Category Archives: sin

I’m NOT Uncomfortable With This…Should I Be?

A view of the SSPX – from the Occidental Observer – this will frighten some, annoy many and cause many more to – at least – raise their eyebrows:

An Appraisal of the SSPX from the Viewpoint of White Advocacy

Karl Nemmersdorf

The Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) is a priestly fraternity founded in 1970 by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who was one of the very few bishops to oppose the modern innovations imposed on the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council (1962–65). The SSPX does not have a sanctioned, official position within the Church, but it vehemently opposes any attempt to characterize it as “schismatic,” or opposed to basic and lawful Church authority. Its self-imposed mission is to preserve the kernel of the Church free from corruption, specifically the Latin Mass and the ordination of priests, and thus keep alive the old paths that produced millions of holy men and women.

The SSPX knows that enemies have infiltrated the Church—modernists, Jews, freemasons, and homosexuals—and have accomplished a profound and tragic transformation of the old Faith (see “The role of Jewish converts to Catholicism in changing traditional Catholic teachings on Jews“). Pope Francis with his leftist activism is not an isolated phenomenon, but simply the culmination of this maleficent penetration of the Church. It is crucial to understand that the Church we see today—wimpy and liberal—is emphatically not the Church of old. That Church is long gone, but a remnant perpetuates the old no-nonsense, masculine traditions. The SSPX is that remnant, along with patches of conservatism here and there in the New Church.

We must distinguish between the SSPX and its followers. The SSPX, strictly speaking, consists only of the priests and its few bishops. These priests offer Mass for many faithful (“traditional Catholics”), who are often mistaken for “members” of the SSPX. In this essay I will, however, sometimes lump priests and laity together under that term, or simply, “the Society.”

The SSPX is a very positive movement for Whites for several reasons. Perhaps the most important is that Society families produce White children at a rate virtually unknown anywhere in the contemporary West. The SSPX and its faithful make up one of the very few vital bodies in the entire West. By “vital,” I mean a body that is full of life and energy, from the Latin vita, “life.” And isn’t that what Whites need above all else? Life? Descendants? White children? What other group in America is “vital” in this sense? What other group in the U.S., apart from Mormons, and Mennonites, is producing large numbers of White children?

Another major service provided by the Society is standing firm against the agenda of Pope Francis. This includes his scandalous love affair with “migrant” Muslims (who would like nothing more than to execute him and turn St. Peters into a mosque), his espousal of the global warming agenda—and thus the globalist agenda—and his tragic failure to uphold sexual morality. In the latter sphere, he has left the Church fatally vulnerable to the LGBT agenda and (with his document Amoris Laetitia), those who attack the institution of marriage. Since the Church was the last real bulwark against the disastrous reign of loose morals, this leaves the West even further lacking in the sorts of social supports needed for a healthy, productive society.[1] The SSPX by its mere existence represents a standing rebuke to the agenda of Pope Francis, and stands almost alone in the Catholic world working to counteract the mad program of Francis. This alone should earn the gratitude of those who love the West.

In the U.S., there are only about 20,000 people who attend SSPX Masses; traditional Catholics are not numerous. Yet, the SSPX is much more important than its numbers might indicate, for the simple reason that it carries on the traditions of the ancient Western cult. The Catholic faith was the original cultus of our High Culture and “has had a vital role in the development of the West.” The Catholic Church was not a wimpy or egalitarian social force. It was a muscular entity that united everyone under a reassuring canopy of dogma and sacrament; it had a major role in holding the West together in the face of the Muslim onslaught. Often it was the only entity that considered Europe as a whole, the only force rising above the often petty contentions of individual princedoms. The Catholic West conducted many wars against Islam, and all of them were summoned by the Popes. The Church became a handmaid of the Left only in the past fifty years.

I know the SSPX well; I have attended SSPX masses for almost twenty years. I returned to the Church when I was in my mid-thirties, when I thought I was well on my way to eternal bachelorhood. But then I fell in love with a young Catholic girl, and we proceeded to marry and have six children, and may have more. I and my family now live in one of the biggest SSPX parishes in the world, with over thirty-seven hundred souls. I must say, the Faith has been a boon to me in affording me the chance at marriage and a family, but it also rescued me from behavior that would have introduced me to an early grave. Religious faith has many benefits.

