Saturday, October 01, 2005

Please pray for Michael Forrest....

...who is currently helping a traditional Catholic couple maneuvre a legal jungle so that the couple can provide a good home to two orphans. Mike tells me the couple are hoping to bring the kids home by ChristMass, however, this will take a legal miracle.

Sts. Thomas More and John Bosco,
Ora pro nobis!


Friday, September 30, 2005

Hmmmmm, Another Area Where I May Be the Oddman... the subject of why I support Ecclesia Dei. I do not do so for the same reasons that many probably do but I will note them nonetheless. Pete noted the following:

Two of the tricks of the trade we learn as writers is "show, don't tell" and "use the specific over the general."

This is true in the sense that specifics personalize something more than the general which is more abstract to some extent. Nonetheless, positions usually have to be framed on general principles if they are to escape the subjectivist element of the equation and have a universal character to them. While specifics are to be used over the general in the event of a conflict a marriage of sorts between the general and the specific is best in my opinion.

One of the reasons I appreciate the traditional liturgy is that it appeals to all five senses -- thus providing a rich base from which Catholic writers can "show" the Mass in specific language.

Thus "colorful vestments" become "rich golden patterns of crosses, chalices and other sacred objects weaved into the crimson chasuble." With regard to sound, Gregorian and Polyphony also facilitate vivid description, and incense presents many possibilities as well.

These are all parts of the equation for me but only parts. The main reason was a conscious reflection upon the unity-in-diversity that defines the essence of authentic catholicity. I am aware of how my ancestors suffered under myopic moronic Latin prelates trying to impose western customs on them{1} and that probably is the primary reason right there and everything else is derivatival to some extent.

As far as Gregorian and Polyphany go, I do attend most frequently a hybrid Latin/English liturgy at my parish where they use incense and where many of the common prayers are sung in Latin. Frankly, I think incense and some Latin should be in all masses of the Roman rite but that is my personal preference of course.

On that note, I invite both our readers and our other bloggers to (1) "show" me how your local indult exemplifies reverence and beauty (2) using specific, rather than general, language.

I have never attended the Indult that I worked to get in my dioceses so I cannot achieve the first point or the second one.


{1} On this score, there was a separation in the family where some went from the Ukrainian Catholic church in their town (Wilton, North Dakota) to the Ukrainian Orthodox church. (Included in that grouping was my material great grandfather whose name I bear as a first name incidentally enough.) This was the result of imperialist notions of "uniformity" and it is consciousness of my ancestors that makes me not want to see the same thing happen again which is the primary driving factor. (And a desire to see a reunion between the Churches of the west and east and how we need to manifest this diversity amongst ourselves if we are to ever persuade our eastern brethren of our sincerity.)


The Case for Ecclesia Dei

Many times people have heard me say to avoid the SSPX and other schismatic groups as much as possible, but have never heard me really give a case for why we should go through the Indult. Yet I believe that if one wishes to call himself a traditionalist, one cannot but choose to be associated with those in union with the Holy Father, and who the Holy Father holds to be in communion with him. This is the Tradition of our Fathers. St. Ignatius of Antioch, writing in the late first-early second century AD, a man who walked with the Apostles, had the following to say about the role of the bishop:

Follow the bishop, all of you, as Jesus Christ follows his Father, and the presbyterium as the Apostles. As for the deacons, respect them as the Law of God. Let no one do anything with reference to the Church without the bishop. Only that Eucharist may be regarded as legitimate which is celebrated with the Bishop or his delegate presiding. Where the bishop is, there let the community be, just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. St. Ignatius of Antioch, Epistle to the Philadelphians

We follow the Pope by following those he has appointed to watch over us. Even if they are not doing the best job, they are still our shepherds, and for that sake alone we should not abandon them. According to St. Ignatius, unless the Eucharist is celebrated either by the Bishop or one he appoints to do so, we must reject that celebration. Even if it is valid, we cannot hold it legitimate. Therefore if we are to work in emphasizing tradition, it must be through the Bishop, and through the Roman Pontiff, himself a Bishop as well. To work in emphasizing tradition, but to do so without the Bishop is to betray the very tradition we seek to uphold. To go against the Bishops and the Pope is to rise against Peter and the Apostles themselves. When speaking of the role of the Bishop, St. Cyprian says the following:

