And it is because we want to keep this unity of faith that that those who are losing it persecute us.

Ask for the Grace of Fidelity

Let us make the resolution, here at the feet of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and let us ask her for the grace to keep the faith, to remain Catholics until the end of our days, to have this grace of final perseverance in the Catholic faith. Why did all the martyrs shed their blood? In order to keep the faith. If we must be martyrs, if we must be not martyrs by blood but martyrs in our souls, in our hearts, in our minds, well, then, we will be martyrs, and we will be the heirs of those who shed their blood so as not to deny their faith.

This is what we must promise the Most Blessed Virgin Mary and try to make everyone around us understand so that they might not lose the Faith… lest, in losing their faith, they lose their souls. These, my dear brothers and sisters, are the resolutions that we must make today: to pray, to sacrifice ourselves, to make the sacrifice of our life, to offer our life for the redemption of the world, for the salvation of souls, for the salvation of our souls, the salvation of the souls of our families, of the members of our family.

And Ask That the Church may Regain Her Splendor

And finally ask for the renewal of the Holy Catholic Church: that the Church might regain her splendor, that the Church might regain her unity in the faith, that the Church might regain her thousands and thousands of religious vocations as before, that once again novitiates might be filled, that seminaries might be filled so as to keep the Catholic Faith, so as to live the Catholic Faith! This is what we are striving to do, my dear brothers and sisters, together with those whom you see present here, these young priests, these young seminarians. As soon as people want to keep the faith, as soon as people want to keep the Sacrifice of the Mass and the true Eucharist, as soon as people are devoted body and soul to the Church, there are vocations, because we are in the truth. Let us ask the Most Blessed Virgin Mary to bless our seminaries, to bless our young priests so that they might be apostles; to bless our religious, the Sisters of the Society, all the sisters who devote themselves to Tradition, the Carmelites, the Dominicans, the Benedictines…all these nuns who want to keep the Catholic faith and want to spread it.

And may the Virgin Mary deign to bless us so that we might continue courageously, despite the trials, to serve the kingdom of Her Divine Son. Adveniat regnum tuum, may Thy kingdom come, yes, O Lord Jesus, may Thy reign extend over persons, over families and over societies, so that this reign may continue in eternity!

Our hope, life and salvation – the Catholic Church (Pt. 2)

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Part II of my previous post, “Our hope, life and salvation – the Catholic Church,” a collection of quotes by Pope Leo XIII. The words of this holy Pope bring forth the glory and beauty of the Catholic Church and her doctrine. Highly recommended reading for any Catholic. I pray that someday soon the Pope who saw the battle between Our Lord and Satan for the soul of the Church will be a canonized Pope-Saint.

“One in unity of doctrine as in unity of government and this Catholic, such is the Church; and since God has established that its center and foundation be in the Chair of Peter, it is rightly called Roman; for ‘where Peter is, there is the Church.’ Therefore, whoever wishes to be called by the name of Catholic, ought truly to heed the words of Jerome to Pope Damasus: ‘I who follow no one as first except Christ, associate myself in communion with your Beatitude, that is, with the Chair of Peter; upon that Rock, I know the Church is built [Matt. 16:18]; … whoever gathereth not with thee scattereth’ [Matt. 12:30].”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Testem Benevolentiae”

“The only-begotten Son of the Eternal Father, who came on earth to bring salvation and the light of divine wisdom to men, conferred a great and wonderful blessing on the world when, about to ascend again into heaven, He commanded the Apostles to go and teach all nations, and left the Church which He had founded to be the common and supreme teacher of the peoples. For men whom the truth had set free were to be preserved by the truth; nor would the fruits of heavenly doctrines by which salvation comes to men have long remained had not the Lord Christ appointed an unfailing teaching authority to train the minds to faith.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Aeterni Patris”

