Restoring the Sacred

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Frs. Mullady, Rutler and Spitzer on Hot Topics of the Day

From The National Catholic Register:

Fr. Rutler on Islam: 
The World Trade Center [on 9-11] was not destroyed by Presbyterians.  Catholics are naïve if they try to ignore that the attackers were Muslim.  As I said in one of my articles (, society is in a similar place today as it was in regards to Hitler in the 1930s. People were accommodating themselves to National Socialism or Hitlerism because they thought it would bring down Marxism. The Nazis, in fact, presented themselves as the anti-Bolsheviks.  But, they didn’t appreciate the disease they were unleashing on the world. 
People who describe themselves as liberals today are often protective and defensive about Islam, despite the fact that it is so intrinsically opposed to what these progressives claim to represent.  The only explanation I can come up with is that these Western socialists or progressives are hostile to Judeo-Christian civilization and see Muslims as an effective force against it.  The enemy of my enemy is my friend. 
This is coupled with the fact that the secular media so often downplays or ignores the atrocities committed by Islamists.  Just recently, for example, four Christian children were lined up by ISIS in Iraq and told to deny Christ and convert to Islam.  When they refused, they were decapitated.  I don’t recall seeing that in the New York Times.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Fr. Rutler's Weekly Column: April 22, 1018

Fr. Rutler's Weekly Column

April 22, 2018

   The Funeral Oration of Pericles, the statesman who helped make Athens great, honored the soldiers who died in the first phase of the Peloponnesian War, during which Athens took on Sparta. (If you will pardon the prejudice, that was like New York taking on Chicago.) Given in the winter of 431 – 430 B.C., Pericles’ oration extolled Athenian civilization at its height on the precipice of destruction. (The Athenian fleet would later sink into the waters off Aegospotami.) It is a model of eloquence, as transcribed in a very difficult Greek by the historian Thucydides. Esoteric grammarians enjoy its display of such devices as anacoluthon, asyndeton, hyperbaton, and the rhythmic proparoxytone that is absent from the rhetoric of contemporary politicians and prelates, although it occurs unintentionally at times in text messages and various forms of social media.

   Imagine listening to this, declaimed without a microphone, over the bones of the dead: “For we have a peculiar power of thinking before we act, and of acting, too, whereas other men are courageous from ignorance but hesitate upon reflection. And they are surely to be esteemed the bravest spirits who, having the clearest sense of both the pains and the pleasures of life, do not on that account shrink from danger.”

   Abraham Lincoln’s soul absorbed the Athenian ideal, and his address at Gettysburg has been compared to the Periclean oration, even though it had only 272 words while an English translation of Pericles has about 3,375. Pericles would die of the plague the year after he spoke, and Lincoln would be shot a year and a half after he left the cemetery in Pennsylvania.

   Those speeches were animated by natural virtue, moved by classical piety for lives heroically sacrificed for high ideals. But for the greatest speech of a mortal, I nominate the Pentecost sermon of Saint Peter (Acts 2:14-41) with its sequel, Acts 3:12-25, translated into about 532 English words. Peter’s fishing village of Capernaum boasted no school of rhetoric, and Jerusalemites mocked the Galilean accent of his Aramaic, which was not an elegant language to begin with. (Ignore the dangling participle; even Pericles used it from time to time.) When Peter had finished, more than 3,000 people begged to be baptized.

   There are too many speeches today, and public figures spout off daily, often bereft of the Athenian custom of “thinking before we act.” Lost is classical reserve, and, in the Church, there is a fatal weakness for inflated rhetoric, naïve instead of innocent and optimistic instead of hopeful: New Pentecost, New Springtime, New Evangelization. Perhaps because of such delusions, in just the last half-dozen years, the number of Millennials—who are the future of our culture—receiving ashes at the start of Lent has dropped from 50% to 41%. The non-dogmatic and non-threatening oratory of our current ecclesiastical culture would have better results if it simply translated Saint Peter’s lumpish Aramaic: “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”


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!

Sundays are for Beauty: Celtic Woman - Nella Fantasia

Gabriel's Oboe with words:

(See the comments for background.)

