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Saturday 8 December 2012

Another sad day for so-called Catholic institutions

Gonzaga To Begin Offering Contraceptive Coverage Next Month

published in November
In a Nov. 20th memo obtained by The Cardinal Newman Society, Gonzaga University President Thayne McCulloh has announced to faculty and staff that in response to the HHS mandate it will begin covering contraceptives starting next month.
While many Catholic colleges and dioceses are battling the HHS mandate on religious liberty grounds in court, Gonzaga, a Jesuit University, announced to faculty and staff that even while they vow to clearly communicate the Church’s position on contraception, they are “compelled by the federal government to fulfill our legal obligation under the mandate.” According to the memo, the university will begin covering contraceptives on December 1st, 2012:
Gonzaga is a Catholic and Jesuit university and as such demonstrates its membership in and fidelity to the Roman Catholic Church in many ways. One of these involves promulgating Church teachings as regards respect for, and the promotion of, human life. The Church has, since before the issue of the Apostolic Letter of Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae (1968) held that engaging in any action which has as its purpose interference with the (sexually) procreative process is both immoral and unlawful. This position is well known and has been affirmed by the Church many times since. While there are many opinions about the Church’s position on these matters, heretofore Catholic institutions, like Gonzaga, have been permitted to construct and maintain policies in accord with this position…
Irrespective of the specific issue (e.g. contraception), the mandate is seen by many as oppressive and as creating an unresolvable conflict between the obligation to promote and support Church teaching and the obligation to follow the law. While the conflict remains, we conclude that it is incumbent upon us as a Catholic Jesuit institution to ensure that the position of the Roman Catholic Church on the specific issue of contraception is clearly communicated, even as we are compelled by the federal government to fulfill our legal obligation under the mandate.
But McCulloh also wrote, “Gonzaga’s own health care coverage has not heretofore included coverage of contraceptive prescriptions, unless determined to be ‘medically necessary.” We have contacted the University but have not yet received an explanation why Gonzaga’s health plan would not be at least temporarily “grandfathered” to keep the health plan they had previously and thus avoid the dictates of the HHS mandate. Moreover, the Obama administration has indicated that it will not enforce the mandate against religious employers for one year — the so-called “safe harbor” rule.
Despite the fact that several Catholic colleges including Belmont Abbey College, Ave Maria University, Franciscan University of Steubenville, and the University of Notre Dame among others have filed suit against the HHS mandate, not one Jesuit university has joined them. McCulloh did write that the Board of Trustees commissioned the Legal Committee of the Trustees to evaluate options regarding the issue of a “friend of the court (amicus curiae) brief” in support of one of the cases pending in federal court opposing the HHS mandate.
Gonzaga isn’t the first Jesuit university to recently announce they’ll be providing contraceptive coverage. Even though Xavier University announced earlier this year that it would cease covering contraceptives, University President Fr. Michael Graham, S.J., suddenly reversed that decision and announced that the university will cover contraceptives for its 950 employees.

On Works and Salvation

The works vs. faith argument was under-way when SS. Paul and James were writing their epistles to confused and upset communities.  There is not contradiction regarding faith and works, as the present Pope noted several years ago.

What is confusing to Catholics is this point. That when they see someone doing good works, they assume that person is in sanctifying grace.

Not necessarily so. And, our works are only efficacious if done in and for the love of God and not for other altruistic reasons. We are not saved by works but by the salvific act of Christ on the Cross. If we believe, are baptised and live as good Catholics, our justification in Christ is seen by our works.

Good works are a simple manifestation of a life of grace; but not always.

The liberal Catholics emphasize good works at the expense of obedience to doctrine. These good works do not merit grace unless these good people, who may be confused, are in and with the Catholic Church. Many heretics begin as good Catholics but get caught up in one or more "disagreements"with the Church. If one is in disobedience knowingly in any way

Our redemption by the Blood of Christ on the Cross demands that we respond in Love and gratitude and charity towards our neighbor. This is lost in many congregations, and the socialist mentality, that the government is there to help people in need has deceived many Catholics into thinking that real charity is not their business.

So the problem is a two-edged sword. Good works without real faith are useless and faith without good works is selfishness. Our good works must be an overflowing of the realization and gratitude that we are not only saved but made holy in Christ.

The balance is a hard lesson. The argument I hear is that all one needs to do is be good, that all good people go to heaven.

Sadly, this is not so. Only God is the judge, but we do have objective criteria in the Church to help us understand.

Here are some helpful quotations from the CCC.

