Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Here is a video of several snippits of NCYC 2007 in Columbus, Ohio, brought to my attention by blogger Zach (thanks!); I will not make any comment on this because there is so much that could be said. Just watch and leave your comments in the comment box if you want.
Here are two videos of two different songs performed at NCYC, which emcee Steve Angrisano ignorantly described as being sung in the "African language," as if there were only one in Africa! The first was from day two, the second is "Nza mu ran za" which was a kind of theme song that was played every time the kids were supposed to pray.
Last but not least, here is a video of Fr. Tony Ricard of the New Orleans Diocese dancing:
Click here for the original post on NCYC from November, 2007
Monday, April 28, 2008
In some sense, the essence of Traditionalism in the Catholic Church today completely hinges on the position one takes towards the Second Vatican Council. If there had not been a Second Vatican Council, the label "Traditionalist Catholic" would be redundant, because (presumably) we would still be continuing on the course charted by centuries of saints and doctors and simply to be Catholic at all would be to be a Traditionalist. After Vatican II, this heritage disappears, and exactly what role the Council played in this disappearance defines where one falls on the spectrum of traditionalism.
There are several positions Catholics take on the Council; I can think of four, which I will enumerate here:
1) Spirit of the Council: The Council was inspired by the Holy Spirit to usher in a new age of freedom from old contraints, out-moded moralities and dusty scholastic doctrines. The Council allowed us to rethink who we are as Catholics and create our Church anew, unencumbered by the reactionary baggage of past centuries. Everything is open to revision: liturgy, doctrine, morals. After all, man and culture evolve, and so must the Church. Anything is permissible if done in this spirit.
2) True Implementation: The Council was a good idea, and the Church was in dire need of reform in the 1960's. The documents and decisions of Vatican II themselves are sound and good, some of the most profound things ever to come out of ther Magisterium. However, after the Council was over, unscrupulous persons hijacked the implementation of the Council and twisted the documents to their own end, winding up with a reform quite different from the one envisioned by the Council Fathers and one detrimental to the Church. What is needed is a true implementation of the Council, going back to the documents themselves.
3) Bad Idea: The Council, while being a validly convoked ecumenical council, was a bad idea and was unneccesary. The Church was doing fine until the Council came along. Not only were the documents and decrees of the Council hijacked in their implementation after the Council ended, but the Council itself, in its convocation, deliberations, statements and decrees, was run by liberals and heretics through and through. Thus, not just the effects of the Council, but the documents and decisions of the Council itself are flawed, ambiguous or just plain stupid. Therefore, it will not help us to "go back to the documents." What is needed is not a true implementation of the Council, but a return to Catholic Tradition as it stood before the Council, and an interpretation of all Council documents in light of that Tradition.
4) No True Council: The Council was not a true Council. It was convoked illicitly by a pope who was a heretic and who thus could not convene a council. Its decrees are not binding; in fact, they are filled with heresy and contradict the Church's perennial Tradition.
Now, we can easily recognize in position 1 ("Spirit of the Council") the modernist, liberal interpretation of Vatican II that we all despise so much and that for many of us is the actual cause of our Traditionalism.
For one, I committed myself to defending every aspect of every document the Church issued out of the Council. I had to force myself to believe that Gaudium et Spes was a profound and enlightening document, that Dignitatis Humanae was perfectly keeping with the evangelical spirit and that Sacrosanctum Concilium was a great idea. These documents were sacred and inviolable: only their implementation was faulty. But why was the implementation so universally faulty? In the education courses I take at my University, they teach us that if a student gets a question wrong on his test, he may not have understood the material. But if your entire class gets the same question wrong, then there is probably something wrong with the question itself. If it is only a problem of implementation, how is it that everybody gets it wrong? Could it be because the documents themselves are ambiguous and lend themselves to misinterpretation? If so, could it be that they are this way on purpose?
This also commits one to the notion that the Council itself was a good idea or even that it was inspired by the Holy Spirit. Maintaining everything the Church believes about ecumenical councils, nowhere are we constrained to believe that the calling of any given council was prudent, or that God wanted it at that time and in that way. Whether or not the Holy Spirit wanted the Council, we cannot say, but we can say that the Church most emphatically did not need an ecumenical council in 1962. When a conservative says that the Church was in need of reform and you ask, "Why? What was wrong?", they will inevitably say some vague jargon about the pre-V2 Church being too "impersonal"; perhaps they will repeat the same things about old ladies mumbling rosaries and all that. These are not real critiques, just misunderstandings or matters of taste: hardly material that needed a Council to deal with!
