Naught for Your Comfort

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This comment epitomizes the reasons why I have not wished to be identified with the traditionalists (qualifiy that as you like, “radical traditionalists,” “Catholic reactionaries, etc.; my definition is here.)  Unfortunately, the whole effort to extricate ourselves from this mess, has only confirmed the reasons why we wanted to free of the problem in the first place.

The commenter writes:

How do you show that no conspiracy exists? Easy you let people whom the conspiracy theorists (for want of a better term) trust to go in and show that there is no conspiracy,

That really sums it all up.  “Conspiracy theorists” is actually the precise term.  Innuendo becomes plausible theory, which immediately becomes probable fact and the lack of evidence along with the number of times the innuendo is repeated turns into the “modernist reeducation project of the See of Peter against the impeachable Friars of the Immaculate.” Continue reading

Tolkien on Modernity, Part I

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Recently it was announced that an old reel-to-reel audio recording of a talk by J.R.R. Tolkien will be restored and released after having been kept from the public for many years. In 1958 Tolkien gave a speech at a dinner given in his honor in Rotterdam, which was attended by about two hundred enthusiasts of his mythology. The entire event was recorded and then forgotten about. Subsequently, the recording was found and then hoarded like part of Smaug’s treasure. Now it has been rescued from the clutches of the dragon and all are about to share in the fortune. It is a wonderful find, especially since it promises to reveal a few new insights about The Lord of the Rings.

It has long been known that a recording was made, but it was lost until 1993 when a collector named René van Rossenberg discovered it in a basement. Only now has he agreed to partner with several Tolkien fan sites to restore and release the recording.

What is extraordinary about the tape is that it contains the entire twenty-minute speech and gives an insightful look at the personality and character of the author. In the speech, Tolkien deals with the serious issues that he is passionate about, but in a playful manner. Tolkien speaks to his listeners as though he were Bilbo giving his farewell speech to the Hobbits of the Shire, though he shows much more insight about the evil of the Ring than Bilbo ever possessed. Indeed, Tolkien has much to say about the evils of modernity. Continue reading

The Nameless Darkness and the FI

From the usual suspect:

If, as Tosatti clearly implies it is, this information is true (which would not be shocking considering the evolution of current events), the situation of the former Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate is even more suffocating than before, on a level never before seen in the Church in recent centuries (for instance, there certainly was no blacklist of dioceses incardinating as secular priests the former Jesuits after the suppression of the order in the 18th century, and in similar cases). These poor priest-friars will simply remain with no way out, other than completely abandoning the priesthood, if even the bishops willing to welcome those who want to leave the modified order are blacklisted by the highest levels in the Vatican. (Of course, if true, the bishops can still incardinate them, but are aware that they may suffer consequences) [emphasis mine].

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The FI Internet Problem Illustrated

More unsubstantiated gossip from an anonymous source, released by a pseudonymous blogger who skirts all accountability.

There is no way to verify the accuracy of the account of what is going on within the FSI. The source has to be someone within the community, who is not exactly an objective observer (nor one who is cooperating with the Church for that matter), which makes a real confirmation of the facts all the more crucial.  At the very least, that confirmation ought to be had before something is released to the public as though it were fact.  There are many lives affected by this Internet spectacle.

The blogger further claims that the prefect of the Congregation for Consecrated Life, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, and the secretary, Archbishop José Rodríguez Carballo (to whom he refers as the “Duo) have “thoroughly destroyed” the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.  Really?  This man simply does not know what he is talking about, because he is only interested in one side of the story—the one that serves the purpose of his blog.

So the question for him and those like him is whether Pope Francis wishes to obliterate the sisters, which according tot he omniscient blogger, was the will of the Holy Father for the friars.

The gravest irresponsibility in all this is that the blogger and all those who have concocted and published their theories from the bits and pieces on the Internet do not know what they do not know.  They have no way of assessing how much, or how little of the pertinent information they have or its relative value.

The behavior is irresponsible and all the more because so much is done without the slightest accountability.

But then again, they don’t care about any of this because this “reporting” is all about their own agenda.  They have made no real investment in our Institute or any real knowledge about the issues involved.  Ours is a symbolic cause for them and we friars and sisters are their cannon fodder.

This is why I say I am ambivalent about the Internet and the excuse it provides for intellectual, cultural, moral and religious voyeurism.

It is a disgrace.

Christianity, Islam and the Future

The atrocities perpetrated by ISIS (or IS, ISIL) on Christians and other religious minorities of Iraq is both an unspeakable tragedy and an opportunity to do some soul searching. Outrage and apprehension are the order of the day. We are really good at the ineffectual intellectualization of the problem, and on the other hand, we also excel at expressing the crusading spirit from the comfort of our padded chairs and the safety of Internet. But we have been short on effective action.

The big question being asked right now is why is it that ostensibly peaceful Muslims are so silent about the persecution of their Arab brothers and sisters. But an equally large question is why is it that the West is so impotent in the face of all the genocide, which it alone is capable of stopping. What else has to happen? How many more babies need to be cut in half, journalists beheaded, or women sold into slavery (etc.)? Continue reading

Dear Father . . .

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Father,

I read your blog and know that you comment on the SSPX and related matters. What do you make of this: http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2014/08/sspx-priest-celebrates-mass-in-saint.html  This does seem to change things. They were given permission to offer mass. Here is the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQfiaY-6bRQ Thank you for your time. The SSPX confirms that permission was in fact given: http://sspx.org/en/news-events/news/sspx-mass-st-peters-basilica-video-4715.