1996 Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life.46
1997 Grace is a participation in the life of God. It introduces us into the intimacy of Trinitarian life: by Baptism the Christian participates in the grace of Christ, the Head of his Body. As an "adopted son" he can henceforth call God "Father," in union with the only Son. He receives the life of the Spirit who breathes charity into him and who forms the Church.
1998 This vocation to eternal life is supernatural. It depends entirely on God's gratuitous initiative, for he alone can reveal and give himself. It surpasses the power of human intellect and will, as that of every other creature.47
1999 The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the sanctifying or deifying grace received in Baptism. It is in us the source of the work of sanctification:48

Therefore if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself.49
2000 Sanctifying grace is an habitual gift, a stable and supernatural disposition that perfects the soul itself to enable it to live with God, to act by his love. Habitual grace, the permanent disposition to live and act in keeping with God's call, is distinguished from actual graces which refer to God's interventions, whether at the beginning of conversion or in the course of the work of sanctification.

If we are not doing good works in faith and in grace, these mean nothing. Here is another quotation.

Gregory of Nyssa stated that “Paul, joining righteousness to faith and weaving them together, constructs of them the breastplates for the infantryman, armouring the soldier properly and safely on both sides. A soldier cannot be considered safely armoured when either shield is disjointed from the other. Faith without works of justice is not sufficient for salvation; neither is righteous living secure in itself of salvation, if it is disjointed from faith.

End of the World Panicking

People, would God tell pagans a secret which Christ Himself claimed He did not know-the time of the end of the world? Calm down.

Why people in Russia and China are panicking is beyond me.

Anyway, the Catholic Encyclopaedia has something to add to the conversation, a part which is quoted below.


As was stated above, the signs that are to precede the judgment give no accurate indication of the time when it will occur (Mark 13:32). When the Disciples asked the Saviour: "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" He answered: "It is not for you toknow the times or moments, which the Father hath put in his own power" (Acts 1:6-7). The uncertainty of the day of judgment is continually urged by Christ and the Apostles as an incentive to vigilance. The day of the Lord will come "as a thief" (Matthew 24:42-43), like lightning suddenly appearing (Matthew 24:27), like a snare (Luke 21:34), as the Deluge (Matthew 24:37).

Because of the black hole of Internet interruption in eight days

In eight days or so, I shall be taking a retreat and not on the Net. I am loading up the archives for you readers, especially on the perfection series. One can also go back and read the entire list of postings using the tags at the bottom.

From Monday, December 16th to the 22nd, I shall have very limited or no access to the Net. One can read some things which I shall put on ahead of time, such as the O Antiphons and other Advent goodies. There will be postings, but not news.

The end of private religious education in Canada

If you want to give to a worthy charity, LifeSiteNews would be a worthy organization. Here is a report from the website.

MONTREAL, December 7, 2012 ( – Quebec’s Court of Appeal has ruled that a private Catholic high school in Montreal must cease teaching a Catholic course on religion and morality and switch to the “secular” and “neutral” Ethics and Religious Culture (ERC) course provided by the province’s government.
The judges ruled on Tuesday that “exposing students to the global study of religions in a neutral perspective without requiring them to adhere to it, is not an infringement of freedom of religion”.
Quebec's Court of Appeal.
Quebec's Court of Appeal.
Patrick Andries, secretary of the Coalition for Freedom in Education, told that he was “surprised” that three Quebec judges found it to be “perfectly reasonable” to “secularize the education provided in a Catholic private school.” He pointed out that the move is an “oxymoron at the very least.”
The Catholic Civil Rights League (CCRL) called the ruling “a grand social experiment” that raised the “legitimate objections of religious parents”.
“With this decision, the Court of Appeal has seriously infringed upon the right of parents to direct the religious education of their children,” said League President Philip Horgan.
The CCRL pointed out that the decision “creates a dilemma” for Catholic parents in Quebec who send their children to private Catholic schools “to avail their children of an authentic moral and religious upbringing in accordance with their faith”.
The case arose in 2008 when the Education Minister at that time forbade the Jesuit run Loyola High School from covering the mandatory curriculum by means of an already developed equivalent course but from a Catholic perspective. The Minister argued that Loyola’s course would not meet the requirements because it was faith-based rather than secular, and thus manifested a religious bias.

