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Monday 4 February 2013

Please use the donate button

A certain sem needs a winter coat, shoes, socks, travel money, etc. He needs 200 pounds immediately for various needs, not extras.

Please think and pray and be generous.The British do not tithe. Thanks to those who helped at Christmas. The entire amount was about 300 pounds. Sems need to support themselves over the holidays, and they are not allowed outside work, of course. Now, all their work is for the Church. Gratis.

Thank you for considering helping and doing so.

Check this out from Southern Orders

Many important posts today

Many important posts today. Scroll down and take time to read all.

Pax vobiscum

Wow, Richard Third's Remains Confirmed by DNA and Sign Petition

Watch the video

Sign the petition to have his remains buried in a Catholic not Anglican church

Umm, does this bother anyone but me?

Defense of Marriage Rosary Tomorrow


GMT 12:00 noon

A call from Maria Kolbe to say the rosary with her group for the protection of marriage in Great Britain (and America) halting the Parliament Bill for same-sex marriage.

Do It!


Letters: one in the Worcester Telegram and one to the Pope-two different authors.

"Catholic speakers: Conference disinvites Islam expert," from the Worcester Telegram, February 3 (thanks to A.):
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester’s decision to disinvite Robert Spencer as a speaker at the annual Catholic Men’s Conference on March 16 calls to mind the controversy a year ago over Anna Maria College’s decision to withdraw an invitation to Victoria Reggie Kennedy to speak at its commencement.
In the earlier case, the decision to withdraw the invitation was left to Anna Maria officials after the diocese informed them that Bishop Robert J. McManus could not and would not attend an event if Ms. Kennedy was the speaker. In this latest case, Bishop McManus himself pulled the invitation that had been issued to Mr. Spencer.
Monsignor Thomas Sullivan, lead organizer of the men’s conference, told the Telegram & Gazette that some groups, including members of the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester, perceive Mr. Spencer as anti-Islamic. While the diocese does not share that view, he said, the invitation was withdrawn to avoid “a media outcry.”
While the details differ, both cases are very much about the diocese exercising its right to shape the form and message of distinctively Catholic events.
Anna Maria is, after all, a Catholic school, and while Catholic institutions of higher education are as devoted to open inquiry as any other school, they have an additional obligation: To bear Catholic values and teachings in mind when considering speakers and the composition of curriculum and events.
On balance, we believe Anna Maria did exactly the right thing in yielding to the diocese last spring and then inviting Ms. Kennedy to be the keynote speaker at its symposium “Faith and the Public Square” last fall.
As for Mr. Spencer, we suspect the popular men’s conference might see even higher attendance if he were a participant, but the diocese is obviously and entirely within its rights to determine the lineup of speakers at its own conference.
But whether the diocese avoids an outcry — in the media or among the public — remains to be seen.
Mr. Spencer is widely known and read. He has authored a dozen books, conducted seminars on Islam and jihad for the U.S. military and intelligence communities, and been a frequent guest and debate participant in a broad variety of U.S. media. Some will disagree with his conclusions, but it is difficult to argue that his is an uninformed or inconsequential voice in the public square.
Late last week, Mr. Spencer told readers of his blog that he still intends to come to Worcester, and will set up outside the conference if necessary in order to give attendees the opportunity to hear what he has to say.
Whether that happens or not, Catholics and Muslims — in the Worcester area or elsewhere — have no reason to fear what Mr. Spencer has to say. His is an important voice in the ongoing debate over the nature of Islam and its relations to other faith traditions, and one that will continue to be heard.

