Thursday, November 23, 2017
Sunday, November 19, 2017
(St. John Chrysostom & St. Gregory the Wonderworker)
Yet all sad songs have this “remembering Zion” about them, this sense of how things might have been but were not. The Man of Sorrows’ love was and still is rejected by many. He did not abolish sadness. He redeemed us through it. It is not the greatest evil. This awareness of what is at stake is what we learn from listening to the sad songs of our kind, songs from the streams of Babylon to the waltzes danced in Tennessee.
Saturday, November 18, 2017
Father Rutler's Weekly ColumnNovember 19th, 2017The Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas has been made a shrine, for the massacre there has left it a hallowed place for mourners. A red rose marks where each of the victims died, and then there is one pink rose. That is for the unborn baby that died in the womb. To the frustration of some, Texas is one of 38 states that recognize an infant in utero as a victim when the mother is assaulted. Federal law also accords legal rights to the unborn in cases of federal and military crimes. A pink rose is at least a tacit acknowledgement that a human life existed before birth, and Catholics know that life is life, with no varying shades. This is one example of how truth prevails despite attempts to obscure it.
Confusion has also muddled marriage. When marriage is refashioned into an oxymoronic “same-sex marriage,” along with ambiguity about procreation and the permanence of natural marriage, the social order loses interest in it altogether. Even among self-professed Catholics, whose population has increased in the last forty years, there has been a 60% decrease in weddings.
As the Religious life is a consecrated form of spiritual marriage, opaqueness about such commitment has caused the virtual evaporation of many communities. In the past five years alone, with the exception of communities solid in doctrine, there has been a loss of over seven per cent among women religious, while orders of men declined somewhat less.
St. John Paul II spoke clearly about priestly charisms, and during his pontificate the number of seminarians worldwide increased from 63,882 to 114,439. The years of Pope Benedict XVI saw the numbers grow to 118, 257. Since then, in a time of confusion in the Church and society as a whole, there has been a consistent global decline. In our own vast archdiocese, of the small handful of recent ordinations none was a native New Yorker.
Yet often where there is clarity of doctrine and high morale, the picture is bright. In 2015, the most recent year for statistics, there was a 25% increase nationally in ordinations. The archdiocese of St. Louis, with a Catholic population roughly less than a quarter the size of the archdiocese of New York, has considerably more seminarians, and the dioceses of Madison, Wisconsin and Lincoln, Nebraska, relatively small in population, each have about twice as many seminarians as we have in “the capital of the world.”
In the pro-life movement, on the federal level there are positive developments correcting the anti-life legislation of recent years. And where better instruction is provided, Catholic marriages are becoming more purposeful and stable. Then too, a new generation of young priests sound in doctrine and liturgy is appearing. There is strength in clarity. “For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” (1 Corinthians 14:8).
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Friday, November 17, 2017
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Wednesday, November 15, 2017
Great essay on the priestly Cassock today, by Fr. John A. Perricone, at Crisis Magazine:
The priest in the Roman cassock not only represents a divine institution, a legacy of illuminating dogmas, or a prestigious position in a world-respected Church. More grandly, the cassocked priest trumpets to the world a dazzling power: to summon the Word Incarnate upon altars for the salvation of the human race; to literally change the souls of men by uttering the words of absolution. Even while performing works of charity, the priest in the Roman cassock sets himself apart from those doing the same. In cassock, the priest adds a supernatural luster which brings to the work a radiance it did not have before. The habited St Vincent DePaul taking a child in his arms, or the cassocked St. John Bosco playing with his boys, is poetry; a state official, or even a good Catholic doing the same things is prose.
Fr. Schall writing today at Crisis Magazine:
“Climate change” has deftly been substituted for the notorious “earth-warming” theory, the facts of which proved so difficult to sustain on the grounds of evidence about whether warming was or was not actually happening. Thus, whether the temperature goes up or down, it is “climate change”; so we can have an ecological crisis with the temperature going either direction. In grammar school in Iowa in my day, much attention was given to the Ice Age, which had once covered the state and, in fact, was one of the reasons for the richness of its black soil. We left grammar school more concerned about freezing to death than of roasting in some future Iowa desert.
Sunday, November 12, 2017
Saturday, November 11, 2017
From Brian Williams -The Liturgy Guy:
Many are stunned today at the speed in which western civilization is collapsing. Coinciding with this is the post-conciliar crisis within the Church, the fourth great crisis of Christendom as it has been described by that great defender of orthodoxy, Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan. What may not be as clear too many is the connection between the destruction of the Mass and of the collapse of the Christian west.
