Friday, December 19, 2014

"Extra ecclesiam nulla salus" - What does it mean?

I am looking for a good article to post on this subject, primarily because we have a reader who seems eager to address the issue. Any suggestions?

I see Catholicism.org has a whole list of linked articles on the issue; Farley Clinton has an article entitled "The Leonard Feeney Quarrel and Pius IX on Invincible Ignorance" (CatholicCulture.org) that is fairly lengthy. Googling "Feeney" and "invincible ignorance" brings up an SSPX article roundly criticizing Fr. Feeney's book, The Bread of Life (1952) as contradicting Church teaching. Here are some more historical details concerning Abp Cushing and the Holy Office from EWTN. The bottom line, as far as I can see, has to do with how "Extra ecclesiam nulla salus" is meant to be understood. Feeney (excommunicated in 1953) apparently held that original sin is wiped away only by the character imprinted on the soul by Baptism. Does this mean nobody under the Old Covenant (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses) is to be found among the saved? Absurd. So then, what does the statement mean? Have at it, if any of you are interested. Only, please observe the rules of common sense etiquette. Stick to the subject. No ad hominems or rudeness. No "carpet bombing" of copied text into the combox. No unwarranted inferences from cited sources casting aspersion on anyone. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Dec. 22, 23, 24 - Let us join the special pre-Christmas Fast of the Catholics of Iraq


Christian refugees in a Chaldean Catholic church in Erbil

Rorate reports:
The Chaldean Patriarch of Baghdad Raphael Louis Sako calls on Iraqi Christians to fast on Christmas Eve in order to implore the Lord for the return of refugees in Mosul and the Nineveh plains. At the same time, he asks the faithful not to organise "any worldly celebration" for Christmas and New Year as "a sign of solidarity with their displaced brothers and sisters, who are going through indescribable suffering."

...

For this reason, he urges them to fast from Monday 22 December until night on 24 December, not touching food or drink until noon, as "in the days of Ba'utha". The Fast of Ba'utha commemorates what the prophet Jonah brought to the people of Nineveh for their conversion.

"We fast," the Patriarch said, "for the liberation of Mosul and the villages of the Nineveh plains, so that peace and security will return to these areas, and everyone will be able to return to his or her home, job and school." (Source)

Msgr. Ocariz named coadjutor to Opus Dei Bishop Ecchevarria

Auxiliary Vicar Msgr. Fernando Ocariz has just been named coadjutor to Bishop Javier Mariano Ecchevarria, prelate of Opus Dei. Msgr. Ocariz helped to write Dominus Iesus and was one of the principal Vatican negotiators with the SSPX.

See "Appointments of an Auxiliary Vicar and a new Vicar General of the Prelature" (Opus Dei, December 12, 2014) and "Important Strategic Course in Selecting the Head of Opus Dei" (The eponymous Fower, December 16, 2014).

[Hat tip to Sir A.S.]

Also in the news: "Cardinal Brandmüller visits SSPX Seminary" (RC, December 19, 2014).

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Let's get spiritual, spiritual ... Let's get spiritual, spiritual ...


I saw this online and loved it so much that I had to post it here for everyone. It fills me with such gratitude for the gift of being religious without being spiritual.

"The Bishops and the Catholic 'man-crisis'"


Matthew James Christoff, "The Bishops and the Catholic 'man-crisis'" (CWR, December 15, 2014). "The Extraordinary Synod held in October failed to adequately mention, address, and encourage two groups of Catholics.... Shocking Omission 1: Men; Shocking Omission 2: Intact Families."

The meaning of the entire Tolkien universe in 4 minutes

Should we care about that "Nuns" Document?

Guy Noir writes: "The final report on the Nuns is an embarrassing whitewash.... And a bit jawdropping in an age so keen on anti-sexism: if Betty White was not an old lady, would anyone find her shtick cute or adorable? Not, they'd find it gross. Likewise, if the nuns weren't 'grandmothers,' who'd be defending their nonsense. I think I shared with you my own experience with a nun when I tried to convert: she waived me away from the CCC with 'Oh, most people find that way to hard to read!'

"Here is some excellent commentary with amusing after-comments":

Matthew Archbold, "Why I Just Don't Care About that Nun's Document" (Creative Minority Report, December 16, 2014), writes:
The loooooong awaited report from the Vatican to religious sisters is reportedly a puff piece. I don't really care. I don't even really care enough to read the actual document.

I just can't really bring myself to care about any of it. Look, twenty years ago an investigation and apostolic visitation may have had some relevance. It might have guided religious sisters in the U.S. away from the precipice they were happily barreling towards. But let's face it, most orders in the U.S. went Thelma and Louise a while ago. They're over the cliff. You've seen the numbers.

The total number of religious sisters in the U.S. has reportedly fallen from about 180,000 in 1965 to about 50,000 in 2014. And there's more sisters over 90 than under 60 years of age. That's a cliff. A steep one. For many of the orders that have gone off the deep end, it's last one out roll up the yoga mats time. Fold up the Ouija board and turn out the lights.

