Category Archives: Save Our Catholic Church

This Explains Quite A Bit!

Lifted from the recent issue of New Oxford Review:

Why American Politics Marginalizes Catholic Voters

SEARCHING FOR A  CATHOLIC THEO-POLITICAL CONSENSUS

By Kenneth Colston | October 2018

Catholics are outliers in American politics. Michael Doran’s public lecture “The Theology of Foreign Policy” (reprinted in First Things, May) provides a rich demonstration of this thesis. Doran, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, a conservative think tank, attributes the enduring divide in American foreign policy not to animosity between Democrats and Republicans but to a 19th-century schism in Protestantism between modernists and fundamentalists. He names these two politicized Protestant camps the Jacksonians and the Progressives. Although he passes over it, Doran’s binary might also explain the division in domestic politics. Most arguments, Chesterton is claimed to have said, are ultimately theological, and this one rightly leaves Catholics out of the mix.

Both sides in the American Protestant schism, according to Doran, are missionary democrats. The Jacksonians (Andrew Jackson, Herman Melville, William Jennings Bryan, Harry Truman, et al.), it is well known, favored the common man against the elites. Less well known is that they drew their political bias from dispensational premillennialism, the belief in an imminent Second Coming that will, in the words of a manifesto published in Prophetic Times, a 19th-century, Philadelphia-based premillennialist publication, “avenge [Christ’s] elect,” “revolutionize” all “systems in Church and State” (if not destroy them), and spare only those “properly awake to these truths” (vol. 4; 1866). Consequently, Doran observes, the Jacksonian persuasion is a “sleeping volcano” in politics. The “guardians of freedom” are quiet (i.e., isolationist and nativist) when liberty seems safe, but stirred to full-throated, unilateral war when righteously indignant — enough to, say, drop nuclear bombs on city centers to rid the world of tyranny.

The theo-politics of the Progressives (the Roosevelts and Rockefellers, Woodrow Wilson, et al.), by contrast, builds on a postmillennial eschatology. Spreading the Gospel will produce a period of peace and prosperity by virtue of centralized, top-down initiatives in which the elect direct the common man through industrialization, education, social justice, multilateral coercion, and do-gooding — e.g., the war to end all wars, the United Nations and Peace Corps, the universal brotherhood of man, and the right to abortion-on-demand everywhere on earth.

This schism between Jacksonian and Progressive Protestants accounts for both unexpected conflations and surprising polarities. Both groups are militaristic missionaries — one to keep liberty alive, the other to forge universal brotherhood. The dispensational premillennialists, however, eventually became committed Zionists, while the postmillennial Progressives sought CIA-backed friendship with Israel’s enemies. Perhaps most crucially, these two camps of missionary democrats are bitterly opposed in their extreme views of human nature — utterly depraved versus ultimately perfectible, with original sin either destroying everything or doing nothing. Those extremes squeeze out the Catholic via media in both theology and politics.

Although not a schism, a different theo-political tension — between Augustinians and Thomists — animates Roman Catholicism without polarizing it. For Augustine, the soul is nearly helpless without divine grace, and so the state, without justice, is a “band of robbers.” For Thomas Aquinas, the soul is less damaged by original sin, and the polis is a requirement of man’s social nature. At the parish level, the Augustinian view edges out the Thomistic. American Catholic conservatives often oppose single-payer universal health care, regulation of the market, food stamps, environmentalism, trust-busting, and even blue laws as violations of subsidiarity. Liberal Catholics, less Augustinian on these policies, are nevertheless quieter on abortion and often favor contraception, same-sex marriage, the legalization of marijuana, and even sometimes robust military intervention abroad. Both groups show themselves to be, theo-politically speaking, more Protestant American than Roman Catholic in their distrust of government, more libertarian than communitarian. Culture often prevails over faith, or faith sneaks into culture. I once heard an ardent French atheist declare that he worked not only for himself but for all those who cannot work — mothers, children, the elderly, and the incapacitated. The preferential option for the poor seeped into the hearts of the Frenchmen whose revolution decapitated the saints’ statues.

Neither the Augustinian nor the Thomistic view, however, in itself creates democratic missionaries or American apologists. Christ is King, not the people or the commander-in-chief. Baptizing the nations does not mean making the world safe for democracy. There is no Gospel by compulsion. War must be rare and just, as little used as capital punishment. Revolution is usually disorder; dictatorship may be better than anarchy. The bias toward order is perennially Catholic.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church articulates this theo-political consensus. Any form of government that promotes order under the divine law is acceptable. Even a hereditary monarchy, so long as it respects the free choice of citizens, the natural law, public order, and the fundamental rights of persons (no. 1901) can possess legitimate, binding authority, even though the balance of powers and the rule of law are “preferable” to the arbitrary rule of men (no. 1904). Not irresistible, Catholic grace is operative from God on us and cooperative from God through us (no. 2008); the Catholic understanding of original sin leaves the stain of concupiscence, not the obliteration of the will, which naturally avoids evil and seeks the good (no. 405). Consequently, government is less a result of our fallen nature than a requirement for our humanity; we need it less to protect ourselves than to fulfill ourselves. We may even go so far as to say that it is part of our spiritual battle for holiness. Further, submitting to governing authorities but putting not her trust in princes, the Church eschews both violent righteous eruptions and oppressive utopian schemes.

Millennialism (pre or post), or a literal interpretation of the chaining of Satan and the reign of Christ on earth with the saints for a happy thousand years (Rev. 20-21), is not Catholic. (Does not the difference between Catholic and Protestant theology often come down to what is read literally by one and figuratively by the other, the Eucharist as the glorified Body and Blood of Christ for Catholics, “Do not resist evil” as the biblicus evangelicus for Mennonite pacifism?) Millennialism is explicitly denounced in the Catechism:

The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world [not merely at the end times but] every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism. (no. 676)

The Catholic vision of the end times is marvelously vague: “The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven” (no. 677).

As a result, the Thomistic view of politics, milder and yet more positive than the Augustinian (and Protestant premillenniabpwhile also more limited than the postmillennial, prevails in the Catechism. The positive aspect of politics follows from Aristotle’s definition of man as zoon politikon: “The human person needs to live in society. Society is not for him an extraneous addition but a requirement of his nature” (no. 1879). Thus, not only the family but also the state “correspond more directly to the nature of man” and are “necessary to him”; we “associate with one another for the sake of attaining objectives that exceed individual capacities” (no. 1882).

Catholic politics is not Hobbesian tending toward authoritarianism, or libertarian tending toward anarchy; the Mystical Body of Christ has a natural political analog. At the same time, Catholic politics is limited by the principle of subsidiarity, by which “a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order” (no. 1883). Subsidiarity opposes “all forms of collectivism,” sets “limits for state intervention,” aims at “harmonizing the relationships between individuals and societies,” and tends toward “the establishment of true international order” (no. 1885) — always with a “view toward the common good” (no. 1883).

The common good, that grand term missing almost entirely in American political discourse, in turn requires authority. But this authority is circumscribed by a limited view of the common good, and yet authority is defined more expansively than the typical American small-government model. Authority is limited by, first, the “respect for the person as such,” permitting him to “fulfill his vocation” through such freedoms as “the right to act according to a sound norm of conscience and to safeguard privacy, and rightful freedom also in matters of religion” (no. 1907); second, by “the social well-being and development of the group itself,” such as “food, clothing, health, work, education and culture, suitable information, the right to establish a family, and so on” (no. 1908); and third, by the goal of “peace, that is, the stability and security of a just order,” which “is the basis of the right to legitimate personal and collective defense” (no. 1909).

The second component of the common good is expanded from the American small-government model and “implies a universal common good” calling for an organization of the community of nations “to provide for the different needs of men” (no. 1911), such as questions of food, health care, education, immigration, and progress, in the order of persons “founded on truth, built up in justice, and animated by love” (no. 1912). As Chesterton observed, this Catholic view of the common good falls between Locke’s desire for security and Marx’s effort to recreate reality.

