Sunday, November 01, 2009

Catholic Heritage

Something struck me today at Mass. Although I attend an FSSP chapel, sometimes time constraints necessitate my attendance at a diocesan affiliated Traditional Latin Mass held at a Novus Ordo parish. While the diocesan TLM has its regular attendees, it also has a certain percentage of drop-ins.

I observed three unrelated elderly women at today's Mass. One woman asked another "Is this a Spanish Mass?" The second woman responded that it was a high Mass, but I don't think she understood that it was a high Mass of the Extraordinary Form. The first woman took her place in a pew. During the early parts of the Mass the second woman got up and talked to a third elderly woman. While I could not understand what they were saying, I observed a prevailing sense of confusion in both the second and third women's demeanor. The second woman took a seat next to the third woman. Half way through the Mass both the second and third women were gone. The first woman, while obviously not knowing when to sit, stand, and kneel, at least made it through most of the Mass, leaving immediately after receiving Communion.

What struck me observing these three elderly women is something I have observed several times in the past--the greatest source of opposition towards the Traditional Latin Mass within the lay world comes from the elderly. They seem to have become so attached to the Novus Ordo Mass that they refuse to even try the Extraordinary Form. Indeed, the very Mass they once knew and loved in their youth has become a remnant of the past, all but forgotten--they have forgotten their own Catholic heritage. It is the young that are flocking to the TLM, and it is the young that shall perpetuate devotion to the Mass of the Ages.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Her Majesty's Displeasure

I read an article by the Telegraph recently describing the Queen's displeasure with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown over the situation in Afghanistan regarding the funding of British troops. Her Majesty's specific concern involves her troops' lack of proper equipment. While it is not within the scope of this posting to delve into matters of this particular war, I wanted to comment on the situation.

Queen Elizabeth is the head of the British Armed Forces, but in practice British troops seem to go wherever Parliament sends them. It is entirely the Queen's prerogative to make her positions known regarding her troops, but this happens rarely rather than often. I understand that there is an established relationship between the British monarch and Parliament and that modern monarchs seldom make public statements regarding their views on matters of state, but I do wish the Queen was in a position of more power and was able to publicly voice her opinions regularly. Even more I wish the Queen was in a position where she was able to say yea or nay to sending her troops abroad rather than rubber stamping Parliament's military wishes; if Her Majesty did not believe British involvement in a particular war was in the best interests of her nation, she should be able to deny the wishes of Parliament and keep her troops out of involvement.

Before I get any comments on how my wishes would provoke a constitutional crisis and do damage to the monarchy, let me say that I understand the tenuous situation Her Majesty is in with her Parliament; I simply wish and look for the day when the British monarch has the ability to properly exercise his or her constitutional powers.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Georg Friedrich von Peußen

I found this video of HIRH Georg Friedrich von Preußen, heir to the Kingdom of Prussia and the German Empire, on YouTube. It's a mix of Dutch, German, and English, but for all you English speakers out there HIRM speaks quite a bit of English during this interview. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Pope Anthony I?

In an interview with a gay magazine (reported on by The Times), former British Prime Minster Tony Blair apparently knows better than Pope Benedict XVI about sexual morality, specifically regarding homosexuality. The following is the report from The Times with my comments in red.

From The Times
April 8, 2009

Tony Blair tells the Pope: you're wrong on homosexuality

Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

Tony Blair has challenged the “entrenched” attitudes of the Pope on homosexuality, and argued that it is time for him to “rethink” his views.
[These supposed "views" of the pope aren't his views at all but rather the perennial teaching of the Church.]

Speaking to the gay magazine Attitude, the former Prime Minister, himself now a Roman Catholic, said that he wanted to urge religious figures everywhere to reinterpret their religious texts to see them as metaphorical, not literal, and suggested that in time this would make all religious groups accept gay people as equals. [Do you see how this could be led to an extreme? The religious texts referring to not murdering people could also be "reinterpreted." If we reinterpret the ban on homosexuality, what might also be reinterpreted? At what point do we stop reinterpreting?]

Asked about the Pope’s stance, Mr Blair blamed generational differences and said: “We need an attitude of mind where rethinking and the concept of evolving attitudes becomes part of the discipline with which you approach your religious faith.” [What Mr. Blair is saying here is that our religious views should be in step with our culture's zeitgeist. He's being many things here (among them a heretic for wilfully denying Catholic moral doctrine), but one thing he isn't being is original--many have for years criticized the Church for being out of step with "the times."]

The Pope, who is 82, remains firmly opposed to any relaxation of the Church’s traditional stance on homosexuality, contraception or any other area of human sexuality. He has described homosexuality as a “tendency” towards an “intrinsic moral evil”. [The Pope cannot "relax" the Church's "traditional stance" on sexual morality. It's Church teaching, not his opinion!]