There are reports (though conflicting) that some of the more traditional orders have seen an increase in vocations. If we will ever again see a large increase in the number of religious sisters I'm betting they'll spend more time in adoration of the Eucharist than on buses screaming about Congressman Paul Ryan.
After-comments:

"I'll wait for the enneagram translation. (*laugh*) Classic! I don't suppose one has to walk a labyrinth in order to decode it"

"According to the Vatican, the report was a love letter to American nuns. If one considers that most of these orders average 70 years in age, it sounds more like the report was a retirement send-off."

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Kreeft: Why everybody in the world should be a Roman Catholic


Dr. Peter Kreeft, "Seven Reasons to be Catholic" -- a loose transcription (courtesy of M.W.)
I will give you 7 reasons why everyone in the world should be Roman Catholic. They are, respectively, from:

1. Walker Percy,
2. Cardinal Newman,
3. C. S. Lewis,
4. The Nicene Creed,
5. Thomas Aquinas,
6. St. John of the Cross, and
7. Palestrina.

1. When Walker Percy was asked why he was a Catholic, he answered ”What else is there?” That was St. Peter’s answer to Christ’s question “Will you leave me also?”: “To whom else should we go? Thou alone have the words of everlasting life.” As a philosopher, I like to lay things out logically in order. There are 8 options or choices that any seeker of truth has to make.

(1) The very first choice he has to make is to be honest or dishonest. There is only one reason anyone should believe anything at all: because it is true. If that seems too simple or too tough minded to any of you, I ask “Do any of you believe in Santa Claus?” You did when you were three. And believing in Santa Claus when you were three gave you two of the most important things in the world: it made you very happy and it made you very good, generous, and moral. Do you remember how happy you were and how good you were before Christmas? Well, if you believed in Santa Claus now, you would probably be a better person and a happier person. And does not everyone want to be good and everyone wants to be happy? So, why don’t you believe in Santa Claus? Because it is not true. Truth trumps everything.

(2) The second choice is whether you love the truth, whether you’re passionate about it, whether you desire it. The Bible, both Old and New Testaments, separates people into two groups. Not those who know the truth or not, but those who seek the truth and those who don’t. God says to Jeremiah “You will seek Me and you will find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” And Jesus says repeatedly “All who seek find.”

Pascal said there are three kinds of people in the world: Those who have sought God and found Him, those who seek God and have not yet found Him, and those who do no not seek and have not found him. There is no one in the fourth class, those who found Him without seeking Him. Those in the first class, those who have found Him are reasonable and happy. They are reasonable, that is honest and wise, because they sought and happy because they have found. Those in the third class, those who did not seek, are not reasonable, because they did not seek, and not truly happy because they have not found. Those in the second class, those who seek but have not yet found, are reasonable because they seek and not yet happy because they have not yet found. However, everybody in that second class is guaranteed entrance into that first class. So the most important thing in the world is to seek the truth. You do not find it without seeking it.

Bertrand Russell asked one of the best questions ever asked by an atheist. A preacher asked him on his death bed, “What if you’re wrong, and there is a God? What would you say to Him?” Russell replied “Fair enough. I think I would ask Him ‘Why didn’t you give us more evidence?’”

The age of laity in the Church? A new angle ...

"I was pleased to see that some Catholic journalists and internet bloggers behaved as good soldiers of Christ and drew attention to this clerical agenda of undermining the perennial teaching of Our Lord."

- Bishop Athanasius Schneider, speaking on the October Synod of Bishops



"It was mainly by the faithful people that Paganism was overthrown ... the body of the Episcopate was unfaithful to its commission, while the body of the laity was faithful to its baptism ..."

- Blessed John Henry Newman, addressing what transpired
during the Arian heresy of the 4th century



"Treachery like that of Nestorius is rare in the Church, but it may happen that some pastors keep silence for one reason or another in circumstances when religion itself is at stake. The true children of Holy Church at such times are those who walk by the light of their baptism, not the cowardly souls who, under the specious pretext of submission to the powers that be, delay their opposition to the enemy in the hope of receiving instructions which are neither necessary nor desirable."

- Abbot Guéranger, commenting on the Nestorian controversy
in the 5th century, in The Liturgical Year, IV, p. 380.

[Hat tip to M.V. and L.S.]

While we're at it: Raymond Arroyo interviews Ridley Scott and Christian Bale

Raymond Arroyo interviews Austen Ivereigh, author of Pope's biography, 'The Great Reformer'


Although I remarked on Ivereigh's book earlier, I just watched this interview today, and I thought it had some interesting moments. At the end of the day, I'm not sure Ivereigh will have answered Arroyo's questions to everyone's satisfaction, but he raises some interesting questions. At around 15:17 into the interview, they take up the issue of Pope Francis' election and the question of pre-conclave "politicking."

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Japanese high schoolers perform Mozart's Missa Brevis ... well!


Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Arne Duncan.

