Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Hasten to the Mountain

 
"Fishes, if they remain long on dry land, die. And so monks lose their strength if they loiter among you and spend their time with you. Wherefore as fish must hurry to the sea, so must we hasten to the mountain. Lest haply if we delay we forget the things within us." - St. Anthony the Great to the duke who asked him to stay (St. Athanasius, Life of St. Anthony §85 http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2811.htm). 
 
St. Anthony the Great, pray for us! St. Athanasius, pray for us!
 
 
Dearly beloved, please pray for me as I visit the convent. Pray that I will begin religious life soon. "Love does not tolerate delay," says Padre Pio. Help me clear my debt!

Saint Raphael, Lead Us to Heaven!

"May the Archangel Raphael, Angel of Light, guide us safely to our heavenly home!"

- Angela Carol, St. Raphael: The Angel of Marriage, of Healing, of Happy Meetings, of Joy and of Travel (TAN Books, 1999), 45 (http://bit.ly/2kyfr2H)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Our Lady of the Snows (August 5)



Our Lady of the Snows, pray for us! 

A lovely image of Our Mother with Our Lord via http://bit.ly/2AgAIno (saved to Pinterest)

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Oculus Non Vidit


"Oculus non vidit, nec auris audivit, nec in cor hominis ascendit, quae praeparavit Deus iis qui diligunt illum: eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love Him" (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Image via http://bit.ly/2ChwlgY

Friday, February 09, 2018

Fear Ye Not



Background image credit: http://bit.ly/2H1n78d

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Are Tattoos Gravely Sinful?


Yes, tattoos are gravely offensive to God. Done with "sufficient reflection and full consent of the will," the giving and receiving of tattoos is mortally sinful, enough to send a person to Hell forever, if not repented of before death. If your priest tells you otherwise, he is wrong: "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema" (Galatians 1:8). 

Tattoos are unlawful because they are a form of unnecessary mutilation of the body, which is "the temple of the Holy Ghost," as St. Paul says: "Know you not, that your members are the temple of the Holy Ghost, who is in you, whom you have from God; and you are not your own?" (1 Corinthians 6:19). Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II-II, q. 65, art. 1. When the tattoo is of something like a Crucifix or Our Lady, the sin of sacrilege is added.

The good Lord prohibits tattoos in Leviticus 19:28: "You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh, for the dead, neither shall you make in yourselves any figures or marks: I am the Lord." Sometimes one hears from Catholics that this prohibition is merely a ceremonial precept, which Christ abrogated, not an unchangeable moral precept (cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II-I, q. 103, art. 3). This is merely a lame excuse for allowing tattoos, which no Catholic would have dared to make but for the current crisis in faith and morals.

Our Lady of Fátima, pray for us.

Was Muhammad Evil?

PLEASE listen to and share this podcast:

http://taylormarshall.com/2015/11/098-was-muhammad-evil.html



Feminine Genius, Feminine Holiness

The Church gives thanks for all the manifestations of the feminine "genius" which have appeared in the course of history, in the midst of all peoples and nations; she gives thanks for all the charisms which the Holy Spirit distributes to women in the history of the People of God, for all the victories which she owes to their faith, hope, and charity: she gives thanks for all the fruits of feminine holiness. 
Pope St. John Paul II, Mulieris Dignitatem §31 quoted in Tom Perna, "'Mondays with Mary' – 10 Quotes from Pope St. John Paul II on the Dignity and Vocation of Women" (http://bit.ly/2k0eCjG)

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Jesus, King of Love


O Jesus, King of Love, I put my trust in Thy loving mercy. 

More information about this wonderful invocation via the Silverstream Priory, "Mother Yvonne-Aimée de Jésus" (http://vultuschristi.org/index.php/2017/02/mother-yvonne-aimee-de-jesus/).

And for more beautiful images of the Child Jesus, go to https://www.pinterest.com/meretelysnes/child-jesus/.

Let us pray for the canonization of Mother Yvonne-Aimée de Jésus: "Those persons who receive graces attributable to the intercession of Mother Yvonne-Aimée of Jesus are requested to make them known to the Community of Augustinians - 56140 Malestroit – France."

Sunday, January 28, 2018

What Reward Wilt Thou Have?

It is not surprising to read in the biographies of St. Thomas that he was frequently abstracted and in ecstasy. Towards the end of his life the ecstasies became more frequent. On one occasion, at Naples in 1273, after he had completed his treatise on the Eucharist, three of the brethren saw him lifted in ecstasy, and they heard a voice proceeding from the crucifix on the altar, saying "Thou hast written well of me, Thomas; what reward wilt thou have?" Thomas replied, "None other than Thyself, Lord" (Prümmer, op. cit., p. 38). Similar declarations are said to have been made at Orvieto and at Paris.
Fr. Daniel Kennedy, "St. Thomas Aquinas," The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 14 (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912) <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14663b.htm>.

📷: Holy Cards For Your Inspiration (saved to Pinterest)

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Eastern Orthodoxy: No Infallible Magisterium

The Græco-Russian Church, throughout the long centuries of schism, not only has not been able to resolve in a definitive way any of the questions controverted with the Catholic Church, but also it has presented on each of these questions the spectacle of continual variations in its official declarations as well as in the teaching of its theologians. Among the opinions upheld by these latter on each point, the Catholic thesis always figures with a considerable, and sometimes preponderant, number of representatives. A detailed demonstration of this conclusion would require a large volume.
Fr. Martin Jugie, "Will Union Be Easy for the Orientals?" (Peekskill, NY: Graymoor Press, 1949), 8-9 (http://bit.ly/2eNxHCO)

Friday, January 19, 2018

A Downpour of Vocations


This beautiful promise is quoted in the Servant of God's short biography at http://www.jeanthierryebogo.org/englese.pdf.

Help me start my vocation, and please beg God to send many of my friends and family into religious life. Thank you and may God bless & Mary keep you!

Mark of Ephesus and the Filioque

Mark [of Ephesus] was impervious to argument. The Latin spokesman had quoted, besides scripture, a most imposing array of Latin Fathers who taught the “and from the Son” and an equally impressive list of Greek Fathers who wrote of the Holy Spirit as proceeding “through the Son” or either from the Father and “flowing,” “bursting forth,” “issuing,” etc., etc. “through” or “from” the Son, or “from Both.” After the end of the public sessions Bessarion, George Scholarius, Isidore, Gregory, and Dorotheus pressed the parallelism. They started from what was an axiom for the Greeks, for Mark as much as for any of the others—all saints are inspired by the same Holy Spirit and so teach the same truth even in different words. Their conclusion was, the “from” of the Latin saints” means the same as the “through” of the Greek. Mark should have been forced to the same conclusion. He accepted the axiom; he could not deny the testimonies from the Greek Fathers, because he was confronted with the codices that contained them; what he did, perforce, was to accuse the Latins of presenting garbled and deliberately falsified quotations that could not be checked because he, Mark, with most of the Greeks knew no Latin. Not a few Latin treatises, however, especially those of that greatest advocate of the Filioque, St. Augustine, had long been translated into Greek, and there were, of course, some of the Greeks, like Scholarius, who knew Latin well and who tried to disabuse him. But he would not be disabused. The Latins were heretics, and that was that.
Fr. Joseph Gill, S.J., Personalities of the Council of Florence (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1964), 61-62

Image: https://bitly.is/1jiiMw5

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Man Is Like the Horizon

"Man is like the horizon and boundary of spiritual and corporeal nature, such that he, as the middle between them, participates both in their spiritual and corporeal perfections." -- Saint Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Sentences, Book 3, Prologue (http://www.corpusthomisticum.org/snp3000.html)

".. homo enim est quasi orizon et confinium spiritualis et corporalis naturae, ut quasi medium inter utrasque, bonitates participet et corporales et spirituales..."

Thank God for the beautiful beaches out here. Our Lady, Star of the Sea, pray for us. St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us.


