Urgent for Our Rhode Island Readers!

Next Tuesday, February 3, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on same-sex marriage bills that have been re-introduced in the 2009 legislative session. With just a few days notice, we need to send a message to the committee, urging them to spend their time on the pressing issues that Rhode Islanders are concerned about — not redefining marriage as though it were a plaything of the political elites.

Because the time is short, we need you to do 3 things today:

1) Come down to the Statehouse by 3:30pm next Tuesday (Feb. 3) to stand in support of marriage. You won’t be asked to speak at the hearing, but your presence will make a strong statement in support of marriage as we know it — the union of a husband and wife.

2) Click here to send an email message to each of the members on the Senate Judiciary Committee, with a copy also going to your own state senator. Tell them now is not the time to be messing with marriage.

3) Ask five friends to join you in sending a message to their legislators. The only way to stop same-sex marriage in Rhode Island is to build an army of grassroots supporters who are willing to stand for marriage on a moment’s notice!

Several Messages to the “Persecuted” Catholics Who Voted for Obama”

Message 1

If at this stage our anger is directed at President Obama, our anger is misdirected. Obama is not the enemy. He needs and deserves our prayers, not our condemnation.

As Catholics, we are not guiltless. It seems to me that when President Kennedy compromised Catholic teachings and accommodated political pressures in order to be elected to the highest office in the land, he set the tone for many Catholic leaders to follow and to compromise their Catholic principles to get ahead.

In our Supreme Court and in our Congress, we have a plethora of so-called Catholics who are failing to live their Catholic identity. Over 50 percent of our electorate voted for a president who is one of the most pro-culture-of-death candidates from a major party to run for the highest office of the land.

Yes, we can thank one-half of our Catholics for bailing out on their faith!

Message 2

But most damaging, he said, was the document “Faithful Citizenship” that “led to confusion” among the voting Catholic population.

“While it stated that the issue of life was the first and most important issue, it went on in some specific areas to say ‘but there are other issues’ that are of comparable importance without making necessary distinctions.”

Archbishop Burke, citing an article by a priest and ethics expert of St. Louis archdiocese, Msgr. Kevin McMahon, who analysed how the bishops’ document actually contributed to the election of Obama, called its proposal “a kind of false thinking, that says, ‘there’s the evil of taking an innocent and defenceless human life but there are other evils and they’re worthy of equal consideration.’

“But they’re not. The economic situation, or opposition to the war in Iraq, or whatever it may be, those things don’t rise to the same level as something that is always and everywhere evil, namely the killing of innocent and defenceless human life.”

Archbishop Burke also cited the work of the official news service of the US Catholic Bishops’ Conference, that many pro-life observers complained soft-pedalled the newly elected president’s opposition to traditional morality.

“The bishops need to look also at our Catholic News Service, CNS, they need to review their coverage of the whole thing and give some new direction, in my judgement,” he said.


Message 3

Perhaps now you can understand a bit better why pro-life Catholics (Catholics who actually vote pro-life) are so upset.  Actually, you  aren’t being persecuted.  These good pastors have the eternal welfare of all their sheep at heart.

Douglas Kmiec: Victim

Brian Brown from the National Organization for Marriage has directed me to a new blog which is well worth your attention. It is called Moral Accountability and is the work of Robert P. George and his colleagues.  There Matthew J. Franck critiques the latest mental gymnastics of Doug Kmiec.

