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Monday 18 February 2013


There are a lot of Europeans with insomnia these days. I can tell by my blog stats.

Go to sleep, dear readers. Nothing is THAT important.

Stop and say a prayer for all seminarians, please

Pray for those who are in the seminary, that they may persevere and be encouraged by grace.

Bishop of Birmingham and some sems

Statement of an SSPX priest, see article below

.... "the resignation of Benedict XVI has suspended everything,” summarizes Celier, “we will not move until we know the name of his successor."

More from Rorate on the SSPX this evening.....


The vast majority rallied behind the superior general. "In the past I considered leaving the Fraternity,” recounts Fr. K, “but more for interpersonal difficulties than for doctrinal reasons. However, today I have no doubt, given the approach adopted in discussions with Rome; I have absolute confidence in Bishop Fellay.”

Article on the priests...very important.

Even those who present themselves as the most "agreement-oriented" do not intend to leave the Fraternity on their own. Thus, Father B. in the South regrets that it is "increasingly difficult to discuss this subject with (his) colleagues because there is a distinct hardening, they have turned in recent months."  However, he says he does not want to lose the "spirit proper to our own congregation.” “Our strength is precisely this spirit, this community life that sustains us.” […]

The General Chapter of the summer seems to have even tightened the links between the Lefebvrists. "Communication within the Brotherhood has not been easy in the past,” continues Fr. B. “but last summer Bishop Fellay acknowledged that he should keep us better informed about the discussions with Rome."


“Since then, the climate of confidence has grown between us." Join an Ordinariate? Few would see that as a resolution because on the doctrinal level they have not changed one iota: "We are always open to proposals from the Holy See, but do not force us to accept Vatican II! For forty years we've been saying that!” exclaims Father Jean-Yves Cottard Tours. "The Council has promulgated a text contrary to the Catholic faith –that concerning religious liberty. We cannot in good conscience accept this text … "

There is more.

Cool from Vatican Insider II

Great Comments from Father Lombardi

The Last Acceptable Prejudice

Can you can imagine substituting the word Islam for 

Catholic in this article?

Government urged to ensure Royal children are not 

raised as Catholics

Former adviser to the Queen calls for reassurance from the Vatican that British Royal heirs can be raised Anglican ahead of reforms to the anti-Catholic Act of Settlement
A former adviser to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has urged the British Government to ensure children of the Royal family can never be raised Catholic.
Lord Luce , the former Lord Chamberlain of the Queen’s Household, was speaking in a House of Lords debate last week about proposed changes to the anti-Catholic Act of Settlement.
Under the Government’s plans, a first-born daughter of the Duke of Cambridge would become Queen, even if she had a younger brother, while Catholics would no longer be prevented from marrying heirs to the throne.
However, Lord Luce urged ministers to hold talks with the Vatican to ensure Catholics were still prohibited from ascending to the throne.
“For children to retain their place in the line of succession, they must be brought up within the Anglican Faith,” he told the Lords. “I ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they would consider exploring with the Roman Catholic Church, but perhaps particularly with the Archbishop of Westminster, whether it will clarify further its attitude.”

More on the Letter to the SSPX

Will the Pope's resignation speed things along? It's hard to tell. Conditions as favourable as the current ones and a Pope as willing to reach an agreement as Benedict XVI will certainly be hard to come by. If the SSPX rejects the Holy See's proposals, the new Pope will have to decide on what to do next

I think I need to do a serious fast this week and invite all my readers to do the same.

Please consider an extra penance this week.

Catholics cannot be registrars in Great Britain and be really Catholic

WOW, a deadline; from Rorate Caeli

From the interview granted by Father Claude Barthe to French conservative daily Présent - reproduced in Italian by Messa in latino (the French original text is not available online):
[Présent:] -What will happen to the discussions and to the future of the FSSPX [SSPX: Society of Saint Pius X]?

[Fr. Claude Barthe:] As unbelievable as it may seem, nothing is changed in the immediate future. I will make myself clear.

Everybody now knows that the Ecclesia Dei Commission sent a letter to Bishop Fellay [Superior General of the Society] on January 8, and that an answer is expected from him by February 22, the day of the feast of the Chair of Saint Peter. The erection of the Prelature of Saint Pius X could be dated from this day, February 22. This would represent the true conclusion of the pontificate of Benedict XVI: the rehabilitation of Abp. Lefebvre. Can you imagine what thunderous roar [this would be] and even, indirectly, what weight this would have in the orienation of the events of March?

