Category Archives: Catholic

The solid Rock – the triumph of love born out of Faith

IMG_0269

“O Catholic faith, how solid, how strong you are! How deeply rooted, how firmly founded on a solid rock! Heaven and earth will pass away, but you can never pass away. From the beginning the whole world opposed you, but you mightily triumphed over everything. This is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith. It has subjected powerful kings to the rule of Christ; it has bound nations to his service. What made the holy apostles and martyrs endure fierce agony and bitter torments, except faith, and especially faith in the resurrection? What is it that today makes true followers of Christ cast luxuries aside, leave pleasures behind, and endure difficulties and pain? It is living faith that expresses itself through love. It is this that makes us put aside the goods of the present in the hope of future goods. It is because of faith that we exchange the present for the future.”
~the last sermon of St Fidelis of Sigmaringen before his martyrdom.

RIP, John Vennari

IMG_0232

He has fought the good fight and kept the Faith. I have received the news that John passed away this morning, during this Holy Passion week. May Our Lord and Our Lady reward him for his tireless efforts in working for the restoration of the Church. May God console his family and the many friends that he has touched, converted and helped over his entire earthly battle.

~Damsel of the Faith

Recounting his last days, from the Vennari family:

JOSEPH JOHN VENNARI, R.I.P.
(February 24, 1958 – April 4, 2017)

Dear Friends,

Joseph John Vennari died on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 10:46 a.m. E.S.T. It is not only Passion Tuesday, but the 98th anniversary of the death of Blessed Francisco of Fatima – the first Tuesday (the day dedicated weekly to the Holy Face) in April (the month dedicated to the Holy Face).

John received the traditional Sacraments and blessings of the Church several times during the past weeks and months. On Sunday, April 2, Holy Mass was offered in his hospital room. John was able to receive Holy Viaticum one last time, as well as Extreme Unction and the Apostolic Blessing.

John died wearing the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and the cord of St. Philomena, with the St. Benedict Crucifix (with the special ‘Happy Death’ indulgence attached) next to him. He died shortly after the recitation of 15 decades of the Holy Rosary and during the recitation of the ‘Commendatory’ prayers for the dying, and being blessed with Holy Water. He died with his wife Susan and a close family friend at his side. Immediately after his death, another Rosary was prayed for the repose of his soul.

Please keep the repose of John’s soul in your Masses, Holy Communions, prayers and sacrifices. Funeral arrangements will be posted shortly. May John’s soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

Thank you and God bless you,
The Vennari Family

 

On “Fiftiesism”

Image result for pius x lukewarm

A common argument put forth by some Catholics in defense of Vatican II and the Novus Ordo Missae is that weekly attendance at Holy Mass began to decrease in the 1950’s.  Thus, the “Novus Ordo” itself would be exempt from much of the blame for the current lukewarm climate in the Church, since it was implemented after the statistics started to trend downward.  

Response:  It is true that Sunday Mass attendance among Catholics in the West started to decrease about a decade before Vatican II.  On the one hand, we cannot ignore the errors of Vatican II and the New mass and the absolute chaos that has ensued since both have been implemented.  On the other hand, what then is the origin of the very beginnings of these “rotten fruits”?  It is amazing that as strong as the Church structures appeared to be in the 1950’s, they were almost totally demolished by Modernism a decade or so later. 

As the events in the life of Christ parallel those of His Church, we can draw a certain parallel between Palm Sunday and Our Lord’s Passion and the 1950’s and the post-Vatican II era.  In the Palm Sunday Gospel, Our Lord is greatly exalted and honored as he triumphantly rides into Jerusalem.  However, to say there were many who hated him was an understatement.  Plots to take His life were being dreamed of by the Jews, culminating in His capture only a few days later.  

Similarly, in the 1950’s, Christ’s Church was enjoying an almost unprecedented apparent rise to glory in the world.  I need not explain it in detail; everyone who is familiar with the period or has lived in it himself will know exactly what I mean.  The plans of the enemies of Our Lord to subvert the Church were already well-advanced though.  Still, one can wonder whether this was such a golden age for the Church as is often perceived.  If the Faith was held ever so fervent, then how did so many, if not most, of these same Catholics lose their faith and make such severe compromises with the world a mere decade later?

This leads to the discussion of the errors spread most prominently in the West particularly following World War II.  Although many hold “officially” that the West emerged victorious in this war, further research may prove the opposite.  For purposes of this post, let us just say that the true concept of authority was destroyed and the West made many compromises with evil.  It is simply a fact that many errors of the Revolution were firmly entrenched in the West by the 1950’s.  

Unfortunately, so many Catholics, if not the great majority, had fallen into many of these errors and were making compromises with the world, thus watering down their Faith.  Many traditional Catholic priests(particularly SSPX priests) have coined this perilous spirit as “Fiftiesism”.  Despite the apparent great growth of the Church, such a state could not last very long with such widespread lukewarmness.  God, however, in His infinite love and mercy, would provide graces for those Catholics of good will to remain faithful.  One very great grace was His gift of Abp. Lefebvre, who would continue to preserve the sacred priesthood and fight for the good Faith!   

In the letter attached below, Bp. Richard Williamson, then Rector of St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary(SSPX), describes some of the main errors of “Fiftiesism”.  After dismantling these errors, he points out the simple remedy: to remain fully faithful to Our Lord and His Church.  Let us strive then to simply be found faithful!

From the August 1998 “Letter From the Rector”:  

         

Following on the mention of “Fiftiesism” in last month’s letter, a reader reasonably asked what it is, and if there is anywhere he can read up on it. Since Fiftiesism is a serious threat to “Traditional” Catholics, and since little has to my knowledge been written about it as such, let us examine it here.

