"You aim at a devout life, dear Philothea, because as a Christian you know that such devotion is most acceptable to God's Divine Majesty," says St. Francis de Sales in his book "Introduction to the Devout Life".
And we can all be Philotheas, as St. Francis notes: "I have made use of a name suitable to all who seek the devout life, Philothea meaning one who loves God."
We have an excellent priest available to us, and I thought I’d
share what he said in his homily-after-the homily last night – in other words,
he gave us a second excellent homily at the end of Mass! I won’t mention his
name because he gets a little upset about that; I’ll just call him Father in
Last night, Father read a letter from the bishop, as requested by the bishop. Here it is – a good solid letter
about the challenges facing us:
To the Faithful of the Diocese
In this Year of Faith, the U.S.
Catholic bishops have called for a focused time of prayer until the feast of
Christ the King (November 24, 2013) for the sake of renewing a culture of life,
marriage, and religious liberty in our country. The well-being of society
requires that life, marriage, and religious liberty are promoted and protected.
Serious threats to each of these goods, however, have raised unprecedented
challenges to the Church and to the nation. Two immediate flashpoints take
• First is the HHS Mandate,
which requires almost all employers, including Catholic employers, to pay for
employees' contraception, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs regardless of
conscientious objections. This is a clear affront to America's first freedom,
religious liberty, as well as to the inherent dignity of every human person.
• Second, current trends in
both government and culture are moving toward redefining marriage as the union
of any two persons, ignoring marriage's fundamental meaning and purpose as the
universal institution that unites a man and a woman with each other and with
the children born from their union.
These challenges call for
increased awareness and formation, as well as spiritual stamina and fortitude
among the faithful, so that we may all be effective and joyful witnesses of
faith, hope and charity.
Information has been sent to
each parish in our diocese on four ways we can participate in the bishops’ Call
• monthly Holy Hours,
• a daily rosary,
• special Prayers of the
• and abstinence from meat and
fasting on Fridays.
Please consider how you, your
family and friends can participate in the bishops' Call to Prayer, and
encourage others to do the same. It is an opportunity to respond in solidarity
as the Body of Christ to the threats we face. It is a chance to deepen our
faith and to help others to understand the false and empty promises of
happiness being promoted. It is a time to stand together.
As we do our part by
participating in this Call to Prayer, may the Lord increase our faith and help
us spread it.
In Christ Jesus,
Most Reverend Liam Cary
Bishop of Baker
** ** ** **
Father’s homily focused on the Holy Spirit and Pentecost, of
course, but at the end of Mass, after the letter was read, he had a few
comments to make. Now, Father is very passionate about the faith, and he’s
pretty darn orthodox, too – which is what I love about him, and which makes me
less irritated with any liturgical abuses that happen under his watch. Those
abuses don’t happen because Father is lukewarm in his faith! Sometimes he’s
just not aware of them. Sometimes he is…and sometimes he listens to my
complaints – something no other priest has done!
Here’s a little more background on him: Father is not a US-born priest;
he is from Nigeria, as are many of the priests in our diocese. He taught
himself to say the EF Mass, and did so for almost a full year, every Sunday,
for a very small group of us. The pressures of a parish with several “mission”
churches combined with the loss of an associate pastor led him to discontinue
the EF Mass, but I hope his experience in saying it, which he said made him a
better priest, “calls” to him constantly, and that one of these days he will
abruptly decide to reinstate it.
At any rate, after the letter was read, Father proceeded to
give us a lesson in “politics” and history. He said he had emailed the bishop
to ask if civil disobedience was an option for us, because his understanding of
canon law is that when the government “pushes against” the Church, we are
allowed to disobey the unjust laws. And Father encouraged us to do just that.
Father also noted that he has been doing some reading, and
he has learned that no other president in US history has ever taken the steps
taken by Obama to issue orders and laws that went against the teachings of the
Church. No other president has required Catholics to violate their consciences.