Before I discuss race, some prefatory comments are in order. My personal view is that all men are descended from a common ancestor, and are thus brothers. All possess certain innate rights and are due proper justice and respect. My thoughts here coincide with, and are informed by, Catholic teaching. It seems to me we can all agree on these basic points. I do not view White nationalism as incompatible with Catholic charity or justice whatsoever, at least if one defines White nationalism as implying that races naturally come into too much conflict when mixed and would thrive from division into separate nation-states.

The idea that “charity begins at home” also does not conflict with Catholic teaching. We naturally love what is closer to us, family, then neighbors, and less so as one moves outward (also Catholic doctrine). Whites certainly can—and should—assist other Whites or fellow citizens before helping outsiders. This does not rule out charity for other nations or races, but it does place the emphasis squarely on helping those who are closer. (“America First!”) The “pathological altruism” of the modern West stems from suicidal liberalism, not Catholic teaching: “Christianity has not had a consistent message of ethnic suicide or moral universalism.”

The Catholic position on human “equality” also deserves a few words, since it is a central political and social concern. Many believe that “Christian” egalitarianism has been a major cause of the decline of the West. Catholic teaching, however, holds that men are equal only in that they have a common human nature (body and soul) and a common end (fulfillment in God). This concept of equality is largely spiritual; when men operate in society, inequality of ability and achievement quickly becomes evident. Catholic teaching always understood and accepted this. Pope Leo XIII wrote,

There naturally exist among mankind manifold differences of the most important kind; people differ in capacity, skill, health, strength; and unequal fortune is a necessary result of unequal condition. Such inequality is far from being disadvantageous either to individuals or to the community. Social and public life can only be maintained by means of various kinds of capacity … (from the papal encyclical Rerum Novarum)

Pope St. Pius X stated,

Human society as God established it, is composed of unequal elements . . . to make them all equal is impossible, and would be the destruction of society itself  . . . Consequently it is conformable to the order established by God, that in human society there should be princes and subjects, masters and [workmen], rich and poor, learned and ignorant, nobles and plebeians . . . (E. Cahill, The Framework of a Christian State, p. 289)

It is Communism and its evil twin, the liberal democratic/globalist regime, that have strived to crush and level Western man, not the Catholic Church. The Church always upheld social and political hierarchy.

With these fundamental questions addressed, we proceed. Racially, the SSPX faithful in the U.S. are overwhelmingly White. There is a sizeable number of Hispanics, and a few blacks and Asians, but the Whites must amount to about ninety percent of the whole, if not more. Being Catholic, the Society is cosmopolitan (it has churches worldwide) and there is admittedly some race mixing. I have seen a handful of White-Filipino or White-Asian marriages, and a few White-black. The mixing is on a small scale, but the Society (like the old Church) is amenable to it. White Nationalists might sneer at these facts, but intermarriage will remain a minor matter in the SSPX. It does nothing to alter the fact that the SSPX brings large numbers of White children into the world. Intermarriage, I think, hits a raw nerve today largely because of the race crisis brought on by mass immigration. Absent this dangerous situation, we might look upon the occasional interracial marriage as a curious novelty, not as a pang to the heart and a loss of precious genes. We might.

The state of marriages and families among the SSPX faithful is—make no mistake—sometimes less than ideal. The faithful exist in various stages of conforming to the Catholic faith, and there is much ignorance. There are some broken marriages and badly raised children. The faithful (many of whom are converts) have had to go through the process of tearing themselves away from extreme feminism, hedonism, and other mindsets of the modern and postmodern world. It is an extremely difficult process, and many are only in the early stages of making the break.

Yet fruitful marriages abound. The portion of SSPX faithful who marry is far above the present rate in the U.S. Only fifty percent of adults in the United States are married, as opposed to seventy-two percent in 1960, a drastic decline of over thirty percent. The rate among Society faithful, I think, meets or exceeds the 1960 U.S. rate. Very few become priests or nuns; the great majority “commit matrimony,” as the priests jest. And once married, something magical happens. These couples are open to having as many children as possible. It is a remarkable phenomenon. The women willingly accept this calling, and they do so with pride. When SSPX couples meet, one of the first questions is always, “how many children do you have?” The happiness of the parents is evident.