I Am The Mother of Fair Love

I am the mother of fair love, and of fear, and of knowledge, and of holy hope. In me is all grace of the way and of the truth, in me is all hope of life and of virtue. Come over to me, all ye that desire me, and be filled with my fruits. For my spirit is sweet above honey, and my inheritance above honey and the honeycomb. My memory is unto everlasting generations. They that eat me, shall yet hunger: and they that drink me, shall yet thirst. He that hearkeneth to me, shall not be confounded: and they that work by me, shall not sin. They that explain me shall have life everlasting.
Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 24:24-31

http://haydock1859.tripod.com/id1192.html

Image: Robert Lee George, "Our Lady of Fatima" (http://bit.ly/2nbvANA)

Friday, January 12, 2018

Oh, how great is a priest!

Oh, how great is a priest! If he understood himself, he would die. ... God obeys him; he speaks two words, and our Lord comes down from heaven at his voice, and shuts himself up in a little Host. God looks upon the Altar. "That is My well-beloved Son," He says, "in Whom I am well-pleased."
St. John Vianney, Catechism on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

https://books.google.com/books?id=-QEDAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA74

Image credit: ?

I hope you will prayerfully consider helping me become a priest. Thank you and may God bless & Mary keep you!

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Union of Uzhorod, Ukraine (1646)


The full text of the union, via http://bit.ly/2jVIG01, follows:

By the grace of Christ, elected most holy Father and universal Patriarch.

We priests of the holy Greek rite, inhabitants of the noble and apostolic kingdom of Hungary, situated through the Districts specified with our signature, realizing that the sacrament of the king is to be hidden, but that the works of God are to be revealed and to be shown to all peoples more clearly than the sun, seeing that they are such that through them the ineffable goodness and clemency of our most merciful God towards rational creatures is wont to be made manifest. According to this principle and this angelic rule we declare to Your Holiness, we preach and we lift up to the heavens with titles of most devout praise before the whole world. What is that [that we declare]? The grace of our God and Savior freely poured out among us, by which working in us and foretelling most lovingly the salvation of our souls, we, having abandoned and driven from our hearts the Greek schism, are restored and affianced again to the Immaculate Virgin Spouse of the Only-begotten Son of God, that is the holy Roman Church, hitherto abominated by us and held in hatred without any cause. This same return of ours, indeed, was accomplished in the year of salvation one thousand six hundred and forty-six, on the twenty-fourth day of April, while Ferdinand III the most sacred Emperor of the Romans was ruling, in the Latin castle-church of Uzhorod situated on the estate of the most illustrious Count George of Humenne, in this fashion:

The bishop of Munkach, Basil Tarasovic, who has already departed this life, when following the party that was both schismatical as well as heretical, he had broken the bond of holy Union, publicly abandoned the Catholic Church. The venerable father in Christ, George Jakusic, bishop of Eger, now resting in Christ, considering this, having with him the Reverend Basilian fathers summoned for this purpose, Father Peter Parthenius, who today is our bishop, and father Gabriel Kosovicky, most courteously invited us by letter to Uzhorod, and after seasonable discourse from the aforesaid Fathers about holy Union, he accomplished, with the Holy Spirit disposing us for it, what he purposed, and appointed the day dedicated to St. George the Martyr for making the profession of faith.

On that day we sixty-three priests came together and followed the aforementioned most Reverend Bishop of Eger to the church named above. So after the enactment of the mystery of the bloodless sacrifice performed in our Ruthenian tongue, and after sacramental expiation of their sins by some of the priests, we pronounced the profession of faith in an audible voice according to the prescribed formula, namely:

We believe all and everything that our Holy Mother the Roman Church bids us believe. We acknowledge that the most holy Father Innocent X is the universal Pastor of the Church of Christ and our Pastor, and we with our successor’s desire and wish to depend on him in everything; with, however, the addition of these conditions:

First: That it be permitted to us to retain the rite of the Greek Church;
Second: To have a bishop elected by ourselves and confirmed by the Apostolic See;
Third: To have free enjoyment of ecclesiastical immunities.

To these the most Reverend bishop acceded without difficulty. The whole of this, too, the most Illustrious Benedict Kisdi, Bishop of Eger, with his Vicar General, and the Reverend Father Thomas Jaszbereny, religious of the Society of Jesus, being present ratified in the year one thousand six hundred and forty-eight. This business of ours received very great support from the paternal solicitude both of the Most Illustrious and Most Reverend Primate of Hungary George Lippay, Archbishop of Esztergom, twice invoked by us through a mission undertaken by the aforesaid Reverend Basilian Fathers, and of the Most Reverend Bishop of Vacz, Matthias Tarnoczy also, to both of whom we are for ever obliged.

Bringing these events before the notice of Your Holiness we unanimously and humbly beg Your paternal benediction, the advance of our cause and the confirmation of the Most Reverend father Peter Parthenius elected by us as bishop.

In Uzhorod, in the year one thousand six hundred and fifty-two, the fifteenth day of January.

The most humble servants of Your Holiness, priest of the Greek rite,

Alexius Ladomersky, archdeacon of Makovica
Stephen Andrejov, archdeacon of Spis
Gregory Hostovicky, archdeacon of Humenne
Stephen, archdeacon of Seredne
Daniel Ivanovic, archdeacon of Uz
Alexius Filipovic, archdeacon of Stropkov

From The Union of Uzhorod by Michael Lacko, SJ Published by the Slovak Institute, Cleveland-Rome, 1976, Pages 107-109
Let us pray daily for the return of all separated Eastern Christians to the Catholic Church, outside of which no one at all is saved.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Infants Cannot Be Saved Without Water Baptism

The faithful are earnestly to be exhorted, to take care that their children be brought to the church, as soon as it can be done with safety, to receive solemn baptism: infants, unless baptized, cannot enter heaven, and hence we may well conceive the enormity of their guilt, who, through negligence, suffer them to remain without the grace of the sacrament, longer than necessity may require; particularly at an age so tender as to be exposed to numberless dangers of death.
The Catechism of the Council of Trent, trans. Rev. Jeremiah Donovan (Baltimore: Lucas Brothers, 1829), 124 (http://bit.ly/2Ahhs9f)

Mortal sin: "Have I failed to have my child baptised at least within two weeks or thereabouts after birth, when there was no serious obstacle to so doing?" - Examination of Conscience for Adults: A Comprehensive Examination of Conscience based on twelve virtues (Rev. Donald F. Miller, C.Ss.R.) [Online text / PDF / Hard copy].

Please share this information:
In case of an emergency (a dying infant or an adult who is dying and has expressed the desire to become Catholic), ANYONE (man or woman, Catholic or not Catholic) can perform a baptism, provided he has the Church doing what the Church does. Here's what to do: "I baptize thee [or "you"] in the name of the Father (pour plain water on the forehead of the person the first time), and of the Son (pour plain water the second time), and of the Holy Ghost [or "Spirit"] (pours plain water the third time)." The 1917 Code of Canon Law has these helpful canons:

Canon 746 §1 An infant shall not be baptized while still enclosed in the mother's womb as long as there is probable hope that it can be baptized when born.
§2 If the infant puts forth the head, it may be baptized on the head in case of imminent danger of death, and Baptism shall not afterwards be repeated condition­ally if the child lives.
§3 Should any other limb emerge, the infant may be baptized on that limb conditionally, if the danger of death is imminent, but if the infant is born alive it must be baptized again conditionally.
§4 If the mother dies in pregnancy, and the fetus, when extracted by those whose duty it is to do this, shows sure signs of life, it shall be baptized absolutely; conditional baptism is given if life is doubtful.
§5 If the fetus was baptized in the mother's womb, it shall, when born, be baptized again conditionally.
Canon 747 Care should be taken that every fetus born prematurely, no matter at what stage of pregnancy, be baptized: the baptism shall be absolute, if it is certain that the fetus is alive, and conditional, if life is doubtful.
Canon 748  Monstrous and unusual forms of the fetus should al­ways be baptized, at least conditionally; when there is doubt whether the fetus is one being or several, one should be baptized absolutely and the others conditionally. 