Fr. Gerald Murray: Of Truth and Idols

From The Catholic Thing today:

...Then Pope Francis made a startling claim: 
We must be careful not to fall into the temptation of making idols of certain abstract truths. They can be comfortable idols, always within easy reach; they offer a certain prestige and power and are difficult to discern. Because the “truth-idol” imitates, it dresses itself up in the words of the Gospel, but does not let those words touch the heart. Much worse, it distances ordinary people from the healing closeness of the word and of the sacraments of Jesus... 
Truth is the conformity of mind and reality. The truth about God is understood when we accurately grasp the nature and purpose of His creation (natural theology), and when we believe in any supernatural revelation He may make. Jesus told us that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. All truths have their origin in the Truth who is God made man. The Christian understands that the truth is a Person... 
Given this, is it possible to make the truth into an idol? Can Catholic dogmatic teachings and the truths of the moral law become false gods that we worship so as to gain “a certain prestige and power”? It’s not possible. The truth as taught by the Church is what unites us to the true God and frees us from the errors of idolatry. Truth is not an idol, it is the remedy to idolatry... 
Those who defend the Church’s constant teaching and practice on this matter have been subjected to various aspersions. Now they are being categorized as engaging in a horrific violation of the First Commandment because they treat Catholic doctrine as inviolable, and thus binding upon all believers. 
If truth could ever lose its quality of being the means to know the will of God, and become something false, and thus evil, then mankind is lost. Without immutable truth, we have no way to live in unity with God, with reality, and with one another. 
The good news is that truth can never be false. It’s not an idol, and to defend the truth is not to lead people away from God towards false worship, but rather to invite them to embrace what is, in fact, their deepest desire for goodness, happiness, and peace...
Read the whole essay by clicking this link:

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Fr. Hunwicke: Accountability

From today's post at Fr. Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment:

19 April 2018
Mgr Scicluna is to be complimented on having produced so lengthy a report (on sexual abuse in Chile) in such a comparatively short period of time, and, apparently, with so little secretarial assistance. And after himself needing surgery early in his mission.
In the Anglo-Saxon world of corporate accountability, at least a redacted summary of his Report would be available to the Public. As I write, I am unaware that anything has been made public other than PF's Letter to the Chilean Episcopal Conference. (Unfortunately, the 'story' by chance 'broke' just when our own Media were a trifle preoccupied with the possibility of a World War.) 
A 'Survivor' who, until she resigned, was a member of PF's Papal Commission on Abuse, commented:
"Now the focus has to be on the survivors who have been badly hurt by his words; then there has to be accountability."  
Regretfully, I have to say that her brutal words express an uncomfortable but simply unavoidable truth. We have not been told what Mgr Scicluna discovered about the transmission of the five-page Letter which one survivor gave to Cardinal O'Malley and which his Eminence is said to have guaranteed that he handed personally to PF. But as the uncorrected public record currently stands, it looks as though PF either never bothered to open and read the Letter; or that he read it and then forgot about its contents so comprehensively that he subsequently lost his temper and started shouting at questioners (he said he required, and had not yet been offered, 'proof'' ... a word subsequently emended to 'evidence').

This is where the demand for accountability becomes irresistible. 
We have a Roman Pontiff who has made himself a figure of mockery by his endless logorrhoea. It seems that he is unable to live without constant utterance; utterance which (unlike the words of his intellectually abler predecessors) is commonly riddled with vivid but obscure attacks, apparently often on those fellow-clergy who do not accept his own self-estimation. His 'magisterial' documents substitute inscrutable interminability for clarity. But in some contexts, a more than Trappist taciturnity magically and suddenly takes over from the compulsive loquacity. Cardinals formally offer him dubia or intellectuals send him a Filial Correction; he does not trouble even to acknowledge that he has received their communications. He refuses ... lovely Renaissance Court usage coming up here ... to "grant them an Audience". Abuse survivors transmit to him, via hand of Cardinal, long and detailed accounts of their abuse; the silence is total as they wait ... and wait ... and wait ... and the years pass by, with no comfort for their anguish 
It is an established pattern.  
Of course, a Roman Pontiff cannot read everything that anybody presses into his hand. But in previous pontificates, the Pontiff retained a certain formal distance and there were mechanisms, one imagines, by which his correspondence was handled appropriately at appropriate levels. And if there were mistakes, as in any human enterprise there undoubtedly will have been, presumably those responsible were held accountable. But PF seems to have eschewed such workaday mechanisms. He, apparently, prefers above all things to receive plaudits for his faux populism. So, by his own choice, it is he who is accountable for the mistakes. If the buck stops somewhere else, then he should have explained that earlier 
Our Most Holy Redeemer spoke sometimes with an almost Bergoglian frankness (Matthew 23?). But there is not much evidence that He habitually handled critics or questioners by "doing a Bergoglio": i.e. by saying not a syllable to them; turning his back on them; and walking away from them, wordless amid the clamour. 
In the Anglo-Saxon corporate world, a CEO who behaved like this would be tactfully removed. Or perhaps just removed without time wasted on tact. A Bergoglio would not survive as head master of an English Public School. You're laughing at me? Think about it. 
Indeed. That lady was right. First the focus does have to be upon those who have suffered. 
Then, accountability. 
Is there nobody left in the Vatican with the nous and the parrhesia  to explain to PF in simple Spanish what, in the real and practical world, accountability means?
Footnote: I commend to you the soon-to-be-published The Dictator Pope by Henry Sire. I find it convincing and compelling. If the facts about this pontificate were more widely known ...  
Posted by Fr John Hunwicke at 10:04

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Fr. Nix: Who Did the Saints Listen to in a Church Crisis?

