Thursday, January 31, 2019
What Does Papal Infallibility Mean?

"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."
Sunday, January 27, 2019
Visit to Mission San Juan Bautista

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.

Thursday, January 24, 2019
The Only Person for Whom Jesus Prayed in the Gospels

"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 
Wednesday, January 23, 2019
Christ to the Hierarchy: “Unto Whomsoever Much is Given, of Him Much Shall be Required”

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.”

Tuesday, January 22, 2019
Day of Penance for Violations Against Human Life

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... I hope the pastors informed their parishioners of this from the pulpit last Sunday!..."

Liturgically, today is the feastday of St. Vincent of Saragossa.


O God our Creator, we give thanks to thee, who alone hast the power to impart the breath of life as thou dost form each of us in our mother’s womb: Grant, we pray; that we, whom thou hast made stewards of creation, may remain faithful to this sacred trust and constant in safeguarding the dignity of every human life; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Prayer Source: Anglican Use Missal
Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Why Catholicism Must Be True

"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).
Sunday, January 13, 2019
The Forgotten Sacramental: Blessed Salt

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.
Monday, January 7, 2019
2019 Solemn High Mass for the Epiphany with Solemn Blessing of Water and the Epiphany Proclamation Chant

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
Sunday, January 6, 2019
Catholic Resolutions 2019

Each year I have made what I call "Catholic Resolutions."  These New Years Resolutions are not centered on losing weight, eating more healthy, or the like.  Rather, these resolutions each year are centered around my spiritual life.  I encourage all of you to make resolutions specifically geared on improving your own Faith life and your own knowledge of the Faith.  Ask yourself:

1. Do I know the Faith that I profess to believe in?  If not, how can I learn more?  For example, has an ideal Adult Course just for this purpose.
2. Am I truly living a Catholic life?  Am I learning more prayers?  Am I helping others to learn the Faith and live it out?  Do I regularly receive the Sacraments?
3. Do you struggle with certain sins or addictions?
4. Do you need to make more donations to Catholic organizations or pro-life charities?

This is the time of year to truly set Catholic Resolutions which will have eternal repercussions.

Some General Suggestions of Catholic Resolutions for 2019:

  1. Pray the Rosary everyday if you are out of the habit 
  2. Pray Lauds (morning prayer) and Vespers (evening prayer).
  3. Say a prayer for the Poor Souls in Purgatory everyday, such as the St Gertrude Prayer
  4. Attend Mass one day extra a week in ADDITION to Sunday. And if you have fallen away from Mass, start going weekly again 
  5. Make it a habit to go to Confession at least every 2 weeks 
  6. Fulfill the First Friday Devotion as well as the First Saturday Devotion
  7. If you don't, start wearing the Brown Scapular

I will begin with reviewing my 2018 Resolutions:

2018 Catholic Resolutions

1.   Focus on Morning Prayers Each Day (3 Dominican Prayers, Daily Lauds, the 3 Hail Mary Devotion each morning)
2.   Attend Daily Mass 3X a week
3.   Make time for 15 minutes of spiritual reading/meditation each day preferably in the morning
4.   End the work day with Evening Prayers (e.g. Vespers)
5.   Focus on conquering old habits and practicing a detachment to material things.

2018 Catholic Resolution Results

1. I've made great progress on starting each day off with prayer, especially since I have recently purchased a Baronius Press Divine Office in Latin and English.  I've been incorporating the Dominican Prayers, Daily Lauds/Prime, the 3 Hail Mary Devotion, and others. I don't necessarily say all of them each day but a day rarely passes when I don't start it off with some prayers
2. Up until a job change that I had in the year, I was going to Mass nearly every day.  Alas, I'm not able to do that now but I was able to go usually 2X a week after the job change but it is more difficult now due to the traveling distance. But Mass attendance is one of the activities I enjoy the most in life.  Even on vacation, I will use those days to attend the Traditional Mass at many new places. I try to share those photos often on my Instagram.
3. This goal I've had the most difficult time with.  I have read some good books this year like the biography of Garcia Moreno and I'm still reading others, but it is slow.  I am thankfully usually listening to a traditional sermon on Youtube almost every day.
4. I've thankfully habitualized myself where if I don't pray Vespers things just "don't feel right."  I rarely pray Compline but Vespers is an integral part of my life now and I've become accustomed to saying it after a day of work.
5. Alas, old habits are hard to break. I continue to make progress and practice detachment and these sentiments, which are an integral part of the Ignatian retreat, is at the essence of developing a prayer life. I will continue to work on these.

