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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Jesus is Lord

There are few more tiresome and enervating conversations than those initiated by the unapologetically unknowing who insist Jesus Christ, the Son of God, Savior of Mankind, the Way, Truth and Light, never admitted to being God in the Bible. Instead, they insist Christ's Disciples "fabricated" His Divinity. Despite proof to the contrary, they've not only convinced themselves they're right but that they also have the unalienable "right-to-be-right" and that any "impudent backtalk" from Christians must be the result of our evil irrationalism.
Unaccustomed as I am to public gambling, I'm quick to offer a wager because the prideful and their money are easily separated. If, as they insist, no references to Christ claiming His divinity can be found in the Bible, surely they'll have no problem with betting a buck for each and every Biblical passage that proves them wrong.
Inevitably, the unbeliever's jaw will fall open as they struggle to catch their breath, offering a prayer to the God in Whom they don't believe to extricate themselves from the imbroglio of their own making.
In actuality, there are at least fifty passages in which Christ specifically admits to His divinity including:
Not everyone who calls Me 'Lord, Lord' will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only those who do what My Father in Heaven wants them to do. When the Judgment Day comes, many will say to Me, 'Lord, Lord! In Your name we spoke God's message, by Your name we drove out many demons and performed many miracles!'
Mt 12:7-8

Friday, August 19, 2016

Blessed Fr. Martin Martinez Pascual

Blessed Fr. Martin Martinez Pascual left a lasting testament to the grace of martyrdom when, on August 18, 1936, he smiled for a photo just moments before being shot.
A Diocesan Worker Priest of the Sacred Heart, Fr. Pascual had been appointed prefect of St. Joseph's College in Murcia as well as professor at the seminary in San Fulgencio. He taught Latin, and was a popular and beloved priest.
The anti-Catholic persecutions in Spain erupted in 1936, while the priest was on vacation in his home. He made sure to rescue all the consecrated Hosts from the parish chapel, and went into hiding in barns and caves. He only emerged in August once he heard that his father had been arrested, questioned by the local committee on the whereabouts of his son.
His father had sent a message to his son asking that he get as far away from the area as possible, but instead, Fr. Pascual turned himself in, in the hopes the government would release his father. Pascual was thrown into prison along with other captured priests, where he spent time offering the sacraments of penance and the Holy Eucharist to fellow prisoners. On August 18, the priests were loaded on to the back of a truck and driven to a local graveyard.
Before his death, the guards asked Pascual if he preferred to turn around so as not to see the rifles. The priest answered no, and said, "I only give you my blessing that God does not take into account the madness that you commit." He then blessed his murderers.
Hans Gutmann, a republican soldier documenting the work of the militia, desired to capture images of the priest in his final moments. He took photos while Fr. Pascual smiled for the camera. The man standing next to him in the image is the soldier who would moments later shoot him.
Father's last words were "Viva Cristo Rey!"

Friday, August 12, 2016

7 Bold Insights

1. Men and women are different, complimentary, and we truly need each other.
"Man is characterized by his strength, his courage, his nobility; he's meant to be chivalrous to protect the weak. The woman has something tender, she has empathy, she has a much easier time feeling herself into others. And so they have this complementarity, it is profound. 'It is not good for man to be alone.' In order to be complete, man needs a woman and a woman needs a man. Now this goes so far that the holiest priests I have met in my life, who have dedicated their lives to God and live in perfect celibacy, all have a very special devotion to the Holy Virgin and the Holy Virgin gives them what would be lacking if it was simply a development of male characteristics."
2. The Catholic Church and her Sacramental life are essential for authentic masculinity and femininity.

"The tragedy is that after original sin all the beautiful, magnificent male qualities, such as strength and courage and virility and so on, degenerated into something that is unfortunately a horrible perversion: male brutality - you just need to read the newspaper to find out that day after day women are abused and battered by the activities of their boyfriends or husbands. On the other hand, the beautiful female characteristics of empathy and sweetness, the heart can degenerate into self-centeredness, pettiness, sentimentality, all sorts of distortions. Now when both are distorted, both of them need to be purified. And this is the unbelievable gift of the Roman Catholic Church. I'm a cradle Catholic, and day after day after day, I'm more grateful of the fact that ever since I was a child I have been given Catholic food.

