Saturday, December 31, 2005


I saw it tonight. My husband liked it. I mean he REALLY liked it. And he had agreed to see it reluctantly.

Much better movie than Lord of the Rings. I know some of you like Tolkien, but I'll take Lewis over Tolkien every time.

Now where can I get one of those lions...


Rich Leonardi at Catholic Exchange offers a history of Kwanzaa and its anti-Christian reason for being, calling into question any sort of Catholic support of this novelty.

Thanks to a reader for the link.


STOCKHOLM, Sweden Dec 30, 2005 — A punk-rock style, trendy tight fit and affordable price have made Cheap Monday jeans a hot commodity among young Swedes, but what has people talking is the brand's ungodly logo: a skull with a cross turned upside down on its forehead.

The jeans' makers say it's more of a joke, but the logo's designer said there's a deeper message.

"It is an active statement against Christianity," Bjorn Atldax told The Associated Press. "I'm not a Satanist myself, but I have a great dislike for organized religion."

Continue reading...

The article indicates the manufacturer is planning to market them in the U.S.

Hat tip to a reader for this story.


who is teaching Zen to prisoners with considerable success:

Toronto - Few people can turn as many religious stereotypes on their head the way Elaine MacInnes does.

No ordinary Roman Catholic nun, as she freely, even gleefully, concedes, the 81-year-old MacInnes is an accomplished classical musician and a prison activist in the mold of her American friend, Sister Helen Prejean, the Louisiana nun portrayed in the film "Dead Man Walking."

And unlike the unfair but still prevalent image of the brittle and stern nun clad in a severe black habit, Sister Elaine, as she's widely known, is quick with a hearty laugh as she wears slacks and sports a bright flower brooch.

The next part of her myth-busting requires a leap of faith. Mac- Innes is a Zen Buddhist roshi (master) - the first Canadian, among a few Westerners - and certainly the only Catholic nun to be invested into Zen's highest echelon.

Is the unusual combination a conflict in an era when the Catholic church is caught up in a lot of soul-searching and housecleaning?

Hardly, Sister Elaine says in an interview in Toronto, where she shares a small house with six other members of Our Lady's Missionaries, an order of Roman Catholic nuns founded in Canada in 1949. If anything, she says, Zen has made her a better Catholic, and vice versa. She says Zen is a tool that has enriched her Christian spirituality without compromising it.

"The word 'spirit' means in Buddhism, as far as I can tell, pretty much what it means in Christianity: the presence of the sacred within," says MacInnes. "And that presence expresses itself in power. You can call it chi or qi, but it's power."

Zen, according to MacInnes, empowers you, apparently in some way that Catholicism does not, because if it did, what would be the need for Zen? If Zen enhances the Catholic faith as MacInnes says it does, why did Jesus withhold this tool from His followers?

She admits she's practicing another religion and does recognize that there might be a conflict of interest involved in her Zen:

MacInnes says she receives no flak from Catholic higher-ups for embracing another religion. "Thank God they've kept silent," she says with a laugh. And while equating aspects of Buddhism with Christian spirituality "is clear to me," she adds that "I'd have my head cut off by Rome, I'm sure, if I came out and said that the Buddhist spiritual ideal is the same as the Christian one."

In essence, though, that is just what she has said. Buddhism and Catholic spirituality are cut from the same cloth, and so we can practice both.

"Thank God they've kept silent." Doesn't that pretty much sum up the situation in the Roman Catholic Church? Silence. Silence on sexual abuse. Silence on heresy in our midst. Silence in meditation. It's all about keeping silent and doing your own thing. Make it up as you go along in response to your own perception of God. That's what this nun is doing, and she's quite happy about it. That's the plight of a contemporary Catholic who believes in the Tradition. That's the requirement placed on the homosexual priest and the priest who has abused the laity's children, and the bishop who enabled him. Just keep silent and everything will be fine. Just don't make any waves and don't invite any scrutiny. Just don't see sin and heresy and apostasy where it exists. Just keep silent--as Zen teaches--and all will be well because then you are empowered.