Military intervention, however, in order to secure the universal destination of goods, is noticeably absent. Indeed, the Catechism does not even outline just-war theory per se; rather, it sets the conditions for “legitimate defense by military force,” which is to be undertaken only when (1) the “damage” inflicted by the aggressor is “lasting, grave, and certain,” (2) “all other means of putting an end to it” are “impractical and ineffective,” (3) legitimate defense enjoys “serious prospects of success,” and (4) “the use of arms” does not produce “evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated.” Responsible authorities are further restrained by “the permanent validity of the moral law during armed conflict,” so that “non-combatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners must be treated humanely.” Genocide is “a mortal sin,” and we are “morally bound to resist orders” to commit it. Peace through strength is itself cautioned against, for “the accumulation of arms” as a method of deterrence “gives rise to strong moral reservations” (nos. 2309-2315).

The Augustinian emphasis on original sin, the will remaining free, leaves enough room for Aquinas’s confidence in the intellect to inform the will to master the passions. Together these two classic Catholic poles result in theo-political caution through the principle of subsidiarity and rigorously conditioned self-defense. No earthly nation, no alliance or empire, enjoys special privilege in the City of Man. American Catholics must therefore be careful not to be more American than Catholic, especially since American politics, both foreign and domestic, like most things in American culture, is essentially Protestant, even when it is neither Jacksonian nor Progressive. The founder of the Constitution was James Madison, who studied at the Calvinist Princeton University, doing special course work under its president, John Knox Witherspoon, a political philosopher and Presbyterian minister. Is it any surprise that Federalist No. 10 so assumes the depravity of man that the separation of powers is not to fulfill man’s social nature but succeeds only if “ambition counterattacks ambition”? While this dark view of human nature checks the Progressives, it also excludes Catholics who seek something beyond political gridlock.

A newly organized third party, the American Solidarity Party (ASP), highlights this exile of Catholics from American politics. Without being explicitly Christian (that reticence is itself a sign of American secularism’s animus against Christ), its four core principles span the Protestant divide in American politics and express the Catechism consensus in charged Catholic language:

Part One: “I affirm the sanctity of human life.” Our nation began with the profession — however often it has been violated — that all persons are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, chief among them the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The ASP…affirms the foundational assumption that human persons, from conception to natural death, possess a particular dignity that sets us apart from the rest of the created world.

Part Two: “I affirm the necessity of social justice.” Social justice is the natural corollary of the sanctity of human life. We are designed to live in community, to thrive together, to bear each other’s burdens, to not only pursue happiness but to find it in love.

Part Three: “I affirm our responsibility for the environment.” The privileged place of human beings in the natural order means we have a special responsibility to care for the rest of the world.

Part Four: “I affirm the possibility of a more peaceful world.” Violence begets violence, which threatens life, liberty, and human dignity. At the same time, those who threaten the rights of the most vulnerable are rarely deterred by mere admonitions. The use of force is necessary at times, but it should be a last resort, taking as little life or liberty as possible; leaving open the door to reconciliation as much as prudence allows.

Have you heard of the ASP? I doubt it. It didn’t register even 7,000 votes in the last presidential election. Without at all endorsing it, I cite it as, on its surface, an all-in statement of Catholic theo-politics, billboarding the “culture of life” of Evangelium Vitae, the “common good” of Rerum Novarum, the “common home” of Laudato Si’, and the “world peace” of Pacem in Terris. Dig a little deeper and you will find the philosophic personalism of Pope St. John Paul II, the economic distributism of Chesterton and Belloc, the UN Thomism of Jacques Maritain, and the service to the poor of Dorothy Day — solidarity balanced by subsidiarity but reaching out to the nations.

The ASP is more all-four-cylinders Catholic than almost any Christian Democrat Party in the West. Its platform is as pure and chivalrous as Don Quixote in the bawdy inn, and it shows how marginal and isolated the American Catholic voter who would think with the Church really is.

Brought to you by Allan Gillis

Before You Read This – Strap Yourself In!

From the mighty Rorate Caeli:

De Mattei: Monsignor Viganò and The Hour of Judgment

Roberto de Mattei
Corrispondenza Romana
October 24, 2018

 

Supreme Judge

 

In the climate of silence and downright “omerta” which is reigning in the Church, once more Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s voice has resonated.  Replying to Cardinal Marc Ouellet he reiterated that the McCarrick scandal is merely the point of an immense iceberg represented by the dominance of a powerful homosexual lobby inside the Church.

I don’t want to dwell on this tragic reality. It seems to me instead, that it is important to stress a point  illuminating  the supernatural light of Monsignor Viganò’s testimony: the reference to the responsibilities that each one of us will have on the Day of Judgment. Turning to his brother bishops and priests, the Archbishop writes: “You too are faced with a choice.  You can choose to withdraw from the battle, to prop up the conspiracy of silence and avert your eyes from the spreading of corruption.  You can make excuses, compromises and justification that put off the day of reckoning.  You can console yourselves with the falsehood and the delusion that it will be easier to tell the truth tomorrow, and then the following day, and so on. On the other hand, you can choose to speak.  You can trust Him who told us, “the truth will set you free.”  I do not say it will be easy to decide between silence and speaking.  I urge you to consider which choice– on your deathbed, and then before the just Judge — you will not regret having made.”

Today nobody speaks about the ultimate destinies of man, at one time called “The Four Last Things”: death, judgment, hell, heaven.  This is the reason for the relativism and nihilism which is rampant in society.  Man has lost the awareness of his own identity, the purpose of his life, and precipitates each day into the void of the abyss. Yet no reasonable man can ignore that earthly life is not all there is. Man is not a mass of cells, but is made up of soul and body and after death there is another life, which cannot be the same for those who have either worked for what is good or worked for what is evil. Today, even inside the Church, many bishops and priests are living immersed in practical atheism, as if  there were no future life.  But they cannot forget that a last judgment awaits us all. This judgment will take place in two moments.

The first judgment, called the particular, is that at the time of death.  In this instant a ray of light will penetrate the soul in depth, to reveal what ‘she’ is and to fix forever her happy or unhappy fate. The scenario of our existence will appear before our eyes. From the very first moment when God brought us forth from nothing to being, He has conserved us in life with infinite love, offering us day by day, second by second, the graces necessary to save ourselves.  At the particular judgment we will see clearly what was asked of us in our particular vocation: that of a mother, a father or a priest. Illuminated by the Divine light the soul ‘herself’ will pronounce her own definitive judgment, which will coincide with the judgment of God. The sentence will be either eternal life or eternal punishment.  There is no higher tribunal to appeal the sentence to, since Christ is the ultimate, the Supreme Judge.   And, as St. Thomas teaches “illuminated by this light on its merits and demerits, the soul goes by itself to its eternal place, similar to those bodies by their levity or gravity that rise or descend there where they have to end their movement” (Summa Theologiae, Suppl. q. 69, a. 2). “This – explains Father Garrigou Lagrande, –  happens at the first instant in which the soul is separated from the body, so that it is as true to say of a person who is dead as it is true to say that he has been judged.” (Eternal life and the depths of the soul, Fede e Cultura, Verona, 2018, p.94).

In a revelation, which, by God’s permission, a religious received from a young friend who had been damned, we read: “in the instant of my passage I came out brusquely from the dark. I saw myself flooded by a blinding light precisely in the place where my dead body lay. It happened as in the theatre when the lights are switched off and the curtain is raised on an unexpected scene, tremendously bright – the scene of my life. As if in a mirror I saw my soul, I saw the graces trampled upon, starting from my youth until that last “no”.  I felt like a murderer who had been shown his victim; “Repent? Never! – Be ashamed? Never!  Yet, I couldn’t resist the gaze of that God Whom I had rejected.  I was left with only one thing to do: flee. Like Cain fled Abel, so my soul was driven far away from the sight of that horror. It was my particular judgment. The invisible Judge said: “Be gone from me!” Then my soul, like a yellow shadow of sulphur, plunged into the eternal torment.”

