Saturday, February 17, 2018

Whatever Happened to Alfred E. Neuman? We think we know...

Image result for alfred e neumanImage result for blase cupich

Although the U.S. FBI can't seem to find its own rear end with both hands, your intrepid blogger believes he has located the elusive Mr. Neuman, that 1960's icon of silliness. He is causing all sorts of chaos disguised as a Prince of the Church. Just look at these photos...I think the evidence is conclusive.

In case you still need further proof, just read this piece from Crisis Magazine, in which the invaluable Father George Rutler describes the latest antics of Cardinal Soupy as only Father Rutler can:

I rest my case.  Pray, please, for the faithful of the Archdiocese of Chicago.  They survived Bernardin, so one supposes they also will survive Cupich.  But pray for them, anyway. 

Laudator Jesus Christus!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Ash Wednesday- To Dust Thou Shalt Return

Today is Ash Wednesday, the traditional opening of the holy Season of Lent. Since the early days of Christianity, the faithful have used this time to look inward, to take actions to better conform ourselves to Christ by prayer, fasting and almsgiving. We pay homage to the memory of Our Lord's sacrifice by making our own small personal sacrifices each day, in these three traditional ways and/or by adding other holy practices such as spiritual reading, silent contemplation, or donating our time to others.  
The imposition of ashes (which in the US is done normally on the forehead, but is done in other ways elsewhere in the world) serves to remind us, as we are admonished in Sacred Scripture, that "for dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return." (Genesis 3:19). 
For Catholics in the US, today the Church directs us to abstain from meat and meat products (ages 14 and older, medical needs permitting) and to observe a partial fast (ages 18-59), meaning we may eat one full meal and two small meals which together do not exceed a full meal, with no snacking in between (again, medical needs permitting.)
It is worthy of note that our Orthodox brethren and many Eastern Catholic rites still observe a more traditional and stringent fast during Lent, abstaining from all meat (and in some cases all dairy products) for the entire forty days, with Sundays excluded or not, depending on local custom. I like to remember that whenever I start feeling sorry for myself as my tummy growls around 3 in the afternoon, awaiting the day's one full meal, which I normally take in the evening. 
[RETIRED LAWYER DISCLAIMER: Consult your physician before undertaking any food-related fast. God doesn't want you to endanger your health.]
The following is taken from today's traditional Divine Office (Matins, 1960 Rubrics), and is in my view a very good short reflection for this day. (Imagine that--the Church picked good material for reflection many centuries ago.  😁)
Gospel reading- Matthew 6:16-21 (Douay-Rheims)
[16] And when you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. [17] But thou, when thou fastest anoint thy head, and wash thy face; [18]That thou appear not to men to fast, but to thy Father who is in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret, will repay thee. [19] Lay not up to yourselves treasures on earth: where the rust, and moth consume, and where thieves break through and steal. [20] But lay up to yourselves treasures in heaven: where neither the rust nor moth doth consume, and where thieves do not break through, nor steal. 
[21] For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also. 
Homily by St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo.
Bk. ii. on the Lord's Sermon on the Mounts ch. xii., torn. 4.
It is evident that by these precepts we are bidden to seek for inner gladness, lest, by running after that reward which is without, we should become conformed to the fashion of this world, and should so lose the promise of that blessing which is all the truer and more stable that it is inward, that blessing wherein God hath chosen us to be conformed to the likeness of His Son. In this chapter we will principally consider the fact that vain-glory findeth a ground for its exercise in struggling poverty as much as in worldly distinction and display; and this development is the most dangerous, because it entices under pretence of being the serving of God.

He that is characterised by unbridled indulgence in luxury or in dress, or any other display, is by these very things easily shown to be a follower of worldly vanities, and deceiveth no one by putting on an hypocritical mask of godliness. But those professors of Christianity, who turn all eyes on themselves by an eccentric show of grovelling and dirtiness, not suffered by necessity, but by their own choice, of them we must judge by their other works whether their conduct really proceedeth from the desire of mortification by giving up unnecessary comfort, or is only the mean of some ambition; the Lord biddeth us beware of wolves in sheep's clothing, but by their fruits, saith He, ye shall know them.