Empowered to do what, exactly, isn't specified. Maybe we don't want to know. Maybe no one cares because the silence is the goal and not just the method, forcing God to retreat into the vast unknown and stop bothering us.

Friday, December 30, 2005


Well not exactly since NOR is a magazine website and not a blog, but I liked the title anyway...

Mark Shea has a blog on the Internet. Shea doesn't like the NOR. He is a columnist for the Legionaries' National Catholic Register, he still writes for Crisis (he thought Deal Hudson's sexual predation should not have been made public), and he's a great pal of Scott Hahn. So he has many reasons for being hostile to the NOR.

On his blog of October 13, he says that the NOR has declared Hahn "a closet feminist who is (I'm not making this up) lobbying for gay marriage." Well, yes, he is making it up. Hahn is not lobbying for "gay marriage," but he is, whether he knows it or not, validating it, and we are not the only ones who think so. Hahn regards the Holy Spirit as feminine or female. Here's what we said in our New Oxford Note, "Burn, Baby, Burn" (Sept. 2002): "Now, Mary was female, and if the Holy Spirit is female or feminine, then Jesus had two mommies, and presto, 'gay' is good and so is 'gay marriage.' Dr. Hahn goes so far as to say the Holy Spirit is 'bridal' and that 'Mary's maternity is mystically one with that of ...the Spirit.' The imagery here is blatantly and scandalously lesbian. Feminist theologians and the Queer cheerleaders have been campaigning for a feminine Holy Spirit for decades. How odd --how depressing, actually -- to see Dr. Hahn jump on the bandwagon."

But this is just the prelude. Shea jumps on us for publishing an article by Robert Sungenis (Oct. 2005).

Continue reading...

(I don't suppose I would need to comment on my position on the sex of the Holy Spirit....No, I didn't think so.)

Mark has a rebuttal blogged.

What I'm wondering about now is whether the band is playing and Catholic journalists are circling the chairs wondering where they will all be sitting when the music stops. But let me be more specific...

I was as amazed to find Robert Sungenis in an issue of NOR as Mark seems to have been; but not for the same reasons. Is NOR going to take seriously the people behind groups like Novus Ordo Watch? IMHO this will be a breakthrough in Catholic reporting. Until this fall, those who were on the extreme right have been personna non grata in the mainstream Catholic press, or so it seems to me; and NOR is certainly mainstream.

It's going to be interesting to discover which publications will support "My pope right or wrong," and which will take a more balanced view. I'm assuming that "The Catholic World Report" will reject any submissions that are critical of the Pope, or if they are run, there will be a rebuttal, given the fact that Fr. Fessio is the Pope's editor now. I expect NOR to be in the Pope's camp as well, based mainly on the Pappa Razi blog, but the Sungenis article is giving me second thoughts. Mostly the people from Steubenville are pro-Pope, pro-charismatics, and traditional in a uniquely liberal way--that liberalism being centered mostly in visionaries, approved and otherwise. This is the pattern I would expect from Catholic Exchange, but admittedly I'm not a lurker there, so don't quote me.

Anyone else care to wade into this commentary and venture an opinion on some of the other publications?


Check out the report at Catholic Church Conservation about one of the parishes in Austria that seems to have a woman who is edging her way gracefully into the role of priest. See that rainbow. See the link in the text to another rainbow. Looks like it means something more than or other than homosexuality as it is used here. And somehow I don't think it's the Noah rendition of the symbol.

What I suspect is this meaning; and if it is, I suspect that esoteric or liberal Christianity has a lot firmer hold on Austrian Catholicism than even I fear.