“Fiftiesism” is a name for the kind of Catholicism that was generally practised in the 1950’s, between World War II and Vatican II. To many Catholics who can look back that far, the 1950’s seem like a golden age for the Church, because all kinds of Catholic systems were still up and running that crashed a few years later. On the other hand, precisely because so many Catholic systems crashed in the 1960’s and 1970’s, not all can have been well with the Church in those 1950’s. There must have been “something rotten in the State of Denmark”.

For instance the magnificent building now housing the Seminary in Winona was put up by the Dominicans, sparing no expense, in the early 1950’s, only to be abandoned by them in 1970, and sold for a song. And this Novitiate for their central United States Province was merely one Catholic institute amongst thousands all over the world that followed this path from riches to rags. Can the 1950’s really have been such a golden age as they seem?

Fiftiesism is then the name for what was wrong alongside – or inside – all that was right in the practice of Catholicism in the 1950’s. Church structures stood tall but termites were burrowing away within, so that with one strong push from Vatican II, the structures were all ready to fall over. Traditional Catholics today must take thought to avoid re-building a Church of the 1950’s all ready to fall over again!

To illustrate what was good as well as bad in the Catholicism of the 1950’s, let us think of English Catholicism in the 1520’s, just before the Reformation in England of the 1530’s and 1540’s.

On the good side, England looked in the 1520’s like a completely Catholic nation. It had been Catholic for nearly 1,000 years, with the result that for an Englishman then to be Catholic was the most normal and simple thing in the world. Young King Henry VIII was so Catholic that he was awarded by Rome the title of “Defender of the Faith” for his refutation of Luther’s errors! As for the English people, a scholarly book was written a few years ago to prove how Catholic they still were, as though the Reformation was none of their fault.

Alas, on the bad side, what were the fruits of this 1520’s Catholicism? By the end of the 1550’s Catholics were being persecuted, and Queen Elizabeth I was skillfully and ruthlessly maneuvering England into national apostasy, wherein to remain Catholic was a glorious but highly dangerous avocation. Catholic priests were hunted down by her secret police, hanged, drawn and quartered as traitors, so that while an English priest in the 1560’s had to have the same Catholic Faith and priesthood as a priest in the 1520’s, nevertheless in the transformed circumstances he was called upon to be a quite new kind of priest. Hence the Jesuit Order, “old and new”.

What had happened? The Catholicism of English Catholics in the 1520’s had been tried by the Lord God and found wanting. As events of the 1530’s and 1540’s proved, their Catholicism, which we might call “Twentiesism”, had been too much of a shell-game. The clergy had “lacked grace” (Thomas More). As for the people, they had resisted, for instance in the Pilgrimage of Grace, but not enough. So God punished English Twentiesism by letting it turn into the permanent shell-game of Anglicanism (known in the U.S.A. as Episcopalianism), founded on Elizabeth’s Anglican Establishment.

Now imagine a Jesuit priest in England of the 1560’s saying to the small congregations of his faithful remnant, “My dear people, all is changed, changed utterly, a terrible beauty is born. No more Twentiesism!”, and you can see why a Traditional priest would say to Traditionalists in the 1990’s, “No more Fiftiesism!”

In fairness to English Catholics of the 1520’s, the problem of their shell-game had been building up over many generations before them, and it did not mean that every English Catholic was losing or would lose the Faith, because of course there was a glorious first harvest of martyrs under Henry VIII, and a second under Elizabeth I.

In fairness likewise to the Fiftiesism of our own time, the pre-Vatican II shell-game was the end-product of 150 years of Liberal Catholicism blending Church and world, attempting to combine the values of the Faith with those of the Revolution, and not every Catholic of the 1950’s proved to be deep-down in love with the world, because, as in Reformation England, a by the grace of God faithful remnant pulled through Vatican II to constitute the bedraggled but glorious remains of the Tridentine Church known to us as “Tradition”, or the Traditionalists”!

At the heart then of Fiftiesism in our own time is that while outwardly the Faith in the 1950’s seemed to be lived, practised and defended, and the Mass was the Mass of all time, nevertheless inwardly too many Catholics’ hearts were going with the world. Thence it was simply a matter of time before all those strict priests celebrating the ancient liturgy with every detail in place, would throw away their birettas and loosen up with eucharistic picnics improvised from one moment to the next. Americans old enough remember how suddenly this change could take place, almost overnight. The inside was rotten. Many Catholics pretended to love God, but really they loved the world. God spat them out at Vatican II.

But why in the 1950’s were so many Catholics inwardly loving the world? Because the modern world, industrialized and suburbanized, is too much with us, all-glamorous, all-powerful, all-seductive. For even if a man and his family are intent upon remaining Catholic, still man remains a three-layered creature, not only individual and familial but also social, and all three layers are connected. Hence society exerts an enormous anti-Catholic pressure upon Catholics when it has been, like ours, largely in the grip of Masonic Revolutions for the last 200 years.

To illustrate Fiftiesism here in the U.S.A. (since most readers of this letter are Americans, but of course Fiftiesism was worldwide, as was Vatican II), let us quote three anti-Catholic principles firmly believed in by many American Catholics of the 1950’s (and 1990’s?), one social, one familial, one individual, amongst many others.

False social principle: separation of Church and State. This deadly error means that Jesus Christ is no longer King over society, He is only King of the sacristy. Society can supposedly do as it likes, and Our Lord has nothing to say! On the contrary read in the Bible the history of the People of God from Abraham and Moses through David, Solomon and Ezra to see if God’s religion tells peoples what as peoples they must do!

False familial principle: co-education. Boys are designed by God quite differently from girls because He has quite different parts for them to play in life. So the Catholic Church has always known and taught that from as early an age as possible, let us say no later than seven or eight, they should be taught differently and separately. Yet how many “Catholics” in the U.S.A. were accustomed to coeducation in the 1950’s and still see no problem with it in the 1990’s? Not even in the most primitive tribes will you find coeducation! They have too much sense!