The test is when, by divers trials, such persons lose those things which under the cover of seeming unworldliness they have either gained or sought to gain. Then must it needs appear whether they be wolves in sheep's clothing, or indeed sheep in their own. But that hypocrites do the contrary maketh it no duty of a Christian to shine before the eyes of men with a display of needless luxury; the sheep need not to lay aside their own clothing because wolves sometimes falsely assume it.

Laudator Jesus Christus 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

On The Filial Correction

It now has been over a week since an initial group of 62 Catholic scholars and clergy made public a 25-page plea to Pope Francis which they called a correctio filialis de haeresibus propagatis, or "filial correction of the propagation of heresies."  The basis of the correction is a series of passages from the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, ("AL"), together with "words, deeds, and omissions of Pope Francis which make it clear beyond reasonable doubt that he wishes Catholics to interpret these passages in a way that is, in fact, heretical."  
The document quotes in detail the passages from AL which are of concern and then describes meticulously the subsequent "words, deeds and omissions" of the Pope giving rise to the correction, as well as why the writers believe the correction is both justified and necessary.  In the ten days since its publication, the correctio has garnered additional signatures of scholars and clergy, now totaling more than 200, and supporting petitions circulated by two prominent Catholic websites ( and have garnered over 15,000 signatures, and counting.  I am not enterprising enough to insert links to all of my sources, but between the two websites just cited you ought to be able to verify all of the foregoing.

In the modern world of the Internet-based news cycle, a week is a long time, which clearly has proven true in this case.  The blogosphere, and not only the Catholic stations thereof, has been inundated with discussion which falls more neatly than one might expect into two broad categories.  On the one hand, the correctio has been welcomed and its provisions have been summarized or analyzed by Catholics who have for varying lengths of time expressed reservations (to put it mildly) about the Francis papacy in terms of its fidelity, or lack thereof, to the traditional teachings of the Church.  On the other hand, the self-proclaimed "progressive Catholic" media, as well as many who fancy themselves "conservatives" yet refuse to acknowledge there are any problems with the current papacy, have lashed out at the signers of the correctio without a single one of them, so far at least, engaging in even a minimal way with the substance of the issues raised.  I find this disappointing, yet not surprising, at least so far as the overt "progressives" are concerned, and in any event it is quite telling.  If you've read my "about me" page, you know that I am a retired lawyer, and there is a truism among lawyers who have actually tried cases: when you have no case on the facts, you have to attack the credibility of your opponent.  This is precisely what we are seeing right now.  The leftist/Modernist wing and the "nothing to see here, folks" so-called conservatives cannot engage the correctio on the facts because the facts are indisputable.  Go read the document for yourself, rather than relying on me or anyone else to tell you what it says.  If you aren't operating with a closed mind full of pre-conceived notions about how wonderful Francis the Merciful is, you will see the problems.  If you do happen to be one of those who blindly follows Francis and assumes that everything he says must be wonderful just because he occupies the See of Peter, then I pray you will read the document and open your mind and heart to the truth.  It's not pretty, but then, truth often is difficult to accept. 

