11 June 2014

Fr. Justin Wylie, Closing Remarks, Homily, May 18, 2014, Holy Innocents Parish, NY

Forward Boldly Episode: On the Potential Closing of Holy Innocents Church


Homily, Holy Innocents Parish (New York)
18 May 2014, Dominica IV Post Pascha
Rev. J. Wylie, sac. Arcidioecesis Johannesburgensis
Dearly beloved of God,
Today the liturgy bids me speak to you of threes and sevens.
Dear friends – and mark well that I speak to you now from the prophetic heart of my sacerdotal paternity – Dom Prosper Gueranger has something important to say also about threes. Hear it well:

“[T]he sacraments, being visible signs, are an additional bond of unity between the members of the Church: we say additional, because these members have the two other strong links of union – submission to Peter and to the pastors sent by him and profession of the same faith. The Holy Ghost tells us, in the sacred Volume, that a threefold chord is not easily broken [Eccles. Iv 12]. Now we have such a one, and it keeps us in the glorious unity of the Church: hierarchy, dogma, and sacraments, all contribute to make us one Body. Everywhere, from north to south, and from east to west, the sacraments testify to the fraternity that exists amongst us; by them we know each other, no matter in what part of the globe we may be, and by the same we are known by heretics and infidels. These divine sacraments are the same in every country, how much soever the liturgical formulae of their administration may differ; they are the same in the graces they produce, they are the same in the signs whereby grace is produced – in a word, they are the same in all the essentials” (pp. 228-9).
Dom Gueranger writes these words for us under his entry for precisely this Fourth Sunday after Easter, when in this parish, as I understand, you will meet to discuss a path forward for the precarious existence of your own worshipping community. Will this be the path Christ charts or will we make of ourselves instruments of the evil one for division and derision? The test of this, as in all things, is charity. Deus caritas est; et ubi caritas est vera, Deus ibi est. Where there is a breakdown of charity, there also is the spirit of the antichrist. I urge you, therefore, to be obedient and to be charitable with your legitimate superiors in all this, as well as with each other. Be firm and clear, also, and just; however, let charity always be the litmus test of whom it is you serve.

Allow me to say, first of all, that it has been my great privilege to serve this community during my term in New York. I have benefitted and learned so much from you and from your piety and fidelity, vivacity and zeal. I refer to all of you, now – you know who you are, I hope, from the love that I bear for you. Some I know better than others, through service at the altar – your acolytes and MCs; others I have loved with my voice and through my ears (like the organists and choir); others yet through my eyes, such as those who keep the church so beautiful, restored and adorned with flowers; others yet I bear with love, such as those who source and restore such magnificent vestments; many of you are known to me in the intimacy of the confessional or through the rich friendship of spiritual direction: upon all of you I gaze from this pulpit with a father's love and admiration. Yet I must make my own the words of our Blessed Lord when I tell you that my heart breaks with pity to behold those who seem to be as though sheep without a shepherd.

Allow me to explain. When I first came to New York, I marveled at the freedom traditional Catholics had always enjoyed in New York. When the Mass of the Ages seemed everywhere in the world effectively to have been banned, here in New York it found a home. “What freedom!” I thought, “What magnanimity from the pastors of the Church here in this place!” Now, however, with the benefit of time and deeper understanding, I see the superficiality of this first appreciation. Indeed, such a conclusion would be more befitting the 1980s and 1990s when Catholic laypeople were organizing such masses here and there on an ad hoc basis. First at St. Agnes, I believe, and then elsewhere, “homes” were found for such communities … and this indeed did give for their members here a happier prospect than in many parts of the world. But in a post-Summorum Pontificum Church, after Pope Benedict courageously proclaimed that the extraordinary form of the liturgy pertains equally to the fulness of the Roman rite, this approach cannot any more, I think, be characterised as true magnanimity.

As I said: during the dark days of prohibition, New York seemed to be a happy place to be for you because of the indult-masses at places like St. Agnes, but in the fresh juridical freedom Summorum Pontificum brings, New York has become, in my view, a less felicitous place for traditional Catholics: because nothing is structured, nothing acknowledged. Who takes responsibility for you pastorally?

Pastores dabo vobis, the Lord promises Jeremiah: I will give you shepherds! Fundamentally – and this is something about which I urge you to think well and pray much about – as a priest, I have to say: I worry about the situation of traditional Catholics in the Archdiocese. Yes, the archdiocese 'permits' a traditional mass here or there -- but responsibility for the matter continues to rest upon the initiative and resourcefulness of the laity, who with enormous difficulty have to source priests hither and thither as though we were seemingly still living in Reformation England or Cromwellian Ireland. Isn't it high time for the Church to take pastoral responsibility also for these sheep? Do they not deserve a shepherd? a parish? or at least some sense of juridical security? What happens to you when the parish you are harbouring in closes its doors?

What will become of the priestly vocations aplenty I see in these numerous young men of such quality as we have in abundance serving here at Holy Innocents, St. Agnes and elsewhere – remaining as they do at the mercy (and sometimes, caprice) of 'landlords' who, for one reason or another, 'permit' their presence in their parishes? Doors everywere seem closing to them. Our Saviour has closed its doors to them. St. Agnes, for its part, guards its doors vigilantly to make sure they don't enter the building 5 minutes too early or don't overstay their welcome by 5 minutes more. Now, it seems, the doors of Holy Innocents will be closed to them, too. Taken together, this is, in my view, a clear instance of exclusion: an injustice which you should bring to the attention of your shepherd, I think. You are fully-fledged members of the baptised Faithful, for heaven's sake: why are you scurrying about like ecclesiastical scavengers, hoping for a scrap or two to fall from the table for your very existence? The precariousness of your community cannot hinge on a church building being available to you as though you were a mere sodality or guild. The days of renting space in hotels and the like must surely be over. You are not schismatics! Are you schismatics?

Whatever happens to Holy Innocents – and this will be the decision of your chief-shepherd here, who will base his decision on more information than any of us has at his or her disposal – you need to assert that you belong to the Church as fully as any other community. You have found a home here, largely through your own hard work and perseverence: no good shepherd could dispossess you of your home without providing safety and good pasture elsewhere. Parishioners of a Novus ordo parish closure might easily find another 'home' nearby; but what of you? You have a right to find the Mass (and not only on Sundays); and not only the Mass, but the other sacraments and rites of the Church. Closing this parish is more akin to closing a linguistic parish or a Oriental rite parish. What becomes of you?

No longer, I say, should you think of yourselves as squatters in the mighty edifice of Holy Church, nor should you find yourselves turned out like squatters. Shepherds must needs make difficult decisions, such as the erection or suppression of parishes – that is their onerous duty and in this they must have our obedience, charity and prayer: but never should they throw open the sheep-fold and allow the uncertain dispersion of their sheep into a world full of wolves. Charity, of course, is a two-way street.

