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Friday 20 July 2012

On Newman, the Oratorians and Maryvale

thanks to Wiki

In June, I mentioned my trip to Maryvale, the foundation of the Oratory. Some laypersons have asked me recently to explain a bit about the Oratory and the Oratorians. That this congregation began at Maryvale was new to me, as one thinks of the Birmingham Oratory or the Brompton Oratory (which was my parish a long time ago) as the Crown Jewels of the congregation. Someone has rightly pointed out to me that the Oratorians do not take vows to the community and therefore are not an order, but a congregation.

Maryvale holds many secrets, such as the little chapel I noted in the post linked above. But, the fact that the Maryvale Institute, which has a Pontifical Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy, is such a small jewel does not mean it should be overlooked by Newman pilgrims.

Maryvale, named after St. Philip Neri's church, St. Mary's in Vallicella, which I have also visited, feels more like the scholar than the two great Oratories. It was the site of the first seminary after the Catholic Restoration and as such, the first site of Oscott College. St Eugene of Mazenod visited here as one can read from this page.

(I have also been to Littlemore, but that is another post). Here is a very small paragraph from the Maryvale website found on this link:

The site of Maryvale has been in Catholic occupation since the Middle Ages. From 1794 to 1838 it was the home of Oscott College, the first Seminary (school preparing students for the priesthood) to open in England after the Reformation. In 1846 the college moved to the larger purpose-built premises at New Oscott. Newman and his community were granted the former Seminary as a house of retreat and study. 

Now, remembering that Newman was one of the founders of the Oxford Movement, one can understand that two of the heritage values of the Oratorians today are music and liturgical perfection. However, when one is standing in the main chapel at Maryvale, one senses the combination of Faith and Reason, the intense prayer life of Newman, and his dedication to personal holiness. The humility of the Blessed surrounds this small but lively place. As an Institute, one can feel the throbbing of Catholic intellectual activity which must and will spread again across Great Britain. That Newman was called to renew Great Britain through his own openness to sharing his conversion, as well as the intellectual feat of giving reasons for the Oxford Movement through the Tracts, is a call which must be answered today in this country. 

Heart speaking to heart is not only God's heart speaking to each one of us, but our hearts, individually, and as the heart of the Church corporately, reaching out to those without the knowledge or experience of Christ, Who Is Love.

I suggest a visit to Maryvale. Catholics in England have a great secret in this place: the revival of Catholic learning. By the way, because I am an American, I can state that like all Catholic institutions, Maryvale could use the financial support of Catholics. We are all called to support Catholic education and this institution is a worthy cause.

You are in the Army now...

Several months ago, I wrote a series on quietism, applying the heresy to the attitudes of many Christians who refuse to fight the fight of Faith.

Too often, no matter where I go, I hear Catholics stating that "there is nothing I can do", or "the problems are too big" or "I am apolitical" or "God will miraculously sort things out."

No to all the above...we are the Church Militant, as our dear Pope reminded us not too long ago. God has commissioned us with a duty. We have our papers. It is our responsibility to fit into the battle plan.

Now, some of the Gen X and Millennials have been brainwashed into thinking all fighting is bad. Tell that to St. Michael the Archangel. There are many ways to fight. Writing, teaching, raising Catholic thinkers through home schooling, consecrating yourself to God in celibacy, prayer and fasting, being excellent business men, honorable and respectful, being good citizens by obeying just laws. This list is endless.

I was shocked, silly me, by an article in a British newspaper on the immorality of the athletes coming here for the Olympics. I shall not give unnecessary details, but the ideal athlete who is moral and a good example for children seems to be an anomaly. That our society worships athletes who are not worthy of such idolatry creates an atmosphere of neo-paganism. Why are the Catholics silent about the Olympic charade of virtue in sport bringing nations together? One other blog and myself are ranting about this idolatry. The Catholic world has been horribly silent or supportive of this religion of sport.

The Church Militant cannot and must not tolerate evil. That, to me, is the biggest problem with the English culture-the overlooking of gross sin--even Catholics--the allowance of sin to proliferate.

Christ calls all of us into the Church Militant by our baptism. This is not some nice metaphor, but a daily reality. We cannot let down our guard for one moment.

He that is not with me, is against me: and he that gathereth not with me, scattereth. Matthew 12:30 Douay Rheims.

