Saturday, July 03, 2004

Due to the holiday...
I will probably not be able to blog again until Tuesday. God bless and gaudete semper !
The Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle and Martyr
is today. There is information on him here.

Returning, then, to what I said when I began, we see now how it was that our Lord praised easiness of belief, and condemned hardness of belief. To be easy in believing is nothing more or less than to have been ready to inquire; to be hard of belief is nothing else but to have been loth and reluctant to inquire. Those whose faith He praised had no stronger evidence than those whose unbelief He condemned; but they had used their eyes, used their reason, exerted their minds, and persevered in inquiry till they found; while the others, whose unbelief He condemned, had heard indeed, but had let the divine seed lie by the roadside, or in the rocky soil, or among the thorns which choked it. And here I am led to say, what seems to me, as far as it is reverent to conjecture it, the fault of the holy Apostle St. Thomas. He said that he would not believe that our Lord had risen, unless he actually saw Him. What! is there not more than one way of arriving at faith in Christ? are there not a hundred proofs, distinct from each other, and all good ones? Was there no way of being sure He came from God, except that of seeing the great miracle of the resurrection? Surely there were many others; but St. Thomas prescribed the only mode in which he would consent to believe in Him. This was the case of his countrymen also, for in this point he only did what they had done. The Jews had long been the people of God, and they had the writings of the Prophets. The fulfilment of the prophecies in the Person of our Lord was the most obvious and natural evidence to the Jews that He was the Messias; but they would not accept this evidence, and determined to have another. They determined to be convinced in one particular way, viz., by miracles; and when, out of the superabundant mercy of God, miracles were wrought before their eyes, then they would choose the special kind of miracle which was to convince them, and would not believe, unless it was a miracle to their liking. And hence it was that our Lord said, as I have already quoted His words: "Unless ye see signs and wonders, ye believe not." Hence too He said, on other occasions: "O foolish and slow of heart to believe in all things which the Prophets have spoken." And: "If they hear not Moses and the Prophets, neither will they believe if one rise again from the dead." And: "An evil and adulterous generation seeketh a sign, and a sign shall not be given it, but the sign of Jonas the Prophet." And hence the Jews of Thessalonica are censured, and the Bereans, on the contrary, praised, "who received the word with all eagerness, daily searching the Scriptures, whether these things were so." It is added, "and many of them believed." And therefore, in the instance of St. Thomas, I say that, when he was so slow to believe, his fault lay in thinking he had a right to be fastidious, and to pick and choose by what arguments he would be convinced, instead of asking himself whether he had not enough to convince him already; just as if, forsooth, it were a great matter to his Lord that he should believe, and no matter at all to himself. And therefore it was, that, while Christ so graciously granted him the kind of proof he desired, He said to him for our sakes: "Because thou hath seen Me, Thomas, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and have believed."

Venerable John Henry Newman,C.O.,Sermons Preached on Various Occasions

Friday, July 02, 2004

On July 2, 1871
Venerable John Henry Newman,C.O.,preached a sermon, of which the following notes survive. It was apparently preached in support of the refurbishing of a church, at the request of the pastor.

The Visible Temple

'Whether you eat, or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God,' 1 Cor. x. 31.

1. What do these words mean? What do they enjoin upon us? {210}

2. We have our duty towards God, our neighbour, and ourselves. Now we may in a certain way fulfil these duties without doing them to God's glory.

3. E.g. we may do our duty to God from mere fear, or from habit, or from human respect; from expedience, e.g. going to Communion once a year, saying prayers, keeping from particular sins—being respectable—this right, but not enough. To our neighbour from pity, from benevolence, from family affections—this too, good, but not enough. And so to ourselves. We may be virtuous, and proud or self-conceited. That is, we may do things good, and in a certain sense be good in doing them, yet not to the glory of God, i.e. because not from love. This is one thing, then, that is meant by the text.

4. Then again, what is meant by doing all things? We have only rare opportunities of doing our duty. How can we eat and drink to [the glory of God]?

5. (1) Eating and drinking. (2) Use of the tongue—bad conversation. (3) Reading—curiosity. (4) Amusements in kind and in reason . (5) Work—idleness, justice. (6) Sickness. (7) Punishments and penances.