Writing in Commonweal, Kmiec complains that he has been vilified by the right without justification, that basically all the opposition to his support of Obama has taken the form of name calling.   Here’s a taste:

Noting my continued good health, the editors of Commonweal invited this essay which I submit even as I acknowledge the wisdom of Sr. Pius’s eighth-grade counsel: “Douglas, just offer it up!” That was good advice; and indeed I have at times considered the blog calumnies hurled at me as penance for occasions when I have put on a bit of a false front. We all want to be perceived as intelligent, kindly, and well considered, and we all occasionally speak too glibly for our own good-as I did, for example, representing Obama on the campaign trail while chastising him for his criticism of Justice Clarence Thomas; or suggesting, out loud and even on camera, that his one-time pledge of support for the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) during the primary was “boneheaded.” These are not politic statements, but unlike most blog entries, they represent honest, substantive dissent illustrating how it is possible for a person to be capable of admiring both Barack Obama and Clarence Thomas, and of supporting Obama while rejecting legislation that would in any way limit religious freedom or insult the church. (My message to President Obama on FOCA, by the way, will remain what it was to candidate Obama: FOCA runs contrary to the pursuit of the common good.)

Just a couple of things.  First off, Mr. Kmiec is dodging when he says that Obama’s support of FOCA consisted of a “one-time pledge.”  Senator Obama was cosponsor of the bill which was introduced into the senate April 19, 2007.  Then, on  January 22, 2008, 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Senator Obama released a statement in which he promised as president to see FOCA passed: Continue reading

Franciscans and Chivalry

Just found a book on how St. Francis transformed the ideal of chivalry from something worldly to something heavenly:  Gospel Chivarly: Franciscan Romanticism by Father Mark Elvins.

I once linked to an article by Stratford Caldecott called “The Chivalry of St. Joseph,” in which he quotes Fr. Elvins.

This is from another post where I quote the good father:

In fact, the Franciscan way of life offered a corrective to excesses of military life. The ideal of chivalry promoted not only courage, honor and generosity, but also fidelity and courtesy. Unfortunately, knights often used their prowess and largesse in their own interests, abusing the poor and defenseless, whom they were duty bound to protect. Father Mark Elvins, writing in Second Spring, speaks eloquently on the way in which the charism of St. Francis purified the spirit of chivalry, indeed as Father Elvins puts it, that charism “inverted” or “reversed,” the values of chivalry:

By reversing the status of the knight, Francis found his new and spiritual knighthood, a chivalry suffused with the Gospel to replace the aristocratic propaganda of his age. This spiritual knighthood was not so much a system as a gradual discernment, as he viewed his hitherto privileged life in the light of faith, and sought to integrate it into the life of Christ, Celano describes how Francis consciously sought to exchange carnal weapons for spiritual ones, and worldly prowess for humbles service, making homage and fealty to the poor Christ, the King of Heaven (II Celano, 6) (“St. Francis and the Reversal of Chivalry,” Issue 2 – 2002. 22, 23).

No Kidding? Thanks for Telling Me


We needed a researcher to tell us this?

Notice that for the professor a long courtship is more than one date.  The saints and holy doctors discouraged truly long courtships because they often lead to unnecessary occasions of sin, but I definitely would agree that courtships should be longer than one date.

Besides having the advantage of helping a person make a better decision about one’s mate, such “long” courtships (more than one date) have the advantage of allowing enough time for a sacramental marriage ceremony, which, if you follow the logic, would also allow the couple to enter into their union in the state of grace and benefit fully from the sacrament before the marriage is consummated.  Oh, by the way, that would also mean that the union would please God as well.

Isn’t it neat how that works?

An ancilliary thought to this is how the modern media and academia has convinced the poor slobs in front of their computer monitors and t.v.’s that they really don’t know anything of value unless it is confirmed by a double blind study.  This fact is a fundamental element of the very successful challenge of secularism to traditional values.

Amadis of Gaul

amadisI am reading Amadis of Gaul, which was written perhaps in the early 14th century in the genre of the post-Arthurian Romances.  It is considered a classic of Spanish chivalric literature, though it may have been originally written in Portuguese.  Cervantes, of course, made it his business to satirize the Spanish Romances.  It seems that the genre was basically an imitation of Amadis for which Cervantes had some respect.  The following is from an old edition of the Encylcopedia Britanica [I have changed the formatting somewhat for the sake of clarity]:

We, of course, in England would place the Morte d’Arthur above all romances of the kind; and the praise that we allow to Amadis of Gaul is precisely that which Cervantes bestows upon it—of being the earliest and best of the Spanish romances. When the licentiate and the barber burnt the library of Don Quixote, they spared from the flames only three romances—-Amadis of Gaul, Palmerin of England, and Tirante the White.