23 May 2014


"The Secret Consistory: What Happened" by Marco Tosatti, LA STAMPA

In the Secret Consistory where the divorced/remarried and the Eucharist were discussed, “Kasper’s theorem” received little consensus and a lot of criticism. Here is a reconstruction of some of the most significant and important statements. “It would be a fatal mistake” someone said, to follow the pastoral approach without referring to doctrine.

Marco Tosatti, for LA STAMPA

The Consistory on the 22nd February to discuss the family, was supposed to be secret. Instead a decision came from the top that it was opportune to publish Cardinal Kasper’s long report on the theme of the Eucharist for the divorced and remarried. In all probability [this] to open the way in prospect of the October Synod on the Family. However half of the Consistory remained secret: [that half] concerned observations from Cardinals. And maybe not by chance, as, after Cardinal Kasper had presented his long report (and as it seems it was not very light when given ,) rather a lot of voices were raised in criticizing it. So much so, that in the afternoon when the Pope gave him the job of responding, the German Cardinal’s tone appeared piqued, even angry to the many [present].

The current opinion is that “Kasper’s theorem” tends to allow permission in general for the divorced and remarried to receive communion, without the previous marriage being recognized as null. At present this does not happen, based on Jesus’ words which were very severe and explicit on divorce. People who live a full matrimonial life without the first union being regarded as invalid by the Church, find themselves in a situation of permanent sin, according to present doctrine.

In this sense, Cardinal Caffarra of Bologna as well as German Cardinal Mueller (Prefect of the Congregation of the Faith) spoke clearly. Equally explicit was Cardinal Walter Brandmuller (“ Neither human nature nor the Commandments nor the Gospel have an expiry date[…]Courage is needed to enunciate the truth even against current customs. Whoever speaks on behalf of the Church must possess courage if he does not want his vocation to be a failure.[…] The desire to obtain approval and applause is a temptation which is always present in the transmission of religious teaching.” Afterwards he made his words public). Also the President of the Italian Bishops, Cardinal Bagnasco expressed himself in a critical manner with regard to “Kasper’s theorem”; the same went for the African Cardinal Robert Sarah, Head of “Cor Unum” who at the end of his comments, recalled that in the course of the centuries even on dramatic questions controversies and divergences had existed inside the Church, but that the role of the Papacy had always been the one of defending doctrine.

Cardinal Re who was one of Bergoglio’s greatest electors, gave a very short statement, which can be summarized thus: “I will speak for just a moment, because there are future new cardinals here and perhaps some of them do not have the courage to say it, so I will: I am completely against this report.” Also the Prefect of the Penitentiary, Cardinal Piacenza said he was against it and more or less said: “we are here now and we will be here again in October for a Synod on the Family, and so since we want to have a positive Synod, I don’t see why we have to touch only on the matter of Communion for divorcees.” He added: “Since we want to have a debate on pastoral care it seems to me that we should have to take note of a widespread pan-sexualism and the attack of the “ideology of gender” which tend to demolish the family as we have always known it. It would be providential if we were lumen gentium so as clarify the situation we find ourselves in, as well as the things that can destroy the family.” He concluded by exhorting a re-reading of the catecheses by John Paul II on corporeity, since they contain many positive elements about sex, being a man and a woman, procreation and love.

Cardinal Tauran, (of Inter-Religious Dialogue) returned again to the attack on the family, also in light of relations with Islam. Likewise Cardinal Scola of Milan raised theological and doctrinal perplexities .

Cardinal Ruini was also very critical. He [also]added: “I don’t know if I understood well, but at this moment, about 85% of the Cardinals have expressed opinions apparently contrary to the layout of the report.” He added that among those who did not say anything - therefore could not be classified - he took from their silence that: “I believe they are embarrassed”.

Cardinal Ruini then cited the Good Pope. In essence saying: “when John XXIII gave his opening speech at the Second Vatican Council, he said a pastoral council could be held as fortunately doctrine was accepted peacefully by everyone and there were no controversies; so a pastoral approach could be presented without fear of misunderstandings because doctrine remained very clear. If John XXIII had been right then, the Cardinal commented, God alone knew, but apparently it was true to a large extent. This could absolutely not be said anymore today, because doctrine is not only not shared, but it is contested. “It would be a fatal mistake” to follow the pastoral approach without referring to doctrine.

So it is understandable that Cardinal Kasper seemed a little piqued in the afternoon when Pope Bergoglio allowed him to respond, without permitting, however, the start of a real debate: only Kasper spoke. To add to the criticisms aired about “Kasper’s theorem” during the Consistory, these are also building up - in a private way - towards the Pope [along with ] other public criticisms by cardinals from all over the world.

German Cardinals who know Kasper well, say that he has had a passion for this subject since the 1970s. The problem raised by many critics is that on this point the Gospel is very clear. And by not taking this into account – which is the fear – any other point of doctrine based on the Gospel would be rendered very instable, and modifiable at will.

(Source: LA STAMPA, March 24, 2014. Translation: Francesca Romana.)

20 February 2013

Musings on the Way to Moutier

Fresh from the little town of Undervelier in the midst of his pilgrimage on foot to Rome, Hilaire Belloc found himself on a ridge occupied by a few little cottages.

When I got to the top of the ridge there was a young man chopping wood outside a house, and I asked him in French how far it was to Moutier. He answered in German, and I startled him by a loud cry, such as sailors give when they see land, for at last I had struck the boundary of the languages, and was with pure foreigners for the first time in my life. I also asked him for coffee and as he refused it I took him to be a heretic and went down the road making up verses against all such, and singing them loudly through the forest that now arched over me and grew deeper as I descended. 

And my first verse was-- 

           Heretics all, whoever you may be,

           In Tarbes or Nîmes, or over the sea,
          You never shall have good words from me.
          Caritas non conturbat me.

If you ask why I put a Latin line at the end, it was because I had to show that it was a song connected with the Universal Fountain and with European culture, and with all that Heresy combats. I sang it to a lively hymn-tune that I had invented for the occasion.

I then thought what a fine fellow I was, and how pleasant were my friends when I agreed with them. I made up this second verse, which I sang even more loudly than the first; and the forest grew deeper, sending back echoes--

          But Catholic men that live upon wine
          Are deep in the water, and frank, and fine;
          Wherever I travel I find it so,
          Benedicamus Domino.

There is no doubt, however, that if one is really doing a catholic work, and expressing one's attitude to the world, charity, pity, and a great sense of fear should possess one, or, at least, appear. So I made up this third verse and sang it to suit--

          On childing women that are forlorn,
          And men that sweat in nothing but scorn:
          That is on all that ever were born,
          Miserere Domine.

Then, as everything ends in death, and as that is just what Heretics least like to be reminded of, I ended thus--

          To my poor self on my deathbed,
          And all my dear companions dead,
          Because of the love that I bore them,
          Dona Eis Requiem.

