Saturday, June 26, 2004

A thank-you
to my friend Eric,for explaining the use of "blockquote" to me !

For Saturday
The special prerogatives of St. Mary, the Virgo Virginum, are intimately involved in the doctrine of the Incarnation itself, with which these remarks began, and have already been dwelt upon above. As is well known, they were not fully recognised in the Catholic ritual till a late date, but they were not a new thing in the Church, or strange to her earlier teachers. St. Justin, St. Irenæus, and others, had distinctly laid it down, that she not only had an office, but bore a part, and was a voluntary agent, in the actual process of redemption, as Eve had been instrumental and responsible in Adam's fall. They taught that, as the first woman might have foiled the Tempter and did not, so, if Mary had been disobedient or unbelieving on Gabriel's message, the Divine Economy would have been frustrated. And certainly the parallel between "the Mother of all living" and the Mother of the Redeemer may be gathered from a comparison of the first chapters of Scripture with the last. It was noticed in a former place, that the only passage where the serpent is directly identified with the evil spirit occurs in the twelfth chapter of the Revelation; now it is observable that the recognition, when made, is found in the course of a vision of a "woman clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet:" thus two women are brought into contrast with each other. Moreover, as it is said in the Apocalypse, "The dragon was wroth with the woman, and went about to make war with the remnant of her seed," so is it prophesied in Genesis, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her Seed. He shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise His heel." Also the enmity was to exist, not only between the Serpent and the Seed of the woman, but between the serpent and the woman herself; and here too there is a correspondence in the Apocalyptic vision. If then there is reason for thinking that this mystery at the close of the Scripture record answers to the mystery in the beginning of it, and that "the Woman" mentioned in both passages is one and the same, then she can be none other than St. Mary, thus introduced prophetically to our notice immediately on the transgression of Eve.

- Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine
Prayers requested...
for the four men who were ordained to the priesthood in my diocese this morning.
Christopher at Against the Grain
has a post about a Secular Oratorian who lived in the 19th and early 20th century, who is now being considered for canonization. (Unfortunately, none of the links happen to mention his Oratorian connection....)
The Feast of St. Josemaria Escriva, Priest
is today. There is information on him here. A blessed feast day to any Opus Dei members out there !
It is also the feast of St. Hermogius,O.S.B., Bishop, and St. Anthelm, O.Cart., Bishop.

Friday, June 25, 2004

On June 25, 1846
Venerable John Henry Newman, who had been received into the Catholic Church the previous October, wrote a letter to a friend who was still struggling with whether or not he should do the same:
"I still think you are short of fair, short of deep, in your statement of the question. You consider that practices first exist, and are developed into doctrines— and this is your main view of development. 'Where there has been a real development,' you say, 'the practice (sic) always (sic) existed which implied the later doctrine; but where the doctrine is really novel, and not merely developed, the practice which springs from it is novel also.'

Well then, what do you say to St. Augustine and St. Basil not being baptized in infancy? Could the "practice" of infant baptism, in Africa, in Asia Minor, have been, up to the fourth century, what it is now—and they have been left without the Sacrament by pious mothers? What would be said to you now, if you left your child unbaptized? Would you not have to encounter a cry of horror on all sides? The practice then of infant baptism was not established or received for some hundred years. Yet do you deny the doctrine that that sacrament is the one ordinary means of salvation? why not? for you say that 'practical obedience to Rome is later than the doctrinal theory'—and is not the practical application of baptism to infants later than the theory of its necessity?

I am far from denying that infant baptism was known from the first ages; I only say that it was not received in the sense it was afterwards. On the other hand I can only lift up my hands in astonishment at your statement that 'the fact is, the Churches did not know or dream of any authority of Rome over them.' Not the Alexandrian Church for instance—of whom Pope Julius, as St. Athanasius vouches, says, 'Are you ignorant that the custom has been for word to be written first to us, and then for a just sentence to be passed from this place?' While St. Dionysius was actually appealed against to Rome, and responded to the appeal.