The ERC program was mandated at the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year for all students, and spans from grade one to the end of high school. The course purports to take a “neutral” stance on world religions, giving equal merit to Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and aboriginal spirituality, as well as pseudo-religions such as atheism.
The highly-controversial course has been criticized for its “relativistic” approach to moral issues, teaching even at the earliest grades, for instance, that homosexuality is a normal/healthy expression of sexuality.
Loyola argued that the ERC program was “incompatible with Catholic beliefs of the school and it is not really neutral because it promotes an ideology of relativism”.
Loyola responded by taking the Education Ministry to court and won a resounding victory.
In the 2010 strongly-worded ruling, the Quebec Superior Court ruled that the Ministry’s attempt to force Loyola to teach the strictly secular course violated their freedom of religion under the Quebec Charter of Rights. The Superior Court reversed the Ministry’s decision and allowed the school to teach its substitute and equivalent program.
The judge at that time found it “surprising” that Quebec’s Ministry of Education had assumed what he called “a totalitarian character essentially equivalent to Galileo’s being ordered by the Inquisition to deny the Copernican universe”.
The Ministry appealed that decision and this week the Court of Appeal overturned the lower court.
“The program offered by Loyola seems to target the teaching content similar to that of the Ministry, but the perspective adopted is unquestionably religious,” wrote judge Jacques Fournier, whose decision was supported by judges Allan Hilton and Richard Wagner.
The judges ruled that “in light of the political will to secularize education” Loyola’s Catholic-perspective course cannot be considered “equivalent” to the ERC program, because the ERC course was specifically designed to be religiously “neutral”.
Judge Fournier pointed out that if the ECR course were to harm the faith of students, the “damage” would be “negligible because this is only one course among many.”
The judges noted in their ruling that teachers are not being asked to “refute the teachings of the Catholic religion, but to refrain from expressing their opinion or belief.”
Andries noted that the judges do not explain in their ruling why the “new ‘secular’ ERC program is a more effective way to learn for students than the old proven Catholic approach of Loyola”.
“Ultimately, this judgement strongly reinforces the discretion of the Ministry of Education to decide what is an equivalent program. This raises the bar for private schools who oppose the ideology or the pedagogy set out in the curriculum by the Ministry.”
Andries scored it, “State: 1—Parents and private schools: 0.”
Douglas Farrow, a McGill University professor, who testified at Loyola’s original case, told LifeSiteNews that “there is currently in Canada no more important case respecting religious liberty than this one.” Farrow noted that Loyola is considering an appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada

The reason for the perfection series...........

On the Feast of the Immaculata, from the Collect today: "grant we beseech Thee, that through her intercession, we may become cleansed from sin and come with pure hearts to Thee."

More from Bloy on Sanctity or Perfection........

We are created that we may become saints. 

If anything is written, this surely is. Sanctity is so required of us, it is so inherent in human nature, that God presumes its existence, so to speak, in each of us, by means of the sacraments of His Church, that is, by means of mystical signs invisibly making operative in souls the beginning of Glory. Sacramentum nihil aliud nisi rem sacram, abditam atque occultam significat. (A Sacrament is nothing other than a sacred, withdrawn and mysterious thing.) This sacred and mysterious thing thus alluded to by the Council of Trent has the effect of uniting souls to God. The most transcendent theology contains nothing stronger than this affirmation.

There are even three sacraments that imprint a character, and whose mark cannot be effaced. Thus we are virtually saints, pillars of eternal Glory. A Christian may disown his baptism, debar the Holy Spirit from his thought, and, if he is a spoiled priest, reject the succession of the Apostles conferred upon him by holy orders; in short, he may damn himself forever; nothing will be able to disunite him, to separate him from God, and what an unfathomable mystery of terror is this persistence of the sacred Sign even into the infinite pangs of perdition. Hence it must be said that hell is peopled with fearsome saints become the companions of the hideous angels!

However evil such saints or angels may be, they have God in them. Otherwise they would not be able to subsist, even in the state of nothingness, since nothingness, also inconceivable without God, is the eternal reservoir of Creation.

All that God has made is sacred after a fashion which only He could explain.Water is holy, stones are holy, plants and animals are holy, fire is the devouring likeness of His Holy Spirit. His entire work is holy. Man alone, who is more holy than other creatures, will have none of sanctity.e considers it ridiculous and even insulting to his dignity. Such is, in the twentieth century of the Redemption, the visible and perceptible result of the unfaithfulness of so many shepherds, of the monstrous blindness brought about by those who should have been the light of the world, and who extinguished all light.