Adults:
Canon 752: An adult should not be baptized except with his own knowledge and will, and after due instruction. He is, moreover, to be admonished to repent of his sins.
In danger of death, if he cannot be thoroughly instructed in the principal mysteries of faith, it is sufficient for the conferring of Baptism that he show in some way his assent to these points of faith, and earnestly promises that he will keep the Commandments of the Christian religion.
If he cannot even ask for Baptism, but has either before, or in his present condition manifested in some probable manner an intention of receiving Baptism, he may be baptized conditionally. If afterwards he gets well, and there remains doubt as to the validity of the Baptism, he may be baptized again conditionally.

Insane and Delirious Persons:
Canon 754: Insane and delirious persons should not be baptized unless they have been such from birth, or became such before they had obtained the use of reason, in which case they should be baptized like infants.
If they have lucid intervals, they may in those moments be baptized if they desire it.
They may also be baptized in imminent danger of death, if before becoming insane they have shown a desire for Baptism.
Those suffering from lethargy or delirium should be baptized only while conscious and desirous of Baptism; if the danger of death is imminent, the rule of the foregoing paragraph of this Canon is to be followed.

📷: Padre Pio performs a Baptism

Monday, January 08, 2018

The War Against Marriage

Now the honorable marriage of Christians, which Paul calls “a great sacrament in Christ and the Church" [Heb 13.4 & Eph 5:32] demands our shared concern lest anything contrary to its sanctity and indissolubility is proposed. Our predecessor Pius VIII would recommend to you his own letters on the subject. However, troublesome efforts against this sacrament still continue to be made. The people therefore must be zealously taught that a marriage rightly entered upon cannot be dissolved; for those joined in matrimony God has ordained a perpetual companionship for life and a knot of necessity which cannot be loosed except by death. Recalling that matrimony is a sacrament and therefore subject to the Church, let them consider and observe the laws of the Church concerning it. Let them take care lest for any reason they permit that which is an obstruction to the teachings of the canons and the decrees of the councils. They should be aware that those marriages will have an unhappy end which are entered upon contrary to the discipline of the Church or without God’s favor or because of concupiscence alone, with no thought of the sacrament and of the mysteries signified by it.
Pope Gregory XVI, Encyclical Mirari Vos §12 (On Liberalism and Religious Indifferentism) <http://www.papalencyclicals.net/greg16/g16mirar.htm>

Please pray for the repose of the souls of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

A Kingdom That Shall Never Be Destroyed




📷:  Background image credit: ?

The Beauty of Prayer and of the Liturgy

It is necessary to discover and to live constantly the beauty of prayer and of the liturgy. We must pray to God with theologically correct formulas and also in a beautiful and dignified way. In this regard, the Christian community must make an examination of conscience so that the beauty of music and hymnody will return once again to the liturgy. They should purify worship from ugliness of style, from distasteful forms of expression, from uninspired musical texts which are not worthy of the great act that is being celebrated.
Pope St. John Paul II, General Audience of February 26, 2003

http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/audiences/2003/documents/hf_jp-ii_aud_20030226.html

Go to the Traditional Latin Mass; bring people with you. Encourage priests who do not celebrate it to learn and begin offering it.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

We Must Suffer and Die

Suffering and death ... are a part of human existence, and it is futile, not to say misleading, to try to hide them or ignore them. On the contrary, people must be helped to understand their profound mystery in all its harsh reality. Even pain and suffering have meaning and value when they are experienced in close connection with love received and given.
Pope St. John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae §97 (http://bit.ly/1AHf2fZ)

📷: Blessed Chiara Badano (1971-1990)

St. John Paul and Blessed Chiara, pray for us.

The Three Kings

📷: Diocese of Cheyenne (http://bit.ly/2m4AUSz - saved to Pinterest

Jesus, the King of kings, wants the Three Kings who gave Him gold, frankincense, and myrrh in His infancy, to be better known and loved. Their names? Saints Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, martyrs for the Catholic faith. Their relics are in the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter in Cologne, Germany. Happy Feast of the Epiphany!

The Church Fathers and Venerable Mary of Ágreda on the Three Magi Kings Saints Balthazar, Gaspar, and Melchior

"A heretic--Beza--derides the Catholic Church because she believes [the Magi] to have been [Kings]--as if Psalm lxxi. 10, 11 had been wrongly understood. He must, therefore, laugh at Tertullian (l. Against the Jews and lib. iii, Against Marcion), at S. Cyprian (Serm. de Bapt.), at S. Chrysostom (Hom. vi, on S. Matt.), at St. Hilary, S. Basil, Idacius, S. Jerome or his contemporary (on Ps. xxi.), S. Augustin, or the other of bk. iii on The Miracles of Scripture, Isidore, Bede, Stabus, and others [S. Maximus of Turin, S. Caesarius of Arles] . All these believe that they were kings, and put faith in that Psalm."

-- Fr. Juan Maldonado, S.J., A Commentary on the Holy Gospels, trans. George M. Davie, M.A., 2nd ed. (London: John Hodges, 1888), 49-50 (http://bit.ly/2m7pBZI)

An excerpt from Venerable Mary of Ágreda, The Mystical City of God, Volume II, Chapter 16, pages 467-468 (saintsbooks.net):

THE THREE KINGS OF’ THE ORIENT COME TO ADORE THE WORD MADE MAN IN BETHLEHEM.

552. The three Magi Kings, who came to find the divine Infant after his birth, were natives of Persia, Arabia and Sabba (Ps. 71, 10), countries to the east of Palestine. Their coming was prophesied especially by David, and before him, by Balaam, who, having been hired by Balaac, king of the Moabites, to curse the Israelites, blessed them instead (Numb. 24, 17). In this blessing Balaam said, that he would see the King Christ, although not at once, and that he would behold Him, although not be present; for he did not see Him with his own eyes, but through the Magi, his descendants many centuries after. He said, also, that a star would arise unto Jacob, which was Christ, who arose to reign forever in the house of Jacob (Luke 1, 32).

553. These three Kings were well versed in the natural sciences, and well read in the Scriptures of the people of God; and on account of their learning they were called Magi. By their knowledge of Scripture, and by conferring with some of the Jews, they were imbued with a belief in the coming of the Messias expected by that people. They were, moreover, upright men, truthful and very just in the government of their countries. Since their dominions were not so extended as those of our times, they governed them easily, and personally administered justice as wise and prudent sovereigns. This is the true office of kings, and therefore the Holy Ghost says, that He holds their hearts in his hands in order to direct them like irrigated waters to the fulfillment of his holy will (Prov, 21, 1). They were also of noble and magnanimous disposition, free from avarice and covetousness, which so oppresses, degrades and belittles the spirits of princes. Because these Magi governed adjoining countries and lived not far from each other, they were mutual friends and shared with each other the virtues and the knowledge which they had acquired, consulting each other in the more important events of their reigns. In all things they communicated with each other as most faithful friends.

📷: Welleschik (http://bit.ly/2AAGFff; saved to Pinterest)

Friday, January 05, 2018

Bear With Me

Friends, bear with me; this blog has a long way to go as far as revisions to old posts and improvements to lay-out to make it much more user-friendly (including an index of the most important posts). The translation tool on the left sidebar has been fixed but still needs the function for translating the particular post you're on rather than just the front page. God willing, I'll also translate picture quotes into at least French and Spanish (would that I knew Russian, Greek, Ukrainian, Hebrew, and Arabic!). The Catholic Patristics blog also needs a lot of additions, including more testimonies from Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox Christians of the truth of the Catholic faith. This blog is meant solely for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls.

Pray for me, a sinner, and please help me begin religious life. Thank you for your prayers, support, and loyal readership. God bless you and yours. Ave Maria!

Mary, The Star of The Sea

The Hymn "Mary, The Star of the Sea" by Fra Girolamo Savonarola, O.P. (1452-1498)*

O Star of Galilee,
Shining o'er this earth's dark sea,
Shed thy glorious light on me,
Maria Stella Maris.

