Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Impressive French theological contortionist demonstrates how indissolubility of marriage can co-exist with pardonable divorce and re-marriage

This guy out-performs the Jesuits in casuist gymnastics. In fact he manages to square the circle, and -- voilà!! -- Behold! a round square! Something I'm not sure even God is capable of producing on a good day. Eee-haw!

Msgr. Jean-Paul Vesco, bishop of Oran

"Bishop offers a solution on Catholic divorce and remarriage" (Global Pulse, September 28, 2014):
In a text published on the website of the weekly magazine La Vie, Msgr. Jean-Paul Vesco, bishop of Oran in Algeria,proposes a theological and legal solution for Catholics who have divorced and remarried.

Msgr. Vesco, former Prior Provincial of the Dominicans in France, and bishop of Oran since 2012, discussed his position in an interview that accompanies his text. He states: “I firmly believe that it is theologically possible to assert the indissolubility of real conjugal love and the uniqueness of sacramental marriage, and at the same time the possibility of pardon in the event that lifelong marriage – one of life’s most beautiful but perilous adventures – fails.
Follow the good Msgr. Bishop Vesco through his tortured theological contortions if you wish -- Read more here >> For my part, I will continue to pray for the state of the Church and the discernment of her shepherds.

"Solution," my left foot!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Implications of the exile of Cardinal Burke to Malta

In case you missed it, some informative details by Sandro Magister, "Vatican Diary / Exile to Malta for Cardinal Burke" (www.chiesa, September 17, 2014). Are you scratching your head too?

For the record: "The Rise of Bergoglianism"

A "very harsh assessment of the current pontificate," as Ferrara warns in a cautionary note to the reader in "The Rise of Bergoglianism" (The Remnant, September 26, 2014). His rationale? That someday he and his fellow traditionalists might be exculpated for "what was done to the Bride of Christ," presumably under this pontificate. [Disclaimer: Rules 7-9]

Extraordinary Community News: Impossible Beauty: Catholic Music Programs in London, England Part 1 of 2

"I will go in unto the Altar of God
To God, Who giveth joy to my youth"

Tridentine Community News (September 28, 2014):
This column has written many times about the amazing traditional liturgical life in London, England. Today we wish to focus on the extraordinarily high standard of liturgical music that one finds throughout the Catholic churches of that city of great culture, arguably the highest concentration of world-class sacred music found anywhere in the globe.

From a non-musician’s viewpoint, there are five criteria that seem to distinguish a superlative Latin Mass choir: 1) Ability of all singers to sing on pitch; 2) Ability of all singers to stop and start simultaneously [this appears to be the single most difficult quality for a choir to achieve]; 3) Diversity in repertoire, best exemplified by an ever-changing, different-material-every-week music program; 4) Ability to sing Gregorian Chant as well as Sacred Polyphony competently; 5) Cohesive sound whether male voices only, female voices only, or mixed voices.

Getting to the point where a choir possesses these abilities can take years. Rounding up the right people who can sing together effectively is an immensely challenging task, as talented singers are usually spoken for and are not abundantly available to join new groups. Many choirs possess some but not all of the above five qualities, for any one of a number of valid reasons. Most major cities are lucky if they have one Latin Mass choir that fills all of these criteria. Some large cities, Los Angeles for example, do not yet have a single choir that ticks off all five qualities.

It is all the more remarkable, then, to note that London, England has at least thirteen choral groups that meet all five criteria.

Let’s take a look at the choirs that stand out. Adjacent to many of them is a sample of the music selections from their respective web sites. If you are reading this column on-line, the links will take you to the full music listings for each choir.

1. St. Mary Cadogan Street: This church is tucked away in the tony neighborhood of Chelsea. Offering mostly Ordinary Form Latin Masses, with the occasional Extraordinary Form special Mass, St. Mary’s exceptional choir is noteworthy because it is all-volunteer.

2. St. Patrick, Soho: In 2011, this church completed a restoration to its original historic architectural condition. A choir was formed to provide music in accord with the lovely building. They sing a largely Latin repertoire at Ordinary Form Masses which are only partially in Latin themselves. Extraordinary Form Masses are also held there on occasion.

