Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Index Of Forbidden Songs (Gather, Pt. I).

From Father Richtsteig at Orthometer:
Here we go again. Mean, sick, and sad priest attacking poor innocent hymnal: this time "Gather". Gotta wonder why so many hymnals are titled in one word imperatives; "Gather", "Worship", "Fibrillate", etc... BTW, I am ignoring the psalms and service music.

Numbers 317-400:

319-Walk in the Reign: C, HL "Can you say KINGDOM? I knew you could."
325-Like a Shepherd: SIGV Too bad the verses as SIGV, good song otherwise.
328-My Soul in Stillness Waits: HH
331-God of All People: HH
334-Savior of the Nations, Come: C
340-People of the Night: HH, NAU
346-Awake! Awake, and Greet the New Morn: HH
348-Hark! The Herald Angels Sing: C "Pleased as man with MAN to dwell."
357-Child of Mercy: HH
362-Good Christian Friends, Rejoice: C, HL
369-Carol at the Manger: HH
381-Dust and Ashes: LC
386-Hosea: DTD, HL
397-Tree of Life: HH
399-Deep Within: HH, SIGV

C=Castrated, DO= Dubious Orthodoxy, DMWP=Don't Mess With Perfection, DS=Dan Schutte, DTD=Done To Death, EP=Ex-Priest, G=Germanophobic, H=Heretical, HH=Haugen&Haas, HL=Hella Lame, LC=Leftist Crap, NAU=Not About Us, SIGV=Singing In God's Voice(i. e. we are not God, SWTR= Stick With The Rite, TMV=Too Many Verses, WIG=Where is God?

The Great Restoration - The Vortex With Michael Voris of RealCatholicTV

Father George David Byers: 9 Exorcism tips from Holy Souls Hermitage – Don’t have any heroes except Jesus!

By Father George David Byers

A merely human exorcist is always going to fallible in a thousand different ways. My stupidities would cripple me even more than I was crippled by a run-away-tourist-bus in Rome, as you see in the picture. That picture was taken in the mid-1990s by an exorcist, now deceased. The fellow I cut out of the picture was an exorcist in the making, whom I was helping to train. That was in Piazza Farnese, just off Campo dei Fiori…
Now, I should hope that there is no exorcist in training or any other exorcists who take what I present in these series without a critical eye. If not, I’d be tempted to give him a black eye. Jesus was an exorcist, and is, of course, the only exorcist still today. If anyone is ever successful in an exorcism, it is because Jesus is there. If an exorcist should pay attention to anyone, it is Jesus, not necessarily to any other exorcist. Jesus and the Church! Don’t make heroes of anyone except Jesus.

I must say that it is frustrating when priests over-romanticize exorcism, putting it in the too hard category to learn something about in a serious way, instead claiming breathlessly that all they need to know is what Father X said (because Father X is famous and they once assisted him). Exorcism is just a sacramental which needs a lot of common sense. The first thing to kill off common sense is breathlessly claiming an authority who is not Jesus or the Church, and this so as to rationalize some stupid thing one is doing.

The most pastoral, reasonable perspective one can have is not to have any special exciting bubbly insight. There’s no time for fluff in exorcism. No time for heroes. Satan will be sure to crush any exorcist if that exorcist has any supposed talents or tricks or insights or heroes. Depending on such things is to invite Satan to find fault with them. He will.

Now, I’m sure Father Amorth will forgive me for what I’m going to do now, for it makes for a great point not taking on any heroes without a grain of salt. I’m sure he would be the first to agree. I don’t think he wants to be anyone’s hero, but thre are countless budding exorcists who take him as a hero. I’m going to make just a little, gentle criticism of Father Amorth. The occasion for this is that Father Cameron, O.P., has included something Father Amorth wrote in the Meditation of the Day in the American liturgical publication called the “Magnificat” (401-402, on 30 August, 2011). Father Candido is cited. That caught my eye, since, for a time, he was my spiritual director way back in the 1980s. I’ve known Father Amorth for about that long as well... (continued...)


Father Gordon MacRae: The “Stuck Inside Literary Award”: At Sea with Patrick O’Brian

By Father Gordon MacRae

"...Prison is like a parallel universe. Many of the things you look forward to in the real world are reviled in this one, and long holiday weekends top that list. For three consecutive days, all work is cancelled, all programs are closed, educational classes and library time are suspended, and prisoners are locked into a prison within the prison. On long weekends, we’re not just imprisoned within the imposing wall that runs the prison perimeter, but behind locked doors within that wall. Prisoners dread long weekends...

When a long weekend is coming, I usually try to find a book to get me through it. Over the last few years, I have read just about everything from some of my favorite writers like Tom Clancy, Ken Follett, J.R.R. Tolkien, even J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series. They’ve all helped me endure long stints of being locked inside on an otherwise beautiful day. But my first ever “Stuck Inside Literary Award” is going to the late Patrick O’Brian, author of the 22-volume “Aubrey-Maturin” series of historical novels.

Okay, stop yawning!  These are very special books. Patrick O’Brian was an Irish writer who used real Royal Navy ships’ logs from the age of Napoleon to weave his stories, and he was masterful at it. The only truly fictional characters are often the two protagonists, Captain Jack Aubrey and ship’s physician Stephen Maturin, placed on deck by the author.

The series follows the adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey from his first stint as Master and Commander – the title of the first book – in the British Royal Navy. The book became an Oscar-winning film starring Russell Crowe as the daunting Captain Aubrey. Several years ago, one of my nieces sent me the first four books in the series, and the prison library had the next five, so I have read less than half the series. I just reserved number nine, Treason’s Harbour (W.W. Norton, 1983), to read over Labor Day weekend. Even after all my squawking about being locked up for long weekends, I’m looking forward to reading it.

