Sunday, November 29, 2015

A well-written, humble, inspiring book

I just finished reading this book with our daughter. J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, it's not. But it has every bit the adventure of my mother's stories about her life as a missionary in China, to which she travelled alone by freighter to Hong Kong, making her way inland to Chendgu, Sichuan, where she served as a medical mission nurse until my father arrived, they were married, they tried to stay after the Maoist revolution and after I came crashing into their lives. Perhaps this disposed me empathetically to the story about Sr. Theophane in Selfless.

From the publisher:
Selfless is the story of Sister Theophane, a passionate, driven nun dedicated to serving the poor around the world.

Discover the inspiring story of how a precocious young girl from upstate New York became a servant and apostle to the poor in the jungle missions of Papua New Guinea, and, eventually, a prisoner of the Japanese in World War II.

Selfless: The Story of Sr. Theophane's Missionary Life in the Jungles of Papua New Guinea was written in 1946 by a fellow sister of the Holy Spirit Missionary Sisters [Sr. Immolata Reida, SSpS], but it is just now being published for the first time.

Long held in anonymity, Sr. Theophane's amazing life of service and apostolic zeal is now finally being revealed to the world. Her story is a breathtaking tale that will inspire a new generation of Catholics to heed the call of service to Christ and others.
Our daughter was touched by Theophane's love of animals from when she was a child, through her horse-riding adventures in the mountain passes of Papua New Guinea. I was touched by her quiet heroism, her unflagging selfless zeal, and her untimely death as a casualty of the Pacific War (WWII). The ending is particularly moving, if you follow the threat of hear life throughout the whole narrative.

Pray for a renewal of the missionary spirit among Catholic women religious. Lord knows we need it.

Lamont on Catholicism, Islam, and the Neomodernist betrayal of Christians suffering at the hands of the Mohammedans

John R. T. Lamong, "Catholics and Islam" (Rorate Caeli, November 24, 2015).

Rod Dreher: "Did you ever think you would live to see this? The Pope is refuting the magisterial teaching of his own Church... Poor historical, sacramental Catholicism."

I'm not sure I'd put it quite like that, but here's Rod Dreher, commenting on the Pope cracking the door to Lutheran communion (American Conservative, November 16, 2015):
Francis continues to, um, amaze. From Rocco Palma’s report on the Pope’s meeting with Lutherans in Rome on Sunday, as part of an ecumenical dialogue: 
In an answer that’s almost certain to resonate broadly across the ecumenical scene (and elsewhere, quite possibly show his hand on his intended course following last month’s Synod on the Family), the pontiff – clearly wrestling with the plea – pointedly appealed less to the standard prohibition of the Eucharist for Protestant communities than to the woman’s discernment in conscience.
As if to reinforce the point, in a move clearly decided in advance, Francis publicly presented the pastor with a chalice which appeared identical to the ones the Pope gave the archbishops of Washington, New York and Philadelphia during his late September US trip. 
Quoting from his answer to a question posed by a Lutheran woman married to a Catholic man, about when she and her husband can expect to receive holy communion together (it is forbidden in the Catholic Church for non-Catholics — Orthodox Christians excepted under certain conditions — to receive communion): 
I can only respond to your question with a question: what can I do with my husband that the Lord’s Supper might accompany me on my path? It’s a problem that each must answer [for themselves], but a pastor-friend once told me that “We believe that the Lord is present there, he is present” – you believe that the Lord is present. And what’s the difference? There are explanations, interpretations, but life is bigger than explanations and interpretations. Always refer back to your baptism – one faith, one baptism, one Lord: this Paul tells us; and then consequences come later.
I would never dare to give permission to do this, because it’s not my own competence. One baptism, one Lord, one faith. Talk to the Lord and then go forward. [Pauses] And I wouldn’t dare – I don’t dare say anything more. 
In other words: let your conscience be your guide. Who is the Pope to judge? 
It is not in the competence of the pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church to say that a Protestant cannot receive communion in a Catholic mass Really? 
Here Dreher quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1400, which says:
1400 Ecclesial communities derived from the Reformation and separated from the Catholic Church, “have not preserved the proper reality of the Eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of the sacrament of Holy Orders.” It is for this reason that, for the Catholic Church, Eucharistic intercommunion with these communities is not possible. However these ecclesial communities, “when they commemorate the Lord’s death and resurrection in the Holy Supper . . . profess that it signifies life in communion with Christ and await his coming in glory.”
Dreher observes the shift from this:
“Eucharistic intercommunion with these communities is not possible” is now “One baptism, one Lord, one faith. Talk to the Lord and then go forward.”
Of course he “would never dare to give permission to do this,” the Jesuit pope said, Jesuitically, but said so in winking at doing that very thing. Hard to avoid the conclusion that Pope Francis just effectively rewrote the Catechism, and destroyed a Eucharistic discipline that has existed since the Reformation. Did you ever think you would live to see this? The Pope is refuting the magisterial teaching of his own Church, and not on a small matter either.
Here is how one reader sees the matter: "In an era when everything is becoming up for grabs, the Pope adds to the disorientation. It is not one big thing, but all the combined little things that make Francis a catastrophe."