3. Carmelite Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Kensington: This choir sings for a weekly Ordinary Form Latin Mass.

4. The Jesuit Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street: In the upper-crust Mayfair neighborhood is that rare find: A conservative Jesuit church, offering sung Ordinary Form Latin Masses and the occasional Extraordinary Form Low Mass.

5. St. Etheldreda: Hidden down a street that is now the home to a number of investment trading firms, St. Etheldreda is England’s oldest extant Catholic church, dating to 1250. Their fully professional choir sings for weekly Ordinary Form Latin Masses. The church also offers periodic Extraordinary Form Low Masses.

6. St. George Cathedral: The seat of the Archdiocese of Southwark (“SUTH-ark”), covering London south of the Thames River, St. George has a weekly 11:30 Ordinary Form Mass partially in Latin, along with periodic Tridentine Masses.

7. St. Bede in Clapham Park: The only London parish to offer a weekly Sunday High Mass in the Extraordinary Form. A small choir sings all but one Sunday per month, while a professional choir, Cantores Missæ, sings a polyphonic Mass once per month.

Next week we’ll wrap our listing with the “Big Three”, the three main churches with multiple choirs and the most accomplished sacred music offerings of all.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 09/29 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Joseph (Dedication of St. Michael the Archangel)
  • Tue. 09/30 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Benedict/Assumption-Windsor (St. Jerome, Priest, Confessor, & Doctor)
  • Fri. 10/03 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Joseph (Sacred Heart of Jesus) [First Friday]
  • Sun. 10/05 4:00 PM: Solemn High Mass at All Saints, Flint (Seventeenth Sunday After Pentecost) – 25th Anniversary of the Flint Tridentine Mass. Dinner follows Mass. Wassim and the Assumption-Windsor choir will provide the music.
[Comments? Please e-mail tridnews@detroitlatinmass.org. Previous columns are available at http://www.detroitlatinmass.org. This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and Assumption (Windsor) bulletin inserts for September 28, 2014. Hat tip to A.B., author of the column.]

Saturday, September 27, 2014

An extensive critical review of Kasper's book on "mercy"

By Fr. Serafino M. Lanzetta, "Mercy according to Cardinal Kasper"; translated here: "Kasper's Perplexing Notion of 'Mercy' Is Not What Church Has Always Taught - an extensive book review, and its implications for Marriage" (RC, September 27, 2014).

Tridentine Masses coming this week to the metro Detroit and East Michigan area

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Friday, September 26, 2014

Traditional Morality: That Which Is Not Named

[Advisory: Explicit sexual language - Rules-7-9]: Our underground correspondent in an Atlantic seaboard city that knows how to keep it's secrets, Guy Noir - Private Eye, is not finished reporting on the fallout from Cardinal Dolan's agreement to serve as Grand Marshal of the New York St. Patrick's Day Parade. His elegantly handwritten message arrived, as usual, on a silver tray with a glass whiskey (good bourbon, this time: Elijah Craig's 21-year-old single barrel) delivered by a tuxedo-clad courier with a black limo idling behind him outside the doorway.

Lots of good stuff this time, even the results of some exceptional sleuth work turning up yet another sighting of Joe O'Leary's remarks, now over at Commonweal where he has been holding us forth, along with Michael Voris, as having "a very myopic vision of gay folk and how they live their lives." Well, I guess he -- the erstwhile Professor Fr. Joseph S. O'Leary at Sophia University in Tokyo -- would know, wouldn't he. But here's our own Guy Noir for you, while I sit back and sip my bourbon:
NOR has a piece with the slug line "silence = death." But "What silence?" I ask. There is not silence but constant talk now in the Church. As a prime example, families are discarding traditional theology and morality as never before, and Rome thinks the answer is a multi-year synod to bureaucratically address the problem. DO they think the answer is some good preaching and teaching? No, the answer is more programs and policy implementations! Streamline annulments. Increase RCIA initiative. Rephrase old ideas with creative laxity. IOW, have more dialog.