College: where faith and virginity are lost

"Controversy surrounding Rolling Stone’s reporting, or misreporting, of the UVA rape case, highlights the depressing and confusing reality of sexual violence on American campuses," writes Catherine Ruth Pakaluk, in "College: Where Faith and Virtue Go to Die" (Aleteia, December 8, 2014). As a reader said to me, it may be that there is more of a "hook-up culture" than a "rape culture" on campuses, a culture in which rape -- or something not-quite-rape but not-quite-wanted sex -- is simply a predictable by-product.

Excerpts:
But here’s a difficulty no one wants to talk about: colleges, most of them anyway, are not in the business of making people better. As a result of various intellectual fashions, colleges have essentially gotten out of the education business and into the activism business – the business of "changing the world" as many mottos boast.

This is another way of understanding the idea that colleges do not wish to act in loco parentis anymore. Such a notion suggests that colleges might aim to finish and complete the work of parents in forming young people – cultivating human, intellectual and spiritual virtues. Instead, most colleges today aim to remain agnostic about virtue, while imparting what they understand to be a neutral creed of self-protection and self-interest.

...

So colleges aren’t making people better at the most important thing anyone has to learn to do in life – know, love and serve God. Which raises a very interesting question: is it bad to go to college if it makes you worse at religion?

Provocatively, one could paraphrase [the remarks of President Eastman, President of Eckerd College in Florida – where two horrific sexual assault cases emerged in August of this year]. “Hardly anyone’s culture or character or understanding [of the most important things] is improved by attending college.” College certainly isn’t making the typical student any better.

Which brings us back to the difficulties inherent in addressing the perverse sexual culture on campus. The problem is bigger than even Eastman admits. He is right that rules and regulations alone can’t fix it. But it is also true that temperance and sexual restraint are weak recommendations. Religion is, in fact, the only real program for human improvement. Temperance and sexual restraint don’t come from a high-minded resolution to be good. They come from conversion and grace.

So long as we are wedded to a model of college education completely devoid of religious formation, we are bound to remain mired in the miseducation of our youth. It isn’t college that’s so dangerous after all: it’s college without God.
[Hat tip to JM]

Pastoral crisis? What pastoral crisis?

Kevin O'Brien, "Pope Francis, Remarriage and Flag Burning" (Waiting for Godot to Leave, December 11, 2014), says that the following is a sample of what he's been emailing a few friends lately:
In 1974, when I was 14, and still an atheist, I served as godfather at my nephew's baptism. It was my first time inside a Catholic church. I was neither novice nor professed in the Faith [to be professed in the faith is what the 1917 Code of Canon Law required for all godparents]. Had the parish priest been even minimally vigilant, he would not have allowed this.

And so I wonder, as I have for a while now, why we are so worried that, while doctrine cannot change, the practice of it can? For over forty years unchanged doctrine has been abandoned at parishes, at schools and in living rooms. Our infallible teaching has simply been ignored.

So why the hand-wringing all of a sudden in Rome? If there's a problem in the Church, it's certainly not a lack of pastoral care for bigamists. Honestly. Matrimony is in a shambles, and "remarried" Catholics don't seem to have consciences that trouble them. Where's the pastoral crisis?

Why is this suddenly an issue?

Do you remember when the Republicans won Congress in 1994 or thereabouts with their "Contract for America"? They took their win as a license to make sweeping change. And what was the first change they tried to implement? They wanted to pass more strict legislation against flag burning. Flag burning! A thousand things seriously wrong in America, and they went after flag burning! I don't think a U.S. flag had been publicly burned at that time for maybe 20 years.

And now, with the Faith in crisis and marriage in shambles, the pope is concerned about pastoral care for "remarried" Catholics???? That's what amazes me about this.
Quite seriously, I would add that if there is a crisis in this matter, it is the utter lack of solicitude toward those spouses who have been unjustly injured by abandonment, divorce, or even carelessly-granted annulments. Why should all the "pastoral concern" lie on the side of the adulterers, bigamists, and sodomites?

[Hat tip to JM]

Is Catholic culture feminine? Is Evangelical culture masculine?

Upon reading Mark Shea's "Masculine and Feminine, Evangelical and Catholic" (NCR, December 11, 2014), Guy Noir immediately picked up his sharpened quill and wrote:
Heaven help me, but this piece by Mark Shea is actually very good. Even if I still find him to be a jackass.

Also, I think it ignores a rather key factor, and that is Scripture, in its presentation of prayer, certainly seems to favor a masculine approach. That does not mean Marian prayer is thus anti-scriptural, but it does mean the gender classification, though interesting, may be somewhat artificial. I think Fulton Sheen and JPII's prayers seem Marian and rather masculine. The other element he plays fast and loose with is this: Catholics do not worship Mary, but we pray to her. Essentially. For Protestants, that is basically the same thing as worship. Lastly, if Catholic culture is feminine, we would have to ask, "Why?!" Especially given an all male priesthood. If its focus is Christ, and not Mary, and we pray to God the Father, and the priests are all male, how on earth could it be construed as a feminine spirituality?

Meanwhile, given I still think the piece is pretty good, does this mean I might have found Louis Bouyer a jackass?! I hope not! I mean, he was French. I cannot imagine him not finding Shea painfully bourgeoise. I have no room to talk, but still, I laugh ...