6. Thus the whole day—'Pray without ceasing'—Matt. v. 16, Phil. iv. 8 .

And so especially the worship of God. God has told us to pray. Now let us apply this to the service of God. To pray together, and publicly. This implies, of course, rites of religion, and buildings to perform them in. How can these be done to God's glory? Now, I can understand men saying, 'No religious rites, no common worship; religion is private and personal.' But I cannot understand [them] saying, 'It is common and public, it has rites, it has houses,' and not to bring those houses under the commandment of glorifying God, being edifying, etc.

7. Now how do we glorify God in religious houses or churches? In making them devotional. No matter what architecture, etc., devotional is the end, towards God and towards men.

8. And costly ('of that which cost me nothing,' etc.) as a means of expressing devotion—Aggeus i., Isa. lx. [13], Apoc. xxi. . Hence David, 1 Par. xvii.—Ps. cxxxi. (memento Domine, David); 1 Par. xxix .—[his] zeal for the house of God; his singers, his psalms—i Par. xxv . This made him according to His own heart [1 Kings xiii. 14].

9. Now you know what this tends to. Why is it that I come before you today? It is because I felt a profound appreciation of the work in which your priest was engaged, and a true sympathy in his exertions. I recognised in him a zeal for the honour of God's house such as that of David, whose spirit was troubled that his God had no abode fit for Him. I knew that for years and years his spirit chafed within him that he could not perfect in this place that idea of solemnity and beautifulness in the visible temple which he had in his mind. Twenty years and more, to my knowledge, has this idea occupied his mind. Then, too, he honoured me by asking me to take here some part in promoting his work, which he has committed to me now. Then he did a part—and now, by his persevering zeal, and the munificence of pious men, he has been able to do more; and he urges you, through me, to take part in, and to complete his service of zeal and love. And in the next place he calls [you] to a religious act in a religious way. He appeals to you on a Sunday, not on Monday, Tuesday, etc. He has taken the legitimate ecclesiastical means of asking for your contributions, which is possible on a Sunday. He does not take means of raising money which are not possible on a Sunday; he does a sacred work on a sacred day.

[Further], his object has special claims from the circumstances of this church. It is the mother church of Birmingham. It is dedicated to St. Peter. In subscribing to it you are testifying your loyalty to the Holy See in its troubles. Lastly, on the feast of the Visitation, when all Nature rejoices and Mary sings the Magnificat—2 Cor. viii. 7.

My friend Jerry
was sent this by a friend of his, and he requested that I post it on my blog.

Date: Sun, 20 Jun 2004 15:16:47 -0400 (EDT)
From: Mischa Gelman
To: Gerald J Nora
Subject: Notes from initial Democrats for Life of PA meeting


Please pass these along to anyone who may be interested. This is the
summary of our first meeting to organize a state branch of Democrats for
Life. If the student groups would be interested in a presentation once
things are organized, I'm sure it could be arranged.

Notes from the Democrats for Life meeting of 6/13/04 in Pittsburgh:

Creating a Pennsylvanian Chapter
- While there has been a Democrats for Life contact in Pennsylvania
James Minicozzi), no incorporation papers have been filed and Lt.
Minicozzi is presently stationed in Iraq
- To incorporate in Pennsylvania, we need a board of directors, bylaws
and a mailing address. There also may be a filing fee
- Bylaws of National DFLA were reviewed and can be adopted as a basis for
the state chapter.
- Once we have a list of charter members and board members, we
should create an advisory board of pro-life Democratic officeholders. Pat
Casey may be willing to lend a hand in making calls.

Website, mailing list, other technological issues
- While Democrats for Life has a national email list, a state-specific
list would be a good idea to help people remain in contact, notify one
another of pending legislation on the state level and inform folks of
pro-life Democratic candidates running for state office
- Both Erin Devlin and Michael Collins have volunteered to do web design.
Mr. Collins also will check with folks at Carnegie Mellon University who
may be willing to lend a hand.
- Michael Collins will have a proposal for computer setup ready by 6/30

Potential sources of members
- LEARN (a pro-life African-American group) has been a good source for
Democrats for Life in other areas. Jay Ware of Democrats for Life of
Illinois was emailed to see if he knew of any local contacts
- The Catholic Church does not want to get involved in any partisan
issues and the secretary for social concerns in the Pittsburgh Diocese did not return a call, but the Oratory stated that they would
accept information in case anyone contacted them
- Other potential recruitment options raised were PLAGL, anti-death
penalty groups, People Concerned for the Unborn Child, the Merton Center
and student pro-life groups at the local universities
- Feminists for Life does not release names on its mailing list