On the Same Sex Marriage question, can it be denied that we have the same situation. Instead of nicely explaining we can't discuss Same Sex Marriage because we are a priori opposed to homosexuality, regardless of how people might want to define a domestic partnership, instead we converse endlessly, which leads to more acceptance, not more understanding. Witness old Fr. Joe over at Commonweal:
"intrinsice inhonestum" (Humanae Vitae) should not be translated as "intrinsically evil"

"being gay generally implies that the gay person celebrates "being" gay with the performance (in the case of male homosexuals) 0f male anal sex."

The idea that all Americans go home to happily have sex, of any sort, seems to me rather utopian. I suspect that sexual frustration is a larger reality in human lives tha[n] the blessed contentment here imagined.

Homophobes always reduce gay identity to their imagination of "male anal sex" -- which is at the core of homophobic imagination much more than it is at the core of gay imagination.

"Male anal sex fulfills no biological purpose (other than the generation of ejaculation by the participants)" -- but the same can be said of the vast majority of heterosexual sexual acts, unless one considers them all as rehearsal for the tiny number that do in fact produce a child. Sexual acts, as most human beings know, have many purposes other than the biological, and the goodness of these purposes should be recognized.

"in direct conflict with the teachings of the Catholic faith. This is not rocket science." Quite; it is just dogmatism and refusal of discussion, when even the pope and several cardinals have suggested that discussion is needed.
Discussion is needed. Seriously? Only if the goal is final acceptance of gay sex. Here's a question for discussion: Was Jesus dogmatic? Was Paul? Was Moses? Was anyone NOT so prior to the Council?
[Even foul-mouthed comedians sometimes seem to "get it" better than academics, and see the absurd ironies attendant to the self-promotion of deviancy, as Norm Macdonald does in his gay pride joke on the Dennis Miller show (Advisory: explicit and perverse sexual language - Rules-7-9 - you have been warned!)].

But Mr. Noir was not through with his comments:

"And then there is this depressing NOR item. I had already noticed National Review's retreat from any good religious commentary, and its patronizing inclusion of K. Lopez' peppy pro-Catholic shtick. Book editor M. Potemra does say nice things about conservative books, in the Ratzingerian style of meaning it without really meaning it. So he can plug Scott Hahn's Bible AND HvB's univeralism and gay marriage at the same time. He ought to be a Cardinal! But here is this, related... Common sense has left the building along with his right hand man Straight talk."

After reading that, I decided that Mr. Noir needed the bourbon more than I did; so, after finishing what he sent me, I immediately sent my own courier out to fetch a bottle of Woodford Reserve, and had him fly out to that eastern seaboard city that knows how to keep its secrets and deliver it to the poor soul.

The Conservative Surrender in the Culture Wars

SILENCE = DEATH                                                                                    September 2014
The Conservative Surrender in the Culture Wars

By Tom Bethell

Tom Bethell, a Contributing Editor of the NOR, is the author, most recently, of Eric Hoffer: The Longshoreman Philosopher (Hoover Institution Press, 2012).

In 1992 conservative commentator Irving Kristol observed that “[the culture wars] are over, and the Left has won.” The reception of Robert Reilly’s new book, Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior Is Changing Everything (Ignatius Press), underscores that judgment. We would expect liberal publications to ignore Reilly’s book. And they have. But conservative journals have followed suit. Various magazines, including The Weekly Standard, edited by Irving’s son William Kristol, have ignored Reilly’s book. National Review, edited by Richard Lowry, and its online version, NRO, refused to review it. The same goes for The American Spectator, edited by R. Emmett Tyrrell.

Making Gay Okay has received a number of favorable reviews, almost all from conservative religious sources. Robert Royal endorsed it at The Catholic Thing website; Austin Ruse, Christopher Manion, and Fr. C.J. McCloskey have published favorable reviews. Fr. James V. Schall praised the book at the Catholic World Report website. In fact, the book seems to have done fairly well, reaching the 700s on the Amazon bestseller list (better than being in the millions!). It also rose to no. 1 in Amazon’s “Gay & Lesbian History” category — which Reilly told me he finds “hilarious.”

