Subscribe to Future Posts on A Catholic Life

Enter email address:



Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Catholics Look to a Unified Ireland Post-Brexit
edit_button


While out celebrating the life and work of St. Patrick, I picked up a copy of The Irish Herald published on the West Coast (Volume 57, No. 07). As I sat drinking my Guinness I was rather intrigued by the headline story as Northern Ireland may not be as non-Catholic as Americans may think.  Here were some interesting excerpts from that piece:
Support for uniting Ireland has risen dramatically on both sides on the Irish border in large part because of the calamitous Brexit referendum on June 23, 2016. While jingoistic British politicians were urging their public to leave the European Union and enter the promised land of a 'free and independent' UK, precious little consideration was given to the impact such a move might have on either the south or the north of Ireland. The more things change the more they stay the same... 
Since the partition of Ireland in 1921, Catholics in the north have been subjected to human and civil rights abuses and have been treated as second class citizens. The GFA [Good Friday Agreement] was supposed to end all that but intransigence from the unionist body politic, notably from the Democratic Unionist Party, the largest unionist party, has prevented many important remedies contained in the GFA from becoming reality. 
In 1921 the Catholic population of the six counties that make up 'Northern Ireland' was a mere 35 percent, and it was that way by design. The partition was never supposed to end. The border, which has become the singular focus of the entire Brexit exercise, is proof of that. All 310 miles of it, winding it's way through farms, parishes and townlands, was drawn up in the way which would exclude the most Catholics. The intention was undeniable. Lord Carigavon the North's first Prime Minister proudly declared as his slogan: 'A Protestant Parliament for a Protestant people.' 
But as they say, nothing lasts forever. Shifting demographics have put the unity question at the top of the agenda. In the last census Catholics (who predominantly favor a united Ireland) made up 45 percent of the population while Protestants (who tend to support the union with Britain) made up 48 percent. A deeper look into those statistics reveals that he protestant population will still makes up almost two thirds of those over 65, whereas in the younger age groups Catholics now make up the majority. 
'It's a massive demographic shift. In five to ten years there'll be a Catholic majority in Northern Ireland,' said Peter Shirlow, director of the University of Liverpool's Institute of Irish Studies. It will take a few more years for this overall majority to translate into an electoral majority, 'but a majority for a united Ireland is going to happen, (there is) no doubt about that,' added Shirlow.
Read more >>
Monday, March 18, 2019
St. Joseph, First Among the Saints
edit_button

In honor of tomorrow's feast of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, I wish to share an insight I recently learned on the unique position of Saint Joseph amongst the saints. 

Whereas among the saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary is in a category to herself, after her comes St. Joseph as first among the saints. This position is not mere pious devotion but is based on the theological classification of St. Joseph with the word protodulia as Fr Broom explains:
The theologians classify the greatness of those in glory with the following titles: “Latria”, which means adoration that we give to the Blessed Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. “Hyperdulia” given to the Blessed Virgin Mary means the highest veneration. “Dulia”, given to the saints, implies veneration. Finally, Glorious Saint Joseph is rightly given “Protodulia”, meaning that among the saints he is given first place; “Proto” means first!
St. Joseph is ranked even before the Apostles themselves! Fr. Broom continues:
Saint Bernadine of Siena expounds upon the reason for this theological hierarchy. In simple terms, this Franciscan Doctor of the Church asserts that God gives special graces commensurate or corresponding to the specific office or mission given to the individual. 
Husband and wife married sacramentally have the sacramental grace of Matrimony to grow in mutual love for each other as well as to procreate children for the Kingdom of God. Priests, through Holy Orders, can grow daily in sanctity by preaching the Word of God and administering with joy the Sacraments to the People of God. God gives graces corresponding to the state of life! 
Therefore, in the case of Glorious Saint Joseph, God entrusted this greatest of all saints with two sublime missions; one mission even greater than the other. First, St. Joseph God called to be the spouse (husband) of the Queen of the angels and saints, the Blessed Virgin Mary. How sublime!  
However, God the Father entrusted Glorious Saint Joseph with an even more exalted and sublime mission—namely, the Office of being the “Foster Father” of the Son of the living God, Jesus, and the Son of the eternal Father!!!! This is even more sublime, ineffable, beyond the ability of human words to express! 
Read more...
Read more >>
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Lenten Ember Fast
edit_button

The Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of this week are the Lenten Ember Days - a time set aside for us to fast and abstain from meat. 

Although Ember Days are no longer considered required in mainstream Roman Catholicism following Vatican II, they can - and should - still be observed by the Faithful. In fact, many Traditional priests encourage the Faithful to observe the days. Ember Days are set aside to pray and/or offer thanksgiving for a good harvest and God's blessings. If you are in good health, please at least fast during these three days and pray the additional prayers the Church asks for at this time. Remember the words from the Gospel: "Unless you do penance, you shall likewise perish" (Luke 13:5).  Ember Days are days of fasting and abstinence from meat. Even if the fasting is no longer required by the Church, since this Friday is during Lent, this is no exception to the requirement to abstain from meat on this Friday.

From New Advent:

Ember days (corruption from Lat. Quatuor Tempora, four times) are the days at the beginning of the seasons ordered by the Church as days of fast and abstinence. They were definitely arranged and prescribed for the entire Church by Pope Gregory VII (1073-1085) for the Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after 13 December (S. Lucia), after Ash Wednesday, after Whitsunday, and after 14 September (Exaltation of the Cross). The purpose of their introduction, besides the general one intended by all prayer and fasting, was to thank God for the gifts of nature, to teach men to make use of them in moderation, and to assist the needy. The immediate occasion was the practice of the heathens of Rome. The Romans were originally given to agriculture, and their native gods belonged to the same class.

At the beginning of the time for seeding and harvesting religious ceremonies were performed to implore the help of their deities: in June for a bountiful harvest, in September for a rich vintage, and in December for the seeding; hence their feriae sementivae, feriae messis, and feri vindimiales. The Church, when converting heathen nations, has always tried to sanctify any practices which could be utilized for a good purpose. At first the Church in Rome had fasts in June, September, and December; the exact days were not fixed but were announced by the priests. The "Liber Pontificalis" ascribes to Pope Callistus (217-222) a law ordering: the fast, but probably it is older. Leo the Great (440-461) considers it an Apostolic institution. When the fourth season was added cannot be ascertained, but Gelasius (492-496) speaks of all four. This pope also permitted the conferring of priesthood and deaconship on the Saturdays of ember week--these were formerly given only at Easter.

Before Gelasius the ember days were known only in Rome, but after his time their observance spread. They were brought into England by St. Augustine; into Gaul and Germany by the Carlovingians. Spain adopted them with the Roman Liturgy in the eleventh century. They were introduced by St. Charles Borromeo into Milan. The Eastern Church does not know them. The present Roman Missal, in the formulary for the Ember days, retains in part the old practice of lessons from Scripture in addition to the ordinary two: for the Wednesdays three, for the Saturdays six, and seven for the Saturday in December. Some of these lessons contain promises of a bountiful harvest for those that serve God.


