Thursday, December 12, 2013

So Long, Farewell...

The time has come for me to say farewell to the world of blogging.

For me, it is time now to focus more of my time and attention on living a life of prayer and penance. That, really, is my “calling”, and I know it. There are others who are called to blogging; and I know you will all keep up with the good, orthodox, faithful Catholic bloggers out there! Be sure, also, to get your daily dose of “The Vortex”, and if you haven’t done so already, sign up for a Premium Membership to ChurchMilitant.TV, and learn more about the faith through their excellent programming.

I have been considering this change for some time now, and on a recent long drive, I listened once again to Rod Pead’s talk on the “Sword of Unity” (it is also available in the form of a written article). I’ve mentioned Mr. Pead’s work before (here and here);  Rod Pead is the editor of Christian Order magazine, and the talk was delivered at a “Faith of Our Fathers” conference almost 14 years ago. Yet, it makes every bit as much sense today as it did then. If you haven’t listened to the talk or read the article, you should.

In his presentation, Rod Pead notes that many of us know about the problems in the Church – about the crisis in every measure of Church health (vocations, Mass attendance, etc.) – but he makes us think again:

If we know this; if we are really aware of all this; why do we resist tailoring our prayer life and our thoughts and our actions accordingly? If we consider ourselves so aware and savvy about this travesty of truth and unity, then why, as the Jesuit, Father James Schall states, are Catholics so wimpy?

In another place, Pead adds:

…It is true that while at the moment we find we can't live with the bishops, we know, too, that by God's design we can't live without them, and that there is only so much we can do. But have we done even that much? Have we prayed and fasted and done penance and really begged God on our knees to convert the hearts and minds of the bishops? Have we consistently pleaded with Him to take the hirelings who will not respond to His grace to their early reward, and send us real Catholic Shepherds in their stead?

… Christ Himself told us, in the parable of the unjust judge, that we should pray continually and never be discouraged [Lk 18 1:8]. … Our Lord told the people: "will not God give redress to his elect, when they are crying out to him, day and night? Will he not be impatient with their wrongs? I tell you, he will give them redress with all speed." And then Christ immediately adds…, "But ah, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith left on earth?"

And so…are we really praying for the conversion of the hirelings or their replacement by strong, solicitous, Catholic Shepherds – as if we believe? Given Christ's promise, I can't imagine that enough of us are.

And so, because I am called more to prayer and penance than to blogging, that is what I will do…at least for the time being. God only knows what the future holds.

I have met many wonderful people through this blog – thank you for your friendship, your encouragement, and your prayers!

Stay in touch! My email address is

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"Mandela Was Not a Great Man": Vortex

Count on Michael Voris to tell it like it is. In this Vortex, he says, in part:
Nelson Mandela – whatever good that may be ascribed to him – ushered in an abortion law that has resulted in the deaths of over a million of his fellow South Africans since the mid-1990s. That is not the mark of a great man. 
And it appears some bishops are also pointing out the problems with ignoring the ways in which Nelson Mandela harmed, rather then helped, his fellow countrymen. For instance, a Boston Globe story notes:
While the pope said that former president Nelson Mandela of South Africa, who died last week, will “inspire generations,” Tobin issued a statement declaring that appreciation of Mandela’s admirable qualities should be tempered by his “shameful” promotion of abortion in his country.
Good for Bishop Tobin! 

Here's the Vortex: 

Here's the script:

One hallmark of being a weak man is the desire to associate yourself with the latest drama, or inject yourself into the latest fad topic so as not to think of yourself as being “irrelevant”.
This penchant for attention and recognition certainly doesn’t apply to everyone who is weak, but it has proven time and again to be an indicator of those who are extremely insecure – weak, emotionally or psychologically.

The particular problem with this weakness is that often times, the appropriateness of WHAT or WHO a man is associating himself with can be… well… extremely inappropriate.

And we see this evidenced most recently in the rush among so many Catholic churchmen to sing the praises of recently departed Nelson Mandela.

In fact, in some instances it seems as though a game of one-upmanship has started. One churchman, speaking out singing Mandela’s praises so as not to be left behind as the relevant train departs from the station, is almost immediately outdone by the next, who heaps even more praise on Mandela, so that HE may now bask in the glow of being “relevant”.

Some of these men – all of them weak – are almost tripping over themselves to not be left out of the picture.

Nelson Mandela – whatever good that may be ascribed to him – ushered in an abortion law that has resulted in the deaths of over a million of his fellow South Africans since the mid-1990s.

That is not the mark of a great man. That is the mark of evil and of the diabolical. Whatever his political career may have profited some in his native land, he was largely a stooge of western social engineers who used his dramatic back story to their own advantage.