~Path to Rome, pp.87-88


29 December 2012

Similarities Between St. Thomas à Becket & St. Thomas More

St. Thomas More was named after his patron saint, St. Thomas à Becket. Both men were born in the same district in London--Cheapside--and both men undertook formal studies in law, where they distinguished themselves by their intelligence and astuteness. Both men rose to prominence in government by being named Chancellor of England, and each one was promoted by a King Henry--Becket under King Henry II, and More under King Henry VIII.

Both Becket and More were close and trusted friends to their respective kings--until the king claimed to exercise authority over the Church that exceeded his limits. King Henry II demanded that Becket take the oath to the Constitutions of Clarendon, which would restrict papal authority in England. King Henry VIII demanded that Thomas More take the oath to the Act of Supremacy, which also would have severely restricted papal authority in England. Both men refused. And for their refusal, they were persecuted, and ultimately executed by the King's men.

St. Thomas à Becket, pray for us.

16 December 2012


Hilaire Belloc, in the midst of his pilgrimage by foot to Rome, stopped in a small village tucked away among the Jura mountains.

As I was watching that stream against those old stones, my cigar being now half smoked, a bell began tolling, and it seemed as if the whole village were pouring into the church. At this I was very much surprised, not having been used at any time of my life to the unanimous devotion of an entire population, but having always thought of the Faith as something fighting odds, and having seen unanimity only in places where some sham religion or other glozed over our tragedies and excused our sins. Certainly to see all the men, women, and children of a place taking Catholicism for granted was a new sight, and so I put my cigar carefully down under a stone on the top of the wall and went in with them. I then saw that what they were at was vespers.

All the village sang, knowing the psalms very well, and I noticed that their Latin was nearer German than French; but what was most pleasing of all was to hear from all the men and women together that very noble good-night and salutation to God which begins--
'Te, lucis ante terminum'

My whole mind was taken up and transfigured by this collective act, and I saw for a moment the Catholic Church quite plain, and I remembered Europe, and the centuries. Then there left me altogether that attitude of difficulty and combat which, for us others, is always associated with the Faith. The cities dwindled in my imagination, and I took less heed of the modern noise. I went out with them into the clear evening and the cool. I found my cigar and lit it again, and musing much more deeply than before, not without tears, I considered the nature of Belief.

Of its nature it breeds a reaction and an indifference. Those who believe nothing but only think and judge cannot understand this. Of its nature it struggles with us. And we, we, when our youth is full on us, invariably reject it and set out in the sunlight content with natural things. Then for a long time we are like men who follow down the cleft of a mountain and the peaks are hidden from us and forgotten. It takes years to reach the dry plain, and then we look back and see our home.

What is it, do you think, that causes the return? I think it is the problem of living; for every day, every experience of evil, demands a solution. That solution is provided by the memory of the great scheme which at last we remember. Our childhood pierces through again.... But I will not attempt to explain it, for I have not the power; only I know that we who return suffer hard things; for there grows a gulf between us and many companions. We are perpetually thrust into minorities, and the world almost begins to talk a strange language; we are troubled by the human machinery of a perfect and superhuman revelation; we are over-anxious for its safety, alarmed and in danger of violent decisions.

... The Catholic Church will have no philosophies. She will permit no comforts; the cry of the martyrs is in her far voice; her eyes that see beyond the world present us heaven and hell to the confusion of our human reconciliations, our happy blending of good and evil things.

By the Lord! I begin to think this intimate religion as tragic as a great love.

~The Path to Rome, 1902

25 August 2012

St. Louis IX: King, Crusader, Saint

King St. Louis IX of France embodied all that a monarch ought to be: he ruled with justice, integrity, generosity, and holiness. He and Queen Margaret of Provence bore eleven children, their line reigning over France until the French Revolution put a brutal end to it. (As the guillotine fell onto the neck of Louis XVI, Abbé Edgeworth, his confessor, cried, Le fils de St-Louis, montez au paradis!--"Son of St. Louis, ascend to Heaven!")

St. Louis' mother told him often as a child, Je t'aime, mon cher fils, autant qu'une mère peut aimer son enfant; mais j'aime mieux que tu soit mort à mes pieds que tu commettes un péché mortel. "I love you, my dear son, as much as a mother can love her child; but I would rather see you dead at my feet than that you should commit a mortal sin."

How many mothers today, I wonder, could say such a thing, and mean it? Are most not often busy worrying about their children's physical well-being, their education, their careers, reputations, relationships? How many among us can say that the welfare of our children's souls is truly first and foremost in our hearts? A mother's worst fear is to lose her child early--but if we as Catholics truly believe what we claim to believe, should our worst fear rather not be that our children's souls be eternally lost? And should we not therefore throw the entire weight of our efforts and prayers toward that end: the salvation of their souls?

When St. Louis grew to manhood and became a parent himself, he would write to his eldest son Phillip III, "You should, with all your strength, shun everything which you believe to be displeasing to Him. And you ought especially to be resolved not to commit mortal sin, no matter what may happen and should permit all your limbs to be hewn off, and suffer every manner of torment, rather than fall knowingly into mortal sin."

St. Louis once asked his friend, the Sieur de Joinville, whether or not he would prefer to be one of the lepers who wandered the byways, or to commit a mortal sin. Joinville replied, "I would rather commit thirty mortal sins than to be a leper." The King said, "When a man dies, he is healed of leprosy in his body; but when a man who has committed a mortal sin dies, he cannot know with certainty that he has in his lifetime repented such that God has forgiven him; he thus must stand in great fear lest that leprosy of sin last as long as God is in Paradise."

It was St. Louis who bought the Crown of Thorns, which now lies in the beautiful Chapelle St-Louis in Paris. He attended mass twice daily, supported priests and bishops in their work, and was never afraid to chastise those who failed their duty. In such reverence did he hold obedience that he refused to put to death the traitorous son of Hugh de la Marche, who acted at his father's behest: "A son," the King said, "cannot refuse to obey his father's orders." At times, when called on to put down rebellions, he always made restitution to the innocent harmed. If an infidel was taken prisoner, he ordered that, rather than put him to death, he be given the chance to receive Christian instruction and be baptized. Determined to live a life of holy purity, he exhorted all in his court to put away their concubines and live chastely, or otherwise regularize their situation and marry. One woman in his court known for her extravagent and immodest dress was brought to amend her ways through his private and gentle admonishments.

The good king died from illness while leading a crusade. At 3 o'clock, the hour of mercy, he uttered his last words, "Into Thy hands I commend my spirit," and passed into glory. He was canonized 27 years later.

St. Louis, priez pour nous!