I take position 3 ("Bad Idea"), that the Council, while being a true Council whose documents are legitimate decrees of the Church Universal, was nevertheless a bad idea, and that these documents themselves are ambiguous, confusing, often shallow (but not errant or heretical); furthermore, I maintain that they were rendered this way on purpose by theological liberals for the exact purpose of hijacking the Church.
The difference between a conservative and a Traditionalist is simply this: for the former, the hijcaking after the Council is the cause of our current woes; for the Trad, the post-Conciliar hijacking is merely a consequent of the Council itself, which is the source of these troubles.
If the difference between the True Implementation position and the Bad Idea position is the difference between a conservative and a Traditionalist, then the difference between the Bad Idea position and position 4 ("No True Council") is the difference between a Traditionalist and a Sedevecantist or schismatic-Traditionalist.
I once defended the Council and tried hard to persuade my mind that the Church was really better off now than in 1962. I tried to convince myself that the emperor was wearning glorious clothes, that I was basking in the new springtime of the Church and reaping the rich fruits of the Council.
I firmly maintain that Vatican II was a true Council, and that whatever the Council declared must in some way be the truth. But that doesn't mean the truth is spoken clearly, or in the right way, or in the right time, or by the right mouths, or that it is interpreted correctly after the fact, or that it is seen in context of a larger tradition. And this is the source of so much criticism.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
This movie is quite excellent and I can highly recommend it. It's only short coming is that it does not go far enough in debunking Darwin. The first half of the film consists of interviews with professors who were dismissed from their jobs for mentioning Intelligent Design. These were all high ranking and prominent doctors with excellent credentials; one who was interviewed, a Dr. Berlinski, had taught at Princeton, Stanford and many other of the most prestigous schools in the country. Many of them themselves had doctorates from Princeton, Oxford or Cambridge. All of the persons interviewed were fired for inquiring into ID. It is important to point out that they did not teach ID or expound it, but merely mentioned it as an existing hypothesis. The first doctor interviewd, Dr. Richard Sternberg, was fired simply because he reprinted an article from somebody else who mentioned Intelligent Design. These interviews revealed that a considerable degree of academic censorship exists within academia, something anybody on my blog should already know. But it is nice to see third party evidence confirming your views!
Ben Stein next examines the ethical implications of Darwinism in the second half of the movie, drawing an excellent and relevant connection between Natural Selection and Nazism, and demonstrating that Hitler and the Nazis were very much influenced by Darwin. Nazism is Darwinism followed to its logical conclusion, so the film says. Here Stein does an excellent service to all Americans when the film goes from Nazism right to a shot of a Planned Parenthood magazine. The whole sordid history of Margaret Sanger is exposed, with its eugenic and racist program, as well as its Darwinist origins, something Americans desperately need to know about.
Interspersed throughout the movie are interviews with several prominent atheists, like Richard Dawkins. It is amusing to see the other hypotheses they put forward to Ben Stein's simple question of how nature could, on its own, make the ontological leap from non-life to life. More than one said they thought that aliens could have "planted" life on earth. Another evolutionist thought that life originated on the backs of crystals; these are the alternate explanations offered by the most prominent Darwinists on how life began. To these absurd theories, Stein comments, "I thought I would get science by talking to these people, not science fiction." He also successfully exposes the anti-religious agenda of many of these atheist-scientists. One even calls religion "evil."
The only shortcoming of the film is that it lacks any criticism of Darwinism itself. Stein interviews tons of people who were fired for questioning Darwin, but does not himself demonstrate why Darwin should be questioned. He doesn't bring up the lack of transitionary fossils, or the fact that a textbook geologic column does not exist. We are left feeling that Intelligent Design should be more thoroughly investigated, but are not told what is so false or wrong about Darwin's views. If you are looking for a film to debunk evolution, this is not it.
Throughout the film, the image of the Berlin Wall is evoked as a metaphor: the wall is there to keep out threatening ideas, in this case, the idea that Darwin could have been wrong. The task this film attempts is to make people know that the wall exists, and warn us all where this type of censorship can lead us. I encourage everybody to go see this film.
I give it two out of three papal tiaras.
Friday, April 25, 2008
In the meantime, I thought I'd like to put your theological skills to the test. Please watch this three minute video (courtesy of Mr. S) and then comment on why the view of salvation presented here is faulty (or, if there is anything positive in the video, point that out as well).