He and his African National Congress were and are large embracers of abortion and on the political front, never missed an opportunity to cozy up to communist leaders.

No one is saying that Mandela didn’t do some good for some of his fellow countryman. That’s not the point.

The point is that he did far worse for most of his countrymen by not only introducing laws which directly killed the most defenseless among them, but also instituted a mindset that abortion and contraception are good things.

For a man so associated with fighting for human dignity, it’s a little puzzling that his record on the dignity of man with regard to the unborn is overlooked.

You would of course expect that from a secular anti-God media, but when Churchmen jump on the Nelson bandwagon – that becomes something more than puzzling.

Shepherds and clergy need to be concerned with saving souls and that’s it. Nothing more. But too many of them are too concerned with the praise of other men.

Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen once wrote: “Leaders are afraid to speak on vital truths to their troops, fearful that they may incite a revolt or be unloved.”

Sheen was a master clinician of the mind and soul. He could straight to the heart of issue bypassing all the excuses. When he said leaders are afraid to be unloved, he brought the hammer crashing down on the proverbial head of the nail.

Weak men are the curse of the Church these days, the scourge from the Almighty. There is nothing of the faith from which they will not dispense in order to gain some small salve for their injured and self-absorbed psyches.

Nelson Mandela was not a great man. He was a political leader who became a SYMBOL of greatness. But as he goes to his grave, he is preceded there by over a million innocent South Africans who never knew their political killer, the man who legislated them out of existence.

Whatever else may be attributed to him, THIS cannot go by without mention; without being the chief characteristic of his notoriety – that he was willing to traffic in the lives of the innocent to secure power.

For churchmen to fall all over themselves to praise this is pathetic and a clear demonstration of just how devoid of real men the Church is these days. But weak men are never “relevant” beyond their ability to be used by whatever the prevailing trends may be in a given age.

Heaven spare us from weak men in the ranks of shepherds.

Pray for the Church and her leaders my fellow Catholics. Pray in all earnestness.

GOD Love you.

I’m Michael Voris

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Annual Re-Post: Yes, Virginia, There Is a Traditional Latin Mass!

My annual reposting of a favorite (of mine!):

..with apologies to Francis Pharcellus Church, whose "Yes, Viriginia, there IS a Santa Claus" article appeared in 1897, and is history's most reprinted newspaper editorial. To refresh your memory, see the full original editorial at the end of this post.

Dear Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei:
I am 58 59 years old. Some of my liberal detractors say there will be never be a Traditional Latin Mass in our diocese. The Holy Father says, “If you see it in a motu proprio, it's so.” Please tell me the truth; will we have a Traditional Latin Mass in the Diocese of Baker?

PHILOTHEA, your liberal detractors are wrong. They have been affected by the modernism of an age of moral relativism. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Philothea, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge. This is why there is resistance to the extraordinary form of the Mass, which opens the Mysteries of the universe to us.
Yes, Philothea, someday there will be a Traditional Latin Mass widely available. It will exist as certainly as faith, hope, and charity exist, and you know that they abound as theological virtues and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary life would be if there were no extraordinary form of the Mass! It would be as dreary as if there were no Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist! There would be no childlike faith then, no sacred polyphony, no Gregorian chant to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which God fills our souls would be extinguished.
No Traditional Latin Mass! You might as well not have any liturgy at all! You might get the Holy Father to hire men to watch in all the Dioceses in the United States to find a Mass in the Extraordinary Form, but even if they did not find one, what would that prove? Nobody sees the Spirit of the liturgy, but that is no sign that there is no Extraordinary Form. The most Real Presence in the world is One that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see the Holy Angels surrounding the altar at Mass? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, hope, and love can push aside that curtain, and view and actually participate in the supernal beauty and glory beyond it, at Holy Mass. Is it all real? Ah, Philothea, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.
No TLM! Thank God! it lives, and it lives forever. A thousand years from now, Philothea, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, it will continue to make glad the heart of the faithful who seek it.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Tota Pulchra Es

I'll be way on retreat the next several days; there will be no further posts till next week. Be sure to keep up with the Vortex while I'm gone!

I will happily be able to attend Mass in the extraordinary form for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception! 

At the end of Mass, we will sing the lovely and haunting Marian hymn, "Tota Pulchra Es". I had never heard or sung it before, but now I'm hooked! 


Here's a version with an "Eastern" flavor: 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Archbishop Sample on Church Dedication and Consecration

Archbishop Alexander Sample speaks about the beautiful symbolism involved in the solemn liturgical ceremonies as he consecrates Shepherd of the Valley Catholic Church in Central Point, Oregon on October 13, 2013.

