Friday, October 31, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Second, I wonder at the modern mentality in the Magisterium which seems to view itself as a kind of Church congress which is perpetually in session and needs to make continual declarations and reaffirmations of things. The Councils of Constance and Basel tried to impose a permanently sitting Council in the Church, which of course was rejected by the Popes. However, we seem to have adopted this position in the modern Church without stating so explicitly. Traditionally, Synods and Councils (even regional ones) were called to resolve doctrinal or disciplinary problems, which they did by the promulgation of decrees of canons, such as the Synod of Whitby on the submission of the Celtic Church to the Roman rite, or the Spanish Council of Toledo which gave us many valuable canons on the Trinity that are quoted in the CCC.
What is the purpose of this Synod? According to the document, "The Synod's purpose is primarily pastoral and missionary, namely to thoroughly examine the topic's doctrinal teaching and, in the process, spread and strengthen the practice of encountering the Word of God as the source of life in various areas of experience" (II.4). Interesting. I agree there are times for pastoral statements, but it seems to me that in the past several decades, the word "pastoral" has been so overused and beaten into the ground that for me it is a codeword for "We are issuing a document that really does not need to be issued just for the sake of appearing like we are doing something." It seems to me that the current Magisterium (since Vatican II) has taken to the idea that it needs to periodically make statements about things just for the sake of making statements, almost like the Constance-Basel idea of a permanently sitting Council that would continually work. Zenit reported that the Pope has already assembled the Bishops who will organize the next Synod, though they do not even have a topic selected yet! Perhaps I am drawing too tenuous of a connection here, but it seems to me that the more "pastoral" a document tends to be, the less effective.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
This week, our Bishop made a strong statement against our apostate Catholic Governor Jennifer Granholm and her support of Michigan Ballot Proposition 2, which would completely legalize unrestricted stem cell research in Michigan. I love to give good Bishops credit when it is due, and this is certainly one of those times.
The Most Reverend Earl Boyea, Bishop of Lansing, today issued the following statement in response to recent comments of Michigan Governor JenniferGranholm:
In a Sunday address in Grand Rapids, Governor Jennifer Granholm incredibly said of Proposal 2 "As a Catholic, I can say to be pro-cure is to be pro-life." Of course, Catholics and all other responsible citizens will continue to seek cures for disease and injury. But to imply that Proposal 2 is a valid expression of Catholic principles is shocking. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Proposal 2, which goes before Michigan voters in a week, would give an unrestricted license to those who perform destructive experiments on human embryos. While the Catholic Church strongly supports legitimate forms of stem cell research and all other proper forms of scientific inquiry, the Church also teaches that is it is always immoral to destroy a human embryo. For that reason, the Catholic Bishops of Michigan have taken a strong position in opposition to this well-funded assault on human life.
Saint Paul reminds us that we must preach the Truth in season and out ofseason. The Truth will never go unspoken. To be in favor of Proposal 2 isnot to be pro-life. A well-formed Catholic conscience would never lead aperson to support Proposal 2 "as a Catholic."
I'm particularly glad that the Bishop addresses this increasingly common (and ignorant) fallacy that to be in favor of embyonic stem-cell research is to somehow be Pro-Life.
I'd like to hear from you all about any morally contoversial ballot proposals in your states. We also have one that is trying to legalize medical marijuana, but nobody is really paying attention to that one.
Monday, October 27, 2008
However, there is a proper way to understand our stewardship over God's creation, it it does come into context when discussing our housing crisis. I heard a report on the local radio station last week that got me fuming: a few "experts" were on discussing what to do with the abundance of empty retail stores left around the state and nation due to the downfall in property values. Many people invested heavily in building retail developments (most of which were not needed) in the hopes of taking advantage of urban sprawl and continued economic growth to profit hugely. So in my hometown, for example, every street corner was bought up and developed, even though nothing else but fields were around it. The idea was that soon the fields would be turned into housing, and the retail development on the corner would get the lion's share of all the traffic from these subdivisions.
Now there is an overabundance of these empty retail stores, and along with them a plethora of empty housing developments, many of them in various stages of construction. Take a look of some photos I shot in my home town in just twenty-minutes of one afternoon. See if you see anything in common:
Apparently, the nation is cluttered with such empty properties, and the guests on the talk show were debating about what to do with them. Many suggestions were floated, but of course nobody suggested just tearing them down and letting nature grow back.