In the pictures of the sanctuary with the rainbow arching over the baptismal font behind the altar one can easily see the liberal Catholic symbolism:

The sacred relationship between John and Yeshua was not new but reflects a powerful spiritual connection of discipleship from previous incarnations. According to the Tradition, John the Baptist was the reincarnation of the Soul of Elijah the prophet and Yeshua was the reincarnation of the Soul of Elisha, the protégé of Elijah. In the Holy Scriptures we find that a promise was made to Elisha by the Prophet Elijah – that Elisha would receive twice the power of the Soul of Elijah. This promise was made by the banks of the River Jordan where Elijah parted the waters of the great river. (See Kings 2 2:1-12)

This promise was fulfilled in the Rite of Baptism enacted by John and Yeshua – when these two Great Souls joined together in the Rite of Baptism a Gate was opened to the Light-Continuum and the Soul of the Messiah – Supernal Being – was brought into the world.

That rainbow over the baptismal font symbolizes the baptismal opening of the gate to the light-continuum or rainbow bridge.

Could this in fact be a Liberal Catholic Church instead of a Roman Catholic Church? Whether it is or whether it isn't, the Liberal Catholic Church is reflected in the symbolism of the sanctuary.



Take a look at what The Brussels Journal reports passes for sex education in the primary grades in Brussels, according to this link sent in by a reader.


is the title of a new play produced by Belgian native Chokri Ben Chikha as Paul Belien reports in The Brussels Journal. Ben Chikha promotes laughing at anti-Semitism. Anyone care to laugh at his anti-Catholicism? (You have to scroll down past the ads on the left to see the picture and read the article which was sent in by a reader.)


You have to scroll down past all the ads on the left to see the picture and article.

It's lewd. It's offensive. It's appearing on billboards in Europe for PR purposes. Is this thing really going to improve the image of the European Union? If it does, Europe is in bigger trouble than any of us in the States realize.

Thanks to a reader for the link.


From Justin's quote from the writings of St. Gregory of Nyssa comes four laws--

1. The law of conscience for those who lived from Adam to Mount Sinai.
2. The law of creation for those who lived before Christ or never knew Christ.
3. The law of Moses for the Hebrews.
4. The Law of grace and the gospel for Christians.

Isn't this a sort of pluriform truth? If we see these four different standards of conduct applied to four different sets of people as all coming from the Trinity, isn't it reasonable to posit that there could be new laws in the future which would be used as the standards by which people of future generations will be judged?

Scripture tells us that in the last days:

I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy: your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Moreover, upon my servants and handmaids in those days I will pour fourth my spirit. And I will shew wonders in heaven; and in earth, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood: before the great and dreadful day of the Lord doth come. And it shall come to pass, that every one that shall call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved: for in Mount Sion, and in Jerusalem shall be salvation, as the Lord hath said, and in the residue whom the Lord shall call. (Joel II:28-32) (Incidentally, this passage is not in the NAB which stops at 27. I've quoted the Douay Rheims here.)

A similar passage appears in Acts:

'It will come to pass in the last days,' God says, 'that I will pour out a portion of my spirit upon all flesh. Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. Indeed, upon my servants and my handmaids I will pour out a portion of my spirit in those days, and they shall prophesy. And I will work wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below: blood, fire, and a cloud of smoke. The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the coming of the great and splendid day of the Lord, and it shall be that everyone shall be saved who calls on the name of the Lord.' (Acts 2:17-21 from the NAB)

Do these visions and prophecy which are predicted constitute a new revelation and a sort of new covenant between God and man which would then require a new law? Are we in fact seeing this very thing taking place in Pentecostalism? In esoteric Christianity?

Wouldn't such a possibility have direct impact on interreligious dialogue? However, wouldn't such a possibility directly contradict the belief that Revelation was completed in Christ and is now closed?

Yet what if, as Scripture tells us, the day will come when the Jews will be converted? Will they then still be judged by the law of Moses, or will they then be under the mercy of Christian grace?

And another question that I've been considering over the last couple of months...are these visions and prophecy predicted for the last days solely from God as Scripture indicates, or are they both from God and from the evil one...because the esoteric Christians are prophesying?

If these two passages of Scripture do indicate a new covenant, then what we see taking place in Rome and in interreligious dialogue might have the blessing of God, and in the future all that will be required of man is that he call upon the name of Jesus.