David A. Wemhoff on Henry Luce and the American Century

David A. Wemhoff, a South Bend lawyer, discusses his article "Henry R. Luce and the American Century." The influence of Luce's Time-Life publishing empire and its connections to the CIA are references. Later the discussion moves to an examination of the American Proposition and how the radical doctrine of the separation of church and state has resulted in an atomized and demoralized society and left the country vulnerable to the predations of a corrupt oligarchy.

According to the reader who brought this to our attention, Wemhoff's message is that Americanism was the true message of Vatican II and that three people brought it to us: Henry Luce, Fr. John Courtney Murray and C.D. Jackson, a CIA operative who worked for Henry Luce. This YouTube recording is audio only, but highly worthy of one's time.

[Hat tip to Sir A.S.]

"Higher education" today: something's gotta give

We've been having a family debate about the status of higher education today, which has led to the exchange of some pretty substantial and provocative rants. Here's one from my son Jamie, which I thought you might enjoy. Feel free to comment:
One of the problems is that colleges serve two purposes (btw a great, very brief post on this is by Douthat of the NYT). First, the purpose they were originally designed to serve, to educate the small, aristocratic elite of the nation with the kind of cultural formation in the arts and sciences they would need to govern well, which required them to have a depth of understanding and wisdom regarding the human condition. But given American egalitarianism, it soon became clear (and rightly so) that this ‘glass ceiling’ kept the 99% of society (including all women, minorities, etc.) from upward mobility, so the pressure was on to give equal access to this ‘stepping stone to the middle class’ to all Americans. This has guided developments over the past century or so. But this shifts the purpose of colleges, or rather adds a second purpose, to teach job skills and enhance job placement, which (given the needs of an information society) means technocratic know-how, i.e. science and mathematics, business and engineering, etc. Hence the great schisms which rack most colleges like my own, between the dreamy, ivory tower liberal arts professors like myself who still think their purpose is to instill a deep sense of the human condition, and the realpolitik business and engineering professors who know that college (like real estate and retirement plans) is really a financial investment – put $30,000 in and over your lifetime you’ll get four times that out, so long as you know how to navigate the economic and professional spheres, which it is their business to train you how to do.

The biggest predictor of financial success remains, more and more every decade, a college degree. So colleges feel justified in doubling and tripling the price, as the financial payoff of a college degree rises. Also, massive increase in student populations, especially when these are not the highly-motivated yuppies of privileged households but the huddled, starving masses of a thousand demographic groups, raises immense complications for the ‘student life’ offices. Now we need to entertain these people, given them clubs and athletic activities, enforce disciplinary codes, monitor them with RAs and RDs, etc. So the biggest increase in COSTS for universities is administration. At some major universities DEANS almost outnumber faculty. And those guys get oodles of money in salaries. And that cost gets passed on to students.

I have always thought that we need two different types of colleges, liberal arts colleges and professional colleges. Liberal arts colleges can have very high admission standards, no quotas, and continue to recruit only the ‘best of the best’ American youth, and can dispense with most ‘babysitting’ administrative offices, all varsity athletics, etc. Professional colleges, whose chief purpose is to get young people jobs, can simply teach business skills and basic math. The latter can generally function online, like the University of Phoenix, which does a perfectly good job with this sort of thing – and again, you can dispense with all the administrative functions, get rid of dorms/residencies, get rid of varsity sports, etc. The latter could become dirt-cheap, potentially even free (i.e., taxpayer-funded), since running an online curriculum costs almost nothing.