False individual principle: the split between “religion” and real life. To how many “Catholics” in the 1950’s was “religion” what one did on Sunday morning while in real life the world was being saved, for instance from Communism, by the American Constitution, free enterprise, etc. etc.? No doubt the Faith was believed in, every article of it, but how many “Catholics” let that Faith form their character and define their view of the world? How many “Traditionalists” to this day really put their trust in Our Lord Jesus Christ to solve problems of home, family, politics, education, economics, the arts, etc., etc.? How many on the contrary seek to “enjoy” the world as much as they can, to have all possible “fun”, while keeping just short of mortal sin? That is pure Fiftiesism, and it will have the same disastrous results.

What is the solution to Fiftiesism, then and now? It is not complicated. The problem lies in pretending to put God first but not really doing so. The solution lies in obeying the First Commandment first, in loving the Lord God – Jesus Christ – with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength and with all our mind, and in putting no other gods or solutions before Him. Nor is it impossible to do so. The world, the flesh and the Devil may dominate our environment as never before in all history, but God remains God and we remain children of His Mother.

A powerful and practical means she obtained from her Son to help us put the First Commandment back in place is the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. These were given only twice at the Seminary this year, but they brought forth a bouquet of testimonials from which we shall quote next month to encourage you to make use of one of the Society’s three retreat houses in the U.S.A.. Go to the retreats where you hear they really knock down, drag out the retreatants! Those are where the action is!

And may Our Lord pull all of us back from the world, the flesh and the Devil, lest His Chastisement catch us still in Fiftiesism, ready for Hell!

 

~ Steven C., “The Knight Of Tradition”

Some of my treasures

Since I hardly ever share a personal post, here are some treasures of mine, that I recently bought. You all get to see the Damsel’s taste, although I believe a lot of it is self evident from the blog here.

Enjoy the pictures. Feel free to share your own in the comments. St. Joan of Arc & Pope St. Pius X, ora pro nobis!

img_0036

img_0038

img_0043

img_0046

img_0114

An authentic picture of the great Pope St. Pius X.  Holy Card is from the 1930s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Philomena: Virgin Martyr & Wonderworker

 

img_0073

St. Philomena is little known and loved in the Church due to the fact that she was “taken down from the altar” in the wake of the Vatican II Revolution. On February 14th, 1961, her Feast was unjustly removed from the Liturgical Calendar because no historical evidence could be found for her existence. Why, then, did the Church venerate her? After her remarkable discovery, countless miracles were attributed to the intercession of St. Philomena. True, no historical account of her life exists. However, her tomb was discovered in the Year 1802, during excavations in the catacomb of St. Priscilla, one of those fascinating, dungeon-like fortresses that housed the bodies of the Saints of God brutally martyred for the Faith, quietly tucked away under the Eternal City. The freshly preserved tomb was a fascinating discovery.  Upon examination, in Latin, “Pax Tecum, Filumena” were found inscribed on the tomb, which means “Peace be with you, Filumena.” God wanted his little martyr known and loved, for it was rare for the name of the martyr to be inscribed on their town. The young girl’s name in English is Philomena, meaning “daughter of light.” The bones of the saint were that of a girl of 13 years.

This Virgin Martyr is a true light to the Church, watching over her devotees with her heavenly care, interceding for souls, healing them of ailments of body and soul. The great St. John Vianney attributed all the miracles of his priestly ministry in Ars to her intercession. She was his “celestial patroness” and from her small chapel in his church she worked many miracles, cures and conversions. St. Philomena received the credit for all the miracles worked through the holy priest. St. John Vianney was once asked if St. Philomena obeyed him to which he answered, “And why not, since every day God obeys me at the altar?” The wonderful power of the Communion of Saints, all helping each other to attain everlasting happiness! The Cure would often preach about his little Patroness in this manner, “My children, Saint Philomena has great power with God, and she has, moreover, a kind heart; let us pray to her with confidence. Her virginity and generosity in embracing her heroic martyrdom have rendered her so agreeable to God that He will never refuse her anything that she asks for us.” It is said that the Curè did everything for her and Saint Philomena did everything for him. Due to the relationship between these two saints, the honor and glory of St. Philomena was acclaimed throughout all of France.

She has appeared to select souls in private revelation, revealing her life. One such soul was Mother Maria Luisa di Gesù, Foundress of the Oblates of Our Lady of Sorrows. She received vocal revelations from the Saint that were approved by the Holy Office on December 21, 1833. St. Philomena’s recount of her torture and martyrdom:

“My dear Sister, I am the daughter of a Prince who governed a small state in Greece. My mother is also of royal blood. My parents were without children. They were idolaters. They continually offered sacrifices and prayers to their false gods.

A doctor from Rome named Publius lived in the palace in the service of my father. This doctor professed Christianity. Seeing the affliction of my parents, by the impulse of the Holy Ghost, he spoke to them of Christianity, and promised to pray for them if they consented to receive Baptism. The grace which accompanied his words enlightened their understanding and triumphed over their will. They became Christians and obtained the long desired happiness that Publius had assured them as the reward of their conversion. At the moment of my birth, they gave me the name of “Lumena,” an allusion to the light of Faith of which I had been, as it were, the fruit. The day of my Baptism they called me “Filumena,” or “Daughter of Light,” because on that day I was born to the Faith. The affection which my parents bore me was so great that they had me always with them.