But the book’s reception also signals a surrender by many secular conservatives in the “culture wars.” This phrase seems to have been popularized by Pat Buchanan, who said in a 1992 speech at the Republican National Convention that “there is a religious war going on in our country for the soul of America. It is a cultural war, as critical to the kind of nation we will one day be as was the Cold War itself.”

Published this April, Making Gay Okay asks why Americans are expected to consider homosexual acts as morally acceptable, and why so many have touted the Supreme Court’s acceptance of same-sex “marriage” as a valid form of matrimony. Until a decade ago, such developments were unheard of in the history of Western (or any other) civilization. Reilly reckons that homosexuals constitute two to three percent of the U.S. population.

The book also explores adoption by same-sex couples, the promotion of sodomy in public schools and in the military, and the widespread submission to homosexual propaganda. Reilly mentions that the rainbow flag was flown over the U.S. embassy in Madrid on Gay Pride Day. “I guess the Marines have to salute that now,” he says.

Reilly, 67, has been at the forefront of the conservative scene for decades. He was director of Voice of America, the U.S. federal government’s external broadcast network. He also worked as a special assistant to President Reagan and as a senior advisor in the Office of the Secretary of Defense under George W. Bush. He is the author of The Closing of the Muslim Mind, published in 2010.

In an interview, I asked Reilly what conservative editors are afraid of.

“The homosexual mafia,” he replied.

“Which might do what?”

“It can only create problems. It’s such a toxic issue. Editors might be socially ostracized. It’s more than a faux pas. It can be a career crusher.”  He said he no longer has a career, so he isn’t worried. In some cases, publications that have not mentioned the book may fear alienating writers whom the editors publish and want to retain as contributors.

The editorial pages of The Wall Street Journal illuminate the change. Years ago WSJ published a lengthy piece by Reilly on “Aristotle and the Laws of Nature.” But today they have largely abandoned the culture wars. “They did have a terrific piece by a doctor saying why his hospital will not do transgender operations,” he allowed. But more generally, the paper seems convinced that as long as markets remain free, economies will prosper and all will be well. Perhaps we should call it the libertarian delusion.

Reilly sent a review copy of Making Gay Okay to WSJ, but he “knew they would turn it down because the only op-eds they run are on the other side of the issue.” On marriage, “maybe Robbie George [Princeton law professor and co-author of the Manhattan Declaration] is published once every year or two.” The paper will publish George’s defense of marriage “but not his rebuttals to same-sex marriage.”


What about the objection that homosexuals are born that way? There is no “gay gene,” Reilly replies, but even if there were a genetic predisposition toward destructive behavior, that does not excuse it. Alcoholics may well have a genetic predisposition, but that doesn’t excuse them from getting drunk. They still choose to do so.

Recently, Governor Rick Perry of Texas reiterated Reilly’s position — in San Francisco of all places. “I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that,” he said. “And I look at the homosexual issue in the same way.”

The governor was duly berated in print. Brian Resnick of National Journal commented that “this is important, as it reflects the thinking of the Texas Republican Party at large, which recently adopted a party platform that supports the legality of gay-conversion therapy.”

Imagine that!

As to homosexuals who want to leave the lifestyle, Reilly said recently in an interview with MercatorNet.com:

Homosexuals who do want to change have a significant rate of success in changing with the right therapies. It is a sign of how far the rationalization for homosexual misbehavior has gone that two states now forbid therapists from treating teenage homosexuals who want to change their orientation. That’s like telling a teenager that if they injured their eye, they can’t go to an ophthalmologist! The denial of reality has gone that far.
Reilly doesn’t see homosexual activists as entirely at fault. Often they are themselves the victims of sexual abuse, or they suffer from an absence of love from their fathers. They have also built on earlier social decisions, such as the approval of contraception and no-fault divorce. They take those precedents to their logical conclusion. “When sex was detached from diapers,” Reilly writes in Making Gay Okay, “the rest became more or less inevitable. If serial polygamy is okay, and contraceptive sex is okay, and abortion is okay, what could be wrong with a little sodomy? First, short-circuit the generative power of sex through contraception, then kill its accidental offspring; and finally celebrate its use in ways unfit for generation. Contraception used to be proscribed, then it was prescribed, and now has become almost obligatory in the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act.”