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
Most interesting to me is that this site gives each bishop's "episcopal lineage," or their geneaology of apostolic succession. I looked up Bishop Boyea and was surprised to find that his succession comes through Pope St. Pius X. Have a look (dates are of ordination) :
Earl Boyea ordained by Cardinal Maida (2002)
Cardinal Maida ordained by Pio Cardinal Laghi (1984)
Cardinal Laghi ordained by Cardinal Cicognani (1969)
Cardinal Cicognani ordained by Cardinal Rossi (1933)
Cardinal Rossi ordained by Cardinal De Lai (1920)
Cardinal De Lai ordained by Pope St. Pius X (1911)
Pope St. Pius X (Giuseppe Sarto) ordained by Cardinal Parocchi (1884)
Cardinal Parocchi ordained by Cardinal Patrizi Naro (1871)
Cardinal Patrizi Naro ordained by Cardinal Odescalchi (1828)
Cardinal Odescalchi ordained by Cardinal della Somaglia (1823)
Cardinal della Somaglia ordained by Bl. Hyacinthe-Sigismond Cardinal Gerdil (1788)
Bl. Cardinal Gerdil ordained by Cardinal Colonna (1777)
Cardinal Colonna ordained by Pope Clement XIII (1762)
Pope Clement XIII (Carlo della Torre Rezzonico) ordained by Pope Benedict XIV (1743)
Pope Benedict XIV (Prospero Lorenzo Lambertini) ordained by Pope Benedict XIII (1724)
Pope Benedict XIII (Orsini de Gravina) ordained by Cardinal Albertoni (1675)
Cardinal Albertoni ordained by Cardinal Carpegna (1666)
Cardinal Carpegna ordained by Cardinal Caetani (1630)
Cardinal Caetani ordained by Cardinal Ludovisi (1622)
Cardinal Ludovisi ordained by Archbishop Sanvitale (1621)
Cardinal Sanvitale ordained by Cardinal Bernerio (1604)
Cardinal Bernerio ordained by Cardinal Santorio (1586)
Cardinal Santorio ordained by Cardinal Rebiba (1566)
The list ends at Cardinal Rebiba. Try looking up your bishop!
I lieu of writing any meagre words of my own in honor of this great saint, whom I have chosen as a theological patron, I offer to you some selections from the saintly pontiff Pius X (do follow the link and read the whole encyclical though).
The pope highlights two things in particular about St. Anselm: his tireless fight for the liberty of the Church (he lived in the era of the investiture controversy), and against false philosophy. The pope sees in Anselm a man for our own times, in which also the Church is besieged by those within and those without. The enemies of the Church without (especially in the late 19th and early 20th centuries) set the rights of the Church at naught and the enemies of the Crhuch within spread the pernicious heresy of modernism everywhere they go.
5. ...We have examples of this in the Saints of other centuries, whom God raised up to resist by their virtue and wisdom the fury of persecution against the Church and the diffusion of iniquity in the world. One of these We wish especially in these Letters to commemorate, now that the eighth centenary of his death is being solemnly celebrated. We mean the Doctor Anselm of Aosta, most vigorous exponent of Catholic truth and defender of the rights of the Church, first as Monk and Abbot in France. and later as Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate in England...
12. Recalling all these things, venerable brethren, with special interest during the solemn commemoration of the great Doctor, we shall find in them splendid examples for our admiration and imitation; nay, reflection on them will also furnish Us with strength and consolation amid the pressing cares of the government of the Church and of the salvation of souls, helping Us never to fail in our duty of co-operating with all our strength in order that all things may be restored in Christ, that "Christ may be formed" in all souls (Galat. iv. 19), and especially in those which are the hope of the priesthood, of maintaining unswervingly the doctrine of the Church, of defending strenuously the liberty of the Spouse of Christ, the inviolability of her divine rights, and the plenitude of those safeguards which the protection of the Sacred Pontificate requires.
[regarding the threat to the Church from without]
13. For you are aware, venerable brethren, and you have often lamented it with Us, how evil are the days on which we have fallen, and how iniquitous the conditions which have been forced upon Us... For what more unnatural sight could be witnessed than that of some of those children whom the Church has nourished and cherished as her first-born, her flower and her strength, in their rage turning their weapons against the very bosom of the Mother that has loved them so much! And there are other countries which give us but little cause for consolation, in which the same war, under a different form, has either broken out already or is being prepared by dark machinations. For there is a movement in those nations which have benefited most from Christian civilization to deprive the Church of her rights, to treat her as though she were not by nature and by right the perfect society that she is, instituted by Christ Himself, the Redeemer of our nature, and to destroy her reign, which, although primarily and directly affecting souls, is not less helpful for their eternal salvation than for the welfare of human society; efforts of all kinds are being made to supplant the kingdom of God by a reign of license under the lying name of liberty...