“The world goes on its laborious way, proud of its riches, of its power, of its arms, of its genius; the Church goes onward along the course of ages with an even step, trusting in God only, to Whom, day and night, she lifts her eyes and her suppliant hands. Even though in her prudence she neglects not the human aid which Providence and the times afford her, not in these does she put her trust, which rests in prayer, in supplication, in the invocation of God. Thus it is that she renews her vital breath; the diligence of her prayer has caused her, in her aloofness from worldly things and in her continual union with the Divine will, to live the tranquil and peaceful life of Our very Lord Jesus Christ; being herself the image of Christ, Whose happy and perpetual joy was hardly marred by the horror of the torments He endured for us. This important doctrine of Christian wisdom has been ever believed and practiced by Christians worthy of the name.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Octobri Mense”

“The whole object of Christian doctrine and morality is that ‘we being dead to sin, should live to justice’ (1 Peter ii., 24) – that is, to virtue and holiness. In this consists the moral life, with the certain hope of a happy eternity. This justice, in order to be advantageous to salvation, is nourished by Christian faith. ‘The just man liveth by faith’ (Galatians iii., II). ‘Without faith it is impossible to please God’ (Hebrews xi., 6). Consequently Jesus Christ, the creator and preserver of faith, also preserves and nourishes our moral life. This He does chiefly by the ministry of His Church. To Her, in His wise and merciful counsel, He has entrusted certain agencies which engender the supernatural life, protect it, and revive it if it should fail. This generative and conservative power of the virtues that make for salvation is therefore lost, whenever morality is dissociated from divine faith.”   ~Pope Leo XIII

“Now, as all salvation comes from Jesus Christ – for there is no other name under heaven given to men whereby we must be saved – Our ardent desire is that the most holy name of Jesus should rapidly pervade and fill every land. And here, indeed, is a duty which the Church, faithful to the divine mission entrusted to her, has never neglected. What has been the object of her labors for more than nineteen centuries? Is there any other work she has undertaken with greater zeal and constancy than that of bringing the nations of the earth to the truth and principles of Christianity? Today, as ever, by Our authority, the heralds of the Gospel constantly cross the seas to reach the farthest corners of the earth; and We pray to God daily that in His goodness He may deign to increase the number of His ministers who are really worthy of this apostolate, and who are ready to sacrifice their convenience, their health, and their very life, if need be, in order to extend the frontiers of the kingdom of Christ.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Praeclara Gratulationis Publicae”

“Wherefore, He willed not only to train disciples in His doctrine, but to unite them into one society, and closely conjoin them in one body, ‘which is the Church,’ whereof He would be the head. The life of Jesus Christ pervades, therefore, the entire framework of this body, cherishes and nourishes its every member, uniting each with each, and making all work together to the same end, albeit the action of each be not the same. Hence it follows that not only is the Church a perfect society far excelling every other, but it is enjoined by her Founder that for the salvation of mankind she is to contend ‘as an army drawn up in battle array.’ The organization and constitution of Christian society can in no wise be changed, neither can any one of its members live as he may choose, nor elect that mode of fighting which best pleases him. For, in effect, he scatters and gathers not who gathers not with the Church and with Jesus Christ, and all who fight not jointly with him and with the Church are in very truth contending against God.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Sapientiae Christianae”

“In truth, Christ our Lord, setting Himself to fulfill the commandment which His Father had given Him, straightway imparted a new form and fresh beauty to all things, taking away the effects of their time-worn age. For He healed the wounds which the sin of our first father had inflicted on the human race; He brought all men, by nature children of wrath, into favor with God; He led to the light of truth men wearied out by longstanding errors; He renewed to every virtue those who were weakened by lawlessness of every kind; and, giving them again an inheritance of never-ending bliss, He added a sure hope that their mortal and perishable bodies should one day be partakers of immortality and of the glory of heaven. In order that these unparalleled benefits might last as long as men should be found on earth, He entrusted to His Church the continuance of His work; and, looking to future times, He commanded her to set in order whatever might have become deranged in human society, and to restore whatever might have fallen into ruin.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Arcanum”

