Recent Posts

Monday, 27 July 2015

Feast Day of A Patron

Go to this great blog for more information and on my past posts, including the one in the Carmelite prayer series just past.

Blessed Titus Brandsma (1881 - 1942)
He was born in Bolsward in the Netherlands. He was baptized Anno Sjoerd Brandsma. He joined the Carmelites in 1898 and took the religious name Titus. He was a professor of philosophy and active in journalism. He was vehemently opposed to Nazi ideology and spoke out against it many times before the Second World War. He was arrested in January 1942, when he tried to persuade Dutch Catholic newspapers not to print Nazi propaganda (as was required by the law of the Nazi German occupiers). He had also drawn up the Pastoral Letter, read in all Catholic parishes, by which the Dutch Roman Catholic bishops officially condemned the German anti-Semitic measures and the deportation of the first Jews. After this Pastoral Letter, the first few thousand Jews to be deported from the Netherlands were all Jewish converts to Roman Catholicism, including St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein). Titus Brandsma was killed by lethal injection in Dachau on July 26, 1942.

from Universalis

And an additional martyr:
Blessed Robert Sutton (1545-1588)
Robert Sutton was born at Burton-on-Trent in 1545, the son of a carpenter. He studied at Christ Church, Oxford, and was ordained in the Established Church, becoming Rector of Lutterworth in Leicestershire. He was converted to Catholicism in 1577 through the influence of his younger brother; they were both ordained at the English College at Douai in France, together with a third brother. In 1578 Robert returned to England and worked for ten years, saying Mass secretly in the houses of Catholic families in various places. He was arrested in Stafford in 1588 and was hanged, drawn and quartered there on 27 July of that year. Before execution, he made a speech about the candle which is given at baptism and in the hour of death, and he held up his handkerchief in remembrance of it, saying that he lived and died in the light of the Catholic faith. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1987.

More on Associations of the Laity

Associations of the Faithful: A Working Definition An aggregate of persons, with a common purpose congruent with the mission of the Church, who freely associate in such a manner that rights are exercised and obligations acquired without change to the status of each individual person who form the association. An association of the faithful is an aggregate of persons, not of things. Christ’s faithful possess the natural right and have the liberty “to found and to govern associations for charitable and religious purposes or for the promotion of the Christian vocation in the world; they are free to hold meetings to pursue these purposes in common” (Canon 215). While the association may acquire property and enter into contracts in the pursuit of its purpose and fulfillment of apostolate, the association exists because of the people, not the goods it acquires. By the very nature of an association, the members pursue a common purpose. In secular society, many associations exist which purpose may or may not have Christian orientation. In contrast, associations of the faithful, by nature, maintain a purpose congruent with the mission of the Church. Ecclesiastical Authority and Associations of the Faithful Because associations of the faithful must have a common purpose congruent with the mission of the Church, competent ecclesiastical authority has the obligation of vigilance over all in matters of faith, morals and ecclesiastical discipline. The purpose of this vigilance is to promote the common good, protect against the infringement of rights and duties and provide a venue of vindication when necessary (cf. Canon 223). This vigilance allows competent authority to visit the associations in accord with the norms of law and the statutes of the association (Canon 305§1). Regarding public associations, the authority that erected it has direct supervision over the association. Regarding private associations, ecclesiastical authority must respect their autonomy but has the obligation to “take care that their energies are not dissipated and that the exercise of their apostolate is ordered toward the common good (Canon 323§2).” He also has the right “to be watchful that the goods are used for the purposes of the association (Canon 325§1).” Types of Associations Two broad categories of associations exist within the Church: public and private. Further distinctions made in law are beyond the parameters of this article [cf. Clerical associations (Canons 302) and third orders (Canon 303)]. “Associations of the faithful which are erected by competent ecclesiastical authority are called public associations (Canon 301§3).” In the decree of erection, the competent authority must bestow public juridic personality on the association and grant it a mission by which it formally acts in the name of the Church (Canon 313). Only the Holy See, a conference of bishops or a diocesan bishop has the authority to erect a public association of the faithful (Canon 312). Before issuing a decree of erection, the competent authority must approve its statutes (Canon 314). Only a public association can receive a mission to teach Christian doctrine in the name of the Church, promote public worship or pursue a purpose which by nature is reserved to ecclesiastical authority (Canon 301§1). As a public association, the members act in the name of the Church when fulfilling the purpose of the association. Because of its public nature, the authority who erected it has direct supervision over the association and specifically has the right to confirm the election of the moderator, install a moderator presented or name a moderator in accord with the approved statutes; name the chaplain or ecclesiastical assistant (Canon 317§1); designate a trustee to temporarily direct the association (Canon 318§1); remove the moderator for a just cause (Canon 318§2); direct and audit the 3 administration of goods and reception of offerings and alms (Canon 319); suppress the association or otherwise declare it extinct in accord with law (Canons 320, 120§1). In contrast, private associations exist by private agreement, freely made among members of the Christian faithful, with the intent to attain the aims mentioned in canon 298§1 (Canon 299§1). By far, private associations of the faithful are the most flexible and less restrictive means for the Christian faithful to pursue a common purpose as a group. While ecclesiastical authority maintains a certain degree of vigilance over private associations as noted above, the guidance and direction of the association comes from the members in accord with its statutes (Canon 321). Any further influence and involvement by ecclesiastical authority depends on the level of recognition the association seeks. From least to most structured, private associations are categorized as de facto, recognized, praised or recommended and private with juridic personality. Unless a private association receives juridic personality from competent ecclesiastical authority, the association itself has no rights or obligations in law. However, its members may collectively assert their rights and obligations, even by proxy (Canon 310). This will be further discussed in the example below. A de facto association of the faithful exists by common agreement among its members but has no recognition from Church authority. Because this type of association seeks no recognition from the Church, its statutes do not require review by ecclesiastical authority. 