The problem is that most state universities want to be all these things at once – a babysitting service, a professional sports team, a liberal arts academy, a research facility, and a job training agency. That’s massively expensive, hence the problems.

Fr. Perrone: Seeking Advent deliverance after Thanksgiving

Fr. Eduard Perrone, "A Pastor's Descant" [temporary link] (Assumption Grotto News, November 29, 2015):
A new liturgical year commences on the heels of the day of Thanksgiving when we acknowledge God’s goodness for His many blessings. At least, that was the original idea behind the American holiday. While I am writing still in anticipation of Thanksgiving I can say that I am in the mood for the change of season. Perhaps it was the sudden and generous downpour of snow last weekend that made me look forward to a liturgical shift.

I have always had a love for Advent but have always been disappointed that it’s so short a time. One hardly begins to feel that longing of the people of the Old Testament for deliverance by the Messiah–which is recaptured in spirit at this time–when, suddenly, the great Day comes upon us.

To help nurse that special Advent feeling along I have reproduced a hymn for the season that I sang in my youth. It is now to be found in our hymnals, glued onto a page of otherwise negligible music. The hymn is a paraphrase of the prophetic text from Isaiah, so poetic and so expressive of the spirit of longing for the Messiah: “Drop down dew, O gracious heaven.” It took some scouting to find this now forgotten hymn. None of the hymnals I consulted (and I have several of them) had it but the one, a somewhat offbeat publication from the olden days. (I can’t understand why no other hymn book carries this text and melody when the Advent time is so well captured by it.) The words of the hymn speak to the sky, asking that the dew of the Holy Spirit come down and make fertile–not the earth–but the Holy Virgin Mary who will bear the Messiah within Her. We need this supplement to the season’s hymns since “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” and “On Jordan’s Bank”–nice as they are–can use a little help to convey to us the Advent spirit. I hope this hymn will strike a sympathetic chord in your hearts and assist you in making this year’s Advent a little more meaningful.

The trappings of Christmas have well begun making their way into the secular world, as I was to discover the week before Thanksgiving (already!) while doing a little food shopping. The music included the refrain, “...soon it will be Christmas day.” Well, not really all that “soon.” Perhaps the commercial world would find it more profitable to play Christmas ditties all year round so that we’d soon become sick of it and make a determined effort to ‘change our tune.’ I know I say something about this kind of spoliation of Christmas every year and I do it because it ruins, if not Christmas Day, at least Advent for many people, a time which ought to be a season of vigilant waiting for Christ, a time of penitence–milder than in Lent–and a season of a sobriety that’s meant to deepen the space in our souls for a greater possession of Christ.

The cookie sale to benefit our St. Vincent de Paul Helpers seemed to do well last Sunday. The decorative used Christmas items will be made available again next weekend for you to make some bargain purchases. Our Helpers have done a lot of good in the short time that they have been in existence. I’m glad that they are dedicated to this corporal work of mercy.

We have acquired a small practice pipe organ that you will see in the lounge. It came from a parish church that was installing a larger pipe organ and which needed to find a good home for the former instrument. You may note that many parishes nowadays have only keyboards for use as a synthesized piano (a secular instrument that should not be in churches anyway) or synthesized organ. This real instrument will help us in our music program as well as give organ student a place to practice. I caution all parishioners, however, that this is not a toy for children and that it’s not to played by anyone without permission. Piano students are not entitled to play it. It is a true instrument given to us–a great gift indeed.