Queen of Clemency and Love,
Be my Advocate above,
And, through Christ, all sin remove,
Maria Stella Maris.

When the Angel called thee blest,
And with transports filled thy breast,
'Twas thy Lord became thy Guest,
Maria Stella Maris.

Earth's purest creature thou,
In the heavens exulting now,
With a halo round thy brow,
Maria Stella Maris.

Beauty beams in every trace
Of the Virgin Mother's face,
Full of glory and of grace--
Maria Stella Maris.

A Beacon to the just,
To the sinner Hope and Trust,
Joy of the angel host,
Maria Stella Maris.

Ever glorified, thy throne
Is where thy Blessed Son
Doth reign: through Him alone,
Maria Stella Maris.

All pestilence shall cease,
All sin and strife decrease,
And the kingdom come of peace,
Maria Stella Maris.

*written during the plague in Florence, translated by Fr. James Louis O'Neil, O.P., Jerome Savonarola: A Sketch (Boston: Marlier, Calanan, & Co., 1898), Appendix I, 196-197  (http://bit.ly/2EZLhyJ)


Thursday, January 04, 2018

The Death of Henry VIII

When Henry VIII was fifty-seven years of age, death put an end to his crimes. To establish the sacrilegious doctrine of his primacy over the English Church, he had put to death two cardinals, three archbishops, eighteen bishops and archdeacons, five hundred priests, sixty superiors of religious houses, fifty canons, twenty-nine peers, three hundred and sixty-six knights, and an immense number both of the gentry and people. At the approach of death, a deep-rooted sadness and remorse seized him: all his crimes, sacrileges, and scandals, stared him in the face. Ulcers in one of his legs, together with fever, now plainly told him that his end was nigh. As all dreaded his anger, no one had courage to tell him that his only chance of salvation was to repent of his evil deeds, to repair the scandals he had given, and humbly to return to the Church which he had abandoned. In his last will he ordered that his son should never resign the primacy of the English Church; so that he was unchanged even in death. He called for something to drink, and having tasted it, he said in a loud voice, “So this is the end of it, and all is lost for me,” and immediately expired. “It is hard,” said Luther, “to expect that the head of a sect will forsake the doctrines, he has taught others and be converted.” (“History of Heresies,” by St. Alph. Liguori.)

It is thus that God, in former days, punished, in a visible manner, the persecutors of his holy name, of his holy religion; it is thus that he punished all the heresiarchs, the sowers of false doctrines, the evil seed of infidelity and indifference to all religion. These punishments show what a fearful thing it is to fall into the hands of God, and how fruitless and horrible it is to oppose and combat his holy name and religion. “Wo to him that gainsayeth his Maker.” (Isa. xlv, 9.) The Lord has counted the days of the infidel, and of all his enemies. They are tossed about like the waves of the sea, but they will all break against the solid rock upon which Christ has built his Church. The Lord will not fail to punish all our modern heathens and infidels.
Fr. Michael Müller, C.Ss.R., God the Teacher of Mankind: The Church and Her Enemies, “How the Persecutors of the Church Die” (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1880), 210-211 (http://bit.ly/2lHXbW0)

The Death of Martin Luther

Luther closed his career by a death corresponding to his intemperate and immoral life. He had been a professed religious of the Order of St. Augustine; but, throwing off the cowl, he married the abbess of a certain nunnery, and finally, in the year 1564, having supped sumptuously, as was his custom, he was attacked suddenly in the night by mortal pains, and died as he had lived, amid feasting and iniquity.
Fr. Michael Müller, C.Ss.R., God the Teacher of Mankind: The Church and Her Enemies, "How the Persecutors of the Church Die" (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1880), 209 (http://bit.ly/2lHXbW0)

📷 : http://bit.ly/2lJuPKa

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Love the Heretic, Hate the Heresy

“The Christian,” as Tertullian said, “is the enemy of no one,” not even of his persecutors. He hates heresy because God hates it, but he has only compassion for those who are caught in its snare. Whether he exhorts or reproves them, he displays not malice, but charity. He knows that they are, of all men, the most helpless and when his voice of warning is most vehement, he is only doing what the Church has done from the beginning. His voice is but the echo of hers.
Fr. Michael Müller, C.Ss.R., God the Teacher of Mankind: The Church and Her Enemies, “The Ninth Article of the Apostles’ Creed” (New York: Benziger Brothers, 1880), 282-283 (http://bit.ly/2lHXbW0)

Image: St. Dominic disputing with heretics via http://bit.ly/2rWHFe5

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Canonizations Are Infallible

To suppose that the Church can err in canonizing, is a sin, or is heresy, according to St. Bonaventure, Bellarmine, and others; or at least next door to heresy, according to Suarez, Azorius, Gotti, etc.; because the Sovereign Pontiff, according to St. Thomas, is guided by the infallible influence of the Holy Ghost in an especial way when canonizing the Saints. [Quod. 9, a. 16, ad. 1]
St. Alphonsus Liguori, Prayer: The Great Means of Salvation and Perfection, Part 1, Chapter 1 (http://bit.ly/2zp3fum)

St. Alphonsus, St. Josemaría, St. Theresa, St. John XXIII, and St. John Paul II, pray for us.

Soul of a Carmelite

Dear friends, please check out Soul of a Carmelite, which was recently added to the Blogroll. Theresa, the author, is the inspiration behind the great number of Catholic picture quotes you'll see here in the coming months, God willing. Thank you, Theresa, for informing us of the Canva graphic design app.

Please have a Traditional Latin Mass or Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy offered for Theresa, and remember her in your Rosaries.

A recent post: St. Quodvultdeus, Sermon on the Holy Innocents

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us!


Mirror link

Uniatism

Uniatism: Definition, Causes, Effects, Scope, Dangers, Remedies by Fr. Cyril Korolevsky, trans. Fr. Serge Keleher (Fairfax, VA: Eastern Christian Publications, 2001) is worth a look.

The problem is not Eastern Orthodox Christians being reunited to the Catholic Church (you MUST be Catholic if you wish to save your soul; if this is what one means by Uniatism, it is the will of God), but becoming Romanized to the point of compromising and giving up their distinctively Eastern customs willed by God (1-2, 5-6). Fr. Korolevsky says that the examples of this unhealthy "Uniatism" are not the fault of Rome, but of misguided Eastern Catholics (28).

Let the Eastern Catholic clergy keep their beards and longer hair (35), beautiful vestments (35), "architecture and decor" (25), language (48-49), canon law (22), leavened bread (41), Jesus Prayer (45), intact "liturgical books" (57), and "the great writings on mysticism and asceticism by the Eastern Fathers: the works of Saint Macarius of Egypt, the Lausiac History of Palladius, the ascetical writings of Saint Basil, Saint John Chrysostom's On the Priesthood, the writings of Saint Nilus, the Ladder of Divine Ascent by Saint John Climacus, the Doctrine of Saint Dorotheus, various catecheses by Saint Theodore the Studite, the Spiritual Meadow of John Moschus, [and] the writings of John and Barsanuphius ..." (49), for "the Churches of the East are worthy of the glory and reverence that they hold throughout the whole of Christendom in virtue of those extremely ancient, singular memorials that they have bequeathed to us" (Pope Leo XIII, Orientalium Dignitas). Let Eastern Catholic women continue to wear the veil, as all women must do in the house of God.

It is good that Fr. Korolevsky says that married Eastern priests should be the exception, not the norm (77-78): "He that is without a wife, is solicitous for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please God. But he that is with a wife, is solicitous for the things of the world, how he may please his wife: and he is divided" (1 Corinthians 7:32-33).

And it is good that Fr. Korolevsky condemns Photius, Michael Cerularius, and Mark of Ephesus in no uncertain terms (29, 64).

Fr. Korolevsky does well to cite the already profound Marian piety of Eastern Catholics (45), but Our Lady wants ALL Catholics to daily say the Rosary which she gave to St. Dominic. And let us not forget that St. Thomas Aquinas is "a Light to the East."