[regarding the threat to the Church from within]
15. But with no less severity and sorrow have We been obliged to denounce and to put down another species of war, intestine and domestic, and all the more disastrous the more hidden it is. Waged by unnatural children, nestling in the very bosom of the Church in order to rend it in silence, this war aims more directly at the very root and the soul of the Church. They are trying to corrupt the springs of Christian life and teaching, to scatter the sacred deposit of the faith, to overthrow the foundations of the divine constitution by their contempt for all authority, pontifical as well as episcopal, to put a new form on the Church, new laws, new principles, according to the tenets of monstrous systems, in short to deface all the beauty of the Spouse of Christ for the empty glamour of a new culture, falsely called science, against which the Apostle frequently puts us on our guard: "Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy and vain deceit, according to the traditions of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ (Colos. ii. 8).
16. By this figment of false philosophy and this shallow and fallacious erudition, joined with a most audacious system of criticism, some have been seduced and "become vain in their thoughts" (Rom. i. 1), "having rejected good conscience they have made shipwreck concerning the faith" (I Tim. i. 19), they are being tossed about miserably on the waves of doubt, knowing not themselves at what port they must land; others, wasting both time and study, lose themselves in the investigation of abstruse trifling, and thus grow estranged from the study of divine things and of the real springs of doctrine. This hot-bed of error and perdition (which has come to be known commonly as modernism from its craving for unhealthy novelty) although denounced several times and unmasked by the very excesses of its adepts, continues to be a most grave and deep evil. It lurks like poison in the vitals of modern society, estranged as this is from God and His Church, and it is especially eating its way like a cancer among the young generations which are naturally the most inexperienced and heedless. It is not the result of solid study and true knowledge, for there can be no real conflict between reason and faith (Concil. Vatic., Constit. Dei filius, cap. 4). But it is the result of intellectual pride and of the pestiferous atmosphere that prevails of ignorance or confused knowledge of the things of religion, united with the stupid presumption of speaking about and discussing them. And this deadly infection is further fomented by a spirit of incredulity and of rebellion against God, so that those who are seized by the blind frenzy for novelty consider that they are all sufficient for themselves, and that they are at liberty to throw off either openly or by subterfuge the entire yoke of divine authority, fashioning for themselves according to their own caprice a vague, naturalistic individual religiosity, borrowing the name and some semblance of Christianity but with none of its life and truth.
[regarding Anselm's intellectual contribution to the preservation of Doctrine]
45. Without entering here in detail into the intellectual state of the clergy and people in that distant age, there was a notable danger in a twofold excess to which the intellects of the time were prone.
46. There was at the time a class of lightminded and vain men, fed on a superficial erudition, who became incredibly puffed up with their undigested culture, and allowed themselves to be led away by a simulacrum of philosophy and dialectics. In their inane fallacy, which they called by the name of science, "they despised the sacred authority, dared with impious temerity to dispute one or other of the dogmas professed by Catholic faith . . . and in their foolish pride considered anything they could not understand as impossible, instead of confessing with humble wisdom that there might be many things beyond the reach of their comprehension. . . For there are some who immediately they have begun to grow the horns of an overweening knowledge - not knowing that when a person thinks he knows something, he does not yet know in what manner he should know it - before they have grown spiritual wings through firmness in the faith, are wont to rise presumptuously to the highest questions of the faith. Thus it happens that while against all right rules they endeavor to rise prematurely by their intelligence, their lack of intelligence brings them down to manifold errors" (S. Anselm., De Fide Trinitatis, cap. 2). And of such as these we have many painful examples under our eyes!
47. Others, again, there were of a more timid nature, who in their terror at the many cases of those who had made shipwreck of the faith, and fearing the danger of the science that puffeth up, went so far as to exclude altogether the use of philosophy, if not of all rational discussion of the sacred doctrines.
55. ...Anselm laid the foundations of the true principles of philosophical and theological studies which other most learned men, the princes of scholasticism, and chief among them the Doctor of Aquin, followed, developed, illustrated and perfected to the great honor and protection of the Church. If We have insisted so willingly on this distinction of Anselm, it is in order to have a new and much-desired occasion, venerable brethren, to inculcate upon you to see to it that you bring back youth, especially among the clergy, to the most wholesome springs of Christian wisdom, first opened by the Doctor of Aosta and abundantly enriched by Aquinas.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
There are many definitions we could give; the 2006 Random House Dictionary says tradition is "the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation, esp. by word of mouth or by practice." But, on an even more basic level than that, we could define tradition this way:
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Friday, April 18, 2008
Pope Benedict's Address to Catholic Educators here!