This startling response by Fr. Barthe is also mentioned today by Vaticanist Andrea Tornielli. Source: Présent, Feb. 16, 2013.

Pope Benedict XVI, in his Ash Wednesday homily, reminded the faithful of the great Lenten text of Saint Paul (yesterday's Epistle in the Traditional Mass):

"Well, now is the favourable time, this is the day of salvation" (2 Cor 6:2). The words of the Apostle Paul to the Christians of Corinth resonate for us with an urgency that does not permit absences or inertia. The term "now", repeated several times, says that this moment cannot be let go, it is offered to us as a unique opportunity that will not be repeated. And the Apostle's gaze focuses on sharing with which Christ chose to characterize his life, taking on everything human to the point of taking on all of man’s sins.


I missed these last year, but I am saying a little prayer that I can see them before the end of the month.

Being at Fountains and seeing the snowdrops would be close to being in heaven for me!

Important Reminder from Vatican Insider on the Reality of the Pope and the Future of the Church

HOORAY! Finally, real commentary on the Pope's resignation and from the Pope himself....

A week after Benedict XVI's shock announcement, an important statement he once made comes to light

A restructured Church with far fewer members that is forced to let go of many places of worship it worked so hard to build over the centuries. A minority Catholic Church with little influence over political decisions, that is socially irrelevant, left humiliated and forced to “start over.”

But a Church that will find itself again and be reborn a “simpler and more spiritual” entity thanks to this “enormous confusion.” This was the prophesy made 40 years ago on the future of Christianity by a young Bavarian theologian, Joseph Ratzinger. Digging it out again today perhaps provides us with another key to understanding Benedict XVI's decision to resign, because it traces his gesture back through the course of his interpretation of history.
His prophesy concluded a series of radio preachings which the then professor of theology gave in 1969 at what was a decisive moment in his life and the life of the Church. These were the turbulent years of the student revolts and the landing on the moon but also of the disputes over the Second Vatican Council which had only recently come to a close. Ratzinger, who was one of the Council's protagonists, had left the riotous university of Tübingen seeking refuge in the calmer city of Regensburg.

Read his books and read his talks...

He found himself isolated as a theologian, having split with liberals Küng, Schillebeeckx and Rahner over their interpretations of the Council. It was in this period that he concolidated new friendships with theologians Hans Urs von Balthasar and Henri de Lubac, with whom he founded Catholic theological journal, Communio. Communio soon became a training ground for young “Ratzingerian” priests who are now cardinals and all seen as potential successors to Benedict XVI: Angelo Scola, Christoph Schönborn and Marc Ouellet.

In five little known radio speeches made in 1969 and published again a while ago by Ignatius Press in the volume“Faith and the Future”, the future Pope gave his vision of the future of man and the Church. His last teaching, which he read out on “Hessian Rundfunk” radio on Christmas day, had a distinctly prophetic tone.

 Some of us knew this...............

Ratzinger said he was convinced the Church was going through an era similar to the Enlightenment and the French Revolution. “We are at a huge turning point – he explained – in the evolution of mankind. This moment makes the move from Medieval to modern times seem insignificant.” Professor Ratzinger compared the current era to that of Pope Pius VI who was abducted by troops of the French Republic and died in prison in 1799. The Church was fighting against a force which intended to annihilate it definitively, confiscating its property and dissolving religious orders.

Today's Church could be faced with a similar situation, undermined, according to Ratzinger, by the temptation to reduce priests to “social workers” and it and all its work reduced to a mere political presence. “From today's crisis, will emerge a Church that has lost a great deal,” he affirmed.

It will become small and will have to start pretty much all over again. It will no longer have use of the structures it built in its years of prosperity. The reduction in the number of faithful will lead to it losing an important part of its social privileges.” It will start off with small groups and movements and a minority that will make faith central to experience again. “It will be a more spiritual Church, and will not claim a political mandate flirting with the Right one minute and the Left the next. It will be poor and will become the Church of the destitute.” 
The process outlined by Ratzinger was a “long” one “but when all the suffering is past, a great power will emerge from a more spiritual and simple Church,” at which point humans will realise that they live in a world of “indescribable solitude” and having lost sight of God “they will perceive the horror of their poverty.”

Some of us have been teaching his view for years....I have had arguments with the Church Triumphant crowds....

