Knight of Tradition’s Posts

This is just an easier way to view Steven’s posts, in consecutive order. Check back here as I will be adding all of his posts to this page. Thank you!

The importance of giving a Christian name

The following is The Knight of Tradition’s first post on the importance of giving a Christian name to children.  Many thanks for such an excellent post, Steven!


The traditional Code of Canon Law clearly states that a child must be baptized with a Christian name:

“Pastors should take care that a Christian name is given to those whom they baptize; but if they are not able to bring this about, they will add to the name given by the parents the name of some Saint and record both names in the book of baptisms.” (Canon 761)

The 1983 Code, while regrettably a bit more ambiguous on this matter, still states in Canon 855 that “Parents, sponsors, and the pastor are to take care that a name foreign to Christian sensibility is not given.”

It would seem perfectly licit to question whether many of the popular names in the ever de-Christianizing West are acceptable to a proper”Christian sensibility”.  Compared to pre-Vatican II times when Christian children were most often named after a great saint, a particular virtue, etc., the world appears to be reverting to paganism with the newest name trends and ideas.

If a name is supposed to symbolize the parents’ love and interests, what does that say about so many Christian parents today?  Our Blessed Mother and the great Saints are being passed over for the movie stars and latest “trends”.  The current loss of Faith in the West is most certainly reflected in the names it chooses to give to the next generation.

Fr. Roger Landry, in a 2011 column for The Anchor, writes:

“…Recently, the Social Security Administration published a list of the 1,000 most popular boys’ and girls’ names chosen by American parents in 2009. The main headline for most of the press accounts was that the name “Mary” – which in every year from 1910-1965 was either the first or the second most popular girls’ name – was no longer even in the top 100. American parents as a whole were choosing the names Alyssa, Aubrey, Avery, and Aaliyah, Hailey, Bailey, Kaylee, and Riley, Layla, Makayla, Morgan and Destiny more than they were choosing to name their child over the spiritual mother Jesus on the cross gave to the human race. While Marian derivatives Maria (71st) and Mariah (88th) did make the top 100, they still trailed those named after Manhattan boulevards (Madison, seventh), adrenal disorders (Addison, 12th), Big Apple Boroughs (Brooklyn, 37th) and even the suggested overturning of heaven (Nevaeh – heaven spelled backwards – 34th) by large margins.

On the boys’ side, things are not much better. Beginning in 1910, when the frequency of names began to be documented, through 1972, the names of the foster-father of Jesus and of the four evangelists were firmly entrenched in the top 10 each year. They haven’t fallen nearly as much as the name of the Mother of God, but Joseph is now 16th (its lowest since records began getting kept in 1910), Matthew is 13th, John is 26th, Luke is 48th, Mark is 154th. At a practical level, parents are opting just as much or more for Braydon, Brody and Bryson, Jayden, Jaxon, and Jace, Colton, Caden and Camden.

At a human level, one of the first and most long-lasting gifts – or burdens – parents give to a child is a name. This is the way the child will generally be referred to for the rest of his or her life. The child will hear that name literally millions of times over the course of a lifetime. The choice of a name can have a profound impact on the child’s development and self-identity. If, for example, the child receives a name that is equally given to boys and girls – in 2009, like Peyton (43rd for girls, 147th for boys), Taylor (22nd for girls, 298th for boys), or Jordan (45th for boys, 150th for girls) – he or she will likely have a lifetime of misaddressed envelopes, salutations and other tiresome or embarrassing situations. If someone is given a neologism like Addisyn, Aditya, Alayna, Arjun, Ayaan, Deandre, Jaliyah, Jamarion, Jaxen, Kaydence, Kimora, Misael, Nayeli, Saniyah, Xander, Xiomara, Xzavier, Yamilet, Yareli Yaritza, or Zavion – all of which are among the top 1,000 U.S. names in 2009 – not only will these children have to suffer through others’ not knowing by their name whether they’re male or female but they’ll also have to endure a lifetime of mispronunciations as well as having to repeat and spell out their names over-and-over-again. What may have begun with the parents’ wanting to give a “special” name to a beloved child will turn into a lifetime of unnecessary hassles, when others will be forced to ask them, “What did you say your name was again?”

A child’s name is not an email handle where one can basically get as creative as one wants. A child’s name, rather, communicates in a sense a person’s identity and can dramatically impact a child’s development. If Mr. and Mrs. Dover call their son Ben, they’re setting him up for a life of ridicule. If they name him Benorenaliyah, they’re setting him up for a life of social confusion and awkwardness. If they name their child after a soap opera star, professional athlete, rock star, or reality show personality, not only are they manifesting a regrettable superficiality, but they are also linking their child to someone who likely will be irrelevant later. How many adults today would prefer to be called Humphrey or Petula? It’s quite possible that in 50 years, people will feel the same way about being called Eminem or Rihanna, Shaquille or Shakira.”

Thank you, Father!  May Catholic parents hold to the traditions of their forefathers and give their children truly Christian names!  What a rebuke it is to the modern world, which tries night and day to eliminate the last vestiges of Tradition from our grasps!

This is not to say, however, that we ought to cast judgement on children who have these names or on their parents who have chosen these names for them.  Let us simply strive to be faithful to our beloved Catholic Tradition and to show a true Christian love in selecting the perfect name for our children!

~Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”


Aim for Heaven, not Purgatory

The Knight of Tradition’s beautiful post on Purgatory:

Often Catholics today seem to have a misunderstanding of Purgatory. It would seem that for some, Purgatory is simply a nice “rest stop” on the way to Heaven, and besides, you don’t necessarily have to work as hard to get there! How the lukewarm Catholics of the world would repent and amend their stagnant spiritual lives if they knew truly what Purgatory was like! Also, we human beings know that we sometimes fall short of our often unreasonable goals. If one happens to fall short of Purgatory, eternal Hell is the only other option.

St. Catherine of Genoa, who was shown Purgatory by God, said that “no tongue can express, nor any mind form any idea of what Purgatory really is. As to the suffering, it is equal to that of hell.”

St. John Vianney on the fire of Purgatory- “The fire of Purgatory is the same as the fire of Hell; the difference between them is that the fire of Purgatory is not everlasting.”

Two quotes from St. John Vianney on lukewarm Christians and the sufferings in Purgatory- “What years of Purgatory will there be for those Christians who have no difficulty at all in deferring their prayers to another time on the excuse of having to do some pressing work! If we really desired the happiness of possessing God, we should avoid the little faults as well as the big ones, since separation from God is so frightful a torment to all these poor souls!”

“I come to tell you that they suffer in Purgatory, that they weep, and that they demand with urgent cries the help of your prayers and your good works. I seem to hear them crying from the depths of those fires which devour them: “Tell our loved ones, tell our children, tell all our relatives how great the evils are which they are making us suffer. We throw ourselves at their feet to implore the help of their prayers. Ah! Tell them that since we have been separated from them, we have been here burning in the flames!

It is certainly true that unlike the despairing and eternal torments of Hell, the sufferings of Purgatory are filled with joy and hope, as the Holy Souls await a certain welcoming into Heaven. It is also accepted that there are many different levels of Purgatory, so a pious Christian who did not quite reach Heaven immediately will have significantly less suffering than a lukewarm Catholic who barely had a foot in the door.

Should good Catholics despair then and accept Purgatory as an unavoidable fate? Certainly not!

St. Therese of Lisieux to one of her fellow sisters, Sr. Maria Philomena:

“You do not have enough trust. You have too much fear before the good God. I can assure you that He is grieved over this. You should not fear Purgatory because of the suffering there, but should instead ask that you not deserve to go there in order to please God, Who so reluctantly imposes this punishment. As soon as you try to please Him in everything and have an unshakable trust,He purifies you every moment in His love and He lets no sin remain. And then you can be sure that you will not have to go to Purgatory.”

Padre Pio on how one could avoid Purgatory:

“By accepting everything from God’s hand. Offering everything up to Him with love and thanksgiving will enable us to pass from our deathbed to paradise.”

Let us all make a resolution to avoid Purgatory by putting our hope and trust in the all-good God and by accepting His most Holy Will!

~Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”


God to blame?

The Knight of Tradition’s response to Bishop Lynch’s absurd accusations against Christ and His Church:

Bishop Robert Lynch of the diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida, posted the following on his blog regarding the mass shooting incident in Orlando, FL:

ORLANDO, ORLANDO WE LOVE YOU

Today I write with a heavy heart arising from the tragedy which occurred in the early morning hours yesterday at a Gay, Lesbian, Transgender night club in Orlando, our neighbor to the east. Yesterday, the best I could muster was to send these words by text message to my brother, Bishop John Noonan, bishop of Orlando: “John, I am so sorry. With love to and for all.” Today with a new dawn, I once again have some thoughts which I wish to share.

Our founding parents had no knowledge of assault rifles which are intended to be weapons of mass destruction. In crafting the second amendment to the Constitution which I affirm, they thought only of the most awkward of pistols and heavy shotguns. I suspect they are turning in their graves if they can but glimpse at what their words now protect. It is long past time to ban the sale of all assault weapons whose use should be available only to the armed forces. If one is truly pro-life, then embrace this issue also and work for the elimination of sales to those who would turn them on innocents.

Second, sadly it is religion, including our own, which targets, mostly verbally, and also often breeds contempt for gays, lesbians and transgender people. Attacks today on LGBT men and women often plant the seed of contempt, then hatred, which can ultimately lead to violence. Those women and men who were mowed down early yesterday morning were all made in the image and likeness of God. We teach that. We should believe that. We must stand for that. Without yet knowing who perpetrated the PULSE mass murders, when I saw the Imam come forward at a press conference yesterday morning, I knew that somewhere in the story there would be a search to find religious roots. While deranged people do senseless things, all of us observe, judge and act from some kind of religious background. Singling out people for victimization because of their religion, their sexual orientation, their nationality must be offensive to God’s ears. It has to stop also.

Third, responding by barring people of Muslim only faith from entering the country solely because of their stated faith until they can be checked out is un-American, even in these most challenging of times and situations. There are as many good, peace loving and God fearing Muslims to be found as Catholics or Methodists or Mormons or Seventh Day Adventists. The devil and devilish intent escape no religious iteration.

Will we ever learn? I hope so but until the above three points are taken seriously by society, sadly, tragically, we can expect more Orlandos. May the souls of those faithful departed who met their God early Sunday morning rest in peace, and those recovering from deep wounds heal, help and hope.

+RNL

Well, to begin with, Dr. Thomas D. Williams writing for the politically conservative American website Breitbart.com, notes that “the bishop made no attempt to explain how a 29-year-old Muslim who never stepped foot in a Catholic Church would have been motivated to carry out his deed by a supposed Catholic “contempt” for homosexuality.”  What a truly unbelievable statement from a successor of the Apostles!  To say that our Catholic Faith shoulders much of the blame for this incident since it “targets” and “breeds contempt” for these “LGBT” individuals!  This is not to dismiss the rest of the letter, which reads much more like a political commentary from Hillary Clinton than it does as a letter from a bishop to his faithful.  This Bishop is using his position given to him by the Church to criticize the Catholic Faith itself, a lack of proper gun control, and Donald Trump’s proposal on Muslims entering the U.S., rather than the true evils present in this anti-Christ society.  What kind of a message does this convey to Catholic Faithful everywhere, especially those in St. Petersburg?

I will mainly focus on the statement regarding our Catholic Faith.  I suspect this post might attract many visitors from Google searches and the like, so a few quotes are in order.  First, a few quotes on the Church’s teaching rearding the sin of Sodomy:

St. John Chrysostom: “But if thou scoffest at hearing of hell and believest not that fire, remember Sodom. For we have seen, surely we have seen, even in this present life, a semblance of hell. For since many would utterly disbelieve the things to come after the resurrection, hearing now of an unquenchable fire, God brings them to a right mind by things present. For such is the burning of Sodom, and that conflagration!…

“Consider how great is that sin, to have forced hell to appear even before its time!… For that rain was unwonted, for the intercourse was contrary to nature, and it deluged the land, since lust had done so with their souls. Wherefore also the rain was the opposite of the customary rain. Now not only did it fail to stir up the womb of the earth to the production of fruits, but made it even useless for the reception of seed. For such was also the intercourse of the men, making a body of this sort more worthless than the very land of Sodom. And what is there more detestable than a man who hath pandered himself, or what more execrable?”

Pope St. Gregory the Great: “Sacred Scripture itself confirms that sulfur evokes the stench of the flesh, as it speaks of the rain of fire and sulfur poured upon Sodom by the Lord. He had decided to punish Sodom for the crimes of the flesh, and the very type of punishment he chose emphasized the shame of that crime. For sulfur stinks, and fire burns. So it was just that Sodomites, burning with perverse desires arising from the flesh like stench, should perish by fire and sulfur so that through this just punishment they would realize the evil they had committed, led by a perverse desire.”

Catechism of the Council of Trent on The Sixth Commandment: “In the Gospel, too, Christ the Lord says: From the heart come forth adulteries and fornications, which defile a man. The Apostle Paul expresses his detestation of this crime frequently, and in the strongest terms: This is the will of God, your sanctification, that you should abstain from fornication; Fly fornication; Keep not company with fornicators; Fornication, and an uncleanness and covetousness, let it not so much as be named among you; Neither fornicators nor adulterers, nor the effeminate nor sodomites shall possess the kingdom of God.”

Catholic Encyclopedia article on Lust: “Theologians ordinarily distinguish various forms of lust in so far as it is a consummated external sin, e.g., fornication, adultery, incest, criminal assault, abduction, and sodomy.”

However, when faced with the common accusations that the Catholic Faith is uncharitable or that the Bible says “Who are we to judge?”, good Catholics must know how to respond.  I present to our readers the following from Jim Blackburn of Catholic Answers.  Although the authors of this site do not endorse everything Catholic Answers and theCatechism of the Catholic Church say, this is a fine rebuttal to the questions that have been raised.

“…Often people in these situations have tried to take some action already, only to be shot down immediately with the accusation that they are being “judgmental,” that the Bible teaches us not to judge others, that they should just mind their own business. “After all,” they’re told, “I’m not judging you and you shouldn’t be judging me. Read the Bible.” But is that really what the Bible teaches?

When pressed to show where the Bible supports this, those who can come up with any response at all usually point to Jesus’ words found in the Gospel of Matthew, “Judge not, that you not be judged.” Most people will stop there, with the clear conviction that the Bible teaches that we are not to pass any form of judgment on others. A closer look at this Bible verse and other related verses, however, uncovers a different understanding of Jesus’ teaching.

First, let’s look at the full context of Jesus’ words:

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me take the speck out of your eye,” when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. (Matt. 7:1-5)

If we break this passage down line by line, it becomes clear that Jesus was not telling his disciples that they could not ever judge the behavior of others. Rather, he was cautioning them to live righteous lives themselves so that their judgment of others’ behavior would not be rashjudgment and their efforts would be effective in admonishing their neighbors.

“Judge not, that you be not judged.” By itself, this statement could be construed to mean that one may escape even God’s judgment simply by not judging the behavior of others. Of course, everyone is judged by God, so this cannot be a proper understanding. Jesus goes on to reformulate his statement in a positive way: “With the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.” Jesus indeed expects his disciples to judge but he warns that they, too, will be judged in a like manner.

This is reminiscent of the line in the Lord’s Prayer, “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us” (Matt. 6:12). Much more than a simple warning that God will treat us as we treat others, this is an appeal to each of us to be as much as we can like God in the way that we treat others. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, “there has to be a vital participation, coming from the depths of the heart, in the holiness and the mercy and the love of our God. Only the Spirit by whom we live can make ‘ours’ the same mind that was in Christ Jesus” (CCC 2842).

In the next two lines Jesus cautions against hypocrisy: “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?” Judging hypocritically is not effective. A petty thief admonished by a bank robber only scoffs at his admonisher.

Jesus then explains how to judge rightly: “First take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” Much to the point of this article, there can be no doubt that those final words—”take the speck out of your brother’s eye”—are, indeed, permission to judge so long as it is done rightly.

Other Bible passages which seem on the surface to indicate a condemnation of judging others’ behavior may be treated similarly in their full context. The idea of rightly judging the behavior of others can be found throughout the New Testament.

Jesus told the Jews, “Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment” (John 7:24).

He instructed his disciples what to do if someone sins against them:

Go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. (Matt. 18:15-17)

It is not possible to follow Jesus’ instructions without being “judgmental” of another’s behavior.

Paul, too, exhorted right judgment of other Christians: “For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. Drive out the wicked person from among you” (1 Cor. 5:12-13).

Also, “Do you not know that the saints [i.e. Christians] will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, matters pertaining to this life!…Shun immorality” (1 Cor. 6:2-18).

A look at the Old Testament reveals similar teaching: “You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor” (Lev. 19:15).

Clearly, contrary to what many would prefer to believe, the Bible exhorts us to rightly judge the behavior of others. The Catholic Church teaches likewise but cautions us just as Jesus did the disciples:

Respect for the reputationof persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty:

  • of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;
  • of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;
  • of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way: “Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.” (CCC 2477-2478)

Having said all that, there is a big difference between judging another’s behavior and judging the eternal state of his soul. The latter judgment belongs only to God. Jesus addressed this type of judgment too:

The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment. I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. (John 5:22-30)

Clearly, in this context, Jesus was speaking of judgment as condemnation or eternal damnation. Such judgment is reserved to him alone.

So, when faced with the immoral behavior of loved ones, how can we be sure to rightly judge behavior? In Jesus’ own words, we must start by taking the logs out of our own eyes—by making sure we are doing the best we can to live lives of good example. We must also strive to form our consciences correctly so that we know sin when we see it. Finally, we must not jump to conclusions about another’s culpability in sin. Doing all this will help to ensure that our admonitions are seen as the loving actions we intend them to be—meant to help our loved ones live their lives in ways that are pleasing to God. Only then can our efforts be effective in helping to take these ugly specks out of our brothers’ eyes.”

So, as Bp. Robert Lynch condemns the Catholic Faith for treating “LGBT” people in such a way as to target and breed “contempt” for them, he calumniates Christ and His Angelic Bride.  He may as well have said that God Himself is to blame, since the teachings criticized are those of God Himself as reflected in His Church.  What an example of “diabolical disorientation” as prophesied by Our Lady of Fatima!  Our Lady of Fatima, ora pro nobis!

~Steven C., “Knight of Tradition


On blogging in the spirit of Christ

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The Knight of Tradition’s post on the importance of blogging and/or using the internet with Christian Charity:

I would like to point out to our readers the following from the SSPX Asian District Website. It is our prayer on this blog that we may faithfully use this ever powerful tool of the Internet for the good of souls and the good of Tradition.  Certainly the Internet can be used as a  means to help souls see the light of truth.  It can also be used much more easily to spread gossip and rumors, to destroy one’s reputation, to scatter the flock, to confuse and destroy souls.  How great the penalty will be for those who were given such a powerful means and used it to trample on Our Lord, His Holy Roman Catholic Church, and good Catholic faithful!  May we all resolve to always use our blogs and websites to stand for the goodness and beauty of truth!

The Internet and the Imitation of Jesus Christ

(or wise advice for bloggers)

Book One, Fourth Chapter: Prudence in Action

Do not yield to every impulse and suggestion but consider things carefully and patiently in the light of God’s will. For very often, sad to say, we are so weak that we believe and speak evil of others rather than good. Perfect men, however, do not readily believe every talebearer, because they know that human frailty is prone to evil and is likely to appear in speech. Not to act rashly or to cling obstinately to one’s opinion, not to believe everything people say or to spread abroad the gossip one has heard, is great wisdom. Take counsel with a wise and conscientious man. Seek the advice of your betters in preference to following your own inclinations. A good life makes a man wise according to God and gives him experience in many things, for the more humble he is and the more subject to God, the wiser and the more at peace he will be in all things.

Book One, Sixth Chapter: Unbridled Affections

When a man desires a thing too much, he at once becomes ill at ease. A proud
and avaricious man never rests, whereas he who is poor and humble of heart lives in a
world of peace. An unmortified man is quickly tempted and overcome in small, trifling
evils; his spirit is weak, in a measure carnal and inclined to sensual things; he can hardly
abstain from earthly desires. Hence it makes him sad to forego them; he is quick to anger
if reproved. Yet if he satisfies his desires, remorse of conscience overwhelms him
because he followed his passions and they did not lead to the peace he sought. True peace
of heart, then, is found in resisting passions, not in satisfying them. There is no peace in
the carnal man, in the man given to vain attractions, but there is peace in the fervent and

spiritual man.

Book One, Tenth Chapter Avoiding Idle Talk

Shun the gossip of men as much as possible, for discussion of worldly affairs,
even though sincere, is a great distraction inasmuch as we are quickly ensnared and
captivated by vanity. Many a time I wish that I had held my peace and had not associated
with men. Why, indeed, do we converse and gossip among ourselves when we so seldom
part without a troubled conscience? We do so because we seek comfort from one
another’s conversation and wish to ease the mind wearied by diverse thoughts. Hence, we
talk and think quite fondly of things we like very much or of things we dislike intensely.
But, sad to say, we often talk vainly and to no purpose; for this external pleasure
effectively bars inward and divine consolation. Therefore we must watch and pray lest
time pass idly. When the right and opportune moment comes for speaking, say something
that will edify. Bad habits and indifference to spiritual progress do much to remove the
guard from the tongue. Devout conversation on spiritual matters, on the contrary, is a
great aid to spiritual progress, especially when persons of the same mind and spirit

associate together in God.

~Steven C, “Knight of Tradition”

Catholic modesty during the Summer

As summer is now upon us, we thought it might be well to refer our readers to some helpful good reads on proper modesty in dress.  How the devil and the modern world can be tempting in our choice of dress during these warmer months!  It is my hope for this post to encourage our readers to stand up to this terrible trend and be a shining witness of true Christ or Marylike modesty!  The best good deed we can do for others in this regard is to provide the proper example.  On that note, we have attached this excellent link on Modesty from The Fatima Center:

www.fatima.org/essentials/requests/mid.pdf

We also recommend this excellent short article from the SSPX below.  Since the stance concerning women wearing trousers can even sometimes seem controversial to Catholics of good will, we also attach Cardinal Siri’s 1960 notification to Catholic educators concerning this matter.  Besides simply covering our bodies, the temples of the Holy Ghost they must be, we ought to also dress in a manner that does not contradict our God-given nature.  We do not intend for this post to sound judgemental or “fundamentalist”, but rather that it may encourage others to show good example, so that little by little, Christendom may be restored in all of its glory!

~Damsel of the Faith & Knight of Tradition


How Catholics ought to dress

July 05, 2013

Now that the heat of summer is upon us, this is a good opportunity to briefly review the topic of how Catholics should apparel themselves.

Pastor’s Corner for Sunday, June 21

Summer is on us and with it, the heat. Which makes us feel the need to discard layers of clothes and be freer with our movements. With this desire though, necessarily comes the obligation to continue dressing modestly, and here are some tips about accomplishing this in our own day and age.

It is good to review the dress code that should be posted at the entrance of churches in accordance with Canon Law (CIC 1262, 2). Though this reflects the Church’s mind for sacred places, it nonetheless also comprises a general rule of thumb for public life.

And while every Catholic has rights (to receive the sacraments), he or she also has duties to fulfill in order to maintain these rights; thus why the Holy See has gone so far (for the preservation of souls) to prescribe: “to remove from Communion and even from Church, improperly dressed women.”[1]—this rule can of course be applied also to men.

Another quick rule of thumb is to dress in a dignified manner that will evoke respect. For in addition to providing an edifying example, our dress also defines who we are in society. Thus the appropriateness of a mother’s or father’s dress (particularly in the privacy of home life) can positively or negatively impact the formation of their children—this important aspect is not only contingent upon the modesty of the clothes worn by the parents, but even by their quality, that is, dressing shabbily versus well within one’s means.

An even further consideration for men and women is to dress properly according to their nature, or respectively, according to their masculinity or femininity. For men, this means they should not wear tight-fitting clothes or in general, go shirtless in public (especially for fathers, even around the home in front of their children).

For the ladies, to dress like a man (such as wearing pants) is improper and contradicts a woman’s God-given femininity. That this is not merely an “old fuddy duddy’s” quibble, should be evident when we realize that the proponents of unisex clothing have also been the same“gender theory” people behind the promotion of sins against nature.

It is interesting to note that the “Lion of Campos”, Bishop de Castro Mayer, once famously remarked in a pastoral letter that he would prefer a woman to wear a mini-skirt rather than pants. For while the mini-skirt was immodest, it was at least feminine, while pants contradicted a woman’s nature (thus the former attacked the senses, while the latter warped the intellect).

Therefore, so-called “woman’s pants” (usually worn out of pleasure or commodity) are not the proper garb of a Catholic (or Marian-like) girl or lady, either in the parish, domestic or social life. However, if the wearing pants by women cannot be completely avoided due to the circumstances of our time (profession, security, extraordinary activity, etc.), they should at least disappear from family, social and parish life.

Concerning modest dress—and this applies to both men and women—the underlying principle is that it should more cover, rather than expose oneself to the allurement of the public eye. Thus both men and women should dress so as to inspire respect and chaste love, as opposed to the enkindling of lust.

Albeit, finding proper clothes today can be very difficult today, as most fashions are terribly provocative and have been designed to induce impurity. This is especially the case for women’s fashions; however, good women (using a bit of resourcefulness) can still manage to dress with modest attractiveness and charm—and without appearing that they have just stepped off a set of Little House on the Prairie!

A last word regarding the issue of swimming. Unfortunately there is little available in the stores today that is even half-way decent, or modest, though some have attempted to alleviate this deficiency by wearing t-shirts over their swimwear. But even more importantly perhaps are the oft-ignored ecclesiastical admonitions against the dangers of swimming in public places. Thus we are compelled to exhort families to make the effort to find a secluded place to swim amongst themselves—or not at all. Better to forgo the recreational (and optional) pleasure of swimming then to endanger the souls of one’s family (or of others)!

In concluding this brief review on the importance of dressing modestly, here are some pertinent quotes (and one illustrative example)—which far from being ancient, are of recent date, and thus ever new.


Quotes

G.K. Chesterton:unless we live as we believe, we’ll end up believing as we live.”

Pope Pius XII:The purity of souls living the supernatural life of grace is not preserved and will never be preserved without combat.” Many women and girls stubbornly persist in “following certain shameless styles like so many sheep.” “They would certainly blush if they could guess the impression they make and the feeling they evoke in those who see them.”

Padre Pio (+1968) repeatedly refused to absolve women who did not wear a skirt that extended at least 8 inches below the knee, while also insisting that they did not wear slacks.

Our Lady of Fatima:
The sins of the world are too great! The sins which lead most souls to hell are sins of the flesh! Certain fashions are going to be introduced which will offend Our Lord very much. Those who serve God should not follow these fashions. The Church has no fashions; Our Lord is always the same.”

From Cardinal Siri:

Notification Concerning

Men’s Dress Worn by Women

Giuseppe Cardinal Siri

Genoa

June 12, 1960

To the Reverend Clergy
To all Teaching Sisters,
To the Beloved Sons of Catholic Action,
To Educators intending truly to follow Christian Doctrine.
I. The first signs of our late arriving spring indicate this year a certain increase in the use of men’s dress by girls and women, even mothers of families. Up until 1959, in Genoa, such dress usually meant the person was a tourist, but now there seems to be a significant number of girls and women from Genoa itself who are choosing, at least on pleasure trips, to wear men’s dress (men’s trousers).
The spreading of this behavior obliges us to give serious consideration to the subject, and we ask those to whom this Notification is addressed to kindly give this problem all the attention it deserves, as befits those aware of being answerable to God.
We seek above all to give a balanced moral judgment upon the wearing of men’s dress by women. In fact, our thoughts bear solely upon the moral question.
Firstly, when if comes to covering of the female body, the wearing of men’s trousers by women cannot be said to constitute as such a grave offense against modesty, because trousers certainly cover more of woman’s body that do modern women’s skirts.
Secondly, however, to be modest clothes need not simply cover the body but must also not cling too closely to the body. Now it is true that much feminine clothing nowadays clings closer than do some trousers, but trousers can be made to cling closer, and, in fact, generally do; hence, the tight fit of such clothing gives us no less grounds for concern than does exposure of the body. So the immodesty of men’s trousers on women is an aspect of the problem which is not to be left out of an over-all judgment upon them even if it is not to be artificially exaggerated either.
II. However, there is another aspect of women wearing men’s trousers which seems to us the gravest.
The wearing of men’s dress by women affects firstly the woman herself, by changing the feminine psychology proper to women; secondly, it affects the woman as wife of her husband, by tending to vitiate relationships between the sexes; thirdly, it affects the woman as mother of her children by harming her dignity in her children’s eyes. Each of these points is to be carefully considered in turn.
A. Male Dress Changes the Psychology of Woman.
In truth, the motive impelling women to wear men’s dress is always that of imitating, nay, of competing with the man who is considered stronger, less tied down, more independent. This motivation shows clearly that male dress is the visible aid to bringing about a mental attitude of being ‘like a man’. Secondly, ever since men have been men, the clothing a person wears conditions, determines and modifies that person’s gestures, attitudes and behavior, such that from merely being worn outside, clothing comes to impose a particular frame of mind inside.
Then let us add that a woman wearing men’s dress always more or less indicates her reacting to her femininity as though it were inferior [to masculinity] when in fact it is only diverse. The perversion of her psychology is clearly evident.
These reasons, summing up many more, are enough to warn us how wrongly women are made to think by the wearing of men’s dress.
B. Male Dress Tends to Vitiate Relationships Between Women and Men.
In truth when relationships between the two sexes unfold with the coming of age, an instinct of mutual attraction is predominant. The essential basis of this attraction is a diversity between the two sexes which is made possible only by their complementing or completing one another. If then this diversity becomes less obvious because one of its major external signs is eliminated and because the normal psychological structure is weakened, what results is the alteration of a fundamental factor in the relationship.
The problem goes further still. Mutual attraction between the sexes is preceded both naturally, and in the order of time, by that sense of shame which holds the rising impulses in check, imposes respect upon them, and tends to lift to a higher level of mutual esteem and healthy fear everything that those impulses would push onwards to uncontrolled acts. To change that clothing which by its diversity reveals and upholds nature’s limits and defenses, is to level the distinctions and to help pull down the vital defenses of the sense of shame.
It is at least to hinder that sense. And when the sense of shame is hindered from applying the brakes, then do relationships between man and women sink degradingly to pure sensuality, devoid of all mutual respect or esteem.
Experience teaches us that when woman is de-feminized, defenses are undermined and weakness increases.
C. Male Dress Harms the Dignity of the Mother in Her Children’s Eyes.
All children have an instinct for the sense of dignity and decorum of their mother. Analysis of the first inner crisis of children when they awaken to life around them, even before they enter upon adolescence, shows how much the sense of their mother counts. Children are as sensitive as can be on this point. Adults typically leave all that behind them and think no more on it. But we would do well to call to mind the severe demands that children instinctively make of their own mother, and the deep and even terrible reactions roused in them by observation of their mother’s misbehavior. Many lines of later life are here traced out — and not for good — in these early inner dramas of infancy and childhood.
The child may not know the definition of exposure, frivolity or infidelity, but he possesses an instinctive sense to recognize them when they occur, to suffer from them, and be bitterly wounded by them in his soul.
III. Let us think seriously on the import of everything said thus far, even if a woman’s appearance in men’s dress does not immediately give rise to the same disturbance caused by grave immodesty.
The changing of feminine psychology does fundamental and — in the long run — irreparable damage to the family, to conjugal fidelity, to human affections and to human society. True, the effects of wearing unsuitable dress are not all to be seen within a short time. But one must think of what is being slowly and insidiously worn down, torn apart, perverted.
Is any satisfying reciprocity between husband and wife imaginable, if feminine psychology be changed? Or is any true education of children imaginable, which is so delicate in its procedure, so woven of imponderable factors in which the mother’s intuition and instinct play the decisive part in those tender years? What will these women be able to give their children when they will so long have worn trousers that their self-esteem is determined more by their competing with the men than by their functioning as women?
Why, we ask, ever since men have been men — or rather since they became civilized — why have men in all times and places been irresistibly borne to differentiate and divide the functions of the two sexes? Do we not have here strict testimony to the recognition by all mankind of a truth and a law above man?
To sum up, wherever women wear men’s dress, it is be considered a factor, over the long term, in disintegrating human order.
IV. The logical consequence of everything presented thus far is that anyone in a position of responsibility should be possessed by a sense of alarm in the true and proper meaning of the word, a severe and decisive alarm.
We address a grave warning to parish priests, to all priests in general and to confessors in particular, to members of every kind of association, to all religious, to all nuns, especially to teaching Sisters.
We ask them to become clearly conscious of the problem so that action will follow. This consciousness is what matters. It will suggest the appropriate action in due time. But let it not counsel us to give way in the face of inevitable change, as though we are confronted by a natural evolution of mankind, and so on!
Men may come and men may go, because God has left plenty of room for the ebb and flow of free-will; but the substantial lines of nature and the no less substantial lines of the Eternal Law have never changed, are not changing and never will change. There are bounds beyond which one may stray as far as he pleases, but to do so ends in death. Empty philosophical fantasizing may let one mock or trivialize these limits, but they constitute an alliance of hard facts and of nature which chastises anyone who oversteps them. Certainly history has taught — with frightening proofs from the life and death of nations — that the reply to all violators of this outline of ‘humanity’ is always, sooner or later, catastrophe.
Since the dialectic of Hegel, we are fed what amounts to nothing but fables, and by dint of hearing them so often, many people end up acquiescing to them, even if only passively. But the reality of the matter is that Nature and Truth, and the Law bound up in both, go their imperturbable way, and cut to pieces the simpletons who, upon no grounds whatsoever, would believe in radical and far-reaching changes in the very structure of man.
The consequences of such violations are not a new outline of man, but rather disorders, harmful instability of every kind, the frightening dryness of human souls, a shattering increase in the number of human castaways driven out from among us, left to live out their decline in boredom, sadness and rejection. On the beach of this intentional shipwreck of the eternal norms are found broken families, hearths and homes grown cold, lives cut short before their time, the elderly cast aside, our youth willfully degenerate and — at the end of the line — souls in despair and taking their own lives. All of this human wreckage gives witness to the fact that the ‘line of God’ does not give way, nor does it admit of any adaptation to the delirious dreams of the so-called philosophers!
V. We have said that those to whom the present Notification is addressed are asked to take serious alarm before the problem at hand. Accordingly they know what they have to say, starting with little girls on their mother’s knee.
They know that without exaggerating or turning into fanatics, they will need to strictly limit how far they tolerate women dressing like men, as a general rule.
They know they must never be so weak as to let anyone believe that they turn a blind eye to a custom which is slipping downhill and subverting the moral standing of all institutions.
They, the priests, know that the line they have to take in the confessional, while not holding women dressing like men to be automatically a grave fault, must be sharp and decisive.
Everybody will kindly give thought to the need for a united line of action, re-enforced on every side by the co-operation of all men of good will and all enlightened minds, so as to create a veritable dike to hold back the flood.
Those of you responsible for souls in whatever capacity understand how useful it is to have for allies in this campaign men of the arts, the media and the crafts. The position taken by fashion design houses, the brilliant designers and the clothing industry, is of crucial important in the whole question. Artistic sense, refinement and good taste meeting together can find suitable but dignified solutions as to the dress for women to wear when they must use a motorcycle or engage in this or that exercise or work. What matters is to preserve modesty together with the eternal sense of femininity which, more than anything else, all children will continue to associate with the face of their mother.
We do not deny that modern life sets problems and makes requirements unknown to our grandparents. But we state that there are values more in need of protection than fleeting experiences, and that for anyone of intelligence there is always good sense and good taste enough to find acceptable and dignified solutions to problems which arise.
Moved by charity we are fighting against a leveling debasement of mankind, against the attack upon those differences on which rests the complementarity of man and woman.
When we see a woman in trousers, we should think not so much of her, as of all mankind: of what will be should women masculinize themselves. Nobody stands to gain by helping to bring about a future age of vagueness, ambiguity, imperfection and, in a word, monstrosities.
This letter of ours is not addressed to the public, but to those responsible for souls, for education, for Catholic associations. Let them do their duty, and let them not be sentries caught asleep at their post while evil crept in. 
Giuseppe Cardinal Siri
Archbishop of Genoa

God draws good from even the worst evils

A post from The Knight of Tradition:

I would like to direct our readers’ attention to this new letter of Fr. Daniel Couture, the SSPX District Superior of Canada.  Certainly this letter, which focuses especially on God drawing great good from even the worst of evils, should encourage good Catholics considering the great evils surrounding us today.  The situation is clearly quite grave with the great chaos in the Church and the present civil unrest and great immorality rampant throughout the modern world.

The question is, how should Catholics respond to such a situation?  We must denounce evil, most certainly, but the most important answer is to have great Hope and Trust in Our Lord Jesus Christ.  To quote Chesterton, “Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances that we know to be desperate.”  In addition, we must trust in Our Lord’s infinite love for us!  He will give us the great graces to overcome these difficult times, if we only pray!  He will also always provide at least a very faithful remnant of His Church to sustain us!  It is truly miraculous to see that as the situation in the world and in the Church grows worse by the day, Tradition continues to bear forth much fruit as the faithful remnant grows larger and stronger!  With Our Lord on our side, good Catholics are the most powerful force in the world!  What good does one do who, although they might be aware of the great errors of our age, would only despair and believe the end of the world is upon us and that there is nothing we can do?  No, we must imitate the spirit of Christ and pray for the great triumph of Our Lady as prophesied at Fatima!

We encourage our readers to join the upcoming Rosary Crusade initiated by the Society of St. Pius X  that we might offer many united prayers for the wonderful intentions proposed, including the Consecration of Russia by the Holy Father and the Bishops, that the Immaculate Heart might triumph!

About the Rosary Crusade: https://damselofthefaith.wordpress.com/2016/07/04/bishop-bernard-fellay-announces-a-new-rosary-crusade/

Fr. Coutoure’s letter:

http://sspx.ca/en/publications/newsletters/july-2016-district-superiors-letter

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

Last June 26, 27, and 28, all the major superiors of the Society of St Pius X met in Switzerland around our Superior General to discuss the present situation in the Church and of our Priestly Society. A statement was issued on June 29 as a result of this meeting summarizing the discussions held. In short, we are continuing the very purpose of the Society of St Pius X: the training and sanctification of priests, putting the battle to safeguard the faith above the need for a canonical recognition. That is the most important work the Society has to do for itself and for the whole Church, as chaos grows in Vatican circles. Bishop Fellay repeatedly highlighted to us the fact that when he asks Vatican representatives certain key questions, e.g., about the need to accept Vatican II or about the status of our Society, he constantly hears contradicting answers.

We can never say it enough: almighty God knows how to draw good out of evil and the greater the evil He allows, the greater the good He intends. We commonly do not appreciate something or understand it properly unless we lose it. God wants us to appreciate the infinite gifts He has given His poor creatures. Let us look at three of these.

First, consider Our Lady. We know she is the Immaculate Mother of God, Mediatrix of all graces, more powerful than all hell together, and our Mother. But we often fail to truly appreciate Her maternal intercession, until we are in a desperate situation in this vale of tears.

Our Lord confided to Sr. Lucy (of Fatima) that He will not convert Russia unless that nation is consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the Pope and the bishops: “Because I want My whole Church to acknowledge that consecration as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that it may extend its cult later on, and put the devotion to this Immaculate Heart beside the devotion to My Sacred Heart.” (The Whole Truth about Fatima, Vol. 2, May 18, 1936)

As a second example, consider the papacy. Our Blessed Lord established His Church on it: “Thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Mt 16:16) “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded on a rock.” (Mt 7:25) Well, to say it mildly, it does not look very good today with Pope Francis. Who could ever have thought that a successor of Peter would, week after week, say and do such un-Catholic things as he does? It never seems to stop. He his using his own papal authority – although clearly never to the full, never with the conditions of infallibility – to attempt to destroy the very institution of the papacy. “Usquequo, Domine? How long will this go on, O Lord?”

What good came out of the denial of Peter on Holy Thursday night? “And again he denied with an oath, I know not the man.” (Mt 26:72) What did Our Lady think when she heard that Peter had just denied his Master? I am sure she immediately prayed for him and for the Church. She must have thought within herself: “My Son will have to deal with this crisis, it is His Apostle after all; it is His Church…” This Jesus did: on Easter Sunday the Lord appeared privately to Simon, before appearing to the other Apostles (Lk 24:34), and again a few weeks later on the shore of the lake of Capharnaum, Jesus received the triple profession of Peter’s love. Peter and the Church were saved. Our Lord clearly showed that He was the true Head of His Church.

What good then can come out of the confusing and often scandalous statements of the present pope? An immediate good effect is that more and more Catholics are finally waking up to the existence and the cause of this crisis of the Church. It is said that more than 26 cardinals have opposed Francis’ Amoris Laetitia. On what grounds? It is against Scripture and … Tradition! Let us pray that they will have the courage to go to the cause of the problem, to what has led the abomination of desolation to enter in the holy place.

There are no effects without cause. Some people can read the effects in a cause; most people go the opposite direction – back to the cause when they analyze the effects. Archbishop Lefebvre was in the first group, he clearly saw the consequences of the evil principles adopted by Vatican II at the very moment when they were being voted and accepted. One can read in the book A Bishop Speaks, his interventions during the Council on collegiality or religious liberty, for instance. He had incredible foresight. Many others are becoming aware of the problems as Pope Francis detonates the time-bombs laid in the texts of the Council.

A third example of good coming out of evil is the crisis of the sacred priesthood. The priesthood is the sacrament most needed for the whole Catholic Church. You can learn that in the Catechism of the Council of Trent in an affirmative way, and you can see that, a contrario, in a negative way today, with the priestly chaos in the Church. How will we ever come out of the crisis of the Church if we do not have priests? (I am speaking here at the local level, even after the Pope does consecrate Russia.) Who will bring the faith and the sacraments to souls if not the priests? In the old days, the Redemptorists, Vincentians, Jesuits and so many others went all over the world preaching missions. How will we have good bishops without first having well trained, learned and spiritual priests? The worse the present priestly tragedy gets, the more it throws light on the wisdom of Archbishop Lefebvre, who, back in 1969-1970, understood the absolute need to preserve the sacrament of Holy Order at all costs for the good of the Church.

That is why Bishop Fellay says in his statement: “the Society doesn’t seek first a canonical recognition – to which it has a right because it is Catholic.” The solution is far from being a simply juridical one. It is primarily a doctrinal question which we have the grave duty to manifest. The Society absolutely wants to keep the doctrinal, theological and social rectitude centered on the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ, on His Kingship, His sacrifice, His priesthood which is the principle of order and grace. Archbishop Lefebvre fought all his life for the triumph of these fundamental truths. It is our duty at the present moment to continue the same battle on the same principles.

News from the District: On June 29, Fr. Marcel Stannus, from Orillia, Ontario, was ordained priest in Écône, Switzerland. He has been assigned in Calgary.Ad multos annos!

Upcoming events:

  • Bishop Fellay has announced a new Rosary Crusade to prepare the centenary of the apparitions of Fatima. It will go from August 15, 2016 until August 22, 2017. More details later.
  • We are organizing a bus trip to the blessing of the new SSPX seminary in Dillwyn, Virginia, next November 3-6 from St Césaire. For details, contact the district office. (Phone and email address above)
  • Fatima 2017: there will also be a couple of groups from Canada that will go to Fatima for the international SSPX pilgrimage, next August 19-20, 2017. Contact the district office.

Yours truly in Jesus and Mary Immaculate,

Fr. Daniel Couture
District Superior”

~Steven C., “Knight of Tradition”


The 1962 Missale Romanum

An important post from The Knight of Tradition on the 1962 Missal:

For decades, some Catholics, particularly those in the sedevacantist movements, have criticized the Society of St. Pius X and other traditional priests for using the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal.  They often claim that this “Missal of John XXIII” reflects the Modernistic tendencies that had begun to infiltrate the Church structures.  Also, since an older edition would have been approved by a fully traditional Pope, Catholics might be safer to simply use that Missal, as if there was some hidden evil that great Catholics such as Padre Pio, Cardinal Ottaviani, and Archbishop Lefebvre did not find.

There are several objections put forth against this Missal, but this response is intended to take a more general approach.  However, I will specifically address two of the more common objections:

  1. The addition of St. Joseph’s name to the Canon of the Mass
  2. “If this Missal is so good, then why does the SSPX “re-insert” the second Confiteor(before Holy Communion)?”

All of these criticisms are not of little importance, since many Catholics of good will can be confused into having unnecessary scruples about the Masses they attend and the good priests that they support.  Archbishop Lefebvre and his Society have responded several times against these accusations, however, many traditional Catholics may not be fully aware of them.  I will thus attach some of the responses below, in the hope of reassuring these concerned Catholics.

This first article covers Archbishop Lefebvre explaining the principle of the Church and St. Thomas Aquinas in his decision for him and his order to use the 1962 edition of the Missal (I will post the article below):

http://sspx.org/en/only-when-faith-question

These featured items are responses by Fr. Peter Scott, SSPX, to the two most common objections noted above.

http://www.angelusonline.org/index.php?section=articles&subsection=show_article&article_id=3535

http://www.angelusonline.org/index.php?section=articles&subsection=show_article&article_id=2396

Part of this wonderful article notes the general reaction in the Church to the addition of St. Joseph to the Canon and also mentions the Divine Providence perhaps manifested by this action:

http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/st-joseph-protector-universal-church-3579

May good Catholics always keep to the good Faith whole and entire, without giving into any dangerous compromises or excesses!