There is also a very low rate of illegitimacy, almost certainly less than three percent, when the White rate in America is now approaching thirty percent. This protects children (and mothers) from a wide range of bad social outcomes.

In my large parish, families of ten or twelve children are common. There are at least two families with eighteen kids. The birth rate in the Society is about three times greater than in the U.S. as a whole. (Using some rough calculations, I estimated the birth rate—births per 1,000 women of childbearing age—in the Society at about 170, while the U.S. White birth rate is 60. That would make it 2.83 times greater, but I have a hard time believing the number is not closer to 4.) Whatever it may be, the begetting of the next generation is the sine qua non of the race, and traditional Catholics are tackling the job splendidly. I would challenge you, dear reader: how many children have you given the White race?

The crucial bottleneck here is finding women willing to contract permanent marriages and have children. It is hard enough to find a woman willing to get married and have any children. That is the great value of the SSPX. In the Society there are many young White women eager to marry and have as many children as they can. Try finding that anywhere else. They are willing to marry outside the faith, too, as long as their partner converts. Say it with me, “Whites need to have more children.” With the Catholic solution to fertility introduced here, I might ask, is the survival of the race worth going to Mass? It might come down to that.

Then there is the training of children. People in the SSPX know that children need to be trained, guided, formed. This awareness seems to be utterly lacking in the U.S. as a whole. The mere sight of modern children makes it painfully obvious that their parents have never given a thought to their training. Look at the children you see in public. They yell, throw themselves around, and make yowling demands upon their parents, demands that are usually met with parental submission. This is not normal, my friends. SSPX parents rarely permit their kids to grow up with such a sense of entitlement. Self-control is a byword for traditional Catholics, and much thought is given to child-rearing.

This training in self-discipline is absolutely crucial. No one who lacks self-control can accomplish anything of importance. Thus, traditional Catholic parents not only have the children, they are also raising them to be productive members of society.

SPXX families also raise their children almost wholly shielded from the worst monstrosities of the modern world, such as promoting homosexuality, transgenderism, and feminism. Parents foster good moral health. For Catholics, homosexuality has always been a horror, “the sin that dare not speak its name”; enough said about it. Traditional gender roles are emphasized quite thoroughly, both in the home and in the schools. There is a real emphasis on giving boys free rein for their natural masculinity, and they glory in it. Traditional girls’ roles are a bit harder to inculcate (although some families excel at it). Women are less enthusiastic and less knowledgeable about this type of training. Extreme forms of feminism have so permeated modern society that many men and women of the Society are not aware that they hold such views. Nevertheless, this does not prevent the women from fulfilling their roles as mothers of large families. And really, who cares what they think if they fulfil this duty?

Families, schools, and priests in the Society all foster an appreciation for Western Culture. The traditions of the West in music, art, literature, and philosophy are valued, taught, and assimilated. How many schools or colleges in America can say that? This emphasis on Western culture is not necessarily conscious, but it exists. And that is enough. When was the creation of the great works ever completely conscious?

The Society teaches the duty of patriotism. Traditional Catholics are truly patriotic and many serve in the military. In general they participate dutifully in the political process and stay informed on the issues. (They work with the democratic process, which in my youthful rage I spurned; who was right?) Many men in the Society see the world in ways similar to the viewpoint of White Nationalism, especially concerning the immivasion crisis and the dominance of the hostile elite.

At a time when the public schools operate as a vast, sinister project indoctrinating students in all the current paths of social dissolution favored by the hostile elite, at least some fraction of young men and women will be able to begin their adult lives free from this complex of depravities. Thanks to the SSPX.

There is much evidence that the practice of religion benefits individuals and society. By raising young adults in a religious tradition, the SSPX benefits society as a whole.

