Saturday, June 14, 2003

From "The Glories of Mary For the Sake of Her Son", Discourses to Mixed Congregations
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

"Now, if you would witness against these unchristian opinions, if you would bring out distinctly and beyond mistake and evasion, the simple idea of the Catholic Church that God is man, could you do it better than by laying down in St. John's words that 'God became man'? and again could you express this more emphatically and unequivocally than by declaring that He was born a man, or that He had a Mother? The world allows that God is man; the admission costs it little, for God is everywhere, and (as it may say) is everything; but it shrinks from confessing that God is the Son of Mary. It shrinks, for it is at once confronted with a severe fact, which violates and shatters its own unbelieving view of things; the revealed doctrine forthwith takes its true shape, and receives an historical reality; and the Almighty is introduced into His own world at a certain time and in a definite way. Dreams are broken and shadows depart; the Divine truth is no longer a poetical expression, or a devotional exaggeration, or a mystical economy, or a mythical representation. 'Sacrifice and offering,' the shadows of the Law, 'Thou wouldest not, but a body hast Thou fitted to me.' 'That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have diligently looked upon, and our hands have handled,' 'That which we have seen and have heard, declare we unto you';—such is the record of the Apostle, in opposition to those 'spirits' which denied that 'Jesus Christ had appeared in the flesh,' and which 'dissolved' Him by denying either His human nature or His divine. And the confession that Mary is Deipara, or the Mother of God, is that safeguard wherewith we seal up and secure the doctrine of the Apostle from all evasion, and that test whereby we detect all the pretences of those bad spirits of 'Antichrist which have gone out into the world'. It declares that He is God; it implies that He is man; it suggests to us that He is God still, though He has become man, and that He is true man though He is God. By witnessing to the process of the union, it secures the reality of the two subjects of the union, of the divinity and of the manhood. If Mary is the Mother of God, Christ must be literally Emmanuel, God with us. And hence it was, that, when time went on, and the bad spirits and false prophets grew stronger and bolder, and found a way into the Catholic body itself, then the Church, guided by God, could find no more effectual and sure way of expelling them than that of using this word Deipara against them; and, on the other hand, when they came up again from the realms of darkness, and plotted the utter overthrow of Christian faith in the sixteenth century, then they could find no more certain expedient for their hateful purpose than that of reviling and blaspheming the prerogatives of Mary, for they knew full well that, if they could once get the world to dishonour the Mother, the dishonour of the Son would follow close. The Church and Satan agreed together in this, that Son and Mother went together...."
Gerard Serafin
reminds us that on this day in 1936, Gilbert Keith Chesterton went to his reward.

Friday, June 13, 2003

OK, now I'm blushing.....

Tolkien Scholar

What Type of Tolkien Fan are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

BTW, it's not "Middle Earth", it's "Middle-earth" ......

A judicial nominee
who apparently tells it like it is.

My favorite part of the article is this....
"Pryor has said some very blunt things in the past. For example, he's a vigorous opponent of abortion and has called the Roe v. Wade decision 'the worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.'

The quote appears in every anti-Pryor tract produced by the liberal interest groups that oppose his nomination. Before the hearing, Pryor no doubt knew that more than one senator would read his words to him and ask for an explanation. And indeed, right off the bat, New York Democrat Charles Schumer recited the 'abomination' line and asked, 'Do you believe that now?'

It was the perfect moment for Pryor to begin a backpedaling, thank-you-for-your-question-and-please-confirm-me explanation. Instead, Pryor said, simply, 'I do.'
Schumer looked slightly amazed. 'I appreciate your candor,' he said. 'I really do.'
Later, Pennsylvania Republican Arlen Specter went over the same ground. Did Pryor really say such a thing? Specter asked. Was the quote accurate?
Yes, Pryor said, the quote was accurate.
Did Pryor stand by his words?

'I stand by that comment,' Pryor said. 'I believe that not only is [Roe] unsupported by the text and structure of the Constitution, but it has led to a morally wrong result. It has led to the slaughter of millions of innocent unborn children.'
Specter seemed more than a little chagrined. 'Well,' he said, pausing for a moment and looking down, 'let's move on.' "

I think prayers for this gentleman would be in order- we need him on the bench ASAP !