Our Lord, whose precepts and admonitions we ought to observe, describing the honour of a bishop and the order of His Church, speaks in the Gospel, and says to Peter: 'I say unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.' Thence, through the changes of times and successions, the ordering of bishops and the plan of the Church flow onwards; so that the Church is founded upon the bishops, and every act of the Church is controlled by these same rulers. St. Cyprian of Carthage, to the Lapsed, c. 250 A.D

Not only does the saint ascribe the notion of Peter to the papacy, but rather of all Bishops. For Cyprian, Peter is the source of unity for the Church. All Bishops share in that role of being the source of unity, and hence to follow those groups that are not united with the Bishop, is to attack the very unity of the Church. This is no small act.

Some have accused this as being a blind obedience to where nobody may ever question anything. This could not be further from the truth. Whatever way you wish to look at it, the Holy Father has provided an avenue for traditionalists to promote the their charism within the body of Christ. Traditionalist criticism is not muzzled, but rather refined. If there is to be criticism, it must be respectful of the leaders of the Church, those appointed to watch over us. It works to change and implement policies we believe are for the good of the Church. Yet at the same time, it respects the authority that has passed judgement, and it obeys that authority. Agreement is not a requirement of obedience. If we truly wish to reform the Church, we must first reform ourselves, and make sure that we operate from this standpoint without failing. We respect not only the Roman Pontiff's authority to speak infallibly, but respect and submit to his authority of governing the Church. We may not like that decision, we may disagree with that decision, we may even work to see that decision reversed, but we cannot refuse to obey it. Though hard times may come as a result of that situation, it is something we must always hold firmly to.

Many times we will hear "with the crisis in the Church, I will go where I am guaranteed the Traditional Faith and Sacraments." As we have already seen, for one who claims to bear the Traditional Faith, one must be united to Peter. While the forms of sacraments one may receive are from traditional usage, they as St. Ignatius tells us, since they were without reference to the Bishop, they are illegitimate, that is illicit. Pius VII of happy memory had the following exhortation in regards to illicit sacraments:

I cannot conceal from you at the end of this letter, venerable brothers, "Since my sorrow is great and the pain of my heart unceasing," my feelings for my children, the peoples of France, and other peoples still seething with the same madness. Nothing would be more desirable to me than to give my life for them if their safety could be achieved by my death. We do not deny—rather, We proclaim—that the bitterness of Our grief is much diminished by the invincible purpose which several of you have displayed. We remember this daily. Men of all kinds, age, and rank have followed this example. They do so, preferring to suffer any insults, dangers, losses, and penalties, and to face death itself. They consider this nobler than to be defiled by the stain of an illicit and wicked sacrament thereby committing sin and disobeying the decrees of the Apostolic See. Indeed, the courage of ancient times has been renewed no less than the cruelty. [Pius VII, Diu Satis]

This Pope exhorts and praises the faith of those who would suffer so much, rather than simply receive an illicit sacrament. It may calm their creature comforts, but they understood that this would never suffice. Furthermore, the consequences would be quite grave, as they would be defiled by sin in their reception of it. No matter how beautiful one may find a form of a sacrament, it is not worth sinning to receive it. Work towards the promotion of those forms of sacraments within the Church if one desires. The Sacraments are also God's food to us. Sometimes we may not like the food, but in some cases it would be necessary, and what we thought would not be pleasing to us ended up being our source of nourishment. Being a traditionalist is not easy, nor is any life one walks as a Christian.

God Bless,
Kevin M. Tierney


Why I Embraced Catholic Tradition

Having challenged Patrick and my other blog-mates to share why they embraced Catholic Tradition, I thought I should answer the question myself. Here's my story in a nutshell:

Almost fifteen years ago, I assisted at a Tridentine liturgy for the first time. I was seventeen and the liturgy was offered by an old French-Canadian priest who always insisted upon high Mass. The Latin chant, the golden vestments, the rich scent of incense accompanying our prayers to Heaven – this Mass was the most reverent experience I had ever shared. From that day forward I was a traditional Catholic.