However the Divine teaching does not stop here and reveals a second judgment to us – the universal judgment, which awaits us, when, at the end of earthly things, God, in his omnipotence, will resurrect out bodies. In the first judgment the individual soul was judged. At the Universal Judgment the whole man will be judged, in soul and body. This second judgment will be public because man is born and lives in society and each one of his actions has social repercussions. The life of every human-being will be revealed, since “there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed: nor hidden, that shall not be known” (Luke 12, 2). No circumstance will be omitted: not an action, not a word, not a desire. As Father Francesco M. Gaetani (The Supreme Destinies of Man, Università Gregoriana Roma 1951), points out, all the scandals, all the intrigues, all the dark projects, all the secret sins, cancelled by memory will be made public. All  masks will fall away, the hypocrites and the pharisees will be unmasked. Those who had tried to hide the gravity of their own sins from themselves, will be confused in seeing the vanity of all the excuses they had advanced; the passions, the circumstances, the obstacles. Against them the example of the elect will give witness; men perhaps who were weaker and worn out, less endowed by the gifts of nature and grace, who were able nonetheless to remain faithful to duty and virtue. Only on the sins of the good will God draw over a merciful veil.

At the  Last Judgment the good will be publically separated from the wicked and with their  glorified body will go with Christ to Heaven to possess the Kingdom prepared for them by the Father since the foundations of the world, while the reprobates will go damned into the eternal fire prepared by the Devil and the other rebel angels. Each one of us will be judged according to the talents received, according to the role that God assigned us in society. Those who will be treated the most severely will be the Shepherds of the Church who have betrayed their flocks.  Not only those who have opened the sheep-pen to the wolves, but also those, who, while these wolves were devouring the flocks, shrugged their shoulders, turned their heads,  raised their eyes to heaven,  remained in silence and cast the responsibility, which is theirs, onto God. But life is an acceptance of responsibility and Monsignor Viganò’s testimony reminds us of this.

The words of the courageous Archbishop are a public reproach to the Shepherds who are silent. May God show them that silence is not an inescapable choice. To speak up is possible, and at times it is a duty. Yet the testimony of Monsignor Viganò is also a call to every Catholic to reflect on their future destiny. The hour of judgment that awaits us all is known to God alone. Hence Jesus says: “Take ye heed, watch and pray. For ye know not when the time is. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch. ” (Mark 13, 33,37).

The time in which we live requires vigilance and calls for a choice. It is the historical hour of fortitude and confidence in God, infinitely just, but also infinitely merciful towards those, who, despite their weakness, will serve Him openly.

Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana

Brought to you by Allan Gillis

This is HUGE! …and it’s for real.

from:  ABYSSUS ABYSSUM INVOCAT / DEEP CALLS TO DEEP

NOTICE TO ALL READERS OF ABYSSUM
The letter posted immediately below is so vitally important for the resolution of the present Crisis in the Church that for awhile I will not be posting new posts independently  of this blog  BUT WILL INSTEAD ADD THEM TO THE BOTTOM OF THIS LETTER.  New Posts will be added daily as an addition to this letter.  To read the new posts simply press the “page down” button on your computer keyboard and scroll down to the new daily posts.
Until further notice it will not be possible to accept comments on Abyssum. 
Blessings,
+Rene Henry Gracida
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

AN OPEN LETTER

TO THE CARDINALS OF THE HOLY ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

AND OTHER CATHOLIC CHRISTIAN FAITHFUL

IN COMMUNION WITH THE APOSTOLIC SEE

Recently many educated Catholic observers, including bishops and priests, have decried the confusion in doctrinal statements about faith or morals made from the Apostolic See at Rome and by the putative Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis. Some devout, faithful and thoughtful Catholics have even suggested that he be set aside as a heretic, a dangerous purveyor of error, as recently mentioned in a number of reports.

Claiming heresy on the part of a man who is a supposed Pope, charging material error in statements about faith or morals by a putative Roman Pontiff, suggests and presents an intervening prior question about his authenticity in that August office of Successor of Peter as Chief of The Apostles, i.e., was this man the subject of a valid election by an authentic Conclave of The Holy Roman Church?  This is so because each Successor of Saint Peter enjoys the Gift of Infallibility. 
So, before one even begins to talk about excommunicating such a prelate, one must logically examine whether this person exhibits the uniformly good and safe fruit of Infallibility.  If he seems repeatedly to engage in material error, that first raises the question of the validity of his election because one expects an authentically-elected Roman Pontiff miraculously and uniformly to be entirely incapable of stating error in matters of faith or morals.  So to what do we look to discern the invalidity of such an election?  His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, within His massive legacy to the Church and to the World, left us with the answer to this question.  The Catholic faithful must look back for an answer to a point from where we have come—to what occurred in and around the Sistine Chapel in March 2013 and how the fruits of those events have generated such widespread concern among those people of magisterial orthodoxy about confusing and, or, erroneous doctrinal statements which emanate from The Holy See.  
His Apostolic Constitution (Universi Dominici Gregis) which governed the supposed Conclave in March 2013 contains quite clear and specific language about the invalidating effect of departures from its norms.  For example, Paragraph 76 states:  “Should the election take place in a way other than that prescribed in the present Constitution, or should the conditions laid down here not be observed, the election is for this very reason null and void, without any need for a declaration on the matter; consequently, it confers no right on the one elected.”  From this, many believe that there is probable cause to believe that Monsignor Jorge Mario Bergoglio was never validly elected as the Bishop of Rome and Successor of Saint Peter—he never rightly took over the office of Supreme Pontiff of the Holy Roman Catholic Church and therefore he does not enjoy the charism of Infallibility.  If this is true, then the situation is dire because supposed papal acts may not be valid or such acts are clearly invalid, including supposed appointments to the college of electors itself.
Only valid cardinals can rectify our critical situation through privately (secretly) recognizing the reality of an ongoing interregnum and preparing for an opportunity to put the process aright by obedience to the legislation of His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, in that Apostolic Constitution, Universi Dominici Gregis.  While thousands of the Catholic faithful do understand that only the cardinals who participated in the events of March 2013 within the Sistine Chapel have all the information necessary to evaluate the issue of election validity, there was public evidence sufficient for astute lay faithful to surmise with moral certainty that the March 2013 action by the College was an invalid conclave, an utter nullity.
What makes this understanding of Universi Dominici Gregis particularly cogent and plausible is the clear Promulgation Clause at the end of this Apostolic Constitution and its usage of the word “scienter” (“knowingly”).  The Papal Constitution Universi Dominici Gregis thus concludes definitively with these words:  “.   .   .   knowingly or unknowingly, in any way contrary to this Constitution.”  (“.   .   .   scienter vel inscienter contra hanc Constitutionem fuerint excogitata.”)  [Note that His Holiness, Pope Paul VI, had a somewhat similar promulgation clause at the end of his corresponding, now abrogated, Apostolic Constitution, Romano Pontifici Eligendo, but his does not use “scienter”, but rather uses “sciens” instead.  This similar term of sciens in the earlier abrogated Constitution has an entirely different legal significance than scienter.]
This word, “scienter”, is a legal term of art in Roman law, and in canon law, and in Anglo-American common law, and in each system, scienter has substantially the same significance, i.e., “guilty knowledge” or willfully knowing, criminal intent.  Thus, it clearly appears that Pope John Paul II anticipated the possibility of criminal activity in the nature of a sacrilege against a process which He intended to be purely pious, private, sacramental, secret and deeply spiritual, if not miraculous, in its nature. This contextual reality reinforced in the Promulgation Clause, combined with:  (1) the tenor of the whole document; (2) some other provisions of the document, e.g., Paragraph 76; (3) general provisions of canon law relating to interpretation, e.g., Canons 10 & 17; and, (4) the obvious manifest intention of the Legislator, His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, tends to establish beyond a reasonable doubt the legal conclusion that Monsignor Bergoglio was never validly elected Roman Pontiff.
 This is so because:
 