Fr. Perrone

Tridentine Masses coming this week to metro Detroit and east Michigan

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week

Tridentine Community News - EWTN's "Extraordinary Faith" Episode 7: Miami - Part 2 of 2, New TLM Mass venues and Mass times

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

Tridentine Community News by Alex Begin (November 29, 2015):
November 29, 2015 – First Sunday of Advent

Extraordinary Faith Episode 7: Miami – Part 2 of 2

The seventh episode of Extraordinary Faith made its debut on EWTN on October 20, 2015. Little advance notice was given to us, so we could not publicize it in this column in time. The second of two shows filmed in Miami, this program has a special focus on the young. Our first guest is Aramis Perez, one of the leaders of Juventútem Miami, the local chapter of the international young adults’ group devoted to the Tridentine Mass. Aramis gives us some background on the activities of his chapter, including Masses at churches around metro Miami and social events similar to those offered by our local chapter, Juventútem Michigan.

Our crew dropped in on a local coffee shop, where the “Juventúters” give us some background on themselves and on their Dogma on Draft discussion group.

Three young ladies explain to our viewers the tradition of women covering their heads for Mass with lace mantillas. Next we speak with a panel of converts, including a young couple who decided to become Catholic after happening to wander into a Latin Mass in Oxford, England.

Latin Mass luminary Dr. Jennifer Donelson shares her experience with the Miami Tridentine Community. Jenny is already known to Extraordinary Faith viewers for having organized the Church Music Association of America conference in St. Paul, Minnesota, which we featured in Episode 3. [Jenny has since been appointed Director of Sacred Music at St. Joseph Seminary, Dunwoodie, New York.] We drop in on a sonically impressive rehearsal of Jenny’s choir, held at Miami’s Cathedral of St. Mary.

Our last stop is Miami’s St. John Vianney College Seminary, where we meet several seminarians who share with us how the traditions of the Church impact their pursuit of a vocation to the priesthood.

Both Miami episodes – 6 & 7 – will be available for viewing by December 5 on the Episode pages of our web site, All of our episodes are also available for viewing on YouTube. You can subscribe to the Extraordinary Faith channels on both Vimeo and YouTube to be notified automatically when new episodes are posted. Please also ”like” the Extraordinary Faith Facebook page, where we post the latest EWTN air times and news about the sites we visit.

Tridentine Masses This Coming Week
  • Mon. 11/30 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (St. Andrew, Apostle)
  • Tue. 12/01 7:00 PM: Low Mass at Holy Name of Mary (Feria of Advent)
  • Fri. 12/04 7:00 PM: Low Mass at St. Josaphat (Sacred Heart of Jesus) [First Friday]
  • Sun. 12/06 12:15 PM: Pontifical Missa Cantata at St. Mary Star of the Sea, Jackson, Michigan (Second Sunday of Advent) - Celebrant: Bishop Earl Boyea. Reception after Mass.
  • Sun. 12/06 2:00 PM: High Mass at Rosary Chapel at Assumption Church, Windsor (Second Sunday of Advent) – Relocated this week (only) from Holy Name of Mary Church, which is hosting a concert this day
[Comments? Please e-mail Previous columns are available at This edition of Tridentine Community News, with minor editions, is from the St. Albertus (Detroit), Academy of the Sacred Heart (Bloomfield Hills), and St. Alphonsus and Holy Name of Mary Churches (Windsor) bulletin inserts for November 29, 2015. Hat tip to Alex Begin, author of the column.]

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Maureen Mullarkey on Bishop Barron on Paris

First, here's Bishop Barron, sounding more like a Mennonite pacifist than a Catholic moralist:

Next, here's Maureen Mullarkey on "Bishop Barron on Paris" (Studio Matters, November 27, 2015). Mullarkey's piece is more a response to responses to her earlier piece, "The Incredible Shrinking Bishop Barron" (One Peter Five, November 23, 2015), in which she had written:
The massacre aroused no outrage, not even a wince of distaste. . . . [Bp Barron] found the atrocity “especially poignant” because he had studied in Paris for three years. And because he remembered some of the locations involved, the attacks were “moving and poignant.”
Mullarkey comments: "Moving. Poignant. Had the bishop been watching a film version of the death of Little Nell? The sentiment, and the genial detachment it signified, seemed a bizarre reaction to the slaughter and maiming of scores of innocent Parisians." Then, quoting from the earlier article, she writes: "The syrup thickened":
He glided on to a serene tutorial on mercy, on the obligation to “respond to violence with love,” and “to fight hatred with love.” He enjoined Catholics to mercy and “a non-violent stance.” . . . This time on camera, he confused Paris in 2015 with Selma, Alabama, in 1965.
Mullarkey concludes her latest piece with these words: "Bishop Barron has an influential platform. If he uses it to promote confusion between Christian love—caritas—and dispassion in the face of the murderous ambitions of Christianity’s oldest enemy, then he will be evangelizing for evil. No matter the Christ talk."