This first appeared in the September 8, 1997 issue of Christifidelis, the newsletter of the St. Joseph Foundation

Sub-Cultures vs. Lay Associations

More and more, I am meeting people who have created sub-cultures which are not healthy. Communities can create sub-cultures, but the demand of communal life and the discipline of a community does not allow spin-offs into cliques or unhealthy, navel-gazing sub-groupings.

The great danger of any community is the inward looking tendencies to make the community the goal of all activities, instead of God. Unless people are growing and changing in a community, the community is missing the mark for its existence.

There are several marks of a healthy community, which would not be merely a sub-culture. And, I refer to Catholic ones, or at least, Christian ones.
  1. The reason for the community is service to God in prayer and good works. 
  2. The foundation is orthodox.
  3. Those who are members are not running away from life, but embrace life in suffering and in worship.
  4. A common method of prayer marks a community.
  5. An outreach must be part of community life, otherwise it becomes to self-centered.
Of course, Christ must be the center, but also serving other people. If any community, even a TLM one, is not reaching out to others for some reason, in some way, the community, it will become selfish and spiritually dead.

One of the marks of an unhealthy community is the lack of real leadership, a flowing in and out of people, instead of commitment, a lack of orthodoxy, either people accepting liberal heresies, or people accepting far-right heretical positions.

One of the problems of some communities is the refusal to deal with sin within the communities. Silence will not solve problems. Prayer and maturity go together. One cannot grow in maturity without prayer, and leadership.

Years ago, I belonged to a healthy community. I know some healthy communities of lay people. They all have mature Catholics leading them and priests giving solid, regular advice. 

To be isolated as a community from the larger world is not a call recognized by the Church. For example, Pious Associations of the Faithful have something to do, as well as prayer.

Here is the Vatican on this point is a selection from a larger document:

The group apostolate is very important also because the apostolate must often be performed by way of common activity both the Church communities and the various spheres. For the associations established for carrying on the apostolate in common sustain their members, form them for the apostolate, and rightly organize and regulate their apostolic work so that much better results can be expected than if each member were to act on his own.

In the present circumstances, it is quite necessary that, in the area of lay activity, the united and organized form of the apostolate be strengthened. In fact, only the pooling of resources is capable of fully achieving all the aims of the modern apostolate and firmly protecting its interests.(3) Here it is important that the apostolate encompass even the common attitudes and social conditions of those for whom it is designed. Otherwise those engaged in the apostolate are often unable to bear up under the pressure of public opinion or of social institutions.

19. There is a great variety of associations in the apostolate.(4) Some set before themselves the broad apostolic purpose of the Church; others aim to evangelize and sanctify in a special way. Some purpose to infuse a Christian spirit into the temporal order; others bear witness to Christ in a special way through works of mercy and charity.

Among these associations, those which promote and encourage closer unity between the concrete life of the members and their faith must be given primary consideration. Associations are not ends unto themselves; rather they should serve the mission of the Church to the world. Their apostolic dynamism depends on their conformity with the goals of the Church as well as on the Christian witness and evangelical spirit of every member and of the whole association.

Now, in view of the progress of social institutions and the the fast- moving pace of modern society, the global nature of the Church's mission requires that apostolic enterprises of Catholics should more and more develop organized forms in the international sphere. Catholic international organizations will more effectively achieve their purpose if the groups comprising them, as well as their members, are more closely united to these international organizations.

Maintaining the proper relationship to Church authorities,(5) the laity have the right to found and control such associations(6) and to join those already existing. Yet the dispersion of efforts must be avoided. This happens when new associations and projects are promoted without a sufficient reason, or if antiquated associations or methods are retained beyond their period of usefulness. Nor is it always fitting to transfer indiscriminately forms of the apostolates that have been used in one nation to other nations.(7)

more found here.... and more later

Ashamed to be an Iowan

And, if you have children in public schools, you better be aware of what is going on.

Home school.

The opt-outs for sex education may be in place this year, but nothing is guaranteed for next year. I would form groups of parents to find out the details in your particular state.

All students in Illinois and Iowa are affected. This is similar to the decision made to teach contraception in the public schools a few years ago. But as the new amendment to the Constitution is law, the opt-outs will most likely not be available and if so, may end completely in 2016-2017 academic year.

Home school.