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Blackburn answered with two standard replies of the conservative crowd, neither of which were well thought out at all. First, he said that neither Mass was more meritorious. They are both exactly equal, and, as he put it, the one who goes to the Tridentine Mass does not receive any more grace than one who goes to the Novus Ordo. Second, he said that it really was not important which form of the Mass one went to because the same Eucharist was received at either Mass, which as the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ, was just as efficacious in either form of the Mass.
This argument makes two mistakes: first, it assumes that the only grace received through the Mass is the ex opere operato grace associated with the Sacrament; second, that the whole reason we attend Mass is to receive Holy Communion.
As to the first argument: conservatives never tire of pointing out that the sacrament is just as valid in either Mass. Okay, we can concede this point (of course, it is questionable in some cases where there is grave liturgical abuse concerning the form and matter of the sacrament itself). However, we must remember that grace offered objectively through the sacrament does not always benefit us subjectively (ex opere operantis). How much we benefit from the Mass has much to do with our dispositions. Given this point, we ought to ask: which form of the Mass promotes a better disposition to receive the Eucharistic Lord?
The answer to this must clearly be the Traditional Latin Mass, which even conservatives admit is more reverent. The more reverent the music, liturgical actions, prayers and postures, the more recollected we will be on the divine reality of what is going on at the altar. The more recollected we are, the more worshipful we are, and the more worshipful we are, the more open we are to receiving the grace of God, and therefore, we actually do benefit more ex opere operantis from the sacrament in a more reverent rite (incidentally, it is irritating to hear some speak of reverence as if it is incidental to the Mass: "Sure, the old rite is more reverent, but the Eucharist is the same in either form." If you acknowledge that one rite is more reverent, why on earth would you want to frequent one that you admit is less reverent?).
The second point that is often brought up by conservatives, and was hit on by Blackburn on Catholic Answers, is that we ought not to get too worked up about liturgical matters because, after all, we are still receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus into our souls, and that is ultimately more important than whether or not rubrics are followed or what type of music is used.
While the Eucharist is certainly a very important part of the Mass, we must not confuse our recption of the Eucharist with the Mass itself, as they are not the same. The Mass can exist without us there to receive the Eucharist (many people who are ignorant of history, are often surprised when I tell them that thousands of Masses used to be offered in private). The primary act of the Mass is the offering of Christ to the Father, not our reception of Holy Communion.
The Mass, though intimately connected with the sacrament of the Eucharist, the Sacrament of the Eucharist is something essentially different from the Sacrifice of the Mass. The Eucharist performs at once two functions: that of a sacrament and that of a sacrifice. Though the inseparability of the two is most clearly seen in the fact that the consecrating and sacrificial powers of the priest coincide, and consequently that the sacrament is produced only in and through the sacrifice of the Mass, the real difference between them is shown in that the sacrament is intended privately for the sanctification of the soul, whereas the sacrifice serves primarily to glorify God by adoration, thanksgiving, prayer, and expiation. The recipient of the one is God, who receives the sacrifice of His only-begotten Son; of the other, man, who receives the sacrament for his own good. There are other differences between the Mass and the Eucharist as well.
The unbloody Sacrifice of the Eucharistic Christ is in its nature a transient action, while the Sacrament of the Altar continues as something permanent after the sacrifice, and can even be preserved in monstrance and ciborium. This difference also deserves mention: communion under one form only is the reception of the whole sacrament, whereas, without the use of the two forms of bread and wine (the symbolic separation of the Body and Blood), the mystical slaying of the victim, and therefore the Sacrifice of the Mass, does not take place.
Therefore, when we look at the Mass, we do have to distinguish Sacrament from Sacrifice. Because the notion of Sacrifice is so often downplayed nowadays, even in conservative circles, it is no surprise that Blackburn would see our reception of Holy Communion as the most important moment of the Mass. But we know that the Mass is beyond us, even beyond our reception of Christ: it is Christ's eternal offering to God the Father.
The very fact that this reality can be obscured by certain types of liturgy should take us back to our first point: these supposedly "accidental" liturgical aspects of the Mass really do affect how much grace we are open to receiving and even whether or not we understand what is going on.