(In June, in the Hobby Lobby case, the Supreme Court granted narrow exemptions to the contraceptive mandate. Notice that the great push to normalize sodomy and same-sex marriage has come from the — unrepresentative — judicial branch, with a few legislatures tagging along behind. Abortion followed the same path.)


Of particular interest is Reilly’s chapter on the health hazards of sodomy, “The Lessons from Biology,” a sorely neglected topic that receives almost no attention these days. “Today we seem to know the purpose of every part of our bodies except our genitals,” Reilly writes. “As unpleasant as the subject matter may be, it is necessary to report on the physical effects of sodomitical behavior and of other homosexual acts. Their consequences are significantly more injurious to health than smoking, so much so that ignorance or denial of these effects is one of the most remarkable barometers of the strength of the rationalization that insists this behavior is normal and normative.”

During homosexual intercourse, Reilly goes on to say, the human body is subjected to an activity for which it is not designed. “If one insisted on using a highway exit as an entrance, one would be told that this is extremely hazardous to one’s health and safety and to that of others. Why is this so difficult to state when it comes to human anatomy?” Ignoring or downplaying these perils to health is perhaps the greatest oversight in today’s highly slanted coverage of the same-sex issue.

Here are some of the facts Reilly cites:
-A study in Vancouver showed that “life expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 21 years less than for all men. If the same pattern of mortality continued, we would estimate that nearly half of gay and bisexual men currently aged 20 years would not reach their sixty-fifth birthday.”
-Dr. Jeffrey Satinover, a psychiatrist and the author of Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth, said in 1996 that “the incidence of AIDS among 20 to 30-year-old homosexual men is roughly 430 times greater than among the heterosexual population at large.”
-According to Dale O’Leary, author of The Gender Agenda, “While men who have sex with men make up for only a tiny percentage of the population, they account for 72 percent of primary and secondary syphilis cases plus 79 percent of HIV diagnosis among men and the significant percentage of other STDs.”
Reilly follows up with two questions: “How is it that there can be warning labels on cigarettes and alcohol and on almost every package of food; health alerts for the level of air pollution, mandatory use of seat belts in cars, and yet no cautionary admonitions regarding homosexual practices?” Further, “Why are we counseled to change our dietary habits if we tend toward obesity because of the health hazards it presents, but not asked to modify our behavior if we engage in sodomy which can be far more lethal?”

He answers: “There are no warning labels because they would disturb the rationalization for homosexual behavior by inviting the observation that there is something in Nature itself that rebels against it. Rather than face the clear implication that what they are doing is unnatural to their own bodies, active homosexuals evade or even deny the overwhelming evidence of the health dangers to which they subject themselves…. This is like fighting lung cancer while remaining silent about the dangers of smoking.”

Reilly cites studies showing that some homosexuals have as many as a thousand sex partners. It’s as though they keep on searching for satisfaction that they cannot find.

Incidentally, if the figures about homosexual life expectancy are correct, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Discrimination (GLAAD) might consider filing a lawsuit against the Social Security Administration. By one estimate, perhaps 50 percent of homosexuals pay taxes into the retirement system but die before they can receive benefits.

Pat Buchanan explored a similar theme in a 1984 article he wrote for The American Spectator, a magazine that made its reputation by being politically incorrect. Buchanan’s article, “Gay Times and Diseases,” co-authored with J. Gordon Muir, shows how much things have changed — and for the worse. They wrote:
Gay-rights promises to become for the '80s what busing and abortion were to the '70s — the social issue that sunders the Democratic coalition. Mondale, Hart and [Jesse] Jackson have all signed on to the non-negotiable demand of the movement: that sexual preference be written into the civil rights act of 1964, to designate another category, homosexuals, against whom it will be a federal crime to discriminate.
Thirty years later it is, instead, the conservative coalition that has been sundered. We cannot “discriminate” against homosexuals (whose civil rights have been intact all along, incidentally), and overt objection to their practices has become verboten. Any such criticism violates the most closely monitored taboo of our time.