Patrick O’Brian’s publisher has compiled all 22 volumes – and, posthumously, a partially written 23rd – into a four-volume set that I hope one day to read from the beginning. A part of what made this series so very special is that I first wrote of these books in “Come Sail Away! Pornchai Moontri and the Art of Model Shipbuilding.” While I’ve been reading these nautical adventures, Pornchai has been carving some of these very ships from the Age of Sail that I wrote about in that post.

As he designs his Royal Navy warships and other vessels, we’ve had long discussions about the decks, masts, rigging, and sails that have been part of my nautical education from Patrick O’Brian’s books. As I wrote in “Come, Sail Away!” so many of the terms we use today in casual conversation had their origins on the decks of British Royal Navy vessels from the Napoleonic era. The very walls around us in this cell are decorated with photos of Pornchai’s ships, and I can place myself upon some of their decks as I read of Captain Jack Aubrey.

A few TSW readers – notably Sharon Morris and Lavern West – have traveled to New Hampshire to obtain one of Pornchai’s vessels. Lavern has a magnificent tall ship displayed in her living room window in Cincinnati with some beautiful handcrafted stained glass in the window just above it. She sent a photo which Pornchai proudly added to the collection on his cell wall.

One day, a guard came into this cell and was looking intently at the photos of Pornchai’s beautiful ships.

When he saw the one in Lavern’s window, he said “Wow! That’s just incredible.” Pornchai smiled and sat up straight waiting for the usual comments about his carving skill. Then the guard said, “That’s some of the nicest stained glass I’ve seen!” I just about hurt my ribs laughing. Pornchai told me that on his next ship, he’s adding a plank for me to walk.

It’s not a case of “great minds think alike,” but Editor John Norton wrote of the Patrick O’Brian series in a recent editorial in Our Sunday Visitor (”Summer reading that makes for poor – or better – Dads,” OSV July 24, 2011). John Norton cited many of the same details that have drawn me to these novels, especially the Catholic sub plots.

Captain Jack Aubrey, like every officer in the Royal Navy at that time, was a loyal member of the Church of England with a disdain for “papists” and “popery.” However, his best friend, ship’s physician Stephen Maturin, is a devout Irish/Catalan Catholic and a spy for British intelligence. Stephen Maturin introduces into the stories an intrigue and commitment to reason that counterbalances Jack Aubrey’s “full speed ahead” style.
In an odd Catholic twist in the series, as Captain Jack Aubrey is promoted to Admiral, and all the political requirements such office required, he learns that his half-black son – born out of wedlock in Aubrey’s youth before the series begins – becomes a Catholic priest for whom the anti-Catholic Admiral becomes intensely proud..." (continued...)


Executive Secretary of ICEL on Corrected Translation: "Generally the Feedback Has Been Very Positive"

From Fr. Z at WDTPRS (who just won Best Blog by a Cleric, Best Blog by a Man, and Best Produced Podcast at the 2011 Catholic New Media Awards):

"On the site of the Bishops Conference of England and Wales, there is an audio/podcast with Msgr. Andrew Wadsworth, Executive Secretary of ICEL about the new, corrected translation."
Generally the feedback has been very positive. People find the elegance of the language, its dignity, the sort of cadence of the language – which particularly lends itself to the sung parts of the liturgy – they find all of that to be a great improvement.“  [It isn't perfect, but it is a great improvement.]...

“The printed altar edition of the new Missal has the largest amount of music of any Missal the Church has ever produced in any language. The style of the music that’s in the altar edition of the Missal is Gregorian chant, which is a common form of liturgical song which is traditional in the Catholic Church and takes us back to the Church of the first Millennium and the earliest centuries. That’s the music which is in the Latin Missal, of which our English Missal is a translation.”  [It could be that people forget that.  The English book is a translation.  Our real book is in Latin.]...

Avignon-on-the-Clyde: Will someone please gently break the news to Archbishop Conti that he's not the Pope?

By Damian Thompson

"Just call me Your Holiness"
"Just call me Your Holiness"

(The Telegraph) Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow may not have been made a cardinal, but he assumes the dignity of one anyway. Fair enough, I suppose: he wouldn’t be the first disappointed prelate to do so. But behaving like the Pope is another matter. When it comes to liturgy, Glasgow is turning into Avignon-on-the-Clyde, with +Mario playing the role of one of those medieval papal impostors.

According to the Catholic News Agency, Pope Mario I has just issued a decree forcing the faithful to receive Holy Communion standing – and this despite the clearly expressed wish of Benedict XVI (the real Pope in Rome) that Catholics should be able to receive the sacrament kneeling. Indeed, Catholics were asked to kneel when the Holy Father distributed the Eucharist in Scotland last year. In the words of a Glasgow priest quoted by CNA: “This is really awful … The bishop is indeed the moderator of the liturgical life of the diocese. However, what concerns a number of the priests in Glasgow is that our Archbishop knowingly exceeds his legitimate authority when he attempts to remove liberties foreseen by the Roman Missal itself.”

As for the liberties to celebrate in the Extraordinary Form granted by Pope Benedict XVI, they are also severely curtailed under Pope Mario’s rival pontificate. How long, I wonder, before it starts creating its own cardinals? I’m sure the Rt Rev Mgr Peter Smith, “Diocesan Master of Ceremonies”, wouldn’t say no to a red hat.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Judge blocks Texas sonogram law

By Chuck Lindell

(Austin American-Statesman) A federal judge todday blocked Texas from enforcing a new law that will require women to receive a sonogram, and hear about its results, at least 24 hours before receiving an abortion.

U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks issued a preliminary injunction after finding that portions of the sonogram law, set to take effect Sept. 1, were unconstitutionally vague and violated the First Amendment by improperly requiring doctors and patients to engage in government-mandated speech...