Only when the Faith is in question

Archbishop Lefebvre’s 1983 Ridgefield Conference

On April 24, 1983, Archbishop Lefebvre gave a conference to the seminarians at St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary in Ridgefield, Connecticut. The background was the opposition of nine priests (one just ordained) and a few seminarians who had disobeyed His Excellency’s instruction to follow the 1962 liturgical books.

Despite their disobedience to his directive, the Archbishop attempted to remonstrate with them, but eventually was compelled to expel them from the Society of St. Pius X for obstinate refusal to obey their superior.

As the opposition had been led by the former seminary rector, Archbishop Lefebvre prudently decided to delay the diaconate ordinations that were scheduled for that year. He wanted to ensure that the future deacons would willingly follow the SSPX’s policy concerning the liturgical books to be used.

During the conference he explained his reason for deciding upon the 1962 liturgical books and the principle upon which it was based, asking the future deacons to consider this and thus determine their decision if they intended to remain faithful members of the Society of St. Pius X.

We present here three extracts from the conference outlining Archbishop Lefebvre’s exemplar attitude and firm response in dealing with this past historical event of the SSPX.

Extracts from Archbishop Lefebvre’s conference

What is the first principle to know what we must do in this circumstance, in this crisis in the Church? What is my principle?

The principle of the Church, it is the principle of St. Thomas Aquinas. It is not my choice; it’s not my favor; it is not my personal desire… I am nothing… I merely follow the doctrine of the Church. This doctrine is expounded by St. Thomas Aquinas.

So what does St. Thomas Aquinas say about the authority in the Church? When can we refuse something from the authority of the Church?

Principle: Only when the Faith is in question.

Only in this case. Not in other cases… only when the Faith is in question… and that is found in the Summa Theologica (II II Q.33, a.4, ad 2m): St. Thomas’ answer is that we cannot resist to the authority; we must obey:

  1. Sciendum tamen est quod ubi immineret periculum fidei.” Periculum fideii.e., the danger to our faith…
  2. etiam publice essent praelate a subditis arguendi.”, i.e., the subject can be opposed to the authority if the Faith is in question (“periculum fidei“);
  3. Unde et Paulus, qui erat subditus Petro, propter imminens periculum scandali circa fidem, Petrum publice arguit,” i.e., St. Paul opposed St. Peter because it was a danger for the Faith (cf. Galatians 2:11).

That is the principle (of St. Thomas), and I cannot harbor another motive to resist the pope… it is very serious to be opposed to the pope, and to the Church. It is very serious, and if we think that we must do that, we must do it (resist the Holy Father) only to preserve our Faith, and not for any other motive.

We must now do an application of the principle. For me I think that the liturgical reform of Pope John XXIII has nothing against the Faith. You can take the Pontificale, the Rituale, the Breviary, the Roman Missal, and… what is in these books of Pope John XXIII that is against the Faith? Nothing! And so [in an urgent tone]: …I cannot refuse this book (of Pope John), because he is the pope, and the pope gave me this book (and I must obey).

It is quite another thing with the reform of Pope Paul VI… in this book of reform of Pope Paul VI is a very grave danger to my Faith… it is precisely Periculum Fidei. So I refuse it, because ecumenism is the idea and motive of this reform… and this ecumenism… they say themselves, Pope Paul VI, Bugnini, etc., all say the motive of their reform is ecumenism, and this ecumenism takes away all (Catholic) things which are displeasing to the Protestant.

(…)

Some people abandon the Society on the left (i.e., moving towards the left), and some abandon her moving towards the right.

Those who abandon the Society on the left, they now use the rite of the New Mass… they are Progressivists… they are not against Progressivism any more.

Those who abandon us to the right, for them, there is no more any relations with Rome, no more relation with the Church, and they look (for a pope elsewhere)…as in the case of Fr. G–, where he went to Spain to see if the famous Palmar De Troya [a schismatic “traditionalist” cult in Spain who elected their own “pope”—Ed.], i.e., Clemente… he went there to see if Clemente is the true pope! Because such priests (who defect to the right) they look for authority; (by nature) they cannot remain without authority… because they have none… they have none.

(…)

This situation is very sad because I thought that I was helping my priests, (since I gave them) all my prayers, all my spirit, all my heart.

I gave all this to these priests… [“The Nine” who were expelled—Ed.] and they did good work… But it is a pity now… what will happen to the faithful? …the poor faithful, if they know that five or six or seven priests are no more members of the Society of St. Pius X?

What has happened? They will be bewildered to hear that it is true, these priests are not members of the Society any more… [with great distress and heartache]; …it is very sad, very sad for the faithful. I know these American faithful… they are very good people… and now… what can I do?”

Perhaps it is my fault, because I waited too long… if I took this decision three or four years ago, perhaps the situation would not be as grave as now. But perhaps I am too lenient, too tolerant, too good to them, because I do not like to go against my brothers, my priests.

So I tolerated them… I thought perhaps next year, or some time, things would change… but truly nothing has changed… it’s not better… in fact things have gotten worse with time.

Thus, we must pray… we must pray.

I hope, slowly, slowly, they can return in the good way, in the good progress of the seminary… and I hope I can give you ordination. We need priests… but we do not need priests that disobey, no.”

~Steven C., “Knight of Tradition”


Reparation for the OKC Black “mass”

An important post from The Knight of Tradition on the OKC black “mass”:

As some of our readers may know, there will be a Black “mass” performed publicly in Oklahoma City on August 15, the feast of Our Lady’s Assumption.  The circumstances surrounding this particular Black “mass” may be even worse than the one performed in OKC in 2014, as a particularly diabolical ritual blaspheming Our Lady will also be performed.
Good Catholics, we are called to true Catholic Action here!  The Society of St. Pius X will be offering a public Solemn High Mass in Oklahoma City and is calling Catholics to do needed reparation!  I provide for our readers below the press release from the Society of St. Pius X concerning this matter and all of the necessary information from the SSPX US District.  I highly encourage all of our readers to consider attending this public act of reparation if they can possibly do so!

PRESS RELEASE:
Public Mass of Reparation: August 15, Bicentennial Park, Oklahoma City, OK, 12pm

In reparation for the blasphemies to be committed in the Civic Center later that day

Bethany, OK, July 25, 2016 – St. Michael’s Chapel of Bethany, OK and the Society of St. Pius X announce a public Mass of Reparation at 12 p.m., noon, on August 15, 2016. As has been widely reported in public media, a group of Satanists will be permitted to perform a black mass and a blasphemous ritual they call the consumption of Mary in the public building of the Civic Center. These acts, the details of which are so shocking and repulsive that they would even scandalize non-Christians in their unnatural depravity, are transformed from a private outrage to a public act by their occurrence on public ground. A public act requires a public reparation. Therefore, priests of the Society of St. Pius X will offer a traditional Latin Solemn High Mass in Bicentennial Park, in front of the Civic Center, 201 North Walker Ave., Oklahoma City, OK 73102, at noon on August 15.

The Society of St. Pius X and St. Michael’s Chapel invite Catholics from Oklahoma and the surrounding region and anyone of good will who is outraged by this disgraceful public event to participate in this public act of prayer and reparation and to defend the honor of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of all society, and His Blessed Mother. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be sung in Latin according to the ancient rite of the Church which dates to apostolic times and was codified by St. Pius V after the Council of Trent and which is sometimes referred to as the Tridentine Mass.

Those attending may wish to bring an umbrella for shade cover and a folding chair or blanket as the Mass will be offered in the outdoor park.

Father Patrick McBride, who services St. Michael’s Chapel, explains:

In 2014, we offered in a nearby downtown hotel a public Mass of Reparation in atonement for the first publicly performed black mass. This time we wanted to bring the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass to the very ground on which these blasphemies will occur. We will raise up to heaven Our Lord’s Most Precious Blood in reparation for the insults that He and His Blessed Mother will receive from these people who regrettably respond to His loving embrace with insults and outrage. We particularly implore the protection of the Blessed Mother as we make reparation to Her Divine Son.”

Father Jürgen Wegner, Superior for the US District of the Society of St. Pius X commented:

It is even more urgent that the faithful participate in a public act of reparation this time. One of the goals of this Satanic group is to desensitize all of us to the gravity of the acts they perform with public sanction. In 2014, the faithful responded very generously to a call for reparation with between 900 and 1000 participating in the Mass of Reparation. This time, the response must be at least as generous. We must publicly demonstrate that those who truly love Our Lord will not simply come to see these public acts as now a normal part of public life.”

# # #

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Brian M. McCall or Jeromy Jones at St. Michael’s Chapel by email at stmichaelfriend@gmail.com.

St. Michael’s Chapel is a Roman Catholic chapel that celebrates only the traditional Latin Mass and Sacraments, ministered by the priests of The Society of Saint Pius X. It is located at 4701 N. McMillan Ave., Bethany OK. Sunday Mass is offered at 9:00 a.m. every week.

For those of us who simply cannot attend, there are many other means by which we can make reparation.  One, of course, would be to devotedly hear a traditional Mass on that day, as the Feast of the Assumption is already a Holy Day of Obligation in many countries, including the USA.  We could also offer many kinds of penances and prayers.  Next month would certainly be a good month to begin our 5 First Saturdays in reparation to the Immaculate Heart if we are not already doing so!  Not only would we be making good reparation for Our Lady, but we would also finish exactly 5 First Saturdays in time for 2017, the 100th Anniversary of Fatima!  What a good preparation this would be!

May God bless you all!  May we all be found faithful!  Faithful to Our Lord and Our Lady and our beloved Catholic Faith!

– Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”


Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery celebrates 25 years

On August 6, 2016, the Benedictines of Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery in Silver City, New Mexico will be celebrating their 25th anniversary.  Bp. Bernard Fellay, SSPX, will be present to offer a Pontifical Mass of Thanksgiving.  The monastery, which is itself affiliated with the SSPX, is one of few Benedictine communities in the world that has remained faithful to the traditional Mass.  I post for our readers below an SSPX.org article from 2010, which describes the glorious occasion of the canonical recognition of the monastery.

http://archives.sspx.org/archived_news/monastic_priory.htm

CANONICAL ERECTION
OF A BENEDICTINE PRIORY

You are a monk, you must remain a monk!”

This was the advice given by Archbishop Lefebvre to the young Fr. Cyprian who, having
left his Monastery of Sainte Madeleine du Barroux because of the Faith questioned the prelate about his future. Two years earlier, at the end of the ordinations ceremony in Econe, he had promised his fidelity, his hands in those of the Archbishop. It is this same fidelity that led him to found, on the other side of the world, a Benedictine monastery, on a mountain as it ought to be, in the wooded solitude of New Mexico. “We must attempt the impossible!”, was the testament received from the founder of the Society of St. Pius X two months before his death. And the impossible became a reality: the foundation of the Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe.1

Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery in Silver City, NM

Herculean Labors

It took twenty years of efforts, sacrifices and prayers to make it to this Saturday, October 24, when the foundation was made a conventual priory: a decisive step in the establishment of a Benedictine monastery, “school for the service of the Lord”.2

This foundation is at the same time a final point and a beginning,” would comment Bishop de Galarreta before some 300 friends of the monastery assembled under the large tent set up for the occasion. “It is the fruit of much work, and of many sufferings and prayers, and it is a commitment to a greater fervor and fidelity.” Indeed, who can measure the sum of work of which the monastery, with its chapel, its library, its cloister, cells and refectory, is today the splendid accomplishment. The immense reservoir of water in the wells is without a doubt one of the most spectacular, and merits a whole page all to itself. From the discovery of a simple ditch presented as a well when the property was bought, to the 2600 feet drilling not to mention the two years of going back and forth to and from the city, regularly, rain or shine, to fill up the water tank.

Monastic cloister

Yet more mysterious and extraordinary is the transformation of the interior edifices, not only of the monks and numerous postulants, but also of the countless visitors and oblates who have passed through over the past two decades. If sufferings endured are the King’s secret, St. Paul himself authorizes us to list them as so many proofs of God’s greatness.

False brothers and critics, temptations and discouragements, deceptions and abandonments, accidents and illnesses have not been wanting! And even death herself, who came to take away the novice master, Fr. John of the Cross, during the chanting of the Magnificat, the evening of June 29, 2002.

Monks going to Divine Office

If the grain of wheat…dies, it will bear much fruit

Eight solemnly professed monks are necessary to be able to make a foundation a priory. With the third priestly ordination last June, as well as four clerics studying at the Society’s seminary in Winona, this very young3 and fervent community numbers just under 30 monks.

Bishop de Galarreta

Stability, object of a special vow for the Benedictine is now acquired for the entire monastery. It is a work of the Church, recognized as such and publicly offered by her to her children as a privileged way of attaining God. “This foundation, having for a long time given testimony of fidelity to the true Faith and the Holy Roman Church, as well as to the spirit of the Benedictine family…, we…decree that this monastery be established as a Priory of the Order of St. Benedict”.4

It is with these words that Bishop de Galarreta began the ceremony, “by the power that the Holy Church gives in the case of necessity, insofar as we are able, with the intention of thus helping to procure the supreme good of the Church and the salvation of souls”.5

Bishop's admonition to prior

Then the bishop proceeded with the institution of the conventual priory “for three years, after which an election will take place, according to the Law”.6 Remember always the souls whom you have received under your charge and for whom you will have to answer!7  the bishop admonished the future prior kneeling before him. Then he asked him to promise his submission to the Rule of St. Benedict and that he would faithfully keep the monastic discipline in this Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe of America.

Confession of Faith and taking of oath

The nominated prior, after having confessed the Faith and taken the oath formulated by St. Pius X, was then constituted prior and given “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” to the community, who received him with a fervent “Amen”. Then, confessing his unworthiness and his weakness, he confided himself to the prayers of his brother monks and to the intercession of Almighty God, and of the Most Holy Virgin and of St. Benedict.

Community's homage of prior

Then, as a sign of the authority conferred upon him, the bishop gave him the keys and the seal of the monastery. A written document was signed on the altar. “Confirm, O my God, what thou hast accomplished by thy hands, from thy holy temple in Jerusalem8 sang the community. “Oh God, who alone hast realized great wonders, pour down upon thy servant Fr. Prior and on the community confided to his care the spirit of thy saving grace, and grant to him always the heavenly dew of thy blessing, that he may please thee in all truth”.9 Then the bishop, with miter and crosier, installed him in his place in the choir, and to the chanting of the Te Deum, the brothers, one after another, came to give homage to the beloved Father.

Signing of decree of canonical erection

The Three-cord Rope
Does Not Break

The Pontifical Mass prolonged the thanksgiving on this feast of Our Lady of Good Hope, “our only hope in this crisis of the Church”, as Bishop de Galarreta declared. He also pointed out to the community the condition for remaining faithful in this torment, interpreting these words of Sacred Scripture “the three-cord rope does not break”. “These three cords whose union alone guarantees the solidity of resistance are for you today,” he said, “your Benedictine rule, the Priestly Society of St. Pius X, and the Catholic bishop that we are.”

Giving of monastery's keys

Indeed, the decree specified, “since it is morally impossible to have recourse to the competent authority and since we are acting in an auxiliary way because of the crisis in the Church and the state of necessity…”.10 It is this union that the many faithful who are Third Order members and Oblates wish to share, understanding how vital it is to cling to this rope divinely woven by Providence. It is this same union that explained the presence, on this beautiful day, of the superiors of the districts of Mexico and of the United States, Frs. Trejo and Rostand, of the priors of Phoenix and of El Paso, Frs. Burfitt and Diaz, and of the assistant director of the seminary of Winona, Fr. Asher.

Group photo after ceremonies

Finally, as a new fruit of this Benedictine restoration in Tradition, the next day, a new monk was made a cleric of the Church. Br. Justin received the tonsure from the bishop. He will next year join his brothers at the seminary… and by then, God willing, two new priests will have been ordained “ad titulum paupertatis for the Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Deo Gratias!

Footnotes

1 Fr. Matthew was sent from this foundation in 2000 to join Fr. Angel (†) and found the monastery of Bellaigue.

2 Rule of St. Benedict, Prologue.

3 The average is 25!

4 Decree of Institution, October 23, 2010.

5Ibid.

6Ibid.

7Ritus de Canonica Erectione Monasterii.

8 Antiphon “Confirma hoc”; Ritus de Canonica Erectione Monasterii.

9Ritus de Canonica Erectione Monasterii.

10 Decree of Institution, October 23, 2010.

Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery

I also post the link to Our Lady of Guadalupe Monastery’s website.  One can read about the continued wonderful fruits of this monastery and gain a deeper appreciation of the Contemplative Religious Life, which is of utmost importance, especially given the state of today’s world.  The Church will not recover from her crisis without Holy Religious who are uncompromisingly faithful to their Rule!

http://www.ourladyofguadalupemonastery.com/index.html

The Benedictines also have a gift shop, where one can find Sacramentals, traditional calendars, and their famous roasted coffee!

St. Benedict was promised that his order would last until the end of time.  Through the faithful Benedictine monasteries of today, we see that his order continues to flourish triumphantly and that this Sacred promise was not at all broken.  Please keep these Religious in your prayers!

~Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”


Please pray for the Damsel

Many of our readers may have heard about the unprecedented floods that have impacted much of the Southern U.S.  Unfortunately, these floods have impacted the family home and neighborhood of my dear friend, Damsel of the Faith.  She does not know yet how much water entered her house, but I can assure you all that the Damsel herself is doing okay and has her basic needs provided for until she can return to her neighborhood.  I am in contact with the Damsel often and admire how well she has taken this present trial, but she does need our love and prayers.  She very much appreciates all of the prayers I know you will offer for her.

Although it is true that everything at risk here is in fact material, we all can sympathize with the idea of not knowing exactly how much one’s property and belongings have been affected and not being able to do much about it at the present time.  She is especially concerned about her spiritual items.  Over the last several years, the Damsel has formed an amazing collection of Catholic books and religious articles.  She also has the most beautiful Altar in her bedroom for Our Lord and Our Lady.  It is our prayer that the waters only affected these items minimally, but may God’s Holy Will be done.  I know He will take care of the Damsel.

Because of these important matters that the Damsel has to tend to, she considered shutting down the blog briefly until she had time to post regularly again.  However, I have offered to take care of the blog in her absence and will be posting at exactly the same rate we always have.  She has graciously allowed me to do so.

As I begin to fill in for the Damsel as she takes a brief hiatus, I’d like to share with you all a little about her and how we came to meet each other:

I first learned about Damsel of the Faith through her comments on Catholic Truth Scotland and by her courageous letter to Fr. Paul Nicholson in defense of Fr. Gruner.  Her blog almost immediately became my very favorite.  I was impressed very much by her strong zeal and love for the Faith, while noting how wonderfully she defended our beloved Catholic traditions!  I was also touched by the beautiful charity shown in every one of the posts and comments she authors, and by well she conducted herself with others, a true Catholic lady!  I hoped to one day be able to meet her at the Ordinations, Angelus Press Conference, etc., and tell her how much I appreciated her blog!

After faithfully reading her blog for a while, however, I realized that not only was the Damsel exactly my age(I was amazed at how someone our age could write like this, and so beautifully too!), but that she also lived only an hour away from me!  Even better, there was soon to be a family picnic of the two SSPX Louisiana parishes!  I thought surely that the Damsel would want to attend an event like this.  Sure enough, I recognized her and summoned enough courage to ask her if she, in fact, was the Damsel of the Faith.  We immediately became the best of friends!

For those of you who are so unfortunate as to have never met the Damsel, I can assure you that she is everything her blog would suggest and much more!  She is one of the kindest persons I have ever known and has the most inspiring zeal and love for the Church!  She is also very active in her parish and is so well-loved by those who know her!  I am indeed a very blessed and honored Knight.

Although I am very saddened to see such a trial come upon our dear Damsel, I am confident that God has a reason for permitting this.  When God permits these sufferings to happen to the good, He only wishes us to become great saints!  By offering our trials to Our Lord and Our Lady, one can save so many souls and make the best reparation for the sinful acts of men, especially those against the Immaculate Heart!  One will also, of course, earn such a reward in Heaven that is infinitely inestimable to us on Earth!  God would never permit these trials if a far greater good could not come out of them!

So, in conclusion, I will temporarily be writing all of the new posts and will respond to questions and comments as I see fit.  The Damsel and I are dedicated to fighting for our beloved Catholic Tradition, without compromise, and I pray that I may do so here as I assume this duty.  We are very grateful for the support of our readers, as we near 70,000 views.  May God bless you all!  And please pray for the Damsel!

~ Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”


True Friendship

U.S. President Woodrow Wilson noted that true friendship “is the only cement that will ever hold the world together”.  As the modern world falls apart around us, causing ever more conflict and bitterness, we might question whether indeed such friendships exist in good numbers today.

Good Christians have the best and dearest example of a true friend in Our Lord Jesus Christ.  In John 15:15, for example, He addresses His disciples as such:

“I will not now call you servants: for the servant knoweth not what his lord doth. But I have called you friends: because all things whatsoever I have heard of my Father, I have made known to you. ”

In John 15:12, Our Lord commands us “that you love one another, as I have loved you.”  We are called to practice Our Lord’s dear example of Friendship.  And what did Our Lord do for His friends?  He went through the most excruciating Passion and Death, in the greatest and most terrible of sufferings that any of us could ever undergo.  He did so for the reason that all of His friends could enjoy the great Kingdom prepared by His Father for them for all Eternity.  So great was Our Lord’s generosity that He even suffered His Passion and Death for those who did not accept Him, in the hopes that all men would become His friends and be saved.

If there are indeed few friendships in today’s world, it is because of a lack of a spirit of sacrifice.  Sacrifice is the essence of a true and loving friendship.  One might feel tempted to object: “But it is such a pleasure to have such wonderful friends!  It is not sacrifice!”  Well, Heaven never commanded that sacrifice be such a painful burden.  On the contrary, true sacrifice is joyful!  Even if there may be much pain surrounding our sacrifices, we accept God’s will and offer everything up to Him, for love of Him.  There is always at least that element of joy in every true sacrifice.

The sacrifice in a true friendship is the withholding of love for one’s self and wholeheartedly sharing this love with another.  This can be especially necessary in a time of a trial for our friend, when he needs much consoling and encouragement and care.  One truly knows who his friends are in the most difficult of times.

I will now share with you all some beautiful quotes from great saints regarding this innocent and noble joy of life:

St. Francis de Sales-  “There is not a man who has a heart more tender and more open to friendship than mine or who feels more keenly than I do the pain of separation from those I love.”

St. Therese de Lisieux- “When I entered Carmel, I found in the novitiate a companion about eight years older than I was. In spite of the difference of age, we became the closest friends; and to encourage an affection that gave promise of fostering virtue, we were allowed to converse together.”

St. Teresa of Avila to Don Francisco de Salcedo: “Please God you will live until I die; then I shall ask God to summon you promptly, lest I should be without you in Heaven.”

St. Augustine to St. Jerome: “O that it were possible to enjoy sweet and frequent converse with you; if not by living with you at least by living near you.”

From The Mirror of Perfection, during the time of St. Francis of Assisi’s death: “The Lady Clare, fearing she would die before him, wept most bitterly and would not be comforted, for she thought that she would not see before her departure her Comforter and Master.”

This post is dedicated to the Damsel, who remains always the kindest and most selfless friend to so many, and the dearest inspiration to all!

~ Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition


The Joy of Suffering

Image result for st teresa of avila quotes

It is certain that the present time is a time of much suffering.  One example that we have discussed very much on our blog has, of course, been the recent tragic natural disasters, the latest now being the great earthquakes in Italy.  As we know, however, the greatest example of suffering relevant to all good Catholics today is the great moral degradation of the world and the crisis of Faith in the Church. Everyone must also handle all of the little crosses that come our way every single day in this “vale of tears”.

Does this mean that we Catholics should put on a long face and mope around and complain that, “Oh, how things used to be so much better!”?  By no means!  As Fr. Paul O’Sullivan explains, God allows us to experience these sufferings that we may share a part in His Passion and be strengthened in Love!  By accepting God’s will in our trials, we will win the most glorious and beautiful crown of martyrdom!

I post the full article by Fr. O’Sullivan below.  May it be of much edification to our readers!

~Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”

SUFFERING

How to Make the Greatest Evil in
Our Lives Our Greatest Happiness

by Fr. Paul O’Sullivan, O.P.

Suffering is the great problem of human life. We all have to suffer. Sometimes small sorrows, sometimes greater ones fall to our share. We shall now tell our readers how to avoid much of this suffering, how to lessen all suffering and how to derive great benefits from every suffering we may have to bear.

The reason why suffering appears so hard is that, first of all, we are not taught what suffering is. Secondly, we are not taught how to bear it. Thirdly, we are not taught the priceless value of suffering.

This is due to the incomprehensible neglect on the part of our teachers.

It is surprising how easily some people bear great sufferings; whereas, others get excited even at the smallest trouble.

The simple reason is that some have been taught all about suffering; others have not.

SUFFERING IS NOT THE EVIL WE THINK IT IS

First of all, then, suffering is not simply an evil, for no one suffered more than the Son of God Himself, more than His Blessed Mother or more than the Saints. Every suffering comes from God. It may appear to come to us by chance or accident or from someone else, but in reality, every suffering comes to us from God. Nothing happens to us without His wish or permission. Not even a hair falls from our heads without His consent.

Why does God allow us to suffer? Simply because He is asking us to take a little share in His Passion. What appears to come by chance or from someone else always comes because God allows it.

Every act in Our Lord’s Life was a lesson for us. The greatest act in His life was His Passion. This, then, is the greatest lesson for us. It teaches us that we too must suffer.

God suffered all the dreadful pains of His Passion for each one of us. How can we refuse to suffer a little for love of Him?

SUFFERING IS THE GOLD IN OUR LIVES

Secondly, if we accept the suffering He sends us and offer them in union with His sufferings, we receive the greatest rewards. Five minutes’ suffering borne for love of Jesus is of greater value to us than years and years of pleasure and joy. The Saints tell us that if we patiently bear our sufferings, we merit the crown of martyrdom.

Moreover, suffering borne patiently brings out all that is good in us. Those who have suffered are usually the most charming people.

If we bear these facts clearly in mind, it certainly becomes much easier to suffer.

GOD ALWAYS GIVES STRENGTH TO BEAR OUR SUFFERINGS

Thirdly, when God gives us any suffering, He always gives us strength to bear it, if we only ask Him. Many, instead of asking for His help, get excited and revolt. It is this excitement and impatience that really make suffering hard to bear.

Consider that we are now speaking of all suffering, even the most trifling ones. All of us have little troubles, pains, disappointments, every day of our lives. All these, if borne for love of God, obtain for us, as we have said, the greatest rewards.

HOW TO BEAR SUFFERING

Even the greater sufferings that may fall to our share from time to time become easy to bear if we accept them with serenity and patience. What really makes suffering difficult to bear is our own impatience, our revolt, our refusal to accept it. This irritation increases our sufferings a hundred fold and, besides, robs us of all the merit we could have gained thereby.

We see some people pass through a tempest of suffering with the greatest calm and serenity; whereas, others get irritated at the slightest annoyance or disappointment. We can all learn this calm and patience. It is the secret of happiness.

An eminent physician, in a conference which he gave to distinguished scientists and fellow doctors, told them that he owed all his great success in life to the simple fact that he had corrected his habit of impatience and annoyance, which had been destroying all his energy and activity.

Everyone, we repeat, without exception, can learn this calm and serenity.

PENANCE

We must all do penance for our sins. If we do not, we shall have long years of suffering in the awful fires of Purgatory. This fire is just the same as the fire of Hell.

Now, if we offer our sufferings the very little ones as well as the greater ones-in union with the sufferings of Jesus Christ, we are doing the easiest and best penance we can perform. We may thus deliver ourselves entirely from Purgatory, While at the same time gaining the greatest graces and blessings.

Let us remember clearly that:

1) Sufferings come from God for our benefit.

2) When we are in the state of grace, we derive immense merit from every suffering borne patiently, even the little sufferings of our daily lives.

3) God will give us abundant strength to bear our sufferings if we only ask Him.

4) If we bear our sufferings patiently, they lose their sting and bitterness.

5) Above all, every suffering is a share in the Passion of Our Lord.

6) By our sufferings, we can free ourselves in great part, or entirely, from the pains of Purgatory.

7) By bearing our sufferings patiently, we win the glorious crown of martyrdom.

Of course, we may do all in our power to avoid or lessen our sufferings, but we cannot avoid all suffering. Therefore, it is clearly necessary for us to learn how to bear them.

In a word, we must understand clearly that if we remain calm, serene and patient, suffering loses all its sting, but the moment we get excited, the smallest suffering increases a hundred fold.

It is just as if we had a sore arm or leg and rubbed it violently; it would become irritated and painful; whereas, if we touch it gently, we soothe the irritation.

We suffer from ill-health, from pains, headaches, rheumatism, arthritis, from accidents, from enemies. We may have financial difficulties. Some suffer for weeks in their homes, some in hospitals or nursing homes. In a word, we are in a vale of tears. Almighty God could have saved us from all suffering, but He did not do so because He knows in His infinite goodness that suffering is good for us.

PRAYER

We have a great, great remedy in our hands, that is, prayer. We should pray earnestly and constantly asking God to help us to suffer, to console us. or if it pleases Him. to deliver us from suffering. This is all, all important.

A very eminent doctor, in an able article he recently published in the secular press, says that “Prayer is the greatest power in the world.”

He says, “I and my colleagues frequently see that many of our patients, whom we have failed to cure or whose pains we have failed to alleviate, have cured themselves by prayer. I speak now not of the prayers of holy people, but the prayers of ordinary Christians.”

We should above all pray to Our Lady of Sorrows in all our troubles. We should ask her, by the oceans of sorrow she felt during the Passion of Our Lord, to help us.

God gave her all the immense graces necessary to make her the perfect Mother of God, but He also gave her all the graces, the tenderness, the love necessary to be our most perfect and loving Mother. No mother on earth ever loved a child as Our Blessed Lady loves us. Therefore, in all our troubles and sorrows, let us go to Our Blessed Lady with unbounded confidence.

THE MEMORARE

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother. To thee do I come, before thee I kneel, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer them. Amen.


Voting as Catholics

Image result for voting catholic

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/cardinal-burke-to-u.s.-voters-consider-candidate-who-defend-life-family-fre

Cardinal Raymond Burke has spoken regarding the upcoming U.S. Presidential election.  We do appreciate the Cardinal offering counsel on this subject, as there has been so much unnecessary confusion, even amongst good Catholics.

Given the present tragic state of the world, it is understandable that Catholics may be confused as to how to approach the corrupted political landscape.  I attach below an article from the SSPX, in the hope that it might also help good Catholics to form a clear conscience about the application of this important duty.

~Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”

The Catholic Dilemma in Voting

October 10, 2015

Why is it that today in Western Countries, we have so many elected officials, and some who even identify themselves as Catholic, who promote such evils as abortion, same sex marriage, and euthanasia? Did not many of these countries, particularly in Europe, have Catholic constitutions with Catholic principles? Why is it that so many Catholics vote for these evil representatives? Moreover, why is it that many Bishops do nothing to penalize these officials? What has happened over these last 50 years which has caused this moral collapse? For the faithful who are not asleep, it is not difficult to see that the root of these evils is the Apostasy in the Church today. This falling away from the faith, especially since the Vatican II council, has blinded so many Church leaders and faithful alike regarding their influence in civil life, the exercise of the right to vote and its grave moral responsibility.

Why is it important to vote?

Our moral obligation to vote rests on two principles: (1) The fact that man is naturally a social or civil animal and therefore the state is a necessary society and (2) The idea that every person or citizen in society is bound to promote the common good. In our modern democratic forms of government today it is the citizens who select their rulers, judges and other officials. Since the decisions of these individuals greatly affects the lives of the citizens, it is of the utmost importance that the citizens select suitable officials who will promote the common good not only in temporal affairs but in spiritual matters also.

The Church has never endorsed any one form of government, but approves only those types of government where God’s rights and her rights are respected and the dignity of man is safeguarded. Pope Leo XIII clearly states this in his encyclical when he wrote:

The right to rule is not necessarily bound up with any special mode of government. It may take this or that form, provided only that it be of a nature to insure the general welfare. But whatever be the nature of the government, rulers must ever bear in mind that God is the paramount ruler of the world and must set Him before themselves as their exemplar and law in the administration of the state.” 1

Unfortunately today we have very few world leaders who put God first in their acts. Many falsely assume that our modern democracies are the superior form of governments. However, their foundation is based on an erroneous liberal principle of human freedom which denies all objective divine and moral law. This liberalism also teaches that power comes from the people and not from God. However, the majority choice is not necessarily the right choice and from this flows an electoral system which sanctions many unjust laws. We also see today a corrupted electoral system where politicians can be bribed and swayed against the common good by the special interests of wealthy corporations. Often the candidate, whether good or bad, who spends the most money on his campaign wins.

The Priority of the Moral Laws

Nevertheless, even with our flawed political system, Catholics should not stop trying to use it to promote the Church’s social teaching and in particular the Social Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. All our political involvement and voting should be motivated by the higher supernatural principles – the laws of God and the rights of the Church.  For Catholics, the moral issues take precedence over any other issues. For example, safeguarding the rights of the unborn is far more important than reducing unemployment even though the latter is important for a healthy economy. When it comes to electing candidates who are Catholic and who promote the teachings of the Church, we have a strict moral obligation under pain of mortal sin to vote for these people. Pius XII states this grave moral obligation in one of his discourses in 1946 to the Pastors of Rome:

The exercise of the right to vote is an act of grave responsibility, at least when there is the question involved of electing those whose office it will be to give the country its constitutions and its laws, particularly those which effect, for example, the sanctification of feast days, marriage, family life and school, the various phases of social life. It therefore falls to the Church to explain to the faithful their moral duties which derive from their right to vote.” 2

Unfortunately, we can see that many of the clergy are failing to explain the moral duties to the faithful and the faithful consequently are neglecting their obligation of voting. In a modern democracy, this apathy towards civic duties affects not only Catholics, but generally many other citizens. These same citizens will cry for their rights but forget their duties.  Also, frustrated with the corruption they see in governments, many conclude that their vote is useless. In our present political sphere it is rare to find faithful Catholic candidates and instead one usually has a choice of unworthy candidates. In this case, unworthy does not necessarily mean those who private lives are morally corrupt, but those who, if elected, would cause serious injury to the state or to religion.

So what are we to do when we only have unworthy candidates to choose from?

It can be difficult to discern who is worthy or unworthy in local and national elections and therefore one cannot be lazy in investigating those who are running for office. For example, one can have a candidate who promotes an unjust war but supports the right of the unborn. This person could be running against another who calls himself Catholic and has an impressive governing record, but who supports abortion. In this case one does not have the obligation for voting for them, especially if there were any reasonable way of electing a worthy person by organizing another party or other lawful means. However, if the only option is a choice among unworthy candidates, it might be licit to vote (called material cooperation) for one of these candidates to prevent a greater evil when there is a grave reason to do so. For example, it would be better to vote for one who only approves of abortion in cases of rape or incest rather than one who supports abortion in all cases. This consideration looks only at the act of voting itself and not at other factors such as scandal and encouragement of unworthy persons. With the secret ballot today these other factors are diminished.  However, theologians agree that it is never obligatory to vote for these immoral persons.

We need to keep working for the Reign of Christ the King

When we look at the political landscape today, one can be tempted to despair. What can we do to stop this decline in civil society? We should not forget that God is the creator and true ruler of the world and that he will hold us responsible for our stewardship. We need to recognize that our decisions to elect good rulers and lawmakers are crucial for the welfare of our nations and the salvation of many souls. We need to do all in our power to elect faithful Catholic leaders and organize Catholic parties who will promote the Social Kingship of Christ. If all the Catholics in the world practiced their faith and the hierarchy did their duties as true shepherds, we would not see unworthy candidates elected and these moral evils would disappear. Our Lord told us that when the salt loses its flavor the meat corrupts. Likewise as the Catholic Church deteriorates through this Apostasy, so does the world and souls. Each of us can make a big difference in society through our prayers and works. We should also not forget the power of the electoral system and our vote to help us defend the Church and so achieve our final end. May Our Lady of Fatima end this crisis of faith in the Church and bring to the world true peace through the victory of her Immaculate Heart.

1. His Holiness Pope Leo XIII, Immortale Dei in Acta Sanctae Sedis, 18 (1885), 162.

2. His Holiness Pius XII, Acta Sanctae  Sedis, 38 (1946), 187.


On the ‘canonization’ of Mother Teresa of Calcutta

Image result for mother teresa

This past Sunday, Pope Francis seemingly performed the canonization ceremony for the famous Mother Teresa of Calcutta.  Despite the overall tone that may be inferred from this post, we wish to make clear that we do not intend to condemn all of the good that Mother Teresa did during her life.  She performed so many charitable works for others in need and appeared to possess a great love for God and her work.  She also was not afraid to defend many truths of our Faith publicly.  Who could forget, for example, her strong words against abortion and contraception at the U.S. National Prayer Breakfast in front of Bill and Hillary Clinton and Al Gore (even if her stated position on NFP wasn’t totally correct)?https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXn-wf5ylgo

However, it remains true that Mother Teresa supported many of the Modernist proposals of Vatican II, especially those concerning the false “ecumenism” that has crippled the Church for the past half-century.  Whether she was truly culpable for her acceptance of these errors is not what we intend to decide and we certainly pray for the salvation of her soul.  However, the main purpose of a canonization is for the Church to provide a good example for us to imitate in our spiritual lives.  The Church cannot propose as a faithful example someone who promoted such errors, even if he or she may have had “good intentions.”

Many Catholics protest, noting that canonizations are infallible.  However, there are many grave doubts concerning especially these modern canonization procedures, which have been so watered-down and compromised as this crisis in the Church continues.  For those who wish for more information, I recommend these articles linked below:

http://www.cfnews.org/page88/files/f2dd6c653a57bc7be943e503d639aef7-209.html

http://www.angelusonline.org/index.php?section=articles&subsection=show_article&article_id=3528

http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/we-vigorously-protest-these-canonizations-3956

http://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/articles/itemlist/user/585-petercrenshaw%7Cremnantcolumnist

I also provide this new article from the SSPX U.S. District concerning Mother Teresa’s canonization:

Shadows and Light on Mother Teresa

September 09, 2016

While we recognize what is admirable in Mother Teresa’s life, we cannot ignore the grave ecumenical ambiguities that filled her beliefs and work:

The canonization Mass for Mother Teresa of Calcutta (1910-1997) was celebrated on Sunday, September 4, 2016, in St. Peter’s Square in the presence of 120,000 people, a dozen official delegates and 600 journalists, and broadcasted live by 120 television channels throughout the world.

In his homily, Pope Francis presented Mother Teresa as a “generous dispenser of divine mercy”. He explained that her mission to the “peripheries remains for us today an eloquent witness to God’s closeness to the poorest of the poor.” The sovereign pontiff encouraged the “whole world of volunteers” to follow the example of this “emblematic figure of womanhood and of consecrated life”: “may she be your model of holiness!” he exhorted them.

Her Life

Gonxha (Agnes) Bojaxhiu was born on August 26, 1910, in Skopje, today the Republic of Macedonia, to Catholic parents. At the age of eighteen, driven by the desire to become a missionary, Gonxha left her family in September 1928 to enter the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (the Sisters of Our Lady of Loretto), in Ireland. In this missionary congregation with a Jesuit spirituality, she received the name of Sister Mary Teresa (for St. Therese of the Child Jesus). She was sent to India and arrived in Calcutta on January 6, 1929. After her first vows on May 25, 1931, Sr. Teresa began teaching the young girls at St. Mary’s School. On May 24, 1937, she made her perpetual vows and became “Mother Teresa.”

Upon hearing an inner call in 1946 to found the Congregation of the Missionaries of Charity for the most destitute, she donned the white, blue-bordered sari on August 17, 1948. After being formed by the Sisters of the Medical Mission in Patna, Mother Teresa returned to Calcutta where she was lodged by the Little Sisters of the Poor. In December she visited the slums. After a few months, her former students began to join her one by one. On October 7, 1950, the new congregation of the Missionaries of Charity was officially established in the archdiocese of Calcutta to care for the most destitute, the dying, abandoned children and lepers. In the early 1960’s Mother Teresa began sending her sisters to other regions of India. The approval granted by Paul VI in February 1965 encouraged her to open a house in Venezuela, after which she founded houses in Rome, Tanzania and on all five continents. After 1980, Mother Teresa opened houses in the Communist countries, including Russia, Albania and Cuba. She founded the Missionary Brothers of Charity in 1963, the contemplative branch of Sisters in 1976, andContemplative Brothers in 1979, and in 1984 the Missionaries of Charity Fathers. Mother Teresa died in Calcutta on September 5, 1997, at the age of 87.

Less than two years after her death, in view of Mother Teresa’s widespread reputation of holiness and the favors being reported, Pope John Paul II permitted the opening of her Cause of Canonization. On 20 December 2002 he approved the decrees of her heroic virtues and miracles,” published the Vatican.

On September 2, 2016, during a press conference at the Vatican, Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuk, postulator for Mother Teresa’s cause of beatification and canonization, declared:

[E]verywhere the saint went, she was a sign of mercy, and because she herself felt the need for God’s merciful tenderness, she went to confession often and regularly.”

Knowing everyone listened to her, Mother Teresa did not hesitate to use her notoriety to draw the world’s attention to moral and social matters. She called abortion the ‘greatest destroyer of peace’ during her acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979”,

wrote Jean-Marie Guénois in Le Figaro on September 4.

The foundress of the Missionaries of Charity was beatified by John Paul II on October 19, 2003, after the recognition of the miraculous character of the healing, on September 5, 1998, of a young 30-year-old Indian woman, Monica Bersa, who was suffering from an abdominal tumor. And that despite the fact that the miracle was contested by the Indian doctors. On December 17, 2015, Pope Francis approved the recognition of a second miracle attribute to the Blessed: the healing of Marcilio Haddad Andrino, a 35-year-old Brazilian who was suffering from multiple brain tumors. On March 15, Francis signed the decree for Mother Teresa’s canonization.

Ecumenical and Interreligious Ambiguities

After Mother Teresa’s beatification, Nouvelles de Chrétienté in its November-December issue #84, published an article by Fr. Hervé Gresland, SSPX, under the title: Mother Teresa, an ambiguous beatification. After relating the life of Mother Teresa, the author suggested that she should “be judged – insofar as men can do so – for God alone can judge” “in the light of objective and public facts that cannot be silenced.”

We quote here a few extracts from the study established by Fr. Gresland.

John Paul II had a great admiration for Mother Teresa. He wanted the beatification process to be exceptionally quick: with a special dispensation from the Holy See, the process was opened as early as July 1999. And her beatification was in a way the pope’s gift to the Church for the 25th anniversary of his pontificate. Had the Curia not opposed the idea, he would have beatified and canonized her on the same day.

“The two were in perfect harmony of spirit, and defended a Catholicism that their adversaries considered ‘conservative’, especially in the moral domain. Mother Teresa said of abortion: ‘it is the most diabolical thing a human hand can do. Let us ask Our Lady to remove from the hearts of mothers this horrible desire to suppress the child they are carrying.’

“Anticlericals find her Christian vision of suffering and death intolerable. She comes across as a reactionary, and has little use for the progressivist priests who, in her eyes, are ashamed of their priesthood. For her, confession must play an essential role in the life of Christians. She said beautiful things on priesthood: priests, who are other Christs, must be holy priests. As far as the religious life and the notion of sin, etc., go, she answers innovators ironically and criticizes them. The progressivists reproach her for her ‘ancient’ theology and morals (on the theology of liberation, the role of laymen and women in the Church, contraception), and for taking the pope’s side.” (…)

“But it is when it comes to ecumenism that we must reproach her. She is typically conciliar: for her, faith is subjective; Catholicism is good for Catholics.

“She declared, speaking of the dying persons welcomed in her home: we give them what they want according to their faith. And Bishop Jean-Michel Di Falco said: ‘Mother Teresa wishes to help each person die according to his own religion. (…) For Catholics, priests are there to administer the last sacraments. For others, what counts is that they die at peace with themselves and with God. Mother Teresa, easily accused of ecumenism, did not wait for Vatican Council II to practice ecumenism and to lend an ear to non-Christian religions. And this behavior has not failed to earn her criticism from certain members of the clergy, who reproached her with neglecting her missionary function.’ (Bishop Jean-Michel Di Falco, Mère Teresa ou les miracles de la foi, Le Livre de Poche, 1997, p.98-99)”…

“To a journalist who asked her: ‘can your example convert?’ she only answered: ‘Oh, I hope I convert. But I do not mean that in the same way you do. What we try to do, what we all try to do by our work in serving people, is to grow closer to God. If, when face to face with God, we accept Him in our lives, then we convert, we become a better Hindu, a better Muslim, a better Catholic. What would be my approach? For me, of course, it would be the Catholic approach, for you it could be a Hindu approach, for someone else it could be a Buddhist approach. According to your own conscience, what God is in your mind, that is what you must accept.’ (Desmond Doig, Mother Teresa, her people and her work, William Collins, Glasgow, 1976; quoted by Mgr Fellay in Le Sel de la terre n°1, p.16) So she did not try to convert the poor people she helped…. a far cry from the great apostle of India, St. Francis Xavier.

“Mother Teresa did not baptize dying children. And it is the same today: in her houses orphan children are not baptized, which goes against Catholic principles.