Are you part of the problem or are you part of the solution?

Have mercy on us, Oh Lord, have mercy

In light of what happened last night, I pass on an excellent article for parents, uncles, aunts...

Sin Leads to Insanity. God Created Us Rational.

As reported by LifeSiteNews online, Poland is one voice in the EU speaking against the new EU Council's (Council of Europe),decision to define gender as culture-defined. The brave Polish Bishops, the Presidium of the Polish Episcopal Conference and pro-life groups, have stated clearly that the agenda behind a document to protect women's rights pushes the lgtb life-style and undermines Catholic teaching on male and female as God-given identities. This last point reveals the distance between natural law philosophy, the ancient Revelation of the Bible, (Male and female He created them) and shows the breakdown of basic human definitions by this radicalized council. On can contact the Polish Government here to stop the passage of this document into law.

Many years ago, it was clear that among  the representatives to these councils were Marxists, who have supported the destruction of the nuclear family by undermining Church teaching on the sacredness of marriage and family. Now, after years of positioning, those who have wanted to support openly feminist agendas as well as those of the lgtb groups are in power to do so. 

Here is a snippet:The convention redefines gender as a social construct, rather than as a distinction grounded in biology, and suggests violence towards women is systemic with roots in religion and culture.
According to the “Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence” which was publicized in April, 2011, gender “shall mean the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for women and men.”
This new “social construct” definition is at odds with the definition in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court - which this new convention cites.  The Rome Statute states that, “For the purposes of this Statute, it is understood that the term “gender” refers to the two sexes, male and female, within the context of society. The term ‘gender’ does not indicate any meaning different from the above.”
“The Polish Episcopal Conference supports the protection of women against violence, but does not agree with the ideological assumptions of the Council of Europe Convention,” the Polish bishops declared.
“It should be emphasized that the Convention, although it is devoted to the major issue of violence against women, is built on ideological and false assumptions that are in no way acceptable. It suggests that violence against women is systemic, and its source is religion, tradition and culture,” the bishops wrote, noting that Article 12 of the convention obliges signatories to “dismiss the achievements of civilization,” which are considered “as a threat and a source of violence.”
There are some who recognize the connection between communist ideology and the new world order of sexual and gender radical ideals. Note:
Joanna Najfeld, a Polish journalist and pro-life commentator, noted the complicity of the liberal mainstream media in Poland in promotion of the convention that she labelled “ridiculous beyond belief.”
“Nobody in this country, or in any other sane, democratic society, would agree to it if it was being introduced through democratic channels, like a popular vote or a referendum,” Najfeld told LifeSiteNews.
“The mainstream liberal media silence, downplay, or manipulate the subject totally, so it can be ratified quietly by those in power in Poland now, and soon used against the Polish nation. The European Union uses the back door to impose these absurd, and extremely dangerous ideas on us.”
“We are a traditional nation,” Najfeld declared. “Traditional, meaning sane, rational and conservative.”
Comparing the imposition on Poland of the Council of Europe’s gender ideology to Communist oppression, Najfeld said, “the liberal ‘elites’ use lies, coercion, and supranational powers to perform yet another - excuse my strong language - rape on our society. Communism oppressed us and now European institutions are a new oppressor.
LifeSiteNews gets better and better. Please support them. They are a voice for freedom in Europe as well as the States. Here is another good article.

On Thinking Like a Protestant Single

Many of the posts here on this blog have been on thinking like a Catholic and not like a Protestant. In the many, many responses I have read on the series on being single, I realized that some Catholics are not thinking like Catholics about vocations. Let me posit a few points.

One, the Scriptures give us not only real life stories of people but paradigms and analogies. Scripture also give us prophecies about Christ and Who He Is and what His Titles as God-Man, Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. Jesus Christ was and is the High Priest, the Priest of Priests. He is not "lay". Several commentators were confused on this subject. He is the Fulfillment of the Old Testament Priesthood and the First Priest of the New Covenant. All priests ordained in the Catholic Church are "other Christs". One can click on the link on the side or here for more explanation-Ordinatio Sacerdotalis.

Two, the Church has Tradition, which are the entire teachings, doctrines, and sacramental theology, for examples, as I cannot list all. which are based on Scripture but go beyond the Scriptures. We cannot read Scripture outside of Tradition. We believe as Catholics that the Holy Spirit inspires the Church regarding Faith and Morals, as well as the Nature of Christ, His Mother, the Liturgy or whatever. As Catholics, we value Tradition and Scripture as from God; that is revealed Truths given to the Church. Scripture, that is Revelation and Tradition are the two keystones of Truth in the Catholic Church.