Father is of the opinion that our bishops should go to Washington, D.C., and
sit on the floor of the Senate until the senators agree to stop these outrageous
and egregious actions against the Church! Yay Father! Lead the way!
Father does not speak idly. As I understand it, he himself
has been arrested (in Nigeria) for taking actions that upheld the Church but
went against the government’s rules. He told me that he has baptized the
children of Muslim parents who so desired it, but who were afraid to officially
convert to Catholicism for fear of the reprisals that would face them from the
Muslim side. He was not supposed to baptize those children, but the parents
desired it, and he did so. Bravo! Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Father concluded his remarks – his very, very passionate
remarks – by saying that, yes, there is “terrorism”; that yes, there are bombs
and killing and violence. But the real terrorism, he said, is the attack from
within. It’s the attack by our own government on our Constitutional rights. The
real attack is coming from our own government against our Catholic morality,
which is really universal morality. He acknowledged that these comments were on
the political side, and he said that on the spiritual side, we need to pray and
Basically, Father was saying we need to wake up.
Father is not even an American citizen. He has been in this
country for about 7 years, I think. And yet he sees very clearly the danger at
Reader/Commenter fRED recently was in Washington, DC, and visited the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception [http://www.nationalshrine.com ]. He sent me this scan of a prayer card he obtained there. Thanks, fRED!
Here’s another way to fortify yourself with knowledge about
the faith, and receive some encouragement and inspiration to share and defend
that faith: Vericast Network and Vericast
Podcast. I’ll let them introduce themselves; this is from the “About Us”
page of their website:
Vericast is the hardest-hitting
Catholic podcast on the ‘net. The backbone of the show is Truth (Veritas
in Latin), and it’s mission is to inform and empower those who desire to ”Know
the truth, Live the truth, and Be the truth”.
Vericast brings you the
unadulterated Truth given to us by the Holy Catholic Church; the one
authoritative interpreter of sacred scripture, and the boldest, clearest, most
correct moral voice in the world.
Vericast is all about boldly,
bravely, and proudly communicating the truth. That includes the hard truth, the
inelegant, as well as the beautiful truth. It’s the full truth! The truth comes
from God. We also come from God. And so the truth is as central to our
existence as the air we breathe. But the truth is hard to find these days;
marred and masked by a culture lost and confused in moral relativism, and
ethical objectivity. The Church, being God’s beacon of truth on earth, stands
in defiance of the lies and confusion that plague our culture. Vericast gives
voice to the truths of Catholicism. Without compromise.
Shows are broadcast on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. You
can find a list of recordings of past shows here; click on one to watch or
There is also a list of instructional videos here. The first one on the list is
about “anti-Catholic myths”. Take a look
– this guy is good.
And just who is “this guy”? Actually, it’s a couple of guys,
and they run the whole operation out of their own pockets; donations are always
appreciated, of course!
The protagonists are Tim Haines and Wilson Orihuela. See the
bio page of the website.
Tim Haines, on his Google profile, says about himself:
"I served in the U.S. Marine Corps, and studied Philosophy
(since High School if you consider personal reading). Studied Theology also,
but more personal study than formal study. My professional background is in
media development and production.”
Wilson Orihuela writes
love Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Mother the Blessed Virgin Mary with all my
heart, soul and might. They are the very meaning of my existence and I'm loyal
to Christ's Catholic Church till the death of me. St. Michael defend us in
battle! God Bless you all."
There’s also a certain Cal Kane, an atheist who joins in for
debate and such, I guess. I haven’t watched the show enough to be exposed to
him. His Google profile says that his “work” is “Promoting positive atheism and working towards a world
where theists and atheists can unite as one in a stand against the evil in this
world”. Hmmm. Well, good luck with that last part. I mean, atheism is a source
of evil in this world, so I’m not sure how it could be “united” with belief in
God to overcome evil…
So…there you have it. An
interesting couple of fellows working hard to defend the One True Faith! It’s
nice to know Michael Voris has some company out there in the world of on-line
radio/TV type of stuff.