From Catholic Culture:
Since man is both a spiritual and physical being, the Church provides for the needs of man in his everyday life. The Church's liturgy and feasts in many areas reflect the four seasons of the year (spring, summer, fall and winter). The months of August, September, October and November are part of the harvest season, and as Christians we recall God's constant protection over his people and give thanksgiving for the year's harvest.

The September Ember Days were particularly focused on the end of the harvest season and thanksgiving to God for the season. Ember Days were three days (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday) set aside by the Church for prayer, fasting and almsgiving at the beginning of each of the four seasons of the year. The ember days fell after December 13, the feast of St. Lucy (winter), after the First Sunday of Lent (spring), after Pentecost Sunday (summer), and after September 14 , the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (fall). These weeks are known as the quattor tempora, the "four seasons."

Since the late 5th century, the Ember Days were also the preferred dates for ordination of  priests. So during these times the Church had a threefold focus: (1) sanctifying each new season by turning to God through prayer, fasting and almsgiving; (2) giving thanks to God for the various harvests of each season; and (3) praying for the newly ordained and for future vocations to the priesthood and religious life.
Read more >>
Monday, February 18, 2019
Feast of Blessed Fra Angelico
edit_button


Today is the anniversary of the death of Bl. John of Fiesole (commonly called Blessed Fra Angelico), the Angelic Dominican painter.  In the image above, Fra Angelico, who is the patron saint of artists, is overcome while painting the Crucifixion, while the angels look on in awe. Communicating truth through beauty is the whole point of picking up a paintbrush, practicing scales, putting on shoes for ballet, and the like. The artist sees this Beauty and desperately wants to communicate it.  In such a way, painters like Fra Angelico help us see what a true artist is meant to be and not what many modern "artists" claim.

Blessed Fra Angelico joined the Dominicans in Fiesole, Italy in 1407, taking the name Fra Giovanna. He was taught to illuminate missals and manuscripts, and he immediately exhibited a natural talent as an artist. Today his works can be seen in the Italian cities Cortona, Fiesole, Florence, and in the Vatican. His dedication to religious art earned him the title Angelico.  His body rests in a tomb at Santa Maria sopra Minerva, the Dominican Church of Rome.

Prayer:

O God, who called blessed John of Fiesole to seek your Kingdom in this world through the pursuit of perfect charity, grant, we pray, through his intercession that we may advance with joyful spirit along the way of love. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

(From The Roman Missal: Common of Holy Men and Women—For Religious)
Read more >>
Thursday, February 14, 2019
Review: Saint John of the Cross by Father Paschasius Heriz
edit_button

Published in 1919 and with an imprimatur and glowing review by Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore, "Saint John of the Cross" by Father Paschasius Heriz is a true treasure. Fr. Paschasius of the Carmelite Community at the Catholic University of America was a scholar and an expert on the Carmelite order. I found the first edition of this book at a second-hand store and bought it.  Inside was a true treasure of immense spiritual wisdom as evident by the life and example of St. John of the Cross.


St. John of the Cross was born in 1542 in Spain near the city of Avila to a very pious mother named Catalina Alvarez. His mother was married to St. John's father who married her for her great piety and devotion. However, for doing so, his father lost all of his wealth as a noblemen and lived only a short time afterward. St. John of the Cross's mother raised her sons, three of them, in great poverty. St. John of the Cross had two brothers - Luis who died early in life and Francis, the eldest, who would be a great friend and brother to St. John. Francis would outlive St. John of the Cross.

As a young child, St. John had an accident where he nearly drowned by was saved by an apparition of the Mother of God. That event left an impression and a fervent devotion in him - a devotion that would last for the entirety of his life. In fact, as a young man who would be saved again from falling in a deep well again by the Mother of God to the astonishment of those around.

St. John spent his adolescent years in study and rigorous prayer and penance. He was known for his immense charity to the poor by his work at the hospitals. Around this time, he received a revelation from the Lord Himself who shared that He wished for the saint to become a religious and help restore ancient perfection to an Order in his Church.

St. John of the Cross was above all a humble man and his whole life he with fear for his sins and thought he could do little perfect. Yet, by all accounts of those around him, he lived an entirely unblemished life. His prayer routine was constant, he ate little, he inflicted physical punishment upon himself his entire life, and he wished to aspire to no great thing but to live humbly and in penance for sins.

At the age of 21, St. John entered the Carmelite Order by prompting from the Holy Ghost on February 24, 1563. At that time, he took the name John of St. Mathias, since he received the habit on the Feast of St. Mathias.  At the onset, St. John felt called to personally keep the ancient Rule of the Carmelites that was given by St. Albert, patriarch of Jerusalem, which was approved by Pope Innocent IV. His superiors permitted him to do so. However, the Carmelites at that time instead kept a mitigated rule that was approved by Pope Eugenius IV. The mitigated rule allowed the consumption of meat, it did not require the fast that lasted from the Feast of the Holy Cross all the way to Easter and allowed the friars to wear shoes. Yet, St. John was called by God to observe this Rule and he did while at the Carmelite Monastery even though by doing so he was ridiculed and many days would go hungry as there were no special meals of food prepared for him. Yet, he continued to observe the ancient observance and would permit himself no excuse from any function at the monastery. At the age of 25, St. John was asked to prepare for the priesthood even though he felt far too unworthy to do so. Yet, he submitted - his whole life he submitted to his superiors - and was ordained. Feeling unworthy to offer the Mass, St. John prayed at his first Mass to preserve in purity his whole life and God answered Him at that Mass with a voice that said, "Thy prayer is granted."

The young St. John felt drawn to the Carthusian Order but he was asked by St. Teresa of Avila to help her in the restoration of the primitive Carmelite Rule of Life. He did so and received the habit of the primitive Order. Along with two other friars in 1568, Saint John renewed his solemn vows and renounced the mitigations of the rule sanctioned by Pope Eugenius IV. And they promised both Our Lord and Our Lady that they would live under the primitive rule until death. And in keeping with the custom which St. Teresa had for the sisters to change their names to avoid all connection with their family names, the saint changed his name to John of the Cross.

During the years that followed, again with the support of his superiors, St. John founded many monasteries with the approval of the Order and lived in one that was abject and completely impoverished. He chose the poorest and smallest room for himself. He read souls and counseled many nuns and friars. He is documented on several occasions to have performed exorcisms to have relieved possessed persons. And it was during this time he received many mystical experiences including trances and visions while in prayer or saying Holy Mass.

After nine years of his keeping the primitive Rule, St. John was forcibly arrested by the Carmelite Order which wished to suppress the keeping of the Primitive Rule. St. John underwent the punishment as a prisoner in a Carmelite monastery. There, the prior treated him with great irreverence, forbid him to say Mass, starved Him, refused to let him change his habit or bathe for the entire nine months of his imprisonment, and more. He was treated with the utmost contempt and St. John welcomed it all as a means to make reparation and penance. He longed to suffer and was the most docile and patient of sufferings; in fact, by the accounts were written, the patient endurance of his unjust torture resembled the patience of our Lord in His passion. Yet, after nearly a year, he received a vision from our Lady with the means to escape and he did so.