Politically, the SSPX knows as well as anyone in the modern West the danger posed by the Jewish influence and the Islamic invasion. The Catholic Church was the only solid defense the West ever enjoyed against Jewish influence.“With the political success of the Church, society as a whole became organized around a monolithic, hegemonic, and collectivist social institution defined by its opposition to Judaism.”  In 1910, during the papacy of Pius X, the Catholic Encyclopedia described the causes of anti-Semitism as follows:

 

  • The deep and wide racial difference between Jews and Christians which was, moreover, emphasized by the ritual and dietary laws of Talmudic Judaism;
  • the mutual religious antipathy which prompted the Jewish masses to look upon the Christians as idolaters, and the Christians to regard the Jews as the murderers of the Divine Saviour of mankind, and to believe readily the accusation of the use of Christian blood in the celebration of the Jewish Passover, the desecration of the Holy Eucharist, etc.;
  • the trade rivalry which caused Christians to accuse the Jews of sharp practice, and to resent their clipping of the coinage, their usury, etc.;
  • the patriotic susceptibilities of the particular nations in the midst of which the Jews have usually formed a foreign element, and to the respective interests of which their devotion has not always been beyond suspicion. (See “The Church and anti-Semitism—Again.”)

 

The Church often kept strict controls upon the Jews. However, as a result of the Enlightenment and liberal ideas, the nations awarded the Jews a citizenship and political equality. This opened wide the social and political spheres to the Jews, and they rushed in and got to work. This happened only in the states that had thrown out the Catholic Church. On this topic, one of the innovations of the New Church the Society rejects is Nostra Aetate, the Vatican II statement that retreated significantly from the old militant Catholic view of the Jews. (This document also features this gem: “The Church regards with esteem also the Moslems.”) The SSPX preserves this old wisdom, with the result that it features prominently on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website. A badge of honor.

To sum up, the Society of St. Pius X will never be a frank ally of White Nationalism. The Church shies away, in charity, from probing too deeply into the race question; after all, its kingdom is not of this world. However, despite whatever reservations one may have about the Catholic faith or teachings, traditional Catholics are doing the arduous work that Whites all across the West (and White Nationalists) should be doing, but all too often are not: begetting and training the next generation of Whites. For that, the SSPX deserves gratitude and respect.

Brought to you by Allan Gillis

I’m baaaaack!

Just when you thought this blog was safe from the politically-incorrect incivility and bravado that characterized my blog entries and made you wince these past few years… I return!

I return as sick as ever about this culture.  How difficult it is to live life as a guy trying to take his Roman Catholicism seriously!  I’m attacked from both inside and outside the institution’s franchise that I live to support and help widen!  The Church’s leader and his like-minded apostatized henchmen, (or most are nearly-apostatized!) these “princes of the Church” call me and my fellow sojourners names, they ridicule us and thwart our efforts to live and worship in the true fashion concomitant with our ancient and blessed patrimony.  Sickening.

While I was engaged and otherwise distracted from this blog  –  as life often takes turns which can sometimes delay us from tasks, goals, and accomplishments – this culture seemed to vomit all over itself with this huge sex-scandal miasma.  Sickening.

Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Al Franken, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Garrison Keillor etcetera, etcetera.  Hmmm…  a very interesting thought just spawned here…how many of these guys are media-pig liberal Jews?    Ooops!    NOT supposed to say stuff like that Allan!  My bad!  (I just rapped myself on the wrist)

Media-pigs are those who feed at the filthy profit-trough of TV, film , radio and/or printed media where the shit-strewn jetsam is spun and fed out to the masses…to the poor souls who consume it and suffer all sorts of spiritual malady in their ignorance and hunger for “community” and relevance.  Liberal Jews, (as opposed to “Jews”) as I use the term here refers to the sometimes ethnic/sometimes ideological group that nearly always seems to be either planting or cultivating or distributing what they deign as progressivism in sexual morals, wrought from a specific political receptivity to smash all vestiges of real Roman Catholic morality and governance.  I cite a bit of anecdotal history here – wherein it seems to me that the Jews hurriedly put together Hollywood in the 1920’s and found huge success selling everything from an insidious politically-leftist/progressivism to downright smut – both on the screen and print  –  and rock music that shook the culture violently from it’s mores from the earliest time of recorded sound where we heard and watched the filthy machinations of Tin Pan Alley and then on up to the most vile genre…Hip-Hop/Gangsta-Rap.   Sickening.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I also blame another “ethnic group” for the disassembly of morals – especially in these United States.  There seemed to be a cabal of Protestant-Yankee “de-constructionists” as it were.  The very same group who first chaffed at the Church of England (after their fathers threw away their salvation by raping and abandoning Holy Mother Church)  to become Methodists and to chaffe there and become Unitarians and then to chaffe further to become some iteration of Congregationalists – believing in everything from transcendentalism to Tarrot-Card reading and rainbow flag homosexualism.         Sickening.