Three, in describing or defining the traditional, "small t", vocations in the Church, the Teaching Magisterium, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, has given us clarity as to those calls in the Church. One cannot merely quote Scripture and say "so and so was this or that" without looking at the interpretation of the Church in these matters. We have 2,000 years of Tradition and to throw that away is to be a Protestant in one's thinking. We do not interpret Scripture outside the Church. Those are the heresies of "private interpretation of the Bible" and "Sola scriptura"--the basis of all Protestantism. What the Church teaches about vocations through-out is that we choose to follow a vocation, to follow the calls from God for our lives. We are just not "single" without choice. Therefore, referring only to Scripture is incorrect. See more of this train of thought below on Protestant ideals.

Four, Apostolic Succession means that the Apostles were priests. They were not lay people after Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist and Holy Orders as sacraments. Now, the Jews would have understood this, as they had priests, set aside from the rest of the community to serve in the liturgy of the Jewish Law. The Apostle themselves would have understood their priesthood. That some were married is not an issue. That they all were priests, then bishops, handing down the priesthood through Ordination to our own day is one of the great blessings and treasures of the Church. The Old Testament priesthood foreshadowed that of the New.

Five, the Church very early on saw that the Holy Spirit was calling men and women to consecrated celibacy. One is no longer "single" in the same sense as a lay single person who is not committed to anything, under this vow, which should be, but apparently is not, obvious.The first monks were hermits, that it solitaries, who took in young novices. Later, under St. Anthony, Abbot, we see the development of monasticism. St. Augustine started a community of celibate men. St. Benedict's inspired genius changed Europe. Women also were called as nuns.

Six, Our Blessed Virgin Mary is the Role Model and great patron of consecrated virgins. To deny her virginity and her complete commitment to the Trinity is heresy. Mary is all things and no one else is to be compared to her. She is Queen, Mother, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, Mother of God and virginal spouse of St, Joseph. Catholics understand her uniqueness in God's Plan of Salvation. She is the Theotokos. She alone is Mother, Spouse, and Child of God.

Seven, as Catholics we are called by God to grow in love and the life of the virtues. One never hears sermons on the virtues. Without living that virtuous life, one cannot see God. We cannot go to heaven without the virtues being established in our beings.  In a committed relationship, God perfects us in the virtues. One cannot do this alone, or very rarely. To live with others is to allow one's self to become holy. Thankfully, more traditional priests are speaking on this subject. I hope more do so for the sake of our souls and the souls of our societies. To think that we can reach our potential for holiness in superficial relationships, and not in choosing either marriage, Holy Orders, religious life, or that of the consecrated virgin is revealing a Protestant mind-set-that life is just  about "me and God". If one finds one's self alone, and this is a common problem, one must find out God's Plan for life, especially if one is older. The younger among you need to decide

May I add that those "religions", false ones, which do not value celibacy, have not the true teaching of the Catholic Church. Celibacy is a committed state and is not synonymous with being single and not being committed to any walk of life. Today, for example, if one is dating and looking for a mate, one is not dedicated to following a celibate life-style. 

One of the first things that Henry VIII did was to suppress the monasteries and convents, forcing thousands of monks, priests and nuns literally onto the roads and into dire poverty. He, of course, was in debt and needed property and goods to pay his friends, but he also hated the "sign of contradiction" in the world. So, too, other Protestant "reformers" taught against celibacy. All ministers were to be married and some ministers were distinctly seen as "lay brothers". Part of this rebellion was hatred of the hierarchical structure of the Church. Of course, a Protestant ideal would be to get rid of authority, which meant the priesthood, bishops, cardinals, the Pope. This is connected to point three above. The rebellion against the Church led to rebellion against vocations to celibacy.

I know some of this thinking has seeped into the consciousness of some Catholics. A permanent deacon is not a lay person. If he is not married, he cannot get married. If he is married and his wife dies, he cannot get married again. This is also true for the married priests coming in through the Ordinariate. The Byzantine Catholics do not allow a married man to be a bishop. This is all part of the Catholic Church's high evaluation of celibacy as a consecrated state. One can choose to be celibate on one's own, but the Church has always encourage spiritual direction for this and vows. And, as noted in the other blogs, there are Catholic ways to enter into communal life and be celibate. But again, it is a commitment, not merely a "being single in the world".