Two of the tricks of the trade we learn as writers is "show, don't tell" and "use the specific over the general." One of the reasons I appreciate the traditional liturgy is that it appeals to all five senses -- thus providing a rich base from which Catholic writers can "show" the Mass in specific language.

Thus "colorful vestments" become "rich golden patterns of crosses, chalices and other sacred objects weaved into the crimson chasuble." With regard to sound, Gregorian and Polyphony also facilitate vivid description, and incense presents many possibilities as well.

On that note, I invite both our readers and our other bloggers to (1) "show" me how your local indult exemplifies reverence and beauty (2) using specific, rather than general, language.


Thursday, September 29, 2005

Speaking of Beer... thing that serious Catholics of all viewpoints should support in some form or another is the various Theology on Tap kinds of ministries which tend to take place in bars or breweries. I know that the idea is viewed as suspect or even absurd by some of the more "hoity-toity" amongst those who consider themselves Traditional but there is nothing more Traditional than going to where the people are. And the pub is where the youth are found after they can legally drink{1} so it serves as a good place to go -particularly because it points out that Catholicism is not as puritanical as the MSM often likes to portray it.

I want to (once again) quote from a previous posting of Pete's and comment on it. In this case, the posting on beer from earlier today:

Take beer for instance. I have never known a traditional Catholic who enjoyed beer from the big breweries. Rather, most of the traditional Catholic young males with whom I hang out prefer homebrewing whenever possible, and monastic beer or micro-breweries otherwise. And why shouldn't we?

Well, I may be the exception to that rule because while I certainly do not mind homebrewed beer at times, my general taste is for imports. But I will clarify that to some extent in noting here some of the threads from my main weblog's archives:

On the Subject of Beer Revisited (circa August 16, 2005)

On Beer and Pope Benedict (circa May 18, 2005)

Some St. Patrick's Day Toasts (circa March 17, 2005)

Mel Denny (RIP) Update (circa January 25, 2004)

Puerto Vallarta Special Reports--Part II (circa December 25, 2003)

Puerto Vallarta Special Reports--Part I (circa December 24, 2003)

Michael Jackson and Kingfisher (circa May 24, 2003)

Health Benefits of Beer (circa January 14, 2003)

Pete Vere and Beer (circa November 2, 2002)

Gregorian Chant and Beer -- two fruits of Catholicism's monastic Tradition.

But we should not limit this to only beer. Indeed, we have a Tradition (yes, capital t) of wine in the Church from very far back. And with other alcohol there is whiskey which it is believed also has a monastic influence. So we can actually say that Gregorian Chant, Beer, and Whiskey are fruits of the monastic tradition. (With wine's connection to the Tradition being self-evident of course.)


{1} I will not go over at this time how opposed I am to a "legal drinking age" concept.


Papal Wisdom: Leo XIII on Christian Marriage

(Note from Editor: Before we get started, a little information. This was penned about a year and a half ago for a Catholic social teaching weblog that I ran that unfortunately I had to suspend because I was so busy. However, it touches issues that I think are just as relevant for this sort of weblog. When we talk about the Traditionalist movement, all too often we limit it to just the Mass, and forget there is plenty more that we can contribute to the Church. One such service is be recalling the wisdom of past popes on social teaching. Remembering this, no discussion on Catholic social teaching can be completed without reference to Leo XIII, a pope whose works on social teaching laid the groundwork up until the Popes of today. For classification purposes I shall put Leo XIII's words in quotations, and my commentary will have my name before it.)

Today we provide analysis on the basis of any healthy society. We're not talking job wages, quality of life, but indeed, the very foundation block of society, that of marriage, of Christian marriage. This is an institution that is under serious attack in today's culture, with many truly not analyzing the profound benefits of marriage. Today we will look at some of those benefits, and the reasons behind marriage, which are entailed in the encyclical Arcanum, continuing our insight into the Social teaching of Leo XIII.