Interestingly…as I ponder further;   both groups are renown for their work-ethic and success in science and the arts.    I also think they unknowingly (and quite adeptly) worked together during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries to bring Roman Catholicism to it’s knees.

As for the poor bastards that have tarnished their careers (actually, since Bill Clinton – one seems to enhance their career with allegations of sexual mis-conduct!) these clowns stand dead and stinking as sad, un-buried skeletons of the human sexual paradigm planned and created by God.   There seemed to be a real mob-mentality going there for a while…we’ll see how this “me too” hash-tag thingy pans out.

Women today in their unconscious embrace of modern feminism don’t realize that men have won exactly what they’ve wanted instinctively…       easy sexual access to the woman.    The culture has rotted away such that the days of courtship and Holy Matrimony are amusement – while easy sex and the hook-up culture spins a horrible web of sadness, confusion, allegations of rape (whether true or not) and abortion on demand.   Women don’t want anymore (or many have confusion on this topic)  the masculine men of old.   These young (seemingly hetero-sexual) guys even talk with a feminine-like lisp and with a higher pitch it seems to me!  I’m serious.   Men primping?   Shame.  Take a look at an old daguerreotype photograph of a typical man in the early/mid 19th century.  He is invariably unkempt.  Not too-too trimmed and primped.   Men ideally where to be fine of character and groomed with honor…not foppery!

Today’s media-driven image of men…     Sickening.

I’ll ramble on again soon.

 

Until then…God Bless You and may Mary pray for us, that we might be worthy of the promises of Christ!

Allan Gillis

 

The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

Allan Gillis

“Justice and peace”, “community”, “sustainable”, “safety”, “equality”… words loaded with political import these days. How I grimace as I hear or read them. How my skin crawls as I sometimes listen (as a penance) to NPR. Or read something in the NYT – or pretty much anywhere in media these days.  The choice of words is often a statement of ideology…I guess it always has been.  I am so convinced that the Devil is the father of the political Left.  I’m serious.

I came upon this particular months-old story; of which I previously commented and posted upon here in this venue. [ “Birds of a Feather Flock Together” (part 2)  – July 7 2017 ] The cocaine-fueled gay orgy in the Vatican earlier this year. (the one that we just happen to know about – only God knows how often it has and continues to occur!)

The Church IS IN CRISIS!

Yes we know of times in the past – namely during the Renaissance reign of Pope Pius V, that the scourge of homosexuality ran rampant throughout the culture/church/clergy…  but at least then the reigning pontiff took a militant (and public) stance against the wave of sin!  Pope Pius V (who was later canonized) didn’t spout any “girly-man” statements such as “who am I to judge?”!  Pius kicked ass!

Here’s what “ticked me off” this morning as I re-read an older post on Life Site News:

Vatican appointee says gay sex can express Christ’s ‘self-gift’

ROME, May 19, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Pope Francis has appointed radically liberal, pro-homosexual Dominican Father Timothy Radcliffe as a consultor for the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

The Holy Father made the appointment on Saturday, according to Vatican Radio.

Father Radcliffe, an Englishman, author and speaker, was Master of the Dominican order from 1992 to 2001, and is an outspoken proponent of homosexuality.

“We must accompany [gay people] as they discern what this means, letting our images be stretched open,” he said in a 2006 religious education lecture in Los Angeles. “This means watching ‘Brokeback Mountain,’ reading gay novels, living with our gay friends and listening with them as they listen to the Lord.”

In 2005, as the Vatican deliberated the admission of men with homosexual tendencies to study for the priesthood in the wake of the Church sex abuse scandal, Father Radcliffe said that homosexuality should not bar men from the priesthood, and rather, those who oppose it should be banned.

As a contributor to the 2013 Anglican Pilling Report on human sexual ethics Father Radcliffe said of homosexuality:

How does all of this bear on the question of gay sexuality? We cannot begin with the question of whether it is permitted or forbidden! We must ask what it means, and how far it is Eucharistic. Certainly it can be generous, vulnerable, tender, mutual and non-violent. So in many ways, I would think that it can be expressive of Christ’s self-gift. We can also see how it can be expressive of mutual fidelity, a covenantal relationship in which two people bind themselves to each other for ever.