It was on this account that they took me to Rome on a journey that my father was obliged to make on the occasion of an unjust war with which he was threatened by the haughty Diocletian. I was then thirteen years old. On our arrival in the capital of the world, we proceeded to the palace of the Emperor and were admitted for an audience. As soon as Diocletian saw me, his eyes were fixed upon me. He appeared to be pre-possessed in this manner during the entire time that my father was stating with animated feelings everything that could serve for his defense.

As soon as Father had ceased to speak, the Emperor desired him to be disturbed no longer, to banish all fear, to think only of living in happiness. These are the Emperor’s words, ‘I shall place at your disposal all the force of the Empire. I ask only one thing, that is the hand of your daughter.’ My father, dazzled with an honor he was far from expecting, willingly acceded on the spot to the proposal of the Emperor.

When we returned to our own dwelling, Father and Mother did all they could to induce me to yield to Diocletian’s wishes and theirs. I cried, ‘Do you wish, that for the love of a man, I should break the promise I have made to Jesus Christ? My virginity belongs to him. I can no longer dispose of it.’

‘But you were young then, too young,’ answered my father, ‘to have formed such an engagement.’ He joined the most terrible threats to the command that he gave me to accept the hand of Diocletian. The grace of my God rendered me invincible, and my father, not being able to make the Emperor relent, in order to disengage himself from the promise he had given, was obliged by Diocletian to bring me to the Imperial Chamber.

I had to withstand for some time beforehand a new attack from my father’s anger. My mother, uniting her efforts to his, endeavored to conquer my resolution. Caresses, threats, everything was employed touce me to compliance. At last, I saw both of my parents fall at my knees and say to me with tears in their eyes, ‘My child have pity on your father, your mother, your country, our country, our subjects.’

‘No! No,’ I answered them. ‘My virginity, which I have vowed to God, comes before everything, before you, before my country. My kingdom is heaven.’

My words plunged them into despair and they brought me before the Emperor, who on his part did all in his power to win me. But his promises, his allurements, his threats, were equally useless. He then flew into a violent fit of anger and, influenced by the Devil, had me cast into one of the prisons of the palace, where he had me loaded with chains. Thinking that pain and shame would weaken the courage with which my Divine Spouse inspired me, he came to see me every day. After several days, the Emperor issued an order for my chains to be loosed, that I might take a small portion of bread and water. He renewed his attacks, some of which would have been fatal to purity had it not been for the grace of God.

The defeats which he always experienced were for me the preludes to new tortures. Prayer supported me. I did not cease to recommend myself to Jesus and his most pure Mother. My captivity had lasted thirty-seven days, when, in the midst of a heavenly light, I saw Mary holding the Divine Son in her arms.

‘My daughter,’ she said to me, ‘three days more of prison and after forty days you shall leave this state of pain.’

Such happy news made my heart beat with joy, but as the Queen of Angels had added that I should quit my prison, to sustain, in frightful torments a combat far more terrible than those preceding, I fell instantly from joy to the most cruel anguish; I thought it would kill me.

‘Have courage, my child,’ Mary then said to me; ‘are you unaware of the love of predilection that I bear for you? The name, which you received in baptism, is the pledge of it for the resemblance which it has to that of my Son and to mine. You are called Lumena, as your Spouse is called Light, Star, Sun, as I myself am called Aurora, Star, the Moon in the fullness of its brightness, and Sun. Fear not, I will aid you. Now nature, whose weakness humbles you, asserts its law. In the moment of combat, grace will come to lend you its force, and your Angel, who was also mine, Gabriel, whose name expresses strength, will come to your aid. I will recommend you especially to his care, as the well beloved among my children.’

These words of the Queen of virgins gave me courage again, and the vision disappeared, leaving my prison filled with a celestial perfume. I experienced a joy out of this world. Something indefinable.

What the Queen of Angels had prepared me for was soon experienced. Diocletian, despairing of bending me, decided on public chastisement to offend my virtue. He condemned me to be stripped and scourged like the Spouse I preferred to him. These are his horrifying words.

‘Since she is not ashamed to prefer to an Emperor like me, a malefactor condemned to an infamous death by his own people, she deserves that my justice shall treat her as he was treated.’

The prison guards hesitated to unclothe me entirely but they did tie me to a column in the presence of the great men of the court. They lashed me with violence until I was bathed in blood. My whole body felt like one open wound, but I did not faint.

The tyrant had me dragged back to the dungeon, expecting me to die. I hoped to join my heavenly Spouse. Two angels, shining with light, appeared to me in the darkness. They poured a soothing balm on my wounds, bestowing on me a vigor I did not have before the torture.

When the Emperor was informed by the change that had come over me, he had me brought before him. He viewed me with a greedy desire and tried to persuade me that I owed my healing and regained vigor to Jupiter, another god that he, the Emperor, had sent to me. He attempted to impress me with his belief that Jupiter desired me to be Empress of Rome. Joining to these seductive words promises of great honor, including the most flattering words, Diocletian tried to caress me. Fiendishly, he attempted to complete the work of Hell which he had begun. The Divine Spirit to whom I am indebted for constancy in preserving my purity seemed to fill me with light and knowledge and to all the proofs which I gave of the solidity of our Faith, neither Diocletian nor his courtiers could find an answer.

Then, the frenzied Emperor dashed at me, commanding a guard to chain an anchor around my neck and bury me deep in the waters of the Tiber. The order was executed. I was cast into the water, but God sent me two angels who unfastened the anchor. It fell into the river mud, where it remains no doubt to the present time. The angels transported me gently in full view of the multitude upon the riverbank. I came back unharmed, not even wet, after being plunged with the heavy anchor.

When a cry of joy rose from the debauchers on the shore, and so many embraced Christianity by proclaiming their belief in my God, Diocletian attributed my preservation to secret magic. Then the Emperor had me dragged through the streets of Rome and shot with a shower of arrows. My blood flowed, but I did not faint. Diocletian thought that I was dying and commanded the guards to carry me back to the dungeon. Heaven honored me with a new favor there. I fell into a sweet sleep, and I found myself, on awaking, perfectly cured.