Father George David Byers: 8 Exorcism tips from Holy Souls Hermitage — Lacking a Mandate

By Father George David Byers

Acts 19,13-17 — Then some itinerant Jewish exorcists tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those with evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul preaches.” When the seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish high priest, tried to do this, the evil spirit said to them in reply, “Jesus I recognize, Paul I know, but who are you?” The person with the evil spirit then sprang at them and subdued them all. He so overpowered them that they fled naked and wounded from that house. When this became known to all the Jews and Greeks who lived in Ephesus, fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in great esteem. [nab]

That’s in Scripture, right? Yes. That’s an inspired account, right? Yes. Surely the Holy Spirit is instructing us about how Satan will always act when one lacks a mandate to exorcize, right? Wrong, wrong, wrong!

Makes rules of conduct for yourself, such as obeying the Church no matter. However, don’t make rules for Satan. Did he not say rather emphatically: “Non serviam! I will not serve!” ? Satan may very well not react this way every time. In fact, he may want one without authority over himself, one who is not an exorcist expressly mandated by the local Ordinary, to think he has such power. This creates a culture of seeming legitimacy of disobedience, whereby people rejoice not that their names are written in heaven, but that they have “power” over demons. Satan is better at arrogance than we are. He will win, every time, if this is the kind of thing people are doing. And many, many souls fall into this trap. Time and again. Belligerently... (continued...)


Father George David Byers: 7 Exorcism tips from Holy Souls Hermitage – More on terminology: Major and Minor

By Father George David Byers

From time to time you’ll see the terms “major” and “minor” thrown about by major or minor ecclesiastics regarding exorcism. There has been a great deal of confusion about this for the past 150 years or so. Clarity is a good thing when dealing with Satan. Some don’t want clarity because they want to break the law of the Church and just do what they want. This is common in the field of exorcism. Disobedience is exactly what is not needed for exorcism, but this is where one will find plenty of disobedience, real belligerence.

In summary: If it is a direct command to Satan in the name of Jesus, it is a true imprecatory exorcism for which an express mandate is needed from the local ordinary. If it is not a direct command to Satan in the name of Jesus, it is not an exorcism per se, though it can be called a deprecatory exorcism or intercessory exorcism, though that is not very precise language and only confuses the issues. One doesn’t need any permission to prayer to God for someone.

Those who want to muddy the waters almost always want to do true exorcisms even though they have no permission from the local Ordinary, even though they are not priests. These disobedient souls insist that only a “major”, “public”, “ancient”, “lengthy”, “printed and therefore official”, “Latin as opposed to ‘mere’ vernacular”, “‘serious’ as opposed to what happens in the prayer group” kind of exorcism is what is forbidden to them. They say that they can give direct commands to Satan, holding their hands over all and sundry, as long as, in their opinion, what they are doing is “minor”, “private”, “modern, even of their own composition”, “short”, “oral or at least unofficial in that it has not been put through a process of approval”, “vernacular”, “not so serious, just in a prayer group” kind of thing. This is ludicrous and plays right into the hands of Satan... (continued...)


Father George David Byers: 06 Exorcism tips from Holy Souls Hermitage – Figuring out terminology: Part I

By Father George David Byers

In Latin, the only word that’s ever been used for being harassed by a fallen angel is ossessione. English speakers have a difficult time with this word, and pedantically transliterate os-sessione (ob-sessione) as obsession, and then, getting rid of the preposition “ob-”, we add “pos-” to get possession, as if that made things all the more serious.

Now, in Latin, “ossessione” has nothing to do with our post-Freudian psychologized perspective on obsessive-compulsive disorder. No. Instead, in Latin, “ossessione” refers to being held hostage, to being under siege. It is quite an exact fit, that. As in the picture of Massada under siege by the Romans, where those inside the walled fortress were safe and self-willed, as least for a while, just so is the soul of the person who is under attack from a fallen angel. They have their free will intact, and cannot be forced to agree to what Satan is doing against them. Of course, such souls, like those in Massada, are under a great deal of pressure. Some, like those at Massada, commit suicide if they are without help, or if they are treated like a nuisance. Not good. Always be good and kind, ever so gentle with those vulnerable people who have come to you for help, who are often on their way to committing suicide, but decided to come see you first. Think long and hard on that. See things from their perspective.

It is very true, of course, that many of those who will ask for your help are merely psychologically obsessed with the devil, that is, even though Satan has never once bothered them, they are convinced that he is after them all the time and in every way. These people do not need an exorcist for exorcism, but it would be good to give them words of encouragement and to know how to send them on their way for the help they need. But, again, you may be the last stop also for them before they go off and commit suicide. Always be gentle with such vulnerable people who come to you for help. It’s good to know yourself, what bothers you. For instance, I know that I dislike it when people say they are harassed by the devil, but are saying that only to make themselves seem important, to get attention for themselves. They are plenty of such people. But, again, always be good and kind. This disarms even such people as this.

At any rate, the Church has never admitted of various categories of harassment by the devil. Instead, it just has to be serious enough whereby you judge that such a case is appropriately treated by exorcism.... (continued...)


Father George David Byers: 05 Exorcism tips from Holy Souls Hermitage – Rejoice in the Beatitudes!

By Father George David Byers

The devil doesn’t at all like when a priest becomes an exorcist officially mandated by the local Ordinary. If this is becoming a statement which you can make by way of experience, then you probably don’t have to be reminded about what our Lord says in the Beatitudes:
“Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you (falsely) because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matthew 5,10-12).
Rejoice and be glad!

I love that.

I don’t know how many times I’ve been told that such beatitudes cannot ever apply to me. Imagine that!

Our Lord gives the grace.


Father George David Byers: 04 Exorcism tips from Holy Souls Hermitage – Don’t do an exorcism over a confessing penitent

By Father George David Byers

That’s one of the pictures I took of the gargantuan images of the saints in the underground basilica of Saint Pius X in Lourdes when I was a chaplain there for a couple of years. Remember, he was a civil lawyer and a canon lawyer and a moral theologian and a saint. Probably he wants to do what the Church wants. We give him the benefit of any doubt!