He spent the remaining years of his life in constant prayer and work for the Order. He served as Vicar-Provincial, he performed miracles, and he continued to found monasteries. This lasted for many years and then in 1587 Pope Sixtus V sanctioned separation of the friars of the reform from the friars of the mitigation. At last, in 1588 the first General Chapter of the Reform was held where St. John of the Cross was made the first Consultor and Prior of Segovia. Around this time he was in deep prayer when our Our Lord spoke to Him in a vision and asked, "John, what shall I give thee for all thou hast done and suffered for Me?" And after He asked three times, St. John responded, "To suffer and to be held in contempt for Thy sake." And his prayer was granted. In the ensuing years, he was relieved of all offices as superior, he spent his remaining years under a superior who was unkind and hateful towards him for having corrected a fault of his years before, and he died in humiliation. But St. John endured it all and desired the physical and spiritual torment he endured all for the graces and for the sake of God. At last, he died in December 1591 on a Saturday, the day dedicated to Our Lady, which was revealed to Him.

Miraculously, his body and his bandages gave forth a great perfume whose smell could not be contained. Great light filled his tomb just days after he died and his body was incorrupt. It was determined that some of his limbs were to go to some of the houses of the order so it was divided up. And the relics of his body brought many miracles to those who touched them.

Indeed, in life and in death, the life of St. John of the Cross, great father and founder of the Discalced Carmelites, is worth great meditation. I highly recommend "Saint John of the Cross" by Father Paschasius Heriz.

Read more >>
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
The 26 Holy Martyrs of Japan (Mass in Some Places)
edit_button

Reproduction of a painting of the 26 Martyrs of Nagasaki which originally appeared in the Church of Sao Paulo in Macau, China, now ruined.

February 13: Mass in Some Places

In the back of the Missal in some places on February 13th is the feastday of the Holy Martyrs of Japan. While we may be familiar with the story of St. Francis Xavier's missionary work in Japan or the miraculous appearance of Our Lady in Atika, less known is the story of these heroic martyrs.

The 26 Christian martyrs included Franciscans, Jesuits, and laypeople who were led from town to town and exposed to the insults of the people. They were crucified at Nagasaki and pierced by spears in 1597.

The imperial government at first supported the Catholic mission and the missionaries, thinking that they would reduce the power of the Buddhist monks, and help trade with Spain and Portugal. However, the government increasingly saw Catholicism as a threat. Christianity was suppressed by the Japanese government at the onset of the 17th century despite the fact that there were as many as 300,00 Catholics in Japan by the end of the 16th century. These heroic martyrs died on February 5, 1597. By 1630, Catholicism had been driven underground. Two-hundred and fifty years later, when Christian missionaries returned to Japan, they found a community of "hidden Catholics" that had survived underground.

Prayer:

O Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst consecrate the first fruits of the faith in Japan with the blood of the holy martyrs Peter Baptist, Paul, and their companions who died on the cross in imitation of Thee: grant that while celebrating their feast today, we may be spurred on by their example. Who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
Read more >>
Tuesday, February 12, 2019
How to Pray the Servite Rosary Chaplet
edit_button


Today is the Feast of the Seven Founders of the Servite Order, and as such, it is an extremely appropriate day to pray the Servite Rosary.  Never heard of it?  Few have so the following is taken from a post on Happy Catholic with a great overview of how and why to pray the Servite Rosary.

Note: The Servite Rosary beads are not the same as the standard Dominican Rosary. So if you'd like to order one, you may find one on Amazon.

How to Pray the Servite Rosary Chaplet

1) Act of Contrition
2) Announce the First Sorrow. Our Father... then pray Seven Hail Marys while meditating on the Sorrow
3) Announce each respective Sorrow, pray the Our Father, then pray Seven Hail Marys while meditating on the Sorrow.
4) Finish with three Hail Marys for the Tears of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
5) Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be for the intentions of the Holy Father 6) Final prayer is: ' Virgin Most Sorrowful, Pray for Us' three times.

The Seven Sorrows of Our Lady

The First Sorrow

The Holy Prophecy of Simeon: The Blessed Virgin, filled with joy, presented her only son in the temple. How her heart must have broken to hear the prophetic words of Simeon as he foretold the suffering of the Savior and His mother.

The Second Sorrow

The Flight of the Holy Family into Egypt: On a moments notice, St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin must take the Infant Jesus on a perilous journey to evade Herod's men who hunted Him. They endured cold, hunger and many hardships as they made their way to a foreign land.

The Third Sorrow

Mary seeks Jesus lost in Jerusalem: The Virgin Mary understands firsthand the profound sorrow of losing a child. For three agonizing days St. Joseph and the Blessed Mother searched for twelve-year-old Jesus, before finding Him among the scholars in the temple.

The Fourth Sorrow

Mary meets Jesus on the way to Calvary: Jesus, battered and condemned to crucifixion, meets His mother, on the road to Calvary. He is beaten and indescribably defiled; her sorrow is absolute as Jesus drags the cross on which He will be crucified.

The Fifth Sorrow

Mary stands at the foot of the cross: Mary stands near her dying Son, unable to minister to him as he cries "I thirst". She hears him promise heaven to a thief and forgive his enemies. His last words, "Behold your mother," a gift for all of mankind, as His Beloved Mother becomes Mother of All Peoples.

The Sixth Sorrow

Mary holds the body of Jesus: The Pieta. The passion and death are complete, but for Our Lady, grief continues. She holds His body in her arms. Meditate on her tears.

The Seventh Sorrow

Mary places the body of Jesus in the tomb: The sun goes down on the most tragic day in history. As she awaits in faith the resurrection of her Son, Mary alone in sorrow, lays the body of her Son in the tomb.

The Promises of Praying the Servite Rosary

According to the visions of St. Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373) our Blessed Mother promises to grant seven graces to those who honor her and draw near to her and her Son every day by meditating on her dolors (sorrows) and entering into her grief.

  • "I will grant peace to their families."
  • "They will be enlightened about the divine Mysteries."
  • "I will console them in their pains and will accompany them in their work."
  • "I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my divine Son or the sanctification of their souls."
  • "I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives."
  • "I will visibly help them at the moment of their death-- they will see the face of their mother."
  • "I have obtained this grace from my divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness, since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son will be their eternal consolation and joy."

St. Alphonsus Liguori testifies to complementary revelations given by Our Lord to St. Elizabeth of Hungary (1207-1231) where He further promises four special graces to those dedicated to the sufferings of the co-redeeming Mother:

  • That those who before death invoke the Blessed Mother in the name of her sorrows, should obtain true repentance of all their sins.
  • That He would protect in their tribulations all who remember this devotion, and that He would protect them especially at the hour of death.
  • That He would impress upon their minds the remembrance of His Passion, and that they should have their reward for it in Heaven.
  • That He would commit such devout clients to the hands of Mary, so that she might obtain for these souls all the graces she wanted to lavish upon them.
Read more >>
Monday, February 11, 2019
Pope Francis: “Diversity of Religions” is “Willed by God”
edit_button

Image Copyright Holy See Press Office

Guest Post By David Martin

Pope Francis has incited more controversy by signing a joint statement with the head of Egypt’s al-Azhar Mosque, which states that "diversity of religions" is "willed by God." 