It is certain indeed that never, at no age of the world’s history, were men as far from God, as contemptuous of the Sanctity which He demands, and yet never has the necessity for being saints been so manifest. In these apocalyptic days it truly seems as though only a film of nothingness separates us from the eternal gulfs.

“Not all men are called to saintliness,” says a Satanic cant phrase. To what then are you called, O wretch? and above all in our day and age? The Master said you must be perfect. He said it in an imperative, absolute way, giving to be understood that there is no alternative, and those whose duty it is to teach His word, by themselves presenting an example of perfection, ceaselessly assert that it is not necessary, that a reasonably trifling average of love is more than enough for salvation, and that the desire for the supernatural way of life is rash, when it is not culpable presumption.
Aliquam partem, “a certain portion,” they argue, debasing an expression in the Liturgy, a tiny little corner in Paradise, that is what we need. To this base retreat, to this formal denial of the divine Promise, they give a color of humility, cunningly omitting the heroic sequel to the two liturgical words, in which is specified that the “portion” in case is nothing less than “the company of the Apostles and the Martyrs.”

But cowardly minds and mediocre hearts can avail nothing against the Word of God, and the Estote perfecti (Be ye perfect) of the Sermon on the Mount continues to weigh upon us infinitely more than all the globes in the firmament.

Sanctity has always been required of us. In older days, it was possible to believe that sanctity was demanded from afar, like a debt due on a vague date, which might possibly lapse. Today sanctity is laid on our doorstep by a wild-eyed, blood-smeared messenger. Behind him, a few steps behind him, are panic, fire, pillage, torture, despair, the most frightful death ..

And we have not even a moment in which to choose!

I began 2012 writing about the pursuit of love and perfection without any idea this would lead to almost the entire them of this blog.

The journey continues, moving from the specific to the general and back to the specific.

Be a saint, through love, wherever you may be.

From Leon Bloy, the apostle of suffering

Jacques Maritain was an agnostic and his lovely bride, Raissa, was Jewish. They made a suicide pact that if they did not find truth in one year, they would die together. Then, they discovered Leon Bloy. He converted them and, as we say, the rest is history.

I discovered Bloy through my philosophical studies of Maritain. Bloy's books were in the library at Notre Dame, which houses the famous Jacques Maritain Center. I also had for thirty years the diary of Raissa, which I would like to find again. I gave it to a tutor of my son's. Raissa is definetly a mystic. 

Bloy is hard to read if one is inclined to be rational. His message is ageless and truthful, but he is bombastic and emotional. Here is a sample, on suffering.

Suffering! Here then is the key word! Here the solution for every human life on earth! the springboard for every superiority, the sieve for every merit, the infallible criterion for every moral beauty! People absolutely refuse to understand that suffering is needful. Those who say that suffering is useful understand nothing about the matter. Usefulness always supposes something adjectival and contingent, and Suffering is necessary. It is the backbone, the very essence of moral life.

Love is recognized by this sign, and when this sign is lacking, love is but a prostitution of strength or of beauty. I say that someone loves me when that someone consents to suffer through or for me.

Well, we are — what, Lord God? — yes, we are the MEMBERS of Jesus Christ! His very members! Our unutterable wretchedness comes from our continually taking for figures or inanimate symbols the clearest and most living assertions of the Scriptures. We believe, but not substantially. Ah! the words of the Holy Ghost should enter and flow through our souls as did molten lead in the mouth of a parricide or a blasphemer. We do not understand that we are the members of the Man of Sorrows, of the Man who is supreme Joy, Love, Truth, Beauty, Light and Life solely because

He is the Lover eternally stricken with the supreme Suffering, the Pilgrim of the last torment, who, to endure it, rushed up through infinity, from the far deep of eternity, and on whose head have been heaped in an appallingly tragic unity of time, place and person, all the elements of torture, collected from every human act performed during each second, over the whole surface of the earth, for the length of sixty centuries! 

from Pilgrim of the Absolute by the Maritains. 

Just in case you have not noticed...England has a genius at cricket

Alastair Cook is most likely the greatest cricketer England has seen for a long time.  If he continues in this way, he may end up being England's greatest cricketer ever.

Text is from Wiki....
He reached the 7,000 run mark on 6 December 2012 in the third test match against India, at Eden Gardens, Calcutta, overtaking Sachin Tendulkar as the youngest player of all time to have made 7,000 runs. He is also the only Englishman to score seven Test centuries before his 23rd birthday.[1] He has scored the most test centuries for England, 23, and is the first captain to score a century in each of his first five Tests in charge.[2]

for reflection