My mom had little "momisms" for many situations. When I was a child, and I went to her in the middle of the night (or, more likely, wailed from my bed, "Mo-o-o-om!") because I'd had a bad dream, she would often tell me to "just think about something nice" and go back to sleep. Well, there's so much bad news these days, that the secular world and our Church seem to be giving me bad dreams during my waking hours! So, taking Mom's advice, I'll think about something nice by posting and watching this video. Hope springs eternal! Yes, he talks about the "crisis in the Church", but there are lots of pretty scenes to suggest a way to resolve that crisis. (It's only 3 minutes - you should watch it!)
Voris visited Scotland, where homosexual scandal has rocked the Church there in
recent months. I’m going to present some excerpts from the script for this
Vortex episode, “Gay Catholic Scotland”, and add a few comments of my own. Read
the full script here, and
watch the video below.
tells us that:
[Homosexuality] is a HUGE
problem in the Church. Scotland just happens to be a case in point because of
the recent revelations that the leading Cardinal here - Keith O’Brien – was
involved for decades in homosexual relationships with various members of his
own clergy. These reports happen to coincide with the publication of an online
in Crisis] by Scottish priest Fr. Matthew Despard which names names and
gives great detail about the homosexual mafia in the Church here in Scotland.
reported on Fr. Despard’s book (and the fall-out from it) here,
The book is worth reading. We really need to open our eyes to the homosexualist
agenda that is seeking to destroy our Church from within.
Scotland is unique because of
HOW it all came to light. Cardinal O’Brien was publically denouncing gay
marriage and some of the priests he was sexually active with couldn’t take it
anymore – so after a series of some hit and miss type revelations, they simply revealed
the entire story to the secular media…who are always keen to blast the Church.
note also that Bishop Joseph Devine of Motherwell Diocese, is highlighted in
Fr. Despard’s book (Fr. Despard being a priest of that diocese), as being at
least complicit in the homosexualist movement within that diocese. But I also
featured Bishop Devine here,
when he made a strong statement against homosexual marriage. This came to mind
when I was reading Fr. Despard’s book, and I remember thinking at that time
that making such a statement could be a good way of deflecting any attention
from the bishop and the chancery regarding the homosexual mafia. Cardinal O’Brien’s
actions certainly make that seem like a viable option to any bishop who
secretly supports homosexual behavior in the priesthood, but wants to look like
he is faithful to the teachings of the Church.
The revelations came out here
as a result essentially of mean-spirited vindictiveness on the part of other
homosexual priests. But as we look at the larger global implications of this, some
other questions arise. What if these former sexual partners could have been
persuaded to stay quiet and none of this has been made public? How would any
restoration of the faith occur here with a cloak and dagger homosexual mafia
quietly orchestrating from behind the scenes as they apparently have for
decades? And what about other places and diocese and archdioceses around the
looks like the Vatican is not going to let Cardinal O’Brien simply “retire”.
And it looks like the Vatican really is going to do a thorough investigation of
the homosexual mafia in Scotland, as well.
O’Brien was seen moving his
belongings to a residence in Dunbar where he has spent many weekends over the
past years – setting up his retirement home in fact. Reports now indicate that
the Vatican stepped in and simply put an end to it. They ordered him out of Britain
putting an end to any plans to retire in peace and comfort. And it appears that
it was the current archbishop of Glasgow Phillip Tartaglia who tipped off the
Vatican and wants O’Brien out of here because his physical presence would just keep
the story alive.