In our times, the seal of confession is quite absolute, including indirect revelation of what went on in the confessional. If you were to begin a true imprecatory exorcism during confession, do you not think that the exercise of this sacrament would be interrupted or ended for the sake of a sacramental? The devil will have won, even in the confessional, or outside of it if the possessed person goes into antics and bursts out of the confessional because you have started an exorcism in the wrong place at the wrong time. That poor person will have no one to care for them, to hold them down if necessary, so that they don’t hurt themselves.

Some insist that Saint Alphonsus recommended an exorcism of certain penitents during confession. I’d like to see that passage, and I’d like to see, if that is true, if he is speaking of an imprecatory or “merely” deprecatory exorcism. I would assume the latter if there is no distinction. If it is “merely” the latter – with no commands being given to the devil, as at the end of the Lord’s Prayer: “but deliver us from the Evil One”, a request to our Lord – then go for it! But don’t make an imprecatory direct command to Satan during confession.

The sacrament of confession is infinitely more valuable to a soul than the sacramental of exorcism. Get the confession done, and then, if need be, move on to the exorcism.

Protecting the seal of confession does not admit of loopholes and excuses. It’s an absolute.


Stained Glass and the Book of Revelation

By Msgr. Charles Pope

Most Catholics are unaware of how our traditional church buildings are based on designs given by God himself. Designs that stretch all the way back to Mount Sinai when God set forth the design for the sanctuary in the desert and the tent of meeting. Many of the fundamental aspects of our church layouts still follow that plan and the stone version of it that became the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. Our traditional church buildings also have numerous references to the Book of Revelation and the Book of Hebrews, both of which describe the heavenly liturgy and heaven itself.

There is not time to develop these roots at length in this post today, though I hope to do so in a series of future posts.

Sadly in recent decades there was a casting off of these biblical roots in favor of a “meeting house” approach to church design. No longer was the thinking that our churches should reflect heavenly realities, teach the faith,  and follow biblical plans. Rather the thinking was that the Church simply provided a space for the people to meet and conduct various liturgies.

In some cases the liturgical space came to be considered “fungible” in that it could be reconfigured to suit various needs: Mass today, concert tomorrow, spaghetti dinner on Wednesday. This thinking began to be set forth as early as the 1950s. Pews were often replaced by chairs which could be moved to suit various functions. And even in parishes which did not go so far as to allow spaghetti dinners in the nave, (mine did in the 1970s), the notion of a church as essentially a meeting space prevailed... (continued)

Pope Benedict XVI: Follow the Lord on the road to the cross.


Father George David Byers: 03 Exorcism tips from Holy Souls Hermitage – Have the possessed go to confession

By Father George David Byers

The devil hates a pure soul, agile in humble reverence before the Lord. If the possessed person can go to confession, he or she should. This goes a very, very long way toward a successful exorcism if the person has been living a dissolute life.

Sin is not always the reason why Satan bothers someone. Sometimes it is extraordinary holiness. We need only think, for instance, of Saint Paul, Saint Jean-Marie Vianney, Saint Pio of Pietrelcina. Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified, O.C.D., was bothered so much that she was a candidate for exorcism. Yikes! However, the more holy a person is, the more eager that person is to go to confession.

I would like to insist that sin is not always the reason why Satan bothers someone. It seems to me that the vast majority of exorcists have the mistaken notion that sin is the only reason for someone to be possessed. This is not the case. Not. Not. Not...  (continued)


Father George David Byers: 02 Exorcism tips from Holy Souls Hermitage – Go to Confession!

By Father George David Byers of the greatest Dominican exorcists, a Consultor for I don’t know how many dicasteries of the Roman Curia, a brilliant professor and theologian – who once gave me excellent, incisive advice for a thesis I was thinking about writing at the time with the then Secretary of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, and now Cardinal, A.V. – told me that he once neglected to say terce on the day he was to do an exorcism. He said that upon beginning the exorcism, the devil immediately taunted him about this. His reaction was to, then and then, drop to his knees and go to confession to the priest with him. All went well after that.

On another occasion – and this goes back some decades in Rome – there was a young priest who could do nothing except scoff at even the idea of exorcism. Being invited to go to an exorcism, he went, only this time to make a show of his scoffing, crossing his arms, shrugging his shoulders, scowling his disapproval, almost mocking the goings on, certainly not praying in his contempt. As the exorcism became intense, the devil turned to this unbelieving sorry excuse for a priest, and started describing the time that the priest had had the night before in a hotel room with a prostitute, naming the hotel, the works. This priest ran out of the room and kept on running, hopefully right to a confessional... (continued)


Father George David Byers: Exorcism tips from Holy Souls Mountain, Saint Michael, Malachi Martin

By Father George David Byers

Finding this huge snake skin today, on the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, reminds me of my life and times as an exorcist here and there around the world. It comes to mind to do a series on exorcism tips for the new exorcists coming on the scene in America and right around the world.

Mind you, it’s NOT that I’m anything special at all. It’s just that I’ve had quite a lot of varied experience, both in the training of exorcists and in doing exorcisms. Experience is always useful. Always. In this series, I won’t conjecture anything. I’ll be extremely strict about the interpretation of restrictive law about exorcism, keeping you within the parameters of obedience to Holy Mother Church.

Here’s the first tip, taking a hint from the great letter of Saint Judas (or Jude) in the New Testament (see 1,9): Saint Michael the Archangel would not rebuke the devil, but counted on the Lord to do this for him.

Never, don’t ever take it upon yourself to revile Satan. Humbly ask Christ our God, the Son of the Immaculate Conception to do this for you. If you do that, Satan will jump right out of his skin and depart immediately. He’s nothing compared to the Son of the Immaculate Conception. Asking is “deprecation.” Everyone is free to do that. We do that at the end of the Lord’s prayer: “Deliver us from the Evil One.”

If you are an exorcist, expressly mandated by your local Ordinary to do an exorcism or to have the ministry in an ongoing manner, and you are called upon to pronounce an imprecatory exorcism , such as “Begone, Satan!” – imprecation being a direct command – never, don’t ever forget that you are doing this in the name of Christ our God, the Son of the Immaculate Conception. If you, for a second forget this, Satan will have his way with you. I’ve seen this countless times as an exorcist.