His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI
As an Italian citizen and a Catholic by marriage, I am writing to your Holiness on behalf of my human rights organization, Voice of the Copts. Our mission is to raise awareness in the West about the plight of the Egyptian Christians and their struggle against Islamic supremacy. Born into a Coptic family in Cairo, Arabic was my native language while growing up. Today I find these assets valuable in interpreting and explaining current events as they pertain to the hidden realities of Islam and its impact on the free world.
For many years I have found various doors opened to our organization, and many willing to listen to the grim facts now facing democratic nations dealing with an encroaching Islam. Only the grace of God has kept us in our work as we have put our personal finances to good use in fulfilling our goals.
Naturally, I thought the Christian community around the world and especially denominations in the United States would embrace my message and join with us in this very serious endeavor. I found the opposite to be true. Most churches, including the Coptic Orthodox and the Catholic Church, are, if not indifferent, uninterested in offering us opportunities to speak out on the dangers of what lies behind the persecution of Christians and Jews even as we have asked for no special treatment and no financial contributions.
To put it bluntly, whenever we met with Catholic bishops and priests in America to tell the story of Copts, our request for action was largely ignored. I was utterly mystified by the consistency of this response. I found it inexplicable – until now.
My answer arrived just a few days ago with an incident involving Catholic Bishop McManus of Worcester, Massachusetts who reversed his decision to have a friend of mine, Robert Spencer, -- a fellow activist, author and expert on Islam -- speak at their men’s conference on March 16. The Bishop caved in to the false charges of an Islamic supremacist group that viciously attacked Mr. Spencer with names such as arch-Islamophobe and hatemonger claiming he had no authority to speak about Islam.
The Catholic diocese complied with these audacious demands and canceled the engagement without interest in pursuing Mr. Spencer’s point-of-view or the issue of free speech. Such submission through appeasement weakens the church.
I have always believed that my lack of progress toward activating the church with my message of the Coptic struggle was never solely due to my personal failing. The rescinding of Mr. Spencer’s invitation by the Bishop in reaction to pressure by Muslim activist, Abdul Cader Asmal, reaffirms my true belief that the real failure resides in the local church -- its unwillingness to recognize the important role it could play in standing up for the very freedoms that afford religious practice.
Muslims in Egypt and other Islamic-majority countries attack Christians and their churches, oppressing them by serial acts of violence perpetrated in the name of Allah and Islam just because of their Christian faith. Church leaders in free nations must speak out in defense of their brothers and sisters in Christ who suffer persecution and are weakened by strong waves of Islamic attacks, powerless to help themselves under brutal regimes. In speaking out, we exercise the teachings of our Lord’s words.
We do not advocate holy war. Our adversaries do that. We only ask that church leaders who are bound up in fear, intimidation and lies as a result of false propaganda and interreligious dialogue be given license to think critically, assess the origins of persecution forces around the world and judge accurately the reasons for Christian victimization. This license can come only from the official heads of church denominations in statements contradicting the disinformation campaign forced upon Christians and Jews in the West.
To make certain that each and every believer becomes aware, properly informed, and conscious of the threat we face, the church must first create a new openness and interest in learning the truth from correct and trustworthy sources -- without expurgation, mitigation, or political correctness. Every single Christian must comprehend the worldview held by the perpetrators of these unspeakable crimes against Christians and Jews around the world -- before it is too late.
His Holiness, as we are certain of your wisdom and concern for our beloved church, Voice of the Copts kindly requests the Holy See to conduct an immediate investigation into the Diocese of Worcester to determine the reasons behind the Bishop’s behavior. Please attend also to other dioceses around the world likewise misled in their responses when confronting similar dilemmas -- acting out contemporary portrayals of Judas who betrayed Christ for thirty pieces of silver.
Dott. Architetto Ashraf Ramelah,

We have "novused" sex-Theology of the Body, Two

I have written here on this blog and elsewhere that I think there is a connection to liturgical abuses and perverse sex. I think there is a connection between modesty and sex, privacy and sex, reverence and sex and humility and sex.

The modern world, which is so besotted with sex, continually misses the point and so does Theology of the Body.

Sex is mysterious and sacred. We do not need to talk about details. We learn in marriage and in the context of love what is appropriate. We sense what is not by being humans and through love.

Discussions with details are damaging.

I do not think seminarians need sex education classes. I do not think anyone does. Such things must be learned in the context ONLY of the family and from loving,parents.

We are too open and miss the mysteries of love in our details analysis of marriage and sex.

I am all against the trend in England to teach Theology of the Body as a normal part of catechesis. I know two groups which are pushing this and making students study this as if it were infallible teaching, which it is not.

We have become coarse as Catholics.

We have lost sensitivity to sacred things.

We have "novused" sex. 

ToB is not Catholic in my mind and the article by Alice von Hildebrand draws out my suspicions of ToB.

I am not prudish, but I am classy. 

Just as we have lost the reverence in the Mass for the Eucharist, so we have lost reverence for marital sex.

Think like Catholics. Marriage is a sacrament, not merely a vehicle for sex.

We need to stop supporting ToB in our parishes and in the seminaries. Such a pseudo-theology does not lead us to perfection

From Alice von Hildebrand's article listed in the last post.

Noli Me Tangere
Here, I would like to reflect on an incident in the life of the Little Flower, St Therese of Lisieux. When a student grabbed her as she was stepping out of the train, she responded as a proper female should.  She recommended herself to the Holy Virgin, and looked at him so severely that he immediately let her loose (Deposition of her sister Genevieve). Would West ridicule this great saint for being a “prude”? If he did, he would be wrong, for St. Therese’s response was thoroughly Catholic, and the only right one: she was responding with noli me tangere [Don’t touch me]. This attitude has nothing to do with an unhealthy fear of the body, or bodily contact, but a very healthy modesty and self-respect.
This "noli me tangere" is a key expression regarding the mystery of the supernatural. This is why, Dietrich von Hildebrand, who came from a privileged cultural and artistic background, and had been acquainted with holy paintings since his earliest youth, would never have made remarks about the size of the Holy Virgin’s bosom, as West has, repeating with praise an exhortation for Catholics to “rediscover” Mary’s “abundant breasts” (Crisis magazine, March , 2002) To Dietrich’s mind, this would be an act of irreverence. Her breasts were sacred and the response to the sacred is awe and not a critical approach to the size of "the blessed breasts that sucked thee". True religious art has always understood this.