As far as the signers of the correctio are concerned, rather than being attacked and belittled, these men and women deserve the sincere thanks of every person who seriously aspires to be a follower of Jesus Christ in the one Church he founded, which is the Catholic Church.  I believe these people have laid their names and in some cases their livelihoods on the line solely for love of the Church and the office of Peter.  They have done, in my view, an excellent job of explaining some of the most serious ways in which Francis/Bergoglio has essentially thumbed his nose at Christ and His Church for the past four-plus years, and it's about time (long past time, actually) that Catholics who love the faith as handed down from the Apostles, rather than the Modernist aberration to which we've been subjected for the past few decades, at least, stand up and be heard.  To me, silence in a matter such as this equates to acceptance of the status quo, and I am no longer willing to do that.  A faithful Catholic does not lightly use the word "heresy" but I am convinced that heresy is in fact being encouraged, at least, if not directly propagated, by this Pope and his minions.  Meanwhile, the so-called shepherds of the flock (that's you, bishops!) sit by silently, whether out of fear for their worldly positions or because they actually agree with what is happening, I cannot know. To me, these are the only two possible reasons for their silence, and in either case every bishop who fails to speak out is endangering his own soul and the souls of only God knows how many of his flock.  

Yes, I do believe it is that bad.  We are witnessing a crisis of a magnitude not seen since the Roman persecutions.  It's even worse than the Arian heresy, which after all involved only one issue, albeit a very important one, the Divinity of Christ.  But even so, during the Arian heresy, people living in an objective state of mortal sin were not being told it was perfectly OK for them to receive Holy Communion without repentance and a firm purpose of amendment, or that God might, because of the "complexity" of their "concrete situations", actually be directing them to engage in objectively sinful acts, or that "Jesus loves it when we sin", all of which are either contained in Amoris Laetitia or, in the case of the "Jesus loves it when we sin" remark, have been publicly stated by the current Pope.  

Please, read the correctio, and keep in mind that it only represents the tip of the iceberg in terms of the things this Pope has said and done which conflict with perennial Church teachings.  If you want more and are willing to do a little work to get it, check out this website, which chronicles no less than 166 such instances:

The correctio is a serious effort by serious people to call attention to what they, and many others, believe is a disastrous situation in the Church.  Yet the authors have done what they perceive to be their Christian duty with clarity and charity--the latter being a quality conspicuous by its absence from the chorus of calumny being directed at them by those who prefer to obscure or ignore the truth.  

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Laudator Jesus Christus!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

On "Fitness" For Elected Office

This is not a political blog, nor do I wish to make it one. But I am greatly irritated by a recurring theme of commentary by putative intellectuals in the political blogosphere over the past nine months or so.  If you just said to yourself, "Hey, that's about how long it's been since the U.S. Presidential election," and if you're guessing my irritation has to do with commentary about President Donald J. Trump, give yourself a gold star.

I am not here to defend or praise Donald Trump as a man or as President. I certainly have my own opinions about him and his actions and stated agenda, but those opinions are not the basis of my irritation. What galls me is the constant drumbeat of the pundit class to the effect that Mr. Trump is "unfit" for the office he holds. That this drumbeat comes from both sides of the standard political fence in the US matters not one iota. For the record, I was just as irritated when I heard or read claims that Barack Obama was unfit or unqualified to be President.  He got elected, just like Trump, and that was all I needed to know.  I didn't have to like it.  The astute reader will see where this is going.

Keep in mind, it is a historically proven fact that the Left will hate and excoriate anyone who disagrees with them, even if he or she were a canonized Saint; in fact, perhaps especially if he or she were a canonized Saint, since the Left generally disdains anything resembling traditional faith and anyone who professes it.  The Right is perhaps less inclined in general to engage in ad hominem attacks on its ideological opponents, but in the present case there is a cadre of self-proclaimed "Never Trumpers" in the conservative/neocon ranks who seem to have forgotten whatever they once may have known about civility and collegiality and respect for others.  Right now, they all are acting like five-year-olds whose tricycles have been taken away.  I wish with all my heart that everyone sitting in front of cameras or keyboards who is beating this drum about Trump's "unfitness" would simply stop. Shut up. Put a sock in it. ENOUGH, ALREADY!