Furthermore, Jeffrey Levi, a former executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, told the National Press Club in 1987 that “we [homosexuals] are no longer seeking just a right to privacy and a right to protection from wrong. We have a right — as heterosexuals have already — to see government and society affirm our lives.” Needless to say, there is no right to be “affirmed,” whether for hetero or for homosexuals.

Urvashi Vaid, a lesbian activist and author of Virtual Equality: The Mainstreaming of Gay and Lesbian Liberation, said that “we have an agenda to create a society in which homosexuality is regarded as healthy, natural and normal. To me, that is the most important agenda item.” Judged by public utterances, it does seem that homosexuality more and more is regarded that way, whether or not such a view corresponds to reality.

Reilly describes the American Psychiatric Association’s removal of homosexuality from the 1974 edition of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. A key role was played by Franklin Kameny, who declared that the “entire homophile movement is going to stand or fall upon the question of whether or not homosexuality is a sickness.” Kameny was praised by President Obama in a White House ceremony in 2009. “We are proud of you Frank,” Obama said, “and we are grateful to you for your leadership.”

This was the same Frank Kameny who was arrested in 1957 by a vice squad in Lafayette Park, in front of the White House. After Kameny’s death in 2011, the National Park Service placed his Washington, D.C., home on the National Register of Historic Places.


The Duck Dynasty controversy of late 2013 raises some of the same issues as Reilly’s book. Phil Robertson and his family, purveyors of a bestselling duck call, are the stars of a popular reality TV show broadcast on the A&E network, a show that has attracted the largest non-fiction cable TV audience in history. A journalist who interviewed Robertson for GQ magazine asked him what behavior he considered to be immoral. “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there,” said Robertson, a Christian. “Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men.” He elaborated: “It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus,” he said. “That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

In response, Time magazine reported that the backlash to Robertson’s comments “was immediate and almost too loud to comprehend.” GLAAD demanded that Robertson be purged from Duck Dynasty. A&E duly suspended him indefinitely.

That’s when the real backlash was felt. Followers of Duck Dynasty, both evangelicals and politicians such as Governors Mike Huckabee of Oklahoma and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, defended Robertson. “The politically correct crowd is tolerant of all viewpoints, except those they disagree with,” said Gov. Jindal. “It is a messed up situation when Miley Cyrus gets a laugh, and Phil Robertson gets suspended.”

A&E promptly retreated. The Duck Dynasty audience was too valuable to lose.

“Millions endorsed [Robertson’s] views on what the Bible says and Christianity professes and promises,” Pat Buchanan wrote. “The battle revealed an immense and intense hostility in Middle America to the moral agenda being imposed by our cultural elites.”

Some of our own timid magazines, confronted by Making Gay Okay, might have pondered the same lesson. But they seem to prefer fashionable opinion to rank-and-file readers.

Both Buchanan and John O’Sullivan of National Review pointed out that GLAAD operated a blacklist campaign against Duck Dynasty, not censorship. Censorship involves prohibition of speech by governments. The old blacklist most famously targeted communist sympathizers in the 1950s. Today, we are expected to censor ourselves if we have any doubts about the rationalization of homosexual behavior — sodomy in particular.

O’Sullivan added the important point that what was most offensive to GLAAD about Duck Dynasty was that Phil Robertson “did not disavow the traditional Christian teaching that homosexual acts are sinful.” He didn’t retreat.


The systematic protection of homosexual behavior and the blacklisting of dissenters should be seen as the consequence of an even greater lie: the modern pretense that there are no real differences between the sexes. Camille Paglia, who calls herself an “independent feminist,” commented on this in a WSJ interview (Dec. 29, 2013). She describes an occasion when she “barely got through the dinner” with a group of women’s studies professors at Bennington College, who insisted that there is no hormonal difference between men and women. Paglia attributes much of the current cultural decline to such absurdities.

She also called out feminist activists like Gloria Steinem, Naomi Wolf, and Susan Faludi for saying that gender is nothing more than a social construct, and groups like the National Organization for Women for making abortion the singular women’s issue. In denying the role of nature in women’s lives, Paglia says, feminists have created a “denatured” movement, protected their own “bourgeois lifestyle,” and falsely promised that women could “have it all.”