16 June 2012

The Black Prince at the Battle of Crécy, Julian R. Story, 1888, oil on canvas, Telfair Museum of Art, Savannah, Georgia

01 June 2012

June is the Month of the Sacred Heart

One day, after Holy Communion, a large cross was shown her, the extremity of which she could not see, but it was all covered with flowers. The Lord said to her: “Behold the bed of My chaste spouses on which I shall make thee taste all the delights of My pure Love. Little by little these flowers will drop off, and nothing will remain but the thorns, which are hidden because of thy weakness. Nevertheless, thou shalt feel the pricks of these thorns so keenly that thou wilt need all the strength of My love to bear the pain.” In this intense and purifying way the Lord would accomplish His designs in the heart of Margaret. In order to detach her from the affection towards the things of this earth, and even from herself, he allowed her to experience continuous humiliations and neglect. Nonetheless, He would grant her all the graces necessary to endure these trials. On a particular occasion, the Lord told her: “You must love as if you were not inclined to love, having as your only wish the desire to please me. Do not look for joy outside of Me, for in doing so you would deny my omnipotence and would offend me greatly, since I desire to be everything for you.”

26 May 2012

If you have ever seen a man die, remember that you, too, must go the same way. In the morning consider that you may not live till evening, and when evening comes do not dare to promise yourself the dawn. Be always ready, therefore, and so live that death will never take you unprepared. Many die suddenly and unexpectedly, for in the unexpected hour the Son of God will come. When that last moment arrives you will begin to have a quite different opinion of the life that is now entirely past and you will regret very much that you were so careless and remiss.

19 May 2012

Beware the Man Who Rarely Laughs

On the Importance of Laughter, by Dr. Donald DeMarco
Why do we laugh? Life can wear people down. When it becomes too heavy, we need to counteract gravity with levity. Laughter unlocks, though only momentarily, the chains of responsibility. It lifts us from the weightiness of life. “Man laughs because he has a soul,” wrote Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, “hence, the more spiritual a person is, the more enjoyment there is in [his] life. In this sense, humor is closely related to faith; it bids us not to take anything too seriously.”
And this is why we have a continuing need for humorists, comics, clowns, punsters, jugglers, and acrobats. We need the occasional reprieve from life’s pressures. Yet we love laughing, not only because of this reprieve, but also because it intimates that one day we will enjoy a permanent victory over heaviness. “Angels can fly,” said, G. K. Chesterton, “because they take themselves lightly.”
The rest is here.

03 May 2012

Our One Purpose

Urged by faith, We are obliged to believe and to hold that the Church is one, holy, catholic, and also apostolic. We firmly believe in her, and We confess absolutely that outside of Her there is neither salvation nor the remission of sins... Furthermore, We declare, say, define, and pronounce that it is wholly necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.
--Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam

Such muscular Catholicism one hardly hears anymore from the pulpits, since we now live in an age of pluralism and ecumenism, where "ecumenism" is defined as mutual understanding and little more. The purpose of ecumenism, as the Church has always taught, is to turn souls from error, bring them into the one true Church, and thus save them. Today, a lamentable indifferentism prevails among Catholics, many who think it suffices that one merely be sincere and of good will in order to be saved. This is a modern idea, which has found its home only in the 20th and 21st centuries; the Church has never so held. Rather, the vast majority of papal pronouncements echo the words of Pope Boniface above: the Catholic Church is necessary for salvation.

Before people go quoting Lumen Gentium, bear in mind that no new formulations of doctrine may contradict previously stated doctrine. Vatican II seems to have softened the teaching of Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus, and, considering it was a pastoral and not dogmatic council, its teachings must be interpreted and understood in light of and consonant with all that came before. Where there is doubt, it is not traditional magisterial pronouncements that must bend, but rather the non-dogmatic formulations of Vatican II.

Some claim that those in invincible ignorance may be saved. If so, this is the exception and not the rule. Yet Catholics treat the exception as the rule, and too many consider hell a quaint notion that no longer applies. Not so the saints of old. St. Leonard of Pt. Maurice rankled many by this sobering sermon, which brings forth the reality of hell and the many who tumble headlong there. One illuminating excerpt:
[St. Vincent Ferrer] relates that an archdeacon in Lyons gave up his charge and retreated into a desert place to do penance, and that he died the same day and hour as Saint Bernard. After his death, he appeared to his bishop and said to him, "Know, Monsignor, that at the very hour I passed away, thirty-three thousand people also died. Out of this number, Bernard and myself went up to heaven without delay, three went to purgatory, and all the others fell into Hell."
Five saved out of 33,000.

And Our Lady of Fatima, showing the shepherd children a vision of hell, which was forever seared into their memories, said, "Souls are falling into hell like snowflakes because there are none to pray and sacrifice for them."

Like snowflakes!

The Catholic Church teaches unambiguously that one mortal sin kills the soul, deprives it of the life of grace and of all merits, and cuts it off from God. The Church also teaches that the only way to be forgiven of mortal sin is through sacramental confession. The Church yet again clearly teaches what some of those mortal sins are: sex outside of marriage, masturbation, use of contraception, missing one's Sunday obligation...

Now consider the many non-Catholics in the world who have even ONCE committed any of the sins above. It is sufficient to bring about the death of their souls! Consider the many people who do not even consider these sins, and therefore feel no need to confess them to obtain forgiveness. They may be well-intentioned; they may volunteer at charities; they may be good parents who love their children--none of that changes the fact that these are mortal sins that may result in the death of the soul, and therefore could send the offender to hell. Subjective culpability, of course, will be weighed in the eyes of God, and we can't judge that--but it does not change the fact that the world is in desperate need of the light of truth, found in its fullness in the one true faith.

No other conclusion is possible, not if we believe what the Church teaches. And if we do, then our task is urgent. The time for idleness, for frivolity, for indifference is over. The fate of millions hangs in the balance--and Scripture makes clear that we WILL be held accountable for their souls.
When I say to the wicked: O wicked man, thou shalt surely die: if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked man from his way: that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but I will require his blood at thy hand.--Ezekiel 33:8
The gift of your Catholic faith is given to you, not to keep to yourself, but to take to a world desperately in need of light and truth and LOVE. Evangelization is not optional; it is our solemn duty. The enemy would like nothing more than to keep us from this duty by luring us away by the thousand distractions this world offers. Those serious about becoming saints, however, know we must be vigilant against turning away from this one goal that eclipses all others: the salvation of souls.

Our whole being should strive to love God above all things--and if we love God, we love what He loves: souls. It is for souls that He suffered and died. If we are His true friends, we will suffer and die with him--some as white martyrs, some as red--in order to bring souls to Our Lord, who so thirsts for souls.

If the task seems daunting and you don't know where to begin, then begin with this simple prayer, which God will not fail to answer: "Lord, use me to save souls, in whatever way you wish."