State Chapters
- The progress of existing chapters was reviewed. Among projects that are
presently being done are rallies, meetings of pro-life state
representatives, press conferences, contacts with the state and county
parties (in some states the Democratic Party has web links to the local
Democrats for Life or distributes our literature in their offices).
- Many chapters are just getting off the ground and none is older than 5
years, so we're not alone in starting from a minimal base. A date for
going public could well be within 6-12 months. Once we have a strong base
of members, elected officials and an organized structure we should be able
to get some press attention

Other Notes
- Brendan Boyle is running for office in the Philadelphia area. He is
presently busy with his campaign but would be a possible leadership
candidate for Democrats for Life of Pennsylvania should his campaign be
unsuccessful. His campaign manager, Dan Lotise, also would be a good
option as president of DFLA in Pennsylvania
- Pat Casey may lead an effort to start a pro-life Democratic PAC,
possibly to be named Casey Democrats in honor of our former governor and
present auditor general. Democrats for Life of America serves as a
lobbying group, not a PAC
- Some chapters have been approached by Republicans who are interested in
lending a hand. Members of Democrats for Life must be Democrats or else we
run the risk of being accused of being a front group for the Republicans

No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the
continent, a part of the main...Any man's death diminishes me, because I
am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell
tolls; it tolls for thee - John Donne

I'm afraid I gave up on the Democratic Party about a decade ago (and am less than sanguine about the Republican Party as well), but an attempt to break up the pro-death monopoly in a major political party certainly deserves our prayers. The e-mail address for Mischa Gelman is .

Those sounds you hear...
are St. Bridget of Sweden and St. Catherine of Sweden spinning in their graves.

Swedish pastor sentenced to one month in jail for offending homosexuals.

I will admit that, from the article, it sounds as if the pastor was not exactly charitable, but this is still outrageous. ( I wonder if the pastor did not mention that the temptation to act in a sexually perverted manner can be resisted with the help of God's grace, or, more likely, the reporter simply neglected to report his mention of it ? )

to Mr. and Mrs. Philip Blosser on their wonderful news!
At Puerto Rico Meeting, Radical Feminists Ask Our Lady to Intercede for Legal Abortion
That anyone could be so sick as to use the lovely devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe to support the murder of babies in the womb is monstrous.
The Feast of St. Bernardine Realino, S.J., Priest
is today. There is information on him here.
It is also the feast of St. Otto of Bamberg, Bishop and St. Swithun, Bishop- he of the odd legend and neat little rhyme.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

On July 1, 1879
Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman. C.O., returned to the Birmingham Oratory after the trip to Rome during which he was elevated to the cardinalate. Fr. Henry Ignatius Dudley Ryder, C.O.,wrote about that day.

'No one I am sure who was privileged to be present, will ever forget that improvised service of thanksgiving for his safe return in which he took part immediately on his arrival. He was wonderful to look upon as he sat fronting the congregation, his face as the face of an angel—the features that were so familiar to us refined and spiritualised by illness and the delicate complexion and silver hair touched by the rose tints of his bright unaccustomed dress. Leaning his head upon his hand he began to talk to us and must have spoken for some twenty minutes or more. Every word seemed precious—I can only hope they have been preserved—and yet simple to the last degree; about home principally.

If I remember right he began with the words "It is such a happiness to get home." There was throughout what was often a peculiar charm with him, the impression of aloofness as though it were all a soliloquy or conversation you had innocently surprised.'

Fr. Ryder's hope was partially realized- someone did write down the Venerable's words, though apparently it was not him.

'My dear Children,—I am desirous of thanking you for the great sympathy you have shown towards me, for your congratulations, for your welcome, and for your good prayers; but I feel so very weak—for I have not recovered yet from a long illness—that I hardly know how I can be able to say ever so few words, or to express in any degree the great pleasure and gratitude to you which I feel.