Added a new link
under "Catholic and Pro-Life Sites"- Christendom Awake . It's got tons of great articles, sermons, etc. Here's an example:

The Mind of Newman by Fr. Ian Ker.

The Feast of St. Anthony of Padua
is today. There is information on him here.
To all the Franciscans out there, all those named for the great preacher, and all those who have him as a special patron, happy feast day !

Thursday, June 12, 2003

From "Waiting for Christ", Sermons Preached On Various Occasions
by Venerable John Henry Newman. C.O.

" This energetic, direct apprehension of an unseen Lord and Saviour has not been peculiar to Prophets and Apostles; it has been the habit of His Holy Church, and of her children, down to this day. Age passes after age, and she varies her discipline, and she adds to her devotions, and all with the one purpose of fixing her own and their gaze more fully upon the person of her unseen Lord. She has adoringly surveyed Him, feature by feature, and has paid a separate homage to Him in every one. She has made us honour His Five Wounds, His Precious Blood, and His Sacred Heart. She has bid us meditate on His infancy, and the Acts of His ministry; His agony, His scourging, and His crucifixion. She has sent us on pilgrimage to His birthplace and His sepulchre, and the mount of His ascension. She has sought out, and placed before us, the memorials of His life and death; His crib and holy house, His holy tunic, the handkerchief of St. Veronica, the cross and its nails, His winding sheet, and the napkin for His head.

And so, again, if the Church has exalted Mary or Joseph, it has been with a view to the glory of His sacred humanity. If Mary is proclaimed as immaculate, it illustrates the doctrine of her Maternity. If she is called the Mother of God, it is to remind us that, though He is out of sight, He, nevertheless, is our possession, for He is of the race of man. If she is painted with Him in her arms, it is because we will not suffer the Object of our love to cease to be human, because He is also divine. If she is the Mater Dolorosa, it is because she stands by His cross. If she is Maria Desolata, it is because His dead body is on her lap. If, again, she is the Coronata, the crown is set upon her head by His dear hand. And, in like manner, if we are devout to Joseph, it is as to His foster-father; and if he is the saint of happy death, it is because he dies in the hands of Jesus and Mary. "

For fans of the Professor...
Here's a link to a website which features a tour of the church he attended on a regular basis. (BTW, the fact that it happens to now be an Oratorian church is, for me, a big bonus !)
The heartbreaking results of treating human bodies as machines

Women forced into sexual slavery conceiving babies which are taken away to be either sold alive, or used as 'spare parts'

There must be a special place in Hell for anyone who would do this.

Link courtesy of Envoy Encore

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

From Meditations and Devotions
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

" To have a virgin soul is to love nothing on earth in comparison of God, or except for His sake. That soul is virginal which is ever looking for its Beloved who is in heaven, and which sees Him in whatever is lovely upon earth, loving earthly friends very dearly, but in their proper place, as His gifts, and His representatives, but loving Jesus alone with sovereign affection, and bearing to lose all, so that she may keep Him."
Mel Eru ....
I'm not going to say what the Professor would think of this, because it would probably be unprintable.

Link courtesy of Mark Shea.

Found a wonderful article
over at Christendom Awake on a topic I blogged about earlier.

Created in Whose Image? Menstrual Suppression as a Dualistic Approach to the Female Body-Person by Katherine H. Bergman. Here's a quote...