Father Radcliffe often celebrated Mass for the U.K. dissident group Soho Masses Pastoral Council (now renamed the LGBT Catholics Westminster Pastoral Council).

The priest is also a supporter of the proposal of to allow communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.

He currently works as director of the Las Casas Institute of Blackfriars at Oxford University, a social justice center.

Social justice is the focus of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, established in 1967 by Pope Paul VI in response to the Vatican II proposal for establishment of a body of the universal Church that would “stimulate the Catholic Community to foster progress in needy regions and social justice on the international scene.”

Read the rest here:

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/vatican-appointee-says-gay-sex-can-express-christs-self-gift

Ave Maria, ora pro nobis !!!

Separated from God – By Our Own Sin

By Allan Gillis

Sin…     then contrition, confession, absolution and penance.  This seems to be the cycle as it were.   I have written about this dynamic before.  It is always before us.  We sin and we are ipso facto separated from God.  Its that simple.

in Habakkuk 1:13, we read where the prophet reminds himself about God’s dis-inclination toward gazing upon “sin”:  “Thy eyes are too pure to behold evil, and thou canst not look on iniquity”.   I believe this is exactly what Jesus himself was aware of as he languished on the cross crying out;  “My God, My God!  Why hast Thou forsaken me?!”

I had a very real sense of this bitter anguish recently.  This eerie sense that I not only was separated from God…  but that I had (almost physically) removed myself….intentionally stepped out from under His wing…   purposefully exited His presence.  It was rather jolting…certainly frightening.

Here’s what happened and I ask your indulgence as I am going to be rather candid.

It has been several weeks since my last confession.   Getting out on my boat is often of paramount importance to me as these seasonal sailing days seem to be so fleeting – especially as I grow older.  Tempus fugit!  So, I have missed a couple of Saturday afternoons at the local Novus Ordo parish where I often go for confession. (I HATE the N.O. “snowflake” term; “reconciliation”!)  I have from time to time availed myself of the wondrous services of the Franciscans intown Boston during the weekdays at St. Anthony’s. (Such a service to the faithful!  God bless them!)  I often tell myself: “oh, I’ll just take care of confession on Saturday or just prior to Mass”.      Not always reliable.  I am awash in the stinking cesspool-waters of pride.  I could go regularly to my very good friend and spiritual-director. He’s the most wonderful priest I have ever known.   But, I am often too proud to reveal how utterly reprobate I am in my heart of hearts.  I am too haughty to ever have Father Fagioli know just what a dirt-bag I really am.  Not that he’s ever said or done anything that would invite me to ever forget that he’s a priest and I’m a layman.  I spend friendly and very enjoyable hours with him at meals and discussions…while afraid of what others might think of me – I fail to secure a good confession with him regularly.

I don’t want him to know what a creep I am.   Pride is such a trap.

So, circumstances didn’t allow me to get to confession.  I then compounded my sin by dilly-dallying this past Sunday…       knowing I had to get to Foxboro by early afternoon to “tailgate BBQ” at Gillette’s Stadium for the Roma vs. Juventus (Serie A) Italian soccer match.  I skipped Mass.

Yeah, a mortal sin.

Driving down to Foxboro I was gripped by this aweful sensation that I had intentionally vacated Almighty God’s protection of Graces.  Compounding my sin…

I am aware of my failings. I can even admit it here to you readers – but, can I personally overcome this prideful propensity to care too much about what people think of me?  … to the detriment of my eternal soul?

Despite what Satan often whispers to me – I am not a fraud.  I am simply a man intermittently  – sometimes gingerly, often-times reluctantly – trying to pick up my cross and follow Him.

Here’s the kicker:  I haven’t even bothered to do my daily prayer regimen since then – all this week…   insolence?    laziness?      I now have this “feeling” that I must somehow  –  body-slam myself, crash through this wall of sinful impudence.  I must get to confession.  I will go.

To be quite honest with you – just writing this is making me cry.

Say a quick prayer for me?