'To come home again! In that word "home" how much is included. I know well that there is a more heroic life than a home life. We know the blessed Apostles—how they went about, and we listen to St. Paul's words—those touching words—in which he speaks of himself and says he was an outcast. Then we know, too, our Blessed Lord—that He "had not where to lay His head." Therefore, of course, there is a higher life, a more heroic life, than that of home. But still, that is given to few. The home life—the idea of home—is consecrated to us by our patron and founder St. Philip, for he made the idea of home the very essence of his religion and institute. We have even a great example in Our Lord Himself; for though in His public ministry He had not where to lay His head, yet we know that for the first thirty years of His life He had a home, and He therefore consecrated, in a special way, the life of home. And as, indeed, Almighty God has been pleased to continue the world, not, as angels, by a separate creation of each, but by means of the Family, so it was fitting that the congregation of St. Philip should be the ideal, the realisation of the Family in its perfection, and a pattern to every family in the parish, in the town, and throughout the whole of Christendom. Therefore, I do indeed feel pleasure to come home again. Although I am not insensible of the great grace of being in the Holy City, which is the centre of grace, nor of the immense honour which has been conferred upon me, nor of the exceeding kindness and affection to me personally of the Holy Father—I may say more than affection, for he was to me as though he had been all my life my father—to see the grace which shone from his face and spoke in his voice; yet I feel I may rejoice in coming home again—as if it were to my long home—to that home which extends to heaven, "the home of our eternity." And although there has been much of sickness, and much sadness in being prevented from enjoying the privileges of being in the Holy City, yet Almighty God has brought me home again in spite of all difficulties, fears, obstacles, troubles, and trials. I almost feared I should never come back, but God in His mercy has ordered it otherwise. And now I will ask you, my dear friends, to pray for me, that I may be as the presence of the Holy Father amongst you, and that the Holy Spirit of God may be upon this Church, upon this great city, upon its Bishop, upon all its priests, upon all its inhabitants, men, women and children, and as a pledge and beginning of it, I give you my benediction.'

A blessed Solemnity of the Precious Blood...
to all the Gasparians out there, including a certain blogger !

This guy....
has guts. Please pray for him. Here is the complaint.

Link courtesy of Catholic Light.

The Feast of Blessed Junipero Serra, O.F.M., Priest
is today. There is information on him here. A happy feast day to the Franciscans out there ! Prayers asking for his intercession for California and for vocations to the priesthood and the religious life would be appropriate.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

On June 30, 1851
Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O., delivered the first of the lectures which were eventually published as Lectures on the Present Position of Catholics in England. ( A thank-you to Lane Core for sending me a reminder of this. )

These lectures are perhaps the finest examples of Venerable Newman's brilliantly sarcastic side. They were delivered at a time when Catholics were being treated even more poorly than usual, due to them having had the 'insolence' to actually reestablish a hierarchy of bishops in England. This resulted in huge meetings featuring speakers denouncing "Popery", burnings of the Pope and the new bishops in effigy, and some attacks on Catholic churches and priests. The Venerable himself had to deal with someone dumping the contents of an entire bag of flour on him from a second story, while the London Oratorians had the more serious problem of an attempt to set fire to their house with firecrackers on November 5, 1850. There was even a rumor spread about that the reason there was a cellar being built in the new house for the Birmingham Oratory was so that people could be tortured and killed without the neighbors knowing ! And, insane though this was, this accusation was actually brought to the floor of Parliament, in a speech which the Venerable quotes. Things got to the point where an Anglican clergyman called from the pulpit for making the hearing of Confessions a capital crime.
In his lectures, the Venerable was attempting to demonstrate just how absurd this sort of nonsense was, and defuse some of the insanity with laughter.
Here are a few samples- the first has to do with the 'murders in the cellars' stupidity:
Coaches, omnibuses, carriages, and cars, day after day drive up and down the Hagley Road; passengers lounge to and fro on the foot-path; and close alongside of it are discovered one day the nascent foundations and rudiments of a considerable building. On inquiring, it is found to be intended for a Catholic, nay, even for a monastic establishment. This leads to a good deal of talk, especially when the bricks begin to show above the surface. Meantime the unsuspecting architect is taking his measurements, and ascertains that the ground is far from lying level; and then, since there is a prejudice among Catholics in favour of horizontal floors, he comes to the conclusion that the bricks of the basement must rise above the surface higher at one end of the building than at the other; in fact, that whether he will or no, there must be some construction of the nature of a vault or cellar at the extremity in question, a circumstance not at all inconvenient, considering it also happens to be the kitchen end of the building. Accordingly, he turns his necessity into a gain, and by the excavation of a few feet of earth, he forms a number of chambers convenient for various purposes, partly beneath, partly above the line of the ground. While he is thus intent on his work, loungers, gossipers, alarmists are busy at theirs too. They go round the building, they peep into the underground brickwork, and are curious about the drains ; they moralise about Popery and its spread; at length they trespass upon the enclosure, they dive into the half-finished shell, and they take their fill of seeing what is to be seen, and imagining what is not. Every house is built on an idea; you do not build a mansion like a public office, or a palace like a prison, or a factory like a shooting box, or a church like a barn. Religious houses, in like manner, have their own idea; they have certain indispensable peculiarities of form and internal arrangement. Doubtless, there was much in the very idea of an Oratory perplexing to the Protestant intellect, and inconsistent with Protestant notions of comfort and utility. Why should so large a room be here? why so small a room there? why a passage so long and wide? and why so long a wall without a window? the very size of the house needs explanation. Judgments which had employed themselves on the high subject of a Catholic hierarchy and its need, found no difficulty in dogmatising on bedrooms and closets. There was much to suggest matter of suspicion, and to predispose the trespasser to doubt whether he had yet got to the bottom of the subject. At length one question flashed upon his mind: what can such a house have to do with cellars? cellars and monks, what can be their mutual relation? monks—to what possible use can they put pits, and holes, and corners, and outhouses, and sheds? A sensation was created; it brought other visitors; it spread; it became an impression, a belief; the truth lay bare; a tradition was born; a fact was elicited which henceforth had many witnesses. Those cellars were cells. How obvious when once stated! and every one who entered the building, every one who passed by, became, I say, in some sort, ocular vouchers for what had often been read of in books, but for many generations had happily been unknown to England, for the incarcerations, the torturings, the starvings, the immurings, the murderings proper to a monastic establishment.