Then and only then, Ratzinger concluded, will they see “that small flock of faithful as something completely new: they will see it as a source of hope for themselves, the answer they had always secretly been searching for.

From a Tweeple-Person

I wanted to put a twitter-bird on my blog, as I am a member of the Tweeple clan, but I have had to change my twitter password FOUR, update, FIVE times because of security issues in one week.

No bird will rest here--maybe it is a European problem.

I am still on twitter, but will not put a link on my blog until things settle down (?)

DoC Part 35--Did Christ say feed my goats?

It is interesting that the Gospel of the Mass I attended today had the reading of the sheep and the goats being separated at the end of time, in the Final Judgement. Here is what Anselm has to say in two parts.

S. Apollonare Nuov, Ravenna
There is at least one famous priest who should meditate on these writings of the Doctor of the Church, instead of following von Balthasar. There are footnotes marked for you to go to the original site on line for these texts.

Again, from the Devotions of St. Anselm, His Meditations XIII

Galla Placidia, Ravenna
A Meditation on the Day of Judgment, wherein the Goats shall be set on the Left Hand.
BUT who can say anything of that terrible sentence of the Last Judgment, whereby the sheep shall be set on the right hand and the goats on the left? How great shall be the trembling when the powers of the heavens shall be shaken?122 How great the confusion, the lamentation, the crying of those that howl, when they that neglect to do good shall be met by that terrible word, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.123 Verily that day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm.124 Verily bitter is the voice of the day of the Lord; the mighty man shall be afflicted therein.125 For they that in the pride of their hearts despise the will of God, boast themselves now in the following of their own wills; but then shall they be cast into everlasting fire which shall not be quenched for ever, and the worm that dieth not shall feed upon them,126 and the smoke of their torment shall ascend up for ever and ever.127
And, a pastor reminded me that Christ never said "Feed my goats." Why?


A Meditation on the Joy which shall be where the Sheep shall be set on the Right Hand.
BUT while these are in woe, and for distress of spirit are uttering the lamentable groanings of their hearts, what thinkest thou will be the joy and exultation of those blessed ones, who shall be set at the right hand of God and hear that most blissful voice which shall say unto them, Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.128 Then verily shall the voice of joy and health abide in the dwellings of the righteous.129 Then shall the Lord lift up the head of the meek, who now refuse not to be counted vile and outcast for His sake. He shall heal the broken hearted, and console with everlasting joy them that weep for longing after Him in this earthly pilgrimage. Then shall be manifested their unspeakable reward, who for love of their Creator rejoice in the renunciation of their own wills. In that day shall a heavenly crown be set upon the heads of them that serve Him, and the glory of those that wait patiently for Him shall shine forth with splendour ineffable. There shall love enrich His faithful soldiers with the fellowship of angels, and purity of heart shall bless  Creator.130 Then shall that song be sung by all them that love Him with the blessed vision of their Creator....Then shall that song be song by all the elect: Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house; they will be alway praising Thee.131 In which song of praise may He vouchsafe to make us partakers who with the Father and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth God, world without end. Amen.

The Tomb of St. Anselm in Canterbury Cathedral from the Catholics of Aosta

No McCafe Today

I forgot it was midterm break for schools this week. Will return later today with more timely Anselm, who has a commentary on today's Gospel. Synchronicity....

Momento Mori and Perfection: Part 34 of the DoC series-Anselm

Part of the way to perfection, especially in the purgative state, involves thinking of one's death and judgement. This is a particularly salutory exercise during Lent, and therefore, on this first Monday in Lent, I refer to Anselm concentrating on the way to perfection by contemplating on our day of judgement. All the photos are from St. John's Co-Cathedral in Malta, which I consider one of the most beautiful churches in the world. Thanks to wikimedia for some of the small ones.

Chapter XII in Devotions of St. Anselm

Of the Soul after her Separation from the Body.

O GOOD God, what is it that I behold? Lo, there cometh fear upon fear, sorrow upon sorrow. After she is separated from the body, the soul shall be beset by a multitude of evil spirits, who shall hasten to meet her and shall magnify their accusations against her. And inquisition shall be made concerning all things whereof they accuse her, even to the least of the negligences that she hath committed. There shall come the prince of this world with his companions, raging with fury, cunning in deceit, skilful in lying, malignant in accusing, bringing forth against the soul all that he can of the evils that she hath done, and devising falsely many beside that she hath not done. 