Our Sin, Our Conscience and His Forgiveness

226-jesus-et-penitent

I currently have a stain of sin on my soul.  Yup, I knowingly sinned…a sin that is (or used to be)  referred to as a mortal sin.  We have been reading the gospel message recently in Mass (up to last week I think?) Where in St. Matthew’s Gospel Chapter 25 Jesus warns us to remain vigilant and “ready”.  He describes the virgins waiting for the bridegroom who had for certain reasons failed to prepare adequately for the arrival of the bridegroom as they didn’t have sufficient oil for their lamps.  They cajoled and pleaded with their sisters but their sisters told them to go and get what they needed and quickly return  –  sad thing is, they got back too late and missed the party and the MC of the event told them at the door to take a hike – he didn’t “know them”.  They were not prepared.  They missed the boat.  The gospel here refers to them as the “foolish” ones.  Interesting.

At present, at this very moment…   I have no oil in my lamp.  I foolishly decided upon and then deliberately executed my sin.  It was forethought and follow-through.  Just like in archery – or a golf-swing.  It’s a strange process that our minds go through as we contemplate a sin.  We look at it, admire it’s color, sheen and juiciness and then without trepidation, bite right into the apple.  The juice can be so sweet. The flesh of the forbidden fruit can be so delectable!  We chew and ingest/indulge all the while aggressively blocking out any thoughts than can offer us an escape-hatch from the death that is promised.  The death that we oddly – though most assuredly, are savoring at that precise moment. The wages of sin is death.  Period.  So then after our sin, our life calls us back to reality and we remember all that we REALLY are and desire to be.  All that we REALLY hope and strive for during those hours on our knees in prayer – during those times of self-denial…  times of service to God and His Church…His people.  We realize the juxtaposition – the contradiction.  Things turned upside-down.  Our conscience irks us.  We sense the Holy Spirit convicting us of our sin…  our separation from the safety of being looked upon by God’s Holy face – with which He cannot turn to gaze upon sin.  Jesus on the cross knew this horrible feeling well, as he at that moment on Calvary carried all of our sin. He then cried out “my God!, my God!”.  We are discomforted.   Then, at this time that sweet apple suddenly turns to horseradish on our tongues.

I now personally must live with this pungent taste until I get myself to confession tomorrow.  Confession!  Sweet Confession!  A most necessary sacrament!   The sweet absolution of mercy and grace!  God grants me the mercies of His infinite lovingkindness!  Me!  The dirt-bag that I am.  Tonight I lay my self to sleep – I pray the Lord my soul to keep!   …at least ’til I can get to confession tomorrow!

The Catholic Origins of Halloween

halloween

Allan Gillis brings this to you

From uCatholic.com

 

By Father Augustine Thompson, O.P.

We’ve all heard the allegations: Halloween is a pagan rite dating back to some pre-Christian festival among the Celtic Druids that escaped church suppression. Even today modern pagans and witches continue to celebrate this ancient festival. If you let your kids go trick-or-treating, they will be worshiping the devil and pagan gods.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The origins of Halloween are, in fact, very Christian and rather American. Halloween falls on October 31 because of a pope, and its observances are the result of medieval Catholic piety.

It’s true that the ancient Celts of Ireland and Britain celebrated a minor festival on October 31–as they did on the last day of most other months of the year. However, Halloween falls on the last day of October because the Solemnity of All Saints, or “All Hallows,” falls on November 1. The feast in honor of all the saints in heaven used to be celebrated on May 13, but Pope Gregory III (d. 741) moved it to November 1, the dedication day of All Saints Chapel in St. Peter’s at Rome. Later, in the 840s, Pope Gregory IV commanded that All Saints be observed everywhere. And so the holy day spread to Ireland.

Saint Odilio
Saint Odilio of Cluny

The day before was the feast’s evening vigil, “All Hallows Even,” or “Hallowe’en.” In those days Halloween didn’t have any special significance for Christians or for long-dead Celtic pagans.

In 998, St. Odilo, the abbot of the powerful monastery of Cluny in southern France, added a celebration on November 2. This was a day of prayer for the souls of all the faithful departed. This feast, called All Souls Day, spread from France to the rest of Europe.