“For the 25th anniversary of her congregation in October 1975, the members of all the religions practiced in Calcutta invited Mother Teresa to ceremonies celebrated in honor of this jubilee. During a very full week (from September 28 to October 7), she went to all the temples of the eighteen different religions to pray with them in their rites. Note that this was eleven years before the ‘summit’ of all the religions in Assisi.  (An account of this week written by a sister of her congregation published in the March 1976 issue of the newsletter Missi). (…)

“Mother Teresa was present at the great ecumenical reunion in Assisi on October 27, 1986. She even arrived late, and everyone turned to look at her when she came in. (…)

“We do not wish to deny the immense charity work of Mother Teresa, nor her sincere love for God and the Church. (…) But while we recognize what is admirable in such a life, and the lessons we can draw from it for ourselves, we cannot ignore the grave ecumenical ambiguities that filled Mother Teresa’s life, especially after Vatican Council II.”

Sources: apic/imedia/Vatican/radiovatican/lefigaro/NDC – DICI#340 Sept. 9, 2016

~ Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”


Assisi V

Image result for assisi iv pope ecumenical meeting

http://www.dici.org/en/news/the-pope-will-be-present-at-the-5th-interreligious-meeting-of-assisi/

On September 20, 2016, Pope Francis will be present at the 5th “ecumenical” religious meeting at Assisi, wherein leaders of false religions will pray alongside the Sovereign Pontiff in an unholy alliance, praying for peace but bringing destruction, error and heresy to the Church.  Surely “peace” and “dialogue” will be discussed at this get-together and many prayers (both to the True God and to devils!) will subsequently be offered, but true peace will never be won with the false solutions proposed.  True peace can only be established in this world with the acceptance of Christ and His Church.  Any attempts of ignoring this fact to seek a greater “unity” with others will only promote a false semblance of peace and weaken the influence of Truth. This ecumenical meeting is a laugh in the face to Our Lady who gave us to the solution to our problems and the way to attain peace, the Consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart, which will attain world peace and the conversion of the world to the Catholic Church. The refusal to heed and obey this request is the most blatant example of disobedience in the history of the Church.

Indeed, as this crisis in the Church lengthens, what “peace” can be seen?  It would seem that the longer the ‘conciliar’ church promotes this false ecumenical nonsense, the dire situation in the world grows worse.  It is unfortunate that even some “conservative” Catholics have been led to think that this “dialogue” would result in anything positive. It results in a disregard for Christ and the Church, which in turn is the result of religious indifferentism. These ecumenical meetings teach the heresy of religious indifferentism by placing false religions on the same footing as the True Religion, the Church of Jesus Christ, only possessor of the truth.

Even Pope Benedict, as “traditional”as he may have sounded on occasion, even approved at Assisi IV of a spokesman of behalf of those with no religion.

http://www.dici.org/en/news/assisi-1986-2011-reform-in-continuity/

Certainly this ‘conciliar’ church does not accept the true Catholic teaching found in Pope Pius XI’s Mortalium animos:

“Since they hold it for certain that men destitute of all religious sense are very rarely to be found, they seem to have founded on that belief a hope that the nations, although they differ among themselves in certain religious matters, will without much difficulty come to agree as brethren in professing certain doctrines, which form as it were a common basis of the spiritual life. For which reason conventions, meetings and addresses are frequently arranged by these persons, at which a large number of listeners are present, and at which all without distinction are invited to join in the discussion, both infidels of every kind, and Christians, even those who have unhappily fallen away from Christ or who with obstinacy and pertinacity deny His divine nature and mission.

“Certainly such attempts can nowise be approved by Catholics, founded as they are on that false opinion which considers all religions to be more or less good and praiseworthy, since they all in different ways manifest and signify that sense which is inborn in us all, and by which we are led to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule. Not only are those who hold this opinion in error and deceived, but also in distorting the idea of true religion they reject it, and little by little turn aside to naturalism and atheism.”

“So, Venerable Brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics: for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it. To the one true Church of Christ, we say, which is visible to all, and which is to remain, according to the will of its Author, exactly the same as He instituted it.”

What should good Catholics then do in the face of such an event?  Fr. Alain Lorans, SSPX, proposes a proper and praiseworthy solution in the editorial of the traditional Catholic news website, DICI:

Let us pray alongside the Christian martyrs of today

9-09-2016
Filed under From RomeNews

 A new interreligious meeting is to take place in Assisi on September 20, 2016, with Pope Francis presiding. Armed with the constant teachings of the Popes up until the Second Vatican Council, the Society of St. Pius X will not pray with the 400 representatives of worldwide religions who will invoke the beliefs of Mahomet, Buddha, Confucius and Kali alongside the profession of the Catholic Faith: I believe in one God, Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. The Society will pray with and for those who are currently undergoing persecution for their fidelity to the Catholic Credo, those Christians martyred in Egypt, in Syria, in Iraq, in Nigeria, in Pakistan, in Thailand, in Indonesa, in the Philippines…

The General Chapter of the Society of St. Pius X made a point of recalling in its concluding statement of July 14, 2012: “We unite ourselves with the other Christians undergoing persecution in countries throughout the world who are suffering for the Catholic Faith, frequently to the death. Their blood, shed in union with that of the Victim on our altars, is the sign of the renewal of the Church in capite et membris, in accordance with the old saying, ‘sanguis martyrum semen christianorum’.” (See DICI no. 259, 10/08/12)

To ask God for peace, without any ecumenical equivocation or interreligious ambiguity, the Society of St. Pius X adopts the words of the Collect of the? Feast of Christ the King, instituted by Pius XI: “Almighty and everlasting God, who in Thy beloved Son, the King of the whole world, hast willed to restore all things, mercifully grant that all the kindreds of the nations that are divided by the wound of sin, may be brought under the sweet yoke of His rule

Fr. Alain Lorans

More excellent commentary from DICI can be found here:

http://www.dici.org/en/news/commentary-the-missionary-spirit-the-spirit-of-assisi/

May we all thus reject strongly this great novelty and pray instead with those who are fighting for the true Faith, even to the point of martyrdom! Anathema to Assisi V. May St. Francis intercede for our Pope, to remove the scales of Modernism from his eyes so that the Faith can be restored and souls convert to the only means of salvation, the Catholic Church.

-Damsel of the Faith & Knight of Tradition


Multiculturalism and “diversity”



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If any of our readers, particularly in the West, have attended a state university or have considerable experience in today’s modern workforce, then there is a very good chance that you have stumbled upon what is known as “diversity training.”  Usually these training sessions will consist of a presenter “challenging” those present to have a more “inclusive” mindset, so that we may “respect” each other and be able to better “work together”.  Certain points of emphasis will certainly include that we must “value” all “faiths” and “belief systems” and be accepting of “equality” and everyone’s “sexual orientation”.  Perhaps a whole panel of “diverse” members will be present so that everyone may offer his own unique perspective.

This “multicultural” mindset, which is so very accepting, except when it comes to truly Christian doctrine and morals, has been harvested in our universities and spread throughout our workforce and even to the most simple aspects of our day-to-day life.  It is obvious that the real purpose of this modern “multicultural” school of thought is to undermine and destroy the Christian West.  I post below for you all this article from sspx.org, written by the great Dr. Peter Chojnowski, which excellently describes and explains this pandemic.

What is anti-Catholic multiculturalism?

March 04, 2014

Under the guise of “diversity”, a surge against Western Christian culture has been steadily on the rise in an attempt to eradicate the last vestiges of Catholicism in secular society.

We re-offer this article from Dr. Peter Chojnowski, in which he examines the continuing anti-Western culture campaign, its roots, errors and the Catholic solution against this anti-Catholic revolution.


Multiculturalism: “Diversity” for the Culturally Clueless

Hey, hey, ho, ho, Western culture’s got to go!” The year is 1988. The site is the campus of Stanford University. The originators of this clever little slogan? Aboriginal pygmies dressed in tribal garb? Orientals with samurai swords? Indian matrons in saris? Not quite.

Rather, angry white upper-middle class co-eds uniformly vested in the standard garb of American academia, blue jeans, Los Angeles Lakers T-shirts, Reboks, baseball caps, Vuarnet sun glasses, and Rolex watches. The despised object of their vehemence? Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas, and other “dead white males” whose thought continued to dominate the “core curriculum” at Stanford University.[1]

This particular protest, which, by the way, was successful, is merely one instance of a phenomenon which, in the last decade, has swept through and fundamentally transformed the content of higher education in the US. The movement, which is most prominent in academia, is referred to as multiculturalism.

Its stated aim is to equalize all cultures in the estimation of the student. A student achieves this new state of consciousness, when he no longer views one culture or cultural outlook as superior to another culture or cultural outlook. The main effort of the multiculturalists is to induce the student to both view his own culture (i.e., Western, Christian culture) as one culture among many equally valid cultures and, consequently, assume a mental stance of “openness” to “values” present in other, non-Western cultures.

As in all egalitarian efforts, this process of “equalization” amounts to an attempt to “level” that which has traditionally been considered to be superior and exalt that which has normally been considered to be inferior. The multiculturalists believe that they can achieve this result by introducing courses into the curriculum which both make mention of other cultures and, most importantly, focus on the sinister avenues taken by Western, Christian man in his struggle to suppress into a position of inferiority, those non-Western cultures which are of an equal, if not superior value.

You might think that the multiculturalists would be frustrated in their attempt to familiarize the student with “suppressed” non-Western cultures, on account of the fact that the average co-ed knows little or nothing about foreign cultures and, normally, cares even less. Moreover, a realist would have to see their efforts to lessen the impression the great books and ideas of Western civilization are making on young minds as somewhat ridiculous, since it has been decades since the great works and great ideas of Western, Christian man have made any impression whatsoever on the young American mind. To spend time trying to convince a student that Aristotle was “really” a “racist” is tantamount to trying to convince a ten-year-old that the Copenhagen school interpretation of Quantum Mechanics is an example of epistemological relativism. She/He would be clueless.

This somewhat harsh judgment concerning the cultural awareness of the average American undergraduate is, however, supported by solid statistics. According to the statistics gathered by Lynne Cheney, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, it is possible to graduate from 37% of American colleges without taking a course in history, from 45% without taking a course in American or English literature, from 62% without taking any philosophy, and from 77% without studying a foreign language.[2] Cheney also reports that it is now “extremely rare” to find students exposed to a core curriculum in Western civilization, even at major state universities and the elite colleges of the Ivy League.[3] Not only is the average American undergraduate seemingly unfit, and definitely uninterested, in such expanded cultural “awareness,” but the very purveyors of multiculturalism, the university faculties, are themselves obviously uninterested in any serious study of the ideas, habits, and customs which make up the content of either Western Christian or non-Western cultures.

I became intensely aware of this fact while teaching in New York City. During these years, the only visual manifestation of the multiculturalist idea then pervading the classrooms was the donning by certain black male students of “African clothing” which somewhat resembled a “Nehru suit.” That Jawaharlal Nehru was an Indian nationalist leader, did not seem to dawn on these devotees of neo-African romanticism.

The professors which were most committed to the “multiculturalist idea” showed no interest whatsoever in uncovering the philosophical, theological and social reality of other cultures. In fact, from my own experience, I can say that, generally speaking, the “multiculturalists,” whether professor or graduate student, were the academics most disliked by those students who were of non-European origin. Of course, as most people know already, in American graduate schools this means Orientals. Normally, the Orientals maintained close friendships with the conservative, white graduate students and professors who still existed as a besieged minority on campus. If, therefore, the underlying task of the multiculturalists is not to “enlighten” their students concerning the true content of non-Christian cultures, what is the nature of their activities? It is to attack and denigrate the cultural heritage of Christendom and to vilify everything associated with it. This vilification will even extend to overt racism, as long as that racism is directed against peoples of European origin. I think here of the well-publicized visit to my New York university campus by Dr. Leonard Jeffries. Dr. Jeffries, chairman of the Afro-American Studies Department at City College of New York, is well-known for his claim that whites are biologically inferior to blacks. Dinesh D’Souza in his book Illiberal Education: the Politics of Race and Sex on Campus cites the college newspaper The Campus as stating:

African American scholar Leonard Jeffries claims that whites are biologically inferior to blacks…. Adopting an evolutionary perspective, Jeffries told his class that whites suffer from an inadequate supply of melanin, making them unable to function as effectively as other groups. One reason that whites have perpetuated so many crimes and atrocities, Jeffries argues, is that the Ice Age caused the deformation of white genes, while blacks were enhanced by ‘the value system of the sun.’”[4]

There were no protests of Dr. Jeffries visit. Moreover, you could not help but believe that protests against his visit would be treated as “racist.” Dr. Jeffries’ popularity during this time, 1991, is shown by the fact that he was asked to co-author a multicultural curriculum outline for all New York public schools.

There are many practical consequences of the multiculturalist anti-European ideological outlook. In their drive to implement the mathematical abstraction of equality in the life of their university, college administrators have undertaken a program of “affirmative action” in which professors are hired and students admitted, not because they are the most qualified applicants, but rather, because they happen to be female, black, Hispanic, or “Native American.” Interestingly enough, Orientals rarely “benefit” from “affirmative action” programs. Probably because they are not clients of the American Left.

This systematic disregard for academic qualifications, along with the proliferation of anti-Western “attack” courses (e.g., “Women in African literature in French,” “Harlem Renaissance,” “Ibo I and II,” “Politics of Black Autobiography,” has resulted in a precipitous decline in academic standards and achievement. Nothing else can be expected if students and faculty are not chosen on account of the quality of their minds. In a 1989 survey of 5,000 university faculty members by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching found general agreement about the “widespread lowering of academic standards at their institutions.” This decline was only partially masked by an equally “widespread grade inflation.”[5] Moreover, a review of 25,000 student transcripts by Professor Zemsky of the University of Pennsylvania showed broad neglect of mathematics and science courses, especially at the advanced level, and an overall “lack of depth and structure” in what undergraduates study.6

There is something, however, which the multiculturalists can build on and exploit for their own ends. It is the ingrained relativism and instinctive egalitarianism which characterizes the moral outlook of almost all American undergraduates. Here I do not believe my attribution of relativism and egalitarianism to “all American undergraduates” is extreme or exaggerated. This same judgment has been etched into the contemporary psyche of American academia by Professor Allan Bloom’s book The Closing of the American Mind. Unfortunately, I have even found that when you meet a student with some type of religious faith, she/he never attempts to defend or support the intrinsic veracity and universal validity of the doctrines which they hold to, but rather, are content to say that “this is what I believe” and “other people believe other things,” therefore, we can never know who is right or wrong. Consequently, the foundational virtue becomes “toleration.” “Toleration,” that is, of all but the “intolerant” (i.e., those Christian believers who refuse to accede to the basic premise that all ideas are equally valid as “personal beliefs”).

Relativism and equality

It is, however, the all-pervasive idea of “equality,” which opens the mental doors of the young American mind to the multiculturalists. I would even assert that the underlying relativist assumption is ultimately traceable to the belief in equality. Having been told from their early years that the goal of all of human history is the application of the mathematical abstraction of “equality” to the concrete realm of men and human societies. The final goal being the complete conformity between reality and abstraction. Why does it, then, seem strange that young people, and not so young people, can so readily accept the idea that all cultures are equally valid, and that if there is one culture which predominates it must be “levelled” while others are exalted.

When we search for the philosophical roots of multiculturalism, we find that it has its origin amongst those who mix together the concepts of “equality” and the “relativity of truth.” Professor Allan Bloom refers to them as the Nietzschean Left. In the US, we might call them the 1960’s New Left. Friedrich Nietzsche was a German philosopher of the last century who discovered the idea of “value” or werte. According to Nietzsche, all “values,” that is, what is considered important, varies from nation to nation, century to century, and culture to culture. Moreover, “values” are simply the projection of a people’s “will to power.” That which increases their strength and power is “valuable” and “good.” That which weakens their power is “bad.”

It is with Nietzsche in the 1880’s that we see the emergence of historical and cultural relativism (i.e., that philosophical position which holds that truth and value are dependent on the time period in which we live and the culture we have). If this be the case, Western Christian culture is nothing more than white, European males solidifying their own power by forming a culture which portrays their particular values as ideal. “Values,” here do not have any universal validity or intrinsic worth. It is interesting to note, that Nietzsche, famous for his statement “God is dead,” insisted that all values are relative, because there is not God. If God existed, He would be the one who gave all truths and values their intrinsic worth and universal validity.

If the ideals and ideas which have guided Western man since the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ are merely surreptitious “power plays” of a dominant elite, the forces of the Revolution, taking their cue, as usual, from the French Revolution, will try to storm this citadel of oppression in the name of the previously exploited. All the multiculturalists whom I have met, heard of, or read about, are leftists (i.e., ideological supporters of the egalitarian revolution begun in Paris in 1789). Their leftism is normally expressed in different ways. The homosexual “life-style” struggles for equality against the dominance and “oppression” of heterosexuality, women struggle against men, blacks against whites. This “social warfare” aspect of multiculturalism has been fostered by academics intellectually attached to Frankfort School Marxism. These thinkers, who “inspired” the radical students of the 1960’s and the academics of the 1990’s, wove together the ideas of relativism, equality, and the “class struggle.” What they advocated was simple. In the words of one of the New Left’s most prominent spokesmen, Theodore Adorno, we must “negate the dominant ideology.”[7]

The dominant ideology which they believe they must overthrow is none other than the dogmas, ideas, customs, habits, social structures, and moral norms packed into the concept and historical reality of Christendom. Ultimately, that is what they are after. Moreover, it is the residue of that, in the minds of America’s youth, which they are successfully eliminating. If you spend most of your academic year studying “Films on popular religion and healing in Peru,” “Reggae lyrics,” and “Rastafarian poetry,” you will not long maintain contact with the foundational truths of Christian civilization.[8] Or rationality, for that matter!

Counterrevolution vs. the counterculture

Can we salvage and nourish in contemporary human minds the traditional culture that the multiculturalists are so cleverly trying to destroy? I believe that we can. There is one problem, however. The very fact that we have to think about the question of how to retain and nourish true culture means, to a large extent, that we have already lost it. Since intellectual culture is like a “second nature,” to consciously have to cleave to it means that it is not had as it should be had. The reason why culture must be possessed as a “second nature,” is on account of the fact that culture is the manner in which a human being responds to the truth of order. A cultured soul is one whose response to order is natural and instinctive. The cultured soul is one which can both appreciate the refined breadth and depth of order, along with responding properly to the specificity and exact worth of being.

Such precise responses to the specificity and refinement of reality are normally the result of an inheritance passed from generation to generation as a deposit of truths and attitudes and adaptations to those truths. This deposit is normally expressed in art, customs, festivals, manners, and behaviors. This inheritance is not merely “behavioral information.” It is the silent spiritual communication of the generations. It says “do this and you shall be right.”

What can be done, then, to form a new generation, immune to multiculturalism, because immersed in the fresh springs of Catholic culture; which, by the way, is the authentic form of “Western” culture. The first thing to remember in this regard is the most fundamental. True “culture” is, in its origins, that which surrounds the “cult.” The true “cult,” of course, has at its core an act of sacrifice to God. An organic culture then, one not artificially engendered, is one which develops out of man’s response to the reality of this act of sacrifice. The most primordial forms of culture, then, are those actions, behaviors, attitudes, and art forms which surround and constitute our participation in the act of sacrifice.

According to this view, culture is not man’s way of expressing inner states of consciousness, as has been suggested by Pope John Paul II in the course of his philosophical career. Rather, it is man’s response to an objective reality outside himself, which is not dependent at all upon his will but upon the will of God. True and authentic culture, as opposed to a “culture” stemming from purely human concepts and needs, is an adequate response to the very specific character of the Holy Sacrifice. True culture must be ultimately based upon God’s revelation of a form of worship acceptable to Himself and one which is a fitting response to the specificity of the Divine Nature.

The first thing that must be done to rebuild a culture which has, ostensibly, left the hearts and minds of men, is to place within young hearts an intimate awareness of the rhythms and values inherent in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This means a cultivation of the proximate and remote externals, such as ceremony and festival, which convey to human minds, dependent as they are upon physical perception, the inner secret of the mysteries being celebrated. Culture can only be regained, when the individual and collective imagination is placed under the yoke of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful.

After the initial conquest of the imagination, the cultivation of the soul must extend to the intellect. Ultimately, the intellect must come to the defense of this vision of the Good, the True, and the Beautiful if it is to be sustained. The most perfect way to cultivate the intellect is to have it engage itself with meditation on the philosophical and theological truths which underlie and surround the Holy Sacrifice. With this, intellect, imagination, and sensation can be welded together to form an organic whole, a unified outlook on the world. Such a unified outlook, armed with the intellectual arguments, can easily withstand the flaccid and unsubstantial concepts of the multiculturalists.

Finally, those who would possess and cultivate Catholic culture, must identify with those who have possessed and cultivated it in the past. Since culture is meant to be a “second nature” for the mind, an habitual imaginative and intellectual affinity or, perhaps, a connaturality must be established between the intimate lives of our predecessors in the Faith and our own innermost lives. We must “sympathize with” giants upon whose shoulders we stand. I believe that such an agenda can be realized in families, small communities, and in schools dedicated to the integral Catholic Faith. We must know what it means to be Catholic. We must be Catholic, unabashedly, again.


Footnotes

1 See, Dinesh D’Souza, Illiberal Education: the Politics of Race and Sex on Campus (New York: The Free Press, 1991), p.60.

2 Lynne Cheney, Humanities in America (Washington, D.C.: National Endowment for the Humanities, 1988), p.5.

3 Lynne Cheney, Fifty Hours: A Core Curriculum for College Students(Washington, D.C.: National Endowment for the Humanities, 1989).

4 Dinesh D’Souza, Illiberal Education: the Politics of Race and Sex on Campus(New York: the Free Press, 1991), p.7. Cf. The Campus, City College of New York, April 26, 1989.

5 See D’Souza, p. 14. CfThe Condition of the Professoriate: Attitudes and Trends, 1989 (Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching).

6 D’Souza, p. 14. Cf. Thomas DeLoughry, “Student of Transcripts Finds Little Structure in the Liberal Arts,” Chronicle of Higher Education, January 18, 1989, pp.A-1, A-32.

7 Mae Henderson, ed., Borders, Boundaries, and Frames: Essays in Cultural Criticism and Cultural Studies (New York: Routledge, 1995), p.18.

8 D’Souza, p.70.

However, there is, if you will, a true “diversity” that exists amongst those souls united to the Catholic Church. We all come from differing backgrounds and have our own unique vocations, talents, and characteristics.  God wishes it so as part of His Divine plan.  Nevertheless, we have the greatest force to unite us as one: the Catholic Faith that we cherish and share with each other.  All persons are also, of course, made in the image and likeness of God and are loved equally by Him.

St. Therese of Lisieux beautifully explains:

“I had wondered for a long time why God had preferences and why all souls did not receive an equal amount of grace […] Jesus saw fit to enlighten me about this mystery. He set the book of nature before me and I saw that all the flowers He has created are lovely. The splendour of the rose and whiteness of the lily do not rob the little violet of its scent nor the daisy of its simple charm. I realised that if every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness and there would be no wild flowers to make the meadows gay.

It is just the same in the world of souls — which is the garden of Jesus. He has created the great saints who are like the lilies and the roses, but He has also created much lesser saints and they must be content to be the daisies or the violets which rejoice His eyes whenever He glances down. Perfection consists in doing His will, in being that which He wants us to be.

I also understood that God’s love shows itself just as well in the simplest soul which puts up no resistance to His grace as it does in the loftiest soul. Indeed, as it is love’s nature to humble itself, if all souls were like those of the holy doctors who have illumined the Church with the light of their doctrine, it seems that God would not have stooped low enough by entering their hearts. But God has created the baby who knows nothing and can utter only feeble cries. He has created the poor savage with no guide but natural law, andit is to their hearts that He deigns to stoop. They are His wild flowers whose homeliness delights Him. By stooping down to them, He manifests His infinite grandeur. The sun shines equally both on cedars and on every tiny flower. In just the same way God looks after every soul as if it had no equal. All is planned for the good of every soul, exactly as the seasons are so arranged that the humblest daisy blossoms at the appointed time.”

May we all reject this “ecumenical”, false concept of multiculturalism and take to heart Therese’s words of the beautiful variety to be found in the garden of Jesus, in the world of souls!

~ Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”


The Death Penalty: The True Catholic Position

Image result for death penalty

 

As most everyone is probably aware of by now, Tim Kaine put on a performance at the U.S. Vice Presidential Debate that could only make one wonder how Kaine’s diocesan bishop can justify himself in not excommunicating him.  The topic of Kaine’s blatant uncatholicity is not one I will fully explore in this post, as many Catholic and pro-life writers have already done so.  I will instead focus on these quotes from Kaine regarding his position on the Death Penalty (with credit to Life Site News https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/tim-kaine-i-agonized-over-the-death-penalty-not-abortion):

“For me, the hardest struggle in my faith life was the Catholic Church is against the death penalty and so am I. But I was governor of a state, and the state law said that there was a death penalty for [serious] crimes.”

“So, I had to grapple with that,” he said. “It was very, very difficult to allow executions to go forward, but in circumstances where I didn’t feel like there was a case for clemency, I told Virginia voters I would uphold the law, and I did.”

Kaine is merely voicing a falsehood and error so prevalent in the ‘Conciliar Church’, that Capital Punishment is in itself a moral evil and is condemnable in every situation.  A tragic consequence is that many Catholics are now lead to put the Death Penalty on equal, if not superior, footing with the current Abortion Holocaust.

For an excellent refutation of this error, I highly recommend this article by Emmanuel Valenza(later Bro. Augustine, SSPX) from the April 1984 issue of The Angelus:

Capital punishment: a Catholic perspective


Introduction

The error of conceiving capital punishment as a moral evil is pervasive in the Catholic Church today. Arguments against the death penalty, as voiced by Catholics, have a common denominator, namely, the punishment is unchristian. The charge is most unusual because the Church perennially has defended the right of the State to put a criminal to death. In effect the current anti-capital punishment sentiment accuses the Church of uncharitable behavior for two millennia because she has sanctioned the State’s right to “carry the sword,” as St. Paul puts it (Romans 13:4).

I say “in effect” because in most cases the Church’s traditional support of the death penalty is simply ignored. The abolitionists claim, for sundry reasons, that the punishment is uncharitable―period.

In the following article, I will attempt to bring to evidence, by appealing to Scripture, tradition and reason, and stressing the insights of St. Thomas Aquinas and Immanuel Kant [Note: while the Catholic Church has condemned Kant’s liberal system of philosophy, nevertheless, his quotes are important as they show remarkable support for capital punishment from one of the most influential apologists of liberalism—Ed.], that capital punishment is a just and therefore charitable punishment because:

  1. it respects man as an image of God;
  2. it is a punishment which is proportionate to certain heinous crimes;
  3. it has a purgatorial effect on the soul;
  4. it protects the common good; and
  5. it treats the criminal as a person, as an image of God.

The defense of the death penalty will be clustered around three arguments against capital punishment in vogue among Catholics. I will state the objections to the death penalty in the form of propositions. They should be recognizable to anyone even remotely acquainted with the subject of capital punishment.

Argument: Modern man’s rejection of capital punishment as morally wrong is indicative of his growing awareness of the dignity and value of human life. Those who support the death penalty, on the other hand, treat human life irreverently. If we are to revere life we must revere all life, including the life of the criminal.

Ironically, the death penalty is first sanctioned in Genesis 9:6, precisely because the act of murder violates man’s integrity as made in the image of God. Genesis 9:6 reads: “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God man was made.” The sacred writer warrants the death penalty―not its abolishment―on the basis that it is a sign of reverence for the life of the murdered man. Recognition of the dignity, value and preciousness of man demands that the murderer be put to death. Hand in hand with the recognition of the dignity and value of man is the conviction that only the punishment of death is commensurate with the crime.

Conversely, the sacred writer implies that the failure to ratify capital punishment when a man is murdered bespeaks a lack of reverence for man as an image of God. The preciousness of the person, his dignity, his ontological value qua person―which the murderer blatantly disregards―is not esteemed unless the villain is put to death. That man is made in the image of God is a gift of priceless value. Genesis 9:6 warns us, albeit indirectly, that the worth of the gift is grossly underestimated when the murderer is allowed to live.

Apropos of society’s willingness to discard the death penalty, it is incontrovertible that such a desire cannot be adduced as indicative of an increased appreciation of the value of human life. On the contrary, the demand for the abolition of capital punishment is a sign of blindness, not appreciation; for the diabolical consequences of our irreverent attitude toward human life are myriad. Since the Roe vs. Wade decision, some 20 million babies have been murdered. Pornography in all its satanic forms permeates society. Suicide is a national plague. The many abuses in the realm of sex are omnipresent. Euthanasia is not without its proponents and practitioners. In light of this moral wasteland, the assertion that abolitionists witness to modern man’s recognition of the value of life is preposterous.

What constitutes man as an image of God?

Since Genesis 9:6 sanctions the death penalty on the grounds that man reflects God in a particular way, it is important to understand the nature of this reflection.

According to the traditional teaching of theologians, God is reflected in His creatures in the following ways: as a trace (vestigium), which is characteristic of all material entities; as an image (imago), which is characteristic of spiritual beings in their natural state; and as a likeness (similitudo), which is characteristic of spiritual beings in a supernatural state. For example, man’s body is a trace; his soul, lacking grace is a divine image; and his soul perfected by grace, is a divine likeness.

Man is an image of God because of the rational soul’s powers of intellect, will, and love. He is able to grasp truth. choose the good, and love all that is true, good, and beautiful. These three powers―intellectual, volitional, and affective constitute man as an image of God. Divine likeness is achieved only in the state of grace, when “a partaker of the divine nature” (II Peter 1:4).

Indeed, the soul is man’s crowning glory. So precious is our soul that it is worth the blood of the Son of God. We have been redeemed “…not with perishable things, with silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot” (I Peter 1: 18-19).

Heretics and the soul

Man is composed of body and soul. His material body is a trace of God; his soul, a spiritual substance is an image of God. If the murderer is rightly condemned for destroying the life of the body, all the more should the “murderer” of the soul be put to death. St. Thomas Aquinas argues in a similar vein when he answer the question: “Are heretics to be tolerated?” The Angelic Doctor writes:

On their side [the heretics’] is the sin whereby they have deserved, not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication but also to be banished from the world by death. For it is a much heavier offense to corrupt the faith, whereby the life of the soul is sustained, than to tamper with the coinage, which is an aid to temporal life. Hence if coiners, or other malefactors, are at once handed over by secular princes to die a just death, much more may heretics, immediately after they are convicted of heresy, be not only excommunicated, but also justly done to die.” (Summa Theologica [here afterST], IIa IIae, q. 11, art. 3)

The person is not taken seriously as a spiritual creature, as a divine image, if heretics, who “corrupt the faith, whereby the life of the soul is sustained,” are not punished―dare I say it?―with excommunication. What greater crime is there than the spiritual harm caused by heretics? Yet these contumacious individuals are not even admonished. In fact, they are the putative heroes of the day. Instead of being extirpated they are held in high esteem for their perfidiousness.

The Church hierarchy stresses the dignity of the person in many of its official pronouncements. Fine. They point out that the main duty of public authorities is to protect the community and the common good. Great. But Church officials do not provide a good example when they permit nefarious Church members to cause unbridled scandal in their own domain. To avoid the charge of hypocrisy, the guardians of the Catholic Faith should be solicitous for the spiritual well-being of Catholics before expecting secular authorities to administer to the common good.

Argument: Capital punishment is morally wrong because barbarous acts―murder, treason, etc.―are punished with a barbarous act. The punishment is just as evil as the crime.

This objection would be cogent if the penalty of death were totally disproportionate to the crime. For example, condemning a person for stealing a candy bar. In this case the punishment of death is barbarous. But when the punishment is proportionate to the crime, then the former is quite just. With regard to murder, Immanuel Kant, in The Metaphysics of Morals, exposes the soft underbelly of the abolitionists’ objection:

If however, he has committed a murder, he must die. In this case, there is no substitute that will satisfy the requirements of legal justice. There is no sameness of kind between death and remaining alive even under the most miserable conditions, and consequently there is also no equality between the crime and the retribution unless the criminal is judicially condemned and put to death…

It may also be pointed out that no one has ever heard of anyone condemned to death on account of murder who complained that he was getting too much punishment and therefore was being treated unjustly; everyone would laugh in his face if he were to make such a statement.” (translated as The Metaphysical Elements of Justice, New York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1965, pp. 104, 106)

Moreover, the objection that capital punishment is an unjust act would be convincing if it referred to the act of the vigilante. Acts of vengeance by the private individual, for example, lynching, are indeed evil. But the objection is discredited once it is understood that the State has the right to use the death penalty.

Capital punishment and the state

The Church has acknowledged continuously the State’s authority to put a person to death. For example, St. Paul, after he points out that rulers act as God’s representatives in punishing the criminal, speaks of the Roman policy of capital punishment with approval:

Let everyone be subject to the higher authorities, for there exists no authority except from God, and those who exist have been appointed by God. Therefore he who resists the authority resists the ordinance of God and they that resist bring on themselves condemnation. For rulers are a terror not to the good work but to the evil. Dost thou wish, then, not to fear the authority? Do what is good and thou wilt have praise from it. For it is God’s minister to thee for good. But if thou dost what is evil, fear, for not without reason does it carry the sword. For it is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who does evil.” (Romans 13:1-4)

When the proper authority punishes―an instance of forceful correction, according to St. Thomas―it is an act of justice. Needless to say, the act is good, too, since it is an act and perfection of virtue.

Examined from the point of view of the one punished, punishment is a physical evil; pondered from the side of the authority empowered to punish, however, punishment is a good.

Punishment: suffering as expiatory of evil

Socrates revolutionized ethical theory with the discovery that it is better to suffer injustice than to commit it. Evil, for Socrates, does not consist in inflicting pain on others (physical evil). He is concerned with moral evil. Callicles and Polis find this teaching absurd. They think injustice is bad because the individual exposes himself to punishment. Hence, according to them, to do evil and get away with it is a great good. For Socrates, on the other hand, this is the worst evil for man (Gorgias, 479d). Why?  Because the person will carry the burden of the evil in his soul as long as he does not undergo the cleansing power of a just punishment (Gorgias, 477; 480). By submitting to justice, the person is released of the burden of injustice and he is much happier for doing so. This is the paradox of punishment (Gorgias, 473).

In order for this purification to take place, however, certain conditions must be met.

  1. The criminal must freely submit to the punishment; and
  2. the authorities must be willing to punish the offender.

St. Thomas Aquinas emphasizes the purgatorial power of punishment too. The Common Doctor avers that punishment orders guilt: retribution has as its object the maintenance or restoration of justice and order in the soul. For this reason he holds that punishment is an act of virtue (ST, IIa, q. 12, art. 2).

One popular argument against capital punishment also recommends that punishment be abolished altogether in favor of forgiveness. I will now consider this objection.

Argument: Did not Christ replace the law of lex taliones with the law of love? Would not it be more charitable to forgive the criminal than to punish him?

Christ did replace the law of retribution with His commandment of love. He urges Christians to relinquish their individual rights for the sake of charity:

You have heard that it was said―’An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you not to resist the evildoer; on the contrary, if someone strike thee on the right cheek, turn to him the other also…” (Matt. 5:38-39)

However, these words of Christ, which are often cited by the abolitionists as supportive of their position regarding capital punishment, refer to the offended individual, not to the State. As Dietrich von Hildebrand has shown, only the injured person (or someone closely related to the person) can forgive the objective evil done to him or her. In other words, the formal object of human forgiveness is the objective evil for the person; the wrong inflicted on the individual. The pardon refers to the evil intention of the villain inasmuch as it has the negative importance of an objective evil for the person. Note, however, that this does not mean the moral disvalue of the criminal’s act is pardoned by the injured person; for only God (or His representatives on earth whom He has empowered to “bind and loose“) can forgive this aspect of the morally evil act.

Hence for Christians to suggest that the State should pardon the evildoer is to ask for something which is metaphysically impossible for the State to perform. The situation is akin to affirming that contradictory judgments can both be true: the words can be said but the judgment can never correspond to reality. Similarly, the State can make a declaration of forgiveness, but the act can never be exercised in reality.

The state protects the common good

The purpose of the State is to protect the community and the common good. Pope John XXIII defines “common good” in Pacem in Terris as follows: “The common good of all embraces the sum total of those conditions of social living whereby men are enabled to achieve their own integral perfection more fully and easily” (58).

And so the State has as its goal the perfection of persons, which in turn makes possible the perfect State. According to St. Thomas, the end of the State―the perfect State―is realized when men are living virtuous lives. Moreover, the virtuous life is lived by adhering to the dictates of the natural moral law; such adherence is a divine good insofar as it is a participation in the eternal law (ST, Ia IIae, q. 94, art. 2).

Hence inasmuch as the State guards the common good by sentencing a man to death, it is acting justly. As St. Thomas puts it:

The slaying of an evil-doer is lawful inasmuch as it is directed to the welfare of the whole community, and therefore appertains to him alone who has charge of the community. Now the care of the common good is entrusted to rulers having public authority; and therefore to them is it lawful to slay evil-doers, not to private individuals.” (ST, IIa IIae, q. 64, art. 3)

The law of lex taliones

Far from being unjust or uncharitable, the law of retribution assures the actualization of justice because the criminal is punished in accord with his or her crime. “All other standards,” Kant writes, “fluctuate back and forth, and because extraneous considerations are mixed with the, they cannot be compatible with the principle of pure and strict legal justice” (op. cit., p. 101).

Granted, there are criminal acts which cannot be punished “eye for an eye” Two such acts are bestiality and rape. When the law of retribution cannot be strictly applied, the villain should suffer “that which according to the spirit of the penal law―even if not to the letter thereof―is the same as what he has inflicted on others,” Kant rightly asserts (op. cit., p. 133).

In the Old Testament the law of retribution is sanctioned in Exodus 21:23-25, and in Lev. 24:17-21. In addition, the law proclaimed on Mt. Sinai ratified the death penalty for the following crimes:

  • murder (Ex. 21: 112,14);
  • assaulting one’s mother or father (Ex. 21: 15);
  • kidnapping (Ex. 21: 16);
  • cursing one’s mother or father (Ex. 21: 17);
  • housebreaking at night (Ex. 22: 1);
  • and bestiality (Ex. 22: 18).

Punishment is a matter of justice

Punishment is a matter of justice: injustice ought to be punished. Retribution is due the criminal. To the degree that punishment gives the criminal what is due him, it is just; and insofar as it is just, it is also charitable. Thus, the primary question with regard to punishment should be: “Is the punishment just?” All other deliberations―utilitarian, pedagogical, or deterrent―are as Kant points out, “extraneous considerations.” There is a due relation between crime and punishment; the individual should be punished if and only if he has committed a crime. Kant explains:

Judicial punishment can never be used merely as a means to promote some other good for the criminal himself or for civil society, but instead it must in all cases be imposed on him only on the ground that he has committed a crime …He must first be found to be deserving of punishment before any consideration is given to the utility of this punishment for himself or for his fellow citizens. The law concerning punishment is a categorical imperative, and woe to him who rummages around the winding paths of a theory of happiness looking for some advantage to be gained by releasing the criminal from punishment or by reducing the amount of it.” (op. cit., 100).

So seriously does Kant take the concept of due relation between crime and punishment―and this is as it should be―that he correctly asserts:

Even if a civil society were to dissolve itself by common agreement of all its members, (for example, if the people inhabiting an island decided to separate and disperse themselves around the world), the last murderer remaining in prison must first be executed, so that everyone will duly receive what his actions are worth.” (op. cit., p. 102).

No punishment, no person

If the concept of due relation between crime and punishment is not considered, the question of justice is left out altogether. Once the question of justice is discarded, then the criminal is treated as something less than a person, an image of God. Instead of being treated as a person who is morally responsible for his actions, he becomes the object of experiments (“Let us see how he reacts in this environment“) deals (“If you supply us with information, your sentence will be reduced“), and ridicule (when used as a scapegoat). As C.S. Lewis observes in his essay, The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment:

Thus when we cease to consider what the criminal deserves and consider only what will cure him or deter others, we have tacitly removed him from the sphere of justice altogether; instead of a person, a subject of rights, we now have a mere object, a patient, a ‘case’.”

Moreover, if curing the criminal or deterring others are the only considerations, then the doctrine of determinism is tacitly, if not explicitly, introduced. You see, criminals cannot be punished because man is not free; he is the product of circumstances; the plaything of experiences. What he wills he cannot help but will; for his character has been determined by irrational factors such as upbringing, social and economic conditions, psychological and biological considerations, and the like. Man does not determine his character; his character is the result of experiences and circumstances beyond his control.

The determinist cannot use words like “deplorable,” “wicked,” “shameful,” and “disgraceful” to describe heinous acts because these words make sense only if the criminal is free to choose between good and evil, and therefore is responsible for his actions.

If the determinist recommends punishment it is to cure the offender, or to use him to deter others—sometimes both—but never as a means of retribution for criminal acts. Therefore the criminal is treated as something less than a person. And to consider the criminal in this manner is to remove him from the realm of justice altogether. Justice presupposes a person; an animal or an inanimate object can neither possess the perfection of justice nor be the object of it.

Capital punishment and the bishops

The objections to capital punishment analyzed in this article were given an impetus by the “Statement on Capital Punishment” issued by the bishops in 1980. J. Brien Benestad, in his book The Pursuit of a Just Social Order (Ethics and Public Policy Center, Washington, D.C., 1982), summarizes the arguments used by the bishops to annul the death penalty. He writes:

The bishops asserted that abolition of the death penalty would promote four Christian values. It would:

  1. show that we can break the cycle of violence characteristic of modern society;
  2. manifest belief in the dignity of all human beings, who have great worth because they are created in the image of God;
  3. testify to the Judeo-Christian and Islamic belief that God is the Lord of life and strengthen the defense of all life, including that of the unborn, the aged, and the infirm; and
  4. be most consonant with the teaching and example of Jesus Who practiced forgiveness (pp. 75-76).

Although the bishops concede that support of the death penalty is not incompatible with the teachings of Catholicism, they maintain―and want Catholics to maintain―that it is more appropriate as Catholics, more in keeping with the commands of Christ, to advocate abolition of the death penalty. Are not the bishops guilty of double-think? They fail to realize that if their arguments against capital punishment are valid, then support of the death penalty is unjust, uncharitable, and unchristian. One thing is certain: When the bishops speak individually on the subject of capital punishment, they clearly assert that to uphold the death penalty is incompatible with the principles of the Catholic Faith.

The bishops’ failure to uphold the death penalty is yet another example of their propensity to reject the traditional teaching of the Church. Unfortunately, many Catholics follow their lead. Thus the ever-increasing phenomenon of considering both the Church itself and Catholics who defend her teaching, as unchristian.


Further recommend reading

~Steven C. “Knight of Tradition”


The Vocation of the Brotherhood

http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/2-new-brothers-take-their-vows-during-retreat

http://sspx.org/en/sspx-brothers-angels-of-our-communities

“Indeed, Archbishop Lefebvre called the brothers “the angels of our community”, not only because of the valuable services they provide in support of the priests’ apostolic activities, but also due to the holy and humble example they give to all around them.”

We congratulate these two Brothers of the Society of St. Pius X for taking their final vows and persevering in the Divine Call!  We also promise the several new postulants and novices our fervent prayers as they continue to discern God’s Holy Will!

The Vocation of the Brotherhood is very misunderstood in our modern world.  After all, we must be “independent” and “free-spirited”, of course!  It is true that this vocation is a direct contradiction of what we witness in the world today, however, compared to the selfish, utter bleakness surrounding these whims of modern man, the religious vocation is a joyous and peaceful one!

I am thus pleased to share with our readers this excerpt from the August 2003 issue of The Southern Sentinel by Fr. Peter Scott, SSPX.  Fr. Scott dismisses and corrects the notion that the Brotherhood makes one a “slave” of himself is simply a less perfect and glorious state than the Priesthood.  We must not doubt the importance of the Brotherhood in the Church.  After all, what would the priests themselves be without these “angels of the community”?  God calls an abundance of men to assist the Church in the duties entrusted to a religious Brother!

If our readers are interested in a listing of good Traditional Religious Communities, they can click here:

http://sspxasia.com/Documents/Society_of_Saint_Pius_X/Vocations/index.htm.

Please note that this is a slightly older list, so everything might not necessarily be up-to-date and certain newer Communities might not be listed(e.g. the new Dominican House in Belgium).  We have actually featured one of these Communities in one of our previous posts, which we feature again here!

https://damselofthefaith.wordpress.com/2016/08/04/our-lady-of-guadalupe-monastery-celebrates-25-years/

http://www.sspxasia.com/Documents/Society_of_Saint_Pius_X/Vocations/Mens-Communities/Chap-4a-Society-of-St-Pius-X-Brothers.htm

THE RELIGIOUS IS FREE

One of the reasons why young men shy away from a religious vocation is the feeling that the brother’s life is horribly constraining, that it is made up of unbearable restrictions, that it stands in the way of being able to do as one wants, that it prevents one from developing one’s personality, that it stifles all natural feelings, that it makes one into little better than a slave, that it takes all the fun out of life and gives very little in return.

Nothing, indeed, could be further from the truth. Far from hampering personal freedom, far from holding a man back in a state of puerile dependence, the religious state has the exact opposite objective, and truly accomplishes it. It is a state of perfection, in which a man commits himself to take the means necessary to strive for perfection every day. This is in fact what makes the religious free, free to make a total and perfect gift of himself, free from the obstacles of his own disordered attachments, free to love God, free to place the divine Honor, Glory and Holy Will over and above every created thing, free to make of himself “a sacrifice of perpetual praise to the divine majesty” (Brothers’ profession).

Indeed the religious who is not a priest has the ultimate freedom, for without the direct responsibility for others’ souls, he gives himself entirely to the striving for personal perfection, through the living of the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. If the Church presumes the priest to be free, through his detachment and through his consecration to God, the religious actually takes the means to become so.