1.  Communication of any kind with the outside world, e.g., communication did occur between the inside of the Sistine Chapel and anyone outside, including a television audience, before, during or even immediately after the Conclave;
2.   Any political commitment to “a candidate” and any “course of action” planned for The Church or a future pontificate, such as the extensive decade-long “pastoral” plans conceived by the Sankt Gallen hierarchs; and,
3.  Any departure from the required procedures of the conclave voting process as prescribed and known by a cardinal to have occurred:
each was made an invalidating act, and if scienter (guilty knowledge) was present, also even a crime on the part of any cardinal or other actor, but, whether criminal or not, any such act or conduct violating the norms operated absolutely, definitively and entirely against the validity of all of the supposed Conclave proceedings.
Quite apart from the apparent notorious violations of the prohibition on a cardinal promising his vote, e.g., commitments given and obtained by cardinals associated with the so-called “Sankt Gallen Mafia,” other acts destructive of conclave validity occurred.  Keeping in mind that Pope John Paul II specifically focused Universi Dominici Gregis on “the seclusion and resulting concentration which an act so vital to the whole Church requires of the electors” such that “the electors can more easily dispose themselves to accept the interior movements of the Holy Spirit,” even certain openly public media broadcasting breached this seclusion by electronic broadcasts outlawed by Universi Dominici Gregis.  These prohibitions include direct declarative statements outlawing any use of television before, during or after a conclave in any area associated with the proceedings, e.g.:  “I further confirm, by my apostolic authority, the duty of maintaining the strictest secrecy with regard to everything that directly or indirectly concerns the election process itself.”
Viewed in light of this introductory preambulary language of Universi Dominici Gregis and in light of the legislative text itself, even the EWTN camera situated far inside the Sistine Chapel was an immediately obvious non-compliant  act which became an open and notorious invalidating violation by the time when this audio-visual equipment was used to broadcast to the world the preaching after the “Extra Omnes”.  While these blatant public violations of Chapter IV of Universi Dominici Gregis actuate the invalidity and nullity of the proceedings themselves, nonetheless in His great wisdom, the Legislator did not disqualify automatically those cardinals who failed to recognize these particular offenses against sacred secrecy, or even those who, with scienter, having recognized the offenses and having had some power or voice in these matters, failed or refused to act or to object against them:  “Should any infraction whatsoever of this norm occur and be discovered, those responsible should know that they will be subject to grave penalties according to the judgment of the future Pope.”  [Universi Dominici Gregis, ¶55]   
No Pope apparently having been produced in March 2013, those otherwise valid cardinals who failed with scienter to act on violations of Chapter IV, on that account alone would nonetheless remain voting members of the College unless and until a new real Pope is elected and adjudges them.  Thus, those otherwise valid cardinals who may have been compromised by violations of secrecy can still participate validly in the “clean-up of the mess” while addressing any such secrecy violations with an eventual new Pontiff.  In contrast, the automatic excommunication of those who politicized the sacred conclave process, by obtaining illegally, commitments from cardinals to vote for a particular man, or to follow a certain course of action (even long before the vacancy of the Chair of Peter as Vicar of Christ), is established not only by the word, “scienter,” in the final enacting clause, but by a specific exception, in this case, to the general statement of invalidity which therefore reinforces the clarity of intention by Legislator that those who apply the law must interpret the general rule as truly binding.  Derived directly from Roman law, canonical jurisprudence provides this principle for construing or interpreting legislation such as this Constitution, Universi Dominici Gregis.  Expressed in Latin, this canon of interpretation is:   “Exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis.”  (The exception proves the rule in cases not excepted.)  In this case, an exception from invalidity for acts of simony reinforces the binding force of the general principle of nullity in cases of other violations.
Therefore, by exclusion from nullity and invalidity legislated in the case of simony:   “If — God forbid — in the election of the Roman Pontiff the crime of simony were to be perpetrated, I decree and declare that all those guilty thereof shall incur excommunication latae sententiae.  At the same time I remove the nullity or invalidity of the same simoniacal provision, in order that — as was already established by my Predecessors — the validity of the election of the Roman Pontiff may not for this reason be challenged.”  His Holiness made an exception for simony.  Exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis.  The clear exception from nullity and invalidity for simony proves the general rule that other violations of the sacred process certainly do and did result in the nullity and invalidity of the entire conclave.

While it is not necessary to look outside Universi Dominici Gregis in order to construe or to interpret its plain meaning, the first source to which one would look is the immediately prior constitution which Universi Dominici Gregis abrogated or replaced.  Pope John Paul II replaced entirely what Pope Paul VI had legislated in the immediately previous Constitution on conclaves, Romano Pontfici Eligendo, but in so doing, Pope John Paul II used Romano Pontfici Eligendo as the format or pattern for His new constitution on conclaves.  Making obvious changes, nonetheless, Pope John Paul II utilized the content and structure of his predecessor’s constitution to organize and outline Universi Dominici Gregis.  Therefore, while it is not legally necessary to look outside Universi Dominici Gregis, the primary reference to an extraneous source of construction would entail an examination of Romano Pontfici Eligendo, and that exercise (bolsterd by the use of the key word “scienter” in the Promulgation Clause) would reinforce the broad principle of invalidity.

Comparing what Pope John Paul II wrote in His Constitution on conclaves with the Constitution which His replaced, you can see that, with the exception of simony, invalidity became universal. In the corresponding paragraph of what Pope Paul VI wrote, he specifically confined the provision declaring conclave invalidity to three (3) circumstances described in previous paragraphs within His constitution, Romano Pontfici Eligendo.  No such limitation exists in Universi Dominici Gregis.  See the comparison both in English and Latin below:
Romano Pontfici Eligendo, 77. Should the election be conducted in a manner different from the three procedures described above (cf. no. 63 ff.) or without the conditions laid down for each of the same, it is for this very reason null and void (cf. no. 62), without the need for any declaration, and gives no right to him who has been thus elected. [Romano Pontfici Eligendo, 77:  “Quodsi electio aliter celebrata fuerit, quam uno e tribus modis, qui supra sunt dicti (cfr. nn. 63 sqq.), aut non servatis condicionibus pro unoquoque illorum praescriptis, electio eo ipso est nulla et invalida (cfr. n. 62) absque ulla declaratione, et ita electo nullum ius tribuit .”] as compared with:
Universi Dominici Gregis, 76:  “Should the election take place in a way other than that prescribed in the present Constitution, or should the conditions laid down here not be observed, the election is for this very reason null and void, without any need for a declaration on the matter; consequently, it confers no right on the one elected.”  [Universi Dominici Gregis, 76:  “Quodsi electio aliter celebrata fuerit, quam haec Constitutio statuit, aut non servatis condicionibus pariter hic praescriptis, electio eo ipso est nulla et invalida absque ulla declaratione, ideoque electo nullum ius tribuit.”]

       

Of course, this is not the only feature of the Constitution or aspect of the matter which tends to establish the breadth of invalidity.  Faithful must hope and pray that only those cardinals whose status as a valid member of the College remains intact will ascertain the identity of each other and move with the utmost charity and discretion in order to effectuate The Divine Will in these matters. The valid cardinals, then, must act according to that clear, manifest, obvious and unambiguous mind and intention of His Holiness, Pope John Paul II, so evident in Universi Dominici Gregis, a law which finally established binding and self-actuating conditions of validity on the College for any papal conclave, a reality now made so apparent by the bad fruit of doctrinal confusion and plain error.

