Recent Posts

Wednesday 6 March 2013

St. Ambrose will return on Friday

So much to do and so little time.........Doctors of the Church series resumes Friday.

Leadership Crisis in the Church Obvious

Well, the one thing the media has done, both Catholic and secular, and that is to highlight the leadership crisis among the Cardinals.

We can strike several off the list of potential Papal material after the past few days and weeks.

Immaturity, indiscretion, pride, gross naivete.

Dolan, gone
O'Malley, gone
Turkson, gone
Odilo Scherer, gone
George, gone
Wuerl, gone
DiNaro, gone

If we ever needed proof that the Church has not produced mature, reflective, sensible, rational, talented men at the top, we only need to look at this list of self-promoting, or anxiety-laden men who need to trust in God, not themselves .

Be quiet, already, and go to your rooms, shut the door and pray.

Reality Therapy for Democrats

Saying the Rosary with the Cardinals NOW

Cardinal Scola is a man of prayer....obvious in the broadcast.

Text of Vespers here.


Philippians 2:12-15

Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)
12 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but much more now in my absence,) with fear and trembling work out your salvation.
13 For it is God who worketh in you, both to will and to accomplish, according to his good will.
14 And do ye all things without murmurings and hesitations;
15 That you may be blameless, and sincere children of God, without reproof, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation; among whom you shine as lights in the world.

Really, I mean, stop acting like kids at your first dance....

from CNS, interesting....

Every cardinal in his place: Internal ranking determines seating chart

Cardinals attend a meeting at the synod hall in the Vatican March 4. Their seating order in the meetings and in the conclave to elect a new pope is determined by a three-tier internal hierarchy. (CNS/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)
By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In their general congregation meetings, in liturgical processions and in the Sistine Chapel, every cardinal has a place and each cardinal knows his place.

The Vatican calls it "precedence," and it has little to do with the importance of the cardinal's day job, the size of his diocese or his age. But it has everything to do with timing.

And more here

Check Out Turtle Bay....

Posted on | March 5, 2013 by Rebecca Oas, Ph.D |
As the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women begins today, two news stories are already disingenuously implying that the  Holy See, the Russian Federation, and Iran are effectively enablers of violence committed against women.  These and several other UN member states oppose the inclusion of language that could be used to support a right to abortion – a topic that is always controversial within the UN system.
After the failure to produce a consensus document in last year’s CSW as well as in 2003, the last time the priority theme was violence against women, there is a great deal of pressure to come to agreement.  While the priority of eliminating violence against women and girls would seem like an uncontroversial topic, the pro-abortion agenda being pushed by countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Norway has made the negotiations on the outcome document more contentious and raises the fear of another stalemate.

More on Catholic Identity

6) Catholics are "Marian".

That is, we understand, we know the place of Mary, the Theotokos, in the Church.
Mary points to Jesus. However, we are not superstitious or Gnostic about private revelations or unapproved apparitions. If we are, we are in danger of separating ourselves from the Church.

7) Catholics are "Roman" Catholics. Now, there are some American journalists who refuse to use this term.
But, to deny the term, is to deny our identity. We are not Orthodox Catholics. Within this Roman identity is the Universal Church, which is one good reason for encouraging the official language of the Church in Liturgy-Latin.

8) Catholics are not relativists. We do not think that reality comes from our own perceptions and interpretations, but that there is a canon of Truth. We are creedal.

9) To have a Catholic identity means to be counter-cultural. My dad told me this when I was 15. He was literally "stoned" by the Lutheran boys when he walked to his Catholic school in the 1930s, walking through the Lutheran neighborhood. He learned to run fast and ignore the rocks and hurts. This is what the Church Militant is all about. Not being afraid of being Catholic in a pagan, or hostile world.

10) To have a Catholic identity means one believes in a hierarchy of Truth. Some things are infallible, and some are not. It also means that we adults have a duty to pass this Faith and the knowledge of this Faith on to the next generation. From today's First Reading: ‘But take care what you do and be on your guard. Do not forget the things your eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your heart all the days of your life; rather, tell them to your children and to your children’s children.’ Deuteronomy 4:9.