Diocletian learned about it. ‘Well, then,’ he cried in a fit of rage, ‘let her be pierced with sharp darts a second time, and let her die in that torture.’ They hastened to obey him. Again, the archers bent their bows. They gathered all their strength, but the arrows refused to second their intentions. The Emperor was present. In a rage, he called me a magician, and thinking that the action of fire could destroy the enchantment, ordered the darts to be made in a furnace and directed against my heart. He was obeyed, but these darts, after having passed through a part of the space which they were to cross to come to me, took a quite contrary direction and returned to strike those by whom they had been hurled. Six of the archers were killed by them. Several among them renounced paganism, and the people began to render public testimony to the power of God that protected me.

These murmurs and acclamations infuriated the tyrant. He determined to hasten my death by ordering my head to be cut off. My soul took flight towards my heavenly Spouse, who placed me, with the crown of virginity and the palm of martyrdom, in a distinguished place among the elect. The day that was so happy for me and saw me enter into glory was Friday, the third hour after mid-day, the same hour that saw my Divine Master expire.

For more about this great saint visit http://www.philomena.org/patroness.asp

St. Philomena, Defender of purity, ora pro nobis!

~Damsel of the Faith

 

 

The forgotten day of Sunday

 

I gave you six days to work, I kept the seventh for myself, and no one wishes to grant it to me. This is what weighs down the arm of my Son so much.“~ Our Lady of La Salette

We wish our readers continued blessings during this Christmas Season! Christmas is only beginning, not ending! It is no wonder that today’s world regularly claims to be “depressed”. They have only one day of Christmas after all. Even if the Christ Child is now born, should that stop our Christmas joy? Do we only celebrate the birth of a child on the day he is born? It is rather a very joyous atmosphere for many more days to come. The same applies to only the greatest extent for Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Every Christmas Day is also quite unique in our age for a far different reason. When we go about traveling to Holy Mass and our families on this day, we see that virtually all of the stores and shops are closed. The vast majority have thankfully left their material interests aside for a day to enjoy the blessed company of family and friends and to (hopefully) attend Holy Mass in commemoration of the Birth of our Savior. It would seem, however, that Christmas Day is the only day of the year that the world still respects enough to keep holy. The commands of the Lord’s Day do not oblige only on this Christmas Day, but on every Sunday. In the post-Christian West, unfortunately, Sunday has become like any other day of the week. Businesses and worldly merriment continue on as usual. It is no surprise to see so much of the world economy in such a dire state. God does not bless such abuse of His day!

The famous Maria Von Trapp explained in her book, Around the Year with the Trapp Family, about the stark difference she encountered with the post-World War II Sundays in America as compared to the joyous Sundays in pre-Vatican II Catholic Austria. The Calvinist excesses in the West combined with Vatican II and the emergence of a proposed Freemasonic political “New World Order” have slowly but surely led to a materialistic, atheistic observance of Sunday. We are now imitating the Communist Soviet Union in this way!

Excerpts from Mrs. Von Trapp’s work:

“Our neighbors in Austria were a young couple, Baron and Baroness K. They were getting increasingly curious about Russia and what life there was really like. One day they decided to take a six-weeks trip all over Russia in their car. This was in the time when it was still possible to get a visa. Of course, at the border they were received by a special guide who watched their every step and did not leave them for a moment until he deposited them safely again at the border, but they still managed to get a good first-hand impression. Upon their return they wrote a book about their experiences, and when it was finished, they invited their neighbors and friends to their home in order to read some of their work to them. I shall always recall how slowly and solemnly Baron K. read us the title “The Land Without a Sunday.” Of all the things they had seen and observed, one experience had most deeply impressed them: that Russia had done away with Sunday. This had shocked them even more than what they saw of Siberian concentration camps or of the misery and hardship in cities and country. The absence of Sunday seemed to be the root of all the evil.

“Instead of a Sunday,” Baron K. told us, “the Russians have a day off. This happens at certain intervals which vary in different parts of the country. First they had a five-day week, with the sixth day off, then they had a nine-day work period, with the tenth day off; then again it was an eight-day week. What a difference between a day off and a Sunday! The people work in shifts. While one group enjoys its day off, the others continue to work in the factories or on the farms or in the stores, which are always open. As a result the over-all impression throughout the country was that of incessant work, work, work. The atmosphere was one of constant rush and drive; finally, we confessed to each other that what we were missing most was not a well-cooked meal, or a hot bath, but a quiet, peaceful Sunday with church bells ringing and people resting after prayer.”

Here I must first tell what a typical Sunday in Austria was like in the old days up to the year before the second world war. As I have spent most of my life in rural areas, it is Sunday in the country that I shall describe.

First of all, it begins on Saturday afternoon. In some parts of the country the church bell rings at three o’clock, in others at five o’clock, and the people call it “ringing in the Feierabend.” Just as some of the big feasts begin the night before–on Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, Easter Eve–so every Sunday throughout the year also starts on its eve. That gives Saturday night its hallowed character. When the church bell rings, the people cease working in the fields. They return with the horses and farm machinery, everything is stored away into the barns and sheds, and the barnyard is swept by the youngest farm-hand. Then everyone takes “the” bath and the men shave. There is much activity in the kitchen as the mother prepares part of the Sunday dinner, perhaps a special dessert; the children get a good scrub; everyone gets ready his or her Sunday clothes, and it is usually the custom to put one’s room in order–all drawers, cupboards and closets. Throughout the week the meals are usually short and hurried on a farm, but Saturday night everyone takes his time. Leisurely they come strolling to the table, standing around talking and gossiping. After the evening meal the rosary is said. In front of the statue or picture of the Blessed Mother burns a vigil light. After the rosary the father will take a big book containing all the Epistles and Gospels of the Sundays and feast days of the year, and he will read the pertinent ones now to his family. The village people usually go to Confession Saturday night, while the folks from the farms at a distance go on Sunday morning before Mass. Saturday night is a quiet night. There are no parties. People stay at home, getting attuned to Sunday. They go to bed rather early.