Would it be possible to clone him?!

(Thanks to Marc Salvatore!)

The Importance of the Traditional Latin Mass

This is wonderful - H/T to Richard at "Linen on the Hedgerow".

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Why the Vortex?

Sequel to yesterday's Vortex. Don't forget to sign up for a Premium Membership!

Monday, December 2, 2013

How the Vortex Came to Be

"Ah, the Vortex!" 

Some people love it, some people hate it. Here's how it came to be, why it came to be, how it's changed... 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

My Thoughts on Evangelium Gaudium

I have been reading the Holy Father's Apostolic Exhortation Evangelium Gaudium, which means, of course, "The Joy of the Gospel".

There are many, many commentaries on this document already, and the blogosphere and Face Book are both rife with gems quoted from the many, many, many, many words that flow from page to page to page to page. I highly recommend the one from Eye of the Tiber.

So let this video serve as my commentary. You may interpret it as you wish.

Friday, November 29, 2013

NFP and the Feminist Revolution

Following the many interesting comments on a couple of recent NFP posts (here and here), an anonymous friend offered these observations on a few of the comments. I think he makes some excellent points:

1. "The widespread, indiscriminate promotion of natural birth regulation will unavoidably contribute to the contraceptive mentality, precisely because of its emphasis on human control over conception."

Yes, the fact that NFP is part of the contraceptive mentality is very true, and is so obvious as to be tautological. The contraceptive mentality is all about the control of birth, not about the artificiality of the method used to accomplish that end.

2. "My parents were very keen on NFP and I attribute that fact to the fact that neither me nor my sister has ever seriously considered family life."

This is very true, but not unique to NFP in comparison to other methods of birth control. The contraceptive mentality leads to a loss of interest in sex. Men are no longer men and women are no longer women, and so it is just like a battery that no longer has a positive pole and a negative pole. There is no longer any charge, so you can't start your car. There is no electricity, no life.

A very interesting article that describes the long-term trend in this regard asks in its headliner questions:

Why have young people in Japan stopped having sex? What happens to a country when its young people stop having sex?  

Read the article here.

The statistics in the article are really startling, even if you’ve been following this issue for a long time. The gist of the article is that the Japanese hardly even need birth control any longer, because young men and women simply have no interest in each other. Perhaps the NFP advocates can tout this as the ultimate triumph of NFP: no babies being born in the country using the most natural method of all.

In reality, it is the triumph of Manicheism.  Periodic continence was the method of birth control used by  the Manicheans, which St. Augustine condemned so vigorously. St. Augustine worked to distinguish between a truly Catholic love of chastity and purity which leads in turn to fruitful generosity among those who are not called to the celibate religious life, in comparison to the Manichean hatred of life which leads to the deadly combination of impurity and sterility – the exact same combination we see in Japan today: a society awash in pornography which is incapable of having children.

One might reply, "Well Japan is a strange foreign country." No, the reality is that Japan is just the most modern country in the world. Wherever Japan is today, we will be there in 10 - 20 years. We have followed all their demographic trends, just a few years behind them. The situation in places like Germany and many other European countries is not much different from Japan.

3. "The NFP movement may be part of the feminization of the Church. An NFP marriage necessarily puts the woman in charge."

Yes, now we are getting to the heart of the matter. We are in the middle of a revolution, the Feminist Revolution. It is just as much of a revolution as the French Revolution or the Communist Revolution. And just as violent – in fact much more so since the number of casualties from this revolution is actually higher than all the wars of all of history put together. Like all revolutions, the purpose of the revolution is to overturn the natural order and to make the higher serve the lower.

This revolution has several battle fronts – divorce is one example – but the main battle is over birth control. This is where the revolution lives or dies. That is why feminists fight tooth and nail over every single smallest abortion restriction, even live birth abortion. This is the battle where they cannot concede any ground.

Catholics who do not use birth control are reactionaries, whether they like it or not. Catholics with large families are often surprised and hurt by the reactions they get in the supermarket, because they wonder, "Why can't they have their small family and be happy about me having a big family?" But the reality is that anyone having a large family is on the wrong side of the current revolution, and there is going to be hatred directed at you.

That is also the reason for the fury directed at Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae. We know from reading the document that it is very liberal, and in fact it overturns much of Catholic teaching on marriage, although it upholds the teaching on artificial contraception. But the opponents of HV don't care at all about Catholic doctrine per se, they only care that HV is an obstacle to the revolution. It was one thing if a small handful of Amish or Orthodox Jews were not signing up, but the revolution couldn't afford to have hundreds of millions of Catholics on the other side.