“[The Church] is not an association of Christians brought together by chance, but is a divinely established and admirably constituted society, having for its direct and proximate purpose to lead the world to peace and holiness. And since the Church alone has, through the grace of God, received the means necessary to realize such end, she has her fixed laws, special spheres of action, and a certain method, fixed and conformable to her nature, of governing Christian peoples. But the exercise of such governing power is difficult, and leaves room for numberless conflicts, inasmuch as the Church rules peoples scattered through every portion of the earth, differing in race and customs, who, living under the sway of the laws of their respective countries, owe obedience alike to the civil and religious authorities. The duties enjoined are incumbent on the same persons, as already stated, and between them there exists neither contradiction nor confusion; for some of these duties have relation to the prosperity of the State, others refer to the general good of the Church, and both have as their object to train men to perfection.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Sapientiae Christianae”

“As for what concerns the exterior and temporal prosperity of the Church, it is evident that she has to cope with most malicious and powerful adversaries. Too often has she suffered at their hands the abolition of her rights, the diminution and oppression of her liberties, scorn and affronts to her authority, and every conceivable outrage. And if in their wickedness her enemies have not accomplished all the injury they had resolved upon and striven to do, they nevertheless seem to go on unchecked. But, despite them the Church, amidst all these conflicts, will always stand out and increase in greatness and glory. Nor can human reason rightly understand why evil, apparently so dominant, should yet be so restricted as regards its results; whilst the Church, driven into straits, comes forth glorious and triumphant. And she ever remains more steadfast in virtue because she draws men to the acquisition of the ultimate good. And since this is her mission, her prayers must have much power to effect the end and purpose of God’s providential and merciful designs towards men. Thus, when men pray with and through the Church, they at length obtain what Almighty God has designed from all eternity to bestow upon mankind.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Octobri Mense”

“Hence We are not, and cannot be anxious on account of the Church, but We greatly fear for the salvation of very many, who proudly despise the Church, and by every kind of error rush to ruin; We are concerned for those States which We cannot but see are turned from God and sleeping in the midst of danger in dull security and insensibility. ‘Nothing is equal to the Church;’ [says St. John Chrysostom,] ‘how many have opposed the Church and have themselves perished? The Church reaches to the heavens; such is the Church’s greatness. She conquers when attacked; when beset by snares she triumphs; she struggles and is not overthrown, she fights and is not conquered.’ Not only is she not conquered, but she preserves that corrective power over nature, and that effective strength of life that springs from God Himself, and is unchanged by time. And, if by this power she has freed the world grown old in vice and lost in superstition, why should she not again recover it when gone astray? Let strife and suspicion at length cease, let all obstacles be removed, give the possession of all her rights to the Church, whose duty it is to guard and spread abroad the benefits gained by Jesus Christ, then We shall know by experience, where the light of the Gospel is, and what the power of Christ can do.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Exeunte Iam Anno”

ut this supremacy of man, which openly rejects Christ, or at least ignores Him, is entirely founded upon selfishness, knowing neither charity nor self-devotion. Man may indeed be king, through Jesus Christ: but only on condition that he first of all obey God, and diligently seek his rule of life in God’s law. By the law of Christ we mean not only the natural precepts of morality and the Ancient Law, all of which Jesus Christ has perfected and crowned by His declaration, explanation and sanction; but also the rest of His doctrine and His own peculiar institutions. Of these the chief is His Church. Indeed whatsoever things Christ has instituted are most fully contained in His Church. Moreover, He willed to perpetuate the office assigned to Him by His Father by means of the ministry of the Church so gloriously founded by Himself. On the one hand He confided to her all the means of men’s salvation, on the other He most solemnly commanded men to be subject to her and to obey her diligently, and to follow her even as Himself: ‘He that heareth you, heareth Me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me’ (Luke x, 16). Wherefore the law of Christ must be sought in the Church. Christ is man’s ‘Way’; the Church also is his ‘Way’ – Christ of Himself and by His very nature, the Church by His commission and the communication of His power. Hence all who would find salvation apart from the Church, are led astray and strive in vain.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus”