"The hidden design of the divine wisdom, which Jesus Christ the Savior of men came to carry out on earth, had this end in view, that, by Himself and in Himself, He should divinely renew the world, which was sinking, as it were, with length of years into decline. The Apostle Paul summed this up in words of dignity and majesty when he wrote to the Ephesians, thus: "That He might make known unto us the mystery of His will . . . To re-establish all things in Christ that are in heaven and on earth

2. In truth, Christ our Lord, setting Himself to fulfill the commandment which His Father had given Him, straightway imparted a new form and fresh beauty to all things, taking away the effects of their time-worn age. For He healed the wounds which the sin of our first father had inflicted on the human race; He brought all men, by nature children of wrath, into favor with God; He led to the light of truth men wearied out by longstanding errors; He renewed to every virtue those who were weakened by lawlessness of every kind; and, giving them again an inheritance of never-ending bliss, He added a sure hope that their mortal and perishable bodies should one day be partakers of immortality and of the glory of heaven. In order that these unparalleled benefits might last as long as men should be found on earth, He entrusted to His Church the continuance of His work; and, looking to future times, He commanded her to set in order whatever might have become deranged in human society, and to restore whatever might have fallen into ruin. "

Kevin Tierney: Leo XIII again starts out his teaching by focusing on the transgression of our First Father Adam, and his fall in the Garden of Eden. This led to a serious hampering of man's inherent dignity, which was restored by Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. While Christ indeed restored the splendor of this, he entrusted his Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, to continue the work he started and made possible, to reconcile men to God, and truly turn the people into acceptable children of God, as opposed to children of wrath.

"3. Although the divine renewal we have spoken of chiefly and directly affected men as constituted in the supernatural order of grace, nevertheless some of its precious and salutary fruits were also bestowed abundantly in the order of nature. Hence, not only individual men, but also the whole mass of the human race, have in every respect received no small degree of worthiness. For, so soon as Christian order was once established in the world, it became possible for all men, one by one, to learn what God's fatherly providence is, and to dwell in it habitually, thereby fostering that hope of heavenly help which never confoundeth. From all this outflowed fortitude, self-control, constancy, and the evenness of a peaceful mind, together with many high virtues and noble deeds.

4. Wondrous, indeed, was the extent of dignity, steadfastness, and goodness which thus accrued to the State as well as to the family. The authority of rulers became more just and revered; the obedience of the people more ready and unforced; the union of citizens closer; the rights of dominion more secure. In very truth, the Christian religion thought of and provided for all things which are held to be advantageous in a State; so much so, indeed, that, according to St. Augustine, one cannot see how it could have offered greater help in the matter of living well and happily, had it been instituted for the single object of procuring or increasing those things which contributed to the conveniences or advantages of this mortal life. "

Kevin Tierney: Because of what Christ did, and through the Churches presentation of the Gospel, and the promotion of State built upon solid principles of Jesus Christ, Leo lists the multitude of benefits that mankind has enjoyed. The dignity of man has been greatly manifested by Christ, indeed, every human being now has something that one simply did not possess before in a certain sense, and this can only be accomplished through fulfillment in Christ Jesus. We see the Pontiff laying out the strength of the Christian social order, in preparation to expound on what is necessary for this order to come about, that of Christian marriage, the building block of any truly Christian foundation.

"5. Still, the purpose We have set before Us is not to recount, in detail, benefits of this kind; Our wish is rather to speak about that family union of which marriage is the beginning and the foundation. The true origin of marriage, venerable brothers, is well known to all. Though revilers of the Christian faith refuse to acknowledge the never-interrupted doctrine of the Church on this subject, and have long striven to destroy the testimony of all nations and of all times, they have nevertheless failed not only to quench the powerful light of truth, but even to lessen it. We record what is to all known, and cannot be doubted by any, that God, on the sixth day of creation, having made man from the slime of the earth, and having breathed into his face the breath of life, gave him a companion, whom He miraculously took from the side of Adam when he was locked in sleep. God thus, in His most far-reaching foresight, decreed that this husband and wife should be the natural beginning of the human race, from whom it might be propagated and preserved by an unfailing fruitfulness throughout all futurity of time. And this union of man and woman, that it might answer more fittingly to the infinite wise counsels of God, even from the beginning manifested chiefly two most excellent properties -- deeply sealed, as it were, and signed upon it -- namely, unity and perpetuity. From the Gospel we see clearly that this doctrine was declared and openly confirmed by the divine authority of Jesus Christ. He bore witness to the Jews and to His Apostles that marriage, from its institution, should exist between two only, that is, between one man and one woman; that of two they are made, so to say, one flesh; and that the marriage bond is by the will of God so closely and strongly made fast that no man may dissolve it or render it asunder. "For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh. What, therefore, God hath joined together, let no man put asunder."