Was Bp Barron imprudent in his remarks? Was Mullarkey overly harsh? You decide. Guy Noir's only words were: "... the syrup gets thicker. But as I said, certainly the Bishop's lines are the Church's now standard lines!"

Canonist Peters on "high-level ecclesiastic dalliances with doctrinal ambiguity"

Edward Peters, "A license to sin" (In the light of the law, November 24, 2015 - my emphasis):
There is, I fear, no end in sight of the nonsensical nonsense being unleashed in the wake of various high-level ecclesiastic dalliances with doctrinal ambiguity and disciplinary confusion in regard to holy Communion for divorced-and-remarried Catholics. Call it Life in this Valley of Tears. Anyway, Pope Francis is going to do about this whatever he is going to about it and the Church will respond to whatever he does in due course. For now, I simply write to urge caution about some proposals to facilitate irregular reception of the Sacrament in these cases even if such proposals are couched in apparently sophisticated scholarly terms. 
For example, an Australian theologian has proposed a rescript to be issued by a bishop in accord with norms supposedly to be devised by Pope Francis, granting permission for divorced-and-remarried Catholics to take holy Communion. The proposal includes impressive vocabulary such as “juridical” and “administrative” and “canons”; it sports footnotes to “assessors” and “salus animarum” and warns about “anomalies”; it underscores Church teaching on the permanence of marriage and assures readers that it offers no doctrinal or canonical changes to this teaching. 
Balderdash. Pure, unadulterated, balderdash. This proposed rescript is really a license to sin. 
More specifically, this rescript would (purport to) grant permission to ignore one sin (adultery) and to commit another (sacrilegious reception of holy Communion). It even manages to suggest a third sin (attempting sacramental Confession without firm purpose of amendment)! Couched in mellifluous pastoral, sacramental, and canonical language, to be issued on arch/diocesan letterhead, such a letter, expressly invoking Our Lord’s teaching on marriage and to be signed by a Successor of the Apostles in the name of Christ, who—I kid you not—congratulates the couple on their perseverance in allowing the Church to grant them this favor(!), would constitute, I suggest, a blasphemy (CCC 2148). 
Peters is on a roll in this post. Do yourself a favor and read it. Not only will you be edified. You wouldn't want to miss the long-sought apparition of an eminent canon lawyer as the irrepressible Doc Holliday announcing his arrival at the final showdown with Johnny Ringo with the words, "I'm your Huckleberry." 

Ordinatio Sacerdotalis: infallibility in action by St. John Paul II

Dr. Edward Peters, in "I agree with Dr. Feser 99.953%" (In the Light of the Law, November 24, 2015), writes:
Yes, I know that then-Cdl. Ratzinger said he did not regard Ordinatio as infallible and there is language from John Paul II suggesting the same thing. What can I say? Ordinatio is infallible, Ratzinger was not; John Paul’s infallible teaching authority was engaged when he issued Ordinatio, not when he briefly commented on it.
Find out why Peters says this, in commenting on Edward Feser's recent post on papal infallibility, by reading more >>

Friday, November 27, 2015


Fr. Z, "Of scapulars, devotions and Russian jet fighters" (Fr. Z's Blog, November 26, 2015):

Some people are quite disciplined in the matter of wearing a scapular. This comes from Latin scapulae, shoulder blades. Scapulars are garments, usually associated with religious habits, which fall down from the shoulders, mostly over the rest of the habit. Another kind of scapular is small, on strings, which symbolically substitutes for the larger scapular. There are different kinds of scapulars which are spiritual aids in various ways. They generally are a symbol of a relationship through which we derive spiritual protection and aid. Probably the most commonly used scapular is the brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

BTW… once you are “enrolled” and given the brown scapular, if and when your scapular wears out, simply replace it. You don’t have to have the new one blessed.
I am not sure if Eastern Catholics and Orthodox have such things, but a reader alerted me to something which she thought was rather like a Western scapular.