This is why the religious vocation is radically different from the priestly vocation, and why the religious is not at all to be considered as a man who does not have the aptitude for Seminary studies and who cannot become a priest. His is quite simply a different vocation. The priest is consecrated to the service of the Church, so that no man has a right to priestly ordination. This is why it is the first duty of the Seminary Rector to exclude from ordination any seminarian who does not have the requisite learning, piety and uprightness of life. However, every Catholic man has a right to the religious life, provided that he seeks it for the right reasons, and uses it to strive for perfection, has no impediments. Furthermore, if it is true that no religious can be lazy, some are more educated and others less so. There is absolutely nothing to stop a more educated Catholic, who is not called to the priesthood, applying to enter the religious life. Indeed, it would be a great blessing for the Brothers of the Society to receive as vocations men with academic degrees, for it would enable the Brothers to play an even more active role in the education of boys.


THE RELIGIOUS THINKS & MERITS FOR HIMSELF

By practicing obedience to the rule as to the will of God and to his superiors as to God’s representatives, the religious in no way loses his own will, nor do his acts become any less voluntary and meritworthy. Much to the contrary. For it is by his own generous sacrifice that he embraces the rule as the will of God, that he joyfully and generously sees in the commands of his superiors the manifestation of God’s plan of divine Providence of his life and activities. Indeed, just as the vow of poverty makes voluntary and meritworthy the religious’ state of possessing nothing of his own, so likewise does the vow of obedience make more willing and meritworthy everything that he does. The rule of life, including the divine office, prayers, meditation and common meals is embraced as the signified will of God, and the decisions of superiors as God’s will of good pleasure. However, in both cases the religious knows with absolute certainty the will of the Almighty, and this gives to his acts and duties a willingness impossible for those who are wandering uncertain, and often aimless, amongst the vagaries of the world.

Nor is there anything childish about the religious’ dependence. It is a whole and complete abandonment to the will of Almighty God. This is accomplished through the living of the vow of poverty, which is nothing less than the generous response to the invitation of our Divine Savior mentioned in the Brothers’ profession ceremony: “If thou wilt be perfect, go sell what thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come follow me” (Mt 19:21). Truly the religious life makes a man free.

Nor is it to be thought that the religious life somehow discourages a man from thinking for himself, or making his own decisions. Again, the truth is entirely the opposite. Obedience is not at all a blind virtue, and the religious learns to always consider the ultimate reasons for decisions and duties, as they fall into God’s plan. The religious is thus trained in the virtue of prudence, namely how to govern himself for heaven, and how to govern those for whom he is responsible. This requires the humble seeking of counsel both from his own spiritual director, and from his superiors; it requires the ability to make the right judgments as to how to overcome his faults, bad habits and disordered attachments, as well as to fulfill his duties; it requires, finally, follow-through, or the ability to execute both with respect to his own spiritual duties and with respect to his responsibilities for the apostolate and for the community. These are the three acts of prudence that the brother must be trained in, as a thinking man, without which he cannot be faithful to his vocation.


THE JOY OF THE RELIGIOUS

The practice of poverty and detachment, of willing and obedient submission, necessarily presupposes a community, in which the religious lives, along with superiors and fellow religious. A community is both a mortification, as is any family life, but also and especially a great treasure, for it is a supernatural family that shares its life together. The community is indeed an incomparable consolation for the religious who has vanquished his self-centeredness.

Archbishop Lefebvre had this to say about the brothers’ living of community life, when he wrote their rule: “Let the Brothers make efforts to manifest in the community their profoundly religious spirit, one of silence, of union with God, of fraternal charity, of zeal to give service to others, but without neglecting the service of God. May all those whom they approach, and all those in the midst of whom they live, be edified by their behavior, and never disedified. Let them be like the guardian angels of our communities.” (§20).

There is certainly nothing inhibiting in such an ideal, nor could there be anything sad, depressing or lonely about a community of men who share together the same magnanimity, who live side by side the absoluteness of self-sacrifice. Indeed, if natural family life is enjoyable and consoling, how much more is the supernatural family life that is open to the man who has willingly offered up the passing natural joys of this earth for the unchanging ones that will never perish. This is powerfully impressed upon the soul by the following counsel, also contained in the Brothers’ Rule, namely that the brothers “strive to understand the profoundly supernatural nature of this life…May they find in this conviction and in this reality, more heavenly than earthly, their unchangeable joy, their unceasing consolation, their steadfast serenity.” (§4 & 5).


MANLINESS IN THE RELIGIOUS

The modern world holds the mistaken idea that the man who is willing to make the vow of perpetual chastity is somehow lacking in virility, that he is less of a man, that he hates women, or is someone who finds it difficult to love, or who refuses to take the responsibility of supporting a family. Again, nothing could be further from the truth. Such a person, not a real man, could never be a candidate for the religious life. Furthermore, manliness is not just a prerequisite of the religious life, but the religious formation positively strives to develop and perfect it. Grace does not suppress nature, nor does the religious life suppress the manly desire to support, help and cherish the weak, especially the sick and the elderly, women and children. But it does purify it from all disordered or self-centered attachments, and it does encourage the elevation of the sensitivity by the appreciation of art, music and beauty, starting with the Liturgy and the Gregorian Chant, in which all the Brothers are trained.

Modern psychology uses the term sublimation, for what it describes as a psychological process, without understanding any of the reality, considering it to be but the substitution of one emotion or interest, in order to make up for the lack of another. However, in the etymological sense of tending towards the sublime, it is eminently true of the religious life. Far from suppressing natural feelings, life in community and the vow of chastity indeed elevate them to a much higher plane. They are not substituted for, but purified from the selfishness so easily inherent in purely human relationships. The religious is indeed indifferent with respect to himself, but he cannot afford to be with respect to others. He must have a true concern, affection and care for the members of his community, as for all souls with whom he enters into contact.

Thus a Brother is in no way unmoved by suffering and hardship. To the contrary, he is very familiar with it, thanks to his constant meditation on the Passion of Our Divine Savior. Without in any way denying the reality of human pain, he will constantly strive by his words and example to encourage others to sanctify it, by offering it up in reparation for their sins, and in union with our Divine Savior on the Cross. His human feelings find their perfection in their union with those of Our Lord. In this he learns to scrupulously avoid all particular friendship, destroying as it does any true community, and undermining his ability to imitate Our Lord, who loves all without exception, “who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (I Tim 2:4). Sublimation it is, if by this is meant the lifting of the natural affections to the sublime affections of God truly made man, the bearing in one’s heart if His own love of truth and beauty and of His hatred for the ugliness of sin.

However, it is especially in the formation of a sense of responsibility that this manliness consists: – responsibility for one’s own soul, for one’s spiritual family, for edifying one’s neighbor, and here in the Seminary for the edification of the priests and major and minor seminarians. This sense of responsibility is characterized in particular by the manly moral virtue of fortitude, manifest in the strength of character of the mortified religious. The brother constantly emulates the martyrs, who lived this virtue to perfection, for the religious life, a constant dying to oneself, according to the words of St. Paul “I die daily” (I Cor 15:31), is a ongoing martyrdom, as said St. Anthony of Egypt, disappointed when he could not endure the martyrdom of blood. This manly fortitude is manifest in his striving for perfection in the ordinary duties of state of every day.


WHO IS CALLED?

I think, then, that it is clear what kind of men God calls to the religious life. It is not the weak, inconstant, effeminate who cannot make a go of it in the world, who do not have the desire to marry and raise a family. No, God calls to the religious life strong, virile, responsible men; men whose feelings, convictions and passions are firm and unshakable, yet under control; men who would like to raise a family if it were the will of God; but men who would like much more to consecrate themselves to His service, to His honor and Glory if this is the will of God; men who would much prefer to joyfully and willingly “humbly ask for the favor of consecrating myself totally to God the Holy Trinity, to Our Lord Jesus Christ and to the Holy Church by the three vows of religion” (Brothers’ Profession). God is seeking for those truly prudent men who are willing to devote all the energy of their manhood to striving for perfection, to the practice of the holy virtue of religion.

Please pray that the Lord of the harvest might deign to send such men to us here at Holy Cross Seminary, that the glory of the religious life might continue to grown and shine in our midst, as the Church prays in the Votive Mass for religious vocations: “We beseech Thee, O Lord, to graciously look down upon Thy family and to always augment it with new offspring: that it might guide its sons to the sanctity after which they aspire, and that it might effectively bring about the salvation of others. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ…”

Yours faithfully in the Most Holy and religious Family,

Father Peter R. Scott

~Steven C. “Knight of Tradition”


Damsel of the Faith celebrates 2nd Anniversary

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Dear friends and readers,

The Damsel has requested that I write a post for this day, being exactly two years since our blog featured its first entries.  We thank all of our dear readers very much for their support.  The Damsel and I fully intend to continue providing edifying articles and, of course, to continue spreading the TRUTH for many, many years to come.

Having followed this blog from the beginning, I have always greatly admired its true Catholic spirit.  Even though this apostolate is run on a blog format, it is actually intended to counteract the influence of typical blogs today.  Like most forms of media, the devil is obtaining an ever greater power over the Internet.  Lies, half-truths, and gossip consistently dominate.  Thank God, however, that there are still many sites that faithfully profess what is good and true.  As such, I have always appreciated the manner in which the Damsel writes about the crisis in the Church: with great firmness and strength, but with great charity and fairness.  I am very honored to have met her and to now have the privilege to assist her in her wonderful work for Tradition and the Church.

In our Sacred duty as Soldiers of Christ, let us remember these words of St. Augustine: “Do not despair, one of the thieves was saved. Do not presume, one of the thieves was damned.”  We must not despair!  Our Lord has promised us the victory!  It is assured to us!  Even though there may be a few difficult years ahead, God has meant that we live in this time for a reason- to fight for the restoration of His Kingship and become great saints! And He has given us so many graces, not the least including our faithful traditional Catholic Priests, Religious, and friends!  On the other hand, may we not presume!  Our Lord only promised that the gates of Hell would not prevail against the Church herself, not necessarily those Catholics who would lukewarmly trudge through this crisis.  Let us continue to fight the good fight for the restoration of the Church and of Christendom!

Thank you all for your continuing support! May God bless our readers!  Above all, keep the Faith!

~ Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”

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Padre Pio and Abortion

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And how the world today has lost this Love and Sacrifice!  With Election Day in the U.S. fast approaching, it is disheartening to see such disregard and even diabolical hatred for human life. The fact that so many Americans, perhaps even a majority, are determined to elect candidates who are strong supporters of the slaughtering of innocents in the womb speaks volumes about the state of this nation.  Even worse is that so many of these candidates are elected because of the votes from American “Catholics”.  Catholics in America have consistently been voting in favor of the perverse Democratic party and have been the unfortunate “swing vote” in many elections.

There is certainly much need for proper catechesis here!  The great anger of the Good God towards this sin that cries out to Heaven for vengeance was manifested through His great minister, Padre Pio.  Being such a providential instrument on Earth allowed Padre Pio to realize in a unique way the mind of God, and in our case, in His vigorous condemnation of Abortion. These words of Padre Pio, as strong as they are, reflect just how great the evil that is Abortion.

From the April 2011 issue of The Angelus:

THIS IS WHAT ST. PADRE PIO OF PIETRELCINA HAD TO SAY

“ABORTION IS NOT ONLY HOMICIDE, BUT ALSO SUICIDE”

Many people, confronted with the sin of abortion, confuse the law of the Nation—that permits and assists the interruption of pregnancy—with the law of God, where provoked abortion is always a sin against the Fifth Commandment. “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13; Matthew 5:21-22) defends life independently of the human being’s age in years, months or days.

The interruption of pregnancy always creates trauma, a drama. It cannot be denied that what the woman lives through—who unfortunately doesn’t really want to be a mother—also concerns all those close to her, whose strong emotive reaction tends to justify such a great error. Confessors know those influences well, although they can never justify the suppression of a life.

PADRE PIO’S TESTIMONY

Padre Pellegrino asked St. Padre Pio one day, “Padre, this morning you denied absolution to a lady who confessed to an abortion. Why were you so rigorous with this poor unfortunate woman?”

Padre Pio answered, “The day people, frightened by the economic boom, physical damages or financial sacrifices, lose the horror of abortion will be the most terrible day for humanity. For, precisely on that day, they will have to show that they detest it.”

Then he took hold of his interlocutor’s habit with his right hand and put his left hand over his heart, as if he wanted to grab his heart, and said in an urgent tone, “Abortion is not only homicide but also suicide. And to these people we see on the point of committing two crimes…do we want to show our faith? Do we want to save them or not?”

“Why suicide?” asked Padre Pellegrino.

Full of holy anger, compensated by much sweetness and goodness, Padre Pio explained, “You would understand this suicide of the human race if with the eye of reason you could see the ‘beauty and joy’ of the earth populated by old men and depopulated by children, burnt as a desert. If you thought it over, then you would understand that abortion is even more serious. Abortion also mutilates the life of the parents. I would like to cover those parents with the ashes of their destroyed fetuses, to nail them with their responsibilities and stop the possibility of recurring to ignorance. The remains of a provoked abortion are not buried by false religiousness. It would be an abominable hypocrisy. Those ashes should be thrown at the murderous parents’ elegant faces. If I thought they were of good faith, I would not feel implicated in their crimes. You see, I am not a saint, but I never feel so close to sainthood as when I pronounce these words, undoubtedly a bit virulent, but just and useful, against those who commit this crime. I am certain that God approves of my rigor since, after those sorrowful struggles against evil, He always gives me—or rather let us say He imposes on me—moments of marvelous tranquility.”

Padre Pio observed to Padre Pellegrino that “if erroneous ideas are not eradicated from the minds of those who provoke abortions, it is useless to punish them with the rigors of the Church.” He argued, “By defending the arrival of children into the world, my rigor is always an act of faith and hope in our encounters with God on earth. Unfortunately, as time goes by, the battle gets tougher than we are. But we must fight anyway, because in spite of the certainty of a defeat on the map, our battle has the guarantee of a true victory: that of the new earth and the new heavens.”

Confronted with such considerations, what reasons could there be to justify such a great sin? It would also be a serious misdeed for the Church to cooperate with an abortion.

“GO AWAY, ANIMAL! GO AWAY!”

In the sacristy, in front of the confessional where Padre Pio received penitents, Mario Tentori waited for his turn seated on a bench. As he was examining his conscience, he heard Padre Pio shout, “Go away, animal, go away!” The Saint’s words were addressed to a man who had knelt at his feet to make his confession and who left the confessional humiliated, very moved and confused. The next day Mario got the train in Foggia to return to Milan. He sat in a compartment where there was only one other traveler, who began to look at him, visibly showing a desire to start a conversation. Finally he got the courage and asked him, “Weren’t you in the sacristy yesterday at San Giovanni Rotondo to go to confession to Padre Pio?”

“Yes, I was!” answered Tentori.

The other man continued, “We were seated on the same bench. My turn was just before yours. I am the one who Padre Pio threw out calling me an ‘animal.’ Do you remember that?”

“Yes,” Mario stated.

The traveling companion continued, “Being outside of the confessional, perhaps none of you heard the words that motivated the Padre’s reaction. Well, Padre Pio told me, and I quote, ‘Go away, animal, go away, because you have had abortions three times in agreement with your wife.’ Do you understand? Padre Pio told me, ‘You have aborted!’ He addressed me, because the initiative to abort always came from me.”

And he broke into sobbing, expressing his sorrow that way, as he himself asserted, and the will not to sin again with the firm determination to return and meet with Padre Pio to receive absolution and change his way of life.

Padre Pio’s rigor had saved the life of a father who, after denying life to three infants, was in danger of losing his own soul for all eternity.

RESPECT FOR THE PURPOSE OF MATRIMONY

What contributes to depopulating the earth, as our Saint says, which is “burnt like a desert” since children’s smiles are no longer seen there, is the decrease in the birth rate, chosen too often for selfish reasons or objective financial problems. Medical concerns also contribute to cause aging in the earth’s population.

One of Padre Pio’s spiritual children confessed to us, “During the second confession I made to him—he had sent me away the first time—after telling him my sins, the Padre asked me, “Anything else?” I said no. And looking me in the eye he asked me, “And in holy matrimony, have you done things right with your wife?”

“No, Father,” I answered, “because doctors forbid us to have more children.”

And he responded, “And what do doctors have to do with this?”

“They said we could procreate a monster,” I answered him.

“You would have deserved it!” shouted the Saint. And he kicked me out of the confessional again.

Taken from the Swiss District magazine Le Rocher, No. 53.

~ Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”


The Catholic origins of Halloween

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With All Hallows Eve, or as we usually shorten it, Halloween, being just a few days away, I wish to clear up some misconceptions about this often misunderstood and maligned day. It is unfortunately true that those with evil intentions have attempted to corrupt this date and make it into essentially a holiday in honor of the Devil.  However, it would also be incorrect to condemn everything associated with Halloween and to claim that good Catholics who would practice any traditional customs or take any part in it whatsoever are taking part in “devil-worship”.  This would be the excess of the Protestants, still fairly common in this country, dating back to the Puritans.  It is my hope that our readers may be inspired to find virtue in the middle ground and celebrate their Halloween properly and well.  I provide a few selections below to highlight the traditional Catholics origins and customs of Halloween and tips on how to apply them to our day.

I highly recommend this recent article by Fr. Augustine Thompson, O.P., which, despite perhaps a couple of slightly inaccurate statements, explains well the Catholic origins of Halloween:  http://ucatholic.com/blog/the-catholic-origins-of-halloween/

I also provide a couple of selections below.  The first is taken from The Catholic World (November 1930) and explains some classical Catholic customs of Halloween (and All Souls Day, as well!)  The second is taken from the November 2015 issue of The Carpenter, the monthly SSPX newsletter in Michigan.  Fr. Richard Boyle, SSPX, notes the Catholic symbolism of a jack-o-lantern as it is being carved.  It is written in the “Fun and Games” section of the newsletter for both younger children and their parents, thus accounting for its more simple tone, which we can all cherish!

May we all properly commemorate this Holy Day in a true Catholic spirit!

The Catholic World:

“The ancient Celts were much preoccupied with the thought of death and the mysterious life beyond so that nowadays, in countries populated by a Celtic stock, as Ireland, Brittany, Wales, Gaelic Scotland, or in certain English counties permeated in the past by Celtic influences, we find extant survivals of old traditions and customs associated with the season of the Holy Souls. Some of these observances will appeal to Catholics, others are distinctly superstitious; on the whole, however, whatever may have been the actual origin of many of these practices, they have been impregnated and transmuted, with Christian thought and feeling.

Brittany is the last great stronghold of old ways and manners. In that country, the people have—if one may thus express it—an intimate association with the departed souls, the “anaon,” or “souls of the ancestors” as they are generally called.

The suffering souls are thought of as sometimes fulfilling their purgatory close at hand, in farmsteads, fields, or unfrequented lanes. If in conversation, the name of an ancestor, even a neighbor’s ancestor, is mentioned, someone will have the pious wish ready—“Peace to their souls.”

Naturally, the continual remembrance or the departed has influenced Breton character and life considerably, while as might he expected from devout Catholic peasantry, this devotion to the “anaon’s” welfare reaches its climax on the “Night of the Dead,” our Hallowe’en. Then for 48 hours—so the Breton believes—the poor souls are liberated from Purgatory and are free to revisit their old homes, so that, of course, everything possible must be done to make them welcome.

It is a day of prayer, without a trace of the merriment of a Scotch or Irish Hallowe’en. All through the day, members of each household have prayed by the family graves; then in the late afternoon, everybody goes to “black Vespers” in the parish church; men and women kneeling round the catafalque [i.e., the false full-sized casket draped in black—Ed.] which throughout the year stands in a conspicuous position in the church.

In country parishes, as soon as Vespers is said, the congregation proceeds to the charnel-house—an important building in many churchyards—where bones from an over-full graveyard are kept. This night the doors are opened, some peasants kneel inside among the bones, others on the grass outside. In the dark, lit up only by the candles burning on each grave, they sing theComplaint of the Charnel-house, a Breton hymn, which first calls on Christians to gather together, then follows an appeal, as though issued by the bones themselves, beseeching for prayers and again for more prayers.

The ceremonies of the “veille” are by no means ended when the worshipers leave the churchyard. In the some districts, after supper is cleared away, each housewife spreads a clean cloth on the table, puts on it hot pancakes, curds, and cider. The fire is well banked up, chairs are put round it, and the family, after another De Profundis (Psalm 129), goes to bed.

Soon after nine o’clock, a messenger goes through the streets, ringing a bell to remind everyone to go indoors, as it is unwise to meet the souls streaming home at midnight. Later still, a band of singers—the “chanters of the dead”—go through the village, rap at each door to wake the sleepers; where upon they chant another Breton hymn asking for prayers, the Complaint of the Souls.

Then all is quiet, unless someone waking in the night, hears murmurs in the kitchen, or catches sounds of work. Then he knows the ancestors are back, warming themselves at the fire, for the poor souls are always cold; or trying their tools at their old labor.

Next day is “Toussoini” when the whole household goes to early Mass; the “Anaon,” go too, for it is said on this day families are reunited—living and dead assist at Mass together.

Some districts had their special customs. In the Isle of Sein, four young men stayed in church during the night, tolling the bells hourly. [The number “four” is the classic number of man. It symbolizes the four temperaments of man; choleric, sanguine, melancholic, and phlegmatic. It also stands for the four seasons and the four cardinal virtues; prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude.—Ed.] Four other men went to every house on the island where someone had died during the previous year, and called on the inmates to say the De Profundis with them.

Another most touching custom prevails. It is not usual for women to go out in the fishing boats, but when a sailor or fisherman has been drowned, and his body has never been recovered, on All Souls’ Day the women from the bereaved family sail far out with the men, and all say the De Profundis for their dead relative.

Irish folk, as is well known, keep Hallowe’en with great zest. In the West, after the young people’s games with nuts and apples are finished, the housemother builds up the fire with sods, sets the chairs round in a semicircle, spreads the table with a clean cloth, and puts ready for the Holy Souls a large uncut loaf and a jug of water. In parts of Kerry, a pot of tea is put out on Christmas Eve for the poor souls, and it is noteworthy that the pious legends of Breton say that the ancestors are liberated from Purgatory on Christmas Eve and St. John’s Eve, as well as Hallowe’en.

That infamous killer of Catholics, Queen Elizabeth of England, forbade all observances connected with All Souls’ Day. In spite of her ordinance, “souling” customs—mentioned historically both before and after the Reformation—went on in English and Welsh counties for centuries, and indeed, have not quite disappeared yet from a few Shropshire villages.

The practice itself was very homey. On All Souls’ Day, women and girls visiting well-to-do neighbors’ houses, begged for and received “soul cakes” (shortbreads). The older forms of request are interesting as they show pre-Reformation Catholic phraseology, for in return for the cakes, prayers were apparently offered for the donor’s soul: “A soul-cake; a soul-cake, have mercy on all Christian souls, for a soul-cake.” [Note how the “treating” part of today’s Hallowe’en was originally sanctified as an opportunity to pray for one’s neighbor!—Ed.]

As time went on, prayers for the poor souls were forgotten, and the making of special soul-cakes ceased also. Apples, buns, and money were dispensed to children. The only “soulers” left came round singing country rhymes instead of the old time request for “a soul-cake, good mistress, I pray thee, a soul-cake.” The following verse is typical of the rhymes:

Soul, soul, an apple or two,
If you haven’t an apple, a pear will do,
One for Peter, two for Paul.
Three for the Man Who made us all.”

It is rather surprising to find that in East Yorkshire, where the people are of mixed Saxon, Danish, and Norse descent, a similar custom prevailed. There it was the bakers who gave their customers, on November 2nd, “saumas (soul-mass) loaves” small square buns with currants [i.e., small seedless raisins—Ed.] spread in the shape of a cross on top. One bun was supposed to be kept in the house during the following year for “good fortune.”

Though not connected with Hallowe’en or All Souls’ Day, the remarkable funeral custom of “sin eating” is worth mentioning. In the 18th century and later, when someone died in Wales and Hereford, the “sin eater” of the parish, generally a very poor and humble man, was brought to the house. Standing on one side of the corpse, a crust of bread, a mug of ale (in some districts, milk) and a sixpenny were handed him over the dead body. The “sin eater” ate and drank, thereby signifying that he had taken on himself, i.e., “eaten the sins” of the deceased and thus prevented the soul from haunting the old home.

(While this practice may seem strange to us, it evokes the Catholic dogma of Our Lord’s propitiation for all our sins. “Him, Who knew no sin, He hath made sin for us that we might be made the justice of God in Him [Christ]”—II Corinthians 5:21. The same dogma is recalled at Holy Mass when the priest spreads his hands over the bread and wine, soon to become Our Lord; an image of the rite in the Old Testament when the priest spread his hands over a goat, bringing down upon the animal the sins of the people, then letting it escape alone into the wilderness. [This “sin-laden” goat was call the “scapegoat”—Ed.]

Nominally in 18th century custom, “sin eating” or traces of it seemed to have lingered in Wales until the middle of the 19th century, while in Herefordshire, the ceremonial drinking of port wine by pall bearers and visitors in the room in which lay the corpse, looks much as though it were a reminiscence of the same custom. [Until disallowed by community hygienic laws, wakes were held in the homes of the deceased, especially among the Irish.—Ed.]

When a funeral takes place in some districts of London, the mourners make efforts to have among the floral displays, at least one “gate,” which, as its name suggests, consists of flower or greenery-covered “bars,” with a white bird also represented in flowers. Now it seems as if this cherished floral “gate” might well be a folk memory, taking tangible form, of a once widespread belief that when a man died, his soul escaped through his lips in the form of some little creature, in Brittany a gnat or a mouse, in England and Ireland, a white butterfly or bird. There is another vestige of the superstition in Derby and Yorkshire, where white night-flying moths are called “souls” by country people.

Past beliefs never quite disappear; some part should be made to live on, though perhaps changed here and there, so that among our children and in our Catholic parishes at least, among the everyday materialistic business and hubbub, we Catholics give physical expression to the truth that departed souls wind their way through the gates of death to the life beyond—Heaven, Hell, Purgatory.

In pre-Christian times, food was put out for the dead. Catholics have sanctified this pagan custom and now bake special breads in honor of the holy souls and bestow them on children and the poor. “All Souls’ Bread” (Seelenbrot) is made and distributed in Germany, Belgium, France, Austria, Spain, Italy, Hungary, and in the Slavic countries.

In Poland the farmers hold a solemn meal on the evening of All Souls’ Day, with empty seats and plates ready for the “souls” of departed relatives. Onto the plates members of the family put parts of the dinner. These portions are not touched by anyone, but afterward are given to beggars or poor neighbors. In the Alpine provinces of Austria destitute children and beggars go from house to house, reciting a prayer or singing a hymn for the holy souls, receiving small loaves of the “soul bread” in reward. There, too, people put aside a part of everything that is cooked on All Souls’ Day and give meals to the poor.

In Hungary the “Day of the Dead” (Halottak Napja) is kept with the traditional customs common to all people in central Europe. In addition, they invite orphan children into the family for All Saints’ and All Souls’ days, serving them generous meals and giving them gifts.

In the rural sections of Poland the charming story is told that at midnight on All Souls’ Day a great light may be seen in the parish church; the holy souls of all departed parishioners who are still in purgatory gather there to pray for their release before the very altar where they used to receive the Blessed Sacrament when still alive. Afterward the souls are said to visit the scenes of their earthly life and labors, especially their homes. To welcome them by an external sign the people leave doors and windows open on All Souls’ Day.

In Austria the holy souls are said to wander through the forests on All Souls’ Day, sighing and praying for their release, but unable to reach the living by external means that would indicate their presence. For this reason, the children are told to pray aloud while going through the open spaces to church and cemetery, so the poor souls will have the great consolation of seeing that their invisible presence is known and their pitiful cries for help are understood and answered. [Adapted from Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs by Fr. Francis Weiser.]

O God, Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant to the souls of Thy servants departed the remission of all their sins, that through our devout prayers they may obtain the pardon which they have always desired.” (Collect from the first Mass of All Souls’ Day)”

Fr. Richard Boyle:

“It seems as though the world is always taking things we Catholics celebrate and twisting them for its own ends. For instance, Mardi Gras has gone from a celebration before we enter a time of penance to an excuse to eat and drink to excess. Halloween is no different. It has turned from a time of thinking of the four last things and praying for the Poor Souls to a time of celebrating evil.

As Catholics, we can reclaim this season by seeing a jack-o-lantern as a symbol of what God wants to do in each of our souls. We, like an un-carved pumpkin, have a great deal of junk within us. The pumpkin’s junk we call pulp and seeds but our junk we call sin. In order to remove it from our lives we sometimes need to be cut open. That happens when God takes away the things we are attached to so we can rely more fully on Him.

Once we, like the pumpkins, have been cut open the junk (sin) can be removed. Anyone with experience carving pumpkins will tell you that you must remove all of the junk in order to make carving easier, make room for the candle, and to keep the pumpkin from burning when the candle is placed inside. It is the same for us. The candle and its light are symbolic of Christ’s light within us. The cleaner we are, the easier time God will have carving us into the people He wants us to be. The cleaner we are, the better our light will be able to shine. The cleaner we are the less likely we will burn (in purgatory or worse).

The world sees this season as a time to revel in darkness. We must see this as the time to remove the bushel basket that covers our lamp so that the world may see our good deeds and give glory to God. Let your light shine in the darkness — for the darkness will not overcome it.”

~ Steven C. “The Knight of Tradition”


An examination of Luther

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As good Catholics lament the recent actions of the Holy Father favoring Luther and his “reformation” in Sweden, it would be a good opportunity to remind ourselves of the reasons for our stance.  So numerous were Luther’s terrible errors in his Revolt, however, one particularly great one that shaped his belief system was his position on The Redemption.  In the article provided below, Fr. John Brucciani explains this despairing doctrine of Luther and how it consequently leads to an equally bitter position on our justification.
 

From the current SSPX Oregon newsletter:  

The Triumph of Sin

Martin Luther was born in 1483 and died 63 years later, in 1546. After a strict and somewhat painful upbringing (his father was not gentle), and several years of higher studies, he abruptly decided to pursue the priesthood by joining the Augustinian monastery at Erfurt. A story says that this decision was the result of a rash vow made in a moment of terror for his life.

In 1507, Luther was ordained a priest. He would write later that his first Mass was a moment of fear and terror for him, since he felt unworthy to celebrate the divine mysteries.

Luther’s superiors sent him to the University of Wittenburg to teach philosophy and dialectics. There he continued his own studies and eventually become a doctor in theology.

Luther was not a happy monk. Of a very melancholic disposition, he was over-sensitive and prone to scruples. His workload was tremendous. Teacher, lecturer, and sub-prior of his monastery, Luther was overwhelmed with his responsibilities. As often happens to scrupulous persons, Luther began to see temptation and mortal sin everywhere. His overwrought mind began to make him believe that God was angry with him. In vain he tried to find answers to his scruples by endless hours of study and to overcome his temptations by use of the most vigorous penance, but all to no avail. Exhausted, confused, disgusted, Luther gave in to despair. The result of Luther’s despair would change Europe and the world forever.

Luther’s Quandary and Solution

Luther’s writings tell us that, above all things, he wanted to be certain of his eternal salvation. He mistakenly believed that were he in the state of grace, he would be free from temptation and evil, and enjoy great spiritual consolations and ease and delight in prayer and the practice of virtue. Yet all he felt was temptation and despair. Luther therefore concluded that everything he did, no matter how hard and how good, was useless in preserving his soul from sin. On the contrary, the more he tried, the more he felt the uselessness of his works. He was a sinner, and sin was all he was capable of.

What, then, of Christ’s act of redemption? Was it useless?

Here we come to the heart of Luther’s new belief. For Luther, it is not virtuous living or good works that bring salvation to the soul, but a blind confidence in Jesus Christ, by whose actions and merits alone we are saved.

On the face of it, these teachings seem sound, for we are indeed saved by the actions and merits of Jesus Christ, in particular by His passion, resurrection, and ascension. But for Luther, they have a very different meaning.

For Luther, man is so beset by sin that he is a prisoner of sin. Human nature is sinful to its core, in its very essence. It is wedded to sin, steeped in it so completely and so thoroughly that Christ freed us not from sin but merely from its imputation. In other words, thanks to what Christ did for us, God the Father has decided to no longer reproach us for the sins we commit. Sin is still with us and in us, and all we do is sinful, but if we have confidence in Christ, God will not hold our sin against us. Thus we will be saved.

Luther’s Definition of Justification

The central theme of Luther’s new doctrine is justification of the soul in Jesus Christ. For Catholics, justification has always meant the renovation, re-creation, and elevation of the soul to the supernatural life of God through the gift of sanctifying grace. Grace is thus a sharing and participation in God’s own divine life. It invigorates the soul and gives it divine beauty. It elevates us to the status of adopted sons of God.

Again, for Catholics, grace comes to the soul as a free gift that springs from faith in Jesus Christ. Faith is the beginning of justification; then comes baptism, which is the consummation of justification. Justification, or holiness, is then increased and made strong through the devout reception of those means given to us by Christ for the nourishment of our souls, namely, the sacraments.

Luther has an altogether different understanding and interpretation of justification. Luther teaches that Christ’s redemption operated no restoration of human nature, and enabled no elevation of human nature to the supernatural life of grace. Christ did not merit anything for us other than the cancellation of our condemnation. Christ paid the price of our sins in such a manner that God can no longer hold sin against us. Christ was punished in our stead. He was nothing more than a mere scapegoat. We have been released from prison, but we remain covered in filth and clothed in rags.

It is important to understand that in his despair of himself, Luther despaired of the entire human race. The human race remains, for Luther, vitiated and alienated from God.

What then is God’s “grace” that Scripture mentions so often? God’s “grace” is a mere cloak that covers our corruption. Intrinsically, we remain children of wrath. There is no supernatural life of grace, no infused virtues , no gifts of the Holy Ghost. The whole supernatural apparatus whereby the soul is able to merit its salvation is gone!

We can now better understand Luther’s insistence on the uselessness of good works. Believing human nature to be irreversibly corrupted by sin, anything a man does must also be corrupt, immoral, and sinful. Our actions take on the filth of our nature, and thus may never be pleasing to God. Good works, therefore, do not exist.

For Luther, Justification is not Sanctification

What, then, remains to the Christian? On what basis may he hope to be pleasing to God and thus attain his salvation?

Luther declares that it is Christ’s justice that saves us. We are unjust, but He is just in our stead. By going to Him and covering ourselves in the cloak of His justice, we escape our punishment for our sins.

We must insist on Luther’s understanding of the justification of the sinner. It is radically opposed to the Catholic definition of justification, as beautifully expressed in the 4th Session of the Council of Trent. Luther’s definition of justification is one of despair. It brings nothing to man. Man is not made a new creature, a new man, a point upon which St. Paul insists in his epistles. There is nothing a man can do to effect his salvation except “believe”. Worse still, even if he commits the most heinous of sins, it does not matter. Are we not sinners? Is not sin our normal state? Let us not pretend to be anything else but sinners, and let us dare to revel and rejoice in sin! Only believe with all your might that Christ has been punished in your stead, and His justice will save you.

Practical Consequences

Luther’s doctrine is devastatingly depressing. It raises an impregnable wall between God, the All-Holy, and man, the all-evil. The consequence is terrible to conceive. Bereft of God’s divine life, man is entrapped within himself and within his evil. Even if he clutches at God’s justice and clothes himself in it, in himself he is the incarnation of sin. Thus he is forever alone, shut up in his sinful self. Not even God has been able to make him anew. Man has only himself to look to for his salvation. In effect, Luther robbed God of man and man of God, forever.

Whatever the excuses Luther had of rising up in rebellion to Catholic doctrine (corruption of the clergy, abuse of indulgences), his teachings are of a demonic bent. Luther’s new found theology allowed him to embrace a life of unwonted corruption and vice. His writings and his behavior became full of anger, calumny, hatred, lying, and drunkenness. He developed an obsession with filth and obscenity, not only calling on priests and nuns to abandon their vows, but actually encouraging them to set their passions loose. Monasteries were pillaged, convents destroyed, and orgies between consecrated persons were applauded and praised. Whole regions went wild at Luther’s preaching. If ever conscience reproached Luther at his scandalous behavior, he had ready advice: “Seek out the society of your boon companions, drink, play, talk bawdy, and amuse yourself. One must, sometimes, even commit a sin out of hate and contempt for the devil, so as not to give him the chance to make one scrupulous over mere nothings ; if one is too frightened of sinning one is lost.” “Oh! If I could find some really good sin that would give the devil a toss.”

Conclusion

Luther and his teachings changed the face of Germany and the world forever. True, the Catholic Church was in great need of reform, and Luther’s invectives at the corruption of the clergy had some foundation. But Luther brought no solution, rather the contrary.

Modern Lutheranism has distanced itself from the scandals and excesses of its founder and namesake. It has refined its theology to the point of professing the ideas of forgiveness of sin, holiness, and good works. However, when reading Lutheranism’s most conservative attempt at alignment with traditional Catholic teaching (The Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, 1998), it is clear that they continue to deny the idea of the supernatural elevation of mankind by means of sanctifying grace, and man’s cooperation in the work of salvation through good works that are meritorious unto eternal life.

Lutherans continue to believe in justification by faith alone: believe, and God will forget about your sins and be your best friend. Catholics also believe in justification by faith, but in a very different sense: believe, submit to the one, true Church founded by Christ, embrace its doctrines, traditions, and sacramental system, and receive the gift of grace whereby you are made sons of God. ✾”

I also recommend this recent talk from Dr. Peter Chojnowski during the recent Fatima Center conference in Chicago.  Dr. Chojnowski examines much of Luther’s theology, including many insane and demonic quotes and actions attributed to Luther:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDgLskJox-Y

Also, to follow up on our last post, I am pleased to present to our readers another excellent communique from the SSPX, this time from the District Superior of Italy, Don Pierpaulo Maria Petrucci.  Credit for English translation goes to The Remnant Newspaper.

The Umpteenth Scandal Before Which We Cannot Remain Silent

On Sunday 30th October a strong earthquake destroyed the basilica built in Norcia on the site of the birthplace of Saint Benedict, only leaving intact its façade. The photos which show this sad event are emblematic and symbolic of a Christian Europe, of which Saint Benedict is the Patron, but which is repudiating its own roots. These photos are even more-so symbolic of a Church which is gutting itself of its contents, concealing the ruins behind a media façade which cannot deceive those who love the Spouse of Christ and know doctrine and history.The visit of Pope Francis to Sweden to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Luther’s revolt, whose errors caused the loss of thousands of souls and provoked wars which ravaged Europe, is only the latest glaring confirmation of this. How can one declare oneself to be “profoundly grateful for the spiritual and theological gifts received through the Reformation”, thanking God for this, as happened in the ecumenical liturgy of Lund? How can one say that “Lutherans and Catholics have wounded the visible unity of the Church” without betraying one’s Faith?

To thank God for the spread of heresy is tantamount to attributing evil to God Himself, with a truly blasphemous act.Faced with this umpteenth scandal one cannot remain silent, especially if one has an important role in the ecclesiastical hierarchy, since he who remains silent consents and makes himself an accomplice.

~ Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”

Voting as Catholics

We republish our post on voting for this Election Day in the United States of America. We ask that all of our non-American readers pray especially for our country on this most important day. May America give to the world a president who will exercise his authority for the greater honor and glory of God!

For our American readers, they also are asked to pray and do much penance, but they also have a duty of the greatest importance to fulfill. One of our two viable candidates up for election this day is running on the most anti-Christian platform this country has ever seen, perhaps even one of the most significant the entire world has ever witnessed. If elected after eight years of the current administration, this country would seemingly find itself in a pitiful situation. However, because of noted imperfections present in the other candidate, many wonder whether they can vote for him in good conscience.

I would like to remind our readers of the words of Pope Pius XII concerning the April 1948 elections in Italy, that of the Christian Democrats vs. the Communists. The Holy Father urged Catholics to vote against the Communists, despite the fact that the Christian Democrat party was by no means perfect:

“In the present circumstances, it is a strict obligation for all those who have the right to vote, men and women, to take part in the elections. Whoever abstains from doing so, in particular by indolence or weakness, commits a sin grave in itself, a mortal fault. Each one must follow the dictate of his own conscience. However, it is obvious that the voice of conscience imposes on every Catholic to give his vote to the candidates who offer truly sufficient guarantees for the protection of the rights of God and of souls, for the true good of individuals, families and of society, according to the love of God and Catholic moral teaching.”

Good Catholics, the Church has never required Catholics to vote for only Charlemagne or Louis IX. When it is necessary, a Catholic may certainly and even should vote for the candidate running on a platform of far greater good.

Our (SSPX) parish priest requested that we directly voice in this post what our readers MUST do this day, under pain of grave sin. Catholics must go to the polls and cast their vote for Donald Trump, the only candidate who has a viable chance of preventing Hillary Clinton’s demonic administration from reaching the White House.

“What if Trump doesn’t keep his promises on moral stances?”, one might ask. Even if he falls short on such promises as the overturning of Roe v. Wade (although I believe his selected Justices certainly may overturn it and many other evil laws), we will still have escaped outright Communism as a nation. We will still be able to practice our Faith openly, to support the Church, to continue raising our families with some semblance of normality in our country.

For those still uncertain, I provide two sermons from priests who regularly pray the Traditional Mass, explaining why Catholics should vote Trump/Pence. I also attach a video from Michael Matt and Christopher Ferrara about this election. For those who can only listen to one, listen to the first sermon. With our combined sources from our repost and original post, I hope good Catholics can make a well-informed, prudent decision. As for me, I could never forgive myself if such an evil administration took office simply because I did not place a vote as I should have. May God bless our nation.

http://reginaprophetarum.org/audio/20161023-Should-I-Vote-for-Cyrus-or-Antiochus.mp3

Damsel of the Faith & Knight of Tradition

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https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/cardinal-burke-to-u.s.-voters-consider-candidate-who-defend-life-family-fre

Cardinal Raymond Burke has spoken regarding the upcoming U.S. Presidential election.  We do appreciate the Cardinal offering counsel on this subject, as there has been so much unnecessary confusion, even amongst good Catholics.

Given the present tragic state of the world, it is understandable that Catholics may be confused as to how to approach the corrupted political landscape.  I attach below an article from the SSPX, in the hope that it might also help good Catholics to form a clear conscience about the application of this important duty.

~Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”

The Catholic Dilemma in Voting

October 10, 2015

Why is it that today in Western Countries, we have so many elected officials, and some who even identify themselves as Catholic, who promote such evils as abortion, same sex marriage, and euthanasia? Did not many of these countries, particularly in Europe, have Catholic constitutions with Catholic principles?…

View original post1,329 more words


May the Land of Liberty be converted and serve God

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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”


Pope Pius XII’s “Turkey Indult” for American Catholics for Friday after Thanksgiving

Pope Pius XII Indult Turkey Friday After Thanksgiving

We hope that our readers are having a wonderful time preparing their dinners and celebrations in anticipation of this Thanksgiving Day.  Let us not forget that the main purpose of this day, even from a purely secular standpoint, is to honor and glorify God with appreciation for all that he has given us.

American Catholics should know that the Friday abstinence has been abrogated in the Traditional calendar for the day after Thanksgiving.  This Angelus Press Blog article provides all the details.  Not only is this papal indult a great way to honor our Thanksgiving holiday, it will hopefully prove convenient for those who may have had to otherwise store several plates of dishes in their fridge for two whole days.

Enjoy those turkey sandwiches!

Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”

The Turkey Indult

There have recently been disagreements among some parishioners about whether or not American Catholics can, are able, or should eat meat on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

His Holiness, Pope Pius XII did, in fact, grant a papal indult, lifting the abstinence requirement for Catholics on the day following Thanksgiving. This was not done, as many believe, because of poor refrigeration techniques, since this indult was given in the 1950’s, when refrigeration was nearly as good as it is today. It was granted to Americans as a fatherly recognition of our naturally good holiday, which centers around a tasty bird.

It seems pretty clear. But what muddies the waters are the new regulations on penance.  In past years the abstinence requirements have been greatly diminished, both in the declaration made by the American Bishops in 1966 and the new code of Canon Law from 1983.  This means that even without the indult, eating leftovers on the Friday after Thanksgiving would carry no weight of sin – as long as other penance is substituted.

Pastoral Statement on Penance and Abstinence – 1966
This said, we emphasize that our people are henceforth free from the obligation traditionally binding under pain of sin in what pertains to Friday abstinence, except as noted above for Lent.

Code of Canon Law – 1983
Can. 1253: The Episcopal Conference can determine more particular ways in which fasting and abstinence are to be observed. In place of abstinence or fasting it can substitute, in whole or in part, other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety.

This leaves Catholics with the opportunity to substitute some other form of penance on Fridays. So, very technically speaking, the  “Turkey Indult” of Pius XII has been abrogated, since the new Code of Canon Law supersedes it.

However, many of us Catholics still traditionally maintain abstinence from meat as their chosen form of penance on Fridays. At Angelus Press, we list the traditional days of fast and abstinence on our calendar, noting that they are no longer sinfully binding, but traditional – except, of course, Ash Wednesdayand Good Friday.

Conclusion: This leaves us with a traditional practice that stems from an old church law – a church law that was lifted for this specific day for American Catholics. It follows, then, that traditionally, one could, in a clear conscience, follow the indult of Pius XII.

So we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving with your family, and with turkey sandwiches on Friday. We’ll join you in this, and in offering prayers of Thanksgiving for our blessings and for the freedoms we still enjoy. And if you feel compelled to do something extra, may we humbly suggest an extra decade for the cause of Canonization for Pope Pius XII – who, we would posit, liked his turkey and stuffing sandwich toasted and on rye, with a schmear of mayo and cranberry sauce.

…Or maybe that’s just this author.