Offer Rosaries for the repose of the souls of Fr. Cyril Korolevsky and Fr. Serge Keleher, and the canonization of Pope Leo XIII and Cardinal Josyf Slipyj of holy memory.

Holy Trinity Cathedral, Blaj (Romanian Greek Catholic)
📷: Ciprian Lazar from Alba Iulia, Romania 

Monday, January 01, 2018

Go! Renew the Church


Ite! Ecclesiam Renovare.

Bring people to the Mass of All Time - the Traditional Latin Mass! Pray the Rosary every day. Get enrolled in the Brown Scapular and have Catholic friends do the same. Give the Miraculous Medal and a good Examination of Conscience to everyone you can!

Quote via Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C., Forth and Abroad (Ignatius Press, 1997), 139

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Christmas Peace

Christmas Peace (The Holy Family by William Luberoff)

📷:  William Luberoff, The Holy Family via Pinterest

Friday, December 29, 2017

Mi Amor


Holy Martyr Marta, may you intercede for the salvation of your murderer Pedro Luis Gallego, as St. Maria Goretti interceded for her murderer Alessandro Serenelli.


The Servant of God Marta Obregón Rodríguez is listed at Hagiography Circle.

Spanish quote via Causa de Marta (http://bit.ly/2zNJadt).
English quote via Catholic News Agency (http://bit.ly/2Dz4gij).
Image of Marta via http://bit.ly/2Ci61n3

Pray for Georgia

Embed from Getty Images
Catholicos-Patriarch Ilia II of Georgia and Pope St. John Paul II by Grzegorz Galazka (https://gtty.im/2lkswOp)

Please have a Traditional Latin Mass or Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy offered for Ilia II, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia [birth name: Irakli Ghudushauri-Shiolashvili (ირაკლი ღუდუშაური-შიოლაშვილი)], now 84 years of age. Join me in praying many Rosaries that he will become Catholic before he dies, and that his followers will do likewise. Evangelize him directly if possible! Fast if your health permits.

Like all Eastern Orthodox national churches, Georgia started out Catholic. With your prayers and penances, Georgia will be Catholic again!

"In 1065 St. George the Hagiorite, Abbot of the Iberian monastery on Mt. Athos, asserted in the presence of Emperor Constantine X the ancient belief in the inerrancy of the Roman Church."{1} The Georgian monks of Mt. Athos were in communion with Pope Innocent III (1198-1216),{2} who took them under his protection (Letter XIII:40 in PL 216:229BC and Letter XVI:168 in PL 216:956D-958A).{3}

The schism of the Georgian Church from the Catholic Church was not known until "between 1224 and 1240"{4}, during the time of Queen Rusudan (r. 1224-1245) the Catholicoi-Patriarchs of All Georgia Arsenius III (1222-1225), George IV (1225-1230), and Arsenius IV Bulmaisisdze (1230–1240), who was followed by Nicholas II (1240-1280). "One of the titles officially accorded to the king of Georgia by the contemporary Mamluk Court of Egypt was 'Supporter of the Pope,'"{5} and Queen Ketevan (1560-1624) went to Mass with and confessed to Catholic missionaries.{6}

Saint Nino, pray for us!
St. George the Hagiorite, pray for us!
Saint John Paul II, pray for us!

Notes & References
{1} Cyril Toumanoff, "Georgia, Church in Ancient," New Catholic Enyclopedia, vol. 6, 155
{2} Dr. Warren Carroll, A History of Christendom vol. 3, The Glory of Christendom (Front Royal, VA: Christendom Press, 1993), 169
{3} Thomas Shahan, "Mount Athos." The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 2 (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907) <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/02047b.htm>
{4} Cyril Toumanoff, loc. cit.; cf. Fr. Raymond Janin, "Georgie" in Dictionnaire de theologie catholique (1914), vol. 6.2, 1258-1259 (pages 7-8 of the PDF)
{5} Ibid.
{6} John M. Flannery, The Mission of the Portuguese Augustinians to Persia and Beyond (1602-1747) (Brill, 2013), 221-224

Was Queen Ketevan Catholic?



Did Queen Ketevan die joined to the Catholic Church,

if not "in accomplished act"/"sacramentally"/"actu et proprie"/"corporally"/"in the full and strict sense of the word"/"in re"

at least

"in virtual act"/"in potentia"/"mentally"/"in effect"/"in voto et proxima dispositione"{1}, seeing "the truth of the Catholic faith, [being] truly sorry for [her] sins, and sincerely [desiring] to die a good Catholic" (Fr. Michael Müller, Familiar Explanation of Christian Doctrine III:108)?

We can only hope so, or else she is lost forever.

"'It is not the punishment, but the cause, that makes a martyr,' that is, the confession of the true faith" (St. Augustine, Sermon 328 qtd. in St. Alphonsus Liguori, On the History of Heresies and Their Refutation I:287). "Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6), "and if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:3). "No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church" (Council of Florence, Denzinger 714).

The following data on Queen Ketevan (1560-1624) is available in John M. Flannery, The Mission of the Portuguese Augustinians to Persia and Beyond (1602-1747) [Brill, 2013]; I have not yet been able to consult pages 209-214 and 217-220:

Pro:
(1) Fr. Pedro dos Santos said he and Fr. Ambrósio dos Anjos (†1642) "had aided and consoled Queen Ketevan, hearing her confession and doing everything necessary for the salvation of her soul" [222].
(2) Fr. Ambrósio dos Anjos says Ketevan "showed great affection for the Holy Catholic Church and for all the Latins, showing a strong love for them and helping them as much was within her power. She was always on such good terms with us that it is impossible that she could do anything contrary to the Holy Catholic Church" [222]. Specifically, she attended Catholic Masses and prayed in a Catholic Church, sent the Catholics a candle-maker and sent other expensive gifts to the Catholics, etc. [224]
(3) A text identifies her as a catechumen [221].
(4) Augustinian priests witnessed her torture and death at the hands of the Mohammedans and recovered her body, burying it in a Catholic monastery and keeping her relics.
(5) An evidently supernatural light was seen around her body after her death.
(6) In May 1628 Augustin Bajenc ("future Armenian Catholic archbishop of Nakhitchevan") told Fr. Ambrósio dos Anjos and Fr. Sebastião de Jesus that a local living saint had seen Queen Ketevan in a dream prophesying future success for Georgia against the Persians [215].
(7) Queen Ketevan seems to have always had a cult among the Augustinians in Goa.
(8) Fr. Antonio da Purificação put Queen Ketevan ("Reginae Gativandae") in an Augustinian calendar of saints (Chronologica Monastica for September 22 [222-223].
(9) In 1682 Fr. Antonio da Purificação said that the Augustinians converted Queen Ketevan to Catholicism and she publicly adjured the Georgian schism [223].
(10) In 1713 Fr. Faustino de Graça said that Fr. Ambrósio de Anjos catechized Ketevan and brought her into the Catholic Church [223].
(11) Around this time, "the Augustinians of Lisbon" made a tile illustration of "Venerable Gativanda, Queen of Georgia, Sister and Spiritual Daughter of the Order of St. Augustine" [223]. This is the image above, via http://bit.ly/2DkfCXQ.
(12) In 1817 Fr. Manuel de Ave Maria (Goa Provincial) said Ketevan submitted herself to the Pope and publicly professed the Catholic faith [223].

Con:
(1) The Church universal to date has not declared her a martyr and canonized her (the separated Georgian Church has "canonized" her); in 1630 the Propaganda Fide did not request further information on the queen's death [221].
(2) "In 1640 [Fr.] Ambrósio de Anjos ... [stated] openly that Ketevan had never in fact left the bosom of the Georgian church," saying that "although she belonged to the Greek rite..." [221-222].
(3) In one place she is not said to have received the Body of Christ from Catholic priests before shedding her blood, but only "blessed bread" [225].
Comment: Does the data from the "Pro" section above suffice to dispose of objections (2) and (3) here?

