Thursday, October 30, 2003

Disputations has two posts
in which the Venerable is mentioned.

I probably will not get to post tommorow or Saturday.
Tommorow, I have too much to do. On Saturday, I will be attending the wedding of two good friends. Prayers for Rob and Brenda as they begin their life together as a married couple would be most welcome.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

From "Intellect, the Instrument of Religious Training
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

" Here, then, I conceive, is the object of the Holy See and the Catholic Church in setting up Universities; it is to reunite things which were in the beginning joined together by God, and have been put asunder by man. Some persons will say that I am thinking of confining, distorting, and stunting the growth of the intellect by ecclesiastical supervision. I have no such thought. Nor have I any thought of a compromise, as if religion must give up something, and science something. I wish the intellect to range with the utmost freedom, and religion to enjoy an equal freedom; but what I am stipulating for is, that they should be found in one and the same place, and exemplified in the same persons. I want to destroy that diversity of centres, which puts everything into confusion by creating a contrariety of influences. I wish the same spots and the same individuals to be at once oracles of philosophy and shrines of devotion. It will not satisfy me, what satisfies so many, to have two independent systems, intellectual and religious, going at once side by side, by a sort of division of labour, and only accidentally brought together. It will not satisfy me, if religion is here, and science there, and young men converse with science all day, and lodge with religion in the evening. It is not touching the evil, to which these remarks have been directed, if young men eat and drink and sleep in one place, and think in another: I want the same roof to contain both the intellectual and moral discipline. Devotion is not a sort of finish given to the sciences; nor is science a sort of feather in the cap, if I may so express myself, an ornament and set-off to devotion. I want the intellectual layman to be religious, and the devout ecclesiastic to be intellectual. "

Sermons Preached on Various Occasions

Tuesday, October 28, 2003

The Feast of Sts. Simon and Jude, Apostles
is today. There is information on them here and here.

Monday, October 27, 2003

Translated by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

Immense cœli conditor.

"Lord of unbounded space,
Who, lest the sky and main
Should mix, and heaven should lose its place,
Didst the rude waters chain;

Parting the moist and rare,
That rills on earth might flow
To soothe the angry flame, whene'er
It ravens from below;

Pour on us of Thy grace
The everlasting spring;
Lest our frail steps renew the trace
Of the ancient wandering.

May faith in lustre grow,
And rear her star in heaven,
Paling all sparks of earth below,
Unquench'd by damps of even.

Grant it, O Father, Son,
And Holy Spirit of grace,
To whom be glory, Three in One,
In every time and place. "

Sunday, October 26, 2003

A prophetic passage
from Discourses to Mixed Congregations, by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

"Wealth is one idol of the day, and notoriety is a second. I am not speaking, I repeat, of what men actually pursue, but of what they look up to, what they revere. Men may not have the opportunity of pursuing what they admire still. Never could notoriety exist as it does now, in any former age of the world; now that the news of the hour from all parts of the world, private news as well as public, is brought day by day to every individual, as I may say, of the community, to the poorest artisan and the most secluded peasant, by processes so uniform, so unvarying, so spontaneous, that they almost bear the semblance of a natural law. And hence notoriety, or the making a noise in the world, has come to be considered a great good in itself, and a ground of veneration. Time was when men could only make a display by means of expenditure; and the world used to gaze with wonder on those who had large establishments, many servants, many horses, richly-furnished houses, gardens, and parks: it does so still, that is, when it has the opportunity of doing so: for such magnificence is the fortune of the few, and comparatively few are its witnesses. Notoriety, or, as it may be called, newspaper fame, is to the many what style and fashion, to use the language of the world, are to those who are within or belong to the higher circles; it becomes to them a sort of idol, worshipped for its own sake, and without any reference to the shape in which it comes before them. It may be an evil fame or a good fame; it may be the notoriety of a great statesman, or of a great preacher, or of a great speculator, or of a great experimentalist, or of a great criminal; of one who has laboured in the improvement of our schools, or hospitals, or prisons, or workhouses, or of one who has robbed his neighbour of his wife. It matters not; so that a man is talked much of, and read much of, he is thought much of; nay, let him even have died justly under the hands of the law, still he will be made a sort of martyr of. His clothes, his handwriting, the circumstances of his guilt, the instruments of his deed of blood, will be shown about, gazed on, treasured up as so many relics; for the question with men is, not whether he is great, or good, or wise, or holy; not whether he is base, and vile, and odious, but whether he is in the mouths of men, whether he has centred on himself the attention of many, whether he has done something out of the way, whether he has been (as it were) canonised in the publications of the hour. All men cannot be notorious: the multitudes who thus honour notoriety, do not seek it themselves; nor am I speaking of what men do, but how they judge; yet instances do occur from time to time of wretched men, so smitten with passion for notoriety, as even to dare in fact some detestable and wanton act, not from love of it, not from liking or dislike of the person against whom it is directed, but simply in order thereby to gratify this impure desire of being talked about, and gazed upon. 'These are thy gods, O Israel!' Alas! Alas! this great and noble people, born to aspire, born for reverence, behold them walking to and fro by the torchlight of the cavern, or pursuing the wildfires of the marsh, not understanding themselves, their destinies, their defilements, their needs, because they have not the glorious luminaries of heaven to see, to consult, and to admire! "
A special "From the homily"