For example, take the seven Sacraments, all of this struck me as a little girl, that every single problem, every single difficulty, has an answer through the Sacraments - through Baptism we are brought back in communion with God, in Confirmation we are strengthened, through the Holy Eucharist we receive the divine food that God, that Christ, promised to his disciples and gave at the Last Supper, through the Sacrament of Penance you can cleanse yourself of your daily sins and imperfections - for every single facet of human life you have divine help."

3. The enemy of femininity is feminism.

"Feminism has actually harmed femininity. In my mind, when you say feminism and femininity, you are saying two things that are radically different. The enemy of femininity is feminism because feminism basically looks down upon femininity as a sign of inferiority and so they say 'man is truly the one who is powerful, is the one who is setting the stage, is the one who is creative, so women have to become like men.' No. Obviously a woman can never become a man. At best she can be a caricature of a man and this is what we often see today: when women behave like men, swear like men, smoke cigars like men, and then believe that they are very manly. In fact, they're betraying their femininity." 

4. The lives of the Saints reveal masculinity and femininity redeemed. Both are marked by holy courage. 

"…what is amazing, is that through grace, man can be purified and his beautiful male characteristics can revive, can be rejuvenated…you see that in the Saints: they are strong, they are powerful when it comes to defending the faith, they are gentle and tender toward the weak. In other words, the great mistake is to believe the opposite of strength is gentleness. It's not true at all. Strength and gentleness belong together - you find this in Christ, who is so strong and simultaneously meek of heart, you find that in the Saints. What is the opposite of strength is weakness and cowardice. 

You find the very same thing in women - the opposite of sensitivity, of empathy, is not sentimentality, which is basically to be sense-centered, it is a holy courage for the faith. This is why, for example, one of the things that always impresses me so, is the Holy Virgin at the foot of the Cross. We have to keep in mind that no human being has ever suffered as much as the Holy Virgin - she had the greatest privilege ever granted to a human being, simultaneously she carried the heaviest cross because she was at Calvary watching every single step of this abomination which is the Crucifixion. And what is absolutely amazing, this struck me already when I was a little girl: Mary was standing. She was not collapsing in self-pity. She was standing because it is by standing that she collaborated most with the Crucifixion of her Son. This is why the Blessed One is also the Mother Dolorosa." 

Read rest

Saturday, August 6, 2016


Liturgical conservatives and progressives argue endlessly about this. Their argument will never be resolved, both because Sacrosanctum Concilium was and the subsequent magisterium has been self-contradictory, but also because neither side in the debate is willing to be honest about the historical facts. I am sorry to be harsh, but having read the output of both sides of the debate over a number of years, it is time it was said.
First, Sacrosantum Concilium: how is it self-contradictory? It makes few concrete suggestions, but it does make some. It calls for wider use of the vernacular (63); the removal of 'useless repetition' (34), and a more 'lavish' presentation of the Scriptures in the readings, arranged over a 'prescribed number of years' (51). It leaves further details to local initiative and an official commission. On the other hand, it says (23):

There must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing.

It is perfectly obvious that the this double condition is not satisfied by the concrete suggestions the document itself makes. There is no precedent in the liturgical tradition of the Church, in any Rite, for a multi-year lectionary, and to suggest that such a thing could grow 'organically' out of a single-year lectionary is obviously absurd. There is no precedent for a mixing of Latin and the vernacular in the liturgy, or for the liturgy to be translated into dozens of vernaculars for different countries. The principle militating against 'useless repetition' is entirely foreign to the Church's liturgical tradition. And none of these changes could possibly, in advance, be said to be required 'genuinely and certainly' by the good of the Church.

From this fundamental self-contradiction, you can draw any conclusion you like. Perhaps the 'general principle' of section 23 should control our interpretation of the specific examples of reforms; perhaps it is the other other way around. The fact is, there is no coherent programme of reform in Sacrosanctum Concilium. Let's not engage in make-believe. It is a compromise document with provisions pointing in different directions.

It was, however, interpreted by those appointed to interpret it, and the Novus Ordo Missae was signed off by Pope Paul VI. So what liturgical style are we guided towards by the official documents, documents of the 'living magisterium' as the conservatives like to call them, which accompanied and followed the promulgation of the new missal?

Well, these documents too are mutually contradictory. The architect of the reforms, Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, made a great deal of the provision of Sacrosanctum Conciium 34:

The rites should be distinguished by a noble simplicity; they should be short, clear, and unencumbered by useless repetitions; they should be within the people's powers of comprehension, and normally should not require much explanation.

This is his justification for rewriting practically every Latin prayer in the Missal, and then authorising its translation into kindergarten English: projects which were, of course, officially approved and given authoritative promulgation by the Church's Supreme Legislator, the Pope. Where does the 2011 'new translation' come from? It comes from a much later document, the 2001 Instruction Liturgiam authenticam which states (27):

If indeed, in the liturgical texts, words or expressions are sometimes employed which differ somewhat from usual and everyday speech, it is often enough by virtue of this very fact that the texts become truly memorable and capable of expressing heavenly realities

The fact has to be faced: in proposing a 'hieratic', 'sacred' liturgical register, it introduces a liturgical principle for the guidance of translators which simply is not to be found in Sacrosanctum Concilium or in the numerous documents of the 1970s and 1980s, documents like the toe-curling Directory for Masses with Children in 1973. There had been a massive conservative push-back in the 1990s and Liturgiam authenticam was the result. So patent was the contradiction between the two eras that Liturgiam authenticam actually abrogated a whole raft of official guidance from before 1994:

8. The norms set forth in this Instruction are to be substituted for all norms previously published on the matter,

We need to face the fact: the magisterium's own interpretation of Sacrosanctum Concilium is a moving target. It was quite different in the 1970s than it was by the mid 1990s. Who knows where it will be in ten years?

Friday, August 5, 2016

Recapture Manhood

The disaster that has befallen the Church for the past half century has been a failure of manhood, largely on the part of the clergy, most especially bishops, which has been transmitted to Catholic men in general.
In the face of the Women's Liberation Movement of the 1960s, masculinity and paternity became four-letter words, and were roundly mocked by the media and society's trendsetters and influencers. This coincided with a flood of homosexual men entering the seminaries, as well as heterosexual men deliberately being screened out.
Large portions of the priesthood became a kind of career for homosexual men, an accepted fact recognized by such polar opposites as the New York Times and the Vatican. Lousy Catholic Maureen Dowd writing for the New York Times said that the Catholic Church had become a haven for gay priests.
Meanwhile, the Vatican itself has had to deal with the crisis of homosexuality in the ranks of the clergy, from the sex abuse scandal to a special investigation announcing that gay men are not to be ordained to admissions by both Pope Francis and Pope Benedict that "gay lobbies" were at work in the Church.
The presence of all this has severely weakened and distorted a true view of authentic masculinity within the Church. Many Catholic men are simply lost, without any understanding of authentic manhood. They cannot look to the clergy for any clarity in this area because many of the clergy are likewise infected with poor training, a malformation which they received in the seminary.
One of the aims of the rebellion that took place in the Church was to knock out any real sense of the masculine. Wholesale changes in the liturgy subliminally reinforced this message. Abuses in the liturgy which became standard further undermined the role of men. The clergy became effete, the Mass became treated as though it was a personal theater production for many priests, and men became turned off.
No matter how you view it, there is a man crisis in the Catholic Church today, brought about by men in crisis over their own manhoods. This has caused enormous suffering for souls, both in this life and the next, because the strength and courage needed to lead a holy and virtuous life is no longer allowed to be spoken of. False notions of tolerance, rooted in deformed masculinity, now reign supreme in much of the clergy, and many of the faithful, especially the young, have no real concept of the masculine and the demands it places on them.
There is good news, however, little rays of hope here and there. In various places in the Church, attempts to expose the lie of distorted masculinity, the deformed masculine, are beginning to crop up. There are more and more discussions of this topic appearing in various Catholic blogs. A few Catholic apostolates are beginning to increasingly focus on this topic, realizing its importance.