This is wild speculation, I know, but trying to make sense of the doctrinal reversals on topics such as original sin, interreligious dialogue, and universal salvation have me searching everywhere for some sort of order in this chaos.


on water only because he was ordered not to pray in the name of Jesus in public. He says he won't eat again until the order is lifted.

Read the brief article here.

Blogger credit to New Oxford Review.


Rorate Caeli blog has posted some potential changes to the Curia expected to take place next year according to the Italian newsweekly, "Panorama".

Blogger credit to New Oxford Review.


LONDON (CNS) -- A Catholic saint and martyr has been nominated as one of the nastiest villains in British history.

St. Thomas Becket, a 12th-century archbishop of Canterbury, was among 10 "worst Britons" of the last millennium, selected by a group of British historians. The saint, whose feast is celebrated Dec. 29, was chosen by John Hudson, a professor at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, because he divided England in a way that was "unnecessary and self-indulgent."

"He was a founder of gesture politics with the most acute of eyes for what would now be called the photo opportunity," said Hudson, a specialist in early medieval English and French history.

"He was also greedy," he said in BBC History magazine Dec. 27. "Those who share my prejudice against Becket may consider his assassination in Canterbury Cathedral Dec. 29, 1170, a fittingly grisly end."

Continue reading...

Thursday, December 29, 2005


as quoted at the Novus Ordo website:

What [Cdl.] Ratzinger says:

"The question of what it means to say that baptism is necessary for salvation has become ever more hotly debated in modern times. The Second Vatican Council said on this point that men who are seeking for God and who are inwardly striving toward that which constitutes baptism will also receive salvation. That is to say that a seeking after God already represents an inward participation in baptism, in the Church, in Christ.

To that extent, the question concerning the necessity of baptism for salvation seems to have been answered, but the question about children who could not be baptized because they were aborted then presses upon us that much more urgently.

Earlier ages had devised a teaching that seems to me rather unenlightened. They said that baptism endows us, by means of sanctifying grace, with the capacity to gaze upon God. Now, certainly, the state of original sin, from which we are freed by baptism, consists in a lack of sanctifying grace. Children who die in this way are indeed without any personal sin, so they cannot be sent to hell, but, on the other hand, they lack sanctifying grace and thus the potential for beholding God that this bestows. They will simply enjoy a state of natural blessedness, in which they will be happy. This state people called limbo.

In the course of our century, that has gradually come to seem problematic to us. This was one way in which people sought to justify the necessity of baptizing infants as early as possible, but the solution is itself questionable. Finally, the Pope [John Paul II] made a decisive turn in the [1995] encyclical Evangelium Vitae, a change already anticipated by the [1992] Catechism of the Catholic Church, when he expressed the simple hope that God is powerful enough to draw to himself all those who were unable to receive the sacrament."

--Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, God and the World, pp. 401-402

Proof: To view scanned copies of these two pages of this book, please click: Page 401 Page 402

How much "inwardly striving" is enough? How much is too little? Is a promoter of esoteric Christianity striving sufficiently? Seems like this new theology on original sin raises its own set of commplications. Not to mention the fact that it contradicts the Tradition of the Church, as demonstrated over at Novus Ordo Watch where the relevent quotes can be found below this above quote from Cdl. Ratzinger. "Infallibility," it would seem, is revocable. Where is this revocability defined? It would appear that Pope opposes Pope or Pope opposes Council. Not only on this front, either.

Or are we moving to pluriform truth?

Houston, we have a problem...


Reported in pictures at a website linked by Novus Ordo Watch.


according to a story at Bloomberg.com linked by New Oxford Review.


in the news again:

Galesburg - An independent abbey leader who has vowed to be a thorn in the side of the Catholic Diocese of Peoria said libel, slander and defamation lawsuits are being pursued against the diocese for a recent news release.
Controversy has followed the Rev. Ryan St. Anne of the Holy Rosary Abbey from state to state, ranging from a felony conviction, lawsuits, jail time and speculation regarding his religious training and credentials.