On Sunday everyone puts on his finery. The Sunday dress is exactly what its name implies–clothing reserved to be worn only on Sunday. We may have one or the other “better dress” besides. We may have evening gowns, party dresses–but this one is our Sunday best, set aside for the day of the Lord. When we put it on, we invariably feel some of the Sunday spirit come over us. In those days everybody used to walk to church even though it might amount to a one or two hours’ hike down and up a mountain in rain or shine. Families usually went to the High Mass; only those who took care of the little children and the cooking had to go to the early Mass. I feel sorry for everyone who has never experienced such a long, peaceful walk home from Sunday Mass, in the same way as I feel sorry for everyone who has never experienced the moments of twilight right after sunset before one would light the kerosene lamps. I know that automobiles and electric bulbs are more efficient, but still they are not complete substitutes for those other, more leisurely ways of living.

Throughout the country, all the smaller towns and villages have their cemeteries around the church; on Sunday, when the High Mass was over, the people would go and look for the graves of their dear ones, say a prayer, sprinkle holy water–a friendly Sunday visit with the family beyond the grave.

In most homes the Sunday dinner was at noon. The afternoon was often spent in visiting from house to house, especially visiting the sick. The young people would meet on the village green on Sunday afternoons for hours of folk dancing; the children would play games; the grownups would very often sit together and make music. Sunday afternoon was a time for rejoicing, for being happy, each in his own way.

Until that night at Baron K.’s house we had done pretty much the same as everybody else. Saturday we had always kept as “Feierabend” for Sunday. There was cleaning on Saturday morning throughout the house, there was cleaning in all the children’s quarters–desks and drawers and toys were put in order. There was the laying out of the Sunday clothes. There was the Saturday rosary, and then–early to bed.

On Sunday we often walked to the village church for High Mass, especially after we had started to sing. Later we used to go into the mountains with the children, taking along even the quite little ones, or we used to play an Austrian equivalent of baseball or volleyball, or we sat together and sang some of the songs we had collected ourselves on our hikes through the mountains. We also did a good deal of folk dancing, we had company come or we went visiting ourselves–just as everybody else used to do. And if anybody had asked us why we began our Sunday on Saturday in the late afternoon, why we celebrated our Sunday this way, we would have raised our eyebrows slightly and said, “Well, because that’s the way it’s always been done.”

(…..)

Even the younger ones knew that “to visit the sick” and “to help the poor” on Sunday corresponds to the character of a day of mercy–“dating back to the ninth century,” they would proudly explain to an unsuspecting uncle.

But, most of all and above all, the gay, joyful character of Sunday was jealously guarded, “because this is the day we should rejoice in the Lord.” The children would arrange folk dances with their friends, ball games in our garden, hikes through the mountains, and home music. Through all these activities, however, the contemplative character of Sunday was always evident, with the children demanding to read the Gospels together and to discuss the liturgy even during mealtime.

After our talk with Father Joseph, our previous observation of Sunday seemed to me like a house built on unprepared ground, until a true builder saw it, straightened it up, and put a strong foundation underneath.

And then we came to America.

In the first weeks we were too bewildered by too many things to notice any particular difference about the Sunday, but I remember missing the sound of the church bells. When I asked why the bells of St. Patrick’s Cathedral do not ring on Sunday morning, I was told, to my boundless astonishment, that it would be too much noise. These were the days when the elevated was still thundering above Sixth Avenue. Never before had we heard noise like this in the heart of a city!

Then we went on our first concert tour. As we were driving from coast to coast in the big blue bus, we tried to make the most of Sunday–as much as the situation permitted. On Saturday afternoon “Feierabend” was declared, and this meant no school (our children had their lessons in the bus and had to take tests twice a year). Then we met to prepare for Mass, as had become our custom under Father Joseph. Everyone took his missal and we either crowded together in the middle of the bus or met in a hotel room, all taking turns reading the texts of the Sunday Mass. This was followed by a more or less lively discussion and a question period led by Father Wasner. Sunday we would wear our Sunday dress, the special Austrian costume set apart for that day. But otherwise Sunday was the day when we were, perhaps, a little more homesick than on any other day, missing the church bells, missing the old-world Sunday.

As we got more used to being in America and as our English progressed, we made a startling discovery Saturday night in America! It was so utterly different from what we were used to. Everybody seemed to be out. The stores were open until ten, and people went shopping. Practically everybody seemed to go to a show or a dance or a party on Saturday night. And finally we discovered the consequence of the American Saturday night: the American Sunday morning. Towns abandoned, streets empty, everybody sleeping until the last minute and then whizzing in his car around the corner to the eleven o’clock Sunday service.

Once we were driving on a Sunday morning through the countryside in the State of Washington and we saw trucks and cars lined up along the fields and people picking berries just as on any other day. To see the farmers working on a Sunday all across the country is not unusual to us any more, and this happens not only during the most pressing seasons for crops.

When we lived in a suburb of Philadelphia in our second year in this country, we found that the rich man’s Sunday delight seemed to consist of putting on his oldest torn pants and cutting his front lawn, or washing his car with a hose, or even cutting down a tree (doctor’s orders–exercise!); while the ladies could be seen in dirty blue jeans mixing dirt and transplanting their perennials. There was none of that serenity and peace of the old-world Sunday anywhere until we discovered the Mennonites and the Pennsylvania Dutch. They even rang the church bells!