That the Vatican would make
such an uncharacteristic move – ordering a retired Cardinal to get out of his
native country – shows just how seriously some in Rome is taking this whole
homosexual clergy mess. And what’s more, in the midst of all this, Pope Francis
has called a halt to any new bishops being named in Scotland until the entire
matter – meaning the homosexual mafia as it relates to not only Cardinal
O’Brien, but the Church here at large – is fully investigated. The move means
three dioceses – Paisley, Dunkeld and Edinburgh – will not have their vacancies
for a bishop filled. Another two with aging bishops, Motherwell and Galloway,
will not have their churchmen replaced either. This will leave five of the
eight dioceses in Scotland effectively without leaders – over half – owing
directly to the homosexual clergy mafia.
Clearly Rome is quite
determined to make sure that no other homosexual men are being elevated to
bishop and bringing resultant scandal to this already embattled local Church.
But it would be unwise to
consider this just a Scottish problem. People in the know in the Church tell us
that the presence of a homosexual network in the Church is not only vast, but
also powerful – controlling, in many cases, the appointment of bishops,
promotions of gay or gay-friendly priests, and threatening anyone who suggests
they will expose it with what amounts to career- ending sanctions… like being accused
of sexual abuse for one.
this is really new. Here’s a list of books/articles that have been published
over the years, each documenting the problems with active homosexuality in the
clergy. It’s really quite sobering to think about.
course there’s that John
Jay report on priestly sexual abuse of minors that clearly implicates
homosexuality as the culprit in the “pedophile” scandal of the Church…which
really is not about pedophilia (see Randy Engel’s commentary).
Although children were victims of sexual abuse, the vast majority of the cases
involve abuse of teen-age boys. The term for that, apparently, is hebephilia or
ephebophilia (depending on the age range; see this professional journal abstract).
all boils down to, though, is disordered, sick behavior. And this diabolical
activity has infiltrated the priesthood.
The following is a comment made by good friend of this blog, Elizabeth, on my “Happy
Mother’s Day” post. I thought it was worth sharing more widely, as a post of its own.
I wanted to share a "mother moment" I had this
morning, I truly believe, with our Blessed Mother.
Before I entered the church at the nearby Novus Ordo parish, I came up with a
compromise of sorts with my self-consciousness when wearing a veil at a NO
church. All winter, I simply wore a hat at Mass. Now that it's not hat weather…
So I put the veil over my head and tied it back under my
hair, like a bandana. Silly, eh? I figured that this would be a way to ease
into wearing it, while at the same time not being quite so noticeable to
others. I know… like everyone in the church is looking at me, right? :) And
besides, who cares if everyone looks at
you! Further silliness!
So I knelt in my spot in front of the gorgeous statue of Our Lady, right up
front in the handicapped row, and asked her to please help me to not be
concerned about the looks I may get from others, or what other people may or
may not think about it (including the army of VII priests there). I asked Her
to please help me to don my veil at every Mass – just like I used to when I was
able to attend the Traditional Mass, where every woman wears one. Please,
please, please. Then I said a Hail Mary and the St. Michael prayer to settle
myself in for the Mass, and sat back in the pew.
There was a tap on my shoulder.
I turned around to face a rather handsome, serious-faced man
who leaned forward to whisper to me, "I haven't seen a woman wearing a
veil in church in decades. I just wanted to tell you how beautiful it is to see
you wearing a veil. Thank you for that."
I kid you not: that's what he said. And no one can tell me
that that wasn't an answer to my heartfelt prayer! It brought a tear to my eyes,
and I thanked Our Lady.
Here’s a good reason for actually studying and discussing the documents of Vatican II…which is one of the things we’re supposed to be doing during this “Year of Faith” - the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Council, right?
Remember thathandbell concertI wrote about before Christmas? Well, yes, it did happen, and sure enough, the Protestant handbell ringer performed in the sanctuary of the Cathedral.
Sigh. She was right where I expected she would be.