09 April 2012

He rose from the dead, and cried aloud: "Who will contend with me?
Let him confront me." I have freed the condemned,
brought the dead back to life, raised men from their graves.
Who has anything to say against me? I, he said, am the Christ;
I have destroyed death, triumphed over the enemy, trampled hell underfoot,
bound the strong one, and taken men up to the heights of heaven:
I am the Christ.

--St. Melito of Sardis

07 April 2012

The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena

Our Lord on suffering:
Very pleasing to Me, dearest daughter, is the willing desire to bear every pain and fatigue, even unto death, for the salvation of souls, for the more the soul endures, the more she shows that she loves Me; loving Me she comes to know more of My truth, and the more she knows, the more pain and intolerable grief she feels at the offenses committed against Me. You asked Me to sustain you, and to punish the faults of others in you, and you did not remark that you were really asking for love, light, and knowledge of the truth, since I have already told you that, by the increase of love, grows grief and pain, wherefore he that grows in love grows in grief. Therefore, I say to you all, that you should ask, and it will be given you, for I deny nothing to him who asks of Me in truth. Consider that the love of divine charity is so closely joined in the soul with perfect patience, that neither can leave the soul without the other. For this reason (if the soul elect to love Me) she should elect to endure pains for Me in whatever mode or circumstance I may send them to her. Patience cannot be proved in any other way than by suffering, and patience is united with love as has been said. Therefore bear yourselves with manly courage, for, unless you do so, you will not prove yourselves to be spouses of My Truth, and faithful children, nor of the company of those who relish the taste of My honor, and the salvation of souls.

28 March 2012

The Faith Worth Dying for

The Daily Cross

It is often easier to accept, in a burst of generosity, the great sacrifices and sufferings of a singular occurrence, than the little, insignificant sufferings, closely connected with our state of life and the fulfillment of our duty : sufferings which occur daily under the same form, with the same intensity and insistence, among endless and unchanging circumstances. These may include physical ailments caused by poor health, economic restrictions, the fatigue attendant upon overwork or anxiety; they may be moral sufferings resulting from differences of opinion, clash of temperaments, or misunderstandings. Herein lies the genuine cross that Jesus offers us daily, inviting us to carry it after Him--an unpretentious cross, which does not require great heroism, but which does demand that we repeat our Fiat every day, meekly bowing our shoulders to carry its weight with generosity and love. The value, the fruitfulness of our daily sacrifices comes from this unreserved acceptance, which makes us receive them just as God offers them to us, without trying to avoid them or to lessen their weight. "Yea, Father, for so hath it seemed good in Thy sight." (Mt 11:26).

--Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdelene, OCD, DIVINE INTIMACY

24 March 2012

The Myth of Religious Freedom in Colonial America

Only three of the original thirteen colonies allowed Catholics to vote. Every colony save Rhode Island prohibited Catholics from holding public office, and no colony allowed Catholic schools except for Pennsylvania. Virginia passed a law ordering the arrest of any priest who entered the state. It was regular practice to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day as their English counterparts did overseas, by burning the Pope in effigy and chanting anti-Catholic slogans. (George Washington, to his credit, attempted to do away with this bigoted festival, and rumor has it he died a Catholic.) When British Parliament passed the Quebec Act, permitting the Catholic Church to be the official church of Quebec, colonists raised an uproar against "the popish threat" looming from the northern border.

Founding Father Alexander Hamilton said, “Does not your blood run cold to think that an English Parliament should pass an Act for the establishment of arbitrary power and Popery in such an extensive country? ...Your loves, your property, your religion are all at stake.” The Quebec Act, in his mind, would attract Catholics from all over Europe to America and thus destroy his fair country.

Hero of the Revolution Paul Revere drew a cartoon mocking four mitred Anglican clergy for drawing up the Quebec Act, a dark, winged Luciferian figure hovering behind them whispering his counsel in their ears to encourage their "approbation and countenance of the Roman religion."

Samuel Adams warned that the law “to establish the religion of the Pope in Canada [would mean] some of your children may be induced instead of worshipping the only true God, to pay his dues to images made with their own hands.”

The Continental Congress expressed its outrage at the Quebec Act by penning an open letter to "the People of Great Britain" (the authors were John Jay, Richard Henry Lee, and William Livingston), proclaiming the colonies' surprise that Parliament would support the Catholic religion in Canada, a religion that "disbursed impiety, bigotry, persecution, murder and rebellions through every part of the world." Its conspiratorial tone could rival Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, the authors convinced that Canada's Catholic population would set its sights on invading the colonies, and once having converted Protestant Americans, would enlist them in a vast popish army to attack and enslave England's Protestants.

Little wonder that English Cardinal and Benedictine Francis Gasquet claimed that “the American Revolution was not a movement for civil and religious liberty; its principal cause was the bigoted rage of the American Puritan and Presbyterian ministers at the concession of full religious liberty and equality to Catholics of French Canada.

John Adams, in a letter to his wife Abigail, gives his impression of the Catholic faith:
Dec. 22, 1774
The Orders of Ecclesiastics at Corunna are only Three, The Dominicans, the Franciscans, and the Augustins, but the numbers who compose the Fraternities of these religious Houses are a burden beyond all proportion to the Wealth, Industry and population of this Town. They are Drones enough to devour all the honey of the Hive. There are in addition to these, two Convents of Nuns, those of St. Barbe and the Capuchins. These are a large Addition to the Number of Consumers without producing any Thing. They are very industrious however at their Prayers and devotions that is to say in repeating their Pater Nosters, in counting their Beads, in kissing their Crucifixes, and taking off their hair Shifts to whip and lacerate themselves every day for their Sins, to discipline themselves to greater Spirituality in the Christian Life. Strange! that any reasonable Creatures, any thinking Beings should ever believe that they could recommend themselves to Heaven by making themselves miserable on Earth. Christianity put an End to the Sacrifice of Iphigenias and other Grecian Beauties and it probably will discontinue the Incineration of Widows in Malabar: but it may be made a question whether the Catholick Religion has not retained to this day Cruelties as inhuman and antichristian as those of Antiquity.
And in an October 9, 1774 letter:
This afternoon, led by curiosity and good company, I strolled away to mother church, or rather grandmother church. I mean the Romish chapel. I heard a good, short moral essay upon the duty of parents to their children, founded in justice and charity, to take care of their interests, temporal and spiritual. This afternoon’s entertainment was to me most awful and affecting; the poor wretches fingering their beads, chanting Latin, not a word of which they understood; their pater nosters and ave Marias; their holy water; their crossing themselves perpetually; their bowing to the name of Jesus, whenever they hear it; their bowings, kneelings and genuflections before the altar. The dress of the priest was rich white lace. His pulpit was velvet and gold. The altar-piece was very rich, little images and crucifixes about; wax candles lighted up. But how shall I describe the picture of our Savior in a frame of marble over the altar, at full length, upon the cross in the agonies, and the blood dropping and streaming from his wounds! The music, consisting of an organ and a choir of singers, went all the afternoon except sermon time, and the assembly chanted most sweetly and exquisitely.