This is not from today's homily. I am, with Fr. Bryan's kind permission, blogging a pro-life story which I have heard him speak of in several homilies and talks over the years.

The story begins in Canada, over sixty years ago, with a young married couple there. Both of them were devout Presbyterians. They had two children, the elder a boy, the younger a girl. However, the girl's birth had been extremely difficult for her mother, due to a severe case of toxemia. It was so severe that the mother almost died. The mother's family also had a history of early deaths due to heart problems. Given this medical background, the mother's physician warned her that having any more children would put her in great danger, and quite probably kill her.

Nevertheless, three years later, she found herself to be pregnant again. The doctor immediately recommended that she abort the child, and offered to make whatever arrangements, legal or illegal, would be necessary. She refused, insisting that she knew that she, and her baby, would both survive. Her husband, though worried, supported her in her decision.

She turned out to be absolutely right. Not only did mother and child both live, but the delivery was far easier than the births of either her first or second baby. This time, she gave birth to a little boy. This boy then grew up, and and, as an adult, became Catholic (rather to his family's distress).

"And that" said Fr. Bryan," is why you are getting to hear this story- because that baby was me. "

This bit of personal history from a priest for whom I have great respect and affection is, for me, chilling. That Fr. Bryan, who celebrated his 31st anniversary in the priesthood last June, would, if his mother and father had not had the courage to ignore 'expert opinion', have been ripped apart before he got a chance to take his first breath, makes me wince. Now, babies, babies as living and as human as Fr. Bryan and as you and me, are being slaughtered, not because the mother's life is as risk, but because she just doesn't want a child, or her boyfriend is pressuring her, or she has been lied to by some 'counselor' who assures her that it is simple and painless and it will just make the whole problem go away. The quiet deaths go on, thousands of times a day, all over the world.

This Sunday has been designated 'Priesthood Sunday'
Unfortunately, I am unable to link to the website listed in my diocesan paper, since it seems to contain some, ahem, questionable material, and even more questionable links. ( No site that links to something called "FutureChurch" is getting a plug from me, thank you.) However, prayer for, and giving thanks for, all the faithful priests out there is always a good thing, no matter what day it is. In my case, I am blessed that there are five wonderful priests here at the Pittsburgh Oratory. Fr. David, Fr. Bryan, Fr. Drew, Fr. Joseph, Fr. Michael- you are always in my prayers and I thank God for you every day.
Music at the 11:30 am Mass
Processional Hymn: "At the Lamb's High Feast"
Offertory: " O God Beyond All Praising"- Gustav Holst (1874-1934)
Communion: "O God of Loveliness" - arr. Richar Storrs Willis ( 1819-1900)
Recessional Hymn: "There's a Wideness in God's Mercy"

Two notes:
1 . The words of the Communion piece are a translation of a text by St. Alphonsus Ligouri, C.S.S.R.
2. The words of the Recessional Hymn were written by Fr. Frederick Faber, C.O. , of the London Oratory