The latest rift is between St. Anne and the Peoria diocese, which sent out a news release Dec. 14 warning Catholics not to support the abbey because it is not officially recognized.

"The Holy Rosary Abbey is not in communion with His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI or with the Church of Rome," Bishop Daniel R. Jenky said in the release.

"No faithful Roman Catholic should offer any support to this organization or have anything to do with its services, sacraments, prayers or ministries."

St. Anne said the lawsuits had not been filed as of late last week, but said they are being handled by attorneys who have dealt with the diocese before. St. Anne, 52, declined to say which attorneys are handling the case and in which county the suits would be filed.

The suits could be filed in federal as well as state court, St. Anne said.

"We've decided we're not going to get involved in their mud-slinging contest," said St. Anne, who brought his abbey to 820 E. Fifth St. in Galesburg in 2004 after being located in Wisconsin, Iowa and North Dakota. "But they have forced us to bring it to a public forum."

The abbey is in the former Cottonwood Health Care Center, which was purchased for $75,000.

Continue reading...

Blogger credit to Spirit Daily for the link.


Wikipedia describes it and includes a picture of B-16 wearing one. Below his picture other popes can be seen wearing them as well. Click the pictures for an enlarged version.

John XXIII wearing one--smaller, shaplier, with less ermine and more visible seams.

One with almost no ermine.

Pope Paul V wearing one. Very little visible ermine, and his ears show. The cap fits very close to his head.

As Amy put it, too much ermine, and I would add, too little ear.

Call it what you like, Benedict's is less a camauro than an adulterated Santa hat. It looks like he has enough leftover room to carry a pet kitten around up there.

Send the tailor to design school! Did he learn his trade in a feedsack factory? A pope should not look comical.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Is a report of Islamist terrorism "religion news"? and suggests it may not be.

In the article he separates terrorist followers of Islam from moderate Muslims.


An article about a creche collector in the Bay Area reported in the Oakland Tribune mentions a Pennsylvania organization called Friends of the Creche:

Although his [The California collector's] creches draw dozens of curious visitors through his front door each December, the collection doesn't compare in size and scope with those of the nation's top collectors. One woman from Denton, Texas, who calls herself the manger maid, is believed to own 2,100 nativity scenes.

But Rita Bocher, who founded Friends of the Creche in Bethlehem, Pa., in 1999 and edits and publishes Creche Herald, a quarterly newsletter, said a collection of 190 creches is "very respectable."

The society's 450 members are from various Christian denominations and often collect for a mixture of spiritual and secular reasons, Bocher said. Her newsletter subscribers live throughout the United States and in Hong Kong, Malta, Ethiopia, India, Israel, Australia, Canada and Mexico.

"Usually they are people who travel a bit and bring back a nativity set," she said. "Many (creches) are representative of the culture of where they've been."

In Bocher's nativity scene from Ethiopia, the figurines surrounding baby Jesus resemble peasants from the east African nation. She said it is the combination of folk art with spiritual significance that makes creches "so powerful."

Friends of the Creche have their own website on the University of Dayton domain where you can read a history of the creche.


Another article about dispensing with it.

So where will unbaptised babies go next?

If they go to heaven without baptism, what does that say about original sin?

If a baby doesn't need baptism to go to heaven, why does anyone need baptism?

If a baby does need baptism to avoid hell, what kind of God do we worship who will condemn innocent life to eternal damnation because of the sins of ancestors?

It's going to be interesting to see what the theologians come up with that is better than Limbo!


I don't know who Harbaugh is, but he must be quite something since he has gotten his four-year deal at USD noticed by papers all across the U.S.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


The Monks of New Skete will teach you how to do it right. It's one of their specialties.

I wonder if they're any good at training a parakeet not to screech because he's bored? Nah, I suppose not.


Polish people can be stubborn. I should know. I married one.