O terrible hour, O severe judgment! On the one hand will be a Judge most strict in judgment; on the other adversaries most wanton in accusing. The soul shall stand alone with none to comfort her, except she be defended by the consciousness of good works. But in that great severity of judgment, wherein all things shall be laid open, who shall boast that his heart is clean? If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Then shall idle gladness depart, the pomp of place shall be put to flight, the pursuit of worldly greatness shall be proved deceitful.
Blessed is the soul, which in that judgment a good conscience defendeth, and the remembrance of a holy life protecteth; which, while she was yet in the flesh, was often cleansed by the water of repentance, adorned with earnestness of confession, enlightened by meditation on God’s holy law; which humility made gentle, and patience quiet, and obedience free from seeking her own will, and charity fervent in the performance of every virtue. Such a soul shall not fear that dreadful hour, and shall not be ashamed when she speaketh with her enemies in the gate. For she will have fellowship with them, of whom the Scripture saith: When He hath given His beloved sleep, behold the inheritance of the Lord.

Chapter XIII in Devotions of St. Anselm

            A Meditation on the Day of Judgment, wherein the Goats shall be set on the Left Hand.

BUT who can say anything of that terrible sentence of the Last Judgment, whereby the sheep shall be set on the right hand and the goats on the left? How great shall be the trembling when the powers of the heavens shall be shaken?  How great the confusion, the lamentation, the crying of those that howl, when they that neglect to do good shall be met by that terrible word, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.  Verily that day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm.  Verily bitter is the voice of the day of the Lord; the mighty man shall be afflicted therein.  For they that in the pride of their hearts despise the will of God, boast themselves now in the following of their own wills; but then shall they be cast into everlasting fire which shall not be quenched for ever, and the worm that dieth not shall feed upon them, and the smoke of their torment shall ascend up for ever and ever.

The Benedictine Doctors of the Church; Part 33 Anselm

Of course, one of our ladies who is one of the newest Doctors of the Church and a Benedictine, Hildegard, I covered posts ago. The great Benedictine Doctors include SS. Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, Bede the Venerable, Peter Damian, Gregory the Great, and the reformer of the Benedictine Order, Bernard of Clairvaux.

So, although the Franciscans claim they have the most, I count more Benedictines. However, you all might be surprised as to who is a Doctor of the Church and who is not. Remember, they have had to been great writers and/or preachers as well as holy. (Also, please remember that their writings are not infallible. Some people think the writings of the mystics are infallible. Nope. Only the Pope's writings from the Chair of Peter and Canons from the Councils, as approved by the Pope, are infallible.)

Benedictines 6, Franciscans 4 (sounds like an American Catholic high-school football score.)
Seriously, I shall be spending most of the week, if not longer, on these illustrious men.

Because I am in England at this time, I shall start with the two great Doctors, Anselm and Bede. I have not paid any attention to chronology, so it does not matter this week, either.

Before I begin, I want to state that the Doctors of Church are a gift to the Church and to us individually.

We cannot afford to ignore these gifts to the Church.

So, as a summary, the Doctors covered so far have been Hildegard, Therese, Teresa, Catherine, John of Avila, Albert, Aquinas, Bonaventure, Anthony of Padua, Lawrence of Brindisi, and Francis de Sales. Please follow the tags at the bottom for the entire series.

For Anselm, (1033-1109) I am not going to get into the argument about God as "maximal perfection". although that might help some people follow his thinking about God. I have actually taught the Proslogion and Monologion in the past and do not want to deal with those texts on this blog.

What is important in his works are those sermons and devotions which will help us in our journey towards perfection.

This section uses much of the same language of John of the Cross and Bonaventure, regarding the Bridegroom, Who is Christ.

VI from The Devotions of St. Anselm

That we are one in Christ, and one Christ with Christ Himself.
CONSIDER also more yet more deeply in how close an union thou art joined with Him. Hear what the Lord Himself prayeth to the Father for them that are His: I will, saith He, that as Thou and I are one, so they also may be one in Us. I am (that is) Thy Son by nature; I pray that they may be Thy sons and My brethren by grace. How great a dignity is it for a Christian man, so to grow in Christ that he himself may be called in a sense Christ.