11) Catholic identity includes converting the world. We are a missionary Church. We have been commanded by Christ Himself to teach, baptizing all nations in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. No options here.

12) And, there are more, but this is the last one for today--We are also called to community life, to love one another in Christ, to create real communities. This is part of Catholic identity. However, we are not socialists, as shown on this blog so many times-the Church has condemned this over and over again for the past 150 years. Community is not the same as socialism.

13) A Catholic keeps all the Commandments: again, from today's Gospel.
Matthew 5:17-19
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Do not imagine that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have come not to abolish but to complete them. I tell you solemnly, till heaven and earth disappear, not one dot, not one little stroke, shall disappear from the Law until its purpose is achieved. Therefore, the man who infringes even one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be considered the least in the kingdom of heaven; but the man who keeps them and teaches them will be considered great in the kingdom of heaven.’

On Catholic Identity Again

I have written about the need for Catholics to reclaim the essence of Catholic identity before. Here is a summary, as I am aware of the nonsense on line and in conversations, which reveals a Protestant mind-set.

1) Anti-intellectualism is NOT Catholic. We have a long tradition of intellectual discussion, as seen in the perfection series on this blog, which covers only a tiny bit of the vast writings of the Doctors of the Church. The Catholic Church, and especially our Pope Emeritus Benedict, have always stressed the need to be rational and enter into rational discourse. Discussion and learning are part and parcel of a Catholic identity.

Those who are anti-intellectual by choice reveal a lack of a Catholic mind-set. We are not a religion based on experience of Christ alone, but on the long history of Tradition and the Revelation of the Old and New Testaments, which we, as adults, must study.

If you are a person who does not want to study your Faith, go be a low Church Protestant and rely on outward manifestations only. This is not the Catholic way.

2) Catholics are basically sacramental in theology and piety. This means that our lay lives revolve around the reception frequently of Confession and Holy Communion.  Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, obviously, is connected to the love of the Sacrament. If we are not basically sacramental, and this may also include the Liturgy of the Hours, which is connected to the Liturgical Year, then we do not have the mind of a Catholic.

Those who busy themselves with other types of activities may be ignoring the life of the sacraments, which is sanctifying grace. Remember, one cannot get sanctifying grace outside the sacraments, unless God chooses to work in an unusual manner. The sacramental life of the Church was established by God, by Christ, while on earth. Actual grace, yes.

3) Love of the clergy and hierarchy are signs of a Catholic mindset. If one finds one's self not honoring God's priests, bishops, cardinals, and those in the religious life, that may betray a non-Catholic mind set.

4) The pursuit of perfection is a sign of a Catholic identity. Why? One of the results of the Protestant Revolt was the dumbing down of the pursuit of holiness. Lutheran-ism stressed that God merely did not see our sins because of the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, not that these were actually taken away. Confession was abolished as well as the Mass, eliminating the two main ways to perfection-repentance and the Real Presence. Holiness became connected to success in the world, the supposed sign of election.

The interior life suffered for the sake of the pursuit of the exterior life. This is not Catholic thinking.

5) Obedience as a main virtue is the mark of a Catholic identity. A person who constantly questions and challenges the teachings of the Church and does not abide by these, that is, a person living in mortal sin, indicates a false belief in the fundamental option. We are NOT once saved, always saved.

We work out our salvation in fear and trembling.

To be there is more on the Catholic mind-set or way of thinking.

Photo of the Stoves in the Vatican Here

from Vatican Radio Site

On Wednesday there were 18 interventions from different cardinals representing the Church in different parts of the world, for a total of 51 thus far. Due to the large number of people wishing to speak a time frame of 5 minutes was established for each intervention. 
The order of interventions, noted Fr. Lombardi, is not selected according to geographical origins or precedence. The main themes discussed were: the Church in the world, needs of New Evangelization, the Holy See, the different dicasteries of the Roman Curia; relations with local churches and bishops, what’s beginning to emerge, the Vatican spokesman noted "is the profile for the future Pope".
Fr. Lombardi noted the variety of the interventions, from organizational questions pertaining to the Holy See to local issues of pastoral action. He also added that the cardinals have decided to meet both morning and afternoon, holding two congregation sessions and with a smile, he reiterated that no date has yet been set for Conclave.