I can only speculate what it all means.  I am not inclined to think that it means anything juridical is in the works.  However, I would hazard to say that it indicates that Pope Francis has no ill will or nefarious plan for undoing the provisions which favor those attached to the TLM.  Which is what I have always been saying.

And for this reason the confusion of Damien Thompson as to why then Pope Francis would have placed restrictions on our Institute, might best be explained by considering that perhaps the narrative some traditionalists have spread about my Institute are wrong.

Of Rabble Rousers, Crystal Gazers and the Internet

Steve Kellmeyer ruffles some feathers  here and here.

I am not sure how far he is to be taken literally in terms of the faithful’s right to lodge their concerns to their pastors.  On the other hand, he makes a simple and valid point that most of us have come to give way too much importance to the way we think the Church ought to be instead of fostering the unity of the Church by not habitually and publicly contradicting our pastors and undermining their authority.  Catholic orthodoxy/traditionalism has pretty effectively aped the rabble rousing progressives and felt banner wavers of the 60’s and 70’s.

The internet and social media, now a part of the fabric of our lives, seems to carry with it the assumption that somehow all of our opinions are important all the time.  The digital age also validates the idea that we can say anything we want and then slough off responsibility for having said it.

The internet is a quicksand of cultural exibitionism and voyeurism.  We Catholics have been suckered into it in the name of all that is holy. Continue reading

At weddings, funerals, first Communions . . .

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At weddings, funerals, first Communions and Confirmations, many priests will try to give some guidance on who may present themselves for Holy Communion. A while back, I made a passing remark that I found to be surprisingly effective. After explaining that it is practising Catholics, living in accord with the teaching of the Church and attending Sunday Mass every week who go to Communion, I added that there are always plenty of people who, for various reasons, cannot receive Communion and so there is no need to be embarrassed about remaining in the bench. My hunch was correct: at those public occasions, if you do not explain that there are required dispositions for Holy Communion, people will come up simply to be polite, in case it might be rude not to. Such is the result of our failing to educate the faithful on the proper dispositions for Holy Communion.

 

—Fr Timothy Finigan

Homily for the Memorial of St. Pius X

Today we celebrate the memorial of St. Pius X, one of the great popes of the 20th century. He was born in 1835, Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto, and he grew up in poverty. His father was the village postman and little Giuseppe walked six kilometers to school everyday. This poverty characterized his whole life, and it was not just a matter of physical poverty. St. Pius X was a man who was truly poor in spirit. Our Lord said: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Throughout his life as simple priest and Franciscan tertiary, then as bishop of Mantua, later as cardinal archbishop of Milan and finally as supreme pontiff of the universal Church, Giuseppe Sarto, remained a simple man and a lover of poverty. His last will and testament gives witness to this with the words: “I was born poor, I have lived in poverty, and I wish to die poor.”

Thus, this great man was single minded throughout his life and placed himself at the dispositions of Christ and His Church, without consideration for himself. This was his poverty in spirit. His whole life was to serve Christ and the Church.

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Keven O’Brien on Chivalry

Aside

Stand up for yourselves.  Don’t settle for loser boyfriends who can’t bring themselves to pop the question because they’re either too busy “discerning” or they’re secretly gay or hooked on porn.  Don’t settle for girlfriends who manipulate or tease you or who can’t be trusted or who won’t be there when you need them.  Don’t settle for turning your vocation into an avocation, for jobs that simply fill space and make your life comfortable but that don’t give you the chance to do what God has made you to do.  Don’t settle for an education that doesn’t force you to grapple with the deepest elements of Truth, Beauty and Goodness.  Don’t settle for a Mass that’s contrived, filled with bad music and insipid preaching.  Don’t settle for a parish that’s more anti-Christian than Christian.  Don’t settle for the safety of living in Mom’s basement. And don’t let anyone mess with your shows. When you find what you love, defend it, fight for it, die for it – and (most challenging of all) live for it. *** The greatest writer of the 20th Century, my patron in heaven, put it much better than I ever could (my emphasis) 

In every romance there must be the twin elements of loving and fighting. In every romance there must be the three characters: there must be the Princess, who is a thing to be loved; there must be the Dragon, who is a thing to be fought; and there must be St. George, who is a thing that both loves and fights. There have been many symptoms of cynicism and decay in our modern civilization. But of all the signs of modern feebleness, of lack of grasp on morals as they actually must be, there has been none quite so silly or so dangerous as this: that the philosophers of today have started to divide loving from fighting and to put them into opposite camps. [But] the two things imply each other; they implied each other in the old romance and in the old religion, which were the two permanent things of humanity. You cannot love a thing without wanting to fight for it. You cannot fight without something to fight for. To love a thing without wishing to fight for it is not love at all; it is lust. It may be an airy, philosophical, and disinterested lust… but it is lust, because it is wholly self-indulgent and invites no attack. On the other hand, fighting for a thing without loving it is not even fighting; it can only be called a kind of horse-play that is occasionally fatal. Wherever human nature is human and unspoilt by any special sophistry,there exists this natural kinship between war and wooing, and that natural kinship is called romance. It comes upon a man especially in the great hour of youth; and every man who has ever been young at all has felt, if only for a moment, this ultimate and poetic paradox. He knows that loving the world is the same thing as fighting the world. – G. K. Chesterton