Given Queen Ketevan's undeniable communio in sacris with Catholics, would the separated Easterns say that the shedding of her blood washed away what, in their minds, is gravely sinful?

Notes & References
{1} These expressions are found in two places:
(A) the Servant of God Charles Cardinal Journet, "The Church of the Word Incarnate," which has serious problems in its exposition of "No salvation outside the Church."
(B) the most excellent Orestes Brownson, "Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus" from Brownson's Quarterly Review, 1874 in The Works of Orestes A. Brownson, collected and arranged by Henry F. Brownson, vol. 5 (Detroit: Thorndike Nourse, 1884), 563.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Must Women Cover Their Heads in Church?


Please take the time to read and share this post and remember, this is the truth! "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema" (Galatians 1:8). "My job is to inform, not to convince," says St. Bernadette Soubirous. "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear" (Matthew 11:15).

--
Are women still required to wear veils in the House of God? Perhaps most Catholics today believe they are not. But what is the truth? Jackie Freppon in a recent newsletter article reports:

During the Second Vatican Council, a mob of reporters waited for news after a council meeting. One of them asked Msgr. Annibale Bugnini, then secretary of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship, if women still had to wear a headcovering in church. He responded that the bishops were considering other issues, and women’s veils were not on the agenda. The next day, the international press announced throughout the world that women did not have to keep their heads covered in church anymore. A few days later, Msgr. Bugnini told the press he was misquoted and women must still wear the veil. But the press did not retract the error, and many women stopped wearing the veil as out of confusion and because of pressure from feminist groups.

We read in First Corinthians:

Every man praying or prophesying with his head covered, disgraceth his head. But every women praying or prophesying with her head not covered, disgraceth her head: for it is all one as if she were shaven.

For if a woman be not covered, let her be shorn. But if it be a shame to a woman to be shorn or made bald, let her cover her head. The man indeed ought not to cover his head, because he is the image and glory of God. But the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman but the woman of the man. For the man was not created for the woman: but the woman for the man.

Therefore ought the woman to have a power over her head, because of the angels.… 

“You yourselves judge. Doth it become a woman to pray unto God uncovered? Doth not even nature itself teach you, that a man indeed, if he nourish his hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman nourish her hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering. But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor the church of God.” (1Cor. 11:4-10,13-16).

Here we see that the custom of the woman veiling her head in church is something bound up in her proper relation to the man as ordained by God. For the man, as Scripture teaches, is in authority over his wife (Eph. 5:22-33). We also see that “nature itself” teaches the logic of the veiling of a woman’s head. For, during divine worship when all attention is to be directed to the adoration of Almighty God, reason dictates that women must conceal the beauty of their hair and be modestly clad so as not to cause a distraction to men.

This passage, being Scriptural, is a divinely inspired teaching. Some would like to believe this teaching was just St. Paul’s personal opinion, but Paul himself in the same epistle said: “…know that the things I write to you, that they are the commandments of the Lord.” (1 Cor. 14:37). And, speaking on Sacred Scripture, Pope Leo XIII taught in his encyclical Providentissiumus Deus that “all the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical, are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost.”

St. Paul’s final words show to anyone who wants to act contrary to this practice, that it is an unchangeable apostolic and ecclesial tradition: “…if any man be contentious, we [i.e. Apostles] have no such custom, nor the church of God.” And the Fathers of the Church unanimously agree. For instance, St. John Chrysostom states: “To oppose this practiced is contentious, which is irrational. The Corinthians might object, but if they do they are going against the practice of the Universal Church” (Homilies on First Corinthians, 26, 5). And Tertullian states: “What is the meaning of ‘every woman’ except women of every age, every rank, and every circumstance? No one is excepted” (On Prayer, 22, 4, on 1 Cor. 11:5). Please note, Pope St. Pius X, in his encyclical Pascendi reiterated the Church’s teaching that apostolic and ecclesial traditions are not to be changed:

But for Catholics nothing will remove the authority of the second Council of Nicea, where it condemns those “who dare, after the impious fashion of heretics, to deride the ecclesiastical traditions…or endeavor by malice of craft to overthrow any one of the legitimate traditions of the Catholic Church”.… Wherefore the Roman Pontiffs, Pius IV and Pius IX, ordered the insertion in the profession of the faith of the following declaration: “I most firmly admit and embrace the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and other observances and constitutions of the Church.”

This apostolic tradition was kept always and everywhere in continuum for nearly 2000 years. Nowhere in all Church history do we find a breech in this venerable practice until some 35-40 years ago. Yet, even today, there exists no Church document abrogating this observance.

While it is true that there was a provision in the 1917 Code of Canon Law (Can. 1262.2) calling for the veil that is not seen in the new 1983 Code, that does not mean the it is no longer required. In the effort for simplification of Canon Law, this provision — already called for in Scripture and tradition — was simply left out. In fact, being that it is both a Scriptural teaching and a traditional observance, we have reason to believe that the Church hierarchy has no authority to change this observance. Therefore, what we seem to be seeing today — with the majority of women entering churches with their heads unveiled — can be considered a breech in a divinely mandated observance which is being universally tolerated. The unveiled head may indeed seem to be a small thing, but Jesus taught: “He therefore that shall break one of these least commandments, and shall so teach men, shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt. 5:19). Let us remember the proof of our love for God: “If you love me keep my commandments.” (John 14:15).

And then, how edifying it is to see women in church modestly dressed and heads veiled! How much it contributes to the atmosphere of sacredness in the House of God! How pleasing it is to the Angels of God! (1Cor. 11:10)

Robert T. Hart, "Those Who Serve God Should Not Follow The Fashions," 6th edition (2017), Appendix II: Headcovering in Church, 43-45 (http://sicutincaelo.org/downloads/TWSG_Read.pdf)

--

Looking for a beautiful veil?

veilsbylily.com

veilsandmantillas.com (BVM code for 30% off)

I have no affiliation with these websites; I am posting these links only for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls.

Picture quote background image credit: ?

Monday, December 25, 2017

God's Birthday: December 25


Would the Church not know the birthday of her Founder from the earliest of times? It was always known that Christ was born on December 25, and the commemoration did not only begin in 335 and was not based on Mithraic myths as one Protestant article says:

(a) the Blessed Virgin Mary informed the Apostles of her Son’s birthday
(b) Before 137, Pope St. Telesphorus “instituted … the Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve”
(c) Before 181, Bishop Theophilus of Caesarea (†181) said we should celebrate Christ’s birth on December 25
(d) Before 235, St. Hippolytus said Christ was born on December 25
(e) The Syrian Catholic Church has always commemorated the Annunciation on March 25
(f) In 400, St. Augustine confirmed this tradition of the December 25 birthday of the Lord
(g) A consideration of Sacred Scripture confirms the December 25 birthday of the Lord

See God’s Birthday by Dr. Taylor Marshall - subscribe to his excellent podcast The Taylor Marshall Show.

Merry Christmas


"For a Child is born to us, and a Son is given to us, and the government is upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called, Wonderful, Counselor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace" (Isaiah 9:6).

Image credit: ?

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Original Sin: Our Just Punishment

God cannot be charged with injustice in depriving us, on account of the transgression of our first parents, of all the advantages of original justice. No; we are justly chastised by Him. A king, for example, raises one of his subjects to a dignity to which he has no just claim, and tells him that he and his descendants will always enjoy that dignity, in case he continue faithful to Him. The loyalty of this subject is put to the test; the subject becomes guilty of treason, and at once he is deprived of his dignity, and not only he but all his descendants. Is there any injustice in the proceeding of this king with regard to this subject and his descendants? No; in punishment of his infidelity, he and his posterity have been justly deprived of the possessions and honours which had been bestowed upon him. So, too, God, in depriving the posterity of Adam, on account of his infidelity, of the advantages of original justice, has not acted unjustly, for He owed us nothing. 
Fr. Patrick Power, Catechism: doctrinal, moral, historical, and liturgical: with answers to the objections drawn from the sciences against religion (London: Burnes and Oates), vol. 1, 8th ed., 221 <http://bit.ly/2CCUFYa>

Saints Adam and Eve, pray for us.