In any case, recite the prayer to Saint Michael after every Mass. These are not suppressed for the Extraordinary Form of 1962. That suppression came a couple of years later and would not affect the provisions of Summorum Pontificum for the 1962 Mass.

Even in regard to the Ordinary Form, I think both Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict have asked that the Prayer to Saint Michael continue to be recited after every Mass.... (continued)

Resisting the Cross means resisting Christ, Pope reminds audience 
AP Photo

(Catholic Culture) “Thinking as the world thinks is setting God aside, not accepting his plan of love,” Pope Benedict XVI told his midday audience on Sunday, August 28.

Reflecting on the day’s Gospel, in which Jesus told his disciples that He must go to Jerusalem to suffer and die, the Pope said that the disciples’ resistance was the same as the reaction of the many Christians who are not ready to accept the Cross. The Pope reminded his audience that Jesus instructs all his followers to pick up the Cross. Resisting that challenge means rejecting Christ, the Pontiff said: “When the fulfilment of one's life is geared solely to social success and to physical and financial well-being, one no longer reasons according to God but according to men.”

After reciting the Angelus, the Pope welcomed several groups attending the audience at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, including a delegation of seminary students from the North American College. He urged the American seminarians: “Do not be afraid to take up the challenge in today’s Gospel, to give your lives completely to Christ.”

Resisting the Cross means resisting Christ, Pope reminds audience 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cheney tells inside story of how he bucked administration on 2nd Amendment

By Alex Pappas

(The Daily Caller) Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s autobiographical book offers new information about a rare instance of Cheney breaking with his own administration’s official policy on a Second Amendment appeals court ruling, angering a top aide to then-President George W. Bush.

A source provided The Daily Caller with the passage in Cheney’s soon-to-be released book, “In My Time,” where the former vice president reveals that he and Bush never spoke about his bucking of the administration over the issue — an appeals court ruling that the District of Columbia’s handgun ban is unconstitutional.
“The president never said a word to me about it,” Cheney wrote.

Cheney describes in his book that he staunchly disagreed with the administration’s Justice Department’s amicus brief not fully supporting the appeals court ruling on the issue. The administration argued that the ruling was too broad and asked the Supreme Court to send the case back to the lower courts.

“This stance seemed inconsistent with the president’s previous position on the second amendment and it was certainly inconsistent with my view,” Cheney wrote.

Therefore, Cheney, in 2008, in his capacity as president of the Senate and not vice president of the United States, signed an amicus brief with other members of Congress — after an aide for Republican Texas Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison approached Cheney’s office — expressing support for the appeals court decision.
Not everyone in the West Wing was thrilled, Cheney recounts.

Bush’s chief of staff, Josh Bolten made it clear to Cheney’s chief of staff, David Addington, that he “was not happy” about it. But Addington, Cheney wrote, responded that he works for the vice president and not the president’s chief of staff.

Cheney also wrote that others “around the West Wing seemed pleased. Barry Jackson, who had replaced Karl Rove as the president’s political adviser, said he was delighted to see that I had taken a firm position in support of the second amendment.”

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, according to Cheney, also later joked that the court was unsure how to rule until “the vice president’s brief showed up.”

China arrests Catholic priests, church members as persecution intensifies

(Beliefnet) Priests and church members in China’s immense underground Catholic Church were arrested this weekend in the community of Tianshui — as the Chinese government continues its persecution of Christians.

Among those rounded up were the administrator of the underground diocese, Father John Baptist Wang Ruohan, retired Bishop Casmir Wang Milu, Father John Wang Ruowang, as well as several other priests and dozens of parish lay leaders, according to sources.

Bishop Wang and the two Wang priests are all brothers. They are being held in different places and subjected to political indoctrination sessions designed to break their will. The Chinese government prohibits Chinese Catholics from having any contact with the Pope or the rest of the worldwide church – and insists they participate in a government-run Catholic church not recognized by Vatican...

Survey: Catholic Infant Baptisms Decline

Findings: Baptism rate is declining along with birth rate, and less children, teens and adults are becoming Catholic.

WASHINGTON (EWTN News) — A new study shows that infant baptisms in the Catholic Church have been declining year by year along with the birth rate in the U.S.

The numbers “are generally moving in step with the overall fertility rate, which has also been falling, more so since the recession in 2008,” said researchers from Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate on Aug. 24...  (continued)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Assisi & Hanceville

Rogers' Anglican community on journey to Catholic Church

From Arkansas Catholic:

Once personal ordinariate is approved, St. George Church in Rogers will become the first Anglican-use parish in Diocese of Little Rock

Marilyn Lanford

Father Bob Hall, pastor of St. George Anglican Church, speaks with parishioners Jason Maloy, his wife Patricia Hall and Cal Smith at the close of Wednesday evening prayer at Mercy Medical Center in Rogers Aug. 10.

By Marilyn Lanford

ROGERS -- St. George Anglican Church in Rogers is one of 100 traditionalist Anglican parishes in the United States seeking to join the Catholic Church as a group.

According to Father Bob Hall, pastor of St. George Anglican Church, the small parish of 17 members was established in 2004 when the ordination of women and the ordination of an openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church came into the public spotlight.

The Traditional Anglican Communion, which St. George Church belongs, is a group of churches that separated from the worldwide Anglican Communion in 1991. It claims 400,000 members worldwide, including Australia, Canada, Puerto Rico and England.

In October 2007, bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion in Portsmouth, England, petitioned the Holy See to come into full communion with the Catholic Church, while retaining Anglican traditions and liturgy.

Pope Benedict XVI responded on Nov. 4, 2009, with the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus ("Groups of Anglicans"), which provides for a personal ordinariate -- a geographic region similar to a diocese -- that would allow former Anglican parishes or groups to come into the Catholic Church while preserving their Anglican liturgical practices and heritage. An ordinariate is already approved in England and are in the works in Australia, the United States and Canada.