To read the rest of the essay, click on the below link:
Friday, November 10, 2017
Thursday, November 9, 2017
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
James Kalb, writing today at Crisis Magazine:
What is going on? When did opposition to bigotry become so bigoted, and “hate” lose its connection to hate? How did it happen that pretty much everyone who ever lived now counts as a bigot to be ashamed of? For that matter, when did ordinary Church teaching regarding sex and the sexes, or the value of recognizing and protecting national distinctiveness, become equivalent to crimes against humanity?
At first such views seemed extreme, but more and more they are becoming the conventional wisdom, taught in the schools, proclaimed by moral leaders, assumed as a matter of course in law and public policy, and re-enforced by high and low culture and even by penal sanctions. The transformation is barely noticed, and generally taken for granted as an obvious good thing.
Such a change must have something immensely powerful behind it. But what? It’s a complicated story, but at bottom it has to do with the emerging globalized, technological, and integrated social order in which we live, and the ideals that support that order and the position of those who run it. These ideals present an image of a world reconstituted in accordance with technocratic norms and understandings, a single economic and social network ordered by global markets, certified experts, transnational bureaucracies, electronic entertainment, and electronic communications that make everyone in the world equally present to everyone else.
In that world, the world of Facebook, Amazon, and global mobility of labor, specific inherited culture loses coherence and function. Men and women become interchangeable economic units. Family is replaced by day care, fast food, and welfare rights. Religion merges into politically correct progressivism. And common sense and the wisdom of the people—the secular equivalent of the Catholic sensus fidei fidelium—are replaced by spin, memes, propaganda, alleged expertise, and commercial pop culture.
To read the entire essay, click on the below link:
Monday, November 6, 2017
Sunday, November 5, 2017
Saturday, November 4, 2017
Father Rutler's Weekly ColumnSunday, November 5th, 2017.Celebrating the bicentennial of the French Revolution in 1989 was awkward and unlike our nation’s festivities of 1976, because the American Revolution did not have a Reign of Terror. The Russian people are in a situation even more perplexing when it comes to the one-hundredth anniversary of the October Revolution on November 7. (The dating confusion is because Russia was still on the old Julian calendar in 1917.) The Russian Revolution unleashed the horrors of Communism that led to the deaths of at least 94 million people in various countries, by genocide, execution, purges and famines caused by collectivization.
History is not ardently pursued in our schools these days, and when it is modified as Social Science, it often distorts historical reality. In a survey of youths between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four, twenty-eight per cent had never heard of Lenin, and fully half had never heard of Stalin, while nearly two-thirds were unaware of the existence of history’s worst mass murderer (65 million deaths), Mao Tse-Tung. The death of Fidel Castro was marked by many media commentators as something to be mourned, and Che Guevara appears on t-shirts as a chic hero.
In countries at least nominally Christian, the assaults on the Church by revolutionaries took a more subtle form through subversion. There is the witness of Bella Dodd, an organizer of the Communist Party in the United States and head of the New York State Teachers Union. After her return to the Church in 1952 under the guidance of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, she detailed how the Communist Party in the 1920’s and 1930’s strove to infiltrate American seminaries and other church institutions, often through the exploitation of the naïve and what, according to Soviet expert Vladimir Bukovsky, Lenin had called “useful idiots.”
There still are Russians old enough to remember seeing priests nailed to the doors of their churches. Their nation remains conflicted about their revolution, and still hesitant about what to do with the repeatedly embalmed corpse of Lenin; but facing his tomb from across the great square, Krásnaya plóshchad, is the Kazan Cathedral, restored in 1993. On its façade is written in bold Cyrillic letters: “Christ is Risen.” Since the “Second Baptism of Russia” when the old Soviet Union fell in 1988, 29,000 churches have been built there, at the rate of three per day. In that period the number of seminaries has increased from three to over fifty.
That is a picture far different from many places in the West, where innocuous Christianity has failed to resist the bacillus of secularism, as churches close and seminaries shrink. People who have suffered the consequences of evil in the East have expressions more ponderous and sober than the chuckling countenances of soft spokesmen for Christ in the West. The centenary of the Russian Revolution should be a time for reflection and resolve.
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