So now the Church had feasts for all those in heaven and all those in purgatory. What about those in the other place? It seems Irish Catholic peasants wondered about the unfortunate souls in hell. After all, if the souls in hell are left out when we celebrate those in heaven and purgatory, they might be unhappy enough to cause trouble. So it became customary to bang pots and pans on All Hallows Even to let the damned know they were not forgotten. Thus, in Ireland at least, all the dead came to be remembered–even if the clergy were not terribly sympathetic to Halloween and never allowed All Damned Day into the church calendar.

But that still isn’t our celebration of Halloween. Our traditions on this holiday center on dressing up in fanciful costumes, which isn’t Irish at all. Rather, this custom arose in France during the 14th and 15th centuries. Late medieval Europe was hit by repeated outbreaks of the bubonic plague–the Black Death–and it lost about half its population. It is not surprising that Catholics became more concerned about the afterlife.

A Danse Macabre

More Masses were said on All Souls Day, and artistic representations were devised to remind everyone of their own mortality. We know these representations as the “danse macabre”, or “dance of death,” which was commonly painted on the walls of cemeteries and shows the devil leading a daisy chain of people–popes, kings, ladies, knights, monks, peasants, lepers, etc.–into the tomb. Sometimes the dance was presented on All Souls Day itself as a living tableau with people dressed up in the garb of various states of life.

But the French dressed up on All Souls, not Halloween; and the Irish, who had Halloween, did not dress up. How the two became mingled probably happened first in the British colonies of North America during the 1700s, when Irish and French Catholics began to intermarry. The Irish focus on Hell gave the French masquerades an even more macabre twist.

But as every young ghoul knows, dressing up isn’t the point; the point is getting as many goodies as possible. Where on earth did “trick or treat” come in? “Treat or treat” is perhaps the oddest and most American addition to Halloween and is the unwilling contribution of English Catholics.

During the penal period of the 1500s to the 1700s in England, Catholics had no legal rights. They could not hold office and were subject to fines, jail and heavy taxes. It was a capital offense to say Mass, and hundreds of priests were martyred.

I wonder if they make a Guy Fawkes mask...
I wonder if they make a Guy Fawkes Halloween mask…

Occasionally, English Catholics resisted, sometimes foolishly. One of the most foolish acts of resistance was a plot to blow up the Protestant King James I and his Parliament with gunpowder. This was supposed to trigger a Catholic uprising against the oppressors. The ill-conceived Gunpowder Plot was foiled on November 5, 1605, when the man guarding the gunpowder, a reckless convert named Guy Fawkes, was captured and arrested. He was hanged; the plot fizzled.

November 5, Guy Fawkes Day, became a great celebration in England, and so it remains. During the penal periods, bands of revelers would put on masks and visit local Catholics in the dead of night, demanding beer and cakes for their celebration: trick or treat!

Guy Fawkes Day arrived in the American colonies with the first English settlers. But by the time of the American Revolution, old King James and Guy Fawkes had pretty much been forgotten. Trick or treat, though, was too much fun to give up, so eventually it moved to October 31, the day of the Irish-French masquerade. And in America, trick or treat wasn’t limited to Catholics.

The mixture of various immigrant traditions we know as Halloween had become a fixture in the United States by the early 1800s. To this day, it remains unknown in Europe, even in the countries from which some of the customs originated.

But what about witches? Well, they are one of the last additions. The greeting card industry added them in the late 1800s. Halloween was already “ghoulish,” so why not give witches a place on greeting cards? The Halloween card failed (although it has seen a recent resurgence in popularity), but the witches stayed.

So too, in the late 1800s, ill-informed folklorists introduced the jack-o’-lantern. They thought that Halloween was Druidic and pagan in origin. Lamps made from turnips (not pumpkins) had been part of ancient Celtic harvest festivals, so they were translated to the American Halloween celebration.

The next time someone claims that Halloween is a cruel trick to lure your children into devil worship, I suggest you tell them the real origin of All Hallows Eve and invite them to discover its Christian significance, along with the two greater and more important Catholic festivals that follow it.


Father Augustine Thompson, O.P.Father Augustine Thompson, O.P., is an associate professor of religious studies at the University of Virginia. BA, MA, The Johns Hopkins University; BA (Philosophy), MDiv, Dominican School of Philosophy & Theology; PhD, University of California, Berkeley; STM, Order of Preachers, 2007.

Reprinted from Catholic Parent magazine. Copyright 2000. All rights reserved.