That's where NFP comes in – although strictly as a front, as the facade of the Potemkin village. The reality is that 98% of Catholics joined the revolution, but NFP allowed the Church to save face by allowing pastors to naively pretend that their parish full of small families got that way via periodic continence. Catholics can participate in the feminist revolution while pretending that they are still Catholic, just like the "Patriotic Church" in China allows Chinese Catholics to go along with the Communist government.

And so it becomes clear that we can never make any progress on the first "blessing" of marriage, the procreation and education of children, until we realize how intimately it is connected with the second "blessing" of marriage, the mutual fidelity of the spouses, which is based upon the "order of love":

Domestic society being confirmed, therefore, by this bond of love, there should flourish in it that "order of love," as St. Augustine calls it. This order includes both the primacy of the husband with regard to the wife and children, the ready subjection of the wife and her willing obedience, which the Apostle commends in these words: "Let women be subject to their husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ is the head of the Church. (Casti Connubii, emphasis added)

Catholic promoters of NFP are trying to walk a delicate tight-rope in their claim of adherence to the first blessing of marriage. With regard to the second blessing of marriage, however, I've never encountered any NFP proponents who even bother to pay lip service to the “order of love”. Even traditional Catholic women with large families will argue tooth and nail against subjection and obedience.

NFP is the method by which women are put in control of the couple's sex life, even when the couple consider themselves sincere Catholics. They are brought to participate in the feminist revolution under the cover of pietistic talk about "respect" and so forth.

NFP is similar to what I say about EWTN. The devil tells himself, "I already have 99% of the people hooked up to my control box, but there are still that remaining 1% of pious Catholics who are not watching television. What can I do? I know, I will have a channel dedicated to pious Catholics. Then that last 1% will sign up for television, and although they might watch a few minutes of EWTN now and then, that will do no harm, and in the meantime they will join the rest of my brainwashed servants."

NFP is like that in the area of birth control. The devil already had 99% of Catholics signed up for artificial birth control, but he still wanted to get that last 1% to participate in the revolution. By getting them to sign up for NFP, he knows that they are now part of the contraceptive mentality, whether or not they have a few children more or less, and the women are now in control of their families.

This subject is too involved for a long disquisition right now, but it is important to realize that this subjection and obedience is not merely a question of who makes the final decision when the couple can't decide whether or not to buy a new car, but rather it is the very foundation of everything in the spiritual life. There is no grace, no interior reality, no true love without subjection and obedience.

Yes, “responsible parenthood” is simply a Catholic version of "Planned Parenthood" – no more, no less.  I own a book published in the early sixties in which Catholic theologians “reconsider” Church teaching on birth control. The book was sponsored and published by Planned Parenthood. Many of the theologians are Jesuits. The Introduction was written by Cardinal Cushing of Boston. So here we have evidence of an active collaboration between Planned Parenthood and Catholics who were working to redefine Catholic teaching at the time when “responsible parenthood” became the new rallying cry – of the Majority Report of the Papal Commission on Birth Control, for example. And so it remains today.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanks be to God for our one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church!

Thanks be to God that we may enjoy the fullness of the Truth!

Thanks be to God that we live in a time such as this!

And I am thankful for all of you, 
the friends I have made through this blog!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Catholic Identity During Advent

I read the paragraphs below in a parish bulletin; and it doesn’t matter which parish, really, does it? I know this is not an isolated occurrence, because I googled a phrase from the first paragraph and found the same item in more than one parish bulletin across the country. Take a look:

On Sunday, December 1st, we will begin the Season of Advent. Advent is a great time to focus on your home as a holy place that is called the domestic church. The domestic church refers to your home as the primary place where children first hear about and witness the Catholic faith. In your home, your children will learn to love, to pray, and to serve.

Honor this joyful season in a simple way in your home. Keep the focus on Jesus with prayer. Gather the family at least once a week to pray – it would be nice if your family could do this every day during Advent.

It doesn’t need to be more than a 5-minute moment during the day. You could have everyone join hands and form a circle. Then invite each person to praise God for the gift of his Son.

When I read this, my stomach knotted up, my heart sank, and I almost wept. Is this what we have become as a “Catholic community”? Are we reduced to observing Advent by spending one 5-minute period a week holding hands in a circle?