A reflection on the marketing techniques for menstrual management discussed above is apropos at this point. The benefits proposed for the suppression of menstruation included 'no cramping, no tampons, no bloating, no backaches,' not to mention that the elimination of that added nuisance for employers – absenteeism and decreased on-the-job productivity. Woman’s body, as given, is problematic. Menstruation is a hindrance that prevents woman from functioning without interruption in her productivity. In order to 'fully participate' in what has become normative for post-industrialized culture, she must make her body like a man’s. The natural rhythms of her body are considered an inconvenience and an obstruction to her full participation in a career, or in any of her other societal roles. When the practically sterile, menstrually suppressed woman becomes normative, it can no longer be denied that society refuses to accept woman precisely as woman. It will only accept her insofar as she is willing to modify her person (including her body) to fit with societal expectations.
The Feast of St. Barnabas
is today. There is information on him here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2003

From "Discourses to Mixed Congregations"
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

"The truth is, that the world, knowing nothing of the blessings of the Catholic faith, and prophesying nothing but ill concerning it, fancies that a convert, after the first fervour is over, feels nothing but disappointment, weariness, and offence in his new religion, and is secretly desirous of retracing his steps. This is at the root of the alarm and irritation which it manifests at hearing that doubts are incompatible with a Catholic's profession, because it is sure that doubts will come upon him, and then how pitiable will be his state! That there can be peace, and joy, and knowledge, and freedom, and spiritual strength in the Church, is a thought far beyond the world's imagination; for it regards her simply as a frightful conspiracy against the happiness of man, seducing her victims by specious professions, and, when they are once hers, caring nothing for the misery which breaks upon them, so that by any means she may detain them in bondage. Accordingly, it conceives we are in perpetual warfare with our own reason, fierce objections ever rising within us, and we forcibly repressing them. It believes that, after the likeness of a vessel which has met with some accident at sea, we are ever baling out the water which rushes in upon us, and have hard work to keep afloat; we just manage to linger on, either by an unnatural strain on our minds, or by turning them away from the subject of religion. The world disbelieves our doctrines itself, and cannot understand our own believing them. It considers them so strange, that it is quite sure, though we will not confess it, that we are haunted day and night with doubts, and tormented with the apprehension of yielding to them. I really do think it is the world's judgment, that one principal part of a confessor's work is the putting down such misgivings in his penitents. It fancies that the reason is ever rebelling, like the flesh; that doubt, like concupiscence, is elicited by every sight and sound, and that temptation insinuates itself in every page of letter-press, and through the very voice of a Protestant polemic. When it sees a Catholic Priest, it looks hard at him, to make out how much there is of folly in his composition, and how much of hypocrisy. "

I really should mention ...
the group blog entitled The Thinklings . While it seems that the blog contributors are Protestant Christians of "Evangelical"-type, they have been quite kind to me, posting three quotes I sent to them, and linking to this blog. The quotes were from the Professor, the Venerable, and Msgr. Ronald Knox. While I obviously disagree with their theologies, the blog is interesting.
On this day in 1926...
the famous Catalan architect Antonio Gaudi died. His canonization cause has been introduced. While I am not much of an architecture buff, I mention him because we share something else : he was a member of the Secular Oratory in Barcelona- a fact which, for some reason, is not mentioned in the English-language articles on his cause which I have come across.
Interesting visitor...
at the Pittsburgh Oratory this week... Fr. Guy Nicholls, C.O., from the Birmingham Oratory. I have mentioned him before, as the author of two fine articles dealing with the Liturgy, sacred music, and Oratorian history.

Oratorians and the Liturgy in England

St. Philip and Music

Monday, June 09, 2003

Added a new blog
to my links: Mixolydian Mode.

Now why is it ..
that we hear so much about the wonderful biotechnological breakthroughs that would be made if only we pro-life people would shut up and get with the program, and so little about the wonderful biotechnological breakthroughs made by researchers who are not cannbalizing tiny human beings for their cells or tissues ?

Link courtesy of Underreported.Com

The Feast of St. Ephrem, Deacon and Doctor of the Church
is today. There is information on him here.

Sunday, June 08, 2003

Pentecost, 1544
was an important day in Oratorian history. Here's why.

