The Spirit(s) of the Synod

That Pope Francis would have executed the synod in the manner in which he did was predictable from many things he has said over the course of his papacy, including Evangelii Gaudium, esp. 32-39. From what he says there, especially about the “conversion of the papacy,” it seems he is not adverse to critique, as long as there is ultimate unity with Peter and under Peter (cum Petro et sub Petro).

One ought to make a distinction between legitimate but respectful criticism from those who are genuinely concerned about the preservation of the deposit of faith, and the radicalizing tendencies of certain factions who will use anything to promote their own interests. One group uses Francis’ openness to sinners as an excuse to justify the unjustifiable, and the other is bent on using the synod to prove that everything since Vatican II was a mistake. Continue reading

Bloody Pirates on the Bark of Peter

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I wrote about ninety percent of the following essay more than half a year ago and then left it unfinished for some reason, which I don’t remember.  I thought it worthwhile to finish and publish at this time.

The age of chivalry was characterized—at least according to its ideals—by courtesy in warfare, that is, by a standard of fair play. Prowess was not pure aggression, and courtesy was not mere manners. Both were informed by fidelity and honesty, that is, by religious faith, human justice and sincerity. That was the Christian ideal anyway, not always realized, but as an ideal it created positive peer pressure that served to both perfect the arts of the warrior and check his ferocity.

Anyone who has heard or read anything I have to say on chivalry knows I say this often. It is fundamental.

In the last decade or so there has been a very happy resurgence of interest in that character of the Church we call “militant.” However, the peculiar keynote of Christian militancy is not the violent death of our earthly enemy, but the violent death and resurrection of our King, which puts death itself to death, and conquers our real enemy, the Prince of this World. Thus, the methods of alinskian secularism or of jihadist religion cannot be our methods. To put it another way, the belligerence of the pirate cannot be reconciled with the chivalry of the knight. Continue reading

Mary Victrix, Our Fortress and Defense

A blessed Feast of Our Lady of Victory.

On the Solemnity of St. Francis the seminarians and I went to the prayer vigil of the Holy Father in preparation for the synod, which has now begun.  Afterward, we moved into the new building that the Holy Father has provided us.  I can walk to the Angelicum in a half hour.

Here are a couple of photos of our new surroundings.  More to come.  Click on photos for larger view.  There is a bit of distortion due to my use of the pan setting.

The gate you are looking at is Porta Tiburtina, after which our street is named, otherwise know as Porta San Lorenzo.  The gate was constructed to commemorate a Roman victory.  But our victory is found in the Gate of Heaven.

I post my yearly tribute to Mary Victrix:

I cast myself before Thee, Thy bondsman and fool;
Thy patronage is freedom, Thy slavery my school.
I offer Thee my sword hilt and wait for Thy command
To serve among Thy servants who pledge to take a stand.
That I might die in battle, a victim of Thy love:
My wish, my prayer, my promise, thus written in my blood.

I saw the bark of Peter ride dark into the sun,
But darker still the marking of crescent, hoard and gun.
Her sails lay flat and mellow, Her men had pledged their troth,
Left hand on beaded psalter, the right to keep their oath.
The haughty fiend had counted on fear to win the day,
But Thine own breath has countered to turn the wind their way.

My Queen, to Thee be honor and praise through all Thy knights
Who toiled and bled and parted Thy martyrs robed in white.
All courtesy and prowess, all strength and gentleness,
Thy heart a pyx of virtue, Thy face all loveliness.
Then at the hour of judgment my colors Thou may see,
Thy Son upon His white steed, Thou pray to come for me.

 

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].

Continue reading

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