Theology of the Body and Thinking Like Catholics: Part One

Psalm 130: "I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me"

Two bright readers and commentators brought my attention to this article which I highly recommend.

Now, the Theology of the Body proponents and those who less inclined to be so enthusiastic  the latter group which includes priests, seminarians and laity, do not see eye to eye on ToB

I have had misgivings on Christopher West's approach and even some seminarians I have spoken with were highly embarrassed at a presentation he gave and they had to attend several years ago.

Why all the details? Why the emphasis in our over-sexed culture on sex in marriage? I think most of us needed, before marriage, a course on how to love without sex, by the way, owing to illnesses, absences, real-life constraints and so on. If one needs to be taught the beauty of sex, and how sex is part of God's loving plan in a marriage, Houston, we have a problem.

The article I have linked is highly interesting and breaks away from this preoccupation with sex,

Now, one of the problems with the entire conversation revolves around the type of people who are most interested in Theology of the Body and in my limited experience, those are either fallen away Catholics who were promiscuous before re-conversion, or Protestants, who contracepted before becoming Catholics.

It is as if the local Church has felt the need to dumb down the real deal on marriage and sex to meet the demands of a certain group of people who DO NOT YET KNOW HOW TO THINK LIKE CATHOLICS.

What do I mean?

The name of the game in marriage is self-sacrifice NOT gratification of all desires.

The ancient religious perspective of marriage as one way to heaven which admits to varying levels of physical and emotional relationship is much healthier and more realistic than an emphasis on the sexual act.

Married couples have to learn many ways of loving in order to have a successful marriage and things can happen early on in a marriage which interferes with the ordinary sexual activities of a married couple.

The emphasis must be on what I covered in the review of the Pope's encyclical last year--the stages of love, not merely on one expression.


There are two excellent books by both Drs. Von Hildebrand
"The Privilege of Being a Woman" by Dr. Alice VH, and
"In Defense of Purity" by Dr. Deitrich VH. 
[the latter was out of print last I checked and selling for hundreds of dollars on Amazon …I need to find my copy!] 

Saints of February continued...Humbeline

Fontenay, founded by St.  Bernard
The first Cistercian monastery for women was established at Tart in the diocese of Langres (now Dijon) in 1125, by nuns from the abbey of Jully, a dependence of Molesme, where St. Humbeline, sister of St. Bernard, lived and died. St Stephen Harding established Tart as Citeaux's own daughter house and entrusted it to the pastoral care of the abbot of Citeaux. From then on individual monasteries of women as well as whole federations of nuns sought to ally themselves with the Cistercian monks first in France and then in Spain, where the royal monastery of Las Huelgas was founded in 1180. This, the next quotation, and photo from

If you share abundantly in the sufferings of him who died for you, you will also share abundantly in comfort through him, and thus your soul will come to delight in him and refuse to be comforted by anything else. - St Bernard of Clairvaux, Lenten Sermons on Psalm 90, Preface

Non nobis Domine, non nobis, sed nomini tuo da gloriam (Not to us Lord, not to us, but to Your Name give the glory) Motto of the Knight Templar, whose patron is Bernard of Clarivaux.

One of my favourite saints is the sister of St. Bernard of Clarivaux, who died at the fairly young age after establishing twelve houses of nuns under the rule of her brother's order-the Cistercians. She was Bernard's younger and only sister.

What is amazing about here is that not only did she manage to be an abbess of great happiness, love and organization, but that she was married before she became a nun, and asked her husband's permission after five years of marriage to go into the convent.

I think he could see that he was no match for the young member of that great family, so Guy de Marcy gave in to her request and let her go. She and her daughter entered the harsh rule of the renewed Benedictines, where the young woman became holy. Like her mother, also a Blessed, she died young. Blessed Alith died at 40 and Blessed Humbeline was no older than 44  and some chroniclers put her age at late 30s. Her common dates are 1092-1136.

Her sister-in-law Elizabeth also was an abbess before her and together they built up the earliest foundations of women Cistercians. Strong ladies...............

The monastery of Jully where Humbeline was abbess no longer exists.


All the members of St. Bernard of Clairvaux's immediate family are either Blesseds or Saints, including his father and mother. Here they are listed, plus a cousin and in-law.