Can one can sigh in Heaven ?
I thought that's what I heard the Venerable do as he watches the continuing self-destruction of the faith community where he began his life. (It may, of course, be merely my overactive imagination....)
Lane Core
posted links to a lot of sermons by the Venerable for Pentecost. (Note: These are from his time as an Anglican clergyman, so some of the ecclesiology is, from a Catholic perspective, less than ideal. )

Prayer for our priests
is vital

The Feast of Pentecost
is today. There is information on it here. (Note: This article was written in the early 20th century and some of it may be dated. )

"And that noiseless, unostentatious conquest of the earth, made by the Holy Apostles of Christ, became, as regards the Jews, still more secret, from the circumstance that they believed it would be with outward show, though He assured them of the contrary. The Pharisees looked out for some sign from heaven. They would not believe that His kingdom could come, unless they saw it come; they looked out for a prince with troops in battle array; and since He came with twelve poor men and no visible pomp, He was to them as a 'thief in the night,' because of their incredulity, and He was come and in possession before they would allow that He was coming.

But the coming of His kingdom would anyhow have been secret, even though they had not been resolved that it should not be so. And He tells us in the text the reason why. 'Neither shall they say, Behold here, or behold there. For lo, the kingdom of God is within you.' You see, He tells us why He came so covertly. It could not be otherwise, because it was a conquest, not of the body, but of the heart. It was not an assault from without, but it was an inward influence not subduing the outward man through the senses, but, in the words of the Apostle, 'bringing into captivity every understanding unto the obedience of Christ.' Kingdoms of this world spread in space and time; they begin from a point, and they travel onwards, and range round. Their course may be traced: first they secure this territory, then they compass that. They make their ground good, as they go, and consolidate their power. Of course, the kingdom of Christ also, as being in this world, has an outward shape, and fortunes, and a history, like institutions of this world, though it be not of this world. It began from Jerusalem, and went forward to Scythia and to Africa, to India and to Britain; and it has ranks and officers and laws; it observes a strict discipline, and exacts an implicit obedience: but still this is not the full account, or the true process, of its rise and establishment. 'The weapons of its warfare were not carnal;' it came by an inward and intimate visitation; by outward instruments, indeed, but with effects far higher than those instruments; with preaching and argument and discussion, but really by God's own agency. He who is Omnipotent and Omniscient, touched many hearts at once and in many places. They forthwith, one and all, spoke one language, not learning it one from the other so much as taught by Himself the canticle of the Lamb: or, if by men's teaching too, yet catching and mastering it spontaneously, almost before the words were spoken. For time and space, cause and effect, are the servants of His will.

And so, voices broke out all at once into His praise, in the East and in the West, in the North and in the South: and the perplexed world searched about in vain, whence came that concord of sweet and holy sounds. Upon the first word of the preacher, upon a hint, upon a mere whisper in the air, a deep response came from many lips,—a deep, full, and ready harmony of many voices one and all proclaiming the Saviour of men. For the Spirit of the Lord had descended and filled the earth; and there were thrilling hearts, and tremulous pulses, and eager eyes, in every place. It was a time of visitation when the weak were to become strong, and the last become first. It was the triumph of faith, which delays not, but accepts generously and promptly,—according to the Scripture, 'The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in thy heart; this is the word of faith which we preach.' And thus, as Nineveh and Babylon were surprised of old by the army of the enemy, so was the world thus surprised by Him, who, in prophetic language, rode upon a white horse and was called 'Faithful and True'; and, as it befell Egypt at the first Pasch, that there was not a house where there lay not one dead, so now, on this more gracious Passage there was not a house where there was not one alive. For the Highest had come down among them, and was everywhere; the Lord of Angels was walking the earth; He was scattering His gifts freely, and multiplying His Image: and, in this sense, as well as in that in which He spoke the words, 'a man's enemies were they of his own household.' The despised, the hated influence insinuated itself everywhere; the leaven spread, and none could stay it; and in the most unlikely places, in the family of the haughty and fierce soldier, amid the superstitions of idolatry and the degradations of slavery, the noblest, and the ablest, and the fairest, as well as the brutish and the ignorant, one and all, by a secret power, became the prey of the Church and the bondsmen of Christ. And thus a great and wide-spreading kingdom flushed into existence all at once, like spring after winter, from within. " - Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O. , "The Secret Power of Divine Grace" , Sermons Preached on Various Occasions