Kevin Tierney: This is something we as Christians must first remember, especially in today's debate about homosexual marriages. By the way nature was designed, marriage was meant to be between one man, and one woman. This is the primary reason we cannot support gay marriage, because it is against Christ and the created order. Marriage is a divine institution, not a human one. As Christians, we cannot promote laws that go contrary to that which has been in the divine sphere of things, that is, that which comes from God. Likewise, this is why Christians cannot promote divorce, since we are promoting to put asunder which God has put together. This all ties in logically.

"But the corruption and change which fell on marriage among the Gentiles seem almost incredible, inasmuch as it was exposed in every land to floods of error and of the most shameful lusts. All nations seem, more or less, to have forgotten the true notion and origin of marriage; and thus everywhere laws were enacted with reference to marriage, prompted to all appearance by State reasons, but not such as nature required. Solemn rites, invented at will of the law-givers, brought about that women should, as might be, bear either the honorable name of wife or the disgraceful name of concubine; and things came to such a pitch that permission to marry, or the refusal of the permission, depended on the will of the heads of the State, whose laws were greatly against equity or even to the highest degree unjust. Moreover, plurality of wives and husbands, as well as divorce, caused the nuptial bond to be relaxed exceedingly. "

Kevin Tierney: This is a theme that occurs regularly in Leo's teachings about State. Without the sound role of the Church, the State seeks to fill that void, and by nature of the beast, becomes inefficient, and indeed, corrupts what they try to help. This is why I believe George W. Bush's proposal to shell out billions of dollars at marriage counseling, promotion, etc, are him overstepping his bounds, going into the realm of Church, rather than staying in State. Let the Church furnish, and promote marriage. Call upon today's Christians to recall what they have given up. They in turn will bring about a healthy state and truly Christian society.

"Hence, too, sprang up the greatest confusion as to the mutual rights and duties of husbands and wives, inasmuch as a man assumed right of dominion over his wife, ordering her to go about her business, often without any just cause; while he was himself at liberty "to run headlong with impunity into lust, unbridled and unrestrained, in houses of ill-fame and amongst his female slaves, as if the dignity of the persons sinned with, and not the will of the sinner, made the guilt."[4] When the licentiousness of a husband thus showed itself, nothing could be more piteous than the wife, sunk so low as to be all but reckoned as a means for the gratification of passion, or for the production of offspring. Without any feeling of shame, marriageable girls were bought and sold, like so much merchandise,[5] and power was sometimes given to the father and to the husband to inflict capital punishment on the wife. Of necessity, the offspring of such marriages as these were either reckoned among the stock in trade of the common-wealth or held to be the property of the father of the family;[6] and the law permitted him to make and unmake the marriages of his children at his mere will, and even to exercise against them the monstrous power of life and death. "

Kevin Tierney: A common myth we are told of traditional marriage is the wife becomes the slave of the husband, and is nothing but a baby machine. Here we see Leo XIII decry this form of marriage as not of the divine order, and certainly nothing Christians should promote. We are also faced with the opposite of this, with today's feminism frowning on marriage altogether because of the preconceptions, and under the name of "liberty for women" destroy the natural order God had given for women to fulfill in society.

"8. So manifold being the vices and so great the ignominies with which marriage was defiled, an alleviation and a remedy were at length bestowed from on high. Jesus Christ, who restored our human dignity and who perfected the Mosaic law, applied early in His ministry no little solicitude to the question of marriage. He ennobled the marriage in Cana of Galilee by His presence, and made it memorable by the first of the miracles which he wrought;[7] and for this reason, even from that day forth, it seemed as if the beginning of new holiness had been conferred on human marriages. Later on He brought back matrimony to the nobility of its primeval origin by condemning the customs of the Jews in their abuse of the plurality of wives and of the power of giving bills of divorce; and still more by commanding most strictly that no one should dare to dissolve that union which God Himself had sanctioned by a bond perpetual. Hence, having set aside the difficulties which were adduced from the law of Moses, He, in character of supreme Lawgiver, decreed as follows concerning husbands and wives, "I say to you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery; and he that shall marry her that is put away committeth adultery."[8] "