The ongoing feminist attempt to redefine gender — a war on reality if there ever was one — may have arisen because at the beginning of the sexual revolution numerous men abandoned Christian teaching and urged women to take the Pill, enabling the men to enjoy sex without consequences. To that extent, the sexual revolution in its early stages worked greatly to the advantage of men.

Feminists have never been able to accept that, but at the same time they showed no interest in taking the “reactionary” step of restoring the old morality. Instead, in a bitter and vengeful spirit, they undertook to advance the sexual revolution still further, using their growing cultural power, accompanied by male guilt, to sow the pretense that there are no real differences between the sexes.

In the end, both sexes ended up either ignoring or disparaging Christian teaching. On top of that colossal error, the homosexual activists have built their own defiant heresy.

The rationalization of homosexual conduct is only the most recent campaign in the war on Christianity, and one of the most virulent. A century ago, the communist revolution aimed to destroy Christianity, but before it could do so, it destroyed the economies of those societies that shared in that goal: mainly the Soviet Union and Red China. (Communism, of course, lingers on to this day in Cuba and particularly in North Korea.)

The basic tool of communism was the abolition of property, which had the effect of concentrating power in the hands of a ruling class. Now the West confronts a full-fledged sexual revolution, which aims to destroy the family. As with communism, it could end up destroying the societies that pursue so destructive a goal. Without a restoration of Christian morality, Western societies will become immeasurably weaker, and perhaps before long fall prey to the Islamist resurgence, which has palpably been strengthened by Christian decline. [Emphasis added by G.N.]


The foregoing article by Tom Bethell, "The Conservative Surrender in the Culture Wars," was originally published in the New Oxford Review (September 2014), and is reproduced here by kind permission of New Oxford Review, 1069 Kains Ave., Berkeley, CA 94706.

[Hat tip to GN]

81 Popes are saints, 10 Blesseds, 2 Venerables, 3 Servants of God, 30-40 Anti-Popes

Interesting lists.

List of canonized popes, blesseds, venerables and servants of God HERE.

List of anti-popes HERE.

Rutler on Newman, good stuff

From George Rutler's Beyond Modernity(Ignatius Press, 1987). As Guy Noir rightly describes it:
... a tour de force of theologizing historically and philosophically in a manner inspiring [and completely unlike so many] dry similar attempts. If C.S Lewis was "a Mind Awake," Rutler is "a Mind in the Hopper"! This ought to be a preface to some sort of Newman theology, since it easily bests other explanations I have read of him. I was very glad to find it buried in ETWNs impressive reading archive. Along with John Senior's chapter, it makes Newman seem relevant and not Victorian. Written too long before the canonization ...
Indeed. And so here is the choice excerpt, Fr. George W. Rutler's "Newman and the Power of Personality" (EWTN document library, posted 1996):
The many accounts of Newman's manner, his look, and above all his voice, might make us think that we have read enough. And we certainly know by now that his voice was as silver and his style crystal. But there are those, among whom is anyone of reason, who would want more; and this because, as he stooped somewhat in the pulpit and dimmed the lamp before a sea of undergraduates who were missing their dinner to be there, the silver of the voice mellowed the way gold is meant to; and his pellucidity was less like a sensible equation and more like a sensual form. This is a mystery of Newman, and one should want to learn more about it, for it is the mystery common to all persons: personality.

As a working definition, too slight to fill out a whole system, human personality is the vernacular evidence of the speechless soul, the natural expression of the supernatural endowments in will and intellect, much as graciousness is the declaration of grace. Man is an unfinished being, but he is not mute. A greatness of Newman is the way he represents the personality properly as a spiritual deduction and shows how its development, as any art, attains full worth when it is faithful to a spiritual theme. As every agnostic painting called "Mother and Child" is a surreptitious Madonna and Christ, so the "real character" begrudgingly respected by the cynic is a clandestine ikon.