Here is everything which can lay hold of the eye, ear, and imagination–everything which can charm and bewitch the simple and ignorant. I wonder how Luther ever broke the spell. Adieu.
Enough with the romanticized view of early colonial America and the so-called purity of intention of our revolutionary forebears. Simply to know the Founding Fathers sympathized with the French Revolution is enough to make me wonder--as it should any thinking American Catholic...

05 March 2012

The Broken Path, by Judie Brown

The Broken Path: How Catholic Bishops Got Lost in the Weeds of American Politics, Judie Brown

The American bishops are to be commended for standing up to the Obama administration and refusing to accept the so-called compromise regarding the HHS mandate. It remains the case, however, that had this bold leadership been on display many years ago, we would never have been forced to deal with this battle in the first place. Years and years of silence (and in some cases outright dissent on the part of some clergy) on the issue of contraception have led to the vast majority of Catholics today not only using birth control, but not even knowing the Church's teaching on this issue, such that it is seen as a quaint and even ridiculous thing that the Catholic Church should be so outraged at being forced to provide access to contraception through its insurers. The fact that the majority of American bishops did very little in the last election to oppose Obama played a large part in helping secure office for the man who is now clearly an enemy of the Church.

Well-known pro-life leader Judie Brown has written a book about how we got here--and it pulls no punches. There are so many salient, quotable parts of this book it's hard to know where to begin. She begins by clarifying that her book is not intended to pass judgment on anyone's soul, but rather to take an honest look at some of the actions of the hierarchy that have contributed to today's crisis.

The problems didn't begin only recently; one can see the roots of today's crisis in Pope Leo XIII's 1899 warning against Americanism, a heresy that would place certain American ideals over that of the Magisterium. Fast forward a century later, and we find the Holy Father's words fulfilled: we have an American Church infested with Americanism. Other problems include homosexuality allowed to run rampant in the priesthood for too long, and heresy being taught for years in American seminaries. Pope John Paul II began the long turn back, and the current Holy Father is continuing the reverse.

The USCCB has also played its part. Recall the Call to Action conference of 1976, supported by the bishops, which became "a gathering point for Catholic groups and theologians who take issue with Catholic teaching and are committed to misrepresenting the essence of Catholicism whenever the opportunity presents itself."

The various committees of the USCCB have also undertaken shocking actions to scandalize the faithful. For example, she cites Bishop Howard Hubbard, chair of the USCCB's International Justice and Peace Committee, who approved the 2010 initiative of diocesan Catholic Charities to distribute free needles to drug abusers in order to prevent the spread of AIDS.

Catholic Charities has also played a role in the current crisis. An arm of the USCCB, Catholic Charities received a $100 million disaster relief grant from the federal government after it pandered to the Obama administration.

Then there is the Safe Environment office of the USCCB, created in response to the sex abuse crisis. Teresa Kettelkamp, executive director of this office, once served as adviser to the militantly pro-abortion group Feminist Majority Foundation's National Center for Women and Policing. Safe Environment's mandatory VIRTUS program, which is meant to educate children on how to protect themselves from sexual abuse, has been controversial because of the sensitive material of a sexual nature that its young watchers are exposed to. Despite national outcry by concerned parents and even some bishops, the USCCB continues to mandate that every diocese implement the VIRTUS program.

Finally, one cannot complete the discussion without mention of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, which has been mired in controversy once it was discovered that hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant money from this arm of the USCCB went to local programs that promote abortion, contraception, or the homosexual lifestyle.

These are only a few things Judie Brown highlights in her discussion of how the Church has gotten to where it is today. A cure cannot be found without first diagnosing the problem. After Ms. Brown lays out the problems, she provides suggestions as to the solution:

-Take the opportunity to discuss concerns with your priest and bishop, and always in a spirit of charity.

-Teach those around you what it means to be truly Catholic through word and deed.

-Pray for priests.

She closes the book with this prayer for clergy, which we would do well to pray on a regular basis:
O God, who hast appointed Thine only-begotten Son to be the eternal High Priest for the glory of Thy Majesty and the salvation of mankind; grant that they whom He hath chosen to be His ministers and the stewards of His mysteries, may be found faithful in the fulfillment of the ministry which they have received. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.
I highly recommend this enlightening and readable book.

You can order it here.

"Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." Psalm 90:12

Paris--Catacombs, Stephen Edelbroich

03 March 2012

“To live without faith, without a patrimony to defend, without a steady struggle for truth, that is not living, but existing.”
--Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati

27 February 2012

The Lighter Side

More from Abp. Sheen's autobiography:
Materialists, humanists and atheists all take this world very seriously because it is the only world they are ever going to have. He who possesses faith knows that this world is not the only one, and therefore can be regarded rather lightly: "swung as a trinket about one's wrist." To an atheist gold is gold, water is water and money is money. To a believer everything in this world is a telltale of something else.... I remember once meeting a doorman at the Great Southern Hotel in Killarney. I said to him as I came out of the hotel door: "Oh, it's raining." He put out his hand and said: "You call that rain, Father. That's holy water from Heaven and it's blessing yourself you ought to be doing with it," as he signed himself with the sign of the Cross.
In the early days when I was on national radio, a man came into St. Patrick's Cathedral one Monday morning and, not recognizing me, said: "Father, I want to go to Confession. I commute from Westchester every day. I had three friends with me--all Protesetants. I became very angry and spoke the most disparagingly and bitterly of that young priest that is on the radio, Dr. Fulton Sheen. I just cannot stand him. He drives me crazy. I am afraid that I probably scandalized those men by the way I talked about a priest. So, will you hear my confession?" I said: "My good man, I don't think you committed a serious sin. There are moments in my life when I share exactly the same opinion about Dr. Sheen that you do. Go to Communion and reserve your confession for another day." He left very happily, saying: "It certainly is wonderful to meet a nice priest like you."

I gave many Advent sermons in Blessed Sacrament Parish in Manhattan. During World War II, a woman came into the rectory before Mass and said to me: "Every time I cross Seventy-sixth and Broadway on my way to Mass I get a pain in my left ankle. At that moment, the Blessed Mother speaks to me and says: "Tell Monsignor Sheen that I want him to go to Germany at once to convert Hitler." I said to her: "My dear lady, it's very peculiar that every time I cross Seventy-sixth and Broadway, I get a pain in my right ankle. The Blessed Mother appears to me and says: 'Do not pay any attention to what I told that lady this morning.' " She went away satisfied.

[In] a lecture I was giving to a group of university students in Minnesota... one asked me how Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days. I answered: "I have not the slightest idea, but when I get to Heaven, I will ask Jonah." He shouted back: "Suppose Jonah isn't there." I said: "Then you can ask him."

