Saturday, December 06, 2003

For Saturday
and the upcoming feast.....

" Let me take the doctrine which Protestants consider our greatest difficulty, that of the Immaculate Conception. Here I entreat the reader to recollect my main drift, which is this. I have no difficulty in receiving it :and that, because it so intimately harmonizes with that circle of recognized dogmatic truths, into which it has been recently received;—but if I have no difficulty, why may not another have no difficulty also? why may not a hundred? a thousand? Now I am sure that Catholics in general have not any intellectual difficulty at all on the subject of the Immaculate Conception; and that there is no reason why they should. Priests have no difficulty. You tell me that they ought to have a difficulty;—but they have not. Be large-minded enough to believe, that men may reason and feel very differently from yourselves; how is it that men fall, when left to themselves, into such various forms of religion, except that there are various types of mind among them, very distinct from each other? From my testimony then about myself, if you believe it, judge of others also who are Catholics: we do not find the difficulties which you do in the doctrines which we hold; we have no intellectual difficulty in that doctrine in particular, which you call a novelty of this day. We priests need not be hypocrites, though we be called upon to believe in the Immaculate Conception. To that large class of minds, who believe in Christianity, after our manner,—in the particular temper, spirit, and light, (whatever word is used,) in which Catholics believe it,—there is no burden at all in holding that the Blessed Virgin was conceived without original sin; indeed, it is a simple fact to say, that Catholics have not come to believe it because it is defined, but that it was defined because they believed it.

So far from the definition in 1854 being a tyrannical infliction on the Catholic world, it was received every where on its promulgation with the greatest enthusiasm. It was in consequence of the unanimous petition, presented from all parts of the Church to the Holy See, in behalf of a ex cathedrâ declaration that the doctrine was Apostolic, that it was declared so to be. I never heard of one Catholic having difficulties in receiving it , whose faith on other grounds was not already suspicious. Of course there were grave and good men, who were made anxious by the doubt whether it could be formallyproved to be Apostolical either by Scripture or tradition, and who accordingly, though believing it themselves, did not see how it could be defined by authority and imposed upon all Catholics as a matter of faith; but this is another matter. The point in question is, whether the doctrine is a burden. I believe it to be none. So far from it being so, I sincerely think that St. Bernard and St. Thomas, who scrupled at it in their day, had they lived into this, would have rejoiced to accept it for its own sake. Their difficulty, as I view it, consisted in matters of words, ideas, and arguments. They thought the doctrine inconsistent with other doctrines; and those who defended it in that age had not that precision in their view of it, which has been given to it [Note 46] by means of the long controversy of the centuries which followed. And hence the difference of opinion, and the controversy. " -Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., Apologia Pro Vita Sua
A bit of spine in a bishop
is truly a fine thing.
The articles are filled with infuriating quotes, but the one that really got me: Patrick Flaherty of Milwaukee LGBT ....

"We think keeping young gay people HIV-free is a laudable goal," he said. "It's unfortunate that the bishop does not feel the same."

Au contraire, Mr Flaherty. It's the Bishop who truly wants to keep "young gay people" HIV-free- by persuading them that acts of sexual perversion are immoral and thus keeping them from engaging in such acts. You, on the other hand, would not dissuade them from such acts, and thus, since no other 'preventative' measures are foolproof, are letting such conflicted people flirt with death, spiritual as well as physical.

And then there is the breath-taking false naivete of Fr. Michael Hammer....

"I don't understand why homosexuality is an issue in relation to the AIDS Walk...."

Has this man been living in a cave for the past 20 years ? True, not all of those infected engaged in perverted acts, and things are somewhat different in other countries, but in the United States the correspondence between the two is marked enough that not seeing why it is an issue is making oneself deliberately blind- which seems to be something at which certain people excel.

Links courtesy of Mark Shea.

The Feast of St. Nicholas of Myra, Bishop
is today. There is information on him here.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Oh, how I hope and pray...
that this and especially this are true !

Links courtesy of Mystique and Politique

The Feast of St. John Damascene, Priest and Doctor of the Church
is today. There is information on him here.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

On December 3, 1876

Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O. preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive.
" December 3 (First Advent)
[The Second Advent]
1. The gospel this day a portion of our Lord's prophecy [of the destruction of Jerusalem and the second coming], rising out of the apostle's admiration of the beauty of the Temple.

2. It seemed to them too beautiful to be destroyed.

3. This is the way with men; they wonder at their own great works; they look up to the great works of their fellows; and when they are able to trace out the beauty of God's creation, that too they make an idol, and bow down before their own work, loving the map [which they have made] of it, and say they have discovered it to be too beautiful to be broken.

4. It is well for man, an homuncio, thus to think, for he can do a great thing but once; but God destroys His own works, however beautiful, because He could from His infinite resources create many worlds each more beautiful [than] those that were before it.

5. And His own works He regards not, if they have not that note of sanctity which He breathed on them in the beginning.

6. Therefore when the Jews, His own people, came to nought, if He did not spare the work of His own hands, much less [was He likely to spare] Herod's work.

7. Babylon and Nabuchodonosor.

8. Now in this [the present] state of society it is pride, not open sensuality [which is conspicuous]; i.e. think of the greatness of an army, of a popular assembly, of some queen's ball. But whenever the world looks imposing and likely to last, that is the most likely time that it will be brought to an end, or at least [is the likely time] of some great judgment. "

The Feast of St. Francis Xavier, S.J., Priest
is today. There is information on him here.
He, like several other saints, is said to have been a friend of my own founder, St. Philip Neri.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

The Solemn Profession
was beautiful. I don't think I've ever seen anyone look more radiant and joyful than Sr. Claire Benedicta did on Saturday.
The tiny chapel of her Carmel was overflowing with people, despite the fact that we had the first snowfall of the season and it's probable that some folks could'nt make it for that reason.
Before the Mass began, I did hear one thing which amused me a little. A gentleman in the pew behind me said to the lady next to him, sotto voce. "This feels sort of like a wedding.", whereupon she whispered back to him, "That's because it is ! "

Sunday, November 30, 2003

If it were not Sunday
today would be the feast of St. Andrew, Apostle and Martyr. A happy feast day to all who have him as a special patron, particularly Fr. Drew of the Pittsburgh Oratory !
Music at the 11:30 am Mass
Processional Hymn: "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel"
Recessional Hymn: "Savior of the Nations, Come"
The choir was off this week, since most of our members have not come back from Thanksgiving Break yet....