“Amid such reckless and widespread folly of opinion, it is, as We have said, the office of the Church to undertake the defense of truth and uproot errors from the mind, and this charge has to be at all times sacredly observed by her, seeing that the honor of God and the salvation of men are confided to her keeping. But, when necessity compels, not those only who are invested with power of rule are bound to safeguard the integrity of faith, but, as St. Thomas maintains: ‘Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either to instruct and encourage others of the faithful, or to repel the attacks of unbelievers.’ To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe. In both cases such mode of behaving is base and is insulting to God, and both are incompatible with the salvation of mankind. This kind of conduct is profitable only to the enemies of the faith, for nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good. Moreover, want of vigor on the part of Christians is so much the more blameworthy, as not seldom little would be needed on their part to bring to naught false charges and refute erroneous opinions, and by always exerting themselves more strenuously they might reckon upon being successful. After all, no one can be prevented from putting forth that strength of soul which is the characteristic of true Christians, and very frequently by such display of courage our enemies lose heart and their designs are thwarted. Christians are, moreover, born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God aiding, the triumph: ‘Have confidence; I have overcome the world.’ Nor is there any ground for alleging that Jesus Christ, the Guardian and Champion of the Church, needs not in any manner the help of men. Power certainly is not wanting to Him, but in His loving kindness He would assign to us a share in obtaining and applying the fruits of salvation procured through His grace. The chief elements of this duty consist in professing openly and unflinchingly the Catholic doctrine, and in propagating it to the utmost of our power. For, as is often said, with the greatest truth, there is nothing so hurtful to Christian wisdom as that it should not be known, since it possesses, when loyally received, inherent power to drive away error. So soon as Catholic truth is apprehended by a simple and unprejudiced soul, reason yields assent.”   ~Pope Leo XIII, “Sapientiae Christianae”

Religious Professions in the Franciscan Sisters of Christ the King

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The Professions of Religious Vows are always noteworthy events, due to the shortage of Religious Sisters in the world. These holy women are like diamonds in the rough of a vicious world. They want to dedicate their lives to God, living in poverty, chastity and obedience so as to pray for the salvation of us all. God bless them! Here is the history of this order, under the direction of the Society, taken from SSPX.org:

~Damsel of the Faith

http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/franciscan-professions-convent-christ-king-31409

In August, 2017, Fr. Burfitt oversaw young ladies dedicate their lives to the service of God in the Franciscan community of Christ the King, Kansas City.

Come, My chosen one, and I will establish My Throne in thee: For the King hath desired thy beauty. Hear, O daughter, and see, and incline thine ear. Forget thy people and thy father’s house, for the King hath desired thy beauty.”
– Responsory for the religious profession of a novice, from the Ordo Fratrum Minorum
The August day of the Portiuncula Indulgence was the occasion of a joyful event for the Franciscan Sisters of Christ the King in Kansas City, MO, when Sr. Marie Louise of the Visitation took her final vows, four sisters renovated their vows, and three postulants received the habit and began their novitiate: Sr. Jacinta Marie of the Infant Jesus, Sr. Mary Philomena of the Stigmata of St. Francis, and Sr. Maria Serra of Our Lady of the Rosary. Over a dozen priests and more than 200 faithful were also in attendance.

Fr. Trevor Burfitt, an old friend of the convent’s founder, Fr. Eugene Heidt, received the vows of the sisters and offered the Mass for St. Mary of the Angels. In his sermon, Fr. Burfitt spoke of the day’s venerable ceremony and the devotion of the Portiuncula, which has been kept and promoted now by three orders of the Church:

The Benedictines, who first gave the property of the Portiuncula to the Franciscans;
The Franciscans themselves;
The Society of St. Pius X, who have as their namesake St. Pius X, the Pope that extended the Portiuncula Indulgence a century ago.
Father’s sermon also touched on the examples that the sisters set, reminding us to pray for them:

These sisters want to be like our Lady and go to Heaven. Our Lady teaches us the virtues of the Religious life. These sisters live the counsels of obedience, poverty, and chastity – they have given themselves to the religious life, and then they can help Catholic families. We must pray to Mary, and pray for these sisters, and for the souls that our Lady is calling.”
Following the Mass and the profession ceremony, the convent enjoyed a celebratory banquet with the many priests, religious, and faithful in attendance.

The Rule, Postulancy, Novitiate, and Vows

The sisters keep the 1927 Rule of the Third Order Regular, approved by Pope Pius XI. The six-month postulancy for all candidates begins in February, and some also spend up to six months in a pre-postulancy before that. In August, the postulants receive their habits and their religious names and begin their two-year novitiate. At the end of the novitiate, if accepted into vows, the novices take their first vows for one year. The annual vows are renewed twice, followed by vows of three years. This may be followed by another three years if necessary, for a total of six or nine years in temporary vows. Temporary vows are followed by final vows.