The Pope signed the “Document on Human Fraternity for World Peace and Living Together,” with Ahmad el-Tayeb, during an interreligious meeting in Abu Dhabi on February 4. The event marked the high point of the pope’s three-day apostolic visit to the United Arab Emirates.

The document calls upon “all persons who have faith in God and faith in human fraternity to unite and work together so that it may serve as a guide for future generations.”

By "human fraternity," the proponents of the document mean fraternity in the flesh. The only true fraternity is to extend the riches of the Catholic Faith to all peoples, outside of which there is no real fraternity. For it is only through conversion to the One True Church that we become brothers and sisters in Christ.

However, the passage inciting controversy reads:
Freedom is a right of every person: each individual enjoys the freedom of belief, thought, expression and action. The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings. This divine wisdom is the source from which the right to freedom of belief and the freedom to be different derives. Therefore, the fact that people are forced to adhere to a certain religion or culture must be rejected, as too the imposition of a cultural way of life that others do not accept.
Since when does God grant anyone the "freedom" to resist the truth and "do whatever thou wilt?" The Church has always admonished mankind "to adhere to a certain religion," i.e. the Catholic Church. This is not an "imposition" but a profession of the absolute truth that must be adhered to if man wishes to be saved. To say that this preaching "must be rejected" is to say that the Church for 2000 years was wrong.

Moreover, saying that “the diversity of religions” is “willed by God” has every appearance of heresy. The mission of the Church from the beginning is to bring the knowledge of God to the world and "teach all nations" (Matt. 28:19), that all peoples might leave their particular idols and creeds and be converted to the Catholic Church. The Church infallibly teaches that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church (extra ecclesiam nulla salus), so unless Francis means that this diversity of religion is permissively willed by God to elicit the Church's response to reach out and convert other religions, he is negating dogma and dignifying the errors of fake religion.

For to say that God willed diversity of religions in the ordained sense is to say that God engendered these religions, which is heresy. And since Francis obviously means that diversity of "color, sex, race and language are willed by God" in the ordained sense (which they are), we can only assume he means "diversity of religions" the same way.

Even if other religions agreed with Catholic teaching they could not coexist with the Catholic Church for the simple reason that Christ did not found them—they’re invalid and operate out of grace. The fact is that every world religion exists in opposition to the Roman Catholic Church, which means the Catholic Church may never unite with them.

Francis has consistently urged the Church to ecumenically unite with other religions, so by “diversity of religions” we can safely infer that he is advocating post-Vatican II ecumenism, which is all about unity with man and not with God. Should the pope be using his position to advance this secular humanism?


Note: Cardinal Müller issues Manifesto of Faith: A quasi correction of Pope Francis’ pontificate
Read more >>
Thursday, February 7, 2019
Visit to Mission San Luis Obispo
edit_button

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit Mission San Luis Obispo in San Luis Obispo, CA, which is located about equidistant from both San Francisco and Los Angeles. Here are some of the images I was able to capture this historic mission, which is completely free to visit, unlike many other missions.









Read more >>
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Ss. Vedast and Amand: The Forgotten Saints of February 6th
edit_button

Today in the Dominican Order for February 6th is celebrated the Memory of Ss. Vedast and Amand. As a side note, February 6th is also the day on which the Office of the Dead is prayed for the repose of the soul of parents of Dominicans who have passed away.

February 6th is in the Traditional Roman Rite the feastday of St. Titus who was assigned to February 6th in 1854. Before 1854, St. Titus' feast day was celebrated in a few calendars on January 4th. The feast of St Titus was added to the General Calendar only in 1854, as a kind of extension of the same general principle behind the addition of St Timothy to the Roman Calendar in 1568.

In the Dominican Rite - and the Sarum Rite likewise - February 6th was never modified to the feastday of St. Titus or even St. Dorothy, who is commemorated in the Roman Missal on February 6th.  Those rites have retained February 6th in honor of Ss. Vedast and Amand

So who were St. Vedast and St. Amand? St. Vedast (also called "Vaast") and St. Amand were both important founders of canonical communities in what is now northern France; their cultus was widely diffused throughout France and passed with the Normans into England which is why they are in Sarum.  St. Amand also Christianised Flanders in present-day Belgium.

Quoted from Catholic Online:
St. Vedast, a native of western France, is best-known as the catechist of Clovis, King of the Franks. Ordained at Toul, Vedast met Clovis when the king required a learned man to accompany him to Rheims after the battle of Tolbiac (496); upon their arrival, Clovis recommended his companion to Archbishop Remigius, who was to baptize the king after his wife, Clotilde had converted him to Christianity. The two clerics evangelized the Franks, and in 499, Vedast was named bishop of Arras and Cambrai, dioceses that had returned to paganism after the raids of Atilla. During his forty-year tenure, Vedast restored the faith of his people and the churches in which they worshipped.
St. Amand was a father of monasticism in ancient Belgium and a score of monasteries claimed him as founder. He found houses at Elnone (Saint-Amand-les-Eaux), near Tournai, which became his headquarters, St. Peters on Mont-Blendin at Ghent, but probably not St. Bavo's there as well; Nivells, for nuns, with Blessed Ida and St. Gertrude, Barisis-au-Bois, and probably three more. It is said, though possibly apocryphal, that in 646 he was chosen bishop of Maestricht, but that three years later, he resigned that See to St. Remaclus and returned to the missions which he had always had most at heart. He continued his labors among the heathens until a great age, when, broken with infirmities, he retired to Elnone. There he governed as Abbot for four years, spending his time in preparing for the death which came to him at last soon after 676. That St. Amand was one of the most imposing figures of the Merovingian epoch, is disputed by no serious historian; he was not unknown in England, and the pre-Reformation chapel of the Eyston family at east Hendred in Birkshire is dedicated in his honor.
The Collect from the Dominican Missal:

O God, You surround and shield us by the glorious witness of Your confessors Vedast and Amand; grant us to be made better by imitating them, and happier by their intercession, through our Lord...
Read more >>
Monday, February 4, 2019
Bishop Von Galen: Protector of the Blessed Sacrament
edit_button


Bishop Von Galen is a true bishop who stood as a shepherd in the face of conflict.