Father Hall said, "When the Holy Father issued his Anglicanorum coetibus, what it said in essence is, 'Come home. You can maintain your traditions and your liturgy within the confines of the Church. Come just as you are.' We will not be a separate rite, but rather a separate use. Much like the traditional Latin Mass, we will then have the Anglican Mass."

Addressing the new change, Msgr. Scott Marczuk, pastor at St. Stephen Church in Bentonville, said, "The Holy Father wants this Christian unity that has been separate for so long to now be a legitimate part of our heritage. In its communion with Rome, it will find its fulfillment."

"In this document, by having the personal ordinariate, it brings about union with Rome and defines its Christian origin. This enriches all of us. To be one in the Catholic faith doesn't mean 'uniform' but rather the Church has unity with diversity such as those in the Eastern Rite. They are Catholic but not an expression of the Roman Catholic Church."

The Catholic Church has long been working with Anglican and Episcopal priests and laity to welcome them into the Church. In June 1980 the Vatican granted a special provision known as the "pastoral provision" that allowed the ordination of individual Anglican and Episcopal priests as Catholic priests. It was followed in 1983 when a special commission convened in Rome to establish the Anglican Use liturgy for former Anglicans who are in full communion with Rome.

Msgr. Marczuk said these recent events are an opportunity for Catholics to learn more about Church history.

"This is enriching both Catholics and fellow Anglicans. We should do the best that we can to accommodate them," he said.

The personal ordinariate for the United States is expected to be approved by the Vatican this year. Cardinal Donald Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, has been named the delegate to assist these Anglican groups. The entry of the Traditional Anglican Communion into the Catholic Church requires each Anglican Use parish to prepare and submit a request through the proper channels to enter the personal ordinariate.

As pastor of St. George Parish, Father Hall has completed the necessary dossier for the transition. Father Mike Sinkler, former pastor at St. Stephen Church, and Msgr. Marczuk have assisted with the preparation of the request.

In preparing the dossier, Father Hall said, "I had to write a letter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, asking to be considered for ordination as a priest. My wife, Patricia, had to write a letter, saying that she approved of my becoming a Catholic priest. Then two letters of references. Father Mike provided a letter of character reference for me as well. Msgr. Scott provided a great deal of the legwork to be sure we had it all."

Because the Anglican priests must be ordained Catholic priests during the formation period, there will be a period of study and conferences for those coming into the Church. In addition, the laity coming into the ordinariate will make a profession of faith as Catholics, using the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults for their faith formation.

Once the process is complete, St. George Church will be welcomed in the Diocese of Little Rock.

In July, Father Hall and his wife attended the National Anglican Use Conference of the Catholic Church in Arlington, Texas, with 225 people. It included Anglican priests and laity who will be received into the Church once the new ordinariate in the United States is established.

Until the personal ordinariate is approved, St. George Parish uses the chapel at Mercy Medical Center in Rogers for their Sunday services and Wednesday evening prayer.

Sister Anita DeSalvo, RSM, has acted as liaison for the past year at Bishop Anthony B. Taylor's request.

"The bishop said he wanted to support them any way he could through this process," Sister Anita said. "The congregation has been faithful during this time, usually an average of 15 people on Sundays. I think they have had a few more people join their church while they have been meeting here. When this process is over, I would think they would want to be out and away from the hospital. Then they would have a much more significant kind of presence in the community here in northwest Arkansas."

After attending a recent prayer service, Cal Smith, a Catholic from Neosho, Mo., said he is interested in the "old liturgy."

Moving from Omaha, Neb., upon retirement, he said he missed the Latin Mass he often attended there. A convert to Catholicism in 2005, Smith said, "I love the reverence instilled in the traditions of the Anglican liturgy. That is why I make the trip to Rogers for the services."

Father Hall's wife Patricia said, "Some of the churches have gotten so large. Because of this, some people find they would prefer a smaller church. That is why they come to us in the first place. Some of them have young children."

Father Hall added, "We need families with young children. That is the lifeblood of the parish."

A lay reader at St. George, Jason Maloy is one of the young people involved in the parish. Baptized in the Episcopal Church at 18, he moved to northwest Arkansas to attend the University of Arkansas.

"When I discovered there was an Anglican church up here, I decided to call about it," he said. "I drove up to meet Father Bob and Patty to have coffee with them. I just adopted them."

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dr. Bill Donohue Discussing Fr. Gordon MacRae and SNAP on EWTN's The World Over

From Fr. Gordon J. MacRae's blog These Stone Walls -  I fast-forwarded the video to the start of the segment:

"You may be interested to watch Dr. Bill Donohue, of the Catholic League, discuss  Father Gordon MacRae and These Stone Walls on the most recent The World Over with Raymond Arroyo on EWTN:"

"Father is brought up at the 41:00 mark, and the actual segment begins at the 32:14 mark.  Thank you, Dr. Donohue!"

The Rite

Anthony Hopkins as a veteran exorcist.
By Roger Ebert

"The Rite" takes exorcism more seriously than I expected it to. It begins with the supposition that Satan is “alive and active in the world” and assumes that satanic possession takes place and that the rite of exorcism works. Otherwise, we wouldn't have a movie, would we? In metaphysical terms, I must immediately jump on the word “alive.” In what sense can a being that exists outside of time and space be said to be alive? Active, yes.
The movie is based on the actual experiences of Father Gary Thomas, a California priest who was assigned by his bishop to study exorcism at the Vatican. In "The Rite," he becomes Father Michael Kovak (Colin O'Donoghue) from Chicago, and the closing credits tell us he's now working in a Western suburb. That's a fib. The director, Mikael Hafstrom, should say three “Hail Marys” and make a good act of contrition.

Father Michael is not a saint. He enters the seminary as a way to get a four-year college education before taking his vows, and then tries to leave the novitiate. Discovering the cost of his education would then roll over into a $100,000 student loan, he reconsiders and agrees to attend a monthlong course in Rome. This sort of detail is more refreshing than shots of him silhouetted against ancient desert structures while monks intone Gregorian chants.