Mostly what I know about the history of Poland comes from James A. Michener's book. The reason there is still a Poland despite the attempts of other nations to own the territory is that very Polish stubborness, and their nationalistic pride. They take pride in their traditions, too; and that pride is infective. My Christmas dinner--even more, my daughter's Christmas dinner can't be eaten without perogi as she demonstrated this year by making it, along with the Polish sweet bread and nutroll she made as well. She likes Polish tradition as much as her father and grandmother do. She's teaching the traditions to her boyfriend, who has not a single drop of Polish blood in his veins; and he likes what he's learning. You can take the Pole out of Poland a lot more easily than you can take Poland out of the Pole.

Poles don't like to be told they are wrong. Convincing the Pole to take his feet off the coffee table requires the diplomacy of a Vatican ambassador to China, or a very loud voice. Convincing a polish grandmother that she needs to change her ways because she is reducing her granddaughter to tears by her behavior is an exercise in futility. But that's another story.

Poles are loyal to a fault. The Polish personality is written all over the dust-up at St. Stans in St. Louis. Fr. John Sistare over at 'Not So Quiet' Catholic Corner links several stories on the history of this dust-up, including this one on the developments at Christmas Eve Mass.

I'd love to know the composition of the crowd. How many were Poles? How many were drawn in merely by the headlines? How many simply wanted to attend Mass?

The article indicates these combatants have adopted John Paul II as their patron. But of course. I wonder how he would have felt about what they are doing? He was Polish, afterall, and loyal to his nation. He was mystical by temperment and might have seen some greater good in the activities in the parish. He would have noted that people who were not practicing Catholics have been drawn in and might be persuaded to stay, especially if they are Polish. I suspect that if he could have come down from heaven, assuming he is there, and stood in their midst, he would have played the "solidarity" card; and they would keep coming back.

An interesting point turned up in the story. The priest denies that there was any evidence of his homosexuality at his former seminary. He does not deny his homosexuality, however. And there is the fact that he seems to be on the fast track here in America. Until, I suppose, he did the Polish thing and butted heads with the archbishop.

Is that parish a Polish National Catholic Church parish in the formative stages, one wonders? Is it perhaps a Mariavite Church developing? Or perhaps it's future lies with the Ecumenical Catholic Church? If I were a betting woman, my money'd be on the first.

Whatever course the parish is destined to take, you can bet it wouldn't get there without the Polish ingredient.

Interestingly, at Christmas dinner the subject of Pope Benedict came up. Well, to be specific, it didn't "come up". My mother-in-law brought it up. And what prompted her to do so was a news clip she had seen about his financial extravagence. She is convinced that he is a spendthrift, and longs for the ways of the frugal John Paul II. Who, of course, was Polish like she is, though she didn't mention it. And who didn't waste money on red shoes, which she did mention. When I pointed out that those frugal ways involved constant international travel and expensive mega-productions, she lapsed into silence unconvinced but lacking a counter argument. The bottom line is that our new pope has committed the ultimate offense of not being Polish, which is something she not only didn't articulate, it is something that I suspect she has not even considered. Her reaction comes from the gut level--from the chromosomes.

Archbishop Burke vs. the Polish grandmother. I know from years of experience who is not going to win.


Before you read the article below, look at the picture of a victim here.

From Front Page:

In Australia, Norway, Sweden and other Western nations, there is a distinct race-based crime in motion being ignored by the diversity police: Islamic men are raping Western women for ethnic reasons. We know this because the rapists have openly declared their sectarian motivations.

When a number of teenage Australian girls were subjected to hours of sexual degradation during a spate of gang rapes in Sydney that occurred between 1998 and 2002, the perpetrators of these assaults framed their rationale in ethnic terms. The young victims were informed that they were “sluts” and “Aussie pigs” while they were being hunted down and abused.

In Australia's New South Wales Supreme Court in December 2005, a visiting Pakistani rapist testified that his victims had no right to say no, because they were not wearing a headscarf.

And earlier this year Australians were outraged when Lebanese Sheik Faiz Mohammed gave a lecture in Sydney where he informed his audience that rape victims had no one to blame but themselves. Women, he said, who wore skimpy clothing, invited men to rape them.