Kevin Tierney: When working with problems, first you diagnose it, then you propose it's solution. Since the roots of marriages corruption occurred at the Fall of Adam, it's restoration comes with Jesus Christ. Leo places special significance that the first of Christ's miracles was at a wedding. Christ could've chosen anywhere to perform the first miracle, but since he chose the wedding feast, we see that Christ in restoring things, one of those first things restored by his presence is that of marriage. Indeed, a healthy and robust marriage leads to a healthy and robust devotion in God, who had provided these gifts to husband and wife. With a firm trust in God, all things are possible.

"9. But what was decreed and constituted in respect to marriage by the authority of God has been more fully and more clearly handed down to us, by tradition and the written Word, through the Apostles, those heralds of the laws of God. To the Apostles, indeed, as our masters, are to be referred the doctrines which "our holy Fathers, the Councils, and the Tradition of the Universal Church have always taught," namely, that Christ our Lord raised marriage to the dignity of a sacrament; that to husband and wife, guarded and strengthened by the heavenly grace which His merits Rained for them, He gave power to attain holiness in the married state; and that, in a wondrous way, making marriage an example of the mystical union between Himself and His Church, He not only perfected that love which is according to nature, but also made the naturally indivisible union of one man with one woman far more perfect through the bond of heavenly love. Paul says to the Ephesians: "Husbands, love your wives, as Christ also loved the Church, and delivered Himself up for it, that He might sanctify it. . . So also ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. . . For no man ever hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the Church; because we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be two in one flesh. This is a great sacrament; but I speak in Christ and in the Church."

Kevin Tierney: Here Leo explores, and expounds upon the mystery of the union of man and woman in marriage, and the great and noble institution it truly is. Those who marry must full and well understand that marriage is a means of grace to you, God will provide the grace to strengthen that marriage in love and holiness. It is not just husband and wife. Rather, it is the husband and wife, with God holding them together in love.

To show the great respect for marriage, Christ provided a primary example; the marriage between the Church and himself. In Scripture, Christ portrays the Church as his bride, yet also his body. This details the splendid union husband and wife have, that in essence, they are one. Like Christ, the man treats his wife as his own body? Logic and reason compel one to take care of their own body, to nourish it, to nurture it, care for and love it. Likewise, this is how the wife is to be treated from the aspect of husband.

"In like manner from the teaching of the Apostles we learn that the unity of marriage and its perpetual indissolubility, the indispensable conditions of its very origin, must, according to the command of Christ, be holy and inviolable without exception. Paul says again: "To them that are married, not I, but the Lord commandeth that the wife depart not from her husband; and if she depart, that she remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband.""

Kevin Tierney: Since marriage portrays here one earth the splendid mystical union of Christ and his Church, it logically follows that it is not to be dissolved. Christ is with his Church always, and vice versa. Neither wish to leave each other. Likewise, husband and wife are to cling together.

"11. Secondly, the mutual duties of husband and wife have been defined, and their several rights accurately established. They are bound, namely, to have such feelings for one another as to cherish always very great mutual love, to be ever faithful to their marriage vow, and to give one another an unfailing and unselfish help. The husband is the chief of the family and the head of the wife. The woman, because she is flesh of his flesh, and bone of his bone, must be subject to her husband and obey him; not, indeed, as a servant, but as a companion, so that her obedience shall be wanting in neither honor nor dignity. Since the husband represents Christ, and since the wife represents the Church, let there always be, both in him who commands and in her who obeys, a heaven-born love guiding both in their respective duties. For "the husband is the head of the wife; as Christ is the head of the Church. . . Therefore, as the Church is subject to Christ, so also let wives be to their husbands in all things."

Kevin Tierney: We continue to return to this fascinating point, that one's marriage should be based upon that ideal marriage, that of Christ and his Church. Though I just saw a lot of women's heads turn back, and while they are probably looking to go elsewhere, please hear Leo XIII out, as there is surely good reason he entails that man is to be head of the family, and the woman is to be submissive to him.