        It would seem then that praying and working in a discreet and prudent manner to encourage only those true cardinals inclined to accept a reality of conclave invalidity, would be a most charitable and logical course of action in the light of Universi Dominici Gregis, and out of our high personal regard for the clear and obvious intention of its Legislator, His Holiness, Pope John Paul II.  Even a relatively small number of valid cardinals could act decisively and work to restore a functioning Apostolic See through the declaration of an interregnum government.  The need is clear for the College to convene a General Congregation in order to declare, to administer, and soon to end the Interregnum which has persisted since March 2013.
Finally, it is important to understand that the sheer number of putative counterfeit cardinals will eventually, sooner or later, result in a situation in which The Church will have no normal means validly ever again to elect a Vicar of Christ.  After that time, it will become even more difficult, if not humanly impossible, for the College of Cardinals to rectify the current disastrous situation and conduct a proper and valid Conclave such that The Church may once again both have the benefit of a real Supreme Pontiff, and enjoy the great gift of a truly infallible Vicar of Christ.  It seems that some good cardinals know that the conclave was invalid, but really cannot envision what to do about it; we must pray, if it is the Will of God, that they see declaring the invalidity and administering an Interregnum through a new valid conclave is what they must do. Without such action or without a great miracle, The Church is in a perilous situation.  Once the last validly appointed cardinal reaches age 80, or before that age, dies, the process for electing a real Pope ends with no apparent legal means to replace it. Absent a miracle then, The Church would no longer have an infallible Successor of Peter and Vicar of Christ.  Roman Catholics would be no different than Orthodox Christians.
In this regard, all of the true cardinals may wish to consider what Holy Mother Church teaches in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, ¶675, ¶676 and ¶677 about “The Church’s Ultimate Trial”.  But, the fact that “The Church .   .   .  will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection” does not justify inaction by the good cardinals, even if there are only a minimal number sufficient to carry out Chapter II of Universi Dominici Gregis and operate the Interregnum.
This Apostolic Constitution, Universi Dominici Gregis, which was clearly applicable to the acts and conduct of the College of Cardinals in March 2013, is manifestly and obviously among those “invalidating” laws “which expressly establish that an act is null or that a person is effected” as stated in Canon 10 of the 1983 Code of Canon Law.  And, there is nothing remotely “doubtful or obscure” (Canon 17) about this Apostolic Constitution as clearly promulgated by Pope John Paul II.  The tenor of the whole document expressly establishes that the issue of invalidity was always at stake.  This Apostolic Constitution conclusively establishes, through its
Promulgation Clause [which makes “anything done (i.e., any act or conduct) by any person  .   .   .   in any way contrary to this Constitution,”]  the invalidity of the entire supposed Conclave, rendering it “completely null and void”.
So, what happens if a group of Cardinals who undoubtedly did not knowingly and wilfully initiate or intentionally participate in any acts of disobedience against Universi Dominici Gregis were to meet, confer and declare that, pursuant to Universi Dominici Gregis, Monsignor Bergoglio is most certainly not a valid Roman Pontiff.  Like any action on this matter, including the initial finding of invalidity, that would be left to the valid members of the college of cardinals.  They could declare the Chair of Peter vacant and proceed to a new and proper conclave.  They could meet with His Holiness, Benedict XVI, and discern whether His resignation and retirement was made under duress, or based on some mistake or fraud, or otherwise not done in a legally effective manner, which could invalidate that resignation.  Given the demeanor of His Holiness, Benedict XVI, and the tenor of His few public statements since his departure from the Chair of Peter, this recognition of validity in Benedict XVI seems unlikely.
In fact, even before a righteous group of good and authentic cardinals might decide on the validity of the March 2013 supposed conclave, they must face what may be an even more complicated discernment and decide which men are most likely not valid cardinals.  If a man was made a cardinal by the supposed Pope who is, in fact, not a Pope (but merely Monsignor Bergoglio), no such man is in reality a true member of the College of Cardinals.  In addition, those men appointed by Pope John Paul II or by Pope Benedict XVI as cardinals, but who openly violated Universi Dominici Gregis by illegal acts or conduct causing the invalidation of the last attempted conclave, would no longer have voting rights in the College of Cardinals either.  (Thus, the actual valid members in the College of Cardinals may be quite smaller in number than those on the current official Vatican list of supposed cardinals.)
In any event, the entire problem is above the level of anyone else in Holy Mother Church who is below the rank of Cardinal.  So, we must pray that The Divine Will of The Most Holy Trinity, through the intercession of Our Lady as Mediatrix of All Graces and Saint Michael, Prince of Mercy, very soon rectifies the confusion in Holy Mother Church through action by those valid Cardinals who still comprise an authentic College of Electors.  Only certainly valid Cardinals can address the open and notorious evidence which points to the probable invalidity of the last supposed conclave and only those cardinals can definitively answer the questions posed here.  May only the good Cardinals unite and if they recognize an ongoing Interregnum, albeit dormant, may they end this Interregnum by activating perfectly a functioning Interregnum government of The Holy See and a renewed process for a true Conclave, one which is purely pious, private, sacramental, secret and deeply spiritual.  If we do not have a real Pontiff, then may the good Cardinals, doing their appointed work “in view of the sacredness of the act of election”  “accept the interior movements of the Holy Spirit” and provide Holy Mother Church with a real Vicar of Christ as the Successor of Saint Peter.  
       
May these thoughts comport with the synderetic considerations of those who read them and may their presentation here please both Our Immaculate Virgin Mother, Mary, Queen of the Apostles, and The Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Signed:  Nom de plume
               Friend of the Popes
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This guy is a good friend to a good friend of mine!   –Allan Gillis

Ruminating

 

Chewing my cud…    feeling somewhat irked by another radio commercial.  Pondering this culture.  Yes, I am of a sub-set of the demographic that is older.  I am white.  I am male. I just turned 60 years old (that is the first time I actually wrote that number to explain my age!) (WOW!). So the radio programs I listen to ( i.e. Howie Carr in the afternoons) are going to appeal to my demographic – hence they’ll attract advertisers looking for access to me and my ilch…  but for Heaven’s sake!

I’m so sick of the myriad of commercials touting the services whereby we old buzzards can procure medication for an erection on demand, a new head of thick sexy hair, sparkling white teeth – that are straight!, lipo-suction or worse…  a gastric bypass!  Imagine having part of your stomach removed surgically because you can’t put that third cheeseburger down?!

At least the ad I heard today for a “men’s clinic” had the voice-over done by a guy who actually said the words “I did it for my wife”  as opposed to his “partner”!   I often hear ads for the blue pill wherein they entice you to think of “your partner”.   My God!

Then, I’m affronted with the expressed notion that because I “suffer” from male pattern baldness…I’m somehow not virile, not sexy, not youthful…    less of a man.   I have been bald since I was in my early twenties…and all my life I’ve been physically stronger and more virile than most the men I’ve met all my life or known that were my age!   I mean c’mon!

My wife hounds me about going to the dentist regularly and flossing regularly…yeah she rides me about this continually…but I DO brush my teeth vigorously twice daily and never have cavities.   I have all my teeth in my mouth…   but for three.    I am NOT ashamed of my “smile” either!

…and yeah, I’m a bit portly.  But, I still need an athletic-cut suit ‘cuz my waist is still 10″ smaller than my chest.  I can’t buy dress-shirts for work anywhere but at the Big & Tall stores ‘cuz my neck is 20″ around.

You know what else disturbs me somehow?  Just a little bit.   Have you noticed lately a lot of men in “their thirties” or older –  pushing baby-carriages?     seems a bit….disproportionate.

I’ve also noticed among younger men lately a sort of “sing-songy” cadence and tonal variance to their voices…    especially if you find yourself in a line at Starbucks ( God forbid!).  Just listen these days.  Men’s voices are changing…maybe it is a “tone’ thing.   I think it’s societal.  I really do.

But hey!  all men might not suffer from this particular malady…but I have it bad.  Wait for it.

Wicked thick toenails!   It’s tough bein’ a guy!

I have sometimes been embarrassed to be on my boat in the summer (I’m barefoot whenever I can be!) and I’ve preempted any comments or shrieks of horror by just explaining that I can’t for the life of me get my toenail clipper open wide enough to cut these horse-hoofs of mine!  Well, I finally thought of something and tried it over this past weekend…and it works delightfully-well.   My Dremel!   Yeah baby!   …works like a charm!  Just plug ‘er in and let her rip!  sanded these babies down like a smooth piece o’ marble!  To think!   I was going to pop into a nearby nail & hair salon and dip my feet into one of those cool-lookin’ basins and have some Asian chick give me a pedicure.   I wimped out.   …snapped the correct sandpaper-wheel onto the Dremel and a buzzin’ I did go!