Continue reading...

Why is this not in the mainstream press?


A reader sent in a link to this essay by Bishop Fulton J. Sheen, titled "The Decline of Controversy," which appeared in "This Rock", November 2000. In it Sheen talks about the love of controversy being very much a Catholic trait, but one that has been lost, and "without which no civilization can long survive."

Not even philosophers argue today; they only explain away. A book full of bad logic, advocating all manner of moral laxity, is not refuted by critics; it is merely called "bold, honest, and fearless." Even those periodicals that pride themselves upon their open-mindedness on all questions are far from practicing the lost art of controversy. Their pages contain no controversies, but only presentations of points of view. These never rise to the level of abstract thought in which argument clashes with argument like steel with steel, but rather they content themselves with the personal reflections of one who has lost his faith, writing against the sanctity of marriage, and of another who has kept his faith, writing in favor of it. Both sides are shooting off firecrackers, making all the noise of an intellectual warfare and creating the illusion of conflict, but it is only a sham battle in which there are plenty of explosions but never an exploded argument.

No wonder. The words "bigot" and "prejudice" and "fundamentalist" are tossed around like grenades in guerrilla warfare. According to Sheen, today there is "one great and fundamental dogma that is at the basis of all the other dogmas: that religion must be freed from dogmas. Creeds and confessions of faith are no longer the fashion."

With the passing of creeds and dogmas, the passing of controversy is a given. Prejudice, he tells us, is anti-social.

He mentions the philosophy of Hegel, and not in a positive tone. "Hegel of Germany rationalized error" Bishop Sheen tells us, and now we have indifference to truth. The ignorant are newly defined as tolerant.

Sheen writes:

The Church loves controversy, and loves it for two reasons: because intellectual conflict is informing and because she is madly in love with rationalism. The great structure of the Catholic Church has been built up through controversy. It was the attacks of the docetists and the monophysites in the early centuries of the Church that made her clear on the doctrine concerning the nature of Christ; it was the controversy with the Reformers that clarified her teaching on justification.

If today there are not nearly so many dogmas defined as in the early ages of the Church it is because there is less controversy— and less thinking. One must think to be a heretic, even though it be wrong thinking.

Today when a Catholic explores the doctrines of the occult, that Catholic becomes the pariah of the Catholic world. Had the present mindset existed in the Early Church, Catholicism could never have been defined. In the Early Church devout followers of Jesus Christ mined the doctrines of the followers of others for truth and discussed the falsehoods. The Early Fathers were not afraid to disagree.

Sheen tells us that Rationalism was approved by the First Vatican Council:

Not only does the Church love controversy because it helps her sharpen her wits—she loves it also for its own sake. The Church is accused of being the enemy of reason. As a matter of fact, she is the only one who believes in it. Using her reason in the [First] Council of the Vatican she officially went on record in favor of rationalism (meaning here the proper use of reason) and declared, against the mock humility of the agnostics and the sentimental faith of the fideists, that human reason by its own power can know something besides the contents of test tubes and retorts and that, working on mere sensible phenomena, it can soar even to the "hid battlements of eternity," there to discover the Timeless beyond time and the Spaceless beyond space that is God, the Alpha and Omega of all things.

He goes on to point out that the thoughts formed by individual man and taken to the marketplace of ideas where they become concrete in action together form an identifiable society structured in conjunction with the truth arrived at through rational thought. While good thoughts produce a good society, bad thoughts produce the opposite. It was for this reason, Sheen tells us, that thoughts were burned, presumably in the manner of burning books. As he says: "When society finds it is too late to electrocute a thought, it electrocutes the man."

Today, though, thinking rationally, when it opposes the intentions of Rome and especially Rome's political intentions, is labeled anathema and ridiculed. That attitude is contemporary and not based in the traditional thinking of the Church as Bishop Sheen sets it out in this essay.