In Rome, he attends classes, debates scripture, and then is advised to spent some time with an experienced exorcist, Father Lucas Trevant (Anthony Hopkins). This too is from the book by Matt Baglio, although in the book, this priest is Italian. As Hopkins appears onscreen, "The Rite" slips into gear and grows solemn and effective. Hopkins finds a good note for Father Trevant: friendly, chatty, offhand, self-effacing, realistic about demonic possession but not a ranter. He takes the kid along while treating the apparent possession of a pregnant young woman.

That something happens to make people seem possessed I have no doubt. Diagnosing whether Satan is involved is above my pay grade. What I must observe is that demonic possession seems very rare, and the Church rejects the majority of such reports. Yet it approaches epidemic proportions in "The Rite," almost as if it were a virus. The film is like one of those war movies where everybody gets wounded but John Wayne.

Still, I found myself drawn in. It is sincere. It is not exploitative; a certain amount of screaming, frothing and thrashing comes with the territory. My own guess is that people get the demons they deserve. While true believers go into frenzies, the Masters of Wall Street more cruelly lose joy in their wives and homes.

In Rome, Father Lucas meets a journalist named Angeline (Alice Braga), who like most women in the movies, even journalists, lacks a second name. She follows them on assignment, but it is one of the film's virtues that she does not get romantically involved. In a correct casting decision, Braga is attractive but not a sexpot. This movie was filmed largely in Hungary. In Hollywood, the role would have had Megan Fox written all over it.

Hafstrom uses what I assume are some Hungarian interiors to go with his exteriors in Rome. A centuries-old library is especially impressive. The ancient presence of the Vatican is evoked to great effect; a reminder that although Satan is in fashion in many denominations, when you want to exorcise, you call in the experienced professionals. The priests are not blind believers. Father Kovak argues at one point that a psychiatrist might be more appropriate. When they get into the trenches with the demons, there is spiritual hand-to-hand fighting, but Father Trevant, Father Kovak and Angeline are as realistic as probably possible.

This is I suspect a more realistic film than "The Exorcist," although not its equal. The real Father Gary Thomas has cited "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" (2005) as more accurate. I admire "The Rite" because while it delivers what I suppose should be called horror, it is atmospheric, its cinematography is eerie and evocative, and the actors enrich it. It has given some thought to exorcism. Grant its assumptions, and it has something to say.

Update - From

(Caution: Spoilers

The Rite
By Lise Anglin

Hardcopy Issue Date: March 2011
Online Publication Date: Mar 1, 2011, 14:26

Starring Anthony Hopkins, Colin O’Donoghue, Ciarán Hinds
Warner Brother Enterprise presents a film directed by Mikael Håfström
based loosely on a book by Matt Baglio, The Rite: The making of a modern exorcist, 2009
rated: PG-13 for disturbing thematic material, violence, frightening images, and language including sexual references.

The biggest difference between the film The Rite and the book on which it is loosely based is the character of the man called to Rome to be trained as an exorcist. In the film, this man is the fictional Michael Kovak, an affable seminarian who doubts his vocation and suffers from weak faith. In the book, this man is a real person, Father Gary Thomas, a well-educated 57-year-old American priest who was requested by his bishop in 2005 to train for the position of exorcist for his diocese. People who have read the book may find this difference distracting. However, it ends up being unimportant. Taken as a whole, the film is surprisingly accurate about the phenomenon of diabolical possession.

The film deals with three exorcisms. The first case is that of a young pregnant woman. The exorcist helping her is Father Lucas Trevant (Anthony Hopkins), an intense, charismatic priest originally from Wales but living alone in Italy in a suitably spooky house. Seminarian Michael Kovak is sent to train under Father Lucas. His training is hands-on. During a series of exorcisms on the young woman, Michael sees her exhibit disturbing behaviours, such as speaking a variety of languages in different voices, displaying superhuman strength, uttering obscenities, writhing, chok­ing, spitting, and convulsing when touched by a Crucifix or sprinkled with holy water. All these phenom­ena are consistently documented by reputable exorcists, which means the filmmakers did their homework. Oddly, Michael remains unconvinced of any supernatural explanation and insists the woman needs a psychiatrist.

The second case is that of a young boy who has been bitten ferociously by an evil “mule” and displays knowledge of things he cannot know through natural means. Father Lucas asks pointed questions to determine whether or not the boy is suffering from child abuse. He becomes convinced it is a genuine case of extraordinary diabolic activity. As part of the exorcism, he demands to see the boy’s pillow, tears it apart, and finds inside the confirmation of his diagnosis. Again, the filmmakers did their homework. Exorcists emphasize the importance of correct diagnosis, and do indeed report the discovery of strange hidden objects as a sign of demonic activity in some cases. At this stage in the film, the seminarian Michael begins to believe.

The third case is that of Father Lucas himself. This part of the film is the most sensationalistic and the least catechetical. Accurate reflection of Church teaching breaks down because the seminarian Michael successfully performs the exorcism on Father Lucas with the aid of a female journalist. The Catholic Church does not allow seminarians to perform exorcisms. If they attempt to do so, they are unlikely to be successful. An exorcism is to be performed only by a faithful priest appointed by his bishop. Also, experienced exorcists discourage the popular idea that the devil normally attacks the exorcist as revenge for the exorcism ritual.

The main value of this film is its generally accurate portrayal of extraordinary diabolical phenomena, as documented by such experts as Father Livio Fanzaga, Father Gabriele Amorth, Monsignor Léon Cristiani and Father Corrado Balducci, to name a few. It is to be hoped that the film will sharpen the determination of believers to follow Christ. Through a salutary fear, it could also rekindle the faith of lapsed Catholics.