The climax of our discoveries about the American Sunday was reached when a lady exclaimed to us with real feeling, “Oh, how I hate Sunday! What a bore!” I can still hear the shocked silence that followed this remark. The children looked hurt and outraged, almost as if they expected fire to rain from heaven. Even the offender noticed something, and that made her explain why she hated Sunday as vigorously as she did. It explained a great deal of the mystery of the American Sunday.

“Why,” she burst out, “I was brought up the Puritan way. Every Saturday night our mother used to collect all our toys and lock them up. On Sunday morning we children had to sit through a long sermon which we didn’t understand; we were not allowed to jump or run or play.” When she met the unbelieving eyes of our children, she repeated, “Yes, honestly–no play at all.” Finally one of ours asked, “But what were you allowed to do?”

“We could sit on the front porch with the grownups or read the Bible. That was the only book allowed on Sunday.” And she added: “Oh, how I hated Sunday when I was young. I vowed to myself that when I grew up I would do the dirtiest work on Sunday, and if I should have children, they would be allowed to do exactly as they pleased. They wouldn’t even have to go to church.”

This was the answer. The pendulum had swung out too far to one side, and now it was going just as far in the other direction; let us hope it will find its proper position soon.

And then we bought cheaply a big, run-down farm in northern Vermont and set up home. By and by we built a house large enough for a big family, and a chapel with a little steeple and a bell. We could celebrate Sunday again to our heart’s content just as we were used to doing. Saturday is a day of cleaning and cooking in our home, and five o’clock rings in “Feierabend,” when all work ceases and everyone goes to wash up and dress. If there are any guests around the supper table, Father Wasner will announce that “after the dishes are done we will all meet in the living room, everybody with his missal, for the Sunday preparation, and everyone is heartily invited to join.” When we are all assembled, we start with a short prayer and then we take turns reading the different texts of the coming Sunday’s Mass, everybody participating in a careful examination of these texts. First we discuss briefly the particular season of the Church year. Then we ask ourselves how this Sunday fits into the season. Do the texts suggest a special mood? Some Sundays could almost be named the Sunday of Joy, or the Sunday of Confidence, the Sunday of Humility, the Sunday of Repentance. Everybody is supposed to speak up, to ask questions, to give his opinion. It is almost always a lively, delightful discussion. At the end we determine the special message of this Sunday and what we could do during the next week to put it into action, both for ourselves and for the people around us. After this preparation for Mass, we all go into the chapel, where we say the rosary together, followed by evening prayers and Benediction.

On Sunday we often sing a High Mass, either in our chapel or in the village church, and on the big Sundays of the year we sing vespers in the afternoon. We know this should become an indispensable part of Sunday, now even more so because the Holy Father has spoken.

I remember my astonishment when our Holy Father, Pope Pius XII, found it necessary to say, in his address on Catholic Action in September, 1947 “Sunday must become again the day of the Lord, the day of adoration, of prayer, of rest, of recollection and of reflection, of happy reunion in the intimate circle of the family.” Such a pronouncement, I knew, is meant for the whole world. Was Sunday endangered everywhere, then ?

In the year 1950 we traveled through Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, through the Caribbean Islands and Venezuela, through Brazil and Argentina; we crossed the Andes into Chile, we gave concerts in Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia; and after many months of travel in South America, we went to Europe on a concert tour and sang in many European countries. And I came to understand that the Christian Sunday is threatened more and more both from without and from within–from without through the systematic efforts of the enemies of Christianity, and from within through the mediocrity and superficiality of the Christians themselves who are making of Sunday merely a day of rest, relaxing from work only by seeking entertainment. There was once a time, the Old Testament tells us, when people had become so lazy that they shunned any kind of spiritual effort and no longer attended public worship, so that God threatened them through the mouth of the prophet Osee: “I shall cause all her joy to cease, her feast days and her Sabbath, and all her solemn feasts.”

And now the words of our present Holy Father in his encyclical “Mediator Dei” sound a similar warning:

“How will those Christians not fear spiritual death whose rest on Sundays and feast days is not devoted to religion and piety, but given over to the allurements of the world! Sundays and holidays must be made holy by divine worship which gives homage to God and heavenly food to the soul….Our soul is filled with the greatest grief when we see how the Christian people profane the afternoon of feast days….”

Newspapers and magazines nowadays all stress the necessity of fighting Communism. There is one weapon, however, which they do not mention and which would be the most effective one if wielded by every Christian. Again the Holy Father reminds us of it: “The results of the struggle between belief and unbelief will depend to a great extent on the use that each of the opposing fronts will make of Sunday.” We know what use Russia made of the Sunday. The question now is:

And how about us–you and I?”

Dear readers, the world will not be converted until all nations keep holy the Lord’s Day. May our families and our chapels be the beginning of this great restoration! Let us observe Sunday as beautifully as little Therese:

“And if the great feasts came but seldom, each week brought one very dear to my heart, and that was Sunday. What a glorious day! The Feast of God! The day of rest! First of all the whole family went to High Mass, and I remember that before the sermon we had to come down from our places, which were some way from the pulpit, and find seats in the nave. This was not always easy, but to little Thérèse and her Father everyone offered a place. My uncle was delighted when he saw us come down; he called me his “Sunbeam,” and said that to see the venerable old man leading his little daughter by the hand was a sight which always filled him with joy. I never troubled myself if people looked at me, I was only occupied in listening attentively to the preacher. A sermon on the Passion of our Blessed Lord was the first I understood, and it touched me deeply. I was then five and a half, and after that time I was able to understand and appreciate all instructions. If St. Teresa was mentioned, my Father would bend down and whisper to me: “Listen attentively, little Queen, he is speaking of your holy patroness.” I really did listen attentively, but I must own I looked at Papa more than at the preacher, for I read many things in his face. Sometimes his eyes were filled with tears which he strove in vain to keep back; and as he listened to the eternal truths he seemed no longer of this earth, his soul was absorbed in the thought of another world. Alas! Many long and sorrowful years had to pass before Heaven was to be opened to him, and Our Lord with His Own Divine Hand was to wipe away the bitter tears of His faithful servant.

