Monthly Archives: November 2013

End Time

It pays to be careful about what we do not like. The phrase “judge not lest you be judged,” was not designed to reduce us to complete silence or to idiocy. Further, we know not the day nor the hour, but we should be prepared. Our lives are “purposeful.” They are not given to us just so that we can pass the time of day waiting for something to happen.

via End Time.

Nobody Should Go Shopping on Thanksgiving

Nobody Should Go Shopping on Thanksgiving | National Review Online

We already have people stuck working to man the airports and restaurants. We shouldn’t be asking even more people to work, particularly when shopping (thankfully!) isn’t even part of our Thanksgiving tradition, unlike traveling to be with family or enjoying a meal together.

[…] For many of us, our workweeks are Monday through Friday. […] But if you work retail or other jobs that involve regular weekends and nights — and many of your friends and family do — it’s tougher to get everyone together. It’s hard to find a day when everyone is off and can gather together.

It used to be that holidays were those days: A time when just about everyone, regardless of his job, was able to spend the day with loved ones.

Making Thanksgiving a working day is going to change that. It’s going to take away from retail employees a rare universal day off.

And frankly, I can’t imagine what you could buy on Thanksgiving that would make that trade-off worth it to our culture.

via Nobody Should Go Shopping on Thanksgiving | National Review Online.

Are you really calling for schism, Tony Jones?

Are you really calling for schism Tony Jones?

On the contrary,

God has so adjusted the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior part, that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another

and therefore

take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by fair and flattering words they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded.

This commentator is more irenic than I think necessary, Continue reading »

Let’s Listen to Pope Francis on Economics

I am reminded of someone like G. K. Chesterton, who is often thought of as a “conservative’s conservative,” but who instead of contenting himself with denouncing socialism and defending what is good about markets, pushed himself to make key contributions to the rich (and underexploited) Catholic school of distributism.

I often think of someone like the Servant of God Dorothy Day, Obl.OSB. If she saw a list of the economic policies I support, she would probably be horrified. But I find myself very often enriched by her radical critique of the state, her trust in bottom-up forms of economic organization, and her keen awareness of what is often the reality of economic exploitation.

There is a place for discernment, and for advocacy, and even for confrontation. But I think that as Catholics we are also called upon to take the Pope’s message seriously, humbly, and to let it challenge us and to incorporate it into our own thinking, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. For this I’ll pray.

via Let’s Listen to Pope Francis on Economics | First Things.

a Spurgeon whopper

I have known a few people who regard C. H. Spurgeon as the authoritative commentator on Holy Writ; and I have heard this passage cited in sermons and seen it on blogs.  What amuses me is how few of those who retail this third-rate balderdash have apparently bothered to think about the one verifiable Bible-based criticism buried in the cant and rant:

When a fellow comes forward in all sorts of curious garments and says he is a priest, the poorest child of God may say, “Stand away and don’t interfere with my office—I am a priest—I know not what you may be. You surely must be a priest of Baal, for the only mention of the word vestments in Scripture is in connection with the temple of Baal.”

The priesthood belongs to all the saints! They sometimes call you laity, but the Holy Spirit says of all the saints, “You are God’s cleros”—you are God’s clergy. Every child of God is a clergyman or a clergywoman. There are no priestly distinctions known in Scripture. Away with them! Away with them forever! The Prayer Book says, “Then shall the priest say.” What a pity that word was ever left there. The very word, “priest,” has such a smell of the sulfur of Rome about it, that so long as it remains, the Church of England will give forth an ill savor.

“the only mention of the word vestments in Scripture is in connection with the temple of Baal” — well, OK, let’s give due credit where credit is due.  For some reason (I’m sure we can inquire about the politics of it when we reconvene the board of translators who served the successor to Elizabeth, Mary, Edward VI, and Henry VIII), the King James Version does in fact render the word “vestment” in Jehu’s flamboyant day of visitation in 2 Kings while rendering “holy garments” in God’s verbatim instructions to Moses to make vestments for the Israelite priesthood.  Now, perhaps Mr. Spurgeon would like us to abandon the term “vestment” and speak instead of “holy garments” or “sacred garments”?  Continue reading »

The Perfect Ecclesial Storm

The perfect storm upon us is that all this is tied to bad moral teaching, like the notion of a “fundamental option,” which both John Paul II and Benedict tried to overcome. And we’re now at the point of believing in universalism of salvation on both the theoretical and practical level. The corrupting power of the “fundamental option” is that almost no sin can change it, once that option is directed to God. So contraception does not alter my fast track to heaven, nor does abortion, homosexuality, and any perversion you can think of, not even murder, genocide, and so forth. None of these things matters in the end.

And why don’t these things matter? Because, in the end, everyone is going to end up in Heaven anyway since God supposedly only cares about getting us to Heaven. […]

Like the popularized fundamental option approach to moral living, the notion of universal salvation deeply undercuts any real effort at moral reform in the Church. It rather easily convinces people that it really doesn’t matter how one lives, so long as one is kind to others and trusts in a merciful God.

via The Perfect Ecclesial Storm.