This podcast is about the difference Divine Law, Ecclesial Law and Particular Law. This is the necessary interlude for forthcoming heresy podcasts from the fourth century onward.

Anthony Esolen: Secular Superficiality Versus the Rootedness of Culture

Today at Crisis Magazine:
Much of the work of reclaiming our Catholic schools must be done, I am persuaded, outside of the religion and theology classes. It is good to have such classes. But if they are not also seen as laying the foundation for a veritable cathedral of cultural and intellectual learning, then we have wasted a tremendous opportunity. The people in our public institutions will never understand Tennyson’s agony of faith and doubt, because they will not be reading Tennyson at all—religion, you see. But what does it profit us if we cordon the truth off in the safe space of a religion class, and do not allow it to leaven everything else we learn? We have the chance not to be ignorant.
Read the whole essay by clicking on the below link: 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Jesus Never Called a Synod

Jesus Never Called a Synod

When Jesus Christ was calling his apostles to "come follow me," he was not seeking volunteers.  He chose men (and only men) who He knew would eventually be able to spread His mystical body (His Church) throughout the world.  He also did not survey them to determine what kind of Church they would feel comfortable in, or ask them to offer their ideas as to how His Church should serve her members.  So, would somebody (preferably a high-ranking prelate) explain to the current pontiff and his sycophantic friends in the Curia, that there is no way Jesus would have called for volunteers from among a group of young, inexperienced, uncatechised, selfish teenagers and asked for their "opinions" on how to run His Church?   Fortunately, one young man from Boston, Massachusetts (who obviously is an exception to the just listed adjectives) had the courage to write to Pope Francis and do what apparently no prelate in the Curia was willing or courageous enough to do: Speak TRUTH!  That young man is John A. Monaco, and parts of his letter (which was posted by the web site One Peter Five on March 29, 2018) are reproduced below.  Unfortunately, the chance of any of John's "opinions" finding their way into the upcoming Synod report (which, no doubt, is already in final form) is less than slim.

An Open Letter to Pope Francis from a ‘Bold’ Youth

Your Holiness,

It is with a spirit of faith, hope, and love that I write this letter to you, the vicar of Christ on earth, the successor to St. Peter, the point of unity for all Catholic Christians. Truly, the Petrine office is one to which I faithfully submit in humble obedience. I pray for you and for the Church daily.
Countless times during your pontificate, you have emphasized the need for the youth to speak openly, boldly, and with courage. In fact, I recall you telling us youth at World Youth Day Rio 2013 to “make a mess.” You encouraged the bishops assembled for the 2014 Synod on the Family to “speak with parrhesia,” the Greek word meaning liberty, openness, fearlessness. In your words: “Speak clearly. Let no one say: ‘This you cannot say.’”...

As a 25-year-old male, I belong to the “giovani,” the young people to whom the Synod is directed. Truly, this is a turbulent time for the youth. We have inherited and experienced massive changes within our common life. Seismic shifts in socio-political institutions, the burden of economic insecurity, and the rapidly growing irreligious population among our peers have placed us in a situation unlike any prior generation’s. That stated, many of the young people I know around the world, though differing in language and culture, have a shared desire for truth, goodness, and beauty. All of us, from those who attend daily Mass and pray the rosary to the person questioning the existence of God, are searching for meaning and for ultimate happiness. We pray and live the words of St. Augustine of Hippo: “Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee” (Augustine, Confessions, Book 1).

I speak not only for myself when I say the restless heart finds its rest in the Sacred Heart of Jesus. We encounter God’s love most powerfully in the Holy Eucharist. Regardless of one’s formal theological education, many young people find this sort of rest in the Sacred Liturgy. Something should be said, then, about the way we often experience liturgy.

Young people today are not the young people of the 1960s. The Second Vatican Council tried its best to speak to “modern man,” but modern man of the 1960s and 1970s is now himself in his 70s. If the 1960s youth were marked by a sense of rebellion and anarchy, the youth of today desire stability, orthodoxy, and order. Unfortunately, such desire is often seen with suspicious and distrusting eyes. We are often called “rigid,” “close-minded,” and “unstable.” This is a most unfortunate pejorative claim marked against us...