Now I am tempted to stop for a while in order to improve (as the evangelical pulpits call it) this most memorable discovery. I will therefore briefly consider it under the heads of—1. THE ACCUSATION; 2. ITS GROUNDS; 3. THE ACCUSERS; and, 4. THE ACCUSED.

First—THE ACCUSATION.—It is this,—that the Catholics, building the house in question, were in the practice of committing murder. This was so strictly the charge, that, had the platform selected for making it been other than we know it to have been, I suppose the speaker might have been indicted for libel. His words were these:—"It was not usual for a coroner to hold an inquest unless where a rumour had got abroad that there was a necessity for one; and how was a rumour to come from the underground cells of the convents? Yes, he repeated, underground cells: and he would tell them something about such places. At this moment, in the parish of Edgbaston, within the borough of Birmingham, there was a large convent, of some kind or other, being erected, and the whole of the underground was fitted up with cells; and what were those cells for?"

Secondly.—THE GROUNDS OF THE ACCUSATION.—they are simple; behold them: 1. That the house is built level; 2. and that the plot of earth on which it is built is higher at one end than at the other.

Thirdly.—THE ACCUSERS.—This, too, throws light upon the character of Protestant traditions. Not weak and ignorant people only, not people at a distance—but educated men, gentlemen well connected, high in position, men of business, men of character, members of the legislature, men familiar with the locality, men who know the accused by name,—such are the men who deliberately, reiteratedly, in spite of being set right, charge certain persons with pitiless, savage practices; with beating and imprisoning, with starving, with murdering their dependents.