Mr Blair, who now travels the world on behalf of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, which aims to promote understanding of the main religions, left the Church of England for Rome soon after leaving office in 2007. [I remember well the news coverage of his conversion. His track record as Prime Minister brought many--myself included--to have doubts about his conversion and future adherence to the One True Faith, but I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. If he continues with questioning the Faith, I hope he leaves the Church to prevent scandal and comes back when he is ready and willing to submit to the Church in it's entirety.]

In the interview Mr Blair spoke of a “quiet revolution in thinking” and implied that he believed the Pope to be out of step with the public. [Once again, the Faith must not be based on popular opinions of the day but rather based on unchanging principles established by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, with the Supreme Pontiff as his representative on earth.]

“There are many good and great things the Catholic Church does, and there are many fantastic things this Pope stands for, [A common tactic of dissenting Catholics--praise the "good things" the Church does while criticizing the Church for having moral standards they consider to be too preachy, too condemnational, too harsh. "The way the Church acts," they think, "one would think the Church is trying to get us to Heaven or something. All I want to do is enjoy my life." Oh yeah, the Church is trying to get us to Heaven!] but I think what is interesting is that if you went into any Catholic Church, particularly a well attended one, on any Sunday here and did a poll of the congregation, you’d be surprised at how liberal-minded people were.” The faith of ordinary Catholics is rarely found “in those types of entrenched attitudes”, he said. [He is right--many Catholics do not accept Church teaching, and that's a major problem!]

He also thought that in Islam there would eventually be a change of heart. “I believe that, ultimately, people will find their way to a sensible reformation of attitudes.” [I think the Muslims would be offended by this remark.]

People’s thinking had changed fundamentally, he added. “Now, that doesn’t mean to say there’s not still a lot of homophobia and a lot of things to be done. But the fact that it is unacceptable for any mainstream political party to be anything other than on the side of equality and respect is, in a way, the biggest change. The items of individual legislation matter a lot, but I think it’s the general shift in climate that is perhaps the most important point." [So is he suggesting that religious teaching should be influenced by political legislation? That would be a nightmare come true.]

He said: “When people quote the passages in Leviticus condemning homosexuality, I say to them — if you read the whole of the Old Testament and took everything that was there in a literal way, as being what God and religion is about, you’d have some pretty tough policies across the whole of the piece.”

He continued: “What people often forget about, for example, Jesus or, indeed, the Prophet Muhammad, is that their whole raison d’être was to change the way that people thought traditionally.” [Seems to me that if Jesus wanted to change people's traditional thoughts on homosexuality He would have said something about it, and since it would have been such a radical move from previous sexual mores, the Evangelists would have recorded it, but alas, nothing of the sort exists in any of the four Gospels.]

No change in the Catholic Church’s stance is likely under the present leadership. [Or any other "leadership" for that matter.] The Church in England and Wales, which has been more liberal, is expected to move rightwards under the new Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, who has become increasingly conservative since becoming a bishop and archbishop.

While some converts become more conservative than those born to Roman Catholicism, the interview with Attitude’s Johann Hari shows that Mr Blair has allied himself firmly with the Church’s liberal wing. [I.e. the Church's internal enemies.]

Conventional wisdom was not necessarily wise, he said. “It can be wrong and it can be just a form of conservatism that hides behind a consensus. If you look back in time, through the suffragette movement, the fight against slavery, it’s amazing how the same arguments in favour of prejudice crop up again and again and again.”

He also claimed that the mood was changing in evangelical circles, which have been long been anti-gay — the source of the dispute that has taken the worldwide Anglican Communion to the brink of schism.

Referring to his contacts with evangelical groups in the US and elsewhere through the foundation, he said: “I think there is a generational shift that is happening. If you talk to the older generation, yes, you will still get a lot of pushback, and parts of the Bible quoted, and so on. But if you look at the younger generation of evangelicals, this is increasingly for them something that they wish to be out of — at least in terms of having their position confined to being anti-gay.” [Well I'm not an evangelical, but I am young (27 at the time of this writing), and if being "anti-gay" means opposing the homosexual lifestyle and holding to the perennial teaching of the Catholic Church that homosexual acts are intrinsically evil and disordered, then yes, I am "anti-gay."]

Mr. Blair seems to think he knows better than the Church, and presumes to lecture the Pope about morals. I have this word of advice for Tony: either submit to the Church and the Supreme Pontiff or do us all a favor and get out! You will be most welcome back when you are properly humble.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Roman Catholic Lord Spiritual?