[A] mother wrote that her son was under her feet in the kitchen and she said to him: "Go into the parlor, turn on the television, listen to Bishop Sheen. He's smart. You will learn something." He did as he was told and at the moment I appeared on television, I was writing the word "sex" on the blackboard. He ran out to his mother and said: "He is not so smart. He doesn't know how to spell six."

18 February 2012

More on Abp. Sheen & Humor at Vatican II: Cardinal Ottaviani, Chicks, Bars, etc.

The amount of humor that anyone gets out of the world is the size of the world in which he lives. Materialists have only this cosmos as the raw material for their humor. Not so with 2,500 bishops, who are using time only for the sake of eternity and who, therefore, live in the heavens by hope as well as on the earth. There is a greater raw material for humor when one expects another life than this one; then there is no burden to take the world too seriously. The humor of the Council came out of the various characterizations that were printed and spoken about those in Council. For example, Cardinal Ottaviani had as his motto Semper Idem (Always the Same). Because he was generally opposed to any changes by the Fathers, stories soon became current that one day he asked the taxi driver to drive him to the Council but the driver took him to Trent, a town in northern Italy where a Council was held in the sixteenth century.

Under the two great tiers which seated about 1,200 bishops on each side of the basilica, there were two coffee bars. It was not long before the Fathers found names for them. One was called Bar-Jona, which was part of the Hebrew name for St. Peter.

Referring to the camaraderie that prevailed among the bishops, this rhyme was composed by a bishop from Australia's great desert at the beginning of the Council:

Call us comrades, or cobbers or mates,
Or even buddies, the term in the States.
Secure in the knowledge
We belong to the College,
With the Pope we're to have tête-à-têtes.

Cardinal Suenens, when he addressed the Council on the subject of women, inspired this humorous reflection:

Said Suenens, in one Congregatio:
I'm weary of this Segregatio.
The Patres are churls,
Let's bring in the girls,
Though there's sure to be some admiratio.

The theologians and other experts or Periti were not allowed to mingle among the Council members. Several of them were conspicuous for slipping into the restricted area, which prompted a jingle ascribed to Cardinal Felice reminding them to remain in their proper places:

Our Secretary's not sympathetic
To an expert who's peripatetic.
He thinks a Peritus
Should remain in his situs
Unless he's rather dyspeptic.

With regard to the sacredness of life and the discussion on the limitation of birth, these lines appeared:

Some moralists claim that the Pill
May be used even though you're not ill.
It gives the ability
To banish fertility
But I can't really think it's God's Will.

Finally, when the time came for the bishops to leave at the closing of the Council, this last rhyme came from Bishop John P. O'Loughlin, who had so delighted the Council Fathers:

As we bishops depart from old Roma
We can proudly display our diploma
At the Council's finale
We say "buon natale"
And "goodbye" to Bar-Jona's aroma.

14 February 2012

Abp. Sheen's Involvement at Vatican II

It was my honor to have been named to a preconciliar commission--namely, the Catholic Action Commission. I recall that several of the members of this commission were very anxious to introduce a chapter into the Council on tourism. I was about the only one who could see no value in such a chapter unless it was to remind the faithful about attendance at the Holy Eucharist on Sundays and Days of Obligation. In order to convince me, the Cardinal who was in charge one day brought a list of the speeches that Pius XI had given in the course of his Pontificate. He pointed out that he had addressed tourist groups four times; if the Pontiff thought such a subject was so important why should not I? That night I took home a review of the talks that the Pontiff had given to other groups and I found that he had addressed urologists five times. The next day I argued that inasmuch as the Holy Father had spoken more to urologists than he had on the subject of tourism, we should therefore have a chapter on urology. I am sure it was the only time there was a defense of urologists given in Latin in a Council. It will be recalled that there was no chapter on tourism in the Council documents.
--Treasure in clay, p. 283

09 February 2012

Offer Spiritual Bouquets to Suffering Catholics in Nigeria

RealCatholicTV.com made a trip to St. Theresa's parish in Madalla, Nigeria, which suffered the Christmas bombings by Boko Haram. You can donate to the parish or offer spiritual bouquets for the victims--many who continue to suffer spiritually, emotionally, and physically--at this link. The donations and spiritual bouquets will be sent directly to the pastor of the parish.

08 February 2012

Gifts for Your Manly Man, Part II

In spite of the fact that the Vagina Monologues has attempted to co-opt this holiday to focus on rape, human trafficking, lesbianism, and all manner of unpleasantness, and Cecile Richards thinks abortion=love, Valentine's Day remains, for the rest of us, a day that signifies romance and l'amour. As the holiday looms, men, single and married, begin to get that feeling of anxiety within as they struggle to think up appropriate gifts for their beloved. Women, too, can wonder what they should get for their fellows.

My dear ladies, know that there is only one thing your man wants on V-Day, and it starts with an s.

That's right: stuff--stuff he'll actually like. (What did you think I was going to say?)

Building on my Christmas wish list, I offer a few more ideas for women to consider this Valentine's Day for their manly man.

DVD collection of any film starring Russell Crowe or directed by Mel Gibson. Since their films generally involve intense action sequences, gore, and men heroically sacrificing their lives or welfare for the sake of others, you can't go wrong.

Women--get creative. Find a nice unused side table or drinks trolley and turn it into a well-stocked bar replete with your fellow's favorite libations. When he arrives home from work, greet him with a kiss and a glass of Jameson's on the rocks, a gin & tonic, a cold Martini, or whatever your man likes. (And if you don't know how to make a good cocktail, you can start here.) And there's no use serving up a cold one if you do so in frumpy bathrobes and unbrushed hair. Pretty yourself up a little before he arrives--you may have spent the entire day breaking up fights among screaming children, washing dishes, putting away a mountain of laundry, and picking up toys, but remember that nothing soothes his soul more than to come home to a contented wife. If you must unload, give a thought to his needs and at least give him enough time to kick off his shoes, have a drink, and relax a bit first...

Chocolate is not just for women. If your fellow has a sweet tooth, get him a few bars of gourmet chocolate--and splurge by buying European, not American. (The Europeans have been at it longer, and it shows.)

If you're in a place that's not too frigid and are near water, rent a sailboat for a day or a half-day. If your man can handle a boat, all the better; if not, you can rent the captain, too. Bring along a basket of sandwiches and wine, sit on the deck taking in the sun and water--and sometime during the trip you might nip down below deck and take in an extended view of the scenery there (sans captain)...

I don't think there's a man out there who wouldn't enjoy, at least once in his life, discharging a firearm. He might never have owned a gun in his life, but the chance to feel the heaviness of cold steel in his palms, to cock that trigger, aim, shoot, and hold firm on the kickback is a bracing experience. An afternoon at the firing range is sure to get his testosterone pumping, and will make for a lively and grateful man afterward...

