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Tuesday 26 June 2012

SSPX Updates as of June 26th, 2012

SSPX news

Six post day

Check Out the Brilliant Dr. Sanity

Dr. Sanity is brilliant this week. She should add the LWCR to her list.

And, a small concern. Why do not Catholics of a certain age not read any current events? One can hardly have a conversation on even Church teaching in the news with those who refuse to engage in the real world. We are supposed to know what is going on and we are supposed to face and deal with evil.
Is not the laity responsible for the world? Are we not, as the Pope said recently, the Church Militant?

On cows and the beyond....

Now, do I want to be buried with a cow? This is an extraordinary story of a grave found in Cambridgeshire. An Anglo-Saxon grave of a woman of considerable standing, with broaches and a set of keys, was buried in the Fifth Century, with a cow.

Now, if the cow was sacrificed to be in the grave with the woman, that is a sign of ostentatious wealth, and the PETA people would not approve. Maybe the cow fell on her and that is how she died. But, buried with her cow she was.

I find the presence of the cow rather comforting. The archaeologists are over the moon, as previous animal burials in England have been men with horses, which makes some sense. The man and horse burials indicate a military or ruler connection, whereas the cow show us a domestic connection.

Now, a Black Angus-Limousin Bull costs about $2100 right now. So, I guess that would show I had at least that much money, plus the money for feed and barn. A pair of bred cow costs $1700 in Kirksville, Missouri, not too far from home. One Angus bull and 25 cows costs about $35,000 in Iowa.

Well, money on the hoof, as we say, is a mixed blessing. But, this Anglo-Saxon matron must have loved her cow to have it buried with her. She did not leave her money to the cow, as some wealthy matrons in the States leave their money to their dogs or cats.

Still, it would have been better in a BBQ, don't you think? The archaeologists would not have such a good time, now, however. I would have let my cow live for another day.

Thoughts on this feast day of St. Josemaria Escriva

Today is the feast day of St. Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei. Now, a disclaimer, I am not a member of Opus Dei. However, I have read most of Escriva's works and have used them for prayer and meditation in the past. Many of his prayers and thoughts show his personal holiness. I know he has had many prestigious critics; a examination of these is not the venue of this post. However, I want to mention how Opus Dei manages to become, at regular intervals, a lightening rod of anti-Catholicism, despite the saintliness of its founder. I have a theory about this aggregation of negativity which seems to happen in certain circles in a timely manner. Here is my theory, which has three points.

First, organizations which actually "do" something and get things done either spiritually or materially, are highly criticized either because of envy of power in areas of the Church, the worst case scenario, or just plain ignorance. Opus Dei seems private and secretive to a point of mystery to many, not myself, as I really have not looked into the movement except for reading Escriva, going to some talks with women friends of mine several years ago, and having mutual friends who are in Opus Dei, I do not care for gossip. There are many societies in the Church which have less than open membership, or have low-key memberships. Not all members of any given group are the same in temperament or activity. Some Opus Dei people may not like the EF, some may. Is this not a smaller manifestation of opinions in the larger Church? If something like a dislike of the EF becomes a ruling ideology of a group, then there is a problem. Spurious comments do not help.

Either facts are real and provable, or the opinion of this old Midwesterner is MYOB. If a group decides to be quiet or even somewhat secretive about certain aspects, does it matter? Unless there is abuse, one should error on the side of trust. However, the human mind likes mystery and darkness and the stuff of gossip. Some myths die hard, such as those relating to the old Jesuits.

Anti-Catholicism is rife in both America and in England. I imagine it is in other places as well. That those who engage in Anti-Catholicism need a locus of attention does not surprise me. That Opus Dei provides this focal point of attention, collecting myth with facts, does not surprise me. I would only hope that allegations of anything, from mismanagement of monies, to suppression of individual rights, to hatred of the Traditional Latin Mass, would be discussed openly by all involved. Innuendo adds to the mystique of Opus Dei and does not help its cause, nor the cause of the Catholic Church. We are all working for the same goal-the salvation of souls.

Another point has to do with roles of men and women. Herein I think lies the real hatred of Opus Dei. Traditional roles of women is a teaching in the Church much larger than any one group, at least in America, where there are many more stay-at-home moms then in European countries, for some reasons we could discuss here. I think this is an argument which transcends culture and has to do with the over-influence of radical feminism and the contraceptive culture in the Church.

The last point has to do with the suspicion of zeal or "enthusiasm". In England, for example, since the Civil War, enthusiasm in religion has been judged as not only anti-intellectual, but dangerous and to be avoided. The ideal of the via media has affected not only liturgy and doctrine, but personal religious practices. I think the Spanish zeal is misunderstood in some places and seen as excessive rather than normal. I do not know what these critics would think of St. John of the Cross, or St. Teresa of Avila, for example. We not all the same in our way to God. The penances of Opus Dei have been a discussion for years. So be it. Thomas More wore a hair shirt, and if there was ever a time which needed penances which were beyond what most people would be willing to endure, this is the time. Perhaps, that is part of the problem. Some Catholics are in denial of the need for serious religion, but being different, for penance.