According to an article from The Times, Cormac Cardinal Murpy-O'Connor may be the first Roman Catholic Lord Spiritual to sit in the British House of Lords since Henry VIII broke from the Catholic Church and founded the Church of England. Current canon law of the Catholic Church forbids clerics to hold political office, but apparently the Holy See is going to offer the Cardinal a dispensation from this rule. While Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor may not be the world's best cardinal, having a Roman Catholic prelate in the House of Lords just may help to bring the United Kingdom back to its Christian roots and help prevent many of the immoral and secularist laws that have become increasingly all too common in Britain (and the rest of the West as well). I await with baited breath the results of this intriguing political story.

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Jewish Voice of Reason

Since the Holy Father lifted the excommunications of the four SSPX bishops (one of whom is a holocaust denier) for having been ordained illicitly, cries of anti-Semitism against the Church have been loud and strong, especially from the Jewish community. This Rabbi, Yehuda Levin, however, is a voice of reason.
Left Wing of the Catholic Church Destroying the Faith Says Orthodox Rabbi

By Hilary White, Rome correspondent

ROME, February 11, 2009 ( - The dissident, leftist movement in the Catholic Church over the last forty years has severely undermined the teaching of the Catholic Church on the moral teachings on life and family, a prominent US Orthodox rabbi told Rabbi Yehuda Levin, the head of a group of 800 Orthodox rabbis in the US and Canada, also dismissed the accusations that the Holy See had not sufficiently distanced itself from the comments made by Bishop Richard Williamson of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) on the Holocaust.

"I support this move" to reconcile the traditionalist faction in the Church, he said, "because I understand the big picture, which is that the Catholic Church has a problem. There is a strong left wing of the Church that is doing immeasurable harm to the faith."

Rabbi Levin said that he understands "perfectly" why the reconciliation is vital to the fight against abortion and the homosexualist movement.

"I understand that it is very important to fill the pews of the Catholic Church not with cultural Catholics and left-wingers who are helping to destroy the Catholic Church and corrupt the values of the Catholic Church." This corruption, he said, "has a trickle-down effect to every single religious community in the world."

"What's the Pope doing? He's trying to bring the traditionalists back in because they have a lot of very important things to contribute the commonweal of Catholicism.

"Now, if in the process, he inadvertently includes someone who is prominent in the traditionalist movement who happens to say very strange things about the Holocaust, is that a reason to throw out the baby with the bathwater and start to condemn Pope Benedict? Absolutely not."

During a visit to Rome at the end of January, Rabbi Levin told that he believes the media furore over the lifting of the excommunications of the four bishops of the Society of Saint Pius X is a red herring. He called "ridiculous" the accusations that in doing so Pope Benedict VXI or the Catholic Church are anti-Semitic and described as "very strong" the statements distancing the Holy See and the Pope from Williamson's comments.

Rabbi Levin was in Rome holding meetings with high level Vatican officials to propose what he called a "new stream of thinking" for the Church's inter-religious dialogue, one based on commonly held moral teachings, particularly on the right to life and the sanctity of natural marriage."

"The most important issue," he said, is the work the Church is doing "to save babies from abortion, and save children's minds, and young people's minds, helping them to know right and wrong on the life and family issues."

"That's where ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue has to go."

Although numbers are difficult to determine, it is estimated that the Society of St. Pius X has over a million followers worldwide. The traditionalist movement in the Catholic Church is noted for doctrinal orthodoxy and enthusiasm not only for old-fashioned devotional practices, but for the Church's moral teachings and opposition to post-modern secularist sexual mores. Liberals in the Church, particularly in Europe, have bitterly opposed all overtures to the SSPX and other traditionalists, particularly the Pope's recent permission to revive the traditional Latin Mass.

The Vatican announced in early January that, as part of ongoing efforts to reconcile the breakaway group, the 1988 decree of excommunication against the Society had been rescinded. Later that month, a Swedish television station aired an interview, recorded in November 2008, in which Bishop Richard Williamson, one of the four leaders of the Society, said that he did not believe that six million Jews were killed in the Nazi death camps during World War II.

At that time, the media erupted with protests and accusations that the Catholic Church, and especially Pope Benedict XVI, are anti-Semitic.

Rabbi Levin particularly defended Pope Benedict, saying he is the genius behind the moves of the late Pope John Paul II to reconcile the Church with the Jewish community.

"Anyone who understands and follows Vatican history knows that in the last three decades, one of the moral and intellectual underpinnings of the papacy of Pope John Paul II, was Cardinal Ratzinger.

"And therefore, a lot of the things that Pope John Paul did vis-à-vis the Holocaust, he [Benedict] might have done himself, whether it was visiting Auschwitz or visiting and speaking in the synagogues or asking forgiveness. A lot of this had direct input from Cardinal Ratzinger. Whoever doesn't understand this doesn't realise that this man, Pope Benedict XVI, has a decades-long track record of anti-Nazism and sympathy for the Jews."