Tradition is for the young. Many of us find ourselves attending the traditional Latin Mass for its sublime beauty, rich symbolism, and unquestionable sense of sacred worship. Unfortunately, when many of us express our love for tradition, we are insulted and unfairly labeled “ultra-conservatives.” We attend the Latin Mass not because we seek to escape from the world, but rather because we wish to sanctify it by being nourished through intentional, purposeful, and transcendent worship. Many of us rejoiced when your predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, issued Summorum Pontificum and aided it with the following words:
What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.  It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place...

Our desire for traditional, beautiful, and reverent liturgy should not be seen as disregarding issues of social justice. If anything, traditional liturgy fosters a more integral and authentic Christian social ethic. If we cannot worship and revere the Body of Christ in the Holy Eucharist, then we will never be able to truly revere and honor the Body of Christ in the world. Countless saints who have had a passion for serving the poor and marginalized have simultaneously adored the Lord in a spirit of awe and reverence. Consider St. Francis of Assisi and Mother Teresa, both of whom expressed the need for Eucharistic reverence while stretching out their arms to the poor and needy. Traditional liturgy and the Church’s social teaching are not mutually exclusive...

Holy Father, I write these words after much prayer and reflection. I pray that the Holy Spirit guides and protects you and the Synod 2018. May it be a time of great renewal of the Church’s mission for the salvation of souls. And may we, the youth, serve at the vanguard.

John A. Monaco
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

You can read the entire letter at this link:

Fr. Rutler's Weekly Column, April 15, 2018

Fr. Rutler's Weekly Column

April 15, 2018

While it is easy to identify bold personalities that enjoy a good fight, and others that shrink shyly from any kind of confrontation, psychologists do not find it easy to define the middle type that tries to control without seeming to do so. If it is hard to define “passive aggression,” you can recognize the indirect expression of hostility when you see it at work: sullen, procrastinating, self-pitying, cold and silent in a way that is far from golden.

   It is wonderful that the Risen Lord did not say to the trembling apostles in the Upper Room, “I told you so.” There is no tone of vengeful vindication or even the slightest condescension. He just serenely explains how these events had to be. The Lord has an assignment for the apostles, just as he offers each of us a plan for life. And he takes us seriously, only asking that we take him seriously in return. That is why he shows his wounds. They have not vanished in the glory of the Resurrection, for they are reminders that the new course of history will be fraught with challenges for which the Church must be prepared.

   On June 28 in 1245, Pope Innocent IV convened an Ecumenical Council in Lyon, France, where he would stay for several years for safety from the emperor Frederick II. He opened the Council with a sermon on the Five Wounds of the Church. They were: 1) public heresy growing out of personal immorality; 2) the persecution of Christians by Muslims; 3) schism in the Church; 4) the invasion of Christian countries by unbelievers; and 5) attempts of civil governments to control the Church. Does this sound familiar?

   In his day, lax and immoral Catholics were trying to justify their lifestyle by “paradigm shifts” in doctrine, Muslims were terrorizing Christians in the Middle East, the rift between Western and Eastern churches was growing and would not be checked even by the attempt of a second Council of Lyons some thirty years later, Mongol hordes were invading Hungary and Poland, and the Holy Roman Emperor was claiming political authority over the bishops.

   The French philosopher and mathematician, Blaise Pascal, said: “Jesus will be in agony until the end of the world.” Having risen from the grave, he can die no more, nor can he suffer as he once did. But the Church is his body and “inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these little ones, you have done it to me.” Christ’s supernatural agony is a triumph of divine love for those whose salvation he bought with his own blood. He is not passively aggressive, because his confrontation in every age is a direct one against “the Devil and all his pomps.” There is no need for revenge, for to get even is never to get ahead.

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! 

Kyrie (from the Missa Spe Salvi)

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Latin Mass - Immaculate Heart of Mary Oratory - San Jose, CA

The Remnant: Gaudete et Exsultate: Demagogic Piety on the March

Christopher, writing yesterday at The Remnant:

Gaudete et Exsultate is exactly what we have come to expect from this drearily predictable pontificate. To quote Carl Olsen in Catholic World Report: “many good qualities and substantive passages… often overshadowed, or even undermined, by straw men, dubious arguments, and cheap shots.”

Bergoglian pronouncements in general are precisely vehicles for the delivery of straw men, dubious arguments and cheap shots, all invariably directed against orthodoxy and orthopraxy. Expressions of piety are wrapped around crass ecclesiastical demagoguery, a velvet glove for the clenched fist of militant humility so typical of the boorish cant of leftist Latin American clerics.

The document’s call for a living relationship with God animated by charity is belied by its repeated descent into the uncharitable caricature and outright calumny of those members of the faithful Bergoglio perceives as impediments to his maniacal designs. Herewith a sampling of the invective interwoven into the pious passages of the document:her Ferrara, writing yesterday at The Remnant:

City Journal: The Left's War on Science