Not for him, silly--for you. But he'll like them--trust me--especially paired with something like this:

The Word of God is symbolized by the sword, and its Truth cuts through falsehood as the sharpest blade. Your man will love this sword and its leather scabbard, engraved with the words Our Lord showed to Constantine in a vision of the Cross: "By this sign you shall conquer." Constantine went on to win the Battle at the Milvian Bridge, and became the first Christian emperor of the Roman Empire, establishing Christianity as the official religion.

Memento mori. Saints and doctors of the Church are often pictured with a skull among their books and papers, to indicate their contemplation of death, and their daily preparation to fit their souls for Heaven. This skull paperweight will help your fellow remember the words he hears as he receives the ashes at the start of each Lent, words we do well to ponder daily: "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return."

This old-fashioned brass shave kit, complete with safety razor, shave brush, and shave soap, will do a superior job smoothing away the bristles, leaving a clean, smooth cheek for you to kiss. Not only will it make his daily chore more enjoyable, it'll also save him money, as the soap lasts 10x longer than a can of shaving foam, and the blades are mere pennies to replace.

Speaking of the Word of God... Because your manly man strives after true holiness--as all true manly men do--you can get him the Bible of Bibles: the Douay-Rheims with Haydock's commentary. Your fellow will spend many happy hours perusing its pages and being filled with the light of the Holy Ghost...

No man can learn true masculinity unless he gets to know the Manly Man par excellence: Our Lord Jesus Christ. These powerful and insightful presentations of The One True Faith by Michael Voris will help your fellow grow in knowledge and love of Our King. And while you're at it, get him a gift subscription to ChurchMilitant.TV--for the true man knows that life is a perpetual warfare against evil--within and without--and this apostolate will equip him to confront and battle that evil with all the spiritual weapons at his disposal, through our Holy Catholic Faith.

Happy Valentine's Day!

04 February 2012

A Love Worthy of the Saints

St. Elizabeth of Hungary was betrothed to Blessed Louis of Thuringia at the tender age of four; he was eleven. She grew up at his court, and suffered much at the hands of his family, although Louis himself always came to her defense. At age 21, Louis married his fiancée, and became king that very year.

Louis was, as one might say, a man's man--strong, virile, he loved the hunt, archery, and all the sports one would expect of a young prince and master of his domain. He went on military campaigns and fought for his kingdom--but always looked forward to the time he could come home to be with his beloved wife. On one campaign, he was forced to stay away all winter, and on his return, it is said "she kissed him with her mouth and in her heart a thousand times and more."

On one occasion, when they were yet to be married, one of Elizabeth's companions found her weeping profusely in the courtyard. Asked what was the matter, Elizabeth said that one of the prince's friends, in an attempt to lure Louis to commit sin, had led a beautiful maiden into Louis's chamber. Elizabeth grieved that the temptation would overcome him and would destroy his soul. But within the chamber, the prince, reacting with anger at his friend, commanded him to take the woman away and send her back where she had come from and never return. It was only after Elizabeth saw the party leave and knew his soul was safe that she dried her tears.

During their marriage, he supported her charity and good works; she gave away so much that his servants complained. On one occasion, she took pity on a leper, bringing him into the royal chamber and laying him in her own bed. On Louis' return, his mother complained that his wife had disrespected her husband by allowing a poor beggar into his bed. Louis, taken aback by this report, went to his room, uncovered the sheets--and saw there, not a beggar, but Our Lord Himself, arms outstretched as on the Cross and bleeding. Stricken with grief, Bd. Louis begged forgiveness for his initial anger and pledged to allow his wife to give from their storehouses whatever God willed.

St. Elizabeth was in the habit of rising in the middle of the night and praying. So tender was her love for her husband that she would often take his hand and hold it, even as he lay asleep, so that they could be united in prayer.

In 1227 he went on crusade, and there was stricken with fever and died. On learning of his death, St. Elizabeth said, "The world is dead to me, and all that is pleasant in it." Although her pain was tremendous, she resigned herself to God's will. "You know, Lord, that his companionship was sweeter to me than anyone else's on earth. But I accept." She would live four years more before she herself would go on to her reward.
Louis, informed no doubt of the woes that afflicted his people, demanded and obtained permission from the Emperor to return to his dukedom. He set out on the 23d of June, 1226, and arrived at Cremona on St. John's eve, just as the people were kindling the fires on the surrounding heights. After having happily crossed the Alps, he took up his quarters with a prince, not named by historians, but who was his near relative and friend. He was received with ceremony and magnificence; and after superb feasting, with music and singing, he was conducted to his sleeping-chamber, where the prince, anxious to test the virtue of his guest, had placed a young woman of extraordinary beauty. But the young duke said immediately to his faithful attendant, the lord de Varila, "Take away this young woman quietly, and give her a mark of silver wherewith to buy a new mantle, that want may not again urge her to expose herself to sin. I say unto thee in all sincerity, that even if adultery were not a sin before God, nor a scandal in the eyes of my fellow men, I would never consent to it, solely through love for my dear Elizabeth, and fear of saddening or troubling her soul."

The next morning, as the prince jested with him on this subject, Louis replied, "Know, my cousin, that to obtain the whole Roman empire I would not commit such a sin."
From The Life of St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Count de Montalembert

25 January 2012

Cours Mirabeau, Aix-en-Provence

24 January 2012


Abp. Fulton Sheen on a retreat he gave at the Trappist monastery in Gethsemani, Kentucky:
A particularly striking scene at the abbey was Compline, or the night prayers of the monks. Each of them had a small lamp above his choir seat which he would use if he needed to recall the words for reading. But as they came to that part of the prayer which they knew, one by one the lights would go out. The long narrow chapel was then in total darkness, except for the great large window at the far extreme above the main altar, where there was a stained-glass window of the Blessed Mother surrounded by angels and saints. As the evening prayer progressed until finally they came to the hymn of Our Lady, Salve Regina, the illumination of the window gradually increased, until at the close of the song and the night prayer it was a veritable blaze of glory. Here were over two hundred strong men as full of passion as and perhaps more full than their fellow men in the world, who all were in love with the same Woman--without jealousy--and in whom they all trusted to make them more like her Son.

19 January 2012

When it is all over you will not regret having suffered; rather you will regret having suffered so little, and suffered that little so badly.

--Bd. Sebastian Valfré

18 January 2012

Hat on a café chair, Richard Kalvar, Paris, 1971

16 January 2012

The Full Facts About RealCatholicTV.com

Here's a very detailed timeline with behind-the-scenes information about this apostolate.

Other bloggers with little to no information are leaping to conclusions and crying "disobedience" when they have no clue what's going on. When even canon lawyers can't agree on jurisdiction, how silly that internet Catholics think they've got it all figured out!