“I have heard,” said the licentiate, “that Amadis of Gaul was the first book of chivalry printed in Spain, and that all the rest sprung from it ; I think, therefore, as head of so pernicious a sect, we ought to condemn him to the fire without mercy.”

“Not so, sir,” said the barber, “for I have heard also that it is the best of all the books of this kind; and therefore—as being unequalled in its way—it ought to be spared.”

” You are right,” said the priest, “and for that reason its life is granted.”

Amadis reads very much like Morte d’Arthur but is far less lurid. Adultery does not seem to be primary preoccupation of the students of ars amoris. In fact, I was struck by the delicacy with which a breach in virtue was addressed by the author.  In a chapter of the first book Amadis’ brother Galaor meets the girl of his dreams and the two of them waste no time with the pleasantries of introductions; however, the author of Amadis is not impressed:

And with that the damsels left them together, and nothing more shall be here related, for these and such like things which are neither conformable to good conscience nor virtue, man ought in reason lightly to pass over, holding them in as little estimation as they deserve.

So much for the decencies of Christian literature.  Those days are certainly gone.

The book is well worth the read by those minded to be knights.  I am still looking for some passages in support of Marian Chivalry.  Our Lady is often invoked by the knights and there is much about the Christian origins and principles of chivalry.  I will post more on this later.

Altered States of Barbiness


Congratulations to Barbie for fifty years of morally delibilating young girls.  I know, I know.  I am such a stick in the mud.

I generally avoid such sweeping condemnations, but who can blame me when the Disney Princess thing got me so much traffic.  I am a shameless opportunist.  Besides it seems the creator of Barbie was actually a sexual perv (content warning).

And while we are on the subject of cultural manipulation, here is the latest from PETA.  Nothing surprises me anymore.

Roman Sacristan

On my last trip which took me to Australia, Texas and California–all of which my friends in here in New England believe are separate countries–I met a blogger who goes by the moniker of Roman Sacristan.  I had seen his blog before, but I would like to here mention it as a resource for things liturgical.  In an effort to explain the purpose of his blog, he says:

But getting back to the initial question of the “reform of the reform” vis-a-vis the extra-ordinary form of the Mass that has been placed back on an equal standing with the ordinary form by “Summorum Pontificum,” I can say that the motu proprio has actually put more “pressure” on the ordinary form to get it’s act together. I don’t mean that the Novus Ordo is to be changed to be more like the extra-ordinary form. That’s something for the Church to do with an organized reform of the liturgy. “Vigilante liturgical reform” is not the answer to the problems in the Novus Ordo Mass. What I mean is to get the Novus Ordo back on track and to start getting it said as it is supposed to be said. We’ll worry about actually reforming the ordinary use later. First we need to just get it said by the books.

My own experience tells me that knowledge of the extraordinary form of the Mass brings with it a context for the celebration of the ordinary form.  One can better percieve the logic of the reforms of Vatican II if one is familiar with the manner of celebration of the usus antiquus.

I appreciate the Roman Sacristan’s use of the term “vigilante liturgical reform.”  I think some of the more traditionally minded assume too much when their hopes for the future are defined by precise expectations about what the future holds in store. Sometimes this can translate into some liturgical adaptations that assume that now the traditional rubrics needs to be imposed on the ordinary form, with the hopes that the ordinary form will disappear altogether.

It seems to me that some of the promotors of Summorum Pontificum even assume that the use of the terms “ordinary form” for the novus ordo and  “extraordinary form” for the usus antiquus are a ruse used by the Holy Father to promote a kind of creeping traditionalism.  This goes too far.

In any case, I highly recommend the Roman Sacristan’s blog.  BTW, he is in the process of vocational discernment, so I know he would appreciate the prayers.