Fr. Ronald Brown, a traditional priest, shared this story on Facebook recently:
Hitler is recorded to have remarked that he only wished he "could get his hands around his neck" to silence him. The saintly bishop withstood the evils of the Nazi regime which practiced euthanasia on those "not fit" for society (the sick, the mentally retarded etc). In the face of this, the bishop said: "once it is admitted that people have the right to kill 'unproductive' human beings - and if there are now poor, defenseless, insane, disabled, unborn children -, then basically the murder of all unproductive people, so to the incurable sick, the disabled cripples, the invalids of work and war, then the murder of all of us is released when we are old and decrepit and thus unproductive." (Sermon 3. August 1941, St. Lamberti Münster)
Interestingly and profoundly, he added:
He was extremely tall. His death came about because, while administering Holy Communion, he tripped; rather than drop the Ciboria with all the hosts, he protected the Ciborium and pierced himself on the Communion rail. That accident and subsequent illness brought about very sadly his death. He might also be known as the "protector of the Blessed Sacrament."
Read more >>
Sunday, February 3, 2019
6 Years into Pope Francis's Papacy: The Disastrous Results
edit_button


  • Francis says that he celebrated Martin Luther’s “Reformation” last year.  Francis thus celebrated Martin
  • Luther’s revolution against the Catholic Church.  He received a statue of Luther in the Vatican.
  • According to Francis, you shouldn’t say even one word to attempt to convince someone that the Catholic faith is the true religion.
  • Francis called a deceased Buddhist “Venerable”.
  • Francis teaches that you can die as an atheist and go to Heaven!
  • Francis learned that a priest told others that a mortal sinner was not saved.  Francis tries to “reassure” the people that the priest is not correct.
  • Francis identifies an Islamic leader as an authentic believer.
  • Francis says you shouldn’t try to convert people to Catholicism.
  • For a person to be saved, he or she must be baptized, have the true faith, and die in the state of grace.  Francis teaches that all men will be saved regardless.
  • The London Times newspaper reported that a group of cardinals who supported Pope Francis now want him to resign and be replaced by Cardinal Pietro Parolin because they fear his reforms will cause a schism “more disastrous” than the Reformation.
  • Prominent Catholic philosophers and a world expert on the Church Fathers have joined the growing chorus of voices expressing deep concerns over the implications of Pope Francis’s controversial exhortation Amoris Laetitia which allows divorced Catholics to receive communion without an annulment. “The seeming ‘internal waffling’ going on inside the Church over the issue of Holy Communion for the divorced and remarried is undermining the Church’s moral authority”, wrote Dr. Jude P. Dougherty, the dean emeritus of the School of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America. In a 25-page letter, nearly 70 Catholic theologians and clergy assert that the pontiff has propagated “heretical propositions” on “marriage, the moral law, and the reception of the sacraments.”
  • Pope Francis said, “If we speak explicitly about communion for the divorced and remarried, you do not know what a terrible mess we will make. So we won’t speak plainly.”
  • Pope Francis called Italy’s foremost abortion promoter one of nation’s ‘forgotten greats’. In an interview with
  • “Corriere Della Sera” he praised Italy’s unrepentant leading abortionist and proponent of abortion, Emma Bonino, as one of the nation’s “forgotten greats,” comparing her to great historical figures.
  • An 88-year-old American former cardinal, who was already the highest-ranking US priest accused of sexual abuse, has suddenly found himself at the centre of the latest storm that has engulfed the Roman Catholic church and marred the pope’s visit to Ireland.
  • Theodore McCarrick resigned as a cardinal last month over abuse allegations arising from a series of grand jury investigations in the state of Pennsylvania. Pope Francis had been aware of the allegations against McCarrick since 2013 but had failed to act on them.
  • Pope Francis has now promoted the notorious Tymothy Radcliffe (who favours homosexuality) to Consultor to the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. This is a Papal appointment. Radcliffe is well-known, and outspoken in favor of homosexuality.
  • In his clearing out and re-stacking of the Vatican’s highest pro-life institution, the Pontifical Academy For Life, Pope Francis has not invited many former members specifically chosen by Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI for their pro-life-and-family credentials as well as their fidelity to Catholic teaching. At the same time, however, Pope Francis appointed a pro-abortion theologian who has expressed support for euthanasia in certain circumstances.
  • Pope Francis changed Holy Thursday foot-washing ritual to include women. Christ washed the feet of his all-male apostles at the Last Supper.
  • United States Vice President Joe Biden addressed a Vatican conference on adult stem cell research Friday just before Pope Francis spoke. Biden’s invitation has sparked criticism because he supports the taxpayer-funded killing of embryonic human beings for research purposes.  He is also a vocal proponent of abortion, same-sex “marriage,” and the LGBT agenda, yet he flaunts his Catholic faith as an important part of his life.
  • Pope Francis gave awards to Hollywood pro-abortion, anti-marriage advocates Richard Gere, George Clooney, and Salma Hayek.
  • The pope made the dual claimed that some cohabitating (unmarried) couples are in a “real marriage,” receiving the grace of the Sacrament. Later in his reply, Pope Francis spoke of couples preferring to cohabitate and told priests not to tell them to marry.
  • Pope Francis has named Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich to serve as a member of the Congregation for Bishops. When he was the bishop of Spokane, Washington, Cupich requested that priests and seminarians of his diocese not participate in 40 Days for Life prayer vigils outside abortion facilities. In August 2015, in the wake of the Center for Medical Progress videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s baby body parts trafficking scandal, Cupich wrote that unemployment and hunger are just as appalling as killing children in the womb.  Cupich has openly contradicted Catholic canon law on giving Holy Communion to those in a state of mortal sin.
  • Pope Francis called on Catholics to go to confession for sins of not being respectful of creation, giving examples of examination of conscience such as “avoiding the use of plastic and paper,” “separating refuse” and “turning off unnecessary lights.”
  • Members of the Pontifical Academy for Life will no longer be required to sign a declaration that they uphold the Church’s pro-life teachings. In new statutes for the Vatican body, Pope Francis has also expanded its mandate to include a focus on the environment.
  • Pope Francis criticized the “rigidity” of young people who are attached to the Traditional Latin Mass.
Read more >>
Saturday, February 2, 2019
Laetabundus: The Ancient Sequence for Candlemas
edit_button


This very ancient Sequence was excluded from the Roman Missal in 1570 but survived in other traditions including Gallican, Sarum, Dominican and Carmelite liturgies. It is sung at various points during the Christmas-tide, from the Masses of Christmas Day to as late as Candlemas, Feb. 2. To introduce this sequence, Dom Prosper Gueranger wrote:

"As a conclusion to our Feast, we give two favourite Pieces of the Middle-Ages, whereby our Fathers expressed their joy on this glorious Solemnity. The first is a Sequence, which is to be found in all the Roman-French Missals. For a long time, it was thought to have been written by St. Bernard: but, we have seen it in a Manuscript of the 11th Century, and, consequently, it must have been written earlier than the date usually assigned to it."
Read more >>
Thursday, January 31, 2019
What Does Papal Infallibility Mean?
edit_button


"Infallibility" is one of those doctrines the modern world has a lot of trouble accepting.  Part of the problem is that some have mistaken the word to mean that the pope, who is a human being, is without error in everything he says and does. This is not what infallibility means.

The First Vatican Council made clear that infallibility relates to the "office" of the Pope, not the man himself. When the Pope speaks "ex cathedra" or from the very seat of Peter, in order to define and defend matters of faith and morals, these teachings are to be believed by all the faithful. He speaks as the successor of Peter who was given this authority by Jesus. The pope speaks from a basis in Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture.

To understand this better, we can look to the family unit as a microcosm of the spiritual world. The need for a "defining word" is experienced on an everyday level here. There are times when a parent must say, "I have made the decision and it is final." This proclamation is necessary to preserve the unity of the family. Without it, some members of the family would dissent and go astray. The family is split and the peace of the family is shattered until the head of the household makes a decision to clarify what is true, right and good.