 

Errors of Vatican II

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In order to obtain a proper perspective on this great crisis in the Church, it is necessary to know precisely its root cause.  The root cause is thus: Modernist errors being promoted “underground” since St. Pius X’s pontificate quickly gained acceptance or submission throughout virtually the entire Church as a result of the ambiguities and errors of the Second Vatican Council, the main fruit of which was the New mass.

This can be easily confused, however, because of the common “conservative”(but not fully traditional) Catholic mindset.  The “conservative” position essentially proposes that although there are some worrisome statements and ideas spreading in the Church, even now with the aid of Pope Francis himself(or maybe not), Vatican II and the New mass are fine as long as they are both interpreted correctly.  At most, there might be a few ambiguous sentences here and there, but a Catholic should simply interpret them correctly.  After all, how could the Holy Ghost have allowed error?  Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI are recognized as shining examples of orthodoxy; if only the Bishops under them would not have been so liberal.

Surely, dear readers, this may be a good start for a Catholic on the beginning of his journey towards Tradition, but he has not quite arrived at the full truth.  The fact of the matter is that Vatican II was convened as a “pastoral” Council, not a dogmatic one.  It has no binding, dogmatic force in itself.  The Holy Ghost does not necessarily protect such a Council from error, especially if he is shunned by many of its participants.  Modernist, Freemasonic errors were in fact proposed by “progressive” clergy and, in the end, included in the Council documents.  Every priest, bishop, and cardinal in the world was subsequently under heavy pressure to accept these documents with most of them unfortunately accepting or at least keeping silent.  In reality, there were only a few clergy who openly confronted this revolution. Many put themselves under the guidance and training of Abp. Lefebvre, who would form the Society of St. Pius X and establish many traditional monasteries and convents.  Others would remain faithful inside the diocesan structures, although often having to perform their priestly duties in a more “independent” manner.  All of these brave priests and bishops were constantly under attack for their providential stand.  May God bless, reward, and love them forever!

This perspective is also relevant since there are many traditional-leaning Orders in the Church who offer the Traditional Mass and more substantial doctrine, but had to accept all of Vatican II and the New Mass to be received “in full communion with Rome”.  On paper, the priests in these Orders cannot protest these errors and must remain, at least for the most part, silent on them.

Pope Francis had this to say about one of these Orders on the occasion of its 25th Anniversary:

“By way of the celebration of the sacred Mysteries according to the extraordinary form of the Roman rite and the orientations of the Constitution on the Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, as well as by passing on the apostolic faith as it is presented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, may they contribute, in fidelity to the living Tradition of the Church, to a better comprehension and implementation of the Second Vatican Council.”

I wish to make clear that the good intentions of these Orders should not be called into question. They do much good work and may God reward them abundantly.  However, it was not correct of them to agree to accept the entire Council and the New mass, since on paper they are recorded as agreeing with error and an illicit rite.  Doctrine is greater than this perceived obedience.  They are very close to the whole truth, though, and God is currently building a solid foundation in the Church for a great restoration, so let us pray that they simply take that final step in the journey to Tradition!

For an examination of Vatican II’s errors, this is an excellent article: http://www.sspxasia.com/Documents/SiSiNoNo/2003_January/errors_of_vatican_II.htm

Provided below are two charts from sspx.org.  The first chart briefly summarizes some of the main errors of Vatican II, while the second summarizes teachings that are liberal in their method and were easily interpreted as error after the Council.  We hope they will prove useful for our readers!

May God bless our dear readers,

Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”

Vatican II teaching Catholic teaching

Man is the only creature on earth that God has wanted for its own sake” (Gaudium et Spes, §24),

The Lord hath made all things for Himself (Prov. 16),

and “all things on earth should be ordained to man” (§12).

…to help him save his soul.

Moreover, “by His incarnation the Son of God has in a certain way united Himself with each man” (§22),

God assumed an individual nature (e.g., Dz. 114),

so “Human nature… has been raised in us also to a dignity beyond compare” (§22),

…a little less than the angels…”(Ps. 8:6)

and because of “sublime dignity of the human person” (§26),

Only he who lives well is worthy (Apoc. 3:4).

his “rights and duties are universal and inviolate” (§26); including:

He who buries his talent will be stripped of it

The Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom…” (Dignitatis Humanae, §2),

Contrary condemned statement:  “Liberty of conscience and of worship is the proper right of every man…” (Pius IX, Quanta Cura)

“…all men should be immune from coercion on the part of …every human power so that, within due limits, nobody is forced to act against his convictions nor is anyone to be restrained from acting in accordance with his convictions…” (§2),

Contrary condemned statement:  “…the best condition of society is the one in which there is no acknowledgment by the government of the duty of restraining… offenders of the Catholic religion, except insofar as the public peace demands” (Pius IX, Quanta Cura).

This right of the human person to religious freedom must be given such recognition in the constitutional order of society as will make it a civil right” (§2),

Contrary condemned statement:  “Liberty of conscience and of worship … should be proclaimed and asserted by law in every correctly established society…” (Pius IX, Quanta Cura)

“…the Spirit of Christ has not refrained from using (separated churches) as means of salvation” (Unitatis Redintegratio, §3), and so,

principle 2
ecumenical action should be encouraged so that … Catholics might cooperate with their separated brethren …by a common profession before the nations of faith in God and in Jesus Christ…”  (Ad Gentes, §115). principle 7

Why, even concerning non-Christian religions: “The Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is good and holy in these religions.  She has a high regard for the manner of life and conduct…” (Nostra Aetate, §2),

All the gods of the Gentiles are devils.” Ps. 95. “… beware lest thou have a mind to imitate the abominations of those nations” (Dt. 18:9).

Now, episcopal consecration confers, together with the office of sanctifying, the duty also of teaching and ruling…” (§21).

This (episcopal) dignity, in fact, depends immediately on God as to the power of orders, and on the Apostolic See as to the power of jurisdiction…” (Deesemus Nos, Pius VI).

 

Conciliar teaching How interpreted by Rome[1]
The liturgy of the word is stressed (Sacrosanctum Concilium, §9),[2] and the banquet aspect (§10), as well as active participation (§§11,14), and therefore the vernacular (§§36,54). The New Mass (cf. question 5).
Catholics should pray with Protestants (Unitatis Redintegratio, §§4,8). Eucharistic hospitality (cf. question 8).
The Church of Christ subsists in (not is) the Catholic Church (Lumen Gentium, §8), It is also in “separated Churches” (Ut Unum Sint, §11).[3]
which has separated brethren in separated “Churches” (Unitatis Redintegratio, §3), All the baptized are in Christ’s Church (Ut Unum Sint, §42).
which ought to be as sisters (Unitatis Redintegratio, §14). And so there is no need to convert, e.g., the Orthodox.[4]
Seminarians should take into account modern philosophy, progress in science (Optatam Totius, §15), Secular university studies and abandoning Thomism.
psychology, and sociology (§20). Open spirituality and subjective morality.
Marriage and married love equated (Gaudium et Spes, §§48,50). Annulments fiasco (cf. question 8).
The Church renounces privileges civil authorities grant her (§76). Catholic religion no longer to be the religion of any States.
Wish for a world authority (§82). Full support for UN
Rite and formula of penance are to be revised (Sacrosanctum Concilium §72). Face to face confessions and General Absolutions.[5]
Extreme Unction should be an Anointing of the Sick (§§73,75). New matter, form and subject (i.e.,the sick, not just those in danger of death).
Table footnotes1 How Rome’s guidelines are further interpreted as seen in the parishes is a whole other story.2 The documents of Vatican II are referred to by their introductory Latin words, or by the initials of these.

Ut Unum Sint, Pope John Paul II, May 25, 1995.

Cf., The Joint International Commission for the Theological Dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church, which forbade mutual “proselytizing.” Balamand, Lebanon, June 17-24, 1993.

5 Does this affect the “substance of the sacraments” over which the Church has no power?  (Cf., Pius XII, quoted in principle 5)


 

How to prepare for Christmas

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May all of our readers have an edifying Advent in preparation for this Christmas season!  We both look forward to writing many upcoming posts featuring meditations and traditional Advent customs and practices.

As with most everything holy, today’s world has inverted the Advent season.  We now have Christmas decorations advertised in department stores and “holiday” music playing on radios before Thanksgiving, sometimes even immediately after All Hallows Eve.  Thanksgiving Day is unofficially seen as the beginning of the Christmas season, on which after engorging on enormous amounts of food, many Americans will embark on mad shopping sprees in the middle of the night(“Black Friday“), even going so far as to camp in tents and even start fistfights in order to take advantage of the advertised sales.  These “sales” are promoted to the greatest of excesses and vanities in TV, the Internet, newspapers, etc. for the entire rest of the month before Christmas.

Despite all of this commotion about Christmas, however, the true meaning of Christmas is often thoroughly rejected.  The very term “Merry Christmas” is shunned by our “politically correct” society and even sometimes forbidden in certain settings.  The same goes for public Nativity scenes and almost everything including Our Lord Jesus Christ.  Extravagant office parties are held, during which the average employee consumes one or two or several drinks too many.  Half-hearted “holiday” cards will probably emphasize “Winter Greetings” with a picture of a plastic “holiday tree”, complete with menorah ornaments.  On Christmas Eve, a traditional day of fast. the day is treated about as festive as Christmas Day itself.  Many will saunter in to Midnight Mass(or maybe 4PM Vigil Mass) to satisfy their biannual attendance at theNovus Ordo Missae, during which they will most certainly wish to receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord in their hand.  Come December 26, after a day of supposed merriment, Christmas decorations are taken down, garbage collectors collect everyone’s Christmas trees, Christmas hymns abruptly cease being heard, and all those many unwanted gifts are hastily returned to the store.  “Christmas” is now over.

Good Catholics, we are called to be shining lights amidst this great darkness.  We must put Christ back in Christmas and observe the Advent season faithfully!  While many of our coming posts will explain how to do just that, I will now lay a groundwork of principles upon which our future posts will be based off of:

While Advent is a penitential season, it is true that it does not possess the same spirit as Lent.  However, much festivities should be avoided.  That does not mean that Catholics should be in any way drab.  No, good Catholics should never be this way!  We should be eagerly anticipating the Birth of Our Savior, the one who has come to redeem us!  There are so many traditional customs that are so edifying for families, such as the Advent Wreath and the Jesse Tree.

We may also prepare in a modest manner for Christmas.  It is a misconception that Catholics may not start preparing until Christmas Eve.  Who starts to prepare for a baby only immediately before he is born?  All the more important with the Baby Jesus.  If one waits until December 24, there will be a quite a rush to get everything ready, especially for big families.  A better approach would be to prepare gradually and modestly prepare throughout Advent, picking up the pace a bit as Christmas draws nearer.

If there is concern about the home looking “too much like Christmas”, there are ways to reinforce the Advent spirit.  Much creativity can be put to use!  One idea would be to first decorate the tree in Advent colors and then subsequently switch to ones more suitable for Christmas.Finally, what better way is there to prepare for the coming of Our Savior than to examine and prepare our own hearts and souls?  A good retreat would be most beneficial in this regard.  Let us be ready to welcome our Savior into the world!

~ Steven C, “The Knight of Tradition

 


 

Did Luther commit suicide?

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While many know of the great spiritual suicide Martin Luther committed in commencing the great Protestant Revolt, very few are aware that he may certainly have taken his physical life as well.  As the following article from catholicityblog.com explains, many witnesses, scholars, and prominent medical experts affirm exactly the opposite of the “official” account accepted by virtually the whole world.  What a refutation this would be to Protestantism, that its founder died such a terrible, diabolically-inspired death!

The Death of Luther

How did Luther Die?

The official Protestant version narrates that the greatest architect of the Christian rupture died of a natural death on February 15, 1546, after a trip to Eisleben and suffering from angina pectoris; Was it really like this?

A contemporary German scholar, Dietrich Emme, offers a very different version in a review of events. In his book “Martin Luther, Seine Jugend und Studienzeit 1483-1505. Eine dokumentarische Darstelleng “[1] (“Martin Luther: Youth and Years of Study from 1483 to 1505. Bonn 1983”) points out that Luther committed suicide, and he is not alone in pointing this out.

Likewise, a Freudian psychoanalyst, M. Roland Dalbiez, in his study Luther’s Anguish [2], attributes him “… a very serious neurosis of anguish, so grave that one may wonder whether it has not been due to a border-state between neurosis on the one hand and “suicide raptus” on the other, a teleological anti-suicidal automatism”[3].

Indeed, Luther had suicidal tendencies, as it can be corroborated in his own “Tischreden” (“Table Talk”), where one of his conversations with Pastor Güben Leonhard Beyer, in 1551 is documented:

“He told us that when he was a prisoner the devil had wickedly tormented him and that he had laughed heartily when he (Luther) took a knife in his hand, saying:” Go ahead! Kill yourself! “(…). This has happened to me very often, so much as to put a knife in my hand … and what evil thoughts came to mind in this way, so evil that I could no longer pray “[4].

In 1606, Franciscan Heinrich Sedulius in his “Preaescriptiones adversus haereses”, narrates something analogous bringing up the valuable testimony of Ambrosio Kudtfeld, a witness and man of confidence of the “reformer” who, far from accounting a death from angina , says:

“On the night before his death, Martin Luther let himself be overcome by his habitual intemperance and in such excess that we were obliged to take him, completely drunk, and place him in his bed. Then, we retired to our bedroom, without sensing anything unpleasant! The next morning, we went back to our lord to help him get dressed, as usual. Then – oh, what a pain! – we saw our master Martin hanging from the bed and strangled miserably! His mouth was crooked, th right part of his face was black, his neck was red and deformed.”[5]

Indeed, at that time raised beds supported by columns were used.

“In the face of this horrible spectacle, we felt great fear! We ran, without delay, to the princes, his guests of the day before, to announce to them the execrable end of Luther! They, full of terror like us, immediately promised us, with a thousand promises and the most solemn oaths, to observe, with respect to that event, an eternal silence. Then they ordered us to remove the rope from Luther’s hideous corpse, lay him on his bed, and then report to the people that “Master Luther” had suddenly abandoned this life!”[6]

Maritain himself points out that Dr. De Coster, who examined Luther, explained that the deceased’s mouth was crooked with the face black and the neck red and deformed [7].

Likewise, Oratorian priest Bozio, in his book “De Signis Ecclesiae”, published in 1592 [8], points out that one of the reformer’s household indicated that his lord was found hanged from the columns of his bed; Dr. Géorges Claudin says the same: [9].

As Villa points out, “Luther, then, did not die a natural death, as has been falsely written in all the history books of Protestantism, but died as a suicidal, hanged from his bed after a splendid dinner,  in which, as usual, he had drunk too much and was satisfied with food beyond all bounds!”[10].

Paradoxically, that February 15, 1546, feast of the Chair of St. Peter, he, who had railed against the Church, the Papacy, and the Catholic doctrine, voluntarily abandoned his mortal life at three in the morning, the anti-hour of Redemption that Our Lord Jesus Christ brought to us on Calvary.

It’s sad: but that’s the end of those who live in a bad way.

Don’t let them deceive you…

  1. Javier Olivera Ravasi

SOURCETranslated from Spanish by Catholicity blog.

1] It is worth saying that the two most competent historians in Germany on Luther’s life: Dr. Theobald Beer and Prof. Remigius Baumer, have corroborated both the material and the documents cited by Emme.

[2] Roland Dalbiez, L’angoisse de Luther, Tequi, Paris 1974.

[3] Luigi Villa, Martin Lutero, Homicidal and Suicidal, Civilta, Brescia s/f, 5(http://www.chiesaviva.com/lutero%20omicida%20e%20suicida/lutero%20homicida%20y%20suicida.pdf),

[4] Luigi Villa, op. cit., 12 13.

[5] Ibídem, 16. The text in Latin can be seen in Heinrici Seduli ex Ordine Minorum, Praescriptiones adversus haereses, Officina Plantiniana, Antwerp 1606, 257 pp. (online version here: http://bajarlibros.co/libro/f.-heinrici-seduli-ex-ordine-minorum-praescriptiones-adversus-haereses/bwjIJTfTtzjt2o2G/)

[6] Ibídem.  An interesting coincidence is that Maritain narrates in his book “Three Reformers” that several friends, companions and first disciples of Luther also committed suicide.

[7] Maritain’s information is contained in the French edition, not the Spanish one.

[8] Tomás Bozio, De signis Ecclesiae, Pedro Landry, Lyon 1593-1594, 3 vols.

[9] Géorges Claudin, La mort de Luther, Noisy-Le-Sec, Paris 1900, 99 ( http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k9323938.r).

[10] Luigi Villa, op. Cit., 17.

Below the attached article is the most recent letter from Fr. Daniel Couture, SSPX, on “Fatima and Luther”.  Father additionally responds to the great tragedy of the present Pope going so far as to honor Luther in Sweden this October.  What a scandal indeed, honoring such a man!  Catholics should continue to offer reparation for this act.

How thankful we must be this Advent for awaiting the coming of our true Savior, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and not an antichrist figure such as Martin Luther!

Thanks to catholicityblog.com for allowing their readers to reproduce their posts. (http://www.catholicityblog.com/2016/11/the-death-of-luther.html)

~ Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”

December 2016 – District Superior’s Letter

Fatima and Luther

Dear Friends and Benefactors,

The prophet  Jeremiah was right : “With desolation is all the land made desolate : because there is none that considereth in the heart.” (Jer 12:11) The tragic and scandalous events which continue to accelerate in the Church cannot leave us indifferent. One must react so as not to risk collaborating, at least through indifference, in the destruction of the Church.

A hundred years ago, the Angel of Fatima told the children to make acts of reparation for Eucharistic profanations. “Take and drink the Body and the Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful men. Make reparation for for their crimes and console your God.” Today, he would certainly ask us to make acts of reparation for the horrible outrages committed against Holy Mother the Church, the Mystical Body of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

In 1517, faced with the problems founds within the Church, Luther reacted in a proud and tempestuous way, and rebelled. Following the worldly humanism of the XIV and XV centuries, the fervour of many had cooled. One thinks of the newly converted Ignatius of Loyola who, at the same period, was teaching the basic catechism to those Spaniards he instructed – the Ten Commandments, sin, grace – and he urged the contemplative religious to return to their Rules and to the strict cloistered life. A general relaxation of discipline was indeed widespread.

In Germany, Luther, an Augustinian monk, reacted violently against this situation, under the appearance of good, in the name of Holy Scripture, Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone), subjecting the country to blood and fire in approving divorce, in emptying monasteries, in encouraging the marriage of priests and of consecrated souls, in eliminating six of the seven sacraments, in leading a sizable part of the Church into schism. It was truly a revolution which continues to this day. It is therefore unimaginable, inconceivable, that no less than the head of the Church, wants to celebrate such a revolutionary. Parce nobis Domine – Spare us O Lord! “Make reparation for their crimes and console your God.”

Others had an entirely different reaction in the face of this state of tepidity which was found almost everywhere. Rather than revolt against and attack the Church, they gave themselves to the work of their sanctification and the salvation of souls, thereby bringing millions into the bosom of the Church of Rome. These were the numerous saints of the XVI century, several of whom were founders of religious order: Saints Ignatius of Loyola, Francis Xavier, John of God, Jerome Emiliani, Philip Neri, Peter of Alcantara, Pius V,  as well as St Teresa of Avila and so many others! Their program of reform could be summarized as : “Let us fight tepidity, heresy and vice by means of fervour, truth and holiness.”

In 1917, four-hundred years later, amid the varied aspects of the story of Fatima, the Most Blessed Virgin announced to the children another terrible crisis in the Church which would focus around the pope. He was named several times in the secret of 13th July, and among others were foretold “persecutions against the Church and the Holy Father” who “would have much to suffer.”

It is clear: when the papacy is shaken, it is truly the whole Church which is shaken. On one hand, one must regrettably deplore and condemn certain acts and words of Pope Francis, but on the other hand, one must not for all that condemn the papacy itself. This would be to do the work of the enemy who, for the past 2000 years, has sought to destroy it. The Church is founded on this rock. To destroy it is to destroy oneself. It would be to cut off the branch upon which one is sitting.

In her Memoirs, Sister Lucy informs us that little Jacinta, following the apparition of 13th July, having understood how much the Holy Father need prayers, said that “each time she offered her sacrifices to Jesus,” she added “and for the Holy Father.” “After the Rosary she would always recite three Hail Mary’s for the Holy Father.” The thought of the Holy Father came constantly to the mind of the three young seers. In addition to the concern for sinners, and the terrifying vision of the war to come, this was one of their major preoccupations.

In 1936, Our Lord said to Sister Lucy, regarding the pope and the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, this phrase full of meaning: “The Holy Father! Pray much for the Holy Father. He will do it, but it will be very late.”

And in a letter to Father Aparicio, on the 2nd March 1945, Sister Lucy clearly implied that the great sufferings of the Holy Father  foretold in the Secret and doubtless also in Jacintha’s visions again concerning the future: “Over there (in Brazil), she wrote, do they pray for the Holy Father? It is necessary to never cease praying for His Holiness. Great days of affliction and torment still await him.” (see The Whole Truth About Fatima, vol. 2. pp. 77-78)

Consequently, in reparation for the scandal of the pope’s visit to Sweden in honour of Luther last October 31st, there will be in all the chapels of the Canadian district a Holy Hour between now and the end of the year 2016.

May I make the most of this monthly letter to wish all our readers a holy season of Advent and a Holy Christmas.

(News from the District section omitted by myself to keep post to the point.-Steven C.)

Yours truly, in the service of Our Lord Jesus Christ, our only Saviour,

Father Daniel Couture
District Superior

 


 

Celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

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“Today is the most solemn feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, proclaimed a dogma in 1854 and confirmed later by Our Lady at Lourdes, France in 1858, with the words “I am the Immaculate Conception.”  From the first moment of conception, Our Lady was free from all stain of original sin, meaning she never sinned throughout her life. What a profound thought.  Let us honor Our Lady today and make reparation for the blasphemies hurled at her from those Catholics who do not love and honor her, unbelievers and protestants.  A Blessed Feast to all!”

In no way could I add to the Damsel’s exquisite and succinct introduction from last year.  We again wish everyone a Happy and Blessed Feast this day!  May our chosen selections for this post move our readers to only a greater appreciation for the Feast!  Our readers are also encouraged to read the previous blog posts on the Immaculate Conception, which contain many important prayers and meditations.

Of particular importance to our American readers(from sspx.org):

United States of Mary

On May 13, 1846 the 23 bishops of the United States who were gathered in the residence of Archbishop Samuel Eccleston for the third private meeting of the Council of Baltimore adopted a decree by which they chose the Blessed Virgin Mary, conceived without sin, as Patroness of the United States.

With enthusiastic acclaim and with unanimous approval and consent, the Fathers [of the Council] have chosen the Blessed Virgin Mary, conceived without sin, as the Patroness of the United States of America…”

In the fourth private meeting of the Council, held on May 15, they agreed to ask the Holy See for permission to add the word “Immaculate” in the orations and preface of the Divine Office and Mass of the Conception of Mary; and also to add in the Litany of the Blessed Virgin the invocation: “Queen, conceived without sin, pray for us.”

On February 7, 1847, Pope Pius IX proclaimed Our Lady in her Immaculate Conception as Patroness of the United States.

For our readers’ edification, a most beautiful version of I’ll Sing a hymn to Mary by Ros Ni Dhubhain:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQDj0g_16bo

Finally, a brief catechism and meditation for this great Feast from Fr. Leonard Goffine:

On this day and the ensuing eight days, the Catholic Church celebrates with special solemnity the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

What does the Catholic Church understand by the Immaculate Conception?

By the Immaculate Conception she does not understand that great grace by which Mary preserved herself pure from every, even the least, actual sin; for, as concerns this, the Church has long since declared that Mary never sinned: nor does she understand by it her continual virginity, for it has been for a long time a doctrine of faith that both before and after the birth of her divine Son Mary remained a pure virgin; nor yet that she was sanctified before birth; as were the Prophets Jeremias and John the Baptist, who were both conceived in sin, but by a special grace of God were released from it before their birth; neither does she understand by it the conception of Christ from the Holy Ghost, that is, that Mary unstained conceived the Son of God of the Holy Ghost; and without the assistance of man, for this was always the unalterable doctrine of the Church: she does understand by it that exalted favor, that unshared privilege, by which the Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first moments of her conception, by a special grace and favor on the part of God in reference to the merits of Jesus, our Saviour, was preserved from every stain of original sin.

What has until now been held by the Church in regard to this privilege?

The Catholic Church has always been of the pious opinion that Mary, the blessed Mother of the Redeemer, was conceived immaculate, that her most pure soul had never from the first moment of her existence the least shadow of sin. This doctrine was embraced by all the saints, the most learned and most faithful children of the Church. We have testimony of this, as far back as the times of the apostles, in a document concerning the sufferings of St. Andrew, in which it is said: “As the first man was created from the spotless earth, so was it necessary that the perfect man (Christ Jesus) should be born of an immaculate virgin.” St. Justin, who died a martyr in the year 167 after Christ, compares the Blessed Virgin to Eve, before she sinned and while she was still a virgin. St. Amphilochus says: “He who created the first Eve free from shame, created the second without spot or stain.” Origen, one of the Fathers of the Church, writes that she was neither surprised by the personated serpent, nor infected by his poison, and calls her a pure and immaculate mother. St. Ephrem calls her the undefiled, the strong, the inviolate, the most chaste virgin, far removed from all spot and stain. The Abbot St. Sabbas says of Mary: “On thee who never took part in any guile, I place my hope. No one but thou, O Lady, is without fault, and besides’thee no one is unsullied and spotless.” St. Ambrose calls Mary a virgin who by the grace of God remained always free from all shadow of sin. St. Augustine says: “When there is mention made of sin, the Virgin of whom on account of our Lord no question is to be asked, must be excepted.” St. Proclus says, “that the holy Mother of God was made by the purest God free from all stain.” St. Fulgentius says: “The wife of the first man was led astray and her soul soiled by the malice of sin, but in the mother of the second (Christ) the grace of God preserved the soul as well as the body inviolate.” St. Paschasius Radbertus testifies: “It is certain that Mary was free from original sin;” and St. Peter Barman says: “The flesh of the Virgin taken from Adam, would not submit to the stain of Adam,” and before him the pious Doctor Alcuin wrote of Mary: “Thou art beautiful as the moon and free from all spot and every shadow of changeableness!” And St. Ildephonsus says: “It is certain that Mary was free from original sin.” An immense number of saintly men and theologians maintained the same. Many of them argued with the greatest keenness and the most indefatigable zeal the part of the Blessed Virgin; the teachers at the universities of Paris, Salamanca, Coimbra, Naples, Cologne, Mayence, Ingolstadt, &c., made it their duty by vows to inculcate this great privilege of the most favored Virgin, and to defend it by speech and by writings. Celebrated orders of monks, especially the orders of St. Benedict, St. Francis and St. Ignatius, made it their duty to advance this pious faith of the Immaculate Conception among the people. A great number of popes and bishops also honored the Immaculate Conception, and forbade the contrary doctrine to be taught. Even kings, princes and emperors counted it a great honor to pay homage to the Immaculate Conception of the Queen of Heaven. Finally, the Catholic Church gave definite expression to this universal belief, by declaring in the Council of Trent, that in the resolutions relating to original sin, the Virgin Mary was not included, and she confirmed the festival of the Immaculate Conception, introduced in the tenth century by St. Anselm, the worthy son of the great St. Benedict, and since that time observed in all the Churches.

This veneration for the Immaculate Conception, this pious view held by the whole Catholic Church was not yet a matter of faith, that is, the Catholic Church had not yet laid down this great privilege of the Mother of God as a dogma. We were not commanded to believe it, although to preach or teach against it was forbidden. But when, in the course of time, a large number of the faithful, among whom were archbishops, bishops, whole religious orders, as well as great monarchs, besought the pope as head of the Church to pronounce concerning the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, that is, to elevate the belief so widely spread throughout the Catholic Church to a dogma, the pope could no longer hesitate to raise his voice in regard to this most important affair.

What did the supreme pastor of the Church, the pope, then do in regard to the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin?

Pope Pius IX. who, as he himself testified, had in many ways experienced the assistance of the great Queen of Heaven, was urged by his love and childlike veneration for the Blessed Mother of our Lord, to set the last brilliant diamond in her crown of glory by declaring the Immaculate Conception an article of faith. Not wishing to be precipitate, he first addressed a circular to all the primates, patriarchs, archbishops and bishops, of the whole Catholic world, February 2, 1849, requesting them to send him reports of the devotion of their clergy and the faithful concerning the Immaculate Conception, and the extent of their desire in the matter, that the case might be decided by the Apostolic See; at the same time he urged them to pray with him that God would give him the necessary enlightenment, and to call upon the clergy and the faithful for their prayers. When this was done, five hundred bishops in different parts of the world declared that they and their flocks firmly believed that Mary, the most favored Virgin, was preserved from every stain of original sin, and that they earnestly desired that the pope might raise this pious opinion to a dogma of the Church. Then the holy father, filled with delight, invited the bishops of the different countries to Rome, to consult with him upon the matter. About one hundred and fifty bishops, and a large number of learned men and superiors of spiritual orders, met at Rome and the whole subject was once more maturely examined; and at last, the 8th of December, 1854, the day on which the Church celebrates the feast of the Immaculate Conception, was appointed as the day on which the pope, the supreme head of the Church, the mouth of the apostles, should solemnly announce the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

On this day the holy father ascended the Apostolic Chair in the splendid Church of St. Peter at Rome, and surrounded by the assembled cardinals, archbishops, and bishops, the clergy and the people he once more invoked the light of the Holy Ghost, and amid the perfect silence which reigned in that immense church, the holy father in a loud voice and with the most profound reverence and emotion read the decree by which he solemnly pronounced and established, that:

“It is an article of faith that the Blessed Virgin Mary by a special grace and privilege of God, on account of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of mankind, was from the first instant of her conception protected and preserved from every stain of original sin.”

Thus has the head of Catholic Christianity drawn aside the veil, which until then obscured the full glory of the Queen of Heaven, which now shines in stainless loveliness radiant over the whole world. The truth that the Blessed Virgin Mary was conceived immaculate is no longer a pious opinion, but an article of faith which every Catholic who wishes to remain a child of the Church, must profess with heart and with lips.

But, perhaps the decision of the pope concerning the Immaculate Conception is a new doctrine?

By no means; it is an old belief, established upon the holy Scriptures and laid down in the bosom of the Church, but not solemnly pronounced and made public previously. The pope cannot make a new article of faith, but he can and must announce that, as a revealed truth, which is established by the holy Scriptures and has been everywhere and at all times believed as a revealed truth by all true Christians. But if there is a truth founded on the holy Scriptures and tradition, of which the pope, the representative of Christ on earth, speaks officially, then every Catholic is bound to believe and openly to acknowledge the same. As we have already seen, the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception has been believed since the time of the apostles, and it is also established by the Scriptures. In the oldest of the sacred Books, in the Book of Genesis, (iii. 15.) is one of the most weighty passages on this subject which reads: I will put enmities between thee and the woman, and thy seed and her seed; she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel. After the fall of the first man, God spoke to the serpent, Satan, announcing that a woman would come and crush his head, that is, destroy his power; and all Catholic interpreters and holy Fathers agree that this woman is the Blessed Virgin. Mary is, therefore, placed by God Himself as Satan’s enemy, and must have been free from original sin from the first moment of her conception, otherwise she would have been, as St. Paul, the Apostle, says, a child of God’s wrath and under the power of Satan. In the gospel of St. Luke, (i. 28.) it is further said: And the Angel being come in, said unto her: Hail full of grace: the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou amongst women. The angel, by the direction of God, called Mary full of grace, that is, more than any of the just endowed with God’s sanctifying grace, as the holy Fathers agree. But would Mary be full of sanctifying and all other graces, had she for one moment of her life been without grace and burdened with sin? Would God have permitted the Blessed Mother of His only begotten Son, from whom He received flesh, to be touched by sin, even though for an instant, and be in the power of Satan? No; God’s hand preserved her; by His grace and by the infinite merits of her divine Son she remained free from every stain of sin, and the Church most justly applies to her the words of holy Scripture: Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee. (Cant. iv. 7.)

What instructive meaning has the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin for every Catholic?

The Immaculate Conception teaches Catholics to know in some measure the infinite sanctity of the holy Trinity which makes sin so hateful and detestable to Him. The Heavenly Father could not see His beloved daughter for one moment stained by sin. The Divine Son could not ‘ wish to choose for His mother a virgin upon whose soul there was a vestige of sin. The Holy Ghost whose most pure bride Mary is, was not willing that her heart, His dwelling-place, should ever be for one instant soiled by sin. Behold how God detests sin! The Immaculate Conception also teaches us the inestimable treasure of sanctifying grace. Mary received this priceless treasure from God even in the first moment of her conception, without it she would never have become the Mother of the Saviour. Thou, my Christian, hadst not this treasure at thy conception, it is true, but thou didst receive it in holy baptism; there God’s hand arrayed thee in the white garment of innocence; there He sanctified thy soul, and the Holy Ghost selected it for His dwelling-place. Mary preserved this inestimable treasure until death, she was always blooming as a pure lily, the breath of sin never soiled her loveliness. Ask thyself: Do I still possess this treasure, which was given to me in holy baptism; have I preserved my soul’s beauty from the poison of sin, have I soiled it, destroyed it, lost it? Oh, if thou hast lost this precious gift, how unhappy art thou! if thou hast had this great misfortune to have stained thy garment of baptismal innocence by sin, Mary, the peerless virgin, has borne for thee the Saviour whose precious blood cleanses from every sin, whose infinite merits will restore to thee sanctifying grace, if thou art contrite and dost confess thy sin. But for the Saviour this treasure would be forever lost to thee, and thy soul forever forfeited. But for this Saviour Mary would not have been preserved from original sin, would not have received sanctifying grace at her conception. We can here learn the necessity of salvation through Christ, gratefully thank God who has given it to us, and praise Mary who had the grace to conceive and give birth to Him. In the Immaculate Conception.  O Christian, thou canst learn to know something of the priceless value of virginity. Jesus chose a pure and immaculate virgin for His mother, who should be the mirror of all virginal souls, her most pure and immaculate image should be continually presented to the corrupted world to show how virginity is esteemed in the eyes of our Lord.

INTROIT I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, and my soul shall be joyful in my God: for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation: and with the robe of justice He hath covered me, as a bride adorned with her jewels. (Isai. Ixi. 10.) I will extol Thee, O Lord, for Thou hast upheld me: and hast not made my Enemies to rejoice over me. f/fr.xxix.) Glory ect.

COLLECT O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin, didst prepare a worthy habitation for Thy Son: we beseech Thee, that as Thou didst through the foreseen death of Thy same Son, preserve her from all stain, so Thou wilt also grant that we may reach Thee cleansed through her intercession. Through the same Jesus etc.

LESSON(Prov. viii. 22—35.) The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his ways, before he made any thing, from the beginning. I was set up from eternity, and of old, before the earth was made. The depths were not as yet, and I was already conceived: neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung out: the mountains with their huge bulk had not as yet been established: before the hills I was brought forth: he had not yet made the earth, nor the rivers, nor the poles of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was present; when, with a certain law and compass, he enclosed the depths; when he established the sky above, and poised the fountains of waters; when he compassed the sea with its bounds, and set a law to the waters, that they should not pass their limits; when he balanced the foundations of the earth. I was with him, forming all things, and was delighted every day, playing before him at all times, playing in the world; and my delights were to be with the children of men. Now, therefore, ye children, hear me: Blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Blessed is the man that heareth me, and that watcheth daily at my gates, and waiteth at the posts of my door. He that shall find me shall find life, and shall have salvation from the Lord.

EXPLANATION AND APPLICATION This lesson is first a panegyric on the divine, uncreated Wisdom, the eternal Son of God, who at all times and before all things was with God and in God, by whom was made everything that was made, ordered and preserved; who rejoices in His works, loves them, and who admonishes man to love and imitate Him, and promises him eternal and temporal happiness. The Church causes this lesson to be read on this day, because the greater part of it can be applied to Mary; for it can truly be said of her, that she, as the most holy and excellent of all creatures, possessed the first place in the heart of God. For this reason the Church applies to her the words of the wise man: I came out of the mouth of the most High, the first-born before all creatures. (Ecclus. xxiv. 5.) For, as St. Richard says, she is the most worthy of all; no one has received so full a measure of purity, and of all supernatural gifts; in no creature are the marvels of divine goodness so visible as in her. Admire, devout soul, this master-piece of Almighty God, and make frequent use of the words of St. Chrysostom:

“Hail Mother of God and our Mother! Hail O Heaven in which God Himself dwells! O Throne of grace from which the Lord distributes His graces! Pray always to Jesus for us, that on the Day of Judgment we may receive forgiveness and eternal salvation.”

GOSPEL. (Luke i. 26—28.) at that time, The angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the Angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women.

Why is this gospel read today?

Because it has a significant relation to the Immaculate Conception, and proclaims the great honor shown to the Blessed Virgin by these words: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou amongst women.

Why did the angel call Mary full of grace?

Because Mary was filled with grace, even before she came into this world; because she always increased in grace; because she was to bear the Author of all grace; that we may consider how Mary obtains for us the treasures of divine grace.

Mary was filled with grace even before her birth. As we are all conceived in sin, being children of a sinful ancestor, we are, therefore, burdened by sin before our birth. Mary was free by the privilege of the Immaculate Conception from all sin; her soul, pure and adorned with sanctifying grace, came forth from the hands of the Creator, and without the least prejudice to its purity and sanctity was united to her most pure body, from which the Saviour was to take His humanity. She could not from the first instant of her existence be wanting in that original sanctity and justice, which were the most beautiful adornments of our natural ancestress, Eve.

But Mary from the first moment of her conception was not only in grace but full of grace, because God appointed her for the highest dignity, of being the Mother of His only-begotten Son, and had consequently endowed her with the full measure of corresponding plenitude of graces and gifts of the Holy Ghost; according to the opinion of many learned men, the measure of grace which the Blessed Virgin received at her Immaculate Conception, was greater than that which all the angels and blessed possess now in glory. Mary ever increased in grace: But the path of the just, as a shining light, goeth forward and increaseth even to perfect day. (Prov. iv. 18.) These words of the Holy Ghost are verified especially in the life of the Blessed Virgin. What abundance of grace did she not receive, when the Holy Ghost overshadowed her, and the divine Son, who is Himself the infinite plenitude of grace, was conceived in her most pure body! Above all this, there yet came that rich supply of grace by which her zealous, constant, perfect and faithful cooperation made Mary increase every moment in grace. Thus St. Bonaventure says: “As all the waters meet in the sea, so all the graces were united in Mary.”

Why did the angel say to Mary: The Lord is with thee?

Because God is with the Blessed Virgin in an extraordinary manner. It is well to notice particularly, that the archangel Gabriel did not say to Mary as the angel did to Gideon: The Lord be with thee, (Judges vi. 12.) but: The Lord is with thee. These words are not, therefore, the wish that the favor, the blessing, the protection of God may be with Mary, but the positive declaration that the Lord really is with her, not simply because of His omnipotence and omnipresence by which He is with all His creatures, nor merely because of His goodness, love and intimacy by which He is with all the just. He is with her in a peculiar manner, since she by her dignity of being the Mother of God came into such close relationship with the Triune God that our intellect can conceive nothing nearer. She became the chosen Mother of the Son of God, the dearest, the most favored daughter of the Heavenly Father, and the pure, beloved bride of the Holy Ghost. “God the Father was with her,” says St. Bonaventure, “as with His most noble Daughter; God the Son was with her as with His most worthy Mother; God the Holy Ghost was with her as with His most pure Bride.”

Why did the angel say to Mary: Blessed art thou amongst women?

Because he desired to honor her as the most blessed of her sex, since she alone was chosen of all the others to be the Mother of God; because the first woman brought the curse, but Mary, the salvation of the world.

Mary, Mother of God! An honor, indeed, which in its exaltation is second only to divinity. Mary, the Virgin Mother of God! Mother and Virgin at the same time, what a wonderful prerogative! Though the greatest and most glorious of all mothers, she is the purest and most spotless of virgins, the queen of virgins.

But not only on account of her double glory as Mother of God and as a Virgin, Mary is the most blessed of her sex, but because it was given to her to mediate for us and for the whole world. She is that woman, promised to our first and sinful parents in Paradise, who would crush the serpent’s head; she gave to her Son the body with which He, by His death on the cross, accomplished the great work of salvation.

ACT OF PRAISE “Praised and blessed be the holy and Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary!”

(Pope Pius VI. granted an indulgence of one hundred days to those who, with contrition and devotion repeat the above act of praise.)

~ Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition


 

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Image result for our lady of guadalupe

A blessed Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe to all!

For our readers, a wonderful article on this great miracle of Our Lady(originally posted on sspx.org):

“I am your mother”: Our Lady of Guadalupe

December 11, 2014

As a good and solicitous mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, protects her children.

The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is observed in the United States of America on December 12th, commemorating as a third class feast the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Juan Diego in December 1531 and the subsequent miracle of her image being impressed upon his tilma (a rough cloak woven from vegetable fibers).

This miraculous image spoke to the Aztecs in their symbolic—or glyphic—language on many levels. But primarily the imagery showed who the Lady of Tepeyac was and her power exemplified by being “clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.” This important symbolism was further confirmed by the name she gave to Juan Diego’s in his Nahuatl tongue, “Coatlaxopeuh“—rendered in Spanish as “Guadalupe“—meaning “the one who crushes the serpent“—here not just in reference the Devil, but a specific Aztecan deity.

The results of this singular miracle was nothing less than miraculous itself as the native Indians of Mexico began to convert to the One, True Catholic Faith by the millions. Previously these varied peoples had suffered under the scourge of the Aztec religion, one of the bloodiest forms of paganism known to mankind (for example, the human sacrifice of over 10,000 in a single day to dedicate a new temple).

Remarking on the tilma‘s imagery, Our Lady radiates peace and serenity with her consoling demeanor and posture, yet with a calm strength she overwhelms the violent and bloodthirsty gods of the Aztecs, vividly demonstrated by her blocking out the sun god and standing upon the moon god, the pagan religion’s two most powerful deities.

The solicitude expressed on the face of Our Lady of Guadalupe for the souls of all Americans (whether they reside in the regions of the North, Central or South)—thus the appropriateness of her title as “Empress of the Americas” is perhaps even more profoundly comprehended when we consider her consoling words to Juan Diego summarized as: “Trust in me: I am your mother“.


“I am your mother”

The following words of Our Lady of Guadalupe have been extracted from the Nican Mopohua, a 16th century historical account of the apparitions and miraculous event written in Nahuatl by Antonio Valeriano. These words of the Blessed Virgin Mary were spoken to Juan Diego over the course of several days. The historical context has been omitted so the reader may concentrate on Holy Mother’s consoling message of solicitude.

First apparition; December 9

Juanito, dearest Juan Diego.

Juanito, my dearest son, where are you going?

Know and understand well, you my most humble son, that I am the ever-virgin Holy Mary, Mother of the True God for whom we live, of the Creator of all things, Lord of heaven and the earth. I wish that a temple be erected here quickly, so I may therein exhibit and give all my love, compassion, help, and protection, because I am your merciful mother, to you, and to all the inhabitants on this land and all the rest who love me, invoke and confide in me; listen there to their lamentations, and remedy all their miseries, afflictions and sorrows. And to accomplish what my clemency pretends, go to the palace of the bishop of Mexico, and you will say to him that I manifest my great desire, that here on this plain a temple be built to me; you will accurately relate all you have seen and admired, and what you have heard. Be assured that I will be most grateful and will reward you, because I will make you happy and worthy of recompense for the effort and fatigue in what you will obtain of what I have entrusted. Behold, you have heard my mandate, my humble son; go and put forth all your effort.”

Second apparition; December 9

Hark, my little son, you must understand that I have many servants and messengers, to whom I must entrust the delivery of my message, and carry my wish, but it is of precise detail that you yourself solicit and assist and that through your mediation my wish be complied. I earnestly implore, my son the least, and with sternness I command that you again go tomorrow and see the bishop. You go in my name, and make known my wish in its entirety that he has to start the erection of a temple which I ask of him. And again tell him that I, in person, the ever-virgin Holy Mary, Mother of God, sent you.”

Fourth apparition; December 12

Hear me and understand well, my little son, that nothing should frighten or grieve you. Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything. Do not be afflicted by the illness of your uncle, who will not die now of it. Be assured that he is now cured.

Climb, my dear son, to the top of the hill; there where you saw me and I gave you orders, you will find different flowers. Cut them, gather them, assemble them, then come and bring them before my presence.

My dear little son, this diversity of roses is the proof and the sign which you will take to the bishop. You will tell him in my name that he will see in them my wish and that he will have to comply to it. You are my ambassador, most worthy of all confidence. Rigorously I command you that only before the presence of the bishop will you unfold your mantle and disclose what you are carrying. You will relate all and well; you will tell that I ordered you to climb to the hilltop, to go and cut flowers; and all that you saw and admired, so you can induce the prelate to give his support, with the aim that a temple be built and erected as I have asked.”

To read further about the historical context of the miracle of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we suggest the contemporaneous account of Bernal Diaz, The Conquest of New Spain. You can also read about some Jesuit missionary work in Black Robes in Paraguay, which was so successful that it led to a political crisis and the subsequent suppression of the order.

Lastly, have you ever heard of the lesser-known miraculous image and message of Our Lady of Quito from Ecuador in Central America? Was she referring to Archbishop Lefebvre and his priestly society when she spoke “of a prelate who will absolutely oppose this [20th century] wave of apostasy and impiety—saving the priesthood by forming good priests“? As Archbishop Lefebvre stated during his 1988 Episcopal Consecrations sermon:

I do not say that prophecy refers to me. You may draw your own conclusions. I was stupefied when reading these lines but I cannot deny them, since they are recorded and deposited in the archives of this apparition.”