Image via http://bit.ly/2CBdESE

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Men: Dress Your Best at Mass

"Men have all kinds of excuses for why they wear casual clothing to the Mass. Each of these excuses exposes both a lack of reverence for Jesus Christ and an unmanly lack of virtue."

The Catholic Gentleman, "Dressing Like a Man for Mass" (https://www.catholicgentleman.net/2015/04/dressing-like-a-man-for-mass/).

Thursday, December 21, 2017

On Non-Catholic Miracles


Here is a revised, under-construction version of an old post "On Miracles Outside the Catholic Church."

No Salvation Outside the Catholic Church
No one who dies outside of the Catholic Church can be saved [Denzinger 247, 423, 430, 468-469, 570b, 714]. As for those who have been invincibly ignorant of the Catholic Church, they cannot be saved if they die as such, but "God may enlighten, at the hour of death, one who is not yet a Catholic, so that he may see the truth of the Catholic faith, be truly sorry for his sins, and sincerely desire to die a good Catholic" [Fr. Michael Müller, Familiar Explanation of Christian Doctrine III (New York, Catholic Publication Society, 1875), 108].

No True Miracles Justify Separation from the Catholic Church
We must reject "any miracle sought or 'obtained' to confirm heresy tor to buttress an heterodox creed," or any so-called miracle "which, whether or not directly sought or obtained to confirm error, would by its context suggest or confirm such an interpretation" [Fr. Louis Monden, S.J., Signs and Wonders: A Study of the Miraculous Element in Religion (New York: Desclee Company, Inc., 1966), 136]. He continues, "God cannot give his sanction to error nor can he accord unconditional approval to partial truth. Once again, it is in the context of prayer that the Protestant or Orthodox miracle will take place rather than in the context of testimony or even of sanctity. And the occurrence of any major miracle which would, of its nature, suggest an apologetic use, remains, in the theological view, unlikely" (139). "God could not seal with miraculous approval a teaching that is false. With the certainty of faith, we may affirm that a miracle invoked to confirm error in the profession of doctrine, the announcement of a message, or the communication of a private revelation which contradicts the divine revelation which the infallible teaching presents us, is merely an illusion and imposture. On this question Pascal justly remarked, 'Miracles are the test of doctrine, and doctrine the test of miracles' [Pensées 803]" (76).

Likewise St. Thomas Aquinas says (Summa Theologica II-II, q. 178, art. 2, ad 3):
Miracles are always true witnesses to the purpose for which they are wrought. Hence wicked men who teach a false doctrine never work true miracles in confirmation of their teaching, although sometimes they may do so in praise of Christ's name which they invoke, and by the power of the sacraments which they administer. If they teach a true doctrine, sometimes they work true miracles as confirming their teaching, but not as an attestation of holiness. Hence Augustine says (QQ. lxxxiii, qu. 79): "Magicians work miracles in one way, good Christians in another, wicked Christians in another. Magicians by private compact with the demons, good Christians by their manifest righteousness, evil Christians by the outward signs of righteousness."  
And the New Catholic Encyclopedia says, "God would not work a miracle under such circumstances that it could reasonably be interpreted as divine confirmation of another religion as a whole or of a doctrine contrary to the teachings of Christ and his Church" (T. G. Pater, "Miracles (Theology of)," New Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 9, 2nd ed. (Detroit: Gale, 2003), 669-670).

Major Miracles
"The Roman Catholic Church, while not claiming an absolute monopoly, which could not be proved because of the very nature of history, does have a practical monopoly on what we have called 'major miracle,'" says Fr. Monden (321), and "they occur with a regularity that excludes all possibility of error and fortuitous concidence," that is "in an unpredictable and yet regular manner, which is in striking contrast with non-Christian religions and other Christian denominations, where its absence is glaring" (250).
What is a "major miracle" or "major prodigy"? Fr. Monden explains (179-180):
Only those facts will be accepted as having an apologetic application whose extraordinary character suggests beyond a doubt a religious signification because identical or similar facts never appear in the purely secular domain. The characteristics of "major prodigy" as described by E. Dhanis, from whom we borrow the very expression,6 are the following. "The ordinary course of natural events from which these facts deviate has been observed many times and under a great variety of conditions; no man can recall a deviation of the same type and of comparable magnitude ever having occurred in secular circumstances; the prodigy must take place in a normal setting, that is, one excluding the suspicion that unusual conditions or means might be the cause." In the following we shall use the word "major prodigy" or "major miracle" in the precise sense of events meeting the conditions listed in this paragraph.

What facts, then, are to be included in this category [of major miracles with intrinsic apologetic significance]? In what appears an order of increasing importance, e included certain cosmic manifestations; multiplications of matter, such as food or fuel; and finally, raising of the dead and the instantaneous or extremely rapid healing of properly diagnosed organic diseases.

If a raging storm were calmed on the instant, or an empty barn, securely bolted from the outside, were suddenly filled with grain, everyone would readily agree that never in the memory of mankind have such events occurred in a purely secular context. The difficulty arising here is this: these and similar manifestations must be accepted on testimony; outside of a perhaps abundant number of reliable witnesses, no tangible proof of the miraculous event can be offered as a rule. The one who clings to his doubt will always find it possible to challenge even the most dependable witness and thus avoid to assenting to the reality of the miracle.

The conditions accompanying an instantaneous healing are altogether different. Characteristically, a disease is subject to every kind of scientific testing, objective diagnosis and measuring. Social progress makes the task even easier by establishing, in ever greater numbers, mutual aid societies, clinics, and laboratories. The fact of a sudden miraculous cure does not have to be accepted on human testimony alone, or upon the personal diagnosis of one physician; a host of material, tangible and measurable proofs are normally available, showing the condition of the body both before and after the cure.

For practical purposes, therefore, miraculous cure is the best kind of apologetic proof.

6 E. Dhanis, "Un chaînon de la preuve du miracle," Problemi scelti di Teologia contemporanea (Rome, 1954), pp. 63-86. The passage quoted is on p. 66. It should be made clear that we are speaking of "major miracles" in a sense altogether different from that given by Benedict XIV to the words "prodigium maius." 
These are NOT major miracles: "All of the secondary, physical or clinical manifestations of mystical experience: visions, inner voices, levitation, trance, and ecstasy; more particularly still, apparitions and stigmata; finally, all manifestation related to parapsychological powers, such as premonitory dreams, mind-reading, prophesying, and the like" (177).

Fr. Monden goes on (181):
First, the practitioner recognizes organic lesions, when the anatomical or histological integrity of an organ is affected by an internal or external cause (hernia, cancer, toxication, parasites, and the like), or the organ shows a congenital malformation or is in a state of degeneration or gradual disintegration.
What are some Catholic examples of this? Plenty of examples of well-authenticated scientifically inexplicable complete, immediate, and permanent healings of properly diagnosed organic lesions are to be found at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, which has "ordinary water" with no "remedial properties" that has not allowed the spread of contagious diseases despite not being frequently changed (238-239):
Doctor Béhague concludes his series of studies [on the Lourdes miracles], published in the Cahiers Laënnec and quoted several times by us in the present work, with the following ad hominem appeal:
You doctors, and you specialists in particular; you former and present students who work in the services which deal with the sick in their thousands, have you seen:
(a) A case of two detached retinas originating in a shock suddenly cured seven and a half years after-wards, the sight returning 'like a shot from a gun'? (Vion-Dury).
(b) White atrophy of the papillas of both eyes cured in such a way that the sight returned instantly and permanently while the papillary whiteness only disappeared as time went on? (Mme Biré).
(c) A case of evolutive pulmonary tuberculosis calcify in a few days or a case of peritoneal tuberculosis rapidly disappearing? (Louis Jamain, Gabrielle Durand).
(d) A case of tubercular meningitis (with Koch bacilli in the cerebrospinal fluid which contained 150 lymphocytes per mm3) make a single leap from the final coma and possess, within a month after the previous lumbar puncture, a normal cerebrospinal fluid free from bacilli? (Mlle Margerie).
(e) An open fracture of the leg with chronic osteomyelitis and pseudarthrosis heal instantly and spontaneously so as to permit immediate walking? (De Rudder).
(f) A cancer of the pylorus and the liver heal suddenly and the functioning of the gastroenterostomy (visible by X-rays) instantly disappear (Mlle Delot).
If you have seen any of these things please let us know. We ourselves have never seen them except in the cases mentioned...59
As every physician will agree, nothing of the sort has ever occurred in his practice, he knows that never in the memory of man have such rapid cures been reported in the annals of medicine.