Now, here’s the description of the concert on the Cathedral’s website. Note
the use of a quote from a Vatican II document to justify the concert:
Christmas Handbell Concert
A spectacular Christmas concert was held in our Cathedral on Saturday December 22, 2012 featuring Phyllis Tincher on handbells and Sean Rogers on the piano. A nice crowd attended this free concert and enjoyed at the same time the beauty of our Cathedral, the 90 year-old stained glass windows, and the performance of religious Christmas Carols, which were accompanied by Scripture verses and meditations on the Nativity story. It was the fitting prelude to the Christmas season affirming also what the Second Vatican Council affirmed in the message to artists on December 8, 1965:
"The treasury of sacred music is a witness to the way in which the Christian faith promotes culture. By underlying the true value of sacred and religious music, Christian musicians should feel that they are being encouraged to continue this tradition and to keep it alive for the service of the faith. So do not hesitate to put your talent at the service of the Divine Truth. The world in which we live has need of beauty in order not to lose hope. Beauty, like truth, fills the heart with joy. And this thanks to your hands."
Phyllis and Sean have issued a few CDs, all with religious and sacred music, as well as religious Christmas carols.
Hmmm. Let’s get one point out of the way right off the bat: "the Second Vatican
Council affirmed" no such thing: this statement was addressed to artists
VI, not by the Council. Another point: the performers are Protestants, so that part about “meditations on the Nativity story” makes me cringe. Just sayin'. I've been exposed to plenty of Protestant interpretation of Scripture. Heck, most Protestants don't even believe in the Virgin Birth. Why should we allow them to give "meditations on the Nativity story" from within the sanctuary of a Catholic church?
On to the music. Notice the reference to a Vatican II document? Funny thing: the document I have cited over and over again on “Concerts in Churches”, issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, quotes that same paragraph from the “Message to Artists”!
However, I think if you read “Concerts in Churches” in its entirety, it’s easy to pinpoint the misunderstanding that leads the writer of the bulletin article to try to justify holding a handbell concert in the sanctuary of the Cathedral.
It’s the issue of “sacred music”. The website article writer misses the distinction between sacred music and “religious Christmas carols”. The CDW clarifies this with these statements:
The definition of sacred or religious music depends explicitly on the original intended use of the musical pieces or songs…
Sacred music, that is to say music which was composed for the Liturgy…
between “sacred” music and “religious” music, and the criteria for determining
to what degree a particular composition approaches the adjective “sacred”, dates
back to Pope St Pius X’s 1903 Motu proprio Inter
sollicitudines (a.k.a., Tra lesollecitudini). It is significant that this distinction has been repeated
in every papal document on sacred music since then, even until our own days. I like Christmas carols as much as the next person. I just don't think they constitute "sacred music" that is intended for the Liturgy. And I don't think a handbell concert by Protestant ministers should be held in the sanctuary of the Cathedral. Not that my opinion matters. It's the opinion of the Church that counts, and the Church has spoken clearly on this. Apart from the issue of sacred music, there’s the placement of the musicians. Important as musicians are, and as much as we may want to encourage them to “put your talent at the service of the Divine Truth”, the CDW still states unequivocally that:
The musicians and the singers should not be placed in the sanctuary.
Let’s take another look at that handbell concert:
And let's take a look at last December's symphony orchestra concert at the Cathedral:
"The musicians and the singers should not be placed in the sanctuary."
Reminds me of one of those old "how many people can you fit in a phone booth" photos.
I wrote to the pastor about these issues six years ago, when the Cathedral held its first symphony orchestra concert. I never received any response from him. Last December, I sent the pastor copies of the letters I had sent to the bishop and to the CDW about the issues of concerts in the Cathedral that were not following the protocol. Those were returned to me, unopened, marked “return to sender”. All righty, then.
Since it appears that the bishop also has decided to ignore my letters, it would seem that I cannot expect any reasonable discussion about this - or any resolution! And that is why I wrote to Rome in the first place. And the second place. And probably will in the third place, as well.
Why is it so hard to show due respect for the sanctuary of a Cathedral by following the rules and regulations laid out by the Church?
I think this is another mystery of the faith.
** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **
To see the letters I have written to the rector and to the bishop, and the letter I received from Rome, go here.