Thursday, February 05, 2009

A Bishop With Guts

I found this interview today from Life Site News. Archbishop Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, speaks on the duty of bishops to deny Holy Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians. An excellent piece from a bishop who has guts.

Vatican Official: Bishops Have no Choice But to Refuse Communion to Pro-Abort Politicians
By Hilary White

ROME, January 30, 2009 ( - Archbishop Raymond Burke, in an exclusive interview last week, told that the issue of pro-abortion politicians continuing to receive Holy Communion is still one of major concern and that it is the duty of bishops to ensure that they are refused.

He told, "I don't understand the continual debate that goes on about it. There's not a question that a Catholic who publicly, and after admonition, supports pro-abortion legislation is not to receive Holy Communion and is not to be given Holy Communion."

"The Church's law is very clear," said Archbishop Burke, who was appointed last year by Pope Benedict XVI as the head of the Church's highest court, the Apostolic Signatura. "The person who persists publicly in grave sin is to be denied Holy Communion, and it [Canon Law] doesn't say that the bishop shall decide this. It's an absolute."

Among the US bishops directly to address the issue, Archbishop Burke was one of around a dozen who vigorously supported a directive of the Vatican that said pro-abortion Catholic politicians "must be refused" Holy Communion if they attempt to receive at Mass. Others have refused to abide by the Vatican instruction and the Church's own Code of Canon Law, saying they would rather focus on "education" of such politicians.

Archbishop Burke called "nonsense" the accusation, regularly made by some bishops, that refusing Holy Communion "makes the Communion rail a [political] battle ground". In fact, he said, the precise opposite is true. The politician who insists on being seen receiving Holy Communion, despite his opposition to the Church's central teachings, is using that reception for political leverage.

In 2004, when self-proclaimed Catholic and candidate for the Democrat party, Sen. John Kerry, was frequently photographed receiving Holy Communion despite his vigorous support of abortion, the US Bishops Conference issued a document which said only that it is up to individual bishops whether to implement the Church's code of Canon Law and refuse Communion. The issue has remained prominent with the appointment of Joe Biden, another pro-abortion Catholic politician, as Vice President of the United States of America.

Archbishop Burke recalled previous experiences with Kerry, pointing to the several occasions when the senator was pictured in Time magazine receiving Communion from Papal representatives at various public events. Burke said that it is clear that Kerry was using his reception of Holy Communion to send a message.

"He wants to not only receive Holy Communion from a bishop but from the papal representative. I think that's what his point was. Get it in Time magazine, so people read it and say to themselves, 'He must be in good standing'."

"What are they doing? They're using the Eucharist as a political tool."

In refusing, far from politicising the Eucharist, the Church is returning the matter to its religious reality. The most important reasons to refuse, he said, are pastoral and religious in nature.

"The Holy Eucharist, the most sacred reality of our life in the Church, has to be protected against sacrilege. At the same time, individuals have to be protected for the sake of their own salvation from committing one of the gravest sins, namely to receive Holy Communion unworthily."

Archbishop Burke also dismissed the commonly proffered excuse that such politicians need more "education". Speaking from his own direct experience, he said that Catholic politicians who are informed by their pastors or bishops that their positions in support of pro-abortion legislation makes it impossible for them to receive Holy Communion, "I've always found that they don't come forward."

"When you talk to these people, they know," he said. "They know what they're doing is very wrong. They have to answer to God for that, but why through our pastoral negligence add on to that, that they have to answer to God for who knows how many unworthy receptions of Holy Communion?"

Archbishop Burke said that the issue had been debated enough. He rejected the idea that the matter should be left to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, saying the Conference has no authority in the matter. "This is a law of the universal Church and it should be applied."

"I think this argument too is being used by people who don't want to confront the issue, this whole 'wait 'til the Conference decides'...well the Conference has been discussing this since at least 2004. And nothing happens."

When asked what the solution was, he responded, "Individual bishops and priests simply have to do their duty. They have to confront politicians, Catholic politicians, who are sinning gravely and publicly in this regard. And that's their duty.

"And if they carry it out, not only can they not be reproached for that, but they should be praised for confronting this situation."

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

His Hour of Need

The Holy Father is being persecuted both in the press and within the Church by liberal elements in both due to the lifting of the excommunications of the SSPX bishops (specifically due to one bishop's comments regarding the Holocaust). I could go on at length about the sad actions of many, but I would simply like say this: pray for His Holiness!

Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Benedicto.
Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum,
et beatum faciat eum in terra,
et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.