Nor have you gone to the bottom of the case of the Immensus Filius. It is not that the early Fathers held it, but 'did not express themselves uniformly,' but with 'inaccuracies.' Not so—they denied the doctrine. Their denial, it being almost a consensus, is a far stronger fact than the fact of St. Cyprian, in a personal, or national matter, and on a point in which after all he was mistaken, opposing the Pope, while he elsewhere maintains his authority.

The fact I believe to be this—the early Fathers made incorrect intellectual developments of portions or aspects of that whole Catholic doctrine which they held, and so far were inconsistent with themselves. Their opinions contradicted their implicit faith—and they said and held things which they would have shrunk from, had they seen, as heretics afterwards exhibited, that they were really destructive of the doctrine of Christ. Yet they really held them; I will not explain away the fact, nor must you. I really do not think you can deny, that the Fathers, not merely did not contemplate true propositions, 'afterwards established' but actually contemplated false. In like manner from a view of the great benefits of baptism, they untruly developed and acted on the proposition 'Therefore it is good to defer it.'

So far from agreeing with your general principle, I consider it quite as true to say that doctrine ever came first, and practice was its development. Bishop Butler implies it, when he speaks of the knowledge of relations imposing duties. And in matter of fact the whole ritual system is a later development of the original creed. I suspect you will find less of processions and vestments than of Papal supremacy in the ages of persecution.

As to the George Ryders. I am sorry to hear you do not like their mode of acting. Do not, however, fear for her—noli timere. There is a grace in the Catholic Church which is not lightly got rid of and it binds the soul tight. Keble speaks somewhere of the weakness of things of earth to tempt one 'who once has tasted of immortal truth.' That it may be your blessed lot, Carissime, to receive the offer of that treasure and not to reject it, is the constant prayer of

Your affectionate friend,
J. H. N. "

The friend the Venerable addressed in this letter was received into the Church in 1850.

has a quote from the Venerable. (I'm praying that the "St." comes long before TSO's great-grandchildren are on the scene. )
Prayers for safe travel requested...
for Fr. Michael, who is on pilgrimage in France.
The Feast of St. William of Vercelli, Abbot
is today. There is information on him here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

On June 23, 1872
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive:
The World Rejecting God
"1. All men like to be independent and have their own way, and in many things they can profitably be so and get on more to their advantage than when they are under rule, but—

2. In one thing they cannot—in religion and duty.

3. And for this reason: because we are made up of two principles which war against each other. One or other must be the master.

4. Satan knew this, both man's desire to be independent and the impossibility of it. He knew that man must either be God's servant or his own, and that he, man, did not know this. So he tempted him with, 'Ye shall be as gods,' and waited securely for his consequent falling under his own power.

5. Therefore man, rejecting his true Lord, admitted a usurper. This brings in atheism, i.e. idolatry with immorality. And therefore he always tends to get worse and worse, and unless God interfered he would become unbearable.

6. But God has always pleaded with man ('My spirit shall not always,' etc., and 'The Spirit intercedes'), and thus reserved a remnant. This remnant has pleaded for the world and saved it. It is the salt of the earth.

7. The deluge—till only eight persons. Earth filled with violence. 'They ate and drank,' etc.

8. Sodom. 'If ten persons.'

9. When our Lord came. Rom. i.

10. Ever since, it has been the elect few who have saved the world and the Church.

11. When at length 'He shall not find faith on the earth,' He 'cometh.'

12. On what in this age takes the place of professed idolatry, and is really atheism."

The Feast of St. Ethelreda, O.S.B., Widow
is today. There is information on her here. A blessed feast day to all under her patronage, especially my friend and fellow Secular Oratorian Audrey !
It is also the feast of Pope Blessed Innocent V, O.P. and Blessed Basil Hopko, Bishop and Martyr.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Jeff Miller
fisks yet another clueless article on the politics/Communion 'deabate'.
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

"I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?"

"How didst thou start, Thou Holy Baptist, bid
To pour repentance on the Sinless Brow!
Then all thy meekness, from thy hearers hid,
Beneath the Ascetic's port, and Preacher's fire,
Flow'd forth, and with a pang thou didst desire
He might be chief, not thou.