Anselm has an interesting take on this imagery, making Christ both the Bride and the Bridegroom, that is , that the Body of Christ, the Church is the Bride. This is a combination of other mystical and Biblical images

This also that faithful steward of God’s house hold the Church perceived when he said: All we that are Christians in Christ are one Christ. Nor should we wonder thereat, when we consider that He is the head and we His body; He the bridegroom and He also the bride; in Himself the bridegroom, but the bride in the holy souls whom He hath bound to Himself in the bonds of an everlasting love. As upon a bridegroom, saith He, hath He set a crown upon Me, and as a bride hath He adorned me with ornaments. 
Here, then, O my soul, here do thou consider His benefits towards thee, be thou inflamed with the love of Him, let the fire that is in thee break out into longing after the blessedness of beholding Him. 
And here, Anselm reflects the poetry of Bernard of Clairvaux.
Cry out boldly in the words of the faithful bride, Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth. Let all delight which is not in Him depart from my mind, let no pleasure, no consolation of this present life comfort me, while His blessed presence is denied to me. Let Him embrace me with the arms of His love, let Him kiss me with the heavenly sweetness of His mouth, let Him speak to me with that ineffable eloquence wherewith He revealeth His secrets to the Angels. 

May the Bridegroom and the Bride enjoy such mutual interchange of discourse, that I may open my whole heart to Him and He reveal to me the secrets of His sweetness. Thus, O my soul, refreshed by these and such like meditations and full of the passion of a holy longing, do thou strive to follow Thy Bridegroom and say unto Him, Draw me after Thee; we will run after the odour of Thine ointments.

The person must run after Christ is this pursuit of holiness.
Speak to Him and speak as a loyal spouse not with the sound of words that passeth away but with a longing of heart that fainteth not; so speak that thou mayest be heard, so desire to be drawn by Him that thou mayest follow. Say therefore to thy Redeemer and Saviour, Draw me after Thee. Let not the sweetness of this world but let thy sweetness of Thy most blessed love draw me.
I know this is hard for some people, but the pursuit of God is like a love relationship-one approaches the lover and he approaches the beloved in a back and forth giving and receiving until there is completion. This relationship becomes more and more intimate in the Unitive State.

Draw me, for Thou hast drawn me heretofore; hold me fast, for Thou hast laid hold upon me.Thou hast drawn me to Thee by redeeming me; draw me by saving me. Thou hast drawn me by pitying me; draw me by blessing me. Thou hast laid hold on me by appearing among men, made man for us; hold me fast as Thou sittest on Thy throne in heaven, exalted above the Angels.

How wonderful is it that it is the King of the Universe that is the Bridegroom.
God is also King as well as Love, in the language of the Song of Songs. Anselm is right in the mystical tradition of the great Bernard of Clairvaux. This overlapping of language is not merely a cultural style, but the reality of the heart's seeking after God.

That is Thy word, that is Thy promise. Thou hast promised, saying: And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me. Draw therefore now in Thy mighty exaltation him whom Thou didst draw to Thee in Thy merciful humiliation. Thou hast gone up on high; let me believe it: Thou reignest over all things; let me acknowledge it. Do I not acknowledge that Thou reignest? Surely I acknowledge it, and give Thee thanks. But do Thou grant that I may acknowledge with the acknowledgement of a perfect love that which I acknowledge by a devout faith concerning Thee. Bind the desires of my heart to Thee with the indissoluble bonds of love, since the first-fruits of my spirit are already with Thee. Vouchsafe that we, whom Thy love in redeeming us did knit to Thee, may have fellowship with Thee in the unity of the same love. For Thou hast loved me, Thou didst give Thyself for me; may therefore my heart and mind be with Thee continually in heaven, and Thy protection with me continually on earth. 
Help him when he burneth with longing after Thy love, to whom Thou didst show love when he despised it. Give to him when he asketh to whom Thou givest Thyself when he knew Thee not. Receive him when he returneth to Thee, O Thou who didst call him back to Thee when he fled from Thee. I will love Thee that I may be loved of Thee; nay rather, because I am loved of Thee, I will love Thee more and more that I may be loved the more. May my thoughts be knit to Thee, may my heart be wholly made one with Thee, where our nature, which Thou hast in mercy taken upon Thyself, reigneth with Thee in bliss.  
Again, these passages reveal the loving, warm, and holy heart and mind of Anselm. I hope some of  you are surprised at the depth of this holy man's love for Christ.
Grant that I may cleave to Thee without parting, worship Thee without wearying, serve Thee without failing, faithfully seek Thee, happily find Thee, for ever possess Thee.
Addressing God in these words, O my soul, do thou kindle thyself, do thou burn, do thou break forth into flames, and strive to become wholly on fire with longing after Him.

To be continued..............