Whatever happened to praying the Rosary as a family? I’ve heard that people used to do that! What about a “Jesse tree”? What about an Advent wreath on the dining room table? What about an Advent calendar? People could even get really radical and think about the “O Antiphons” in the latter days of Advent…

Do you ever wonder why it seems that we have to form a circle and hold hands to “pray”?  It’s really okay to not be in a circle, and not to hold hands. It’s even okay to pray a “memorized” prayer like the Our Father, which is a prayer that certainly praises God and also reminds us of our own sins and our need for forgiveness. Isn’t that why Jesus came to earth in the first place?

I know that in most parishes – mine included – there will be an Advent wreath in a prime position at Sunday Mass throughout Advent (please, oh please, don't put it right in front of the altar!); and there will be special “chosen ones” of the congregation lighting the candles each week.  There will be a “reconciliation service” (I am not even going to say a word about how I feel about those). There will be the Advent readings and prayers at Mass, of course. At the weekly RE Classes, there will be… well… something, I’m sure, to help the children learn more about Advent.

But in the “domestic church”, the place where children should be immersed in the faith, have we really sunk to such a deplorable lack of Catholic identity as the bulletin blurb above seems to indicate? I’m afraid it is probably so.

How will we restore our Catholic identity? It’s going to be an uphill battle. Of course, it’s worth the fight.

Pray. Fast.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

St. Clement I, Pray for Our Bishops

Today is the feast of St. Clement I, Pope and Martyr. Here’s an excerpt about him from the Divine Office readings for Matins:

His teaching and the holiness of his life brought many to believe in Christ, and he was therefore exiled by the Emperor Trajan to Kherson, in the Crimea, where he found two thousand Christians, who had been condemned by the same Trajan. There they all worked in the marble quarries. During their labor they suffered for want of water, and Clement prayed, and then went up an hill hard by, on the top whereof he saw a Lamb standing, touching with its right foot a flowing spring of sweet waters. Therewith they all quenched their thirst, and by this miracle many unbelievers were brought to believe in Christ, and began to honor the holiness of Clement.
These things moved Trajan to send a messenger to the Crimea, who tied an anchor about Clement's neck, and cast him into the deep of the sea. After it had been done, while the Christians were praying on the shore, the sea went back three miles, and when they followed it, they found a grotto of marble, in form like a temple, and therein a stone coffin wherein was laid the body of the Martyr, and, hard by, the anchor wherewith he had been sunk. Then were the country people moved to receive the faith of Christ…

Thinking about St. Clement and his martyrdom led me to think about our modern-day bishops, especially here in the US. Back in Clement’s time, one’s life was at stake when it came to defending belief in Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Church.

You could die for the faith. You could die a horrible excruciatingly painful death that was preceded by horrible excruciatingly painful torture.

Now, in some parts of the world today, this is going on right now, and we all need to be praying for those souls who undergo such trials, that they would stand fast in their faith and be welcomed directly into Heaven for their martyrdom.

But I was thinking about the US. Here, there seem to be so few bishops who would measure up to Clement’s steadfastness in teaching and preaching the truth of our faith. I can’t imagine Clement failing to teach about the sinfulness of his people if he knew sinful acts were being committed. I can’t imagine Clement being intimated by a government that said he couldn’t speak out against politicians and laws that were unjust and contrary to the faith!

Clement defended the faith and paid for that defense with his life. Who among our bishop would do that? We have seen so many times the strong start and the weak finish! A bishop stands up for the faith in the public square by saying “Homosexual acts are evil!”, and two days later he recants due to the pressures of the media and current societal thinking. A bishop demands that the faithful in his diocese who serve as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, or who are teachers in Catholic schools, or who are catechists, profess their faith and even sign a statement to that effect; we applaud, and are disappointed a few days later to see him back down against the wave of popular opinion that says he is being “judgmental”. 

Would these bishops die for their faith? Would they even go to jail for it?! Or are they so concerned about being “pastoral” that they allow the faithful to persist in their sin? Are they so concerned about the bad press they might get that they are willing to endanger their own souls by failing to proclaim the truth? When our bishops start sacrificing for the faith, then we might see people begin to sit up and take notice that Catholicism is something worth fighting for, even to the point of death.

As Rod Pead pointed out in his talk and article entitled “Sword of Unity”:

… Episcopal salvation is, to say the very least, problematic. "Many priests are lost and few bishops are saved," said St. John Chrysostom, himself a bishop. After his mother congratulated him on his appointment as Bishop of Mantua, St. Pius X told her: "Mother, you do not realise what it means to be a bishop. I shall lose my soul if I neglect my duty."

So we have to stop pandering to duplicitous Shepherds and start fearing - for them, since they appear to have lost all fear of God themselves, and fearing for our complicity in their negligence.

Fear for our bishops, and out of that holy fear, pray that they start ministering in a way that merits Heaven, and not hell.