As I looked into my shed where I keep my lawnmower, garden tools ect.   I noticed sadly that I’ve hung onto the kiddie-pool toys and plastic water-cannon weapons that I got for my grandchildren when they were real little.  Sadly I must throw them out as my oldest grandson is signing up this week for Driver’s Ed.  Bummer.  They’re all getting older.  Seemingly less time for Papa and Nana.  The sleep-overs are becoming fewer.   They have their respective buddies, sporting events and band rehearsals.  Bummer.

My father’s older brother’s son.  My first cousin; “Archie The Hooligan” passed away suddenly last week.  56 years old.  Major sudden heart attack.  He was a hockey-player in college and an all around sports buff.  Always seemed in real good shape.  Way too young to die like that.  We used to be rather rowdy together in years past. Many, many fun times.  I’m sad that he’s passed.  God bless him…     so sad that his wife and life left him to be cremated and without a proper Catholic burial.  He was said to have “no faith”…so, they had his ashes in a little box atop a kneeler in the funeral parlor….where they had a “Celebration of his life” instead of a Catholic funeral mass.  I left before that began…    saddened by my extended family’s renouncement of the true Roman faith that so animated the souls and lives of the founding father and mother of our Gillis family here in Boston.

Life trudges on…     I sin.  I go to confession.   I go to Mass.  I pray the Rosary.  Death will come for me.

YOU must go to confession and pray for a good death!   Nevermind your teeth, hair, pot-belly or your penis!

Allan Gillis

 

Let’s Re-Ignite the Ember Days!

This is required reading for all SACC readers!   From the venerable Rorate Caeli:

Time for Worldwide Sacrifice: Ember Week in September

The equinox is coming. The Roman Church will once again remind us of the cycle of the seasons in this Ember Week in September.
We re-post, for those who are not aware of it, this article first posted by us in 2008, and reposted often since. May you all have a fruitful week of sacrifice.
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THE GLOW
OF THE EMBER DAYS
By Michael P. Foley



A potential danger of traditionalism is the stubborn defense of something about which one knows little. I once asked a priest who had just finished beautifully celebrating an Ember Saturday Mass about the meaning of the Ember days. He replied (with an impish twinkle in his eye) that he hadn’t a clue, but he was furious they had been suppressed.

Traditionalists, however, are not entirely to blame for their unfamiliarity with this important part of their patrimony. Most only have the privilege of assisting at a Sunday Tridentine Mass, and hence the Ember days—which occur on a weekday or Saturday—slip by unnoticed. And long before the opening session of the Second Vatican Council, the popularity of these observances had atrophied.

 
So why care about them now? To answer this question, we must first determine what they are.
 
The Four Seasons
 
The Ember days, which fall on a Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday of the same week, occur in conjunction with the four natural seasons of the year. Autumn brings the September Embertide, also called the Michaelmas Embertide because of their proximity to the Feast of St. Michael on September 29.1 Winter, on the other hand, brings the December Embertide during the third week of Advent, and spring brings the Lenten Embertide after the first Sunday of Lent. Finally, summer heralds the Whitsun Embertide, which takes place within the Octave of Pentecost.
 
In the 1962 Missal the Ember days are ranked as ferias of the second class, weekdays of special importance that even supersede certain saints’ feasts. Each day has its own proper Mass, all of which are quite old. One proof of their antiquity is that they are one of the few days in the Gregorian rite (as the ’62 Missal is now being called) which has as many as five lessons from the Old Testament in addition to the Epistle reading, an ancient arrangement indeed.
 
Fasting and partial abstinence during the Ember days were also enjoined on the faithful from time immemorial until the 1960s. It is the association of fasting and penance with the Embertides that led some to think that their peculiar name has something to do with smoldering ash, or embers. But the English name is probably derived from their Latin title, the Quatuor Tempora or “Four Seasons.”2


 
Apostolic and Universal
 
The history of the Ember days brings us to the very origins of Christianity. The Old Testament prescribes a fourfold fast as part of its ongoing consecration of the year to God (Zech. 8:19). In addition to these seasonal observances, pious Jews in Palestine at the time of Jesus fasted every Monday and Thursday—hence the Pharisee’s boast about fasting twice weekly in the parable involving him and the publican (Lk. 18:12).
 
Early Christians amended both of these customs. The Didache, a work so old that it may actually predate some books of the New Testament, tells us that Palestinian Christians in the first century A.D. fasted every Wednesday and Friday: Wednesday because it is the day that Christ was betrayed and Friday because it is the day He was crucified.3 The Wednesday and Friday fast were so much a part of Christian life that in Gaelic one word for Thursday, Didaoirn, literally means “the day between the fasts.”
In the third century, Christians in Rome began to designate some of these days for seasonal prayer, partly in imitation of the Hebrew custom and partly in response to pagan festivals occurring around the same time.4 Thus, the Ember days were born. And after the weekly fast became less prevalent, it was the Ember days which remained as a conspicuous testimony to a custom stretching back to the Apostles themselves.5 Moreover, by modifying the two Jewish fasts, the Ember days embody Christ’s statement that He came not to abolish the Law but fulfill it (Mt. 5:17).6

Usefully Natural

This fulfillment of the Law is crucial because it teaches us something fundamental about God, His redemptive plan for us, and the nature of the universe. In the case of both the Hebrew seasonal fasts and the Christian Ember days, we are invited to consider the wonder of the natural seasons and their relation to their Creator. The four seasons, for example, can be said to intimate individually the bliss of Heaven, where there is “the beauty of spring, the brightness of summer, the plenty of autumn, the rest of winter.”7



This is significant, for the Ember days are the only time in the Church calendar where nature qua nature is singled out and acknowledged. Certainly the liturgical year as a whole presupposes nature’s annual rhythm (Easter coincides with the vernal equinox, Christmas with the winter solstice, etc.), yet here we celebrate not the natural phenomena per se but the supernatural mysteries which they evoke. The Rogation days commemorate nature, but mostly in light of its agricultural significance (that is, vis-à-vis its cultivation by man), not on its own terms, so to speak.8

The Ember days, then, stand out as the only days in the supernatural seasons of the Church that commemorate the natural seasons of the earth. This is appropriate, for since the liturgical year annually renews our initiation into the mystery of redemption, it should have some special mention of the very thing which grace perfects.

Uniquely Roman

But what about Saturday? The Roman appropriation of the weekly fast involved adding Saturday as an extension of the Friday fast. And during Embertide, a special Mass and procession to St. Peter’s was held, with the congregation being invited to “keep vigil with Peter.” Saturday is an appropriate day not only for a vigil, but as a day of penance, when our Lord “lay in the sepulchre, and the Apostles were sore of heart and in great sorrow.”9 It is this Roman custom, incidentally, which gave rise to the proverb, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” According to the story, when Sts. Augustine and Monica asked St. Ambrose of Milan whether they should follow the weekly fasts of either Rome or of Milan (which did not include Saturdays), Ambrose replied: “When I am here, I do not fast on Saturday; when I am in Rome, I do.”10

Solidarity of Laity and Clergy

Another Roman custom, instituted by Pope Gelasius I in 494, is to use Ember Saturdays as the day to confer Holy Orders. Apostolic tradition prescribed that ordinations be preceded by fast and prayer (see Acts 13:3), and so it was quite reasonable to place ordinations at the end of this fast period. This allows the entire community to join the candidates in fasting and in praying for God’s blessing upon their vocation, and not just the community in this or that diocese, but all over the world.