Lise Anglin works at a mental health centre in Toronto. She has a deep interest in spirituality. Ω

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Rick Perry brushing off University of Iowa student

From The Economist:

What did Mr Hjelm ask? Here's his own account:
What I asked Governor Perry was “Considering state debt has nearly tripled and spending has increased by two thirds since you were governor, and also that ACORN considered your help their ‘proudest moment,’ what were the differences between him and the current liberal president?” As you can see, he immediately tried to excuse away the numbers. 
This is a challenging line of questioning, but it was set forth politely, and I would have liked to have heard Mr Perry's reply. Mr Perry had started to say "I don't know where..." and then changed course. When Mr Hjelms talked over him to cite his source, replying to what he took to be the thrust of Mr Perry's abandoned first response, and when he continued to try to say where he got his numbers, Mr Perry used the opportunity to act as though Mr Hjelms was not actually interested in a response and moved on. "You obviously don't know what you're talking about, brother", he added in valediction, which is somewhat ironic, as Mr Hjelms was trying to explain how he knew what he was talking about.

I enjoyed witnessing this fleeting, close-up moment of flesh-pressing campaign politicking. Mr Perry's skillful exit from the exchange, his calmly assertive demeanour (note the way his initially attentive eyes narrow into a challenging "kiss off" grin, the way he presses his index finger softly into Mr Hjelm's chest) and the folksy leavening of his denigrating parting shot, all suggest to me a seriously skilled retail politician whose swagger remains mostly charming even when he's being an impatient prick. Meanwhile, Mr Hjelm's question and his follow-up blog post reveal an emerging line of attack on Mr Perry from the most fervently small-government precincts of the tea-party right: Mr Perry is a big-spending, lobbyist-loving, Al Gore-supporting ex-Democrat who is all pork and no tricorne.

Sarah Palin, who may yet enter the race, recently retweeted a blog post featuring these charts:

It seems that a good deal of Texas' debt comes from bonds issued to finance new infrastructure. Given Texas' population growth, the last several years' low interest rates, and a large pool of un- and under-employed workers, this might be smart government. But try telling that to Mrs Palin, or Michele Bachmann. Mr Perry's going to have to do better than "You obviously don't know what you're talking about, sister", even if it's true.

Growing number of Catholics push for return to Latin Mass
Jane Latz of Carthage, Ind., attends a recent Latin Mass at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Madison with her children Kristina, 16, center, and Theresa, 19. The family was passing through Madison on a vacation and sought out a Latin Mass. (Photo: Amber Arnold)

By Doug Erickson

(Wisconsin State Journal) Ellie Arkin doesn't speak Latin, so upon entering Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Madison on a recent Sunday, the 21-year-old UW-Madison student opened a Latin-to-English translation book provided by the church.

For the next hour, she and many of the other parishioners followed along in the book as the Mass unfolded mostly in Latin.

For centuries, this was the only way Catholics around the world experienced Mass. Reforms ushered in by Vatican II in the 1960s largely eliminated Latin Mass, but now, across the country and in the Madison Catholic Diocese, traditionalists are seeking its comeback. Monsignor Delbert Schmelzer, a retired parish priest, is among the Madison Catholic Diocese priests who celebrate Latin Mass on a consistent basis. (Photo: Amber Arnold)

Supporters say it offers a reverence and gravity lacking in today's more casual worship approach.

"There's this incredible sacredness you can feel and taste and see — it is not just a social gathering," said Jacek Cianciara, 67, of Madison, one of the parishioners helping to bring back Latin Mass locally.

Other Catholics find the older style needlessly difficult to follow and too passive.

"When it's in Latin, it's just rote — you're not reading the words for the real meaning," said Alice Jenson, 66, of Fitchburg. "I'm opposed to having this artificial barrier being put up." Liesl Howard, 6, of Janesville, attends a Latin Mass at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Madison with her family. (Photo: Amber Arnold)

Catholics now can attend a Mass in Latin somewhere in the 11-county diocese every day, although the vast majority of worship services remain in English. About 200 Catholics consistently attend a Latin Mass at least weekly, with others dropping in periodically, the diocese estimates.

That's a tiny slice of total church attendance — about 57,000 people attend Mass in the diocese each week — but it's a vocal and growing slice.

More than language

Latin Mass, also known as the Tridentine Mass, is distinguished by more than language. The priest faces the altar, which traditionally faced East, the direction from which Catholics believe Christ will return. A Holy Redeemer parishioner follows along during Latin Mass in a book that translates the Latin into English.  (Photo: Amber Arnold)

This means the priest has his back to the people, which traditionalists view as appropriate, like a general leading his troops.

The priest speaks in a low, quiet voice, rendering the Latin largely and intentionally inaudible to parishioners. That's because the priest should be praying to the Lord in their name, not proclaiming something to the people, said Monsignor Delbert Schmelzer, 81, one of the diocesan priests who leads Latin Masses.

"That emphasis is a world of difference," he said.

Gregorian chant is the required music, sometimes accompanied by an organ or singing. Female altar servers are not used because traditionalists believe the role should be reserved for boys, the only ones who can become priests.

Only the priest reads the Scriptures or distributes Communion.

A big shift

The 1962-65 Second Vatican Council introduced Masses in local languages, and reform-minded theologians followed with a host of other changes that loosened the structure of the worship service and increased roles for laypeople. During the old-style Latin Mass, the priest faces the altar, not the people. Here, Monsignor Delbert Schmelzer celebrates Latin Mass at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church. (Photo: Amber Arnold)

Girls were added as altar servers, and church members started assisting priests as Scripture readers and Communion distributors. The music expanded to include guitars, folk choirs and hymns such as "Amazing Grace."

Priests began facing the people instead of the altar.

"Vatican II shifted the emphasis to draw more on the talents and abilities of people who are not ordained — the idea that, ‘It's my church too,'" said the Rev. Steven Avella, a history professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee and a Catholic priest.

The same principle was behind the translation of the Mass into the native tongue, Avella said. "People could understand what was being said and respond in their own language," he said.

For traditionalists, the changes were unfortunate.... (continued...)