Those who have been members and have left, have spoken to me of no coercion or pressure, only a way of life and a commitment they could not follow. Would that all on the outside would be so measured and fair. Comments would be welcomed.

On St. Irenaeus, the New Gnosticism, and the Codex Tchacos

Those of us who actually have studied history and religion, if not theology or philosophy, as I have been so fortunate to have done and still do, know that there is more historical evidence for Christ than for Julius Caesar and other greats. Sometimes, I admit to an impatience with those who so desire to debunk Christianity as some medieval plot to take fun and independence away from humans--a curse only to be thrown-off at the Enlightenment again. When a feast day like one this week, that of St. Irenaeus of Lyons occurs, I want to jump up and down crying "See, it was all there, early on, folks."

Irenaeus wrote Against the Heresies, (among other things) and the world has copy of a reference in his work on parchment. Irenaeus died in 202 and probably knew St. Polycarp, the student of St. John the Apostle. Irenaeus is famous not only for his warning against Gnosticism, but for his teaching on Mary, the Blessed Virgin and other writings.

Irenaeus's treatise mentioned above, refers most likely to this Codex Tchacos, now in Texas, which includes the false Gospel of Judas, a Gnostic work, among other apocryphal, specifically Gnostic texts. This has not been proven as the same one mentioned in a list of St. Irenaeus, but scholars still are discussing this fragment. Gnosticism and Arianism proved to be the two greatest threats to the Church until modern times with Modernism and Marxism looming in the 19th Century, plaguing us to this day.

That we have so much historical evidence for Christianity is the direct result of the glory of the Incarnation, denied by false religions as well as atheists and new critical scholars. St. Irenaeus would not be pleased with the fact that the New Age Gnostics have picked up on this Gospel of Judas and used it for their own purposes. One only needs to mention the National Geographic presentation on this. Here is linked an interesting commentary on the book by April DeConick, the scholar who criticized the entire handling in the media of the manuscript in 2006-2007. What those scholars are arguing about is exactly a new Gnosticism criticizing the Canon of Scripture and the authority of the Catholic Church. Sigh, this is the never-ending story.

Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, True God and True Man, is honored today through St. Irenaeus.  Dear Saint, pray for us in these confusing times, to instruct the ignorant and correct those in error. Above all, give us patience.

Praying for a Catholic Renaissance

I want to save creativity in art, music, architecture and other of the fine arts, including writing, from the hands of the New Agers and the Narcissists, as well as the Politicos, who only use art for propaganda.

I think we can dismiss "political art" very quickly, as usually any creative energies which are harnessed to an ideology, such as Marxism or anarchy, remains self-gratifying and ultimately dated.

The universal is lacking in propaganda in or through art.

New Age followers, especially on the Internet, seem to have over any discussion on creative energies by placing these in the context of yoga (condemned by the Catholic Church), vague humors or energies to be found within the body, or extra-influential energies, such as crystals, water, certain plants, and even certain animals. One thinks of the feng-shui craze of some New Agers, which has fallen into the world of design-personal and domestic. Animals and points of the compass serve to control design.
That the Catholic Church in these times has reneged on Her duty to perserve the arts for God and Beauty is painfully obvious in wreckovations of churches, monasteries and convents, which still occur today, in 2012. Some of these wreckovations are politically, ideologically motivated by "Catholics" who either think like Protestants or Marxists. Still, like a worn-out mantra, people decry the use of beauty in church architecture, vestments, church altar ware, etc. forgetting that it is the Triune God Whom we worship and that our churches house the Body of Christ at all times.

The Narcissists are the hardest to convince that art is more than a reaction as to how they feel on Monday evening when they see a bird and want to express their emotions on a piece of board by splodging mud and some acrylics on the wood. "This is me, today, now" forms the cry of the Narcissistic Artist, who has forgotten the purpose of art in his or her individualistic, narrow, rationalistic world of expression. Who cares?

One can hardly argue that art has rules or is part of a larger discipline involving the mind and the soul, and not merely the emotions.

I pray for Catholic artists of all types to re-claim the spiritual inheritance of the Incarnation. Since God became Man and is now in Heaven Body and Soul, we can celebrate Beauty, the Beauty of God and Man, through grace.

I hope it is not too late to have a real Renaissance of Art.

And, as I have written here before, Catholic Art does mean a genre of Christian movies, songs, plays, paintings. The entire industry of Protestant "art" in America passes off pedestrian works as "art", simply because for years the mediocre seems, to some people, better than nothing. We need Catholic artists and musicians, architects and playwright, writing, composing , painting from a Catholic world view. Is it too late to hope for such?

All shown here are works of David Jones, my favorite Catholic artist and writer. May his work inspire some greats to become greater as Catholics, with the Catholic view and optimism of life and grace.