Any list of Newman's inventive gifts to the modern critic must in some way include the illustration of how the higher reference perdures even as the cultural climate obscures it; into lengthening shadows of behaviorism, he pokes the glimmer of a thing good in content and holy in potential. He calls it personality and describes it in such a torrent of allusion that one would think the only perfectly mature personality has to be that of the saint.

To the latest catch-phrase about "growing as a person," Newman would reply that there is no other way to grow, and as for "getting in touch with your feelings," he would say precisely that there is no other way to touch. Actually, the Victorian Liberals anticipated the muddled thought behind the jargon, although they spoke it more elegantly; they shared the mistaken idea of perfection as endless growth rather then the attainment of an end, so that the substance of perfection is "not a having and a lasting but a growing and a becoming." That expression is not from the latest suburban sensitivity session; it belongs to Matthew Arnold. Now everyone knows that persona is defective until it obliges But this is common sense only because there is an uncommon reason behind it. If the Liberal optimist sees the personality as a puzzle, the Christian knows it to be a mystery. For a mystery does not contradict reason; it compels the reason to acknowledge a depth beyond observable reference. Newman compares mystery to an island which seems to be alone and wafted in the water but which is the summit of a submerged mountain range. A mystery, we should then say, is the sort of mountain you do not climb, but descend, to conquer. This is the principle of depth psychology to which God shows a favor by his Incarnation. The self knows only part of itself until it acknowledges the unseen self. The cry of the isolated is: "I want to be me." Newman would persist: "Who else can you be?" But only the true principles beneath becoming and being, underlying contingency and its source, can make the man on an island a man on a mountain, like St. Paul: "It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me (Gal. 2:20)." This is the descent from the topical ego to the fundament of being. Newman's own life models what that means.

On the 45th Anniversary of the Ottaviani Intervention, an inspiring documentary, and "A Brief Critical Study of the Novus Ordo Missae by a group of Roman Theologians"

The video is a documentary on the "Dome of Home," England, showing how it lives on today as a home of the Tridentine Mass. The now classic, "Brief Critical Study of the Novus Ordo Missae by a group of Roman Theologians," together with the letter by Cardinal Ottaviani and Cardinal Bacci to Pope Paul VI (dated September 25th, 1969), is presented in the original post at Rorate Caeli (September 25, 2014) HERE.

Michael Davies (13 March 1936 – 25 September 2004): Latin Mass Hero - Part II

New Catholic, "10 years without Michael Davies: II- The Extraordinary Life and Times of Michael Davies, Latin Mass Hero - and a list of his works" (Rorate Caeli, September 19, 2014):

Michael Davies – “A Writer to Cherish”
Leo Darroch*
Michael Treharne Davies was born on 13th March 1936.  His father, a Welshman, was a Baptist and his mother, who was English, was a member of the Church of England. On leaving school in 1954 at the age of eighteen he joined the British Army as a regular soldier and served in Malaya, Egypt, and Cyprus. There is one comment in his army service records that is of particular interest.  In August 1957 his commanding officer stated that,

Michael Davies (March 13, 1936 - September 25, 2004): Latin Mass Hero - Part I

New Catholic, "10 Years Without Michael Davies - I - Protestant Liturgical Revolution as Precursor of Catholic Upheaval" (Rorate Caeli, September 19, 2014):

Michael Davies in 1950. He was 23 at the time,
and a recent convert from a Protestant background.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

How to help our Chaldean brothers and sisters in Iraq

Dear friends,

As some of you know, many of our students at Sacred Heart Major Seminary are from Chaldean Catholic families who have immigrated to the United States to escape deteriorating conditions in Iraq. If any of you are wondering what you can do to help our Chaldean brothers and sisters in Iraq or would like updates on the current situation there, please visit the OFFICIAL website of the St. Thomas the Apostle Chaldean Catholic Eparchy of the U.S.A. at www.helpiraq.org.

[Photo credits: http://www.helpiraq.org/, hat tip to B.K.]

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Adagio from Bach's Easter Oratorio, performed by Hsuan-Fong Chen

What an adagio! And just six people!

"When the angels play for themselves, they play Mozart; when they play for God, they play Bach." -- Karl Barth