The thing that irks me worst about our current economic system is that it does not take into account community need at all. An entrepreneur comes into my town with a franchise and says, "I want to build a CVS here." The city and the bank, in granting the requirements to build the CVS, asks many questions, but never the most important one. How much traffic will your store generate? What type of financing do you have? What are the zoning requirements? What is your estimated profit return for the first three years? How about this question: Does our city need a third CVS when we already have two not more than three miles way? Apparently, the local government takes the position that any business is good for the town and everybody has a right to build anywhere they want so long as some zoning requirements are met.
How about a system where every business has to ask the city permission to build a new retail development, and the answer to their petition is based solely on how many of the same types of developments already exist and whether or not we need another one? All the garbage built in the above pictures was unneeded and built only because people were greedy: greedy to profit by either hoping more residential stuff would be built nearby to generate traffic or greedy in hopes of turning over their property for profit in the future. I makes me so irate when I see a huge development go up, only for the property owner to stick a bunch of "For Lease" signs in the windows. I propose a following tweak to our system: If you are going to build commercial sites, you have to have them all leased out before you even start building. No more of this building six unit mini-malls and then putting them up for lease.
When we do such things, we are being incredibly wasteful. Wasteful with financial resources. Wasteful with the land, which is bulldozed and paved just so some "For Lease" signs can go in the empty windows of another useless development. It makes us more and more lazy. I don't need another CVS a mile down the road. Just let me drive to the one two miles away. When did we become a people who need everything at an arm's length? Of course, we all know this kind of stuff drives out local businesses run by local people as well.
Of course, we need businesses in our community. But not this horrid retail glut that we have. What is God's ideal? If we look in Genesis, we see the ideal of Paradise is a Garden. Put a that Garden on a scale, with a parking lot above it and a wilderness below. The wilderness always symbolizes the hostility of nature apart from man, the cruel wrath of the elements and the unknown and savage reality of man's fallen state in nature. Now, if you look at a parking lot, this symbolizes the opposite: man's total, utilitarian dominance over nature for his own ends. This is what our world is becoming. Yet the ideal is between: a Garden. Man taming and cultivating nature, living in harmony with it, neither dominating it for utilitarian reasons, nor living in servile subjection to it in fear, but in harmonious tranquility based on need, not fulfillment of greed.
If only our city planners and everybody on up who ran our economy took this to heart, our cities would not be so ugly and useless. Development ought to be based on need, not profit.
"But Boniface, that's just competition. Your'e not against competition, are you?"
No, not at all. If you have one restaurant on one side of town serving seafood, then someone should be free to open a Chinese place in town, too. If people like the Chinese better than the seafood, they'll go there. Heck, I'd even allow for a second seafood place on the other side of town maybe. But do we need five Chinese restaurants all on the same strip of road? Absolutely not! There is no justifiable reason why this waste needs to exist.
"But where would those people work?"
I don't know, but not in five useless Chinese restaurants! We oughtn't create useless jobs and projects just on the pretext of keeping people busy; that's more akin to the Communist ideal. That mentality is the reason why my local Road Commission tears up a major road in my country every year, even though they are all fine. They have a budget, and they want to blow that budget and keep people employed, and so they are perpetually tearing up roads and repaving them when not a single pothole or crack was to be found on the old one. You don't make up useless jobs just to employ people. Employment and business should revolve around what people need. What if we don't need anything in our town? Then either (a) find some other means of employment that is useful, or (b) get out and go somewhere else.
Sorry...this is kind of a rant.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
First, it appears that beginning in 1989, a resident of Emmitsburg named Mrs. Gianna Talone-Sullivan claimed that she was receiving messages and teachings from Jesus, Mary and most recently God the Father. Following these alleged apparitions (which of course were in the form of locutions that nobody could confirm or deny positively), a small prayer group formed around Mrs. Talone-Sullivan, called the Our Lady of Emmitsburg Prayer Group. The messages are sentimental and highly repetitive, just like the Medjugorje apparitions. Like Medjugorje, many of them end with the phrase "Thank you for responding to my call." Like Medjugorje, they have made outlandish claims and predictions, such as a foolish prediction of a "second sun" entering our solar system and a catastrophe that would wipe out almost 70% of the earth's population:
"I can tell you this: Even your governments and the Church authorities already have knowledge of the stars aligning and its implications upon you. You must not fear but must be prepared, primarily spiritually. After awhile, you will see a time when there is another body in orbit around your solar system, coming between Earth and the Sun and leading to tremendous devastation. Approximately 60-70% of the world’s population, as you know it, will cease. Of those who survive, 60% of them could die of disease and starvation" (source).
She also claims on the authority of Jesus Himself that the Holy Family sojourned in Cairo during their stay in Egypt when Cairo wasn't even founded until 969 AD. What foolishness!