For over 1000 years Christianity was one family, one flock, under the guidance of the Pope, who is the Father and the shepherd of the faithful.  But then the Patriarch of Constantinople rebelled in 1054. Five hundred years later, Martin Luther rebelled. Since that schism begun by Luther, over 25,000 new denominations have split off from the first splits, and more schisms occur every day. All of this dissension and division reflects a denial of authority.

Yet, the one true Catholic Church has continued in an unbroken line from Peter down to the present. This is so, because Jesus promised it saying, "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it [the Church.]" No other institution in the world has preserved its identity and structure for 2000 years. 

The Church, beginning with the Council of Constantinople in 381, proclaimed that there are four marks which indicate her authority: She is "one [united under one God with one baptism in the Body of Christ], holy [as proclaimed by Christ], catholic [meaning universal], and apostolic [guided in a direct line from the Apostles as the first teaching authorities of the Church.]"

Organization and structure within the Church reflect the orderliness and structure of God!

The Baltimore Catechism succinctly summarizes papal infallibility:

124. Q. What is meant by the infallibility of the Church?
A. By the infallibility of the Church it is meant that the Church cannot err when she teaches a doctrine of faith or morals.

125. Q. When does the Church teach infallibly?
A. The Church teaches infallibly when she speaks through the Pope and the bishops, united in general council. Or through the Pope alone when he proclaims to all the faithful a doctrine of faith or morals.

126. Q. What is meant by the indefectibility of the Church?
A. By the indefectibility of the Church it is meant that the Church, as Christ founded her, will last till the end of time.

Here are some notable Popes and their contributions to the world:

The first 31 popes, with the exception of Pope Zephyrinus, died as martyrs

St. Cornelius was a pope for two years from 251 to 253. He pronounced that those who had denied Christ in order to avoid persecution, could confess, do penance and come back to the sacraments. When the persecutions began again, Cornelius faced exile. During his time of trial, he wrote that each bishopric should have an exorcist. He died from various hardships endured during his exile.

St. Leo the Great was the pope from 440-461. He clarified the doctrine about the two natures of Jesus-Jesus is both fully human and fully divine. St. Leo described this as a "hypostatic union."  (Hypostatic means "personal." This is the union of two natures in one person.) This Pope also helped clarify the pope's role in speaking in union with St. Peter with the aid of the Holy Spirit. He is best known for convincing Attila the Hun not to invade Italy. He is a Doctor of the Church.

St. Gregory the Great was the pope from 590-604. He came to be known as the "Father of Christian worship" for his dedication to the sacredness of the liturgy. He wrote music and Gregorian chants bear his name. He was especially charitable in caring for the poor.

Pope Leo III named Charlemagne the Holy Roman Emperor on Christmas Day in 800. As a result of this joining together of temporal and spiritual, Europe was transformed. The first schools were started inside monasteries, ancient books were copied and preserved; advances were made in art, architecture and agriculture.

Pope Urban II called for the First Crusade to defend the Holy Lands, and free the Christian in the east from persecutions by the Muslim Turks, in 1095. He also created the Roman Curia to help administer the needs of the worldwide Church.

St. Pius V was the pope from 1566-1572. He called together a Holy League to do battle at Lepanto against the ships of the invading Muslims. He credited the victory of the untrained Christian sailors to the praying of the rosary. He instituted the feast of Our Lady of Victory which later became known as the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. St. Pius guided the work of the Council of Trent.

Pope Urban VIII announced that he would excommunicate any colonists in the New World who tried to capture and enslave the native people.

Blessed Pius IX sat on the Chair of Peter from 1846-1878. He called the First Vatican Council in 1869 and that council outlined the doctrine of papal infallibility. He defined the infallible dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

Pope Leo XIII wrote an encyclical to define Catholic social teaching, Rerum Novarum, defending the rights of the worker. He was a Marian pope, writing extensively on Mary's role in salvation history and the power of the Rosary.

St. Pius X was the pope from 1903-1914. He spoke out against the rising popularity of the philosophy of "relativism" and called for a return to orthodoxy within the Church. He called for the practice of frequent communion. He published the first Code of Canon Law.

Pope Pius XII was the pope from 1939-1958. He defined the infallible dogma of the Assumption of Mary.


From Chapter 4 of the First Vatican Council: On Infallibility

5. The Roman pontiffs, too, as the circumstances of the time or the state of affairs suggested, sometimes by summoning ecumenical councils or consulting the opinion of the Churches scattered throughout the world, sometimes by special synods, sometimes by taking advantage of other useful means afforded by divine providence, defined as doctrines to be held those things which, by God's help, they knew to be in keeping with Sacred Scripture and the apostolic traditions.

6. For the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles.

Indeed, their apostolic teaching was embraced by all the venerable fathers and reverenced and followed by all the holy orthodox doctors, for they knew very well that this See of St. Peter always remains unblemished by any error, in accordance with the divine promise of our Lord and Savior to the prince of his disciples: I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.

7. This gift of truth and never-failing faith was therefore divinely conferred on Peter and his successors in this See so that they might discharge their exalted office for the salvation of all, and so that the whole flock of Christ might be kept away by them from the poisonous food of error and be nourished with the sustenance of heavenly doctrine. Thus the tendency to schism is removed and the whole Church is preserved in unity, and, resting on its foundation, can stand firm against the gates of hell.

8. But since in this very age when the salutary effectiveness of the apostolic office is most especially needed, not a few are to be found who disparage its authority, we judge it absolutely necessary to affirm solemnly the prerogative which the only-begotten Son of God was pleased to attach to the supreme pastoral office.

9. Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith, to the glory of God our savior, for the exaltation of the Catholic religion and for the salvation of the Christian people, with the approval of the Sacred Council, we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable.

So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema.

Given at Rome in public session, solemnly held in the Vatican Basilica in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy, on the eighteenth day of July, in the twenty-fifth year of Our Pontificate.

Fr. John Laux summarizes Papal infallibility when he writes:

"The [First Vatican] Council did not declare that the Pope cannot sin; neither did it declare that he can in no way err; nor that he cannot personally hold erroneous views in matters of faith; but merely that he is infallible, not subject to error, when he decides ex cathedra - that is, as Head and Teacher of the whole Church - upon matters of faith and morals."
Read more >>
Sunday, January 27, 2019
Visit to Mission San Juan Bautista
edit_button

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Mission San Juan Bautista in mid-California. The mission is famous for its design where on the summer solstice the rising sun will directly shine rays of light on the tabernacle. It's marvelous and you can see pictures and read more on the solstices at the California missions on Tradition in Action.

Here are some highlights from my time at this historic church.
