Check updates

DoC and Perfection: St. Ambrose: Part 70

I think a short comment from Ambrose is sufficient today for looking at Justice. How little there is in the world. Ambrose points out that justice, like all the virtues, comes from faith. Without real faith in Christ, there can be no justice in the world.

I like how the Doctor of the Church writes that the Church is the outward form of justice.

No state can be. The Church was instituted by Christ and therefore is the most perfect of all institutions. That the Church falls into sin is the result of the lack of justice of Her members.

And, if the leg is sick, the Body is sick, and so on.

Good works are just works, from a healthy, holy person.

God bless all just priests and laity. God protect all just nuns, sisters and mothers.

St. Joseph is called "just" because he was righteous, that is, holy.

Be perfect, even as your heavenly Father is perfect.

The foundation of justice therefore is faithfor the hearts of the just dwell on faith, and the just man that accuses himself builds justice on faith, for his justice becomes plain when he confesses the truth. So the Lord says through IsaiahBehold, I lay a stone for a foundation in Sion. Isaiah 28:16 This means Christ as the foundation of the Church. For Christ is the object of faith to all; but the Church is as it were the outward form of justice, she is the common right of all. For all in common she prays, for all in common she works, in the temptations of all she is tried. So he who denies himself is indeed a just man, is indeed worthy of Christ. For this reason Paul has made Christ to be the foundation, so that we may build upon Him the works of justice,1 Corinthians 3:11 while faith is the foundation. In our works, then, if they are evil, there appears unrighteousness; if they are goodjustice.

To be continued.....

Part 69: DoC and Perfection: St. Ambrose

I shall be jumping into the middle of a discussion on the Four Cardinal Virtues by Ambrose. The commentary by me is in red. As a reminder, these four virtues are, and I use upper case for emphasis, Prudence, Justice, Temperance and Courage or Fortitude. I have left on the links for those who want to read more.

I have written about these before, of course, but St. Ambrose has tremendous wisdom, so this is not merely a repetition of the basics. Ambrose relates these virtues to the lives of the Patriarchs of the Old Testament, but I skip to this section below.

126. The first source of duty, then, is prudence. For what is more of a duty than to give to the Creator all one's devotion and reverence? This source, however, is drawn off into other virtues. For justice cannot exist without prudence, since it demands no small amount of prudence to see whether a thing is just or unjust. A mistake on either side is very serious. For he that says a just man is unjust, or an unjust man is just, is accursed with God. Wherefore does justice abound unto the wicked? says Solomon. Nor, on the other hand, can prudence exist without justice, for piety towards God is the beginning of understanding. On which we notice that this is a borrowed rather than an original idea among the worldly wise, for piety is the foundation of all virtues.

As in this entire series on perfection, one notices a hierarchy of movement. Piety, that is, the virtue by which we give God His due reverence, worship and service, must accompany the four cardinal virtues. If we are merely "good atheists", these virtues cannot be brought to perfection, as God is not the source nor the goal of the life of virtue. Without the focus on God, these virtues lack the means as well as the end for which these are given. Prudence is practical, helping us judge our actions and those of others. Prudence allows us to walk in the world and make good and right decisions. But, these actions must have God as the goal, the focus.

127. But the piety of justice is first directed towards God; secondly, towards one's country; next, towards parents; lastly, towards all. This, too, is in accordance with the guidance of nature. From the beginning of life, when understanding first begins to be infused into us, we love life as the gift of God, we love our country and our parents; lastly, our companions, with whom we like to associate. Hence arises true love, which prefers others to self, and seeks not its own, wherein lies the pre-eminence of justice.

To be just, one give each person his due and God His due. But, again, in pursuing perfection, justice cannot be a mere exercise in fairness or magnanimity. God is the root and goal of justice.
He Himself is All-Just, All-Good, All-Righteous. Without Him, we can be thinking we are just when we are merely trying to please ourselves or others. Am I good to others for my sake, for their sake or for the sake of God Himself?