To this complaining chorus of pundits, I answer that:

First, it doesn't matter one bit whether you, in your proclaimed wisdom, think Donald Trump is fit to be President.  He meets the Constitutional requirements for the office. His name was legally on the ballot in every state and the District of Columbia, and he won the election in the manner prescribed in the Constitution and laws of the United States of America. Therefore, by definition, he is "fit" to be President of the United States, just as all of his predecessors were.  Whatever may be your personal judgment of him, his past, his personality, his proclivities, his social media habits, his actions in office, or anything else, is completely irrelevant to this fact.

Second, if you're so all-knowing about what the qualities of a President should be, and since you obviously think you're so much smarter and more sophisticated than the umpty-ump million people who voted for the guy, why didn't you run and get elected yourself, or get someone else elected who meets your lofty standards?  Until you do that, please be courteous enough to spare the rest of us your whining. Criticize the policies, argue about the appointments, the social media posts, whatever.  But shut the heck up about "unfitness for office."  You lost that argument last November.

There, I feel better now.  My career as a political blogger is over.

Laudator Jesus Christus!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

On Liturgical Reform and Papal Authority

So, as he has a habit of doing, Pope Francis has set off a blogosphere fireworks display with a speech he made this past week to a conference of Italian liturgists.  As an aside, I note for the record the suggestion by one prominent Catholic blogger, who has spent a good deal of time in Italy, that his "mind reels in dread at the very notion of a room full of Italian liturgists." :)

Cutting to the heart of the matter, in the course of a typically verbose oration, the Pope declared that "we can affirm with surety and with magisterial authority that the reform of the liturgy is irreversible."   He thus used words traditionally associated with dogmatic statements of faith and morals, although he was speaking about liturgical rubrics, which are, by definition, disciplinary in nature, not dogmatic.

For those who may not know, "discipline" and "dogma" (or "doctrine, if you prefer) are terms of art in the Catholic Church. Disciplines are rules made by men, not matters of Divine revelation, and thus are subject to change. Conversely, dogma is grounded in Divine revelation and, by definition, cannot be changed. Why is this? Because God's law, like God, is eternal and immutable.  A good example of a Church discipline is the set of rules surrounding abstinence from eating meat during Lent, which has been modified numerous times over the centuries, while the mystery of the Holy Trinity, i.e., that we worship one God in three divine Persons, is a good example of a dogma.  It has not been, and cannot be, changed in any way since its revelation to humanity through Jesus Christ, although our understanding of the mystery of the Trinity has developed over time, and likely will continue to do so.  Contrary to some Modernist views, it is not possible for "development of doctrine" to effect a change in the essence of the doctrine.  Rather, development can only broaden and deepen our understanding of that essence.  Take a look at Blessed John Henry Newman's famous essay on the subject for more about doctrinal development.

Let us turn back, then, to the Pope's assertion "with magisterial authority" that "liturgical reform," in this case the replacement of the Tridentine Mass with the Missal of Paul VI, commonly referred to as the "Novus Ordo" Mass, is "irreversible."  As has so often been the case since the beginning of this pontificate, a flood of attempted explanations of this assertion has swept over the online Catholic world, with the usual division between those who attempt to justify it and those who criticize it.  For my money, Father Z's review (linked above) is the most satisfactory, although the commentaries by canon law expert Edward Peters and blogger Phil Lawler are also good.  Mr. Peters, as usual, analyzes the issue in great detail and with a canonist's eye.  Lawler comments from the perspective of an intelligent layman.  Both see, as I do, significant confusion arising from the attempt to apply "magisterial authority" to a discipline, rather than a doctrine.  I will simplify: It just doesn't work. Magisterial authority, in the sense of infallibility, is not applicable to discipline, only to doctrine. Period.