The perpetual profession or the final vows takes place before and during Mass, the rest after Mass. The sacramentals used in the ceremonies include the habit, cord, white veil, flower-crown, Franciscan Crown, book containing the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Rule, and the candles, the ring, and the crown of thorns.

Before the Mass the sisters petition the celebrant to make their perpetual vows, after which the Veni, Creator Spiritus is sung. The ceremonies that follow include many beautiful prayers and blessings, including this one for the blessing of the rings during the perpetual profession:

Creator and preserver of mankind, giver of spiritual grace, and liberal donor of salvation to men: do Thou, O Lord, pour forth Thy blessings upon these rings; that those who wear them, being fortified by heavenly strength, may keep their faith unimpaired and their fidelity unspotted: and that as spouses of Christ they may preserve the purpose of virginity, and persevere in perpetual chastity. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.”
After the veiling of the novices, meanwhile, the priest makes this fitting invocation:

O Lord Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd Who laid down Thy life for Thy sheep, cause Thy handmaids, clothed in the sacred garments, to live in justice before Thee, and grant them to arrive at Thy great mercy with the fruit of their good works. Grant them, at the same time, obedience in Faith, strength in labor, devotion in Charity, success in their undertakings, joy in peace, goodwill in their behavior, patience in troubles, and healing in sickness and suffering. Just as they are, at the present time, happily running on the paths of justice, so grant that they may, at the Last Day, receive Thee most cheerfully as their coming Judge: Thou, Who with the Father and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest, God, world without end. Amen.”
The ceremonies conclude with a solemn thanksgiving by singing the Te Deum.

Brief History of the Convent

The profound need for traditional Catholic teaching sisters inspired the foundation of the community by Fr. Eugene Heidt (+2006). With much prayer and the help of Sr. Herlinda McCarty (+2006), O.S.F., the motherhouse was established in Oregon in 2000; in 2002 the convent was moved to its present location in Missouri. Today the sisters travel every day from their convent to give classes at nearby St. Vincent de Paul Academy. During the summers they travel to chapels around the country to host summer camps for girls who might otherwise never have a chance to meet a religious sister.

The Convent of Christ the King is a beautiful and majestic Romanesque brick complex atop a hill on over six acres surrounded by a wrought iron fence. The chapel contains a marble-clad and pillared sanctuary with rounded apse, a transept with original choir stalls and a pipe organ, and a large nave. Attached to the chapel is a six-story bell tower, visible from a great distance.

 

 

Christendom & the Church

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The Catholic Church was the foundation of the great magnificence of Christendom.  With that, it has and continues to gain the ire of the world, the worst enemy of the Church because its father is satan, who has worked for the downfall of the Church since its inception.  The world’s defeat will be due to the restoration of Christendom in the Church, our families and society, which is the kingdom of God.

~Damsel of the Faith

“The issue was between two forces. On the one hand was the instinct which we all have within us, that Europe is Catholic, must live as Catholic, or must die; that in the anarchic religious rebellion was peril of death to our art, our culture, to that from which they proceed, our religious vision. On the other had arisen an intense, fierce, increasing hatred against the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament, the whole transcendental scheme; a hatred such that all who felt it were, in spite of a myriad differences, in common alliance. That hatred fed upon an original popular indignation against the corruption of the clergy, and especially against their financial claims. But the hatred was far older than any such late medieval trouble; it was as old as the presence of the Catholic Church in this world.

~Hilaire Belloc, HOW THE REFORMATION HAPPENED, p. 90

“For centuries in Europe one of the great—if not the greatest source of [cultural] energy came from the spirit of the continent’s religion. It drove people to war and stirred them to defense. It also drove Europe to the greatest heights of human creativity.”