This fiasco went all the way up to the CDF, where then Cardinal Ratizinger issued a declaration of constat de non supernaturalitate in February of 2003 (document here). Sullivan has been ordered to stop having the prayer meetings on archdiocesan property (Baltimore), which she was obedient to. However, confronted with Rome's conclusion, Sullivan arrogantly stated in 2006 that Rome had never in fact condemned the apparitions, and had a special apparition in March 2006 to confirm that her visions were in fact real. Isn't that convenient!
Finally, on October 8th, 2008, Archbishop Edwin O'Brien of Baltimore issued a very strong statement against Mrs. Talone-Sullivan. Notice his strong language:
"Recent messages and activity by those who support Mrs. Talone-Sullivan have created confusion among many and division in our parishes and our Archdiocese. On more than one occasion, the Archdiocese of Baltimore has conducted investigations into these matters in an effort to protect the faith and good morals of the Christian faithful. Each investigation has concluded that there is nothing of significance to be found in the messages and locutions... I also strongly caution Mrs. Gianna Talone-Sullivan not to communicate in any manner whatsoever, written or spoken, electronic or printed, personally or through another in any church, public oratory, chapel or any other place or locale, public or private, within the jurisdiction of the Archdiocese of Baltimore any information of any type related to or containing messages or locutions allegedly received from the Virgin Mother of God...Further, I strongly caution those who participate in any activity surrounding these alleged apparitions or who seek to disseminate information and promote them here in the Archdiocese. To do so is a great disservice to the Church and creates further confusion and division among the faithful."
Now, how did Mrs. Talone-Sullivan respond? While grateful for the clarifications, she seems to shrug her shoulders at the possibility that she is being disobedient: "All of my priests spiritual advisors and canon lawyers that I have consulted have told me that I am obedient, and that the Church says what it means and would have specified differently if it meant otherwise. So we continue to hold this prayer meeting monthly, open to the public, at the Lynfield Complex in Frederick, MD. All are welcome! If you desire something different, please let me know."
So, everybody tells her she is obedient, and so she insists. The Bishop cautions her against communication in "any matter whatsoever" within the Diocese, whether or not it is on Church property. Mrs. Talone-Sullivan has at least been outwardly complicit: she has canceled the prayer meetings until further notice and urged obedience to the bishops. However, it seems that her obedience is only on the surface, for we notice that she has not stated that she will not speak or teach about these apparitions anymore, and that her Foundation of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary has changed its address from Emmitsburg, within the Baltimore Archdiocese, to Fairfield, PA, within the Diocese of Harrison. She seems to be setting herself up to continue her teaching outside of the jurisdiction of the Archbishop of Baltimore, technically complying with his letter but utterly ignoring its spirit.
For me, if the Vatican declares your apparition constat de non supernaturalitate, that should be the end of it. Period. You should not be able to find any haven in any diocese where you can disseminate your visions, nor should you yourself continue to insist on their authenticity. All of the great spiritual writers who touched on the subject of visions have stated that the default position one should take is one of doubt, even the person having the vision. Let God prove its authenticity, and in the meantime, test it critically.
What if the Vatican were to declare constant de non supernaturalitate with regards to Medjugorje, and the local bishop was to forbid any dissemination of the messages of Medjurgoje, public or private, in any manner whatsoever (which I believe he already has)? If this lady doesn't look lke she's going to stop, then believe me, such a thing would not stop the Medjugorjists either. At least it would clear the lines a bit, but the audacity of these people continues to amaze me. They get condemned and censured left and right and continue to maintain that they are in good standing with the Church. I guess when all else fails, just lie. Just like Barack Obama flatly denying he voted for infanticide.
By the way, mentioning Obama brings up an interesting parallel in that Our Lady of Emmitsburg sure likes to talk about "change." Look at her June 1st, 2008 message:
Children, for the last 20 years I have oftentimes spoken of “change.” I have told you that there is no time for fear; there is only time for change. You must know by now that I have recently spoken of an arising of “two suns.” When you see the two suns on the horizon, you must know that this is a time of change, a time of this new beginning about which I have spoken to you before. After you see the two suns, there is only a short time before you will see a tremendous change in weather. After this, as you know, there are more changes to come (source).
Run for the hills! Mary is endorsing Obama!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Monday, October 06, 2008
Friday, October 03, 2008
St. Marcellus, ora pro nobis!
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
St. Denis Chronicle
At this time the King was yet in the errors of his idolatry and went to war with the Alemanni, since he wished to render them tributary. Long was the battle, many were slain on one side or the other, for the Franks fought to win glory and renown, the Alemanni to save life and freedom. When the King at length saw the slaughter of his people and the boldness of his foes, he had greater expectation of disaster than of victory. He looked up to heaven humbly, and spoke thus: "Most mighty God, whom my queen Clothilde worships and adores with heart and soul, I pledge you perpetual service unto your faith, if only you give me now the victory over my enemies."