Personally Prayerful

In addition to commemorating the seasons of nature, each of the four Embertides takes on the character of the liturgical season in which it is located. The Advent Ember days, for example, celebrate the Annunciation and the Visitation, the only times during Advent in the 1962 Missal when this is explicitly done. The Lenten Embertide allows us to link the season of spring, when the seed must die to produce new life, to the Lenten mortification of our flesh. The Whitsun Embertides, curiously, have us fasting within the octave of Pentecost, teaching us that there is such a thing as a “joyful fast.”11 The Fall Embertide is the only time that the Roman calendar echoes the Jewish Feast of the Tabernacles and the Day of Atonement, the two holidays that teach us so much about our earthly pilgrimage and about Christ’s high priesthood.12

The Ember days also afford the occasion for a quarterly check-up of the soul. Blessed Jacopo de Voragine (d. 1298) lists eight reasons why we should fast during the Ember days, most of them concerning our personal war against vice. Summer, for example, which is hot and dry, is analogous to “the burning and ardour of avarice,” while autumn is cold and dry, like pride. Jacopo also does a delightful job coordinating the Embertides with the four temperaments: springtime is sanguine, summer is choleric, autumn is melancholic, and winter is phlegmatic.13 It is little wonder that the Ember days became times of spiritual exercises (not unlike our modern retreats), and that folklore in Europe grew up around them affirming their special character.14


Even the Far East was affected by the Ember days. In the sixteenth century, when Spanish and Portuguese missionaries settled in Nagasaki, Japan, they sought ways of making tasty meatless meals for Embertide and started deep-frying shrimp. The idea caught on with the Japanese, who applied the process to a number of different sea foods and vegetables. They called this delicious food—have you guessed it yet?—“tempura,” again from Quatuor Tempora.


Dying Embers

While the Ember days remained fixed in the universal calendar as obligatory (along with the injunction to fast), their radiating influence on other areas of life eventually waned. By the twentieth century, ordinations were no longer exclusively scheduled on Ember Saturdays and their role as “spiritual checkups” was gradually forgotten. The writings of Vatican II could have done much to rejuvenate the Ember days. The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy decrees that liturgical elements “which have suffered injury through accidents of history are now to be restored to the vigor which they had in the days of the holy Fathers” (50).

But what came instead was the Sacred Congregation of Divine Worship’s 1969 General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar, where we read:

On rogation and ember days the practice of the Church is to offer prayers to the Lord for the needs of all people, especially for the productivity of the earth and for human labor, and to give him public thanks (45).
In order to adapt the rogation and ember days to various regions…the conferences of bishops should arrange the time and plan for their celebration (46).
Happily, the Ember days were not to be removed from the calendar but tweaked by national bishops’ conferences. There were, however, several shortcomings with this arrangement. First, the SCDW treats Rogation and Ember days as synonymous, which—as we saw in a previous article15—they are not. The Ember days do not, for example, pray for “the productivity of the earth and for human labor” in the dead of winter.

Second, by calling for an adaptation to various regions, the SCDW allowed the Ember days to take on an indeterminate number of meanings that have nothing to do with nature, such as “peace, the unity of the Church, the spread of the faith, etc.”16 Unlike the organic development of the Ember days, which preserved its basic meaning while taking on others, the 1969 directive has no safeguards to keep newly assigned meanings from displacing the Embertides’ more fundamental purpose.

Third, the national bishops’ conferences were supposed to fix the dates of the Ember days, but none, as far as I can tell, ever did.

Dead Embers & Lively Debates

In the wake of this ambiguity and indirection, the Ember days disappeared from the celebration of the Novus Ordo, and at one of the worst possible times. For just as the Church was letting its liturgical celebration of the natural slip into oblivion, the West was going berserk over nature.

Ever since the publication of Machiavelli’s Prince in the sixteenth century, modern society has been predicated on a technological war against nature in order to increase man’s dominion and power. Nature was no longer a lady to be wooed (as she had been for the Greeks, Romans, and medieval Christians); she was now to be raped, beaten into submission through evermore impressive technological advances17 that would render mankind, in Freud’s chilling words, “a prosthetic god.”

While there were some strong reactions against this new attitude, the modern hostility to the God-given only expanded as time went on, growing from a war on nature to a war on human nature. Our current preoccupations with genetic engineering, sex “changes,” and same-sex “marriage”—all of which are attempts to redefine or reconfigure the natural—are examples of this ongoing escalation.
 
The environmental movement that began in the 1960s has helped bring to light the wages of ruthlessly exploiting nature, and thus today we have a renewed appreciation for the virtues of responsible stewardship and for the marvels of God’s green but fragile earth. Yet this same movement, which has served in many ways as a healthy reawakening, is peppered with absurdities. Often the same activists who defend endangered tadpoles go on to champion the annihilation of unborn babies. Recently, after liberalizing their abortion laws, Spain’s socialist government introduced legislation to grant chimpanzees legal rights in order “to preserve the species from extinction”—this in a land with no native ape population.18

Contemporary environmentalism is also sometimes pantheistic in its assumptions, the result being that for many it has become a religion unto itself. This new religion comes complete with its own priests (climatologists), its own gospels (sacrosanct data about rising temperatures and shrinking glaciers), its own prophets (Al Gore, who unfortunately remains welcome in his own country), and, most of all, its own apocalypticism, with the four horsemen of deforestation, global warming, ozone depletion, and fossil fuels all leading us to an ecological Doomsday more terrifying to the secular mind than the Four Last Things.19

Conclusion

My point is not to deny the validity of these anxieties, but to lament the neo-pagan framework into which they are more often than not put. Modern man is such a mess that when he finally recovers a love of nature, he does so in a most unnatural manner. Both the early modern antipathy to nature and the late modern idolatry of it stand in dire need of correction, a correction that the Church is well poised to provide. As Chesterton quipped, Christians can truly love nature because they will not worship her. The Church proclaims nature’s goodness because it was created by a good and loving God and because it sacramentally reflects the grandeur of God’s goodness and love.

The Church does this liturgically with its observance of the “Four Seasons,” the Embertides. Celebrating the Ember days does not, of course, provide ready solutions to the world’s complicated ecological difficulties, but it is a good refresher course in basic first principles. The Ember days offer an intelligent alternative to pantheist environmentalism, and they do so without being contrived or pandering, as a new Catholic “Earth Day” or some such thing would undoubtedly be.

It is a shame that the Church unwittingly let the glow of Embertide die at the precise moment in history when their witness was needed the most, but it is a great boon that Summorum Pontificum makes their celebration universally accessible once again. What remains is for a new generation to take up their practice with a reinvigorated appreciation of what they mean. At least then we’ll know why we are so furious.

Call to Prayer and Fasting
This year, the Autumn Ember days are on September 21 [Feast of Saint Matthew, Apostle], 23, and 24. They follow the Feast of the Holy Cross (Sept. 14), the [fourth] anniversary since  the motu proprio took effect. Let all traditional Catholics unite to observe the traditional Ember fast on these three days: 1) to pray for the Holy Father’s welfare, 2) to thank Almighty God for the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, and 3) to pray for its full implementation in every parish around the world.
Michael P. Foley is an associate professor of patristics at Baylor University. He is the author of Wedding Rites: A Complete Guide to Traditional Music, Vows, Ceremonies, Blessings, and Interfaith Services (Eerdmans) and Why Do Catholics Eat Fish on Friday? The Catholic Origin to Just About Everything (Palgrave Macmillan).