Our Lady as the woman “who will crush the head of the serpent” is also the destroyer of all heresies and error and consoled by this truth of her motherly protection, we confidently approach her with the words: Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

~ Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”


 

December 25th – the most accurate date to celebrate Our Lord’s birth

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Good Christians know full well of the annual reminders popping up before the Christmas Season concerning the date of Our Lord’s Birth.  According to “historians” and other supposedly distinguished “experts”, the day of Our Lord’s Birth was almost certainly not December 25 and to determine an exact date is impossible.  Sometimes this statement can be made with a great anti-Catholic malice; other times it may seem to sound like a light-hearted, passing remark.  No matter the tone, all of these remarks do a great disservice to the Church.  For at the root of this matter is the fact that this position is used to undermine the Church and the Birth of Our Lord.  Many anti-Catholic persons started circulating this rumor while claiming that this date had origins in a pagan holiday.  Thus, the Catholic Church simply wished to substitute this holiday for the commemoration of Our Lord’s Birth and perhaps even paganized “early” Christianity.  Also, even a lighter tone would seem to hint at a certain stupidity of the Church for choosing December 25 as a fixed date, as if they were proclaiming that that was the exact day!  Although Catholics might not be necessarily required to accept an exact date for our Savior’s Birth, Dr. Marian Horvat does an excellent job in explaining how, based on Scripture, December 25 is indeed the most precise date that can be assigned to the Birth of our Savior.  Even in more trivial arguments, it would seem that the anti-Catholics have again no basis for their dishonest claims!

http://www.traditioninaction.org/religious/e031rp_PaganOrigins.html

Christmas Was Never a Pagan Holiday

Marian T. Horvat, Ph.D..

Around this time of year we are bombarded with anti-Catholic propaganda questioning the blessed day of Christ’s birth as December 25. This date, we arrogantly are told, was originally a pagan holiday. The Early Church “chose” it to “Christianize” a Roman feast of the Sun. According to this theory, the Christmas date was only established in the 4th century, when we have the first evidence of the Nativity being celebrated in Rome in 336. The conclusion: The origins of Christmas are pagan, and we do not really know the date the Savior of mankind was born.Let us not be too quickly impressed with these lies whose aim is solely to diminish the homage we pay Our Lord Jesus Christ and to denigrate the Catholic Church. In fact, the opposite is true. It is the thesis of the pagan origins of Christmas that is a myth without historical substance.

No ancient Roman festivals on December 25

The notion that Christmas had pagan origins began to spread in the 17th century with the English Puritans and Scottish Presbyterians, who hated all Catholic things. The Puritans hated Catholicism so much that they revolted against the so-called Anglican church because, even with their heresies, they considered it still too similar to the Catholic Church.

Puritans against Christmas
A colonial Puritan governor stops the merrymaking of Christmas festivities (1883)

They abhorred the feast days and in particular, they detested the Christmas feast with its joyous ceremonies, celebrations and customs. Since the Bible gave no specific date of Christ’s birth, the Puritans argued that it was a sinful contrivance of the Roman Catholic Church that should be abolished.

Later, Protestant preachers like the German Paul Ernst Jablonski tried to demonstrate in pseudo-scholarly works that December 25was actually a pagan Roman feast, and that Christmas was yet another instance of how the medieval Catholic Church ‘paganized’ and corrupted ‘pure’ early Christianity. (1)

Around the same time, the Jesuit Jean Hardouin with his eccentric theory of universal forgery that put in doubt every historical source known, backed the Puritans on their theory of Christmas having pagan origins. But his research was largely discredited given his absurd affirmations. For example, he maintained all the Church Councils that took place before Trent were fictitious and almost all the classical texts of ancient Greece and Rome were false, made by monks in the 13th century. Such assertions are blatantly absurd, given the countless source documents demonstrating the opposite.

The two principal claims for Christmas having pagan origins pretend that the early Church chose December 25 in order to divert Catholics from Roman pagan festival days. The first claim pretends that it replaced the ancient Roman holiday of Saturnalia, a time of feasting and raucous merry-making held in December in honor of the pagan god Saturn.

Now, the Saturnalia festival always ended on December 23 at the latest. Why would the Catholic Church, to diverge the attention of her faithful from a pagan celebration, choose a date two days after that party had already ended and whoever wanted had already overindulged? It makes no sense. No serious scholar believes this claim.

Christmas established before the pagan Sun festival

The second claim is that the Catholic Church established Christmas on December 25 to replace a solar feast invented by Emperor Aurelian in 274 AD, the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (Birth of the Unconquered Sun).

The fact that Christmas entered the world calendar (the accepted Roman calendar) in 354 – which was after the establishment of the pagan feast – does not necessarily mean the Church chose that day to replace the pagan holiday. Two principal reasons concur with this conclusion:

Pagan Sun God Roman festival
Aurelian instituted the sun festival to bolster a dying Roman Empire

First, one must not simply assume that the early Christians only began to celebrate Christmas in the 4th century. Until the Edict of Milan was published in 313, Catholics were persecuted and met in catacombs. Hence, there was no public festivity. But they celebrated Christmas among themselves before that Edict, as hymns and prayers of the first Christians confirm (2).

Second, this claim is based on unsound assumptions. As scholar Thomas Talley points out in his book The Origins of the Liturgical Year, Emperor Aurelian inaugurated the festival of the Birth of the Unconquered Sun trying to give new life – a rebirth – to a dying Roman Empire. It is much more likely, he argues, that the Emperor’s action was a response to the growing popularity and strength of the Catholic religion, which was celebrating Christ’s birth on December 25, rather than the other way around. (3)

There is no evidence that Aurelian’s celebration preceded the feast of Christmas, and more reason to believe that establishing this festival day – which never won popular support and soon died out – was an effort to give a pagan significance to a date already of importance to Roman Catholics.

Dates based on the Scriptures

But let us leave the realm of conjecture and return to historical records. There is ample evidence to demonstrate that, even though the Christmas date was not made official until 354, clearly it was established long before Aurelian instituted his pagan feastday.

The conception of St. John the Baptist is the historical anchor to know the date of Christmas, based on the detailed and careful calculations on dates made by first Fathers of the Church.

Visitation
The date of St. Elizabeth’s conception sets the base for knowing Christ’s birth

The early tractatus De solstitiia records the tradition of the Archangel Gabriel appearing to Zachariah in the High Temple when he was serving as high priest on the Day of Atonement (Lk 1:8). This placed the conception of St. John the Baptist during the feast of Tabernacles in late September, as the Archangel Gabriel said (Lk 1:28) and his birth nine months later at the time of the summer solstice. (4)

Since the Gospel of Luke states that the Archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary in the sixth month after John’s conception (Lk 1:26), this placed the conception of Christ at about the time of the spring equinox, that is, at the time of the Jewish Passover, in late March. His birth would thus be in late December at the time of the winter solstice.

That these dates, based on Tradition and Scripture, are trustworthy is confirmed by recent evidence taken from the Dead Sea Scrolls, whose authors were very concerned about calendar dates, essential for establishing when the Torah feasts should be celebrated. The data found in the Scrolls make it possible to know the Temple’s rotating assignment of priests during Old Testament times and show definitely that Zachariah served as a Temple priest in September, thus confirming the tradition of the Early Church. (5)

The Catholic Church determined March 25 as the date of Our Lord’s Conception long before Aurelian decided to make his solar feast. For example, around 221 AD, Sexto Julio Africano wrote the Chronographiai in which he affirmed that the Annunciation was March 25. (6) Once the date of the Incarnation was established, it was a simple matter of adding nine months to arrive at the date of Our Lord’s birth – December 25. This date would not be made official until the late fourth century, but it was established long before Aurelian and Constantine. It had nothing to do with pagan festivals.

We can be certain that the first Catholic apologists and Fathers of the Church, who lived very close to the time of the Apostles, were fully aware of the dates associated with the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. They had all the calendar sources at hand and they would not allow any untruth to be introduced in the Catholic liturgy. The date of Christ’s birth was transmitted by them as being December 25, a Sunday.

Addressing the verse of Luke 2:7, Fr Cornelius a Lapide comments on the architecture of this choice: “Christ was born Sunday, because this was the first day of the world. … Christ was born on Sunday night, in keeping with the order of His marvels, so that the day on which He said Let there be light, and there was light, was the same day on which, at night, the light shone in darkness for the upright of heart, that is, the sun of justice, Christ the Lord.” (7)

1. Thomas Talley, The Origins of the Liturgical Year, Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1991), p. 88.
2 Daniel-Rops, Prières des Premiers Chrétiens, Paris: Fayard, 1952, pp. 125-127, 228-229
3. Talley, The Origins of the Liturgical Year, pp. 88-91.
4. The tract is entitled ‘De solstitiia et aequinoctia conceptionis et nativitatis domini nostri iesu Christi et iohannis baptista,’ in Ibid., p. 93-94. Talley also provides other historical documents of early Church writers showing that the dates of the Conception and Death of Our Lord had been established very early.
5. Shemaryahu Talmon, Professor Emeritus at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a top Scroll scholar, published an in-depth study of the Temple’s rotating assignment of priests in 1958 and the Qumran scrolls to see the assignment during New Testament times. Martin K Barrack, “It Comes from Pagans,” Second Exodus online
6. Ibid.
7. Cornelius a Lapide, Commentaria in Scripturam Sanctam, Paris: Vives 1877, Luke 2:7, vol 16, p. 57.

~Steven C., “Knight of Tradition”

 

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)


 

Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord Jesus Christ

 

Image result for circumcision of christ

A Blessed Feast of the Circumcision and Happy New Year!  You will find excellent meditations and instruction for this great feast attached below.

We hear much fuss made annually about “New Year resolutions”, only for them to be broken and given up on quickly.  For faithful Catholics, our New Year resolutions should be to correct our most significant vice and turn it into great virtue.  And if we happen to slip up a bit, we simply ask God’s forgiveness and continue!  A soldier does not abandon the fight at the first failing!  No, he rather places his trust in God and continues with an even greater strength!  Once this vice has become virtue, we will find our other faults going in the same direction and perfection will not be far away.

Being the 100th anniversary of the Fatima Apparitions, some Catholics fear for a trying year in the Church and the world.  Certainly the current state of matters may not inspire much optimism.  However, we Catholics are not necessarily required to have the abstract feeling of “optimism”, but the great virtue of Hope.  While many in Rome continue to stray from the doctrines of the True Faith, Tradition is only ever the stronger for it.  There are more Traditional priests, religious, and laity than at any time since the Second Vatican Council.  There is even a certain, albeit smaller awakening in the “official” Church structures itself!  If good Catholics simply keep the True Faith with Charity and without going to compromises or “extremes”, then only the Modernists should have to worry.  Let us pray for their conversion.

The Damsel and I extend our prayers to our readers that they might have a truly Holy New Year.

From Fr. Leonard Goffine:

 

New Years Day

Why is this day so called?

Because the secular year begins with this day, as the Church year begins with the First Sunday in Advent.

What should we do on this day?

An offering of the new year should be made to God, asking His grace that we may spend the year in a holy manner, for the welfare of the soul.

Why do we wish each other a “happy new year“?

Because to do so is an act of Christian love; but this wish should come from the heart, and not merely from worldly politeness, otherwise we would be like the heathens (Mt. 5:47), and receive no other reward than they.

What feast of the Church is celebrated today?

The Feast of the Circumcision of our Lord, Who, for love of us, voluntarily subjected Himself to the painful law of the Old Covenant, that we might be freed from the same.

What was the Circumcision?

It was an external sign of the Old Law, by which the people of that day were numbered among the chosen people of God, as now they become, by baptism, members of the Church of Christ.

What is the signification of Circumcision in the moral or spiritual sense?

It signifies the mortification of the senses, of evil desires, and inclinations. This must be practiced by Christians now, since they have promised it in baptism which would be useless to them without the practice of mortification; just as little as the Jew by exterior Circumcision is a true Jew, just so little is the baptized a true Christian without a virtuous life. Beg of Christ, therefore, today, to give you the grace of the true Circumcision of heart.

PRAYER I thank Thee, O Lord Jesus, because Thou hast shed Thy blood for me in Circumcision, and beg Thee that by Thy precious blood I may receive the grace to circumcise my heart and all my senses, so that I may lead a life of mortification in this world, and attain eternal joys in the next. Amen.

[The INTROIT of the Mass is the same as is said in the Third Mass on Christmas.]

COLLECT O God, Who, by the fruitful virginity of blessed Mary, hast bestowed upon mankind the rewards of eternal salvation; grant, we beseech Thee, that we may feel the benefit of her intercession for us, through whom we have deserved to receive the author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who livest and reignest, etc.

[The EPISTLE is the same as is said in the First Mass on Christmas.]

GOSPEL (Lk. 2:21). At that time, after eight days were accomplished that the child should be circumcised, his name was called Jesus, which was called by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

Why did Jesus submit to Circumcision?

That He might show His great love for us, which caused Him even at the very beginning of His life, to shed His blood to cleanse us thereby from all our sins. Furthermore to teach us obedience to the commandments of God and His Church, since He voluntarily subjected Himself to the Jewish law, although He was not in the least bound by it, which ordered that every male child should be circumcised on the eighth day after its birth (Lev. 12:3).

Why was He named Jesus?

Because Jesus means Redeemer and Savior, and He had come to redeem and save the world (Mt. 1:21). This is the holiest, most venerable, and most powerful name by which we can be saved.

What power has this name?

The greatest power, for it repels all attacks of the evil Spirit, as Jesus Himself says (Mk. 16:17). And so great is the efficacy of this most holy name that even those who are not righteous, can by it expel devils (Mt. 7:22). It has power to cure physical pains and evils, as when used by the apostles (Acts. 3:3-7), and Christ promised that the faithful by using it could do the same (Mk. 16:17).

St. Bernard calls the name of Jesus a “Medicine“; and St. Chrysostom says, “This name cures all ills; it gives succor in all the ailments of the soul, in temptations, in faintheartedness, in sorrow, and in all evil desires, etc.” “Let him who cannot excite contrition in his heart for the sins he has committed, think of the loving, meek, and suffering Jesus, invoke His holy name with fervor and confidence, and he will feel his heart touched and made better,” says St. Lawrence Justinian.

It overcomes and dispels the temptations of the enemy: “When we fight against Satan in the name of Jesus,” says the martyr St. Justin, “Jesus fights for us, in us, and with us, and the enemies must flee as soon as they hear the name of Jesus.”

It secures us help and blessings in all corporal and spiritual necessities, because nothing is impossible to him who asks in the name of Jesus, whatever tends to his salvation will be given him (Jn. 14:13).

Therefore it is useful above all things, to invoke this holy name in all dangers of body and soul, in doubts, in temptations, especially in temptations against holy chastity, and still more so when one has fallen into sin, from which he desires to be delivered; for this name is like oil (Cant. 1:2) which cures, nourishes, and illumines.

How must this name be pronounced to experience its power?

With lively faith, with steadfast, unshaken confidence, with deep­est reverence and devotion, for in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth (Phil. 2:10). What wickedness, then, is theirs who habitually pronounce this name carelessly and irreverently, upon every occasion! Such a habit is certainly diabolical; for the damned and the devils constantly abuse God and His holy name.

Why does this name so seldom manifest its power in our days?

Because Christian faith is daily becoming weaker, and confidence less, while perfect submission to the will of God is wanting. When faith grows stronger among people, and confidence greater, then will the power of this most sacred name manifest itself in more wonderful and consoling aspects.

Prayer to Jesus in difficulties

O Jesus! Consolation of the afflicted! Thy name is indeed poured out like oil; for Thou dost illumine those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death; Thou dost disperse the blindness of the soul and dost cure its ills; Thou givest food and drink to those who hunger and thirst after justice. Be also, O Jesus! my Savior, the phy­sician of my soul, the healer of its wounds. O Jesus! Succor of those who are in need, be my protector in temptations! O Jesus! Father of the poor, do Thou nourish me! O Jesus! joy of the angels, do Thou comfort me! O Jesus! my only hope and refuge, be my helper in the hour of death, for there is given us no other name beneath the sun by which we may be saved, but Thy most blessed name Jesus!

EXHORTATION St. Paul says: All whatsoever you do in word or in work, all things do ye in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ (Col. 3:17). We should, therefore, follow the example of the saints, and continually say, at least in our hearts: “For love of Thee, O Jesus, I rise; for love of Thee I lie down; for love of Thee I eat, drink, and enjoy myself; for love of Thee I work, speak, or am silent.” Thus we will accustom ourselves to do all in the name of Jesus, by which everything is easily or at least meritoriously accomplished.

Prayer to be said on New Years Day

O God, Heavenly Father of Mercy, God of all Consolation! we thank Thee that from our birth to this day, Thou hast so well pre­served us, and hast protected us in so many dangers; we beseech Thee, through the merits of Thy beloved Son, and by His sacred blood which He shed for us on this day in His circumcision, to for­give all the sins which, during the past year, we have committed against Thy commandments, by which we have aroused Thy indig­nation and wrath against ourselves. Preserve us in the coming year from all sins, and misfortunes of body and soul. Grant that from this day to the end of our lives, all our senses, thoughts, words, and works, which we here dedicate to Thee for all time, may be directed in accordance with Thy will, and that we may finally die in the true Catholic Faith, and enjoy with Thee in Thy kingdom a joyful new year, that shall know no end. Amen.

Originally posted on sspx.org:

On the eighth day Christ was circumcised

December 31, 2015

Eight days after Our Lords birth, Jesus was circumcised according to the law of the Old Covenant, an event that is commemorated on January 1st.

In the Missale Romanum, January 1st is entitled In Octava Nativitatis Domini—or as rendered in English: “the Octave (Eighth) Day of the Nativity.” Not only does this day complete the Nativity Octave, but it also commemorates an important event in Christs infancy, His circumcision, as we read in the Gospel of St. Luke sung during the Mass:

And after eight days were accomplished, that the child should be circumcised, his name was called JESUS, which was called by the angel, before he was conceived in the womb.”

This is also why the octave day is known as the Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord.

We also read in the Gospel account that during Our Lords circumcision, the name He was given to the Blessed Virgin Mary during the Annunciation, JESUS (meaning, “Yahweh saves”) was formally bestowed upon Him. However, the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus is not celebrated until the first Sunday after the Nativity Octave, which this year falls on January 3rd.

To commemorate the Octave Day in the Nativity of Our Lord—which also starts the secular calendar year—we offer some citations from Sacred Scripture about circumcision in the Old Covenant and a poem reflecting on this event in the redemptive life of Our Savior, Jesus Christ.

What does New Years Day mean for Catholics?>


The Old Covenant of Circumcision in Holy Writ

Again God said to Abraham: And thou therefore shalt keep my covenant, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant which you shall observe, between me and you, and thy seed after thee: All the male kind of you shall be circumcised: And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, that it may be for a sign of the covenant between me and you. An infant of eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations: he that is born in the house, as well as the bought servant shall be circumcised, and whosoever is not of your stock: And my covenant shall be in your flesh for a perpetual covenant. Genesis 17:9-13

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying …If a woman having received seed shall bear a man child …on the eighth day the infant shall be circumcised. Leviticus 12:1-3


On the eighth day Christ was circumcised

Circumcised
on the eighth day,[1]
His meek parents
humbly obey
the law of Moses,[2]
the rite of Abraham,[3]
who rejoiced
to see His day,[4]
Infant King
does humbly subject
(He does not object);
for, after all,
He the King of kings
wrote the law,
which He came
not to abolish,
but to fulfill,[5]
He the Fullness,[6]
the Lamb of God,[7]
Son of Righteousness,
Whom the self-righteous
unrighteously did kill,[8]
the Good Shepherd,[9]
Who came
to seek and save
the lost,[10]
would on the eighth day,
His Precious Blood shed,
the price,
the cost,
the recompense
paid in full
for the guilty…
by His Innocence…
magnanimous
munificence!

Like Abraham,
who in humble obedience,
took his son Isaac
and raised the knife
in order to offer
the sacrifice
to God the Father,[11]
Saint Joseph,
son of David,[12]
Juda’s great King,
wields the knife
to his Divine Offspring;
though, in this case,
his hand
is not stayed,
and so,
the innocent Flesh
of the Word
is flayed;
the first dew drops
of our salvation
do lovingly pour
from the meek,
little Lamb, Who
just eight days before
from the virginal ewe
in the fullness of time,[13]
came into the world,
in coldness of clime;
sweet, little Babe,
Lamb without stain,
sheds His Pure Blood,
for the descendants
of Cain;
He, Who was born
to His own in disdain,[14]
outcast in animals’ stable,
offers His Blood,
despising the pain,
as did His ancestor Abel[15]

And so…
we remember
our Savior’s first wound,
which He did willfully suffer,
just eight days from leaving,
the Immaculate womb
of His most blessed mother;
meek Lamb,
so pure and undefiled,
tiny, sweet Innocent Child,
at the breast still,
for us, He did spill,
His Most Precious Blood…
Fount of our Redemption

And so…
let us
pause,
reflect,
meditate,
ponder…
O the pain!
the price,
the cost
of the Lamb,
Who came
to save His lost
sheep,
who did wander,
so far away…
our transgressions
cast into derision
and utter humiliation
the Son of God,
the Word Made Flesh,
the Virgin’s Pure Babe,
Whose Blood was shed
willingly,
lovingly,
by Him, the Incarnation,
our innocent Infant King…
in His Circumcision.


Footnotes

1 Luke 2:21.

2 Leviticus 12:3; John 7:22.

3 Genesis 17:10-12.

4 John 8:56.

5 Matthew 5:17.

6 Colossians 1:19.

7 John 1:29, 36.

8 John 11:49-53.

9 John 10:11, 14.

10 Luke 19:10.

11 Genesis 22:1-13.

12 Luke 2:4.

13 Galatians 4:4.

14 John 1:11.

15 Genesis 4:1-10.

~ Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”

 


 

C.S. Lewis on “Xmas” vs. Christmas

 

Image result for c.s lewis

I have always been amused at this satirical story by the great C.S. Lewis about the difference between the world’s celebration of “Xmas” compared to the genuine Christian celebration of Christmas. Equally impressive to Lewis’ wit may be his ability to predict the future. Who can deny that Lewis’ short story, written well over a half-century ago in a significantly less modern commercial era, almost perfectly describes the universal customs of today’s world? Good Christians have a great duty to help the world return to a true celebration of Christmas.

The short introduction preceding the poem is taken from sspx.org.

 

“Does it often seem that there is a dual observance of Christmas, religious and secular, the latter hardly being related to the former? C.S. Lewis satirically wrote about this schizophrenic mentality that pervades modern society.

C.S. Lewis, author of the well-known children’s Chronicles of Narnia series, wrote this satirical story from the view of the ancient Greek historian, Herodotus. Note the clever use of the terms “Niatrib” (“Britain” spelled backwards) and “Exmas” (for “ex-Christmas” or “without Christmas”).

“Xmas and Christmas: A Lost Chapter from Herodotus,” by C.S. Lewis

And beyond this there lies in the ocean, turned towards the west and north, the island of Niatirb which Hecataeus indeed declares to be the same size and shape as Sicily, but it is larger, though in calling it triangular a man would not miss the mark. It is densely inhabited by men who wear clothes not very different from the other barbarians who occupy the north western parts of Europe though they do not agree with them in language. These islanders, surpassing all the men of whom we know in patience and endurance, use the following customs.

In the middle of winter when fogs and rains most abound they have a great festival which they call Exmas and for fifty days they prepare for it in the fashion I shall describe. First of all, every citizen is obliged to send to each of his friends and relations a square piece of hard paper stamped with a picture, which in their speech is called an Exmas-card. But the pictures represent birds sitting on branches, or trees with a dark green prickly leaf, or else men in such garments as the Niatirbians believe that their ancestors wore two hundred years ago riding in coaches such as their ancestors used, or houses with snow on their roofs. And the Niatirbians are unwilling to say what these pictures have to do with the festival; guarding (as I suppose) some sacred mystery. And because all men must send these cards the marketplace is filled with the crowd of those buying them, so that there is great labour and weariness.

But having bought as many as they suppose to be sufficient, they return to their houses and find there the like cards which others have sent to them. And when they find cards from any to whom they also have sent cards, they throw them away and give thanks to the gods that this labour at least is over for another year. But when they find cards from any to whom they have not sent, then they beat their breasts and wail and utter curses against the sender; and, having sufficiently lamented their misfortune, they put on their boots again and go out into the fog and rain and buy a card for him also. And let this account suffice about Exmas-cards.

They also send gifts to one another, suffering the same things about the gifts as about the cards, or even worse. For every citizen has to guess the value of the gift which every friend will send to him so that he may send one of equal value, whether he can afford it or not. And they buy as gifts for one another such things as no man ever bought for himself. For the sellers, understanding the custom, put forth all kinds of trumpery, and whatever, being useless and ridiculous, they have been unable to sell throughout the year they now sell as an Exmas gift. And though the Niatirbians profess themselves to lack sufficient necessary things, such as metal, leather, wood and paper, yet an incredible quantity of these things is wasted every year, being made into the gifts.

But during these fifty days the oldest, poorest, and most miserable of the citizens put on false beards and red robes and walk about the market-place; being disguised (in my opinion) as Cronos. And the sellers of gifts no less than the purchaser’s become pale and weary, because of the crowds and the fog, so that any man who came into a Niatirbian city at this season would think some great public calamity had fallen on Niatirb. This fifty days of preparation is called in their barbarian speech the Exmas Rush.

But when the day of the festival comes, then most of the citizens, being exhausted with the Rush, lie in bed till noon. But in the evening they eat five times as much supper as on other days and, crowning themselves with crowns of paper, they become intoxicated. And on the day after Exmas they are very grave, being internally disordered by the supper and the drinking and reckoning how much they have spent on gifts and on the wine. For wine is so dear among the Niatirbians that a man must swallow the worth of a talent before he is well intoxicated.

Such, then, are their customs about the Exmas. But the few among the Niatirbians have also a festival, separate and to themselves, called Crissmas, which is on the same day as Exmas. And those who keep Crissmas, doing the opposite to the majority of the Niatirbians, rise early on that day with shining faces and go before sunrise to certain temples where they partake of a sacred feast. And in most of the temples they set out images of a fair woman with a new-born Child on her knees and certain animals and shepherds adoring the Child. (The reason of these images is given in a certain sacred story which I know but do not repeat.)

But I myself conversed with a priest in one of these temples and asked him why they kept Crissmas on the same day as Exmas; for it appeared to me inconvenient. But the priest replied, “It is not lawful, O stranger, for us to change the date of Chrissmas, but would that Zeus would put it into the minds of the Niatirbians to keep Exmas at some other time or not to keep it at all. For Exmas and the Rush distract the minds even of the few from sacred things. And we indeed are glad that men should make merry at Crissmas; but in Exmas there is no merriment left.” And when I asked him why they endured the Rush, he replied, “It is, O Stranger, a racket”; using (as I suppose) the words of some oracle and speaking unintelligibly to me (for a racket is an instrument which the barbarians use in a game called tennis).

But what Hecataeus says, that Exmas and Crissmas are the same, is not credible. For first, the pictures which are stamped on the Exmas-cards have nothing to do with the sacred story which the priests tell about Crissmas. And secondly, the most part of the Niatirbians, not believing the religion of the few, nevertheless send the gifts and cards and participate in the Rush and drink, wearing paper caps. But it is not likely that men, even being barbarians, should suffer so many and great things in honour of a god they do not believe in. And now, enough about Niatirb.

Such, then, are their customs about the Exmas. But the few among the Niatirbians have also a festival, separate and to themselves, called Crissmas, which is on the same day as Exmas. And those who keep Crissmas, doing the opposite to the majority of the Niatirbians, rise early on that day with shining faces and go before sunrise to certain temples where they partake of a sacred feast. And in most of the temples they set out images of a fair woman with a new-born Child on her knees and certain animals and shepherds adoring the Child. (The reason of these images is given in a certain sacred story which I know but do not repeat.)

But I myself conversed with a priest in one of these temples and asked him why they kept Crissmas on the same day as Exmas; for it appeared to me inconvenient. But the priest replied, “It is not lawful, O stranger, for us to change the date of Chrissmas, but would that Zeus would put it into the minds of the Niatirbians to keep Exmas at some other time or not to keep it at all. For Exmas and the Rush distract the minds even of the few from sacred things. And we indeed are glad that men should make merry at Crissmas; but in Exmas there is no merriment left.” And when I asked him why they endured the Rush, he replied, “It is, O Stranger, a racket”; using (as I suppose) the words of some oracle and speaking unintelligibly to me (for a racket is an instrument which the barbarians use in a game called tennis).

But what Hecataeus says, that Exmas and Crissmas are the same, is not credible. For first, the pictures which are stamped on the Exmas-cards have nothing to do with the sacred story which the priests tell about Crissmas. And secondly, the most part of the Niatirbians, not believing the religion of the few, nevertheless send the gifts and cards and participate in the Rush and drink, wearing paper caps. But it is not likely that men, even being barbarians, should suffer so many and great things in honour of a god they do not believe in. And now, enough about Niatirb.”

~Steven C., “Knight of Tradition”

 


 

Bp. Athanasius Schneider insists for SSPX prelature

Image result for archbishop athanasius schneider

 

http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2017/01/bishop-schneider-i-have-asked-msgr.html

This week, an interview with Bp. Athanasius Schneider was published on the Spanish blog Adelante la Fe. Much of the interview covered the current state of the Church and the world, with considerable discussion about the Society of St. Pius X.  I will not summarize again what he said, as the link above should explain the pertinent points sufficiently.  Our readers should agree that Bp. Schneider made many excellent statements in this interview, and that His Excellency continues to do good in the “official” Church structures as one of the most traditional-leaning bishops.  However, with much respect, there are a few statements from this interview that stand out as a bit concerning.

Now, to briefly review, where does the situation with the SSPX and Rome currently stand?  Bp. Tissier de Mallerais, who was arguably the priest in the Society closest to Abp. Lefebvre, explains: http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/bishop-tissier-interview-la-porte-latine-14983

Now, 25 years after the death of Archbishop Lefebvre, where is the future of the Society?

Things are becoming clearer. During our pilgrimage to Rome in the year 2000, we were charmed by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, who urged John Paul II to recognize the Society unilaterally. Then Benedict XVI granted us two “preliminary requirements“: the recognition of the freedom of the traditional Mass and the lifting (more or less fortunate, for us and for him) of the 1988 excommunications. In 2010-2011, we had planned doctrinal discussions: in total disagreement! Our Superior General Bishop Fellay pursued the negotiations and caused some worry, until it became clear, in May and June 2012, that Benedict XVI still required as a condition, as he had said plainly at the start, that we accept the Council and the legitimacy of the reforms. It was a failure. But now there is very clearly a disposition on Pope Francis’ side to recognize us without these conditions. We say “Prudence! ” For things are moving and progress is still needed.

Archbishop Lefebvre never laid down as a condition for us to be recognized by Rome that Rome abandon the errors and the conciliar reforms. Even if he did say something like that to Andre Cagnon in 1990, he would never have done so, because that was never his line of conduct, his strategy with modernist Rome. He was strong in the Faith, he did not yield on his doctrinal position, but he knew how to be flexible, patient, and prudent in practice. To achieve his ends, his prudence told him to push the adversary, to harass him, make him step back, persuade him, but without blocking him with conditions that he still finds unacceptable. He did not refuse dialogue and was disposed to take advantage of every door opened by his interlocutor. It is in this sense that a certain opportunism, a certain “pragmatism” has been seen in him, and it is true: it is a small virtue annexed to the cardinal virtue of prudence. Sagacity, practical wisdom, is the neighbor of solertia, mentioned by Aristotle, St. Thomas (2-2, q. 48) and the Gaffiot, which is a skill in finding means to obtain one’s ends.  Archbishop Lefebvre requested with acumen “that we at least be tolerated”: “this would be a major advance,” he said. And “that we be recognized as we are,” that is, with our practice that follows from our doctrinal positions. Well, today we see in Rome a disposition to bear our existence and our theoretical and practical positions. I say “bear” because one tolerates evil!

Already, doctrinally, they no longer force us to admit “the whole Council” or religious liberty; some of the errors we denounce are on the point of being considered by our interlocutors as open for free discussion, or continued debate. This is progress. We discuss, but they have to admit that we are not changing and it is unlikely that we will change. And in practice, we ask these Romans: “Recognize our right to reconfirm the faithful conditionally,” and “Recognize the validity of our marriages!” You see, these are serious bones of contention. They will have to grant us these things. Otherwise, how could our recognition be livable?

It may take some time, but there is a God!

And an all-powerful Mediatrix!”

The last paragraph is especially important and it seems that many Traditional Catholics may not be aware of this part of the Society’s position.  Rome must recognize that the Society will continue just as it has always been.  Rome must specifically acknowledge the Society’s right to reject not only the errors of Vatican II and the New mass, but everything that they have often found contention with such as accepting the Society’s right to perform marriages, conditionally re-confirm, baptize, and ordain (when necessary), for the faithful to receive their sacraments at SSPX chapels exclusively from SSPX priests and bishops, etc.

Bp. Fellay elaborates on this position in his recent conference in New Zealand here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oKWpVGirL0 (at approximately 6:30).  Virtually the entire Society is unified on this position.  It is clear that this position might be quite a “pipe dream” at the moment, but we shall see!  The Society wishes to have as many protections as possible; it recognizes the gravity of the situation.  None of our positions will be compromised!  We are Catholic and will remain Catholic!

Concerning the interview of Bp. Schneider, these statements would appear to be the most concerning:

 “I am convinced that in the present circumstances, Msgr. Lefebvre would accept the canonical proposal of a personal prelature without hesitation”

If sufficient protections are not in place, would Abp. Lefebvre risk true doctrine for recognition?  Abp. Lefebvre never compromised on Tradition and did not accept the back-and-forth wavering of Rome during the Society’s 1988 Discussions.  There is still wavering now; the recognition for the Society to continue as they are is not yet clear.  To simply proceed with “faith” and “trust” is dangerous.  How many have proceeded with just a “trust” in Rome (e.g. Campos, FSSP, etc.) and have been forced into submission and compromise?  In these present circumstances of necessity, it is all the more important for the Society to be firm.

 “If the Fathers of Vatican II witnessed a Mass like the one we know today and a traditional Mass, the majority would say that the traditional Mass is what they want, and not the other…The traditional liturgy is the liturgy of Vatican II, perhaps with small changes.”

If the majority of Council Fathers would truly prefer the Traditional Mass, then why did they accept the New mass so easily?  It is also debatable whether the majority of Council Fathers were tradition-minded. After it became abundantly clear that the Council was being infiltrated by Modernism, how many of the 2,400 bishops joined the group of Council bishops fighting for Tradition (the Coetus Internationalis Patrum)?  250, at the most.  Yes, Modernism had begun to infiltrate the hierarchy well before Vatican II.

Also, is the traditional liturgy really the liturgy of Vatican II?  And are the “few small changes” really that minor?  Many “conservative” Catholics see the principles of Vatican II implemented best in the 1965 rubrics, which supposedly is only slightly different from the Traditional Missal.  In reality, however, these 1965 changes opened the door to compromise (especially in opening up to the vernacular!) and very easily paved the way for the full-blown Novus Ordo Missae.  Many priests and bishops also started to experiment even more with the 1965 rubrics and did most Council Fathers do much to stop them?

Those bishops in the “mainstream” Church who are doing their best to oppose abuses do very well in diagnosing the symptoms, but have yet to come to the full realization of the problem.  Until they recognize the full extent of the errors of Vatican II and the New Mass, their fight will be incomplete.  We most certainly applaud these prelates, however, for all the good they do.  We pray that they continue to be faithful in their stand and continue to grow ever more in Tradition!  May God bless them for their abundant good will!

~ Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”

 


 

Restore the Traditional Catholic Monarchy!

Image result for st. louis ix

King St. Louis IX

Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison.” – C.S. Lewis

“She[The Church] will co-operate with an absolute monarch or a parliamentary democracy. What She insists upon is that those who govern, however they are chosen, exercise their authority in accordance with the law of God, which no individual and no state can possibly have a right to violate. Given that God is, as Pope Leo XIII taught, “the Sovereign Ruler of all,” the idea that a breach of His law can be a right and not an abuse is nonsensical.”-Archbishop Lefebvre

Yes, my father was a monarchist but I do not think that this constitutes a blemish. As far as I am concerned, I have never lent my name to any kind of political party whatever. Besides, the example of so many monarchs who betrayed their mission, as have so many bishops, certainly does not encourage one to be a monarchist! In the meantime this is the fact and we cannot deny it: the Church is a monarchy.-Abp. Lefebvre

“For the average person, all problems date to World War II; for the more informed, to World War I; for the genuine historian, to the French Revolution.” – Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn

Catholics should look to the period of the Middle Ages(Christendom) with fondness because it is the period in history when the civil authorities were closest in working with and helping the Catholic Church to achieve her Divine Mission.  Most of the growth of the Church in Christendom was assisted by so many good Catholic Kings and Queens who played an enormous role in developing Christian western society.  This does not mean that the Monarchy is always perfect (certainly not!) or that it is the only possible good form of government.  Abp. Lefebvre noted the many bad monarchs in history and that a parliamentary democracy founded on Catholic principles is also acceptable.  This is certainly true, although I might add that a nation all too often today turns to a godless, warped brand of democracy to escape a Catholic form of government.  A truly traditional Catholic Monarchy is arguably the best form of government not only because because it guarantees support and protection for the Church and for souls, but because it also most directly reflects the hierarchy of the Church itself.

Since the 1500s, the attacks of Protestantism, Modernism(especially with Vatican II), Communism, and Freemasonry have all but destroyed the Monarchy.  I was asked today what I would most fear if I lived during the Middle Ages.  My answer was these modern errors of today because they weaken the influence of the Truth and ultimately lead to chaos and destruction. We must fight against them by prayer and by holding firm to and defending the Faith.

Even in this great crisis of the Church, however, we have much Hope!  Catholics are not supposed to wish that they lived in a different era.  God has allowed them to live in this era for a reason!  And what an era it is! There are many good Catholics and Catholic Clergy who are working for the eventual Great Restoration. It is in its beginning steps now! When the time comes that the Church crisis may end, we have it promised by Heaven that there will be a full restoration of all things in Christ. We should thus certainly prepare the way for this wonderful era!

If our readers are interested, the authors of this blog also moderate a Facebook group titledKnights and Ladies-Chivalry lives!.  The group is very active and one of few Facebook groups to promote and support the restoration of the Traditional Catholic Monarchy.  The Damsel herself (“Lady Hannah”) is also starting a website, knightsandladies.com, for the same purpose. While the format will be somewhat similar to our Damsel of the Faith blog, it will be of a slightly different nature and eventually feature more items as this project will hopefully come to fruition.

Viva Christo Rey!!! All of for the glory of God and the salvation of souls! 

~ Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”


 

International Planned Parenthood defunded in U.S.

http://www.lifenews.com/2017/01/23/president-donald-trump-signs-executive-order-to-defund-international-planned-parenthood/

Yesterday morning, President Donald Trump signed an executive order revoking funding for Planned Parenthood’s international affiliate. Americans should be relieved that their paid taxes will no longer go towards funding international organizations that perform this abominable act. This order was a reinstatement of a policy revoked shamelessly by Barack Obama within days of his respective inauguration. Catholic and pro-life websites are correct in praising the new Administration for this swift action even if it is but a comparatively minor step in the restoration of a true culture of Life. It is now up to Congress to vote on whether Planned Parenthood will be defunded entirely in this nation.

It is truly stunning how vile universities, media, and members of government have spun the ravenous wolf of PP into an innocent lamb in the public eye. How so many know so little about the true nature of Planned Parenthood, extending beyond its abortions and even its selling of butchered baby parts! Since Margaret Sanger first founded the “Birth Control League” in 1921(later changed to “Planned Parenthood” to mask its true nature), the organization has always focused on eugenics, to control the population and to exterminate those most “unfit” in society. All methods of controlling the birth of children are employed with a particular diabolical fondness for abortion. Sanger particularly despised the diseased and disabled, as well as those with African heritage. If any children are to be born at all, they must come from “elite” races and possess “elite” qualities. A true exercise of Darwinism at its cunning finest.

This demonic hatred for everything Christian is, of course, certainly not portrayed in the public eye. In fact, the opposite position is. Planned Parenthood is always said to be “helping” mothers making these very important choices… and how dare we even question how they should treat “their” bodies! Also, PP provides supposedly so many wonderful services and very few abortions.

Well, perhaps we should consider these statements of “Ms.” Sanger and see for ourselves whether Planned Parenthood is as nice as they claim:

We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.”

Birth control is nothing more or less than…weeding out the unfit.”

They are…human weeds,’ ‘reckless breeders,’ ’spawning… human beings who never should have been born.”

I think the greatest sin in the world is bringing children into the world.”

But for my view, I believe that there should be no more babies.”

What is amazing is how the evil in this country have managed to turn the tables on us, so to speak. Christians and conservatives are the ones chastised for being so “intolerant”, “racist”, and “rigid”, when it is obvious that the same applies to them in the greatest degree! And who are the babies most often aborted? African-American and/or disabled children. PP even makes significant efforts to put the vast majority of their centers in or near African-American communities. We also have doctors straight out of pseudo-communist medical schools who constantly encourage abortions if it is found that the baby has a disability. Yes, this wicked, satanic spirit of Sanger is alive and well.

Unfortunately, much of the American Church hierarchy shoulders a considerable amount of blame. As John Vennari noted in the January 2017 Catholic Family News, there was an overall very weak response by most(although not all) U.S. Bishops against abortion during a year when the issue was most significantly debated in the public forum. Seriously, how is it that so many bishops can barely make a mealy-mouthed statement, when such a bishop as Bishop Bernard Fellay, for instance, flies from Switzerland to take part in the two biggest American pro-life rallies and offers extensive pro-life conferences and Mass?

We must now especially pray for our civil authorities. No matter what we might be tempted to think of them, it is through their power and authority, supplied to them by God, that these evil laws might be overturned. Congress and the new president will certainly have ample opportunities to gain much ground in the pro-life battle. If one reads the traditional Catholic and pro-life websites, the early signs thus far appear to be somewhat encouraging. But we must pray and stand up for our uncompromisingly pro-life stance! May the restoration begin now!

Bp. Carroll’s famous prayer for those in American Government:

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., “The Knight of Tradition”


On the latest Rorate Caeli report concerning an SSPX prelature

Image result for bishop fellay

http://www.onepeterfive.com/bishop-fellay-on-sspx-regularization-there-is-one-condition/

Yesterday, a blogger for the Rorate Caeli blog posted under the pseudonym of “New Catholic” the headline “SSPX Superior-General Fellay: “An agreement is possible without further wait”.”  The post itself was merely a one sentence “confirmation” from an Italian Catholic website of an interview given by Bp. Bernard Fellay to a conservative French network.

As insufficient and arguably out-of-context as the attached “confirmation” is, the headline itself does not even present it honestly.  According to this confirmation, Bp. Fellay states that an agreement is possible “without waiting for the situation in the Church to become completely satisfactory“, while the headline could appear to suggest that Bp. Fellay said that we do not have to wait at all for a possible prelature.  This has led to various internet “rumor mills” now pouring forth more of their typical venom, that “Bp. Fellay is now rushing to an agreement at all costs.”

It is unfortunate that some of Rorate Caeli‘s posts covering the Society are often not complete or even honest.  One infamous example, as many will remember, was the “exclusive information” spread, claiming that Bp. Fellay’s two assistants had attended a private (new) mass offered by Pope Francis.  The SSPX refuted the calumny (http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/about-meeting-pope-francis-and-bishop-fellay-4067), but neither the author of the post nor Rorate Caeli appeared to ever retract it.  We do not in any way wish to criticize all of the very many good articles Rorate Caeli features, but to simply defend what is good and true.

Thank God, Maike Hickson of One Peter Five has just posted a largely thorough and fair article summarizing this interview.  Hopefully, it may allay the concerns of those who had seen or heard of yesterday’s “buzz”.  The more important parts of the interview are posted below, along with an excerpt from one of our previous posts, explaining the current situation with the Society and Rome.  Our readers may see for themselves that Bp. Fellay’s recent statements do not contradict those previously made by Bps. Fellay and Tissier de Mallerais, detailing the conditions necessary for a future prelature.  It is additionally refreshing to hear his words on other issues related to the Crisis, such as on the dubia and the errors of Vatican II.

“Speaking for some 18 minutes with Jean-Pierre Maugendre for his televised program “Terres de Mission,” Bishop Fellay tries to explain on 29 January two seemingly contradictory events raised by Mr. Maugendre: namely, that Pope Francis, in November of 2017 in his Apostolic Letter Misericordia et Misera, granted to the SSPX the extension of the faculty to hear confessions; and secondly, Francis published the post-synodal document Amoris Laetitia which, in certain cases, appears to allow some “remarried” divorcees to receive Holy Communion. In reply, the Swiss prelate says that these two acts “stem from the same movement, namely the concern of the Holy Father for the rejected people […] for those at the peripheries,” adding: “we are rejected […] and marginalized, forgotten or set aside.”

When asked about the dubia of the Four Cardinals – the first high-ranking resistance since the “Bacci-Ottaviani intervention” in the late 1960s concerning the theology of the Novus Ordo Mass – Bishop Fellay says that “something is changing” and that “things are getting worse […] not on the level of principles, but that the [bad] principles are bearing fruit, are having consequences.” He does not think that we have yet reached the “ultimate consequences” of those defective principles, but he sees that the general situation is now “so bad that a certain number of bishops and cardinals in their own consciences saw that they had to say ‘that’s it’.” Fellay added that, “privately, they [these resisting prelates] are even more numerous [than the ones who have spoken up publicly].” However, in Fellay’s eyes, “it is too early to say whether this movement will grow.” The prelate explains that “one has to hope, and I dare to hope that it will continue in this sense because we are not at all doing well”; and that, “once people begin to speak out, one will be able to reflect more seriously about the [deeper] causes of the situation” concerning the current and long germinating crisis within the Church.

Mr. Maugendre, the interviewer, then also refers to the recent intervention from Bishop Athanasius Schneider who asks the SSPX to accept now the proposal from Rome for a regularization, even though things might “not be 100% satisfactory” in the Church. The French interviewer then asks Bishop Fellay whether he expects “to sign a proposal soon,” and Fellay responds with the important (though somewhat unspecific) statement that “there is one condition sine qua non, namely, that we can stay as we are.” [my emphasis] Without this assurance, says Fellay, “we will not do anything.” For, the SSPX still has some “grave criticisms” concerning what has happened “in the Church since Vatican II”; as representative topics, for example, the Swiss bishop mentions the practical “integration of Communism”; “Religious Liberty”; the “relationship between Church and State”; and the question of toleration of other religions, one of which is today is to be seen, more and more, in the context and presence of “terror.” It now seems to Fellay that “we go in the right direction” and that, by way of alleviation of the pressure, “Rome has lifted a foot for two years now.” This apparently new attitude of Rome implies that some disputed questions concerning the Second Vatican Council are not strictly related to the binding “criteria of Catholicity.” Fellay explains: “That means that one has the right not to be in agreement [with some aspects of the Second Vatican Council] but still be considered to be Catholic.”

From previous Damsel of the Faith post:

Now, to briefly review, where does the situation with the SSPX and Rome currently stand?  Bp. Tissier de Mallerais, who was arguably the priest in the Society closest to Abp. Lefebvre, explains: http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/bishop-tissier-interview-la-porte-latine-14983

Now, 25 years after the death of Archbishop Lefebvre, where is the future of the Society?

Things are becoming clearer. During our pilgrimage to Rome in the year 2000, we were charmed by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, who urged John Paul II to recognize the Society unilaterally. Then Benedict XVI granted us two “preliminary requirements“: the recognition of the freedom of the traditional Mass and the lifting (more or less fortunate, for us and for him) of the 1988 excommunications. In 2010-2011, we had planned doctrinal discussions: in total disagreement! Our Superior General Bishop Fellay pursued the negotiations and caused some worry, until it became clear, in May and June 2012, that Benedict XVI still required as a condition, as he had said plainly at the start, that we accept the Council and the legitimacy of the reforms. It was a failure. But now there is very clearly a disposition on Pope Francis’ side to recognize us without these conditions. We say “Prudence! ” For things are moving and progress is still needed.

Archbishop Lefebvre never laid down as a condition for us to be recognized by Rome that Rome abandon the errors and the conciliar reforms. Even if he did say something like that to Andre Cagnon in 1990, he would never have done so, because that was never his line of conduct, his strategy with modernist Rome. He was strong in the Faith, he did not yield on his doctrinal position, but he knew how to be flexible, patient, and prudent in practice. To achieve his ends, his prudence told him to push the adversary, to harass him, make him step back, persuade him, but without blocking him with conditions that he still finds unacceptable. He did not refuse dialogue and was disposed to take advantage of every door opened by his interlocutor. It is in this sense that a certain opportunism, a certain “pragmatism” has been seen in him, and it is true: it is a small virtue annexed to the cardinal virtue of prudence. Sagacity, practical wisdom, is the neighbor of solertia, mentioned by Aristotle, St. Thomas (2-2, q. 48) and the Gaffiot, which is a skill in finding means to obtain one’s ends.  Archbishop Lefebvre requested with acumen “that we at least be tolerated”: “this would be a major advance,” he said. And “that we be recognized as we are,” that is, with our practice that follows from our doctrinal positions. Well, today we see in Rome a disposition to bear our existence and our theoretical and practical positions. I say “bear” because one tolerates evil!

Already, doctrinally, they no longer force us to admit “the whole Council” or religious liberty; some of the errors we denounce are on the point of being considered by our interlocutors as open for free discussion, or continued debate. This is progress. We discuss, but they have to admit that we are not changing and it is unlikely that we will change. And in practice, we ask these Romans: “Recognize our right to reconfirm the faithful conditionally,” and “Recognize the validity of our marriages!” You see, these are serious bones of contention. They will have to grant us these things. Otherwise, how could our recognition be livable?

It may take some time, but there is a God!

And an all-powerful Mediatrix!”

The last paragraph is especially important and it seems that many Traditional Catholics may not be aware of this part of the Society’s position.  Rome must recognize that the Society will continue just as it has always been.  Rome must specifically acknowledge the Society’s right to reject not only the errors of Vatican II and the New mass, but everything that they have often found contention with such as accepting the Society’s right to perform marriages, conditionally re-confirm, baptize, and ordain (when necessary), for the faithful to receive their sacraments at SSPX chapels exclusively from SSPX priests and bishops, etc.

Bp. Fellay elaborates on this position in his recent conference in New Zealand here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9oKWpVGirL0 (at approximately 6:30).  Virtually the entire Society is unified on this position.  It is clear that this position might be quite a “pipe dream” at the moment, but we shall see!  The Society wishes to have as many protections as possible; it recognizes the gravity of the situation.  None of our positions will be compromised!  We are Catholic and will remain Catholic!

~ Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”


 

Bp. Fellay: Clarity from Rome is needed regarding errors of Vatican II

fellay-2015-econe

http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/bp-fellay-clarity-needed-to-move-forward

To follow-up on a previous post (https://damselofthefaith.wordpress.com/2017/01/30/on-the-latest-rorate-caeli-report-concerning-an-sspx-prelature/), the SSPX has released an article in response to this week’s rumors.  We have seen recently a slew of “reports” from various Catholic websites(Rorate Caeli, Church Militant, Catholic World News, and others) that assumed an imminent prelature for the SSPX without correctly evaluating both sides.  One may wonder with all of these sensational headlines whether some of these authors care more about receiving views than coming to a carefully researched conclusion.

Even the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei did little to address these rumors and mostly only encouraged them.  One should not necessarily trust statements from Ecclesia Dei, the purpose of its entire existence being to essentially serve as a “police force set over Tradition to regulate it”.(Brian McCall: http://archives.sspx.org/sspx_and_rome/wrong_or_right_conditions_for_the_sspxs_future10-2-2012.htm)  Statements from Abp. Pozzo, for instance, have not always stated the reality of the situation, as exemplified here: http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/sspxs-relations-rome-pozzo-7571

Bp. Fellay and the SSPX have again made clear that a personal prelature is not to be considered without ample assurance from Rome allowing the Society to continue opposing the errors of the “pastoral”, non-binding Second Vatican Council.  Unfortunately, too many in Rome still conduct themselves in a manner indicating the opposite, even if there may be some true progress in these discussions.  There is still quite a reluctance in Rome, to say the least,  “to leave this way of thinking that was imposed at the Council “.

For those who claim that all of these discussions have just been a “waste of time”, I would invite them to consider all of the positive advancements that have taken place since the beginning of the talks in 2000.  We now have the Traditional Mass officially “freed”(at least theoretically) for any priest to pray, the phony “excommunications” of the SSPX bishops are lifted, several bishops and cardinals are finally beginning to protest Modernist actions, and there is a significantly more conservative spirit developing in the Church, particularly amongst the younger priests.  All of these good fruits can be linked at least indirectly to the Society and their influence.

Even in this troubled pontificate, it is necessary to maintain a connection with Rome.  As Bp. Fellay is criticized today for maintaining this link, so was Abp. Lefebvre in his day:http://archives.sspx.org/archbishop_lefebvre/archbishop_lefebvre_1979_seminary_conference.htm        It will ultimately be through Rome that this crisis will cease.  The balance and perseverance of the Society in maintaining these discussions is praiseworthy.  Rather than insisting on our own will in this situation and making rash judgements, we should endeavor to follow the mind of the Church and trust that God will always guide our path.

Let us pray that the fruits of Tradition may keep harvesting and that our traditional priests always simply follow God’s Good, Holy Will.

From sspx.org:

Bp. Fellay: Clarity Needed to Move Forward

February 02, 2017

His Excellency explains that before the SSPX accepts a prelature, clarity from Rome is needed regarding errors of Vatican II.

 

On January 29, Bishop Bernard Fellay gave a 20 minute interview to TVLibertés. The Superior General’s answer on TV about the canonical structure of the Personal Prelature offered to the Society of St. Pius X was short:

We have told Rome, very clearly, that, just as Archbishop Lefebvre used to say in his day, we have a sine qua non condition: if this condition is not met, then we will not move. And this condition is for us to be able to remain as we are, to keep all the principles that have kept us alive, that have kept us Catholic.”

To the question of Jean-Pierre Maugendre, “And so today, concretely, what is still missing?”, Bishop Fellay answered:

The seal. And also the clear, straightforward statement that these guarantees will be respected.”

An Imminent Resolution?

Immediately some concluded that a canonical resolution for the SSPX was imminent. The day after, Archbishop Pozzo was reported by Andrea Tornielli in La Stampa as giving some credence to to the same news…as if everything depended on a simple statement.

Things are not so easy on the side of the Society. On January 26, in an hour-long interview with Fr. Alain Lorans, SSPX, at Radio Courtoisie, Bishop Fellay explained what he understands by guarantees and the condition “to be able to remain as we are”. (See Bishop Fellay’s text below.)

The problem is not a canonical structure which would not be acceptable. On the contrary, even though “there are details that need improving…[and] matters that still need to be discussed”, the Personal Prelature “is adequate and suits our needs” says Bishop Fellay.

A Battle of Ideas

“The problem is, once again, this battle of ideas,” he stated. These ideas, for example, are ecumenism, religious liberty, the relations between Church and State, and the reformed liturgy. As Bishop Fellay says,

…[we fight against] this modernist way of thinking, against which, or because of which, we were even declared schismatic and everything else, outside of the Church….

Error remains error. So we remain today, just as before, just as convinced that there are errors that have been spread in the Church and that are killing the Church.”

New Roman Attitude

Bishop Fellay explains that, in the doctrinal discussions with Rome, there is a new attitude regarding these errors, which are doctrinal roots of the moral issues of today. These errors, the key points imposed since the Second Vatican Council as part of the new magisterium of the Church, would not be anymore “required criteria for being Catholic”. In front of this new attitude, Bishop Fellay wonders: “Is it just a door, or is it really a path? Is it a safe path?” Here lay the guarantees to be able to remain as we are. “I mean, are we really going to be able to continue as we are?”

Bishop Fellay, in order to consider accepting a canonical structure, does not expect a complete, immediate change in the Church or a magical return to Tradition.

We understand that it takes time to purify and remove these errors, we understand. Men cannot be changed just like that; all sorts of bad habits have been acquired by now…”

Liberty to Continue the Fight

What is it expected then? A clear guarantee that the errors of the Council will not be imposed on the SSPX; on the contrary, we will be given the liberty to continue to fight them. The bishop asks the question for today: “Is there any intention to leave this way of thinking that was imposed at the Council?” For the Superior General, it is clear that we are not yet at this point. “And we see, at least in the authorized voices, shall we say, the leading voices, that they are saying, ‘No, no! No, we shall continue along the same lines.’”

So his attitude today is logical: “Until we have a clear enough answer, we cannot move forward.”

 

Bishop Fellay’s interview with TVLibertés with English subtitles, January 29, 2017.

We publish below an extract of Bishop Fellay’s hour-long interview with Fr. Alain Lorans on Radio Courtoisie, January 26, 2017.

Fr. Alain Lorans: Speaking of letting the Society in, of course we can’t help thinking of the canonical offers that have been made; there was talk of a prelature and recently Bishop Schneider said he had invited you to accept the canonical propositions soon and not to be too demanding, or in any case, not to wait for everything to be perfect. Where does all this stand? Did you really receive this invitation? And in that case, would a doctrinal union become a secondary issue? What exactly is the Society’s position?

Bishop Fellay: As far as Bishop Schneider goes, he did write to me, but a long time ago now; a long time, I mean, perhaps a year ago. So I do not have anything recent from him. In any case, recently, no, I have not received anything from him.

Other than that, the structure is not the problem. The structure, I think, is well established; there are still some points, shall we say, some finer points. The main idea is, really, it is adequate, it suits our needs. So for that, I am satisfied. Again, there are details that need improving and matters that still need to be discussed. The problem is not with this structure that they are offering us. If that was the only issue, we would say “yes” in a heartbeat. But it is not the problem.

The problem is, once again, this battle of ideas. Is a Church that for forty years has imposed a way of thinking, this modernist way of thinking against which we fight, against which, or because of which we were even declared schismatic and everything else, outside of the Church; is this Church ready, yes or no, to let us continue on our path?

Archbishop Lefebvre used to speak of “letting us make the experiment of Tradition”. Are they going to let us, yes or no? Or are they waiting for us at a bend in the road, are they going to tell us tomorrow that we “have to fall into line”? To accept what we have been fighting against for forty years? That, we are not about to give up.

So it is all there, really; that is where the question lies. With these new, more open attitudes, when they tell us some things are not required criteria for being Catholic, there seems to be a path opening up. Now, is it just a door, or is it really a path? Is it a safe path? I mean, are we really going to be able to continue as we are? For us it is obvious that this is not the end.

Error remains error. So we remain today, just as before, just as convinced that there are errors that have been spread in the Church and that are killing the Church.

And of course, we understand that it takes time to purify and remove these errors, we understand. Men cannot be changed just like that; all sorts of bad habits have been acquired now; even just bringing back the holy liturgy. We understand very well that it cannot be done overnight. So if things take time, that is one thing, but is the intention even there? Is there any intention to leave this way of thinking that was imposed at the Council?

And we see, at least in the authorized voices, shall we say, the leading voices, that they are saying, “No, no. No, no, we shall continue along the same lines.” So we remain outlaws. Well, tolerated outlaws, and we might even say, in the most astonishing way, with Pope Francis we are more than tolerated, but we remain on the outskirts.

So are things going to stay as they are? Are things going to move ahead? Or tomorrow are we going to be swallowed up by this movement that, once again, is killing the Church? That is the question. And until we have a clear enough answer, we cannot move forward.

The full text of the conference will be available in the near future.

 

~ Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”

 


 

A lesson on Chastity: A little known fact about Da Vinci’s Last Supper

leonardo_da_vinci_-_last_supper_copy_-_wga12732

Good Christians would not be wrong to rejoice in certain advances that have been made recently in the pro-life battle in the United States, even if these victories are comparatively small to what we hopefully are working towards.  Even these little victories, however, have awakened absolutely demonic reactions in these pro-abortion “feminists”, whose errors have almost completely pervaded the West.

One could certainly pause and wonder how our nation and so many others have degenerated into such a vile, grotesque culture of death.  One major reason is the universally spread and promoted vice of Impurity.  The great selfishness of the modern world, commenced in part by the terrible ’60s, has led to the motto of “If it feels good; do it!”.  As a result, mankind has become a slave to his inner passions.  Sins of impurity deaden the will and intellect as no other sins can.  They deaden and destroy innocence and make one eventually unresponsive to evil.  These sins also inflict such great harm on the body, even when committed alone.  Our Lady of Fatima has warned us about the good majority of souls in Hell- that it was by leading an impure life that they are lost for eternity.  When men commit sins of impurity, it is a sign that they possess a great emptiness in their lives.  Certainly a strong devotion to Our Lady, starting with a daily rosary, can help us to eradicate this vice within ourselves.  We should also endeavor to keep ourselves continually occupied, especially by doing good for others and by having good friends and hobbies.

Fr. Thiamer Toth in his beautiful work Youth and Chastity describes the great spiritual and even physical death that is caused by sins of impurity, whether alone or with others.  Besides being in moral decline, it is clear that we are overall a very unhealthy race.  Many have tried to explain away the declining modern health of populations.  Perhaps it is “pollution” or food additives or greenhouse gas, they say.  Well, maybe, but how many have really given full consideration to how much we are weakening and killing ourselves by our very own personal sins?  Nature is punishing us, dear readers.

Fr. Toth also provides a chilling example from the painting of Da Vinci’s Last Supper to illustrate the gravity of such sins.  How stunning it is that the same model used for painting Christ could be used two years later for the face of Judas!  Oh God , how terrible are these sins against Thee and all of nature Thou hast created!

To close this introduction with a message of Hope, let us remember that Judas himself is perishing not mainly for his sin of betrayal, but because he despaired in such a horrible manner of God’s mercy.  As great as this first sin of Judas was, Our Lord would have so lovingly forgiven him just as he forgave Peter.  It is reasonable to conclude that Judas might have then went on to lead a life of fidelity to His sacred duty as one of the first prelates of the Catholic Church.  Like his fellow apostles, he may certainly have been martyred for this fidelity. Catholic boys could proudly be baptized with the name “Judas”, in honor of the great apostle who accepted the grace for one of the greatest conversions the world had ever known.  What a great tragedy, as this should have been Judas’ fate.  But for anyone struggling with sins of impurity, it is not too late!  If one makes the sincere efforts necessary to amend his life and does not despair in God, he will be converted from this vice and, God willing, become a great saint!  These sins will even be forgotten, so to speak, for eternity and will instead turn into precious jewels adorning the glorified body and soul.  May we always have recourse to the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts in striving to lead our lives with an angelic purity.

Passages from Fr. Toth:

“Nothing works more unsparingly towards the wasting away of the human organism than this sin[The objectively mortal sin of Masturbation-SC]. Like a leech never satisfied, it sucks away the sinner’s cheerfulness, it kills the roses on his cheeks, and extinguishes the sparkle in his eye. For the substance squandered by this sin causes a weakening of the whole system almost equal to a loss of blood twenty times as great. This substance is of vital necessity – according to undisputed medical evidence — for the internal and external building-up of the body, to give resiliency to the muscles, strength to the bones, lustre to the eye, keenness to the intellect and the other faculties. When this substance is wasted, a boy becomes a laggard in everything, just as the power of a locomotive will decrease if the fireman scatters the coal along the tracks instead of shovelling it into the engine. According to the latest findings of the medical world, the state of the soul can also influence the state of the body. Psychotherapy, one of the new methods of curing, attempts the healing of the body through the soul. It is now recognized that the con- tinually depressed spirits of such an unfortunate boy make themselves felt on his body also. The continual strain upon the nerves and squandering of the vital powers, cannot but bring on grave consequences. For a time the system endeavors to replace the lost matter, but after a while this replacement takes place at the expense of the entire organism. As a matter of fact there is not a single activity of the whole human system which influences the nervous system to such a degree as the functioning of the genital organs. The body is a “self-contained” power system, which means that, if there be an undue amount of energy used up by some of its activities, one cannot borrow that “plus” from somewhere outside, but must take it away from some other department of the organism. A “plus” in one part, at the same time means a “minus” in some other place. Now the great squandering of saps, accompanying the sinful excitation of the genital organ, causes frightful “minuses” in other areas of the body, so that physical health, a fresh memory, keen perception, joy of life, are lessened to a great extent. Continual sexual excitement rocks a youth’s system to its very foundation; it undermines its resistance and disorganizes the work of the digestive and breathing organs, and interferes with blood circulation. Such a youth becomes pale and anaemic, and very susceptible to consumption, which in these days takes a heavy death toll, in ever more appalling numbers. Thus it is that boys shorten their lives by years and even what remains of their life is only misery, for outraged Nature rises in rebellion against this wanton desecration. Alas, it is the colors slowly fading in the rainbow! Now, as I have said, there are youths of vigorous physical make-up, whose health will not be impaired so much by this sin, but even these, to a certain extent, pay the cost of their indiscretion. Their power of resistance diminishes, they become more susceptible to sickness, any tendency to hereditary disease is increased in them, the joy of living is lessened and they stand their ground in life’s struggle with great difficulty. Even when endowed with the strongest physique a sinning boy cannot escape these punishments. A great many pay even a heavier penalty, suffering a complete disruption of body and soul, dishonesty, feebleness, weariness of life, sometimes tuberculosis, tabes, dorsalis, yea, even the mad-house. These are the appalling punishments meted out to the boy who indulges in immoral living. Look into the eyes of such an unfortunate boy. Good God! Those sunken eyes are those of a child. Those distorted features still have the outlines of a child’s face. He has not lived long enough to see its soft features hardened into manliness. “But a little child, and already so great a sinner,” exclaims St. Augustine. {Tantillus Puer et tantus peccator.) Does the promise of Spring turn into Autumn-wilting so soon? My dear young man, when you first sold your soul to Satan, did you give a thought as to how inexorably Satan would exact his dues? Did you realize that your toll to him would be blood, marrow, healthy eyes, nerves, and even your very soul? What is this? Something has fallen here on my writing paper? A flower pot stands on my desk and as I write these lines, a wilted petal falls before me. For a moment I stop writing and contemplate the flower. Why has this little petal fallen off? Of course, I see; it was wilting and fading, it no longer adorned the flower; so the flower shed it. Poor little petal! And you, poor human bud, you are wilting and dying, even before you come to the fulness of bloom. You no longer adorn life, so life is discarding you.   Listen to me, now, young man, and with a composed mind strike a balance for yourself. Put on the credit side, the fleeting sensual pleasures which your self-abuse may yield, and on the debit side, everything that you will have to pay for those momentary delights — peace of soul, wasted years, ruined hopes, broken character, and perhaps, the loss of health. Yes, strike a balance between what you “enjoy” in sin, and what you “pay” in exchange for sin. Yet we have not considered the maximum of punishment. We have not reached the very abyss of depravity. What we have considered are only the consequences of the unclean sin of self-abuse.

[…]

There are other diseases, resulting from immoral contact with the opposite sex. My dear young man, I shudder as I pen these lines, for here I must speak of the tragic fate of so many youths — a fate of which perhaps you have never heard, but which I must mention in order that you may see how one, single, careless act of yours may sweep you to destruction, and so that you may not have to curse the moment — as so many thousands have — when you first sought to obtain immoral pleasure in dens of vice among unfortunate women, or with one picked up by chance in the street. Be it known to you then, my young man, that through sexual contact with fallen girls and loose women, you can contract diseases — only one occasion is sufficient — from whose ravages your body will suffer for years, of which oftentimes you cannot be cured, which will pollute your blood, and which — if you marry — may be inherited as a dreadful patrimony by your wife — your children — your grandchildren — all your generations. They may inherit all this from you, and if they do, they will curse the memory of their fathers who left them such a legacy. Perhaps you do not realize how wide-spread these diseases are among men. According to medical findings, in almost every case, a man who sins with a debauched woman, contracts from her one kind or another of venereal disease.

[…]

You have probably heard the name of Leonardo Da Vinci, one of the greatest painters of the world, and perhaps have seen a reproduction of one of his best works, “The Last Supper,” which is painted on the wall of the refectory of a monastery in Milan. But you have scarcely heard of the moving incident which is associated with this picture. The artist had considerable difficulty in finding a suitable model for painting the sublime face of our Lord. Then one day, in a church, he chanced to come upon a strikingly beautiful young chorister, Pietro Bandinelli, who gladly served as a model for the face of Jesus. Months came and went, until two years had passed. Again Leonardo walked the streets, out of humor, because he could not find a suitable model for Judas. He was searching for someone whose face would reflect all the evil which is expected to be portrayed in the face of Judas. At last he came across a young, but prematurely-aged man, in whose evil countenance he found the wickedness he sought. But as he led this man to his “Last Supper,” and was about to begin painting Judas’ face, great sobs suddenly shook the stranger’s frame, for he was no other than Pietro Bandinelli, who had given himself up to immorality, and in two years’ time that terrible sin had distorted the Christ face into that of a Judas. That is what happened to his body! What must have happened to his soul? Oh, if only the silent graves of cemeteries could speak: those silent graves into which the sin of immorality has prematurely thrust so many promising youthful lives. My dear young man, let us close the book for a time, and reflect with prayerful spirit upon the eternal words of the Holy Scripture, “If any man violate the temple of God, him shall God destroy. For the Temple of God is holy, which you are.” (I Cor. 3: 17.)”

~ Steven C, “The Knight of Tradition”

 


 

St. Valentine, Priest and Martyr

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From the February 2015 bulletin of The Crusader in Great Britain:

“Valentine was a holy priest in Rome, who assisted the martyrs during the persecution under Claudius II. His great virtue and influence became known, and he was apprehended and brought before the emperor’s tribunal: “Why, Valentine, do you want to be the friend of our enemies and reject our friendship?” The Christian priest replied: “My Lord, if you knew the gift of God, you would be happy, and your empire with you; you would reject the cult of your idols and would adore the true God and His Son Jesus Christ.” One of the judges interrupted, asking the martyr what he thought of Jupiter and Mercury. “They are miserable, and spend all their lives in debauchery and crime!” The judge, furious, cried, “He has blasphemed against the gods and against the empire!” The emperor nonetheless continued his questioning with curiosity, pleased to have this opportunity to know what Christians thought. Valentine had the courage to exhort him to do penance for the blood of Christians which he had shed. “Believe in Jesus Christ, be baptised and you will be saved, and already in this life you will ensure your empire’s glory and the triumph of your arms.” Claudius began to be convinced, and said to those in attendance, “Hear the beautiful doctrine this man is teaching us!” But the prefect of Rome, dissatisfied, cried out, “See how this Christian is seducing our prince!” Claudius, weakening, abandoned the holy priest to another judge.

This man, named Asterius, had a little girl who had been blind for two years. Hearing of Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, he asked Valentine if he could convey that light to his child. Saint Valentine placed his hand on her eyes and prayed: “Lord Jesus Christ, true Light, illuminate this blind child!” The child saw, and the Judge with all his family confessed Christ and received Baptism. The emperor, hearing of this, would have turned his gaze away from these conversions, but fear caused him to betray his sense of justice. With several other Christians Saint Valentine was tortured and martyred in the year 268.

This illustrious martyr has always been held in great honour in Rome, where there still exists a catacomb named for him.”

Litany of the Love of God
(Composed by Pope Pius VI, 1717 – 1799)Lord have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father in heaven,
Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Ghost,
Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God,
Have mercy on us.
Thou Who art Infinite Love,
I love Thee, O my God. *Thou Who didst first love me, *
Thou Who commandest me to love Thee, *
With all my heart,*
With all my soul, *
With all my mind, *
With all my strength, *
Above all possessions and honors, *
Above all pleasures and enjoyments, *
More than myself and all that belongs to me, *
More than all my relatives and friends, *
More than all men and angels, *
Above all created things in heaven or on earth, *
Only for Thyself, *
Because Thou art the sovereign Good, *
Because Thou art infinitely worthy of being loved, *
Because Thou art infinitely perfect, *
Even hadst Thou not promised me heaven, *
Even hadst Thou not menaced me with hell, *
Even shouldst Thou try me by want and misfortune, *
In wealth and in poverty, *
In prosperity and in adversity, *
In health and in sickness, *
In life and in death, *
In time and in eternity, *
In union with that love wherewith all the Saints and all the Angels love Thee in heaven, *
In union with that love wherewith the Blessed Virgin Mary loveth Thee, *
In union with that infinite love wherewith Thou lovest Thyself eternally, *Let us pray:  My God, Who dost possess in incomprehensible abundance all that is perfect and worthy of love, annihilate in me all guilty, sensual, and undue love for creatures: kindle in my heart the pure flame of Thy love, so that I may love nothing but Thee or in Thee, until, being entirely consumed by holy love of Thee, I may go to love Thee eternally with the elect in Heaven, the country of pure love. Amen.
On this St. Valentine’s Day, may we shun the world’s attempts to make this day one honoring the passions, which are not in themselves true love and have led many a man to ruin. Let us instead follow the brave, faithful Love of St. Valentine for Our Lord Jesus Christ and of all things good!
~Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”

On “Fiftiesism”

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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”


 

Being truly Pro-Life: A rebuttal against the contraceptive mentality

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It is a great tragedy that there are so many who are counted as part of the Pro-Life movement who, by their stances, are actually quite anti-life.  Perhaps they will “stand up for life”, as they will say,  and even attend pro-life rallies.  But for all of their apparently strong stances against abortion, their positions on contraception are very lukewarm.  How hypocritical!  Not even counting all of the inherent problems of contraception, how many of these “pro-lifers” are aware that “the pill” often functions as an abortifacient?

Abortion is really only the logical end to this contraceptive mindset, ever so horribly prevalent in today’s world.  This post is not intended to cast judgement on those who have unfortunately been led into deception regarding these matters.  We all know of the brainwashing occurring in academia-including and especially in the parochial schools!  Even in the Church itself, there has been such a grave spreading of errors.  Oftentimes, the more liberal conciliarists will encourage any form of birth control outside of abortion(assuming they oppose abortion), while the more conservative ones will generally recommend NFP as an alternative.  This is also a false solution since “Natural Family Planning”(more properly called The Rhythm Method) is only allowed under grave circumstances.  It would also be wise for couples to seek the advice of a priest when necessary.  We see the success of the “conservative” approach when the polls show that 90-95 percent of Catholics contracept(!!).  No, we must be fully committed to Life as expressed in the infallible teachings of the Church!

The following attached article was featured in the February 1991 issue of The Angelus in the “Ambrose Observes” column.  The author correctly points out that as abortion is an absolute evil, totally contrary to the natural law; it is not an appropriate topic for debate.  The real battle lies in the contraceptive mentality.  Seek primarily to destroy this argument!  Obviously, there may be slight exceptions to the article’s approach depending on prudence and the situation.  For example, if one is debating with someone ignorant of what an abortion really is, I would recommend first showing him a video such as this one, detailing the abortion procedure: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgw4X7Dw_3k .  And, of course, it goes without saying that while our debates must be firm and uncompromising, they must be always done with true Charity and with the intention of saving souls.

A guide in debating the evils of Abortion and Contraception:

 

“Last month I made the claim that abortion is not an appropriate topic for debate. We must not “debate” an absolute evil, for in so doing we already weaken our own position. I suggest two methods of closing off discussion—one, with the clean, concise statement: “It is an abominable evil act to murder babies”; (if the response comes, “But it’s not a baby…” respond with “It’s certainly not a park bench or a straw hat” and put the burden of proof on the twisted mind pretending that a fetus is not a baby. Make them prove that bread dough is not bread). Two, when the stupid statement is made, “It’s the woman’s own body; she has the right to do with it as she pleases,” ask first if she has the right to cut off her own left leg or if she should be stopped, and then say, “It is not her own body; the child has different genes, a different blood type and different fingerprints. Do you believe a host has the right to kill a guest sleeping under his roof?” Then make them vindicate Macbeth’s murder of the sleeping King Duncan. End of discussion.

Move, then, the conversation to its real battlefield—contraception—and prepare to fight long and hard. This is the captured moral ground that must be reclaimed. First, reread Pope Paul VI’sHumanae Vitae and have it clearly in mind. Begin the conversation by establishing first and foremost that abortion is merely the logical evil end of a contraception mentality, a mentality that is obsessively and sickly materialistic, naturalistic and egotistic. The first assault must be to assert the spiritual basis of the argument. The question of sexuality and procreation is a supernatural question, not a natural one. Allow me to quote the great Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor in a letter written to a friend:

The Church’s stand on birth control is the most absolutely spiritual of all her stands and with all of us being materialists at heart, there is little wonder that it causes unease. I wish various fathers would quit trying to defend it by saying that the world can support 40 billion. I will rejoice the day when they say: This is right whether we all rot on top of each other or not, dear children, as we certainly may. Either practice restraint or be prepared for crowding…

The insight focuses the issue: This is an “absolutely spiritual” concern and the Church’s position is “right.” However many children may populate the earth, their first, basic right is to find, love and serve their God, and no mere human being has the right to prevent those individual souls from finding their salvation or condemning them to eternal emptiness or preventing them from being born. When your opponent raises the specter of the overpopulated land or the masses of starving children and accuses you of not caring about the suffering multitudes that would result from the lack of availability of contraceptive devices, immediately move the argument back to the spiritual level by pointing out your Lord and His Church are the only avenue on earth that genuinely cares for the suffering and offers the possibility of eternal redemption through that suffering. To prevent those children from being born and never knowing suffering is to keep them deliberately away from eternity and the loving, healing, redeeming Cross of Christ.

Go on to point out that this argument has become an excuse for Americans to immerse themselves in selfish solipsism. Because there might be famine in the Sudan, Joe and Susie refrain from the natural and supernatural end of their marriage vows—the procreation of children. They sit by themselves in a four-bedroom house furnished to the top of fashion, with a two-car garage and a boat out back; they dress to the nines with the most stylish threads, and eat at all the chic new restaurants; they buy all the most modern conveniences and travel to Paris, Bermuda and Vancouver just to “get away”; then they give some bucks to the Feed the Children campaign and feel they are doing their part to make a better world. In fact, they are starving to death spiritually. They have a kind of spiritual anorexia nervosa. As the victim ofanorexia refuses to eat because of a fear of fat, thus blocking a natural function and starving slowly to death, so the victims of contraception refuse to bear children because of the fear of overpopulation, thus blocking a natural and supernatural function and spiritually starving to death.

Or let us turn to a different eating disorder to further the argument—bulimia. This is the disease where a person eats huge amounts of food for the sole purpose of pleasure in the consumption of Big Macs, pizza, Twinkies, milk shakes and Snickers, and then forces the stomach to vomit the food back up, denying to the body the nutrient value of the food, in essence, violating the whole purpose of eating—nutrition. The contraception proponents do exactly the same thing. They view the function of copulation as purely pleasurable. By the use of contraceptive devices, they deny the natural function of the act, the creation of children, just as the bulimic denies the natural function of eating, nutrition. The users of contraception, by denying natural law, are starving physically. Our society has become very concerned about eating disorders and believes that the bulimic is a desperately sick individual who needs help, for in denying the need for food, the bulimic has inverted the natural order of eating whose end is nutrition for the body but whose means may be pleasurable as well. They are committing suicide by starvation in an attempt to experience pleasure. Those who use contraception are also desperately sick; they have inverted the natural order of sexual union whose end is procreation but whose means may be pleasurable as well. They are committing racial suicide and starving spiritually in an attempt to experience pleasure. We should be every bit as concerned for these sick individuals, who now, in the throes of their contraceptive pleasure-seeking frenzy, are killing any child they may happen to conceive and which may interfere with their continued limitless self-gratification. Let your opponent sort that one out and argue that one away. To support contraception is to support bulimia; to stop the bulimic is to stop the user of contraception.

And one last brutal argument that I apologize for, but that must finally be made. To willfully remove the possibility of fertility from the woman and the possibility of contraception from the sexual act is to make all such acts similar to homosexual acts. Women become “like men”; they can no longer conceive. Sex is pure pleasure minus the consequences. Promiscuity explodes, relationships collapse, genders lose definition. Heterosexual couples have taken on the worst aspects of sinful homosexual union and the results are evident everywhere in society. Say openly to your opponent, those who use contraception are becoming “mock homosexuals” with all the unpleasant and destructive results. Such a charge will shock any decent nature into a harsh and serious consideration of the contraception question; those decent folks will never again be free to pursue pleasure in that anti-natural and anti-supernatural way without being haunted by the accusation that they are degrading themselves in a manner they despise. It may be just the jolt their consciences need to set them back on the road to God’s truth that they wandered mindlessly away from because the apple of pleasure smelled sweet and looked ripe, unaware that Satan was the power offering them that fruit.”

In closing, The Damsel and I ask that all of our readers pray for John Vennari and his family.  For those who have not heard, fellow Catholic writer Colleen Hammond has informed that Mr. Vennari’s condition from his battle with cancer has worsened.  He is in the hospital with his family and a priest has administered Extreme Unction to him.  Let us pray that God’s Will be done.

~ Steven C., “The Knight of Tradition”

 


 

Preparing for Lent

keeping-a-holy-lent

The Church, in keeping with her motherly love and wisdom, has given her children these two and a half weeks before Lent to prepare and focus ourselves for this penitential season.  One cannot reasonably expect an immediate transition from the celebratory times of Christmas and Epiphany to the season of Lent.  God Himself, as the Master of all order, always has a Divine Plan in place to ensure this order.  He IS order is essence.  As such, He provides, through His Church, time for all of us to plan and prepare for each great and jubilant Church season.  Unfortunately, there will be some who reject this grace and will party away Shrove Tuesday to such an excess that they will enter Lent in the state of mortal sin.  What a terrible way to begin Lent!  But we must even avoid entering this holy season in a state of lukewarmness as well!

This time of preparation is also reflected well in the liturgy.  There are many even largely unknown customs in the liturgy, such as the Depositio of the Alleluia, which is still done in some traditional communities today.  You can read here for more if you’re interested:  http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2010/01/farewell-to-alleluia.html

For every successful plan, it is necessary to know exactly what is the goal of our preparations.  How should we thus enable ourselves to better commemorate the Passion and Resurrection?  Fr. Goffine explains:

As according to the teaching of St. Leo, the main thing in fasting is not that the body be deprived of food, but that the mind at the same time be withdrawn from wickedness, we should endeavor during Lent, not only to be temperate in eating and drinking, but especially to lead a modest life, sanctifying the days by persevering prayer and devoutly attending church.”

During Lent, we must strive first of all not to fall into a spirit of lukewarmness.  Today, the Lenten fast and abstinence has been reduced to such a minimum that it often seems hardly like a penance at all.  Abp. Lefebvre explained the reason for such a change:

At the Council, the bishops requested such a diminution of fast and abstinence that these prescriptions have practically disappeared. We must recognize the fact that this disappearance is a consequence of the ecumenical and protestant spirit which denies the necessity of our participation for the application of the merits of Our Lord to each one of us for the remission of our sins and the restoration of our divine affiliation [i.e., character as adoptive sons of God].”

It is true that the fasting and abstinence laws are laws of discipline, and not laws of doctrine, so these are in fact the official laws of the Catholic Church that bind under pain of mortal sin.  However, is this all we will do?  Especially in these days?  We are always called to do more than the minimum requirements anyway!  Otherwise, we would barely have a foot in the door to Heaven.  Most Catholics aged 21 and over with fully matured bodies and without physical impediments(e.g. pregnancy, diabetes) should be able to handle a longer period of fasting.  That being said, all Catholics should fast in many ways during Lent.  Fast with all of the five senses!

Of course, as Fr. Goffine notes, the main purpose of fasting is not to starve ourselves, but to strengthen our will against the things of this world.  This goes particularly for our passions, which God gave us to use for good.  However, indulging them continuously all year puts us in more danger of falling into all types of sin.  All soldiers must go through boot camp and training!  They would otherwise be at risk for becoming lax.  Why should the same not be true for soldiers of Christ?

What is most essential in Lent is that we improve ourselves in ways that are lasting.  Many Catholics wish to temporarily deny themselves a certain pleasure they enjoy, such as chocolate.  While the intentions here are praiseworthy, one should primarily strive to do penances that will stay with us and become habitual even after Lent.  After all, the person giving up chocolate will probably make up for it sufficiently after Easter.  An even greater penance, for example, would for us be as like a “chocolate” to our neighbor, as Mother Angelica would say.  This would help us to develop a greater charity.

Lent is also a splendid time to correct little faults and to turn towards the habit of the opposite virtue. For example, one who is in the habit of using swear words to “vent” his anger may focus particularly on improving this for Lent.  Fr. Goffine also made a point of mentioning a great prayer life and devout attendance at Mass.  During Lent we must resolve to persevere ever stronger in prayer and to meditate on the Passion and Death of Our Lord.  Frequent attendance at Mass and reception of Holy Communion is also to be much encouraged if possible.  If a Traditional Mass is not available during the week, then a daily spiritual communion should be done.  As St. John Vianney said, if we ever feel our love for God growing cold, immediately make a spiritual communion!

Finally, we must remember that the ways of God are always wholly good and are never meant to make us bitter or stoic.  One of the best works we can do during Lent and at all times is to be joyous, both to God and to our neighbor.  A gloomy saint is no saint at all.  A Lent well-spent is only a means for ever greater joy for now and eternity as we grow in our love of God!

~Steven C, “The Knight of Tradition”

 


 

Recent SSPX-Rome purchase rumors are False

Image result for sspx logo rumor

http://www.dici.org/en/news/society-of-saint-pius-x-menzingen-in-rome/

Over the past several days, there have been an abundance of rumors disseminated regarding the purchase by the Society of St. Pius X of a large building complex in Rome.  According to the original article, “The Pope is said to have intervened directly to speed the whole process, via Abp. Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. Bp. Bernard Fellay (Superior of the SSPX), Bp. Alfonso de Galarreta and the Assistant General Father Alain Nély are said to have stayed from January 17-20 at the Casa Santa Marta. The Superior of the Sisters of the Society also attended the talks. Father Nély is the person in charge of finalizing the purchase of the complex”.  The signing of an official agreement with Rome is also seen to be imminent.

These rumors are false.  Virtually everything in the original report is totally false.

Predictably, this “news” spread feverishly across conservative Catholic news sites and the infamous, calumny-filled anti-SSPX message boards.  The Society was this time finally going to “sell out”, as has been prophesied for 17 years and for a shorter period during the 1980s.

For the sake of justice, we have posted below the official response of the Society to this latest slander.  Hopefully this post will reassure those who may have been concerned.  As one can infer from Bp. Fellay’s latest interview(https://damselofthefaith.wordpress.com/2017/02/09/bp-fellay-in-latest-interview-errors-are-killing-the-church/), as well as all of the Society’s official communication channels; the signing of a personal prelature is not to be considered until there are very clear, explicit indications from Rome that the Society remain exactly as they are.

Responses from DICI:

An Italian website announced: “A proposal issued directly by the Holy Father is supposed to appear before the end of the month to offer the Society of St. Pius X an official status in the Church.” The “information” was repeated the following day by an American website. And that same day, in a French online forum, one could read: “The rumor is being clarified.” The author of the message said that he had learned “through priests of the Society” that Bishop Fellay had traveled that week “to Rome with his two assistants for a very important meeting.” He might just as well have said that the Swiss bishop, who was in Menzingen (Switzerland) at the time, had the gift of bilocation !

A sedevacantist website, reprinting an article that had appeared on June 17 in Le Figaro Online, declared: “The doctrinal discussions between Rome and Écône are over. Betrayal [and accomplishment (?!)] by the authorities of the SSPX, who knew what they were doing and accept.” [Translator’s note: Careless grammar in original French article]. Whereas a Roman news agency, commenting on the same article, wrote on June 20 that “some voices in Rome do not hesitate to speak about a failure at the conclusion of the meetings between theologians” from the Vatican and Écône.

The two preceding paragraphs were published in DICI on June 25, 2011 ! We merely omitted the dates of the supposed “revelations” that the press served up as an “exclusive story” to its avid readers.

Today they are talking about the acquisition, in Rome, by the Society of a complex of buildings including a large chapel, with a view to an imminent agreement and a transfer of the General House, also very imminent, to the Eternal City. We respond to this “news” in the current issue of DICI, while keeping the conclusion of the 2011 editorial : “Rumors are the reflection of the good or bad humors of those who spread them.”

Fr. Alain Lorans

 

Society of Saint Pius X: Menzingen in Rome?

3-03-2017
Filed under From Tradition, News

In an article that appeared in the February 24 issue of Il Foglio and was reprinted by the news agency cath.ch on February 25, the Italian journalist Matteo Matzuzzi announced the imminent purchase by the Society of Saint Pius X of a building complex including a church in the neo-Gothic style, Santa Maria Immacolata all’Esquilino, in Rome. In his telling, this purchase is the sign of an agreement with the Holy See, which is not very far off either. He deduced from this that the General House will soon be transferred from Menzingen to Rome. Based on these “revelations”, Matteo Matzuzzi writes: “The Pope is said to have intervened directly to speed the whole process, via Abp. Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. Bp. Bernard Fellay (Superior of the SSPX), Bp. Alfonso de Galarreta and the Assistant General Father Alain Nély are said to have stayed from January 17-20 at the Casa Santa Marta. The Superior of the Sisters of the Society also attended the talks. Father Nély is the person in charge of finalizing the purchase of the complex.”

La Maison générale de la Fraternité Saint-Pie X.

It is true that the Society of Saint Pius X is Catholic, and therefore Roman, and that its founder, Abp. Marcel Lefebvre, always wanted there to be a foundation in Rome. This is why one of its first houses was the one in Albano, not far from the Eternal City. It is also true that, in the relations that he had with the Roman authorities, Abp. Lefebvre—as a worthy son of the Rev. Fr. Henri Le Floch, C.S.Sp. (1862-1950), rector of the French Seminary in Rome—always proclaimed his romanità. This prompted him to write to Cardinal Edouard Gagnon, then envoy of Pope John Paul II, on November 21, 1987: “We willingly agree to be recognized by the Pope as we are and to have a headquarters in the Eternal City, to offer our collaboration toward the renewal of the Church; we never wanted to break with the Successor of Peter, or to consider the Holy See vacant, despite the trials that this has earned us.”

From a very practical perspective, the Society of Saint Pius X has been trying for many years to acquire a chapel in Rome to replace the one that it owns, which is unfortunately too small. If this chapel, or rather this church, had adjoining buildings, it could provide lodgings for priests who are passing through. But there was never any discussion about relocating the General House.