The "irreversible" label is further belied by the history of the Liturgy itself.  It has never been static, and with the sole exception of the huge changes imposed by Paul VI, has developed slowly, organically if you will, over the nearly two thousand-year history of the Church.  The change to the Paul VI Missal was, I am told by many who lived through it, wrenching and disorienting to say the least, and resulted in many, perhaps millions, leaving the Church entirely; this obviously was not the intended result, but it is a fact, and remains a major source of internal disagreement in the Church to this day.  It also was a matter of discipline rather than doctrine, fully within the authority of the Holy See, but by no means permanent, whatever the wishes of the Modernist/Progressive faction might be. I have no doubt that Francis, who has never been shy about his general disdain for people who prefer the traditional Mass, had them and the TLM in mind in saying what he said.  But the point is, no discipline of the Church is irreversible.  If that were the case, then Paul VI would have lacked the authority to impose the Novus Ordo over against the statements of Pope St. Pius V in his implementation of the Tridentine Mass, in the encyclical Quo Primum of July, 1570.  For more detailed analysis of this issue, go here.

Thus, as I see it, many commenters have missed the boat on this one.  The "progressives" who are chortling about Francis putting the "Trads" in their place by whacking them with his "magisterial authority" are wrong, because magisterial authority has no application to liturgical norms.  But so are the Trads wrong, who claim that not only is Francis unable to render the "liturgical reform" irreversible, but also that Paul VI himself had no authority to enact the Novus Ordo Mass in the first place.  Any Pope or Council has the authority to change Church discipline, and that includes liturgical norms.  It's not the infallible Magisterium at work, so it can even be a mistake to do so, but it's licit and valid.  That's the nature of things.  So my advice is, take a deep breath, pray a Rosary, go to Mass (TLM or N.O., your choice), and chill.  The Apocalypse hasn't arrived just yet.

Laudator Jesus Christus!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Questions For Catholics (Fun Post!)

Here's a non-serious post, for a change. Courtesy of Julie over at Connecticut Catholic Corner (see Blog Roll) are 34 fun questions to answer.  Post your answers as a comment on this blog and also on Julie's so we can see your answers.  Here are my answers:

1.  Latin
2.  Convert (2005)
3. 1954 (Presbyterian, in a church co-founded by my great-grandfather)
4.  2005, Easter Vigil
5.  St. Thomas Aquinas
6.  Blessed Virgin Mary!
7.  Ordinary (But I wish it were otherwise--long story)
8.  St. Joseph
9.  RCIA team, KofC
10.  The Rosary
11.  The Rosary, Matins (1960 Divine Office) (I'm retired so I have LOTS of time!)
12.  A Rosary
13.  Lent  (Yes, really.  Forced spiritual growth!)
14.  Other than Easter...Our Lady of Fatima
15.  Holy Communion!
16.  Yes
17.  Nine days ago
18.  Marriage
19.  O Salutaris Hostia

21.  The Passion of the Christ
22.  The Hail, Mary song they play after the Rosary on EWTN
23.  Pascendi Domenici Gregis (St. Pius X on Modernism)
24.  Deep blue (almost purple)
25.  Ave Maria (J.S. Bach)
26.  John 12:24 (The verse that triggered my conversion to the Catholic Church! Long story...maybe I'll blog on it someday.)
27.  The Gospel of St. John.  Or the Confessions of St. Augustine, if Scripture doesn't count.
28.  Frequent confession? :)
29.  St. Pius X.  Would that all Catholics would learn from him about the Synthesis of All Heresies...and take his Oath Against Modernism!  Benedict XVI is second, since he became Pope one week after I entered the Church, and I was already hugely influenced by his writing, but I'm still so disappointed in his abdication.  One day I hope we learn the full story, as what we've heard so far just doesn't make sense to me.
30.  Oh, there are a lot of them...I won't be a smart aleck and name one of the Apostles, since they ALL were converts...I guess the most helpful one has been Dr. Scott Hahn, although Steve Ray, Father George Rutler and Blessed Cardinal Newman also deserve mention.
31.  Mother Angelica
32.  Carmelites
33.  Catholics who act like they'd rather be Protestants.  Just go, then!  There are at least 20,000 "denominations" you can choose from...
34.  The Sacraments!  Amen!

Laudator Jesus Christus!