And so on us at whiles it falls, to claim
Powers that we dread, or dare some forward part;
Nor must we shrink as cravens from the blame
Of pride, in common eyes, or purpose deep;
But with pure thoughts look up to God, and keep
Our secret in our heart. "

At Sea.
June 22, 1833.

The Feast of St. John Fisher, Bishop and Martyr, and St. Thomas More, Martyr
is today. There is information on them here and here.

"Good Lord, give me the grace to so spend my life, that when the day of my death shall come, though I may feel pain in my body, I may feel comfort in my soul; and with the faithful hope of Thy mercy, in due love towards Thee and charity towards the world, I may, through Thy grace, part hence into Thy glory. " - St. Thomas More

St. Thomas More happened to be one of the ancestors of the man who was the Bishop of Birmingham during most of the time when Venerable Newman lived there.

Today is also the anniversary of the ordination of Fr. Bryan Summers of the Pittsburgh Oratory to the priesthood. Ad multos annos, Fr. Bryan ! (He deliberately chose this feast day as his ordination day- as a former Anglican he felt it was only appropriate ! )

In addition, it is the feast of St. Paulinus of Nola, Bishop, and St. Joseph Cafasso, Priest.

Monday, June 21, 2004

On June 21, 1852...
the Achilli trial began. You see, Venerable Newman had dared, in a series of lactures later published as Lectures on the Present Position of Catholics in England to remark that one of the 'ex-priests' currently lecturing in England about how vile and vicious the Catholic Church was had been expelled from the priesthood for sexual offenses. Here is the passage.
"Ah! Dr. Achilli, I might have spoken of him last week, had time admitted of it. The Protestant world flocks to hear him, because he has something to tell of the Catholic Church. He has something to tell, it is true; he has a scandal to reveal, he has an argument to exhibit. It is a simple one, and a powerful one, as far as it goes—and it is one. That one argument is himself; it is his presence which is the triumph of Protestants; it is the sight of him which is a Catholic's confusion. It is indeed our great confusion, that our Holy Mother could have had a priest like him. He feels the force of the argument, and he shows himself to the multitude that is gazing on him. 'Mothers of families,' he seems to say, 'gentle maidens, innocent children, look at me, for I am worth looking at. You do not see such a sight every day. Can any church live over the imputation of such a production as I am? I have been a Catholic and an infidel; I have been a Roman priest and a hypocrite; I have been a profligate under a cowl. I am that Father Achilli, who, as early as 1826, was deprived of my faculty to lecture, for an offence which my superiors did their best to conceal; and who in 1827 had already earned the reputation of a scandalous friar. I am that Achilli, who in the diocese of Viterbo in February, 1831, robbed of her honour a young woman of eighteen; who in September, 1833, was found guilty of a second such crime, in the case of a person of twenty-eight; and who perpetrated a third in July, 1834, in the case of another aged twenty-four. I am he, who afterwards was found guilty of sins, similar or worse, in other towns of the neighbourhood. I am that son of St. Dominic who is known to have repeated the offence at Capua, in 1834 and 1835; and at Naples again, in 1840, in the case of a child of fifteen. I am he who chose the sacristy of the church for one of these crimes and Good Friday for another. Look on me, ye mothers of England, a confessor against Popery, for ye "ne'er may look upon my like again." I am that veritable priest, who, after all this, began to speak against, not only the Catholic faith, but the moral law, and perverted others by my teaching. I am the Cavaliere Achilli, who then went to Corfu, made the wife of a tailor faithless to her husband, and lived publicly and travelled about with the wife of a chorus-singer. I am that Professor in the Protestant College at Malta, who with two others was dismissed from my post for offences which the authorities cannot get themselves to describe. And now attend to me, such as I am, and you shall see what you shall see about the barbarity and profligacy of the Inquisitors of Rome.'"