Even amongst today's Christian circles, the idea of submission is not en vogue with today's "liberated woman." Safe to say, this is not a Christian principle. I have yet to meet a devout Christian woman who would refuse submission to Christ. Indeed, our Blessed Mother Mary teaches this submission to Christ when at the wedding feast, she informs people to "do whatever he tells you." Submission to Christ does not strip one of dignity. If anything, it magnifies that dignity.

Nor would the Christian woman think the Church need not be subject to Christ as wife, since a wife is "liberated" nowadays. Such is a foolish idea, as we would have no Church without Christ. The Church would not grow without the wisdom of Christ, the love of Christ, and the peace of Christ. Souls would not be saved. Every time Christ expresses his love for the Church, and vice versa, the Church is empowered to bring about the salvation of souls.

Yet many Christian women today(otherwise fine Christian women no doubt) while agreeing that submission to Christ on the individual level, and on the communal level the Church submitting to Christ is not wrong, but indeed good and healthy, think a submission of the same level to the husband is somehow "Degrading." As Leo XIII tells us, and St. Paul reminds us in Scripture, this submission of wife to husband is based on submission of The Church to Christ. As woman comes from man, so the Church comes from Christ. The similarities are undeniable. Amongst wives a general trust must be placed in their husbands, that God has led you to him, and the submission you give him, is out of love, of service, to further the unit that is marriage. Many nowadays become married, yet still treat husband and wife as not truly united. In any organization or group unit, roles are distinct. The "liberated woman" who is a CEO surely would object to someone feeling "liberated" and attempting to make company decisions independent of her. Those who reject the sound principles of Sacred Scripture on this issue wish to have their cake and eat it too. We must remind them they cannot have it both ways.

The situation is just as admirable and respectable for husband. The husband, carrying in the marriage the image of Christ so to speak(The husband figure represents Christ, the wife figure represents Church) has many defined roles as well. He is to lead the marriage and the family that flows from it, but it to do so justly. He is to accept the wife's submission in love, but also provide for her in love. If he truly wishes to make his wife happy, he will listen to his wife, listen to her concerns, her cares, her advice, and vice versa. Christ listens to his bride constantly, giving what the Church needs to perform it's tasks. Christ provides for his bride, just as we are to provide for our wives, or future wives in my case.

"12. As regards children, they ought to submit to the parents and obey them, and give them honor for conscience' sake; while, on the other hand, parents are bound to give all care and watchful thought to the education of their offspring and their virtuous bringing up: "Fathers, . . . Bring them up" (that is, your children) "in the discipline and correction of the Lord." From this we see clearly that the duties of husbands and wives are neither few nor light; although to married people who are good these burdens become not only bearable but agreeable, owing to the strength which they gain through the sacrament. "

Kevin Tierney: We come to another truth of the false feminism that affects today's society; the issue of children, and each parents distinct role to these children. The children are to gladly submit to their parents, to learn from them, learn the ways of God. The Father is to bring that child up in the discipline and correction of the Lord, teaching him the Christian worldview. The mother instills in the child the love only a mother can give, since indeed, she carried that child in her womb for 9 months, and has a special bond with it that no one else will ever have. These roles and responsibilities are indeed true and great, but the Pontiff again reminds us, marriage is a sacrament, grace is provided so that this marriage will indeed work. All husband and wife need do is trust God, and receive this grace, and co-operate with it.

"13. Christ, therefore, having renewed marriage to such and so great excellence, commended and entrusted all the discipline bearing upon these matters to His Church. The Church, always and everywhere, has so used her power with reference to the marriages of Christians that men have seen clearly how it belongs to her as of native right; not being made hers by any human grant, but given divinely to her by the will of her Founder. Her constant and watchful care in guarding marriage, by the preservation of its sanctity, is so well understood as to not need proof. That the judgment of the Council of Jerusalem reprobated licentious and free love, we all know; as also that the incestuous Corinthian was condemned by the authority of blessed Paul. Again, in the very beginning of the Christian Church were repulsed and defeated, with the like unremitting determination, the efforts of many who aimed at the destruction of Christian marriage, such as the Gnostics, Manicheans, and Montanists; and in our own time Mormons, St. Simonians, phalansterians, and communists.

14. