Restoring the Sacred

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Save the Family, Save the World (Michael Matt, London)

Fr. Rutler's Weekly Column, May 20, 2018



Fr. Rutler's Weekly Column

May 20, 2018


The poet W.H. Auden once lectured me about the wrongness of modern translations rendering Holy Ghost as Holy Spirit. His frail case was that there are certain drinks, too, that can be called spirits. This made no sense. “Spirit” is a Latinism far older than “Ghost,” which goes back no further than the Old English “gast” and the German “Geist.” As a matter of taste, preference for “Ghost” is as anachronistic as thinking that the Baroque style of chasubles sometimes called the “fiddleback” is much more traditional than the Gothic style.

   The Hebrew word for spirit, “ruach,” sounds like breathing, and pneumatic tires are called that after the Greek word for wind. There is indeed a “variety of spirits,” but to confuse the Holy Spirit with any vague parody is foggy superstition. The apostles mistook Jesus for a ghost when he walked on water, and they only knew that his risen body was not a ghost when he ate fish and honey. A modern form of superstition is the vague emotionalism of those who say that they are spiritual but not religious. The Master will have none of that, for he is Truth: “The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63).

   Christ told the disciples after the Resurrection that he must leave this world of time and space in order to send the Holy Spirit. There are on record fifteen appearances of the Risen Christ, including three after Pentecost: once seen by Stephen as he was dying, another speaking to Paul on the way to Damascus, and then to John on Patmos. But each appearance was followed by a disappearance enabling the Holy Spirit, as the bond of love between the Father and the Son, to invigorate the Church.

   By what seems a paradox, because the actions intersect time and eternity, Christ goes away so that through his Holy Spirit he can be with us always. This becomes most graphic each day at Mass when the Holy Spirit is invoked upon the bread and wine so that they become Christ’s body and blood. That moment on the Eucharistic altar fulfills the prehistoric instant when God breathed his spirit into Adam and, countless ages before that, when the Spirit of God “moved upon the face of the waters” and began everything.

   None of this is conjecture, because it is a response to actual events: “The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you” (John 14:26). The Fountain of Youth that explorers in futility tried to find, like pharmacists and cosmetic surgeons today, is a ghostly illusion and a superstitious cipher for life eternal: “You send forth your Spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the earth” (Psalm 104:30).


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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Vatican II & Pope Francis: Fr. Clovis Interviewed by Michael Matt



RTV in LONDON: Michael Matt interviews Father Linus Clovis. The conversation covers the question of refusing Communion to pro-abort politicians, the necessity of the TLM, Pope Francis, and Amoris Laetitia, which Father calls a "Trojan Horse." Plus, is Pope Francis an anomaly, or did Vatican II make Francis inevitable?

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Fr. Rutler's Weekly Column: May 6, 2018




Fr. Rutler's Weekly Column

May 6, 2018


   The exotic concept of spontaneous generation was taken seriously by astute thinkers for a long time before the invention of microbiology. Of course, they knew about the proximate process of birth, but the biological source of life itself exercised such minds as Anaximander six hundred years B.C. and Saint Augustine, Shakespeare, and the philosopher of fishing Izaak Walton, and was at least a puzzle to Darwin.

   Spontaneous generation was the theory that living organisms could arise from inanimate matter, like fleas born from dust, or mice from salt and bees from animal blood and, in the speculation of Aristotle, scallops coming out of sand. I came across an unintentionally amusing comment from the 1920 proceedings of the American Philological Society published by the Johns Hopkins University Press: “Since insects are so small, it is not surprising that the sex history of some of them totally eluded the observation of the ancients.”

   The advent of micro-imagery photography of infants in the womb destroyed eugenic propaganda that this is not a human life. Those who deny that are on the level of those who continued to insist on spontaneous generation after the Catholic genius Louis Pasteur disproved it in 1859.
   Cold people who are not only credulous but cruel, admit that the unborn child is human, but say “So what?” At the recent White House Correspondents’ dinner, an astonishingly vulgar comedienne joked about abortion to the laughter of pseudo-sophisticates in evening dress. But even she slipped and used the word “baby.”

   Christ used the image of the vine to explain that all life is contingent, not spontaneously generated, but dependent on other lives. “A branch cannot bear fruit on its own unless it remains on the vine.” Likewise, those drinking champagne at the fancy dress dinner are related to every fragile life in the womb by a common humanity. To mock that is to de-humanize the self.

   On the recent feast of Saint George, there was born in England, whose patron he is, Louis, a prince of the royal house. There were celebratory church bells from Westminster Abbey and a salute of cannons. Rightly so, for the birth of every baby is a cause for rejoicing. That same day another baby, one with a neurological infirmity, was deprived of oxygen support by judicial decree and against the will of his parents, who brought him into the world by pro-creation, as stewards of the Creator and not by spontaneous generation. This was in defiance of an effort by Pope Francis to rescue him by military helicopter. As sons by adoption, little Louis and little Alfie are princes of the Heavenly King, not by spontaneous generation, but by divine will. Pope Leo XIII declared in Rerum Novarum: “The contention that the civil government should at its option intrude into and exercise intimate control over the family and the household is a great and pernicious error.”


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Monday, April 30, 2018

Fr. Nix: Two Modern Myths of Ancient Church History


http://padreperegrino.org/2018/04/30/myths-church-history/


Myth 1: Catholic means that which is believed in all places, even during an isolated time of Church history.  

Truth:  Catholic is that which is believed everywhere, always and by all.

Myth 2: Church History is like a pendulum that swings back and forth between conservative and liberal.

Truth:  Church history is politically unstable, but dogmatically quite stable, except for two unique doctrinal crises in Church history.  Even in these periods, the Magisterium remains untouched.


Campus Free-Speech Crisis

Control the Words, Control the Culture

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Fr. Rutler's Weekly Column, April 29, 2018



Fr. Rutler's Weekly Column

April 29, 2018


It occurred to me this past week, celebrating Saint George the Martyr (or “Mega-Martyr” as he is known among the effervescent Byzantines), that friendship with a patron saint, on one’s name day day—or “onomastico”—is a practice that needs revival.

   There are friends and acquaintances, but it is a special privilege to have a heavenly friend as a companion and encourager. It is helpful, but not necessary, to know much about what they did when they were alive here. In the case of George, little is known, and when the unknown bits are embellished with fanciful legends such as stabbing dragons, they can seem remote. But think of an athlete, who has a native talent for some sport, and how a coach can protect and develop it. In that sense, albeit in a strained analogy, the patron saint is available to help.

   There are those called Fundamentalists who object to the whole economy of saintly intercessions. The suffix “-ist” can distort a good thing. An artist well serves art, as a pianist is why there are pianos, but race and sex and things spiritual are not the same as a racist or sexist or spiritualist. Fundamentals in religion are the cornerstone of Faith, but a Fundamentalist misses the fundamental point of asking saints to pray for us, as if that compromised Christ as the sole mediator between man and God. That uniqueness is the essence of all the Church’s prayers offered “through Christ our Lord.” The faithful certainly can pray directly to Jesus, but the Lord also wants us to do so not as a solo exercise but as part of his whole Church. He ordered us to pray for others (Matthew 5:44). Saint James said that “the prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effect,” which is why Saint Paul urged "that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high position, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

   The saints in heaven are not remote from those who have been baptized, even if our chapels and churches and homes seem far different from the golden environment of the eternal realms, where they “fall down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints” (Revelation 5:8).

   Meanwhile, if much is not known about the saints, they know us. In the case of Saint George, I expect he wants us to know that dragons are real, in the form of the cruelties and vices that afflict mankind, and that the saints can help us to slay the passion and pride of those dragons through the power of the King of Saints: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace” (John 16:33).


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Like what you're reading? If so, please consider making a special donation to the Church of St. Michael the Archangel at 424 West 34th Street, so that we can afford to continue distributing the column!
P.S. - You can also now hear Father's Sunday homilies.
Simply go to https://fathergeorgerutler.podbean.com