Read more >>
Thursday, January 24, 2019
The Only Person for Whom Jesus Prayed in the Gospels
edit_button

"And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not, and thou being once converted confirm thy brethren" (Luke 22:31-32). Christ's prayer - the prayer of God - was necessarily effective; by it Peter was permanently confirmed in the faith which never failed him, though his moral courage did. Christ prayed for all His Apostles (John 17:9ff); but He prayed in an especial manner for Peter, upon whom the duty devolved of "strengthening his brethren." It is the only record we have of Our Lord offering prayer for an individual. This fact alone helps us to define Peter's relation to his fellow-Apostles. 
Three times the risen Lord asked Peter: "Lovest thou Me?" And after Peter's threefold assurance: "Lord, thou knowest that I love Thee," the Good Shepherd makes Peter shepherd in succession to Himself. "Feed My lambs, feed My sheep" (John 21:15-17) 
There can be no doubt as to the meaning of Christ's words. In the language of the Old Testament (cf. Ezech. 37:22-25) as well as in the Greek language, kings are rulers are called shepherds of the people. To Peter is given the office of leader and ruler of Christ's people. He is not primus inter pares - "the first among his peers," as the Anglicans and Episcopalians would have us believe, but he is their Shepherd, their guide and leader, their Supreme Head.
More information: Primacy of Peter 
Read more >>
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Christ to the Hierarchy: “Unto Whomsoever Much is Given, of Him Much Shall be Required”
edit_button

Guest Post by David Martin

The 25th chapter of St. Matthew’s Gospel contains a valuable lesson concerning Christ’s judgment upon the negligent when he returns. The famous Parable of the Talents speaks of the man who delivered to his three servants talents of money with the commission that they trade them and reap profits for him while he was away. The servants were given 5, 2, and 1 talents respectively, the first two of whom traded and doubled their gains, while the third servant fearfully hid his talent in the earth without gaining anything for his lord.

The talents and their return signify the account we will have to make according to what we have received.  When it came time for the servants to reckon with their master, the first two presented their gains to him, for which they were rewarded with promotions. “But he that had received the one talent, came and said: Lord, I know that thou art a hard man; thou reapest where thou hast not sown, and gatherest where thou hast not strewed. And being afraid I went and hid thy talent in the earth: behold here thou hast that which is thine.” (Mt: 25: 24,25)
“And his lord answering, said to him: Wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sow not, and gather where I have not strewed: Thou oughtest therefore to have committed my money to the bankers, and at my coming I should have received my own with usury. Take ye away therefore the talent from him, and give it to him that hath ten talents…. And the unprofitable servant cast ye out into the exterior darkness. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 25: 26-30)
The lord in this parable represents Christ Himself. What He is saying is that when we have been given the ability (talent) to do good in the Kingdom through our endowments of grace, nature, or otherwise, and then we slothfully waste it away and don't use it for our salvation and that of others, we will be accountable.

This warning applies especially to the Catholic hierarchy. The bishops and priests have been given a tremendous talent, yea, push-button power to effectively steer the Church and the world onto a safer course, but instead they have used their talent to betray the Faith and pacify the Church's enemies for worldly gain. The Son of Man is truly sold out again for 30 pieces of silver.

Before the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections, the United States Catholic Bishops (USCCB) could have prevented Obama’s election by using their position (talent) to admonish the Church in America not to vote for the pro-abortion candidate under the pain of sin. They could have easily mandated that an admonition be read at all the Sunday Masses across America before the elections, but no, they timidly "buried their talent in the *earth" and said nothing for fear of offending murderers. Because of this negligence, over fifty percent of America's Catholics voted for pro-abortion Obama in both elections, thus empowering him to advance his culture of death throughout the U.S. and beyond.

Worse yet, the bishops have used their God-given talent to help empower treasonous causes like Obamacare, Soros-funded open-border "immigration reform," and LGBT political agenda, not to mention that they have spent their days hacking away at tradition and implementing perfidious changes aimed at destroying the Church and uniting it with the world. As in Christ’s time, the high-priests go about stirring up the people against Jesus’ doctrine and parading themselves as ministers of "mercy" just to advance their humanist "tradition of men." (Mk 7:8)

Fatima Ignored by the Hierarchy

Looking at this a little deeper, the culture of death has its roots in Communism, which explains why abortion is so rampant in America—the agents of Communism are now entrenched in our government. Our Lady at Fatima asked that the pope and bishops join on one day to Consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart in order to avert this spread of Communism. She warned that if Her requests were not heeded the errors of Russia would spread throughout the world and even into the Church.

Unfortunately, Our Lady’s requests were not heeded and thus, Russia did not convert, and as such, the deceptive influence of Communism is alive and at work today in the Church and throughout the world. The dark cloud of Socialism continues to lower upon the west and has now brought us to an unprecedented red eclipse that portends to the gruesome events foretold in the Fatima message.

The Consecration of Russia would bring Our Lady's crushing heel upon the Marxist red dragon and reverse everything that Communism is generating, i.e. the culture of death, terrorism, the desecration of the Mass and Eucharist, etc., but unfortunately, the bishops are too busy pacifying the Communists, with much help from Pope Francis who has repeatedly used his talent to say that “it is the communists who think like Christians.”

Worse yet, Francis through a “provisional agreement” on September 22 gave non-ordained Communist “bishops” of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association official jurisdiction over the underground Church in China. The bishops of the CCPA are Communist agents, men of the state, who were “consecrated” by the Chinese Party-State and who deceptively wear the bishops’ miter to strengthen their mission to oppress the underground Church in China.

Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong, a fierce critic of the deal with Communist Beijing said, “They’re giving the flock into the mouths of wolves,” adding that “The consequences will be tragic and long-lasting, not only for the church in China but for the whole Church because it damages the credibility.” (LifeSiteNews, September 22, 2018) 

The hierarchy will have to stand before Christ and account for its negligence and abuse of power. The pope and bishops need to repent of their collusion and repatriate themselves to Christ, or else we will soon see the fulfillment of Our Lady's prophecy that "Various nations will be annihilated." Let the bishops consider the following scriptural warning to all princes and religious leaders, lest they too be cast “into the exterior darkness.”
“For power is given you by the Lord, and strength by the Most High, who will examine your works, and search out your thoughts: Because being ministers of his kingdom, you have not judged rightly, nor kept the law of justice, nor walked according to the will of God. Horribly and speedily will he appear to you: for a most severe judgment shall be for them that bear rule.” (Wisdom 6:4-6)
*According to the late Bible scholar Fr. George Leo Haydock (1774-1849), placing talents in the earth “represents all those who, having received any good quality, whether mental or corporal, employ it only on earthly things.”

Read more >>
Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Day of Penance for Violations Against Human Life
edit_button


As a reminder, January 22nd (when not a Sunday) is a Day of Penance in the United States for violations against human life due to the dangerous Roe vs. Wade Court Decision. We must do penance and continue to work for the protection of the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death.

Don't forget it is an official day of Penance in the United States: "Day of Prayer and Penance for Life." Cardinal William Keeler responded when asked if abstaining from meat in asked: "It is not asked, but obliged by all the faithful under Church law. This time it cannot be substituted with acts of charity or service, while on Fridays it can. I hope the pastors informed their parishioners of this from the pulpit last Sunday!..."