I do not have this book with me, but one of the best on the monastic life is Consider Your Call: Theology of the Monastic LIfe by Daniel Rees.  I read it many, many years ago and loved it. My copy fell apart I referred to it so often It is out of print but around used. I highly recommend unattached laypersons to read this and to consider your call.

If any of you missed these two posts on virgins and widows, here are two links.

Also, if you are one of those who claimed you could not find an appropriate spouse, read this:

So much for national pride-the "me" generation hits the Olympics

Olympic disgust four. 

I do not understand this. What has happened to the national pride of the British? It is gone.

Several news agencies are reporting these stories, which are here taken from The Mail. Also, below, another  AP article highlights the border guards strike. The British used to take pride in being British. 

This is the entitlement me generation at their worst. No one in these unions seems to understand cooperation. Gramsci would be pleased, as he did not believe in nationhood. The great lies of socialism and communism seem to be at work here.

The great Olympic walkout: Now train drivers AND airport immigration staff announce strikes which will hit Games

  • Aslef union will take industrial action over pensions on August 6, 7 and 8
  • Thousands of staff at the Home Office, including airport immigration workers, will also stage a 24-hour strike the day before the opening of the Olympics
  • Train company bosses are 'shocked and angry' strikes are being planned at time of 'great national pride' for country
  • Aslef general secretary, Mick Whelan calls cutting pension contributions 'highly irresponsible'
  • Transport Secretary Justine Greening: 'If there were an Olympic sport of self-interest, Aslef union leaders would win it hands down'
  • Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt claims unions would be 'completely out of tune' with public mood if strike held during Games
  • Labour leader Ed Miliband: 'People should not be striking during the Olympics. People should not be disrupting the Olympic Games'
  • Members of RMT union on South West Trains reject strikes by narrow margin of four votes

Read more:

Dead corn, dead faith

Oh my goodness, now we cannot pray for rain in the States and the Breadbasket is drying up daily.

The scenes of dead corn and wheat break one's heart. But, oh no, we cannot pray at the White House. I am from Iowa and so is Tom Vilsack. He was hardly the most religious politician to come out of the Hawkeye State, so if he thinks the situation needs prayer, well, that's OK with me.

We need more religion, more prayer, not less.

Look at this:

The Council for Secular Humanism is attacking the Obama administration for Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack saying he prays for rain to end the nationwide draught.
“I get on my knees every day,” Vilsack said at the White House press briefing on Wednesday. “And I’m saying an extra prayer now. If I had a rain prayer or a rain dance I could do, I would do it.”
In a statement, Tom Flynn, the executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism, said Vilsack's mention of prayer "sends the wrong message to distraught farmers."
“[Praying] for rain? That’s not just government entangling itself with religion, that’s government publicly practicing it, and wallowing in superstition,” he said.
The full release is below:
Agriculture Secretary Out of Line to Pray for Rain, Says Council for Secular Humanism
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told reporters at the White House that he is praying for rain to end the drought parching 61 percent of the United States. “I get on my knees every day,” he said on July 18. “And I’m saying an extra prayer now. If I had a rain prayer or a rain dance I could do, I would do it.”
“The Obama Administration has been criticized by secular humanists for backpedaling on then-candidate Obama’s campaign pledge to reverse Bush-era policies that provide federal funding to religious charities that discriminate in hiring,” said Tom Flynn, executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism and editor of its journal Free Inquiry. “But praying for rain? That’s not just government entangling itself with religion, that’s government publicly practicing it, and wallowing in superstition.”
This summer’s prolonged drought, the worst in a quarter-century, is devastating crops and parching livestock. It may bring sharply higher food prices later this year.
“It sends the wrong message to distraught farmers when the Agriculture Secretary suggests that the best response is to pray,” said Flynn. “For a Cabinet official to recommend prayer as a solution or call attention to his own devotions may violate the Constitution’s prohibition against establishment of religion. Most important, though, is that prayer doesn’t work. But if you want to test the power of prayer yourself, consider this. Apparently Secretary Vilsack’s been praying for rain every day; how’s that working out?”