Achilli promptly sued for libel, and though the Venerable gathered a great deal of evidence, all of it was dismissed by the jurors as worthless and Newman was found guilty. The Times, hardly sympathetic to the Catholic cause, nevertheless remarked upon this miscarriage of justice.
"We consider that a great blow has been given to the administration of justice in this country, and that Roman Catholics will henceforth have only too good reason for asserting that there is no justice for them in cases tending to arouse the Protestant feelings of judges and juries."
For several months, the Venerable had to worry over whether or not he would be sent to jail, but he was given a relatively small fine instead- probably because the judge was afraid of even more bad publicity. Meanwhile Achilli left the country, his reputation gone, and the gratitude of Catholics in England and elsewhere to Newman for standing up for the Faith was immense. So many people sent donations to cover the court costs that the leftover money was used to build a church. Venerable Newman was thankful for the support. The dedication of his next book ran:
"Hospes eram, et collegistis Me.
















B. M. V.
NOV. 21, 1852."

Human stupidity...
never ceaases to amaze me. Apparenly these folks are claiming that warning black mothers that their unborn children are targets is racist.
Link courtesy of Zorak.

This reminds me of a situation that happened around here some years ago. A local artist, whom I happened to know, was slammed as racist because one of his paintings contained a dead, black adolescent. What his critics didn't notice was that the painting was called Pieta. It was a lovely portrait of a beautiful black matron, cradling her dead son tenderly in her arms, while stepping on a jacket bearing gang colors the way Our Lady traditionally steps on the Serpent in Catholic art. The painter, who is a devout Catholic, knew a black family who son was killed, an innocent victim of gang violence. He was honoring the suffering of such victims and their families by connecting them with the suffering of Our Lord and Our Lady, but all those critics saw was "White artist paints dead black kid- he must want more black kids to be killed."
The Feast of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, S.J.
is today. There is information on him here.
It is also the feast of St. John Rigby, Martyr. I must add a note to the little biography at the link: when the saint stated, "I am a bachelor; and more than that I am a maid", it is, in all probablity not his job as a servant that he was referring to by that second statement. "Maid" or "maiden" was the common term for "virgin" , so he was saying that not only was he not married, but he had kept his virginity.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

On this Fathers' Day...
a prayer for mine....

Saints of God, come to his aid!
Come to meet him, angels of the Lord!
[Response] Receive his soul and present him to God the Most High.

May Christ, who called you, take you to Himself;
may angels lead you to Abraham's side.
[Response] Receive his soul and present him to God the Most High.

Give him eternal rest, O Lord,
and may Your light shine on him for ever.

[Response] Receive his soul and present him to God the Most High.

Let us Pray.

All-powerful and merciful God,
we commend to You Alexander, Your servant.
In Your mercy and love,
blot out all the sins he has committed through human weakness.
In this world he has died: let him live with You for ever.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.


V/. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
R/. And let perpetual light shine upon him.

V/. May he rest in peace.

R/. Amen.

V/. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

R/. Amen.

From Parochial and Plain Sermons
by Venerable Joh Henry Newman, C.O.
"He says, 'If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.' [Luke ix. 23.] Here He shows us from His own example what Christian self-denial is. It is taking on us a cross after His pattern, not a mere refraining from sin, for He had no sin, but a giving up what we might lawfully use. This was the peculiar character in which Christ came on earth. It was this spontaneous and exuberant self-denial which brought Him down. He who was one with God, took upon Him our nature, and suffered death—and why? to save us whom He needed not save. Thus He denied Himself, and took up His cross. This is the very aspect, in which God, as revealed in Scripture, is distinguished from that exhibition of His glory, which nature gives us: power, wisdom, love, mercy, long-suffering—these attributes, though far more fully and clearly displayed in Scripture than in nature, still are in their degree seen on the face of the visible creation; but self-denial, if it may be said, this incomprehensible attribute of Divine Providence, is disclosed to us only in Scripture. 'God so loved the world that He gave His Son.' [John iii. 16.] Here is self-denial. And the Son of God so loved us, that "though He was rich yet for our sakes He became poor." [2 Cor. viii. 9.] Here is our Saviour's self-denial. 'He pleased not Himself.'

And what Christ did when He came on earth, that have all His saints done both before and since His coming."