Fourthly.—THE ACCUSED.—I feel ashamed, my Brothers, of bringing my own matters before you, when far better persons have suffered worse imputations; but bear with me. I then am the accused. A gentleman of blameless character, a county member, with whose near relatives I have been on terms of almost fraternal intimacy for a quarter of a century, who knows me by repute far more familiarly (I suppose) than anyone in this room knows me, putting aside my personal friends; he it is who charges me, and others like me, with delighting in blood, with enjoying the shrieks and groans of agony and despair, with presiding at a banquet of dislocated limbs,quivering muscles, and wild countenances. Oh, what a world is this! Could he look into our eyes and say it? Would he have the heart to say it, if he recollected of whom he said it? For who are we? Have we lived in a corner? have we come to light suddenly out of the earth? We have been nourished, for the greater part of our lives, in the bosom of the great schools and universities of Protestant England: we have been the foster sons of the Edwards and Henries, the Wykehams and Wolseys, of whom Englishmen are wont to make much; we have grown up amid hundreds of contemporaries, scattered at present all over the country, in those special ranks of society which are the very walk of a member of the legislature. Our names are better known to the educated classes of the country than those of any others who are not public men. Moreover, if there be men in the whole world who may be said to live in publico, it is the members of a College at one of our Universities; living, not in private houses, not in families, but in one or two apartments which are open to all the world, at all hours, with nothing, I may say, their own; with college servants, a common table,—nay, their chairs and their bedding, and their cups and saucers, down to their coal-scuttle and their carpet brooms,—a sort of common property, and the right of their neighbours. Such is that manner of life,—in which nothing, I may say, can be hid; where no trait of character or peculiarity of conduct but comes to broad day—such is the life I myself led for above a quarter of a century, under the eyes of numbers who are familiarly known to my accusers; such is almost the life which we all have led ever since we have been in Birmingham, with our house open to all comers, and ourselves accessible, I may almost say at any hour; and this being so, considering the charge, and the evidence, and the accuser, and the accused, could we Catholics desire a more apposite illustration of the formation and the value of a Protestant Tradition?

I set it down for the benefit of time to come; "though for no other cause," as a great author says, "yet for this: that posterity may know we have not loosely, through silence, permitted things to pass away as in a dream, there shall be for men's information extant thus much." One commonly forgets such things, from the trouble and inconvenience of having to remember them; let one specimen last, of many which have been suffered to perish, of the birth of an anti-Catholic tradition.
The nascent fable has indeed failed, as the tale about the Belgian sin-table has failed, but it might have thriven: it has been lost by bad nursing; it ought to have been cherished awhile in those underground receptacles where first it drew breath, till it could comfortably bear the light; till its limbs were grown, and its voice was strong, and we on whom it bore had run our course, and gone to our account; and then it might have raised its head without fear and without reproach, and might have magisterially asserted what there was none to deny. But men are all the creatures of circumstances; they are hurried on to a ruin which they may see, but cannot evade: so has it been with the Edgbaston Tradition. It was spoken on the house-tops when it should have been whispered in closets, and it expired in the effort. Yet it might have been allotted, let us never forget, a happier destiny. It might have smouldered and spread through a portion of our Birmingham population; it might have rested obscurely on their memories, and now and then risen upon their tongues; there might have been flitting notions, misgivings, rumours, voices, that the horrors of the Inquisition were from time to time renewed in our subterranean chambers; and fifty years hence, if some sudden frenzy of the hour roused the Anti-Catholic jealousy still lingering in the town, a mob might have swarmed about our innocent dwelling, to rescue certain legs of mutton and pats of butter from imprisonment, and to hold an inquest over a dozen packing-cases, some old hampers, a knife-board, and a range of empty blacking bottles.

Here is one on images:

A Protestant blames Catholics for showing honour to images; yet he does it himself. And first, he sees no difficulty in a mode of treating them, quite as repugnant to his own ideas of what is rational, as the practice he abominates; and that is, the offering insult and mockery to them. Where is the good sense of showing dishonour, if it be stupid and brutish to show honour? Approbation and criticism, praise and blame go together. I do not mean, of course, that you dishonour what you honour; but that the two ideas of honour and dishonour so go together, that where you can apply—(rightly or wrongly, but still)—where it is possible to apply the one, it is possible to apply the other. Tell me, then, what is meant by burning Bishops, or Cardinals, or Popes in effigy? has it no meaning? is it not plainly intended for an insult? Would any one who was burned in effigy feel it no insult? Well, then, how is it not absurd to feel pain at being dishonoured in effigy, yet absurd to feel pleasure at being honoured in effigy? How is it childish to honour an image, if it is not childish to dishonour it? This only can a Protestant say in defence of the act which he allows and practises, that he is used to it, whereas to the other he is not used. Honour is a new idea, it comes strange to him; and, wonderful to say, he does not see that he has admitted it in principle already, in admitting dishonour, and after preaching against the Catholic who crowns an image of the Madonna, he complacently goes his way, and sets light to a straw effigy of Guy Fawkes.