59 Flood, op. cit., p. 242
Fr. Monden continues (239-240),
We have given a lengthy account of the Lourdes facts, and found them, as did many others before us, the Catholic idea of the miraculous in its clearest form, precisely because at this shrine the miraculous is an object of well organized, systematic checking. Yet it would be impossible to conclude that Lourdes has a monopoly on miracles, even on miracles within the Catholic Church.

There exist other privileged places where miraculous cures did and do occur under the same conditions of serious checking and vertification [... the Fátima ... "Banneux and Beauraing shrines," etc.].
Orthodox Miracles?
We sometimes hear of "miracles" being worked by Orthodox Christians, especially those who were explicitly anti-Catholic (Job of Pochayiv, Seraphim of Sarov, John of Kronstadt, Alexis Toth, Nectarios of Aegina etc.), as if this confirmed that their anti-Catholic teaching was true and their lives were holy. Fr. Monden (305-306):
The problem appears under an altogether different light when we consider Russian Orthodoxy where canonization is practiced as in the Roman Catholic Church. Like Catholicism, but even more exclusively, the Russian Church insists on miracles as criteria of the holiness of her great children, This outward similarity, however,  should not prevent us from examining at a closer range the nature of Orthodox miracles.

We should bear in mind from the outset that Slavs in general, and Russians in particular, are inclined to speak of miracles far more freely than Occidentals. They see the miraculous element everywhere and accept it in full confidence; they would not think of making their assent depend upon an official approbation by the Church or a critical examination of the facts.111 Consequently, the title of "miracle-worker"given by the people to a deceased holy person is even more fragile a proof of the rality of the miraculous events than in the Western Church.

Moreover, pre-canonization inquests in the Orthodox Church are different from their Roman counterparts. Examination of the bodily remains is of primary importance; perfect preservation is a favorable and often conclusive factor warranting canonization.112 The statement itself that the remains are "preserved intact" is taken in a convential and broad sense, as indications and details below will show.113 This would give us the right to assume that the norms applied in these inquests concerning miraculous events are not the same as the strict rules applied by the Catholic Church, and thus no purported miraculous facts may be accepted as such without prudent critical investigation in every case.

111 See A. Staerk's introduction to the French edition of Jean de Kronstadt: Ma vie en Jésus-Christ (Paris, 1902), pp. 244-245. Some typical features of popular credulousness are quoted in A. Martel: "Miracles et légendes de l'Ukraine contemporaine," Irenikon, 6 (1929), 517-526.
112 See. J. Bois, "Canonisation dans l'Église Russe," Dictionnaire de théol. cath., II, c. 1663; P. Peeters, "La canonisation des saints dans l'Église Russe," Analecta Bollandiana, 33 (1914), 380-420; E. Behr-Sigel, Prière et sainteté dans l'Eglise Russe (Paris, 1950), II: "La canonisation dans l'Eglise Orthodox," pp. 24-35; Y. Congar: "A propos des saints canonisés dans les Eglises orthodoxes," Revue des sciences religieuses, 22 (1948), 240-259.
113 See J. Bois, art. cit., c. 1669.
Perhaps during the life of the Orthodox Christians one can:
readily recognize ... proofs of a supernatural intervention of God ... but none of them qualifies as a major miracle, that is, one with an intrinsic apologetic value and of the kind we have so far found absent everywhere except in the Catholic Church. 
For example (307),
the cases of Michael Manturov and Judge Nikolai Motovilov [in the life of Seraphim of Sarov]. Both are cases of functional paralysis which, judging by the way the illness and the manner of the cure are described, could have been cured, medically speaking, through spontaneous psychotherapy with religious motivation. At the Lourdes Bureau cases like these would not even be considered.
Likewise, all the cures at the tomb of Gregory Palamas reported by Patriarch Philotheus I of Constantinople would have been rejected as insufficient by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints [Fr. Martin Jugie, A.A., Le Schisme Byzantin: Aperçu historique et doctrinal (Paris: P. Lethielleux, 1941) 450-451]. Patriarch Seraphim I of Constantinople did not mention any miracles by Mark of Ephesus when he "canonized" the latter in 1734 (451).

And in the case of John of Kronstadt (308-309),
none of these accounts ... show any fact that could be considered more than an outstanding case of God's responding to prayer, or is such as could be called a major miracle116. ... we are very far here from any major prodigies.117

116 Ibid., pp. 247-248.
117 A. Staerk: op. cit., p. 245: "If we are to believe a certain type of popular literature which sounds too much like propaganda and with which, we are sure, Father John has nothing to do, some of these cures show features of instantaneousness that seem truly miraculous; only these events took place ten to twenty years ago and thus exclude all possibility of checking." On John of Kronsadt, see an anonymous article in L'ami du clergé 23 (1900), 117-122; A. Retel in Echos d'Orient, (1906), pp. 44ff.; M. Jugie in Echos d'Orient (1913), pp. 57-60; G. P. Fedotov, A Treasury of Russian Spirituality (New York, 1948), pp. 346-416.
And are you sure, in a given case, that the "miracle" is not the product of demons (155-156), imagination, "pathological hallucination undergone in good faith" (77), the cure of merely psychogenic and psychosomatic disorders (181-182), "trickery and illusion" (278), "psychoreligious disorders and pseudomystical fanaticism" (319), "common quackery" (272), exaggeration (258), legendary accretion (269), "charlatanism and vaudeville" (285), "some involuntary error" (77), embellishment (259), "hypnotic suggestion" (258), "popular fantasy" (271), "a temporary and subjective feeling of improvement" (304), "purposeful malice, insanity, vengeance, mystification, or misplaced practical joking ... the need for the sensational ... credulousness, hysterical affabulation or other mental disturbances ... certain types of intoxication, not only through alcohol but also carbon monoxide or mercury" (291), or "conscious fraud and simulation" (319)?

In the case of cures, "is the illness real or imaginary? Does the cure take place with or without medical aid? As for ... dreams ... are they spontaneous ... or are they provoked by artificial means?" (256-257)

As stated above, the Orthodox assign large importance to the preservation of relics. Are these cases of supernatural incorruptibility of relics? Is the flesh of normal pigmentation? Is it withered? Is the body still flexible? What were the circumstances of entombment (embalming, burial in a dry vs. wet space, etc.)?

Gregory Palamas (1296-1359), who wrote against the Filioque 
(image by Kh. Miray Saikali via http://bit.ly/2zyNhKu)

Job of Pochayiv (1551-1651), who wrote against unleavened bread and participated in other 
anti-Catholic activities (photographer unknown)

John of Shanghai and San Francisco (1896-1966), who wrote against the Immaculate Conception
(image via http://bit.ly/2BVhmtG)

Fr. Ilie Lacatusu (1909-1983), a Romanian Orthodox priest
(image via http://bit.ly/2C7ktOG)
John the Russian (1690-1730)
(image via http://bit.ly/2kZhKNp)

John Jacob the Chozebite (1913-1960)
(http://bit.ly/2DnvXdz)

More could be said of miracles claimed by Protestants, Yogis, Mohammedans, etc. I invite the reader who wishes to know more to consult Fr. Monden's book, and to pray for the repose of his soul.

Our Lady of Fátima, pray for us!

Top Image credit: http://bit.ly/2kBmatL