These are: Blessed Tescelin, Lord of Fontaines, and Blessed Aleth of Montbard, his parents; Blessed Gaudry, his uncle; his brothers, Blesseds Guy, Andrew, Bartholomew, Gerard; cousin Robert, (whose wife, Elizabeth became the abbess who received Humbeline after both husband and wife went into perspective monasteries), Nivard the heir and youngest brother (a great favourite in Spain to this day); and his sister, Humbeline.

What a family! See the book here and others, for more details.

By the way, St. Bernard of Clairvaux is one of the founders and supporters of the Knights Templar, as well as their patron, as noted above. Thanks to wiki for the photo here of the Temple Church in London, from which the entire area of the Middle and Inner Temples gets the names

Blessed Humbeline's Feast Day is February 12th. This is from her liturgy: 

God our Father, You are the hope of everyone
who feels truly widowed and alone. Through
the intercession of Saint Humbeline, May we submit
to you in sincere humility, And so pass through the
good things of this world as not to lose the good
things of the world to come.

Challenge to the Church Militant; Sacrifice a Splendid Isolation

The Church is only as strong as Her weakest member. We are all members. If we are strong, the Church is strong. If we are weak, the Church is weak.

So often I hear criticisms concerning priests, bishops, nuns. The laity create good families or not. From those good families come good vocations.

If seminaries accept weak men, the Church's hierarchy will remain weak, and become weaker. This is still happening in America and in Europe.

The laity can always do something. Pray. Fast. Write. Use the positions each lay person has in the Church to influence the Church for good.

The Holy Spirit directs the Church, but we must cooperate.

If we are disobedient, the Church becomes anaemic.

If we are grieved or disappointed or angry, we must pray.

Great saints flourished in times of weakness and the Church grew stronger.

St. Dominic, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Thomas More, St. Philip Howard, St. Maximilian Kolbe and so on.

Today, many of my friends are discouraged and even grieved with political events and governmental decisions.

Those who have lost the faith seem to be in control. But, the Church can still be strong in the winds of persecution.

The Church will last until Christ comes again. If She remains in your parish, as the True Church, it will be because the laity remain strong.

After the fall of Rome, millions of people witnessed a huge change in culture, civilization, personal comfort.

St. Benedict's own family were from the remnants of the fallen, enormous nation, which had created such great things from which we still benefit.

But, in the face of ruin, Benedict did something new. He went into a cave and prayed about what to do.

He created spiritual shock troops. Rome did not look like what She does today.

Make something new.  Think about what you can make new and how.

This newness must happen now.

Do not give in to discouragement, but pray how you and I can become shock troops.

The Benedictine Rule not only saved and re-created  Europe through prayer, fasting, discipline, reading, writing, making schools and libraries, building churches and even infrastructures of business, but created holy men and women.

Choose to be holy and choose to be a saint.

Surround yourself with good people. Create communities where and when you can. Do not waste time. I have studied the Bruderhof since the 1970s. I was a member of a large lay community at one time. I have stayed for months with Benedictines. I understand how a community withstands the world or does not do so. The laity cannot remain isolated and alone. Take people in. Move. Be prepared to sacrifice an splendid isolation.

The Church is only as strong as Her weakest members. Be strong. Choose to be strong.

Churches will be abandoned. This will shock some. It has happened before.

My son is one of only two seminarians in his year. The priests are horribly overworked now.

Things will change.

The laity must be strong and families must pray for more vocations.

Imagine a world without the sacraments.

Fathers, brothers, sister, mothers, choose to be strong.

Please be the Church Militant and not the Church Queasy. Create communities where you are. Do it now.

Pray and become perfect, cooperating with God's Plan for your life.

St. Agatha, pray for us'Agata_in_Trastevere?file=Agata_in_Trastevere.jpg

Many saints have their feast days this week, but I want to concentrate on St. Agatha. She is a personal patron of mine, as I am a cancer survivor. She helped me through a very hard two years, 2009-2010.

Her church in Rome is Sanctae Agathae in Urbe. There is another church in Trastevere dedicated to her as well. The first church pictured here is that one. I would live in Trastevere, if I could, and go to church in the many lovely ones there.

The one below is build on a site which had a church there in the 4th century. It went over to the Arians, but was re-consecrated by St. Gregory the Great. This church witnessed many renovations and even a period under the Benedictine Order. It is now the church of Cardinal Raymond Burke

The relics of many martyrs are found in this church. In some countries, festivals begin today and go through her feast day, celebrating this brave virgin. Apparently, she was twenty when she was killed. She was made of stern stuff, for sure and loved Christ before all.

St. Agatha was a very popular saint in the Middle Ages. We know her story of torment and indignity before her martydom. In England, there is a church in Yorkshire with 13th century paintings of Christ on the walls. This church is dedicated to St. Agatha.