Lucio Mascarenhas, who sent me a link to the essay, has forwarded to me an email he wrote to Jim Blackburn to correct the note at the end of the essay on the above-linked website:

I have searched out and hold in my hands at this moment Vol. 3 of the Radio Replies authored by Frs. Leslie Rumble and Charles Carty, copyrighted 1942, with a Dec. 27, 1941 imprimatur by John Murray, Archbishop of St. Paul, and containing this very essay by Fulton Sheen as the preface.

The essay is merely titled "Preface", but it is the same essay, beginning with the words,

"Once there were lost islands..."

and ending with

"... brains that were thinking out the death of Paganism...

"It is to this task of thinking out the death of New Paganism that these chapters of the third volume of Radio Replies by Frs. Rumble and Carty are published."

The essay is signed "Msgr. Fulton J. Sheen, Ph.D., D.D., LL.D."

It is therefore obvious that the essay in question was written at least by Dec. 27, 1941 in order for Archbishop Murray to provide his imprimatur for it.

Monday, December 26, 2005


It seems that Mark has had a change of heart, and has blogged an apology.

Ok, Mark. I'm willing to try again to meet you halfway. I've removed the block that has kept you from posting here. I very much doubt that we can stop disagreeing, but maybe we can disagree amicably in the future.


at midnight on Christmas Eve? I was setting the table for Christmas dinner and my husband was flipping through the channels when it came on at my house. It wasn't long before I was sitting down to watch.

Forty-five years of Catholicism and frustration melted away as I listened. It was 1961 once again.

No, he didn't use the Tridentine rite, he was saying the Novus Ordo; but I think it would be fair to conclude the Novus Ordo doesn't sound or look like that in most parishes in the U.S. Much of it was in Latin. It was chanted. But not only was it chanted, it was chanted to the same melody I grew up on--the same melody I heard every morning, five days a week, nine months of the year from 1953 to 1961. When I closed my eyes, a school day morning filled my thoughts. I could anticipate the words. I knew the prayers as they were chanted even after all this time. At long last there was a sense of continuity...a sense that the long march of Catholicism down through the centuries was continuing unabated.

Yes, there were differences. Parts were in Italian. He faced the congregation. Some of the prayers were said in other languages. There was inculturation.

This inculturation was dignified. It was reverent. It was consistent with worship of a majestic God who is worthy of our worship, rather than somebody's idea of a little godlet we can play with this morning in our one act play. This Mass was serious business, reflective of our life and death need to believe in Him who made this Mass possible. This God belonged to no earthly culture. This God belonged to the culture of heaven open to all who wish to come.

But most of all--best of all--were those prayers chanted in Latin that bridged the 40-year gap from the time before the Council. Those Latin prayers drew all the nationalities together before the throne of their Creator, and the differences melted away. This, I think, is what heaven will be like. This is brotherhood not in the Masonic sense of all gods welcome, no god worshiped; but in the Catholic sense of one God who bekons to all of creation. This is the ritual of the God who calls us to see our brother in every man by passing through the sight of our Father in Him.

If this midnight Mass is a taste of what the real intent of the Council amounted to, it was not off track. It was moving in the right direction toward a fuller awareness of God in the midst of international humanity that modern transportation has made inevitable. If this is what we had gotten, I suspect we would not now be atomized.

There was a nutcracker with my name upon it under our Christmas tree. There was the warmth of family gathered together and laughing. Through it all there was that papal Mass--those Latin chants--that permeated everything else with the joy of continuity and Tradition, with the knowledge that God was present in our midst and still consistent with all of His promises.

For this American Catholic, the papal midnight Mass was the best Christmas gift of all.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

* * * * * * MERRY CHRISTMAS * * * * * *

A light shall shine upon us this day for the Lord is born to us and He shall be called Wonderful, God, the Prince of Peace, the Father of the world to come of Whose reign there shall be no end. The Lord is King, in splendor robed; robed is the Lord and girt about with strength.

All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation by our God. Sing joyfully to God, all you lands. The Lord has made His salvation known; in the sight of the nations He has revealed His justice.

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