128. It is ingrained in all living creatures, first of all, to preserve their own safety, to guard against what is harmful, to strive for what is advantageous. They seek food and converts, whereby they may protect themselves from dangers, storms, and sun—all which is a mark of prudence. Next we find that all the different creatures are by nature wont to herd together, at first with fellows of their own class and sort, then also with others. So we see oxen delighted to be in herds, horses in droves, and especially like with like, stags, also, in company with stags and often with men. And what should I say on their desire to have young, and on their offspring, or even on their passions, wherein the likeness of justice is conspicuous?

129. It is clear, then, that these and the remaining virtues are related to one another. For courage, which in war preserves one's country from the barbarians, or at home defends the weak, or comrades from robbers, is full of justice; and to know on what plan to defend and to give help, how to make use of opportunities of time and place, is the part of prudence and moderation, and temperance itself cannot observe due measure without prudence. To know a fit opportunity, and to make return according to what is right, belongs to justice. In all these, too, large-heartedness is necessary, and fortitude of mind, and often of body, so that we may carry out what we wish.

I want to emphasize the phrases "large-heartedness" and "fortitude of mind".

Without generosity, without a heart which wants to be all and give all to God for His sake, one will be closing the door to perfection.

St. Francis said, "My God never says 'enough''. And, so, too, we are called to do the hard thing, to follow the difficult roads in order to perfect the virtues with which God has graced us.

"Fortitude of mind" is necessary. This is a kind of courage or steadfastness in the mind, created either by nature and grace or through grace and suffering.

Toughness of mind is absolutely essential for the path of perfection. Otherwise, one gives up when the going gets tough.

Can you decide to follow the call to perfection? Do you want to be perfect even as your heavenly Father is perfect?

To be continued........

A time to complain and a time to praise

I have been to three Costa Coffees in three different cities: Dublin, London, and a market town in Surrey.

I shall never go again, ever.

In all three establishments, there has been a trend.

1) The shops have been dirty-dirty tables, dirty seats, dirty chairs. In one, I cleaned the table with wipes from my purse in the Dublin shop. I should have walked out, but in all the cases. I paid for my food before sitting down. The others were dirty as well, especially the one in Surrey.

2) The management and servers are rude and inept. In this last one, I waited until two other people who came in after me were served at the tables. Why? The girl delivered part of my lunch to another table. It sat there for many minutes in the upstairs.  When I asked where my order was, they took it off the man's table and gave it to me. I said that food put on someone's table should not be served to another-I asked at least for another drink. The manager became angry and literally slammed the drink down on my table and said, "This is the iced coffee, Take it." It was not another one, but the same one which had been carried up and down steps, on another person's table for ten minutes or so.  I was astounded. Europe is not a clean place and I do not want to eat or drink anything served to another table, left there, and then taken off again. Nasty.

3) The meat in the sandwich was tough and of a low quality; the lettuce was less than fresh.

4) No napkins--I am amazed at a restaurant or coffee shop that does not have napkins. True in two out of the three.

5) Grumpy staff.....well, with management like that, who can blame them.

6) Dumb staff; I asked about the advertised wifi and the person at the counter claimed he knew nothing about it and had to ask someone else. The wifi was timed so that one only got 20 minutes. That was the reason I chose Costa Coffee-for the wifi. Never again. Cheesy.

Compare this with the smiling staff, clean premises and napkins at McCafe. The coffee is also better at McCafe. I had to wait for my order there once (and I have been in McCafes maybe 22 times), and the management came up to me and apologized without me even saying anything. One can sit there for an hour and blog happily away, talking with nice, intelligent young people. Napkins are not a problem....

I decided to make the rounds of coffee shops as I am travelling, especially when I need wifi for the blogging.

I have been to one Nero's in London. It was friendly and clean. However, the tables were way to close together for an intimate talk, and I was having one such talk with a friend. There was no room for a laptop.

If any reader wants to make suggestions for nice places, please feel free to do so in the comment box.

Oh, I recommend The Humble Bean in Dublin. Clean premises, nice atmosphere, great coffee. And, the servers are friendly.

To be continued....