Liturgically, today is the feastday of St. Vincent of Saragossa 
Read more >>
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Why Catholicism Must Be True
edit_button


"If twelve men without influence, without knowledge, inexperienced in the ways of the world, but loving Christ profoundly, have succeeded by the aid of some poor Jews in spreading the Christian Faith throughout the Roman Empire; if they have accomplished what Greece with all its eloquence, and Rome with its military power have failed to achieve; if they have succeeded in founding an institution which has lasted [20] centuries - an institution which has regenerated the world, emancipated the slave, rehabilitated women, dignified family life, comforted the afflicted, uprooted vices, taught sublime truths, pure morality and heroic virtue,an institution which has resisted long-continued and dangerous destructive tendencies, undergone centuries of persecution, witnessed the passing away of kingdoms and peoples, remaining itself erect and immovable upon the ruins of time - an institution which has opposed human interests and passions -surely we have here the greatest of miracles. Unless the principle of causality be denied or the cogency of evidence called in question, it is necessary to recognize that this institution is Divine" (Francois de Lamy).
Read more >>
Sunday, January 13, 2019
The Forgotten Sacramental: Blessed Salt
edit_button

Holy Water, Rosaries, Scapulars, Crucifixes, but... salt?  Yes, surprisingly to many, a powerful yet forgotten sacramental exists which is none other than Blessed Salt.

A few weeks ago I visited a parish that actually had containers of salt near the front door that were blessed. They asked for a very minimal donation of only 40 cents per 26 oz Iodized Salt container like you would find at the grocery store.  They noted on the top of the salt containers that they were all blessed by the priest with the special blessing reserved for salt.  I happily picked up one, made a donation, and parceled it out to several people in small containers.

Blessed Salt is a Sacramental that needs to make a comeback in the Church. In fact, I see very few traditional Catholic parishes that even make it available.

Blessed Salt is a powerful Sacramental.  The Rituale Romanum blessing of Holy Water, in fact, required exorcized salt.  How was salt exorcized and why?  Let's hear the prayer from the Rituale:
God's creature, salt, I cast out the demon from you by the living + God, by the true + God, by the holy + God, by God who ordered you to be thrown into the water- spring by Eliseus to heal it of its barrenness. May you be a purified salt, a means of health for those who believe, a medicine for body and soul for all who make use of you. May all evil fancies of the foul fiend, his malice and cunning, be driven afar from the place where you are sprinkled. And let every unclean spirit be repulsed by Him who is coming to judge both the living and the dead and the world by fire. 
All: Amen. 
Let us pray. 
Almighty everlasting God, we humbly appeal to your mercy and goodness to graciously bless + this creature, salt, which you have given for mankind's use. May all who use it find in it a remedy for body and mind. And may everything that it touches or sprinkles be freed from uncleanness and any influence of the evil spirit; through Christ our Lord. 
All: Amen.
Why was it done?  The practice of putting salt into the water comes no doubt from the incident of the miraculous cure of the poisonous well (see 4 Kings 2.19-21), where the prophet Eliseus used salt to purify the water of the well.


Later on, in the blessing of Holy Water, the priest will pour the salt into the water and pray:
God, source of irresistible might and king of an invincible realm, the ever-glorious conqueror; who restrain the force of the adversary, silencing the uproar of his rage, and valiantly subduing his wickedness; in awe and humility we beg you, Lord, to regard with favor this creature thing of salt and water, to let the light of your kindness shine upon it, and to hallow it with the dew of your mercy; so that wherever it is sprinkled and your holy name is invoked, every assault of the unclean spirit may be baffled, and all dread of the serpent's venom be cast out. To us who entreat your mercy grant that the Holy Spirit may be with us wherever we may be; through Christ our Lord. All: Amen.
So the blessing of salt is more than a blessing - it is an exorcism.  But unlike what most people think when they hear the word "exorcism", it is a minor and not a major exorcism. The USCCB's website provides information on the distinction:
While both forms of exorcism are directed against the power of the devil, the Rite of Major Exorcism is employed only when there is a case of genuine demonic possession, namely, when it is determined that the presence of the devil is in the body of the possessed and the devil is able to exercise dominion over that body. 
Minor exorcisms are prayers used to break the influence of evil and sin in a person's life, whether as a catechumen preparing for Baptism or as one of the Baptized faithful striving to overcome the influence of evil and sin in his or her life.
While unlike Sacraments, the number of Sacramentals can be increased or decreased by the Church. And unlike Sacraments which give actual grace, the Sacramentals do not give grace in and of themselves. As the Baltimore Catechism explained: "The Sacramentals of themselves do not remit venial sins, but they move us to truer devotion, to greater love for God and greater sorrow for our sins, and this devotion, love, and sorrow bring us grace, and the grace remits venial sins."  And furthermore, the Catechism states, "The difference between the Sacraments and the Sacramentals is: 1. The Sacraments were instituted by Jesus Christ and the Sacramentals were instituted by the Church; 2. The Sacraments give grace of themselves when we place no obstacle in the way; 3. The Sacramentals excite in us pious dispositions, by means of which we may obtain grace."

The laity are certainly permitted to use exorcized salt or any other sacramental that the Church has for their disposition. To those who have blessed salt, it is recommended to keep it in a separate container marked as "Blessed Salt" so as not to mix it up with the other salt in the home.  And when it is used, it is not a magic weapon - it should be used with reverence and while saying a short prayer to ask for grace from Almighty God. The laity can sprinkle the blessed salt in small amounts on their property, throughout their neighbor, at the threshold of their door praying against the threat of burglary, or use it in their cooking too - all while doing so in a prayerful manner.

So ask your priest to pick up a copy of the Rituale Romanum and provide for you and your parish this treasure - the forgotten sacramental of Blessed Salt.
Read more >>
Monday, January 7, 2019
2019 Solemn High Mass for the Epiphany with Solemn Blessing of Water and the Epiphany Proclamation Chant
edit_button

Some highlights from yesterday's Solemn High Mass for the Epiphany of the Lord including the solemn blessing of Epiphany water and the Epiphany Proclamation. Praying and hoping that many more TLMs will be said here at the Church of the Immaculate Heart in Belmont. Thanks go out in a big way to the Traditional Latin Mass Society of San Francisco.

Solemn Blessing of Epiphany Water:






Epiphany Proclamation:



“Know, dearest brethren, by the gift of God’s mercy, as we have rejoiced for the birth of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, so also we announce to you joy for the Resurrection of the same Our Savior. On the seventeenth day of February will be Septuagesima Sunday. On the sixth of March, the day of Ashes, and the beginning of the fast of most holy Lent. On the twenty-first of April, we will celebrate with joy the holy Easter of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. On the thirtieth of May will be the Ascension of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. On the ninth of June, the feast of Pentecost. On the twentieth of the same month, the feast of the most holy Body of Christ. On the first of December, the first Sunday of the Advent of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, to whom belong honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Solemn High Mass:









Photos (c) A Catholic Life Blog, 2019
Read more >>

Copyright / Disclaimer

Copyright Notice: Unless otherwise stated, all items are copyrighted under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. If you quote from this blog, cite a link to the post on this blog in your article.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links on this blog are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and/or believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”