But this is not all; Protestants actually set up images to represent their heroes, and they show them honour without any misgiving. The very flower and cream of Protestantism used to glory in the statue of King William on College Green, Dublin; and, though I cannot make any reference in print, I recollect well what a shriek they raised some years ago, when the figure was unhorsed. Some profane person one night applied gunpowder, and blew the king right out of his saddle; and he was found by those who took interest in him, like Dagon, on the ground. You might have thought the poor senseless block had life, to see the way people took on about it, and how they spoke of his face, and his arms, and his legs; yet those same Protestants, I say, would at the same time be horrified, had I used "he" and "him" of a crucifix, and would call me one of the monsters described in the Apocalypse, did I but honour my living Lord as they their dead king.

My personal favorite section is this amazing send-up, in which the British government is treated the way a typical 'anti-Popery' speaker would have treated the Catholic Church.

The Feast of the First Martyrs of Rome
is today. There is information on them here.
It is also the feast of St. Vincent Yen, O.P., Martyr, and Blessed Philip Powell, O.S.B., Priest and Martyr.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

I've got no money to send them...
but I'm praying for the nuns at Tyburn.

Link courtesy of The Inn at the End of the World.

The Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul, Apostles and Martyrs
is today. There is information on them here and here.

We ought to desire to do great things for the service of God, and not content ourselves with a moderate goodness, but wish, if it were possible, to surpass in sanctity and love even St. Peter and St. Paul.

St. Philip Neri

Thus the very presence of Jesus enkindled Peter's heart, and at once drew him unto Him; also at a former time, when he saw his Lord walking on the sea, his very first impulse was, as in the passage to which I have been referring, to leave the vessel and hasten to His side: "Lord, if it be Thou, bid me come to Thee upon the waters". And when he had been betrayed into his great sin, the very Eye of Jesus brought him to himself: "And the Lord turned and looked upon Peter; and Peter remembered the word of the Lord, and he went out and wept bitterly". Hence, on another occasion, when many of the disciples fell away, and "Jesus said to the twelve, Do you too wish to go away?" St. Peter answered, "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life; and we have believed and have known that Thou art Christ, the Son of God."

Such, too, was that other great Apostle, who, in so many ways, is associated with St. Peter—the Doctor of the Gentiles. He indeed was converted miraculously, by our Lord's appearing to him, when he was on his way to carry death to the Christians of Damascus: but how does he speak? "Whether we are beside ourselves," he says, "it is to God; or whether we be sober, it is for you: for the charity of Christ constraineth us. If, therefore, any be a new creature in Christ, old things have passed away, behold all things are made new." And so again: "With Christ am I nailed to the cross; but I live, yet no longer I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me". And again: "I am the least of the Apostles, who am not worthy to be called an Apostle, because I persecuted the Church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am; and His grace in me hath not been void, but I laboured more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God with me." And once more:"Whether we live, unto the Lord we live; whether we die, unto the Lord we die; whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's". You see, my brethren, the character of St. Paul's love; it was a love fervent, eager, energetic, active, full of great works, "strong as death," as the inspired Word says, a flame which "many waters could not quench, nor the streams drown," which lasted to the end, when he could say, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; henceforth is laid up for me the crown of justice, which the Lord will render to me at that day, the just Judge".

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

Monday, June 28, 2004

Catholic Educator's Resource Center
has an article by my bishop. It's quite good. Now, if only he would realize that letting anti-life politicians receive Our Lord is scandalous.....sigh...
Me, too.
Fr. Michael...
is going to be happy when he hears about this.

Link courtesy of Peony.

More evidence...
that our culture has contempt for women, babies, and especially women carrying babies.

Link courtesy of Jeff Miller.

The Whapsters
have posted a link to a great collection of litanies. (It happens to include the Litany of St. Philip Neri,by the Venerable. )

From A Letter Addressed to the Duke of Norfolk on Occasion of Mr. Gladstone's Recent Expostulation
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.
The rule and measure of duty is not utility, nor expedience, nor the happiness of the greatest number, nor State convenience, nor fitness, order, and the pulchrum. Conscience is not a long-sighted selfishness, nor a desire to be consistent with oneself; but it is a messenger from Him, who, both in nature and in grace, speaks to us behind a veil, and teaches and rules us by His representatives. Conscience is the aboriginal Vicar of Christ, a prophet in its informations, a monarch in its peremptoriness, a priest in its blessings and anathemas, and, even though the eternal priesthood throughout the Church could cease to be, in it the sacerdotal principle would remain and would have a sway.