At The Daily Mail there are many photos concerning the destruction of a Russian jet fighter by the Turks. The pilots were killed as they parachuted. Among the photos are the pilots’ effects, including this, which I flipped and cropped:

Squanto was a baptized Catholic - and other pre-Protestant sources of Thanksgiving in America

Michael Voris, "Beyond Thankful" (CM, November 26, 2015):
Thanksgiving specifically and in general is the quintessential Catholic holiday. First the specific case: Despite having had shoveled into the minds of many students at government-run schools, the first historical Thanksgiving did not occur between the Protestant Puritans and Native Americans in 1621.

The first historical Thanksgiving meal actually happened 56 years earlier on September 8, 1565 in St. Augustine, Florida. (By the way, the correct pronunciation is St. Augustine, not the more Protestant variation of St. Augustine, which takes the emphasis off the "Saint.") The new Spanish settlers sat down for a banquet with the local indian tribes and Holy Mass was offered.

Remember, the Catholic Spanish and the Catholic French beat the Protestant English to North America by almost an entire century. That was the first historical Thanksgiving. But there was a first official Thanksgiving dinner as well in America, and that was held in Texas in connection with Don Juan declaring it officially and having a meal with the natives, as well as, once again, the offering of the Sacrifice of the Mass.

And if that's not enough to demonstrate that Thanksgiving actually has its roots in Catholicism, consider that the Native American who worked out arrangements between the Puritans and the Indians, Squanto, was actually a baptized Catholic. Spanish forces freed him from English captivity, and he was subsequently baptized into the One True Faith. He of course went on to organize what has become known as the first Thanksgiving, but in reality is at least the third such occurrence.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

"Satanic verses" of the Qu'ran & Islam as a Christian heresy

Dante and Virgil meet Mohammed in Hell

Adfero, "Islam: A Christian heresy, straight from Hell" (RC, November 21, 2015):
Mohammad was a pedophile who received his false religion directly from Satan, as you will hear in this powerful sermon, delivered from a priest in good standing. Unfortunately, not many people, whether they be Christian or Muslim, know this anymore.

It doesn't matter how many ridiculous ecumenical events our bishops and priests attend bearing no good fruit and no converts. It doesn't matter how many times our modern popes offend God by entering mosques. It will never take away this undeniable fact: Islam is from Hell, and all who refuse to adhere to its evil are targets of its wrath.

Click here now to listen to the sermon. Then tell everyone you know.
The topmost priority here, evidently, is not "inter-religious dialogue"!


Dignitatis Humanae - the Pink vs Rhonheimer debate

Longtime readers may remember that we addressed Fr. Martin Rhonheimer's views on religious freedom several years in our post, "Who's Betraying Tradition: The Grand Dispute" (Musings, June 2, 1011). We also discussed Rhonheimer's views substantially in "George Weigel vs. pre-V2 teaching on Social Kingship of Christ" (Musings, June 16, 2011). See also "Dr. Thomas Pink responds to Fr. Rhonheimer" (Musings, August 5, 2011). Dr. Pink's written response to Rhonheimer is reproduced in full in "On the coercive authority of the Church: a response to Fr. Martin Rhonheimer by Thomas Pink" (Rorate Caeli, August 5, 2015).

Here, once again, we have Rorate Caeli to thank for calling our attention to the most recent exchange between Pink and Rhonheimer in Sacerdos Romanus, "Pink-Rhonheimer Debate" (Rorate Caeli, November 23, 2015), in which Romanus writes:
Prof. Thomas Pink, who has contributed to Rorate Caeli in the past, recently held a public debate on the important problem of the interpretation of Dignitatis Humanae with Fr. Martin Rhonheimer of the Opus Dei. The full debate is embedded above. Pink argues for the continuity of Dignitatis Humanae with the teachings of the 19th century popes, while Fr. Rhonheimer argues for discontinuity.
The debate in the VIDEO above doesn't actually begin until roughly 12 minutes and 30 seconds [12:30] into the recording.

[Hat tip to Sir A.S.]