The Unknown Citizen

The Unknown Citizen
by W. H. Auden

(To JS/07 M 378
This Marble Monument
Is Erected by the State

He was found by the Bureau of Statistics to be
One against whom there was no official complaint,
And all the reports on his conduct agree
That, in the modern sense of an old-fashioned word, he was a saint,
For in everything he did he served the Greater Community.
Except for the War till the day he retired
He worked in a factory and never got fired,
But satisfied his employers, Fudge Motors Inc.
Yet he wasn’t a scab or odd in his views,
For his Union reports that he paid his dues,
(Our report on his Union shows it was sound)
And our Social Psychology workers found
That he was popular with his mates and liked a drink.
The Press are convinced that he bought a paper every day
And that his reactions to advertisements were normal in every way.
Policies taken out in his name prove that he was fully insured,
And his Health-card shows he was once in hospital but left it cured.
Both Producers Research and High-Grade Living declare
He was fully sensible to the advantages of the Instalment Plan
And had everything necessary to the Modern Man,
A phonograph, a radio, a car and a frigidaire.
Our researchers into Public Opinion are content
That he held the proper opinions for the time of year;
When there was peace, he was for peace: when there was war, he went.
He was married and added five children to the population,
Which our Eugenist says was the right number for a parent of his generation.
And our teachers report that he never interfered with their education.
Was he free? Was he happy? The question is absurd:
Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.

via The Unknown Citizen- – Poetry, Poems, Bios & More.

Pope says he goes to confession every two weeks

In a world often dominated by ‘individualism and subjectivism,’ he said, many people — including many Catholics — say that God will forgive their sins and they have no need of the sacrament of confession and the ministry of a priest.

‘Certainly, God forgives every repentant sinner, but the Christian is bound to Christ and Christ is united to his church,’ the pope said. ‘God, in his sovereign mercy, forgives everyone, but he wanted those who belong to Christ and his church to receive forgiveness through the community’s ministers.’

‘Priests, too, need confession, even bishops. We are all sinners. Even the pope goes to confession every two weeks because the pope, too, is a sinner,’ he said. ‘My confessor hears what I say, offers me advice and forgives me. We all need this.’

Through the presence and words of a priest, he said, penitents have ‘the certainty of forgiveness in the name of the church.’

via CNS STORY: Pope, at audience, says he goes to confession every two weeks.

Is the Ambrosian Lectionary an Older Form of the Traditional Roman Lectionary?

The principal, and to my mind, insuperable objection to Msgr. Ceriani’s theory is as follows. Supposing that the Milanese liturgy did come from Rome, and is, as Bl. Ildephonse Schuster once said, more Roman in origin than the current Roman Rite itself: when and why did it begin to consistently reject all subsequent changes made to the Roman Rite, changes which are manifestly not “secondary”, when they were accepted by absolutely everyone else who used that rite? A host of similar objections might also be raised, such as the completely different chant, and the radically different structure of the Divine Office.

via New Liturgical Movement: Is the Ambrosian Lectionary an Older Form of the Traditional Roman Lectionary?.

A School Without Screens

There is a boys’ boarding school in northeast Pennsylvania that takes such observations to heart. Students at Gregory the Great Academy are required to embrace a life of “technological poverty,” which means relinquishing cell phones, iPods, computers, and the like; arriving at school with only the essentials for a “disconnected” life. The pedagogy at work here is simply to free students from distraction and to allow them to focus on the important things in life: growth in virtue, cultivation of friendship, and contemplation of the Divine. Any infringement of this policy—this way of life—results in severe repercussion, if not expulsion.

via A School Without Screens | Crisis Magazine.

Pope Francis on “progressives”

This is the fruit of the devil, the prince of this world , who leads us forward with the spirit of worldliness. And then there are the direct consequences. They accepted the habits of the pagan, then a further step: the king wrote to his whole kingdom that all should be one people, and everyone would abandon their customs. A globalizing conformity of all nations is not beautiful…

via Pope Francis on “progressives” | Fr. Z’s Blog.

The Continuity of Virtue

‘Surely we have already observed that nature does not know the absolutely “pure” tone, that there are always undertones and overtones forming a chord. A pure color does not occur, but only a mixture of colors. Similarly, a “bare” truthfulness cannot exist. It would be hard and unjust. What exists is living truthfulness, which other elements of the good penetrate and affect.’

via The Continuity of Virtue.

yummy, with prayers

Feast! is the book we wish we had when we first started observing the Christian Year. It is 125 pages of real food to celebrate the liturgical year and lives of the saints and reflections on the seasons of the Christian calendar and simple traditions. Feast! features 23 simple real food recipes for the liturgical seasons of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, and Easter, and well-known saints’ days like St. George’s Day, St. Rose of Lima’s Day, and St. Thomas Aquinas’ Day as well as less familiar saints like St. Charles Lwanga and St. Raymond Nonnatus.

via Our Book! It’s Here! It’s Finally Here!.

Just passing through

Prof Duffy begins by quoting the Latin version of the prayer:

Protector in te sperantium, Deus, sine quo nihil est validum, nihil sanctum: multiplica super nos misericordiam tuam, ut, te rectore, te duce, sic transeamus per bona temporalia, ut non amittamus æterna. Per Dominum Nostrum I.C.

Duffy then quotes Cranmer’s version, which “translates this almost perfectly”:

O God, the protector of all that trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy; Increase and multiply upon us thy mercy; that, thou being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we finally lose not the things eternal: Grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake our Lord. Amen.

The one point on which Duffy criticises Cranmer is his “not sufficiently bringing out the meaning of the phrase bona temporalia“. The tension in the original prayer arises from the need to pass through the good things of this world; to affirm the goodness of this world, but still to “keep moving”. As Duffy observes:

To us who live in a grossly materialist culture, which rates people’s value by their earning and spending power, and assesses human happiness by the possession of good things, it is difficult to imagine a more salutary and necessary emphasis.

via Just passing through | Curlew River.

Wednesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time


Son, have pity on me, who carried you in my womb for nine months,
nursed you for three years, brought you up,
educated and supported you to your present age.
I beg you, child, to look at the heavens and the earth
and see all that is in them;
then you will know that God did not make them out of existing things;
and in the same way the human race came into existence.
Do not be afraid of this executioner,
but be worthy of your brothers and accept death,
so that in the time of mercy I may receive you again with them.

via Wednesday of the Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time.