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NOTES:
This article appears in the Fall 2008 issue of The Latin Mass Magazine, vol. 17:4; web publication at RORATE CÆLI authorized by author and periodical. Images related to the First and Second Lessons and to the Gospel of Ember Saturday in September: in the first image, Aaron and Moses offer a holocaust to the Lord.
1.Officially, they fall on the first [full] week after the Feast of the Holy Cross (September 14).
2. Another theory is that “Ember” comes from the Old English, ymbren, meaning time or season.
3. The one reason stated by the Didache is more polemical: Christians fast on different days in order to be different from the “hypocrites,” i.e., the Pharisees (8.1).
4.Cf. Francis X. Weiser, Handbook of Christian Feasts and Customs (New York: Harcourt, 1958), 31-32.
5.Weiser does claim, however, that voluntarily fasting or abstaining on Wednesdays was still alive in some areas when he was writing (1958). Of course, the other remnant of the weekly fast is Friday abstinence from flesh meat.
6.Technically, neither Jewish fast was part of the Mosaic Law, though both were, I would argue, part of the Mosaic way of life.
7.From a prayer by St. Thomas Aquinas.
8.Cf. my article, “The Rogationtide,” TLM 17:2 (Spring 2008), pp. 36-39.
9.Jacopo de Voragine, “The Ember days,” in The Golden Legend.
10.Cf. Michael P. Foley, Why Do Catholics Eat Fish on Friday? The Catholic Origin to Just About Everything (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005), 148-49.
11.The medievals called this the jejunium exultationis—the fast of exultation.
12.There are relevant readings from the Old Testament and from the Letter to the Hebrews that are used throughout the year in both the 1962 and 1970 lectionaries, but the September Embertide is the only time that these readings are used in order to coincide with the autumn festivals of Sukkot and Yom Kippur. Again we see the principle of fulfillment rather than abolition liturgically enacted.
13.Cf. The Golden Legend, Volume 1, “The Ember Days.”
14.In the Middle Ages, the Ember days were kept as holydays of obligation, with rest from work and special acts of charity for the poor, such as feeding and bathing them. There was also an old superstition that the souls in Purgatory were temporarily released from their plight in order to thank their relatives for their prayers and beg for more.
15.Cf. my article, “The Rogationtide,” TLM 17:2 (Spring 2008), pp. 36-39.
16.Response to the query “How should rogation days and ember days be celebrated?” (http://www.catholicculture.org/library/view.cfm?recnum=5932, retrieved 2/20/08).
17.Cf. The Prince, ch. 25.
18.“Spain to Recognize Rights of Apes?” Catholic World News, 6/27/08, http://www.cwnews.com/news/viewstory.cfm?recnum=59360.
19.This is not a parody. Cf. Peter Montague, “The Four Horsemen—Part 1,” Rachel’s Environment & Health Weekly, #471, 12/7/95 (http://www.ejnet.org/rachel/rehw471.htm).

Something to Celebrate!

From Father Z’s Blog

14 Sept: 11th Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum – Thank you, Benedict XVI!

Spars are carried away and sails shred.  Lines lash in the winds and crack like whips in the tempest. It’s nevertheless all hands on deck as the Barque of Peter takes on water and flies before the storm.

As The Present Crisis continues to build and to build and to build, I am mindful that today, 14 September, the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, is the 11th anniversary of the moment that that great charter for ecclesial reform, Summorum Pontificum, went into force.

As I have written before, I write now again to Benedict:

Your Holiness, thank you for Summorum Pontificum.

Since the late 80’s I had the pleasure of speaking with you about these matters, and I think I know your mind on them and motives.

You gave us a great and timely gift.

Today, on this 11th anniversary of the implementation of your Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum, I offer my Holy Mass for your intention.

I will try to carry forward your vision and hopes.

Ad multos annos.

My Heart is Knocked Askew

So, I talk to several priest-friends and beloved laymen…   guys I go to Mass with regularly.     It’s all kind of  surrealistic.   We’re strangely of one mind.    Wuerl must go and Bergoglio must go…and even O’Malley here in Bostoniensis must either tell all …or take a hike.   Many of those I respect in Catholic media are calling for the resignation of Bergoglio.  That in itself seems too good to be true…    but, is it?   What a horrible thing!  Scumbags like Wuerl and McCarrick should be burned at the stake…or at least purged in this temporal world to perhaps save them in the next…   (?)      so much for Medieval Roman Catholicism!  I’m in LOVE with the paradigm!   But the frickin’ pope?!

I can’t stomach the guy for what he presents theologically, liturgically and even his politically-leftist/modernist slant.  I dread him.  I am sure Jesus Christ himself winces every time someone evokes Bergoglio’s title of “His Holiness”.  I am sure of it.

I am convinced that Bergoglio knows all about Vatileaks, the scandals with the Vatican Bank, the scandals with the several Vatican officials around the cocaine-infused gay orgies IN THE VATICAN, the ordeal with the butler,  the unlawful conspiracies prior to the conclave to elect a Modernist like Bergoglio, the crimes of U.S. cardinals like McCarrick and Wuerl and others…     rotten, stinking stuff…   the kind of stuff to make some hearts wane…     maybe a heart like that of  Benedict XVI…   Did he fail us?  did he “chicken out”?  I don’t know.

I DO know that my task…my job;  is to pray – pray and fast for Holy Mother Church.

I urge YOU dear reader to join me.  These are times like never before.  This is real.  Profoundly grave times are what we are living in – right now.  Don’t doubt me!

I’m NOT hateful…I have a sense of righteous indignation…for what these Modernist, traitorous, unbelieving, lying bastards have done to His Holy Church!

Think for a moment what a millstone tied around your neck – might feel like as you’re being heaved into the deep seas…

PRAY for these jackals!  That God might have mercy…

and let’s pray that this signals a restoration by Our Lord in Heaven of His Holy Church!

by Allan Gillis

Finally! Some With Credibility Say It!

Rorate Caeli finally says what I’ve been hoping to hear from some credible Catholic media folks!  Praise God Almighty!

A RORATE Editorial: Francis Must Go

In the two years that led to the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI from the papacy, many strange things happened: leaks, a Secretary of State (Cardinal Bertone) who seemed intent on making things difficult for the pope, and a crisis that seemingly had left his control. Only seemingly: what was actually happening was that the large group of Cardinals involved in what would become known as the “St-Gallen Mafia” were plotting to force Pope Ratzinger’s departure in a see of problems, forcing the election of the “anti-Ratzinger” — indeed, the anti-Ratzinger they had promoted in the previous conclave, Cardinal Bergoglio of Buenos Aires.
It all went exactly as planned. Benedict XVI became, or was, convinced that he would not be able to fix things and left. And Bergoglio, the Horror, was elected. The Horror was how we characterized the Pontificate that was about to begin, on the very day of Bergoglio’s election.
And how we were criticized and vilified for it! In fact, if you go back and read that post by a dear Argentinian friend, that followed on the footsteps of our intense coverage of the Church in Argentina since our founding, you will see that the current Pope is not accused of heresy. Never once! He is not accused of apostasy. We were wrongly charged with all evils, when in fact our concern, that proved absolutely true, regarding this Pope was his mix of the worst moral companions and his utter doctrinal confusion.
Alas, his friends, the same who got him elected, got the best of him. From the very beginning, as the damning written testimony by Archbishop Viganò (at the time, Apostolic Nuncio to the United States) makes clear, Francis used all means, including malice and deception, to help his friends, such as then-Cardinal McCarrick, and also Cardinal Danneels. And he used all means to punish those he saw as his enemies, such as Cardinal Burke, Archbishop Léonard of Brussels, and so many others.
And he destroyed countless lives and vocations. Remember the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate? Your kids won’t. They won’t even know that a young, thriving, traditional order of Franciscans once existed, thanks to this failed pontificate.
Evil in his persecution of anyone with whom he disagreed; evil in his purposeful implementation of confusion in doctrine; evil in his refusal to clarify the confusion he himself had generated — Francis has, with his authoritarian evil, heightened the tensions within the Church to levels not reached since the Protestant Revolt or the French Revolution.
But this time the revolutionary malice comes from within the Church, from a theologically stunted and morally bankrupt, evil-pursuing tyrant.
Francis must go.
An unbearable stench fills the edifice of the Catholic Church. It emanates from the Throne of Peter, where a corpse decays before the whole universe. The powers of the world still parade before the cadaver, offering it secular homages, but the Catholic faithful recoil in horror before the nauseating pagan spectacle.
Pope Francis, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, is dead. He is not actually deceased, but his moral presence is gone. His moral corpse is the revolting cadaver sitting upon the Cathedra of the Prince of the Apostles. And his only real supporters — the liberals, the heretics, the apostates — are already scheming to figure out how to replace him when the inevitable occurs.
He has deceived, he has persecuted the truly faithful, he has confused the little ones in their faith, he has mocked Tradition whenever he could. Above all, he has lied, and he has been shown to lie, and he has been presented as a consummate liar in the protection of a racket of perverted and abusive priests who are his closest aides.
All that is left for him is to remove his corrupt moral body weighing on Holy Mother Church and go away. Abdication is the only possible solution to five years of growing disgrace and purposeful mismanagement.
The horror we identified on the very first day has come to full fruition, as a pustulous infructescence of corruption: Sodom in Rome.

 

AMEN!!! says Allan Gillis