~Douglas Murray

 

A Priceless Missal

At an Estate Sale this past week, I stumbled upon a collection of old Catholic books from the 50s, in excellent condition- A missal, a prayer book and the life of Christ. I’m curious if anyone knows what type of missal this might be. It’s entirely in english and every part of the Mass is included in each Sunday. The copyright is 1955, 1954, with an imprimatur from Samuel Cardinal Stritch, September 1, 1953. If you have the same missal or one similar, please do comment!

A very beautiful find. To imagine someone was holding this same missal at the Holy Mass 70 years ago. The Faith is passed down to all generations, to be faithfullly kept, protected and preserved.

~Damsel of the Faith

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History of the Russian Greek Catholic Church

A marginalized Rite of the Church, the Russian Greek Catholic Church, comprised of 30,000 members that have no episcopal leadership, have consecrated themselves to Our Lady of Fatima, in prayers that she will grant them a bishop. Read their story, from the Society’s website:

http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/russian-greek-catholic-church-meet-historic-congress-31049

~Damsel of the Faith

From June 6-9, representatives of the Russian Greek Catholic Church (RGCC) met for a historic congress in San Felice del Benaco. One of the aims of the congress was to request a bishop to lead its 30,000 members worldwide.

As the smallest of the sui iuris Eastern churches in communion with Rome, the RGCC’s faithful have been entrusted to the care of local Latin ordinaries rather than having their own specific hierarchy. While some Latin bishops have been supportive of the RGCC’s survival, others have been less so. If the RGCC is to have a future, both in its native Russia and in the diaspora, having its own hierarch is imperative.

History of the RGCC

The history of the RGCC dates back to the late 19th century. Despite Greek Catholicism being illegal throughout the Russian Empire, individual Russian churchmen and intellectuals, including the eccentric and controversial Vladimir Soloviev, began pushing for Russian Orthodox Christians to unite themselves to Rome. Soloviev, for example, posited a novel theory that Rome and Moscow had never truly broken communion after the Great Schism (typically dated to 1054 A.D.). Following Tsar Nicholas II’s edict of religious toleration in 1905, it became possible for more Russian Orthodox to join the Catholic Church.

Eventually, in 1908, Pope St. Pius X, through the Vatican Secretary of State, decreed that the Russian Catholics should retain their liturgical and spiritual patrimony in full, without any alteration or admixture with another rite. What this meant is that Russian Catholic communities could use both the so-called Synodal form of the Byzantine Rite as had been approved for the Russian Orthodox Church by its leadership and the so-called Old Rite that had been suppressed violently in the mid-17th century. Those holding to the Old Rite, known as Old Believers, had been persecuted by the Russian state for centuries because they resisted reforms to the liturgy. Several Old Believer communities entered into communion with the Catholic Church during this period of time.

Unfortunately, after the Soviet Revolution in 1917, the nascent RGCC found itself persecuted violently. While some RGCC communities managed to survive in the diaspora, as the decades moved on, little attention was given to the needs of the RGCC, partially as part of a larger policy of appeasement by the Vatican toward the Soviet Russian state. Even after 1989, the remnants of the RGCC in Russia found it difficult to gain support from the Vatican, leaving them to largely fend for themselves without much opportunity for growth.

The Situation Today

 

Although the Soviet state is no more, ecumenical concerns at the Vatican have continued to keep the RGCC marginalized. The present Russian Orthodox Church maintains the position that all Greek Catholics, including those living in Ukraine and Belarus, should return to the Orthodox fold. The Russian Orthodox Church has also been critical of any Catholic proselytism of Orthodox Christians and has pressured Vatican officials to curtail any expansion of Greek Catholicism into lands like Ukraine and Russia. For the Orthodox, Greek Catholicism is a threat to their ecclesiastical hegemony.

Whether Rome follows through in supporting the resolutions and requests of the RGCC remains to be seen. In addition to asking for a bishop, the RGCC wishes for the process of Russian Orthodox entering the Catholic Church to be simplified, and for former Russian Orthodox becoming Catholic not to be absorbed automatically into the Latin Church.

It is telling that the clergy meeting in June took the opportunity to consecrate the RGCC to Our Lady of Fatima, for it will only be by her prayers and protection that the RGCC will continue to thrive and survive. Prayers should also be offered that the RGCC will serve as a bridge to lead the Russian Orthodox back into communion with Rome.