Instantly when he had said this, his men were filled with burning valor, and a great fear smote his enemies, so that they turned their backs and fled the battle; and victory remained with the King and with the Franks. The king of the Alemanni were slain; and as for the Alemanni, seeing themselves discomfited, and that their king had fallen, they yielded themselves to Chlodovocar and his Franks and became his tributaries.
The King returned after this victory into Frankland. He went to Rheims, and told the Queen what had befallen; and they together gave thanks unto Our Lord. The King made his confession of faith from his heart, and with right good will. The Queen, who was wondrously overjoyed at the conversion of her lord, went at once to St. Remi, at that time archbishop of the city. Straightway he hastened to the palace to teach the King the way by which he could come unto God, for his mind was still in doubt about it. He presented himself boldly before his face, although a little while before he [the bishop] had not dared to come before him.
When St. Remi had preached to the King the Christian faith and taught him the way of the Cross, and when the king had known what the faith was, Chlodovocar promised fervently that he would henceforth never serve any save the all-powerful God. After that he said he would put to the test and try the hearts and wills of his chieftains and lesser people: for he would convert them more easily if they were converted by pleasant means and by mild words, than if they were driven to it by force; and this method seemed best to St. Remi. The folk and the chieftains were assembled by the command of the King. He arose in the midst of them, and spoke to this effect: "Lords of the Franks, it seems to me highly profitable that you should know first of all what are those gods which you worship. For we are certain of their falsity: and we come right freely into the knowledge of Him who is the true God. Know of a surety that this same God which I preach to you has given victory over your enemies in the recent battle against the Alemanni. Lift, therefore, your hearts in just hope; and ask the Sovereign Defender, that He give to you all, that which you desire---that He save our souls and give us victory over our enemies." When the King full of faith had thus preached to and admonished his people, one and all banished from their hearts all unbelief, and recognized their Creator.
When shortly afterward Chlodovocar set out for the church for baptism, St. Remi prepared a great procession. The streets of Rheims were hung with banners and tapestry. The church was decorated. The baptistry was covered with balsams and all sorts of perfumes. The people believed they were already breathing the delights of paradise. The cortege set out from the palace, the clergy led the way bearing the holy Gospels, the cross and banners, chanting hymns and psalms. Then came the bishop leading the King by the hand, next the Queen with the multitude. Whilst on the way the King asked of the bishop, "If this was the Kingdom of Heaven which he had promised him." "Not so," replied the prelate; "it is the road that leads to it."
When in the church, in the act of bestowing baptism the holy pontiff lifted his eyes to heaven in silent prayer and wept. Straightway a dove, white as snow, descended bearing in his beak a vial of holy oil. A delicious odor exhaled from it: which intoxicated those near by with an inexpressible delight. The holy bishop took the vial, and suddenly the dove vanished. Transported with joy at the sight of this notable miracle, the King renounced Satan, his pomps and his works; and demanded with earnestness the baptism; at the moment when he bent his head over the fountain of life, the eloquent pontiff cried, "Bow down thine head, fierce Sicambrian! Adore that which once thou hast burned: burn that which thou hast adored!"
After having made his profession of the orthodox faith, the King is plunged thrice in the waters of baptism. Then in the name of the holy and indivisible Trinity---Father, Son, and Holy Ghost---the prelate consecrated him with the divine unction. Two sisters of the king and 3000 fighting men of the Franks and a great number of women and children were likewise baptized. Thus we many well believe that day was a day of joy in heaven for the holy angels; likewise of rejoicing on earth for devout and faithful men!
The King showed vast zeal for his new faith. He built a splendid church at Paris, called St. Genevieve, where later he and Clothilde were buried. Faith and religion and zeal for justice were pursued by him all the days of his life. Certain Franks still held to paganism, and found a leader in Prince Ragnachairus but he was presently delivered up in fetters to Chlodovocar who put him to death. Thus all the Frankish people were converted and baptized by the merits of St. Remigius.
At this time there came to Chlodovocar messengers from Anastasius, the Emperor of Constantinople, who brought him presents from their master, and letters whereof the effect was, that it pleased the Emperor and the Senators that he [Chlodovocar] be made a "Friend of the Emperor," and a "Patrician" and "Councilor" of the Romans. When the King had read these letters, he arrayed himself in the robe of a senator, which the Emperor had sent to him. He mounted upon his charger; and thus he went to the public square before the church of St. Martin; and then he gave great gifts to the people. From this day he was always called "Councilor" and "Augustus."