So, now, here are my 2019 Catholic Resolutions

1. Make the Total Consecration to Mary
2. Complete the First Saturdays Devotion, which I've done previously but I wish to repeat since it is so important in our world today.
3. Conquer addictions and practice detachment to material things, as I mentioned in the previous year's resolutions
4. Maintain my Daily Divine Office routine

I encourage you to make Catholic Resolutions as well! What are yours? Share them below in the comments box.
Friday, January 4, 2019
Christmas at St. Joseph's FSSP Church in Rockdale

I stopped in St. Joseph's Church for the Feast of St. John the Evangelist and was delighted to see what has become of it since the FSSP has taken over.  After several years and a new pastor, the transformation is extreme from the previous barren days. 

New Church at end of 2018:

Image Sources: A Catholic Life Blog

Church when the FSSP came in 2013:

Church back in 1915 after its consecration:

The History of the Christmas Tree

Since we are still in the 12 Days of Christmas that lasts from December 25th through January 7th, here is a good reminder of the history of the Christmas tree.

Thursday, January 3, 2019
Francis: The Lord's Prayer "Induces Temptation"

Prayer Vigil with Pope Francis ahead of Synod © Mazur/, October 4, 2014

Guest Post By David Martin

Pope Francis is again advocating that the Our Father be changed. It was reported last month that the pope is expected to approve a change in the translation of the Lord’s Prayer, the famous biblical petition that has been recited by Christians for 2000 years. 

The Italian Episcopal Conference [CEI] has submitted the proposed change to the Vatican for approval, changing the line "lead us not into temptation" to "abandon us not when in temptation," reported the Italian newswire service Ansa and the U.K. Express.

It was in December 2017 that Francis first proposed that the Lord's Prayer be changed, arguing that the translation used for centuries in many parts of the world, including the Italian and English versions, go against the teachings of the Church and Bible.

In the centuries-old recited prayer, followers of the Christian Faith call upon God to "lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." 

Speaking to Italian broadcasters on December 7, 2017, Francis argued this was incorrect, saying, "It is not a good translation because it speaks of a God who induces temptation." 

"A father doesn’t do that, a father helps you to get up immediately," Francis said in an interview on Italian television. "It's Satan who leads us into temptation, that’s his department."

So Christ taught us to invoke a God who leads us into temptation? To think that the Messiah's instruction to mankind on how to pray—as penned by the Evangelists as the infallible Word of God and as followed for 2000 years by all the Saints and members of Christ—is now incorrect! It appears that it is the pope who is leading us into temptation.

To say that the proposed "reform" of the Our Father warrants respect is to say that Catholics for 2000 years have been misled by the Our Father. Moreover, it instigates doubts about the whole of Sacred Scripture and the age-old direction of the Church. It appears that it is Pope Francis who is leading us into temptation.

Francis purports to criticize the English and Italian translations of the Our Father, when he knows full well that it is the original manuscript he is criticizing. The original text from the Lord's Prayer, as taken from the Latin Vulgate, reads: et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo, which translated is: "lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." (Matthew 6:13). This is also the same in the Greek: καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν, ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ.

Hence, this is not a translation issue, but a scriptural issue. The English translations of the Our Father as recited today are correct, because they are taken from the Vulgate, which is the official version of Holy Scripture, the source from which all authentic translations must directly or indirectly be taken. 

The pope's initiative is entirely uncalled for. Never in the 2000-year history of the Church has it occurred to any pope or saint that the Lord's Prayer stood in need of change, so why is Francis calling into question something so central to the Faith—the "perfect prayer" given to us by Christ Himself on the Mount—and at a time when the Church is undergoing the worst debacle of its 2000-year history? What is needed today is that rock-solid stability of old to offset the new order of change that has misled the Church since Vatican II, so why is Francis leading us into the temptation of change?

It appears he is upset over the idea of being led away from temptation, since he is led by the temptation of globalism and change. The Bible threatens him to give up his change, so instead of humbly admitting that scripture is correct he judges that it is "incorrect, in the same way he has denied the miracle of the loaves and has judged that evangelization is "solemn nonsense." 

The Church's mission is precisely to evangelize and lead us away from the temptation of this world that we may arrive at the shores of everlasting peace. God in His mercy wants us all to know that this world is not our common home, but rather a quagmire of temptation, and that our true home is in Heaven with God and the Saints who said the un-revised Our Father during their lives. 

Therefore, as children of God who obey the Father's commands, we take the Father's hand and ask Him to lead us not into temptation, but away from all evil, because if we chase after temptation—especially the temptation to change the Bible and the doctrines of the Faith—God will let go of our hand, and in His permissive will He will lead us, not only into temptation, but into the very fires of hell. And by the way, Papa, this condemnation is forever.

Christ warns of the dire consequences of changing but one word of Holy Scripture. He says to St. John in the Apocalypse: "If any man shall add to these things, God shall add unto him the plagues written in this book." (Apoc. 22:18) 

Let us therefore reverence the words of Christ in the Gospel, remembering that all Scripture is "inspired of God." (2 Timothy 3:16) "Neither let us tempt Christ: as some of them tempted, and perished by the serpents." (1 Cor. 10:9)


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