To go back to the description of our Sundays. This happy day which passed so quickly had also its touch of melancholy; my happiness was full till Compline, but after that a feeling of sadness took possession of me. I thought of the morrow when one had to begin again the daily life of work and lessons, and my heart, feeling like an exile on this earth, longed for the repose of Heaven—the never ending Sabbath of our true Home.”

~Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”(On the feast of St. John the Apostle)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May the Land of Liberty be converted and serve God

Image result for america art

To begin our “after Election Day post”, I am pleased to share with our readers some wonderful news from Tradition.  Francis Awerkamp, of St. Mary’s, KS, has won a seat in the Kansas House of Representatives.  Mr. Awerkamp and his family are devout traditional Catholics and support the Society of St. Pius X.  The Damsel and I have been following his campaign closely and endorse him wholeheartedly.  I believe our readers will also if they review his positions on the important issues: http://www.francisawerkamp.com/

It is very refreshing to see the results when a large, vibrant Catholic community has a major say in what official is elected to represent them.  It was likewise amazing to witness such fervent prayer from so many Catholics in preparation for Election Day.  How many stories I have heard of good Catholics who constantly prayed rosaries and novenas privately and publicly!  Even usually lukewarm diocesan parishes held public rosaries and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  We all prayed that candidates would be selected who would uphold God’s laws, especially in regards to the slaughtering of innocents.  We also implored God that our country would not receive its death blow from electing immoral, Communist candidates, particularly in regards to the Presidency, for which one of the most evil platforms in history was on the ballot.  Thanks be to God, our nation and our freedoms live to fight another day.

Again(and as has been beaten almost to death), while a Trump/Pence administration might not necessarily be “perfect”, it represents a beacon of hope if campaign promises are fulfilled.  For example, if proper Supreme Court Justices are chosen, perhaps Roe v. Wade will indeed end up on that “ashbin of history” as Mr. Pence has stated.  Perhaps ideas such as Common Core and requiring every bakery in the land to submit to “gay” “marriage” will be reversed.  God has certainly used more imperfect means than Donald Trump.  After all, He has placed the Heaven-sent remedy for true world peace in the hands of some of the most radical Pontiffs in history, for whom we pray that one might finally consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart.

Let us pray for our elected officials that they might lay down in this country a solid foundation to restore all things in Christ.  Anyone who believes that we’ll all of a sudden wake up one day to find ourselves ruled by St. Louis IX is mistaken.  God does not work this way.  A foundation will have to first be set for an eventual renewal.  We see this in the “official” Church structures, where Tradition is slowly awakening through the fruits of an imperfect document, Summorum Pontificum. 

I have provided below this prayer composed at the first diocesan synod in the United States of America.  It was also posted this week by sspx.org.  Pray then for our election officials, that they might begin to restore this country under Christ!

Prayer for the Nation

We pray, Thee O Almighty and Eternal God! Who through Jesus Christ hast revealed Thy glory to all nations, to preserve the works of Thy mercy, that Thy Church, being spread through the whole world, may continue with unchanging faith in the confession of Thy Name.

We pray Thee, who alone art good and holy, to endow with heavenly knowledge, sincere zeal, and sanctity of life, our chief bishop, Pope N., the Vicar of Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the government of his Church; our own bishop, N., all other bishops, prelates, and pastors of the Church; and especially those who are appointed to exercise amongst us the functions of the holy ministry, and conduct Thy people into the ways of salvation.

We pray Thee O God of might, wisdom, and justice! Through whom authority is rightly administered, laws are enacted, and judgment decreed, assist with Thy Holy Spirit of counsel and fortitude the President of these United States, that his administration may be conducted in righteousness, and be eminently useful to Thy people over whom he presides; by encouraging due respect for virtue and religion; by a faithful execution of the laws in justice and mercy; and by restraining vice and immorality. Let the light of Thy divine wisdom direct the deliberations of Congress, and shine forth in all the proceedings and laws framed for our rule and government, so that they may tend to the preservation of peace, the promotion of national happiness, the increase of industry, sobriety, and useful knowledge; and may perpetuate to us the blessing of equal liberty.

We pray for his excellency, the governor of this state, for the members of the assembly, for all judges, magistrates, and other officers who are appointed to guard our political welfare, that they may be enabled, by Thy powerful protection, to discharge the duties of their respective stations with honesty and ability.

We recommend likewise, to Thy unbounded mercy, all our brethren and fellow citizens throughout the United States, that they may be blessed in the knowledge and sanctified in the observance of Thy most holy law; that they may be preserved in union, and in that peace which the world cannot give; and after enjoying the blessings of this life, be admitted to those which are eternal.

Finally, we pray to Thee, O Lord of mercy, to remember the souls of Thy servants departed who are gone before us with the sign of faith and repose in the sleep of peace; the souls of our parents, relatives, and friends; of those who, when living, were members of this congregation, and particularly of such as are lately deceased; of all benefactors who, by their donations or legacies to this Church, witnessed their zeal for the decency of divine worship and proved their claim to our grateful and charitable remembrance.

To these, O Lord, and to all that rest in Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, a place of refreshment, light, and everlasting peace, through the same Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior. Amen.

~Steven C.,”Knight of Tradition”