Words such as these are idle empty verbiage to the great world of philosophy now. All through my day there has been a resolute warfare, I had almost said conspiracy against the rights of conscience, as I have described it. Literature and science have been embodied in great institutions in order to put it down. Noble buildings have been reared as fortresses against that spiritual, invisible influence which is too subtle for science and too profound for literature. Chairs in Universities have been made the seats of an antagonist tradition. Public writers, day after day, have indoctrinated the minds of innumerable readers with theories subversive of its claims. As in Roman times, and in the middle age, its supremacy was assailed by the arm of physical force, so now the intellect is put in operation to sap the foundations of a power which the sword could not destroy. We are told that conscience is but a twist in primitive and untutored man; that its dictate is an imagination; that the very notion of guiltiness, which that dictate enforces, is simply irrational, for how can there possibly be freedom of will, how can there be consequent responsibility, in that infinite eternal network of cause and effect, in which we helplessly lie? and what retribution have we to fear, when we have had no real choice to do good or evil?

So much for philosophers; now let us see what is the notion of conscience in this day in the popular mind. There, no more than in the intellectual world, does "conscience" retain the old, true, Catholic meaning of the word. There too the idea, the presence of a Moral Governor is far away from the use of it, frequent and emphatic as that use of it is. When men advocate the rights of conscience, they in no sense mean the rights of the Creator, nor the duty to Him, in thought and deed, of the creature; but the right of thinking, speaking, writing, and acting, according to their judgment or their humour, without any thought of God at all. They do not even pretend to go by any moral rule, but they demand, what they think is an Englishman's prerogative, for each to be his own master in all things, and to profess what he pleases, asking no one's leave, and accounting priest or preacher, speaker or writer, unutterably impertinent, who dares to say a word against his going to perdition, if he like it, in his own way.

The Feast of St. Irenaeus of Lyons, Bishop and Martyr
is today. There is information on him here.

It is also the feast of Pope St. Paul I, and St. John Southworth, Priest and Martyr.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

From Sermons on Subjects of the Day
by Venerable John Henry Newman, C.O.

Elijah, when he had left the wilderness, "found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him." Elisha understood that it was a call to follow the persecuted Prophet in his forlorn course. So he asked his leave to bid his friends farewell. "And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee." God's calls are not commands, but favours; so the Prophet said to him, "Go back again; for what have I done to thee?" but Elisha, though so suddenly visited, had no intention of shrinking from the summons; he asked indeed to bid his kindred farewell, but he was not of those whom our Saviour notices, who, having put their hand to the plough, look back, and are unfit for the kingdom of God [Luke ix. 62.]. He did but wish, before commencing his new life and eventful ministry, to hold a last feast with his friends; and in his mode of doing so, he showed that his mind was made up to leave his former occupations for ever. The materials of his husbandry provided him with an entertainment. "He returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him." [1 Kings xix. 19-21.]

I have got to find..
this novel that William Luse is quoting. Check out this bit of dialogue involving a couple coming in to plan their wedding (man is a fallen-away Episcopalian, woman a less-than-exemplary Catholic), and the priest who has had to deal with this kind of nonsense one too many times....

"This could go on a long time, Father. I've given my promise. What more do you want?"

He slammed his fist against the desk in a tight, swift gesture that caused Liz to flinch. "I want more than your promise! I want to know there's something holier in your life than your own damn opinion. I'm sick and tired of my Catholic children coming in here with their pagan fianceés, all of them, of course, like you, pledging undying love, and then a year or five years later," he snapped his fingers, "it's over." He ceased, allowing the heat beneath his collar to subside, his voice to calm. "Of course," he admitted, "I see quite a few pagan Catholics as well, and they have no cloak for their sin. But it comes to the same thing: many of my flock now live their days in great sorrow because a promise wasn't enough." He leaned forward to fix me with the blue eyes. "What I want to know is that after God joins you beneath the roof of his house, the walls of your marriage will not come tumbling down with the next change in the weather. With any change in the weather. That's what I want to know."

Does anybody know why every time I try to look at Envoy Encore, it is blocked as, being, of all things, a "sex site" ?
If it were not Sunday....
today would be the feast of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. It would also be the feast of St. Cyril of Alexandria, Bishop and Doctor of the Church, and St. Arianell, Virgin.