For these doctrinal and practical reasons, there have been plans for a purchase in Rome, there are some now and there will be others, as long as a firm acquisition has not been finalized. On the other hand, to respond to the “revelations” in the press, there is no plan to purchase a building complex at Santa Maria Immacolata all’Esquilino, as Matteo Matzuzzi writes. Neither Bp. Fellay nor Bp. de Galarreta nor Fr. Nély stayed at the Casa Santa Marta; they were not even in Rome from January 17 to 20. Of course Fr. Nély must travel frequently in Italy, because he is serving as interim replacement of the District Superior, but from January 17 to 20 he was in Menzingen. Not having the gift of bilocation, and most importantly not being Econome General, he is not in charge of finalizing any plan to purchase property. As for the Superior General of the Sisters of the Society, she visited the community of nuns in Albano in February, where she took part in no real estate negotiations.

Moreover on February 27 the Vaticanist for La Stampa, Andrea Tornielli, who has information from the best Roman sources, wrote: “Various rumors have spread in recent days about the possibility that the Society may buy a building with an adjacent church, in order to transfer its headquarters to Rome, and they spoke about the complex of Santa Maria Immacolata all’Esquilino, not far from the Lateran.

“The complex is made up of a neo-Gothic church built in the early 20th century for the Brothers of Charity and a building that has already been used in the past as an elementary and secondary school, which now belongs to a religious order. It was said that Francis and the Ecclesia Dei Commission facilitated the purchase. In fact, this was not the case: The Ecclesia Dei Commission was in no way involved, nor was the Vicariate of Rome.” Duly noted!

 

Bp. Fellay in his latest interview:

(Sources: IlFoglio/cath.ch/Stampa – DICI no. 350 dated March 3, 2017)

The problem is, once again, this battle of ideas. Is a Church that for 40 years has imposed a way of thinking, this modernist way of thinking against which we fight, against which, or because of which we were even declared schismatic and everything else, outside of the Church; is this Church ready, yes or no, to let us continue on our path?

Archbishop Lefebvre used to speak of “letting us make the experiment of Tradition.” Are they going to let us, yes or no? Or are they waiting for us at a bend in the road, are they going to tell us tomorrow that we “have to fall into line?” To accept what we have been fighting against for forty years? That, we are not about to give up.

So it is all there, really; that is where the question lies. With these new, more open attitudes, when they tell us some things are not required criteria for being Catholic, there seems to be a path opening up. Now, is it just a door, or is it really a path? Is it a safe path? I mean, are we really going to be able to continue as we are? For us it is obvious that this is not the end.

Error remains error. So we remain today, just as before, just as convinced that there are errors that have been spread in the Church and that are killing the Church.

And of course, we understand that it takes time to purify and remove these errors, we understand. Men cannot be changed just like that; all sorts of bad habits have been acquired now; even just bringing back the holy liturgy. We understand very well that it cannot be done overnight. So if things take time, that is one thing, but is the intention even there? Is there any intention to leave this way of thinking that was imposed at the Council?

And we see, at least in the authorized voices, shall we say, the leading voices, that they are saying, “No, no. No, no, we shall continue along the same lines.” So we remain outlaws. Well, tolerated outlaws, and we might even say, in the most astonishing way, with Pope Francis we are more than tolerated, but we remain on the outskirts.

So are things going to stay as they are? Are things going to move ahead? Or tomorrow are we going to be swallowed up by this movement that, once again, is killing the Church? That is the question. And until we have a clear enough answer, we cannot move forward.”

Bp. Tissier de Mallerais(http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/bishop-tissier-interview-la-porte-latine-14983):

Things are becoming clearer. During our pilgrimage to Rome in the year 2000, we were charmed by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, who urged John Paul II to recognize the Society unilaterally. Then Benedict XVI granted us two “preliminary requirements”: the recognition of the freedom of the traditional Mass and the lifting (more or less fortunate, for us and for him) of the 1988 excommunications. In 2010-2011, we had planned doctrinal discussions: in total disagreement! Our Superior General Bishop Fellay pursued the negotiations and caused some worry, until it became clear, in May and June 2012, that Benedict XVI still required as a condition, as he had said plainly at the start, that we accept the Council and the legitimacy of the reforms. It was a failure. But now there is very clearly a disposition on Pope Francis’ side to recognize us without these conditions. We say “Prudence! ” For things are moving and progress is still needed.

Archbishop Lefebvre never laid down as a condition for us to be recognized by Rome that Rome abandon the errors and the conciliar reforms. Even if he did say something like that to Andre Cagnon in 1990, he would never have done so, because that was never his line of conduct, his strategy with modernist Rome. He was strong in the Faith, he did not yield on his doctrinal position, but he knew how to be flexible, patient, and prudent in practice. To achieve his ends, his prudence told him to push the adversary, to harass him, make him step back, persuade him, but without blocking him with conditions that he still finds unacceptable. He did not refuse dialogue and was disposed to take advantage of every door opened by his interlocutor. It is in this sense that a certain opportunism, a certain “pragmatism” has been seen in him, and it is true: it is a small virtue annexed to the cardinal virtue of prudence. Sagacity, practical wisdom, is the neighbor of solertia, mentioned by Aristotle, St. Thomas (2-2, q. 48) and the Gaffiot, which is a skill in finding means to obtain one’s ends.

Archbishop Lefebvre requested with acumen “that we at least be tolerated”: “this would be a major advance,” he said. And “that we be recognized as we are,” that is, with our practice that follows from our doctrinal positions. Well, today we see in Rome a disposition to bear our existence and our theoretical and practical positions. I say “bear” because one tolerates evil!

Already, doctrinally, they no longer force us to admit “the whole Council” or religious liberty; some of the errors we denounce are on the point of being considered by our interlocutors as open for free discussion, or continued debate. This is progress. We discuss, but they have to admit that we are not changing and it is unlikely that we will change. And in practice, we ask these Romans: “Recognize our right to reconfirm the faithful conditionally,” and “Recognize the validity of our marriages!” You see, these are serious bones of contention. They will have to grant us these things. Otherwise, how could our recognition be livable?

It may take some time, but there is a God!

And an all-powerful Mediatrix!

~ Steven C.


 

Why the Harry Potter series and movies are unacceptable

Image result for harry potter christian

Fr. Gabriele Amorth-“In Harry Potter the Devil acts in a crafty and covert manner, under the guise of extraordinary powers, magic spells and curses”

Cardinal Ratzinger in a letter dated 2003 to Gabriele Kuby- “It is good, that you enlighten people about Harry Potter, because those are subtle seductions, which act unnoticed and by this deeply distort Christianity in the soul, before it can grow properly.”

One common means the devil has used to further his agenda is through literature.  There are numerous examples of popular books today that might seem innocent at first glance, but are actually extremely dangerous.  One example is Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, which may well have been directly inspired by the devil himself(https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/potter-critic-michael-obrien-takes-on-the-vampires-of-twilight).

The book series that will be analyzed most in this post, however, is J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series.  These stories and their subsequent movies have remained incredibly popular and even many otherwise good Catholic parents allow them freely around the home.  The reason is often because many parents are simply not aware of the grave dangers associated with these series.  The devil unfortunately is quite a master of deceit.  The poor souls that trust today’s literature to be innocent!  Some others have read of the dangers, but lightly put them aside as being “one priest’s opinion”.  Either way, I hope there is enough convincing evidence in this post to draw souls away from this snare.  Even if just 5% of the series glorified evil, it would still be dangerous for souls.  Satan never makes anything 100% bad; it would never be read!  Certainly the above quotes from the world’s leading exorcist(RIP) and the previous Pope must not be disregarded!

Exorcist Fr. Chad Ripperger, in less than 5 minutes, exposes an abundance of facts and concetrns regarding Harry Potter and its author:

The traditional Catholic religious have also consistently warned of the Harry Potter series.  A simple Google search should provide several articles, but I particularly recommend this May 2001 SSPX Canada bulletin, which is dedicated largely to exposing the Occult and its many manifestations:

http://www.fsspx.com/Communicantes/May2001/index.htm

Attached below is a comprehensive article by Miss Andrea Stoltz(later Sr. Andre Dominic of the Dominican Sisters of Fanjeaux).  Besides thoroughly analyzing the series in depth, Miss Stoltz also explains the differences between Rowling’s Harry Potter and the stories of Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.  To put Harry Potter at the same level of the works of these great authors is rather insulting, but those attracted to the Harry Potter genre might enjoy these works instead.

Certainly such a post as this might seem harsh for devoted fans of Harry Potter.  My purpose is not to diminish anyone’s joy or improperly judge others.  Quite the contrary.  I simply wish to reach out to souls, despite all of my imperfections.  It is the duty of every person to assist in the work of saving souls and, please God, may we all contribute well to this noble endeavor!

~ Steven C.

http://www.edocere.org/articles/harry_potter.htm

There are more problems with Harry Potter than just witchcraft.1

I say just witchcraft not because I think it is a minor issue, but because it seems as though most people who do not approve of the series are critical of Harry Potter for this reason alone. Although this is a very good (probably the best) reason to shun the world of Harry Potter, there are plenty of other reasons to be critical.

In our base world, we do not have to look for offensive material that attacks our senses. It is blatant. It is rampant. It is almost unavoidable. That’s not to say that this is the only way we are affected by the impurities of the world. Quite often they come to us in much more subtle ways. Of course, subtle evil is much more harmful than blatant evil, because it is harder to recognize and thus harder to avoid. Most harmful of all is evil under the guise of good. If we think something is good, we do more than just not avoid it —we embrace it.

J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is exactly this —evil that seems good. The fact that so many people are embracing it makes it look even better. We find ourselves thinking that since this or that Christian group thinks it’s okay, then it must be. If someone you regard as a “good” parent allows his child to read Harry Potter, there must be nothing wrong with it, you conclude.

But isn’t this way of thinking precisely what we want to avoid? The “everyone-else-is-doing-it-so-it-can’t-be-bad” outlook is one of the weakest ways of rationalizing immorality. It’s right up there with the “if-it-feels-good-do-it” mentality. If a “good” parent or a “conservative” Christian group approves of and even encourages this kind of reading, it does not mean that the books are good —it means someone is either uninformed or misinformed. For the benefit of both, allow me to summarize briefly the four existing Harry Potter books.

SYNOPSIS OF HARRY POTTER

In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,2 we meet Harry Potter, an eleven-year old boy living with cruel relatives in a suburb of London. Ten years ago, he defeated Lord Voldemort, the most powerful dark wizard in history. His parents, on the other hand, did not survive the attack. They died trying to save Harry. On the night of his eleventh birthday, he received notice that he was actually a wizard, and that he has been accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. While at Hogwarts, he learns to cast spells, play Quidditch,3 and outsmart even the most experienced wizards. In the end, Harry and his friends, Hermione and Ron, fight a 12-foot troll and also rescue the Sorcerer’s Stone4 from a professor-turned-villain.

Harry’s second year at Hogwarts, chronicled in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, sees Harry with new, more dangerous adventures before him. Among other things, Harry finds out he is a Parselmouth, which means he can talk to snakes. The year is spent mainly in trying to discover the Chamber of Secrets,5 and the Evil that lies within. Once in the chamber, he must battle an oak-sized basilisk6 under the command of Lord Voldemort, and then Lord Voldemort himself. Harry is victorious in his attempt to eradicate the Evil in the Chamber of Secrets.

While Harry is in his third year at Hogwarts, the magical world is set on edge at the news of an escaped criminal. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, life at Hogwarts is not as blissful as it was before. Since there is reason to suspect that the escaped and very dangerous criminal is after Harry, prison guards known as Dementors are stationed around the school, and Harry is not allowed to do anything that might jeopardize his safety (i.e., anything “fun”). The criminal, Sirius Black, does, in fact, catch up with Harry. The reader soon finds out that Sirius is actually Harry’s godfather and guardian, and has been trying to look out for Harry. Harry escapes a werewolf, outsmarts the dark wizard, and frees a misunderstood hippogriff 7 all while in the process of rescuing the Prisoner of Azkaban8 from the school authorities and the Dementors,9 who are out for more than blood.

Finally, all things dark and horrible come to a head in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which gives the account of Harry’s fourth year at Hogwarts. The year begins with the Quidditch World Cup, where Harry encounters veela, beautifully seductive women who can make men bow to their wills by their dancing. He has a scrape with the Death Eaters (followers of Lord Voldemort), and later competes in the Triwizard Tournament, a year-long competition between the top three European wizardry schools. Unfortunately, Harry’s schoolmate and competitor in the tournament is brutally killed by Voldemort, who uses one of the “unforgivable” curses10 to do so. Harry, of course, manages to overcome him once again, with the help of his dead parents. He escapes only to find out that one of his favorite and trusted professors was actually a Death Eater, and trying to do away with Harry the whole time.

WHEN FANTASY BECOMES REALITY, WHERE DOES REALITY GO?

Many things in Rowling’s “fantasy world” of Harry Potter coincide with our own world. The setting of the stories is somewhere outside present-day London. The magical shopping strip, Diagon Alley, is reached via a tavern in London, which has been enchanted so that only witches and wizards can see it. Behind the tavern is a brick wall. To access Diagon Alley, the witch or wizard must push in the correct brick. Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has also been enchanted, so that Muggles, non-magical people, will stay away from it. It is out in the countryside, though also situated somewhere in Britain.

This is not a made-up fantasy world that Rowling has “created,” although she likes to say it is. These characters live in our world and in our time period. They play with the same video games, use the same computers, and drive the same cars. They have a Quidditch “World Cup,” just like our soccer World Cup. The teams competing in the “World Cup” are Bulgaria and Ireland, real countries. There are even characters in her books that really existed. Where is the line between fact and fiction?

The problem here is that by weaving reality through a “fictional” work, confusion inevitably ensues. Rowling has admitted to receiving letters from children who want to know how to get in touch with Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts. They want to enroll! Some children are even awaiting their letters of invitation from Hogwarts. It is a real place that we just can’t find because we are Muggles.

Rowling and Scholastic,11 instead of discouraging this thinking, perpetuate it. At the official Harry Potter website,12 kids can enroll in Hogwarts, shop at Diagon Alley, and send owl messages (via e-mail). Rowling, in an on-line interview sponsored by Scholastic,13 answers questions from children about Harry and his friends as though they were real people. Someone (no names are given in the interview) asked Rowling, “Where is Azkaban?” (As though it were a real place!) She answered, “It’s in the north of the North Sea. A very cold sea.” No wonder kids say they want to be just like Harry or Hermione or Ron! People they believe and trust are telling them, in so many words, that they exist! It must be even more confusing for the kids in Britain, to whom places like London and the North Sea are real places, and not just somewhere on a map.

Several years ago, JFK was in the theatres. Oliver Stone produced it, and he said himself that it was not meant to be a biography, or any kind of historical account of the late John F. Kennedy’s assassination. He said it was fiction, and should be viewed as such. Yet such a big controversy developed over the movie, because it wasn’t historically accurate. People were upset because he did not portray the event as they knew it had happened. Why did this happen? People are easily confused. Using an almost entirely historical setting for a fictitious work makes us think that itis historical, and thus believable.

The fact that there is no line between real and imaginary is only one reason that Harry Potter is dangerous to children. If adults have a hard time distinguishing between real and not real, how much harder will it be for children, and how much more detrimental? Since children cannot always make the distinction by themselves, the books they read must do it for them. If a book fails in this regard, it can have harmful effects, such as what’s happening now, with children thinking Harry Potter, his friends and his school are real. Kids do not “grow out” of an interest in magic, they simply develop it. Furthermore, if the authors encourage this blurring between real and fantastical, it is because they understand and desire the negative results that they know will follow.

FUZZING-OUT GOOD AND EVIL

Speaking of blurry lines, the distinction between good and evil throughout the books is fuzzy, if anything at all. But how can I make this assertion when everyone says that Rowling shows a definite struggle between good and evil? Rowling herself says, “The theme running through all of these books is the fight between good and evil.”Even though the Harry Potter books are constantly being praised for “hav[ing] a strong moral message and clearly portray[ing] good and evil,” 14 the reader sees, time and again, constant contradiction. Characters who were portrayed as evil turn out to be good, while the good guys end up being villains.

A clear example of this vagueness is Sirius Black, the escaped murderer who turns out to be Harry’s “godfather,” falsely accused and wrongfully convicted. Throughout the majority of book three, he is shown to be a dangerous and evil wizard, though in the end we find out how much he cared for and helped Harry’s parents before they died.

At the end of the fourth book we see Mad-Eye Moody, who has been helping Harry to avoid punishment all year, turn out to be a Death Eater. Then we find out that it was actually one of the higher-ups in the Ministry of Magic, who has been drinking a Polyjuice Potion15 all year in order to make himself look like Moody.

Even Harry, who is the “hero” of the series, bears striking resemblance to Lord Voldemort, his mortal enemy and the most evil wizard around. They both can speak to snakes; they were both orphans; the scar Harry got from Voldemort’s attack burns whenever Voldemort is near; they both use wands made from the feathers of the same phoenix.16

So who is good, and who is evil? Every book in this series has at least one character that turns out to be other than how he was portrayed. This is not to say that a plot twist or surprise ending is wrong. Some of the best writers employ this technique. The problem materializes when too many of the characters are unreliably good or evil; when you never know who’s who or what side he’s on. Those characters who are one way or the other are usually not portrayed in a favorable light, or they change to become what everyone else wants. Either way, indisputable messages are clear.

Take Severus Snape, the Potions professor, for example. From the start, he is portrayed as a horribly mean and unjust disciplinarian, simply because he does not want to tolerate any of Harry’s rule-breaking tendencies. He knows that Harry and his friends are up to something, and he usually tries to prevent the behavior, or correct it after they have done something wrong. Of course the students think this is wrong of him, but what about the other professors? Time and again, they chastise Snape in front of the students for trying to interfere with Harry’s escapades. Harry is constantly referring to how much he can’t stand Snape, and how Snape absolutely hates him in return. The obvious message here is that those who make any attempt to uphold the rules are unfair and hateful.

Hermione, one of Harry’s best friends, was originally ostracized by Harry and his friend Ron because she was a “goody-goody.” She always did her homework on time and always studied for tests. To add insult to injury, she never let her friends copy her work or test answers. As a result, she was not worthy to be their friend, until the day she told a lie to a teacher in order to cover up for the boys. Suddenly, she won their respect, and was allowed to join them in their capers. From that day on, she was the brains behind all their exploits, from teaching them how to stealthily steal ingredients for a potion to using deceitful means in procuring a restricted book from the library. Basically, then, the message is that if you aren’t automatically cool, then lying will make you so.

Although Harry is supposed to be the “good” in the series, he is not the prototype of heroism that his readers like to think he is. According to the world, Harry Potter embodies all that is virtuous and noble, at least as far as is possible for pre-teen and teenage boys. He is a shining paragon of courage and loyalty, one who is worthy of emulation and awe. Nevertheless, a running theme throughout all the Harry Potter books is “the end justifies the means.” Every time Harry comes out victorious in an endeavor, he has usually used some kind of immoral or at least questionable means to overcome his obstacles.

As an example, in the fourth book, Harry is forced to enter the Triwizard Tournament, a “friendly competition” that had been discontinued for several years because too many people were dying. Harry is praised on several occasions for his performance in the competition. But had he not had other students, ghosts, Ministry employees andprofessors giving him the answers to clues and riddles, he never would have been able to complete the tasks set before him. Cedric Diggory, the other Hogwarts Champion, is praised for his love of fair play and integrity. During the tournament, he not only told Harry beforehand what the task would be, but also took the answers that Harry gave to him (after getting them from someone else). At the end of the competition, Moody gives a justification for this when he says, “Cheating’s a traditional part of the Triwizard Tournament and always has been.”

THE “MORAL” IS…?

Traditionally Christian values are not in abundance here. What we would call virtues are either totally lacking in Harry Potter’s world, or are portrayed fictitiously as some other nameless, usually vicious qualities.

Obedience, to Harry Potter, is not “obeying one’s lawful superiors.” Rather, it is more along the lines of “making it look like you’re not doing anything wrong.” Usually Harry and/or his friends are rewarded for disobeying a professor or a school rule, not reprimanded. If they are reprimanded, it is usually by the professor that is law-abiding, and therefore “out to get them.” Of course, this is also the professor that is most often disobeyed, lied to, and stolen from. The reason for this is simple. If you don’t like a superior, or if he is unfair to you, your obligation to obey him vanishes. We see this time and again. Harry does not have to obey his aunt and uncle because they are mean to him. He does not have to obey Professor Snape, because Snape hates him. He does not have to obey the prefect, Percy Weasley, because he is just Ron’s nerdy older brother.

Courage, according to Harry Potter and friends, means looking for danger, usually after being told not to do so. Loyalty is breaking the rules for another. Justice means you can get away with anything if you’re famous, and temperance is that virtue whereby a person gets drunk only when he’s really happy or really depressed.

The characters in Harry Potter continually act for their own self-interests. For example, Hermione puts a full-body bind curse on her classmate when he tries to keep them from going into forbidden areas after curfew. Professors put memory charms on students to whom they have revealed their innermost secrets. Harry and his friends make a potion that will turn them into other people when they want to find out information from someone else. Professor Lupin,17 when talking with Harry about Harry’s father, reflects,

I sometimes felt guilty about betraying Dumbledore’s trust…he had no idea I was breaking the rules he had set down for my own and others’ safety… But I always managed to forget my guilty feelings every time we sat down to plan our next month’s adventure.

Obviously, being trustworthy is not as important as having an adventure with friends.

NOW, FOR THE MAGIC PART

Perhaps the most alarming quality experienced is dangerous curiosity about magic and the occult. Rowling says that she had no intention of luring children into the world of witchcraft when she wrote these books.18This might very well be the case. However, what’s happening is precisely that. Kids want to find out more about casting spells, predicting the future, and witches and wizards in general. They just don’t see it as fantasy, as something that they can never even hope to attain themselves. The scary thing is —they can do it, and they know they can do it, because Rowling and her world of Harry Potter are telling them they can.

The most typical response to this disdain for magic is, “But if magic is so terrible, why do we allow and even encourage our children to read The Chronicles of Narnia or The Lord of the Rings?” My answer is that these classics are on a completely different plane than Harry Potter. Most people that are familiar with C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien agree that they are writing from at least a Christian point of view, if not completely Catholic in their writing and thinking. Rowling is most definitely not. The “magic” contained in their works is not the same at all.

The major difference between the two types of magic is that Harry Potter characters are involved in occult magic. With Tolkien, Lewis, and most other fantasy authors, the word magic is not even an apt term for what takes place in their books. Those authors never use the word “magic” themselves —it is almost always ascribed by an outsider, namely the reader.

Magic is actually defined as the art of using supernatural means to conform events to man’s will. Witchcraft has, in its very definition, an evil connotation, and reference to discourse with the devil. Sorcery is defined as “the use of power gained from the assistance of evil spirits…divination by black magic…necromancy, witchcraft…synonymous with magic.” 19

The word “occult” comes straight from Latin, and means “hidden” or “secret.” The strict definition of the word “occult” in the English language refers to things that are deliberately hidden or secret. We say Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament is, in Latin, occultus, that is, hidden from ordinary sight, because He does not look like He is there.

In common English, however, the word “occult” specifically refers to those practices of the “supernatural” by which an individual attempts to learn things he is not meant to know, or control things outside of the sphere of his existence. In other words, there are certain things that we are not to know within our time here on earth. These are the things that are hidden from us, by God, because He is in charge. Dabbling in the occult is simply trying to encroach on the realm of God, sort of like what Adam and Eve did.

The common thread which runs through every aspect of the occult is this using of deviant means to execute one’s own plan. This is precisely why magic and all its subdivisions are so offensive to Our Lord. Obviously, the attempt to circumvent God’s Will is not going to be carried out by God Himself. Ergo, the conclusion is clear: occult practices are brought about by an evil force, namely Satan.

ROWLING VS. TOLKIEN, LEWIS, AND OTHERS

As a matter of fact, Rowling’s Harry Potter books are frequently compared to J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and C. S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia. The comparison is a superficial one, at best. It is usually based upon the use of “magic,” and the fact that there is a witch and/or a wizard in the story. What they never mention is the distinction between how these characters perform their “magic.”

The term “magic” can only be used here, if we understand that it is being used equivocally. The phenomenon of having one word describe two completely different things occurs frequently in the English language. Thus we have “book” meaning a box-shaped collection of uniformly shaped pages bound together, as well as the process of acquiring reservations on an airplane. The only way we can use the word “magic” here is if we understand that it is referring to two different entities, due to lack of better terms.

In The Lord of the Rings, what we would call “magic” is a natural ability of the Elves, which is recognized as such. They (Elves) all have it, and they can’t teach it to anyone. In Harry Potter, “magic” is a dependence on some kind of supernatural source, and can be learned and taught, to better and worse degrees. The wizards, Gandalf (good) and Sauruman (bad), are not humans with magical powers. They are of an altogether different and superior species, whose individuals are naturally endowed with the ability to do things that other beings cannot. They have taken human form, but are not actually human. In Harry Potter, the good and bad wizards are all humans, go to the same school, and use the same magic.

The Chronicles of Narnia do, in fact have a witch. She is regarded as and clearly shown to be evil, and no question remains on that matter. As far as her magical ability goes, she has taken for herself powers that are not even rightfully hers. In other words, Aslan, the representation of goodness, uses powers that come from a source of goodness. That source is the one who, as creator of Narnia, has “legitimate authority over all things” and has ultimate control of that power. Where do the powers come from that are used in Harry Potter?

In The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia, the power that the good beings possess is used for the good of everyone involved. It is not used to satisfy the whims of any particular character. Nor do they use their powers to stop someone else who is trying to interfere with their own personal plan. There is always a bigger picture involved, and that picture has been determined by someone else, who has the authority to do so. The evil witch/wizard characters use their powers to serve themselves, contrary to what has already been determined. This is clearly shown to be wrong in both Narnia and Middle Earth. There is never a question whether an evil character is evil. In Hogwarts, though, one never can tell.

Just because Lewis uses the word “witch” and Tolkien uses the word “magic” does not mean Rowling can be compared with them. Rowling, though she relies heavily on occultism for her creatures, does create a few of her own. Does this automatically mean that she is on the same plane as Tolkien? Rowling’s characters all speak in various British dialects. Does that mean she is on the same plane with Lewis? Their stories might have a material similarity here and there, but their spirit is different. It is the difference between the way the authors think. Certainly, how a writer thinks affects his work. How does Rowling think? In an interview with Rowling she says, “Do what you want, not what your parents want.”20 Is this along the same vein as Tolkien and Lewis?

JUST PLAIN GROSS

Throughout Rowling’s four books there are instances of names, people, and items that are taken directly from occult history. She, herself, admits that she has based about one-third of her material on actual occultism.21Remember, though, that she has already said that she has no interest in luring children into the world of the occult. Remember also that she recognizes the fact that children are really becoming curious about occult practices after reading her books.

Not only are the Harry Potter books full of fact-based, occult drama, but they often involve exceedingly gory details which leave little to the imagination. Children’s imaginations are pretty active as it is. Hence the need for graphically depicted blood-and-gore scenes is relatively minute in children’s literature. This is aside from the fact that they really don’t need these images etched into their young minds, anyway.

In a subplot of book two, one of the professors is waiting for the Mandrakes to mature, because they are necessary for producing a cure for the students who have been petrified by the basilisk. Historically, a mandrake is a plant that people believed would grow under the place where a man was hanged. Its root was said to have looked like a gnarled, shriveled up, dead infant, which was supposed to have made a shrieking noise when pulled out of the ground. In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, a Mandrake is a plant, the root of which is an actual baby.

Instead of roots, a small, muddy, and extremely ugly baby popped out of the earth. The leaves were growing right out of his head. He had pale green, mottled skin, and was clearly bawling at the top of his lungs. Professor Sprout took a large plant pot from under the table and plunged the Mandrake into it, burying him in dark, damp compost…The Mandrakes didn’t like coming out of the earth, but they didn’t seem to want to go back into it either. They squirmed, kicked, flailed their sharp little fists, and gnashed their teeth; Harry spent ten whole minutes trying to squash a particularly fat one into a pot.22

Its screams are fatal to anyone who hears, so the students who are present have to wear earmuffs. Rowling then depicts the stages of the Mandrakes’ lives as though they are human beings. Later, when the mandrakes are “mature” enough for use, they are cut up into pieces and stewed. In the same book, the ghost that haunts a girls’ restroom is lamenting the fact that she’s already dead, because she can’t kill herself again.

Then there are the Dementors, the guards of Azkaban, who are “among the foulest creatures that walk this earth.” Next follows a description of just how foul they are. The Dementor “…will feed on you long enough to reduce you to something like itself…soul-less and evil. You’ll be left with nothing but the worst experiences of your life.” As if that’s not enough, we find out exactly how they do this. It’s called a “Dementor’s Kiss” :

It’s what Dementors do when they wish to destroy utterly…they clamp their jaws upon the mouth of the victim and —and suck out his soul …you’ll have no sense of self anymore, no memory, no …anything. There’s no chance at all of recovery. You’ll just —exist. As an empty shell. And your soul is gone forever …lost.

Toward the end of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry is magically (and unknowingly) transported to a graveyard where Voldemort and Wormtail, Voldemort’s latest faithful servant, are waiting for him. Wormtail is about to resurrect Voldemort into a fully functional wizard again. Voldemort has been inhabiting someone else’s body, since he doesn’t really have much of a body of his own after being defeated by Harry now fourteen years ago.

It was as though Wormtail had flipped over a stone and revealed something ugly, slimy and blind —but worse, a hundred times worse. The thing Wormtail had been carrying had the shape of a crouched human child, except that Harry had never seen anything less like a child. It was hairless and scaly-looking, a dark, raw, reddish black and its face —no child alive ever had a face like that —flat and snakelike, with gleaming red eyes…. Harry saw the look of revulsion on Wormtail’s weak, pale face in the firelight as he carried the creature to the rim of the cauldron. For one moment, Harry saw the evil, flat face illuminated in the sparks dancing on the surface of the potion. And then Wormtail lowered the creature into the cauldron; there was a hiss, and it vanished below the surface; Harry heard its frail body hit the bottom with a soft thud. Let it drown, Harry thought …please …let it drown.

Then there’s the special ceremony and spell to join the dark lord with a body:

And now Wormtail was whimpering. He pulled a long, thin, shining dagger from inside his cloak… Flesh of the servant w-willingly given you will revive your master. He stretched forth his… hand with the missing finger. He gripped the dagger very tightly in his left hand and swung it upward…He could not block the scream that…went through Harry as though he had been stabbed with the dagger too. He heard something fall to the ground… then a sickening splash, as something was dropped into the cauldron… the potion had turned a burning red… Wormtail was gasping and moaning with agony… Blood of the enemy …forcibly taken …you will …resurrect your foe. He saw the shining silver dagger shaking in Wormtail’s remaining hand. He felt its point penetrate the crook of his right arm and blood seeping down the sleeve of his torn robes. Wormtail … fumbled in his pocket for a glass vial and held it to Harry’s cut so that a dribble of blood fell into it. He staggered back to the cauldron with Harry’s blood …and poured it inside.

Then Lord Voldemort’s return:

But then, through the mist in front of him, he saw, with an icy surge of terror, the dark outline of a man, tall and skeletally thin, rising slowly from inside the cauldron… whiter than a skull, with wide, livid scarlet eyes and a nose that was flat as a snake’s with slits for nostrils …Lord Voldemort had risen again.

One simply cannot help but wonder, “Is this really appropriate for kids?”

CONCLUSION

The various troublesome aspects of Harry Potter fail to turn away many readers, Catholics included. Why is this? Harry and his friends (the “heroes”) are not the types of role models children should have. What young readers see fictitious characters doing, they will want to do as well. They begin to think that since this character acts this way, it’s normal, or at least acceptable. It is a well-known fact that they get ideas from the books they read. Whether these ideas are constructive or detrimental depends on the book and the message it conveys. Harry Potter lies regularly and gets away with it. Doesn’t it seem likely that a youngster will think it unfair when he can’t get away with something that Harry did?

Those who praise Rowling’s work constantly bring up the same tribute: the story shows a fight between good and evil. Who’s good and who’s evil, though? When a character has as many vices as Harry does, the word “good” does not come to mind. To me, it doesn’t seem like a fight between good and evil —it seems like a fight between evil and not-quite-as-evil.

As to the witchcraft in the books, people say it’s harmless, that it has nothing to do with the occult, etc. If you search the internet for “witchcraft” topics, Harry Potter is number seven on the list of results. Number seven [this was in September 2001 just after the books were released: webmaster]! And this is alongside other sites advertising paraphernalia such as spell books, witches’ “rosaries” and even cauldrons for sale. Books on witchcraft and spells mention that the Harry Potter books are great because [w]itches in books are restrained only by the limits of their authors’ and their readers’ imaginations.” 23 There is no way to deny the relationship between Harry Potter and the occult when it is shown as clearly as this. The reason for the accolades from authors of witchcraft books is not coincidental. It cannot be excused as just a similarity in taste. Our Lord says,

Beware of false prophets who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. By their fruits you shall know them …every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit …every tree that bringeth not good fruit shall be cut down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them…24

What are the fruits of the Harry Potter books? Rowling, a former teacher, is thrilled to see all the ideas sparked by her books.25 Check out any teachers’ resource website, and you will find plenty of ideas for integrating the Harry Potter stories into your curriculum. Go to a teachers’ supply store to find out when the next magic and sorcery classes for kids are being held. Out of ideas for science class? Ask your neighborhood children’s section librarian what the latest Harry-Potter-inspired science experiments are, and she can produce several ideas from which to choose. The possibilities are endless. In fact, certain churches have begun to follow the craze as well. In England, one church had banners and other symbols from Harry Potter upon the walls. Its pastor dressed up as Albus Dumbledore, along with a Harry Potter look-alike, Muggle songs and Quidditch. The reason for such absurdity? It was relevant to the lesson, James 1:17-2726, which speaks of the blessings of God.27

If Harry Potter has this kind of effect on adults, what will it do to our children? I know I don’t want to find out. This tree needs to be cut down and cast into the fire before any more children start gathering its fruit. We can’t teach them morals and ethics at home and school only to have it all undone in their leisure time. Kids recognize contradictions like this very easily. Guess which example will be followed and which will be tossed out the window.

Miss Andrea Stoltz obtained her undergraduate degree in Liberal Arts at Thomas Aquinas College, CA. Since graduation she has taught for three years in the elementary schools of the SSPX; firstly at Sacred Heart, Mancelona, MI, and then at St. Vincent de Paul Academy, Kansas City, MO (afterwards, 2 more years at the Dominican Teaching Sisters’ school in Post Falls, ID). She wrote the article because some of her students were reading the Harry Potter series.  She is now Sr. Andre Dominic with the teaching Dominican Sisters of Fanjeaux.

1 Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary: an act or instance of employing sorcery especially with malevolent intent; …alleged intercourse with the devil or familiar.

2 The Sorcerer’s Stone is The Philosopher’s Stone in Europe. Rowling thought the word “sorcerer” would be more familiar to Americans than “philosopher.”

3 A cross between soccer, basketball and hockey, played up in the air on broomsticks.

4 Occult history has it that the philosopher’s stone was actually a powder, when mixed in the proper way and with the proper spell, could turn base metals into gold, and produces the Elixir of Life, which will give immortality to the drinker. This is what it is in Rowling’s book as well. The alchemist who was supposed to have discovered it was Nicholas Flamel, who also retains his correct name and age in The Sorcerer’s Stone.

5 The Chamber of Secrets was installed by one of the founders of Hogwarts, Salazar Slytherin. He hid an indescribable evil in the Chamber, which could only be unleashed by his legitimate heir, in order to rid the school of all those “unworthy” to practice magic (i.e., Muggle-borns).

6 A basilisk is a large snake that, when looked at directly, kills. When looked at indirectly, he only “petrifies,” that is, he renders his victim comatose.

7 Half eagle, half horse.

8 Wizards’ prison.

9 Soul-sucking guards of Azkaban.

10 The three unforgivable curses are: Crucio!, which throws the victim into a sort of uncontrollable seizure; Imperius!, which gives the user total power over the will of the victim; and Avada Kedavra!, which kills the victim. Use of any of these spells is cause for life imprisonment in Azkaban.

11 Rowling’s American publisher.

12 harrypotter.warnerbros.com.

13 Scholastic.com on-line interview of February 3, 2000.

14 Bloomsbury Publishing representative. Bloomsbury is Rowling’s UK publisher.

15 With ingredients like lacewing flies, powdered horn of a bicorn, and a bit of the person they want to turn into, this potion will make the user look and sound like another.

16 We find out in book four that the feathers were taken from Albus Dumbledore’s phoenix, Fawkes. Yes, he’s named after Guy Fawkes, of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Effigies of Fawkes are still burnt yearly in some places in Britain. Phoenixes go up in flames regularly, and come back to life again.

17 From Latin, lupus, meaning “wolf.” Professor Lupin is a werewolf.

18 Richard Abanes, Harry Potter and the Bible (Camp Hill: Horizon, 2001), pp.22-24.

19 Webster’s Dictionary.

20 Scholastic.com

21 Ibid.

22 Rowling, Chamber of Secrets.

23 Pauline Bartel, Spellcasters: Witches and Witchcraft in History, Folklore, and Popular Culture (Dallas: Taylor Trade Publishing, 2000), pp.244-247.

24 Mt. 7:15-20.

25 Scholastic.com

26 King James Version, that is.

27 Ruth Gledhill, “Church to Lure Young with Harry Potter,” The London Times, September 1, 2000.


 

Meditation on the royal Way of the Holy Cross

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Posted below is a beautiful meditation for this Second Sunday of Lent that I wished to share with our readers.  Although the path of the cross contrasts infinitely with what most think of as “royal” today, it is the one chosen by the King of Kings Himself- The Way, The Truth, and The Life, in order that we might be redeemed from sin.  And speaking of royalty, is there nothing more royal than to rejoice at seeing Our Lord and giving glory to Him at each Holy Mass, when the Sacrifice of All Time takes place?  Let us use this Lent well that we might give great glory to our King and enjoy Eternity with Him who is Joy, who is Peace, who is Love!

Short introduction is from SSPX Canada.

~Steven C., “Knight of Tradition”

The Imitation of Christ (Latin: De Imitatione Christi) by Thomas a Kempis is a Christian devotional book. It was first composed in Latin, circa 1418-1427. It is a handbook for spiritual life arising from the Devotio Moderna movement, where Kempis was a member.

The Imitation is perhaps the most widely read devotional work next to the Bible, and is regarded as a devotional and religious classic. Apart from the Bible, no book has been translated into more languages than the Imitation of Christ.

The Imitation of Christ, book II, chapter XII

If any man will come after Me

1. That seemeth a hard saying to many, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his Cross and follow Me.[1] But it will be much harder to hear that last sentence, Depart from me, ye wicked, into eternal fire.[2] For they who now willingly hear the word of the Cross and follow it, shall not then fear the hearing of eternal damnation. This sign of the Cross shall be in heaven when the Lord cometh to Judgment. Then all servants of the Cross, who in life have conformed themselves to the Crucified, shall draw nigh unto Christ the Judge with great boldness.

2. Why fearest thou then to take up the cross which leadeth to a kingdom? In the Cross is health, in the Cross is life, in the Cross is protection from enemies, in the Cross is heavenly sweetness, in the Cross strength of mind, in the Cross joy of the spirit, in the Cross the height of virtue, in the Cross perfection of holiness. There is no health of the soul, no hope of eternal life, save in the Cross. Take up therefore, thy cross and follow Jesus and thou shalt go into eternal life. He went before thee bearing His Cross and died for thee upon the Cross, that thou also mayest bear thy cross and mayest love to be crucified upon it. For if thou be dead with Him, thou shalt also live with Him, and if thou be a partaker of His sufferings thou shalt be also of His glory.

None other way unto life

3. Behold everything dependeth upon the Cross, and everything lieth in dying; and there is none other way unto life and to true inward peace, except the way of the Holy Cross and of daily mortification. Go where thou wilt, seek whatsoever thou wilt, and thou shalt find no higher way above nor safer way below, than the way of the Holy Cross. Dispose and order all things according to thine own will and judgment, and thou shalt ever find something to suffer either willingly or unwillingly, and thus thou shalt ever find thy cross. For thou shalt either feel pain of body, or tribulation of spirit within thy soul.

4. Sometimes thou wilt be forsaken of God, sometimes thou wilt be tried by thy neighbour, and which is more, thou wilt often be wearisome to thyself. And still thou canst not be delivered nor eased by any remedy or consolation, but must bear so long as God will. For God will have thee learn to suffer tribulation without consolation, and to submit thyself fully to it, and by tribulation be made more humble. No man understandeth the Passion of Christ in his heart so well as he who hath had somewhat of the like suffering himself. The Cross therefore is always ready, and every where waiteth for thee. Thou canst not flee from it whithersoever thou hurriest, for whithersoever thou comest, thou bearest thyself with thee, and shalt ever find thyself. Turn thee above, turn thee below, turn thee without, turn thee within, and in them all thou shalt find the Cross; and needful is it that thou everywhere possess patience if thou wilt have internal peace and gain the everlasting crown.

Bear the Cross

5. If thou willingly bear the Cross, it will bear thee, and will bring thee to the end which thou seekest, even where there shall be the end of suffering; though it shall not be here. If thou bear it unwillingly, thou makest a burden for thyself and greatly increaseth thy load, and yet thou must bear it. If thou cast away one cross, without doubt thou shalt find another and perchance a heavier.

6. Thinketh thou to escape what no mortal hath been able to avoid? Which of the saints in the world hath been without the cross and tribulation? For not even Jesus Christ our Lord was one hour without the anguish of His Passion, so long as He lived. It behooved, He said, Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and so enter into his glory.[3] And how dost thou seek another way than this royal way, which is the way of the Holy Cross?

The life of Christ was a cross

7. The whole life of Christ was a cross and martyrdom, and dost thou seek for thyself rest and joy? Thou art wrong, thou art wrong, if thou seekest aught but to suffer tribulations, for this whole mortal life is full of miseries, and set round with crosses. And the higher a man hath advanced in the spirit, the heavier crosses he will often find, because the sorrow of his banishment increaseth with the strength of his love.

8. But yet the man who is thus in so many wise afflicted, is not without refreshment of consolation, because he feeleth abundant fruit to be growing within him out of the bearing of his cross. For whilst he willingly submitteth himself to it, every burden of tribulation is turned into an assurance of divine comfort, and the more the flesh is wasted by affliction, the more is the spirit strengthened mightily by inward grace. And ofttimes so greatly is he comforted by the desire for tribulation and adversity, through love of conformity to the Cross of Christ, that he would not be without sorrow and tribulation; for he believeth that he shall be the more acceptable to God, the more and the heavier burdens he is able to bear for His sake. This is not the virtue of man, but the grace of Christ which hath such power and energy in the weak flesh, that what it naturally hateth and fleeth from, this it draweth to and loveth through fervour of spirit.

We do not love the cross

9. It is not in the nature of man to bear the cross, to love the cross, to keep under the body and to bring it into subjection, to fly from honours, to bear reproaches meekly, to despise self and desire to be despised, to bear all adversities and losses, and to desire no prosperity in this world. If thou lookest to thyself, thou wilt of thyself be able to do none of this; but if thou trustest in the Lord, endurance shall be given thee from heaven, and the world and the flesh shall be made subject to thy command. Yea, thou shalt not even fear thine adversary the devil, if thou be armed with faith and signed with the Cross of Christ.

10. Set thyself, therefore, like a good and faithful servant of Christ, to the manful bearing of the Cross of thy Lord, who out of love was crucified for thee. Prepare thyself for the bearing many adversities and manifold troubles in this wretched life; because so it shall be with thee wheresoever thou art, and so in very deed thou shalt find it, wherever thou hide thyself. This it must be; and there is no means of escaping from tribulation and sorrow, except to bear them patiently. Drink thou lovingly thy Lord’s cup if thou desirest to be His friend and to have thy lot with Him. Leave consolations to God, let Him do as seemeth best to Him concerning them. But do thou set thyself to endure tribulations, and reckon them the best consolations; for the  sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us,[4] nor would they be even if thou wert to endure them all.

Thou shalt find peace

11. When thou hast come to this, that tribulation is sweet and pleasant to thee for Christ’s sake, then reckon that it is well with thee, because thou hast found paradise on earth. So long as it is hard to thee to suffer and thou desirest to escape, so long it will not be well with thee, and tribulations will follow thee everywhere.

12. If thou settest thyself to that thou oughtest, namely, to suffer and to die, it shall soon go better with thee, and thou shalt find peace. Though thou shouldest be caught up with Paul unto the third heaven,[5] thou art not on that account secure from suffering evil. I will show him, saith Jesus, what great things he must suffer for My Name’s sake.[6] It remaineth, therefore, to thee to suffer, if thou wilt love Jesus and serve Him continually.

Worthy to suffer

13. Oh that thou wert worthy to suffer something for the name of Jesus, how great glory should await thee, what rejoicing among all the saints of God, what bright example also to thy neighbour! For all men commend patience, although few be willing to practise it. Thou oughtest surely to suffer a little for Christ when many suffer heavier things for the world.

14. Know thou of a surety that thou oughtest to lead the life of a dying man. And the more a man dieth to himself, the more he beginneth to live towards God. None is fit for the understanding of heavenly things, unless he hath submitted himself to bearing adversities for Christ. Nothing more acceptable to God, nothing more healthful for thyself in this world, than to suffer willingly for Christ. And if it were thine to choose, thou oughtest rather to wish to suffer adversities for Christ, than to be refreshed with manifold consolations, for thou wouldest be more like Christ and more conformed to all saints. For our worthiness and growth in grace lieth not in many delights and consolations, but rather in bearing many troubles and adversities.

15. If indeed there had been anything better and more profitable to the health of men than to suffer, Christ would surely have shown it by word and example. For both the disciples who followed Him, and all who desire to follow Him, He plainly exhorteth to bear their cross, and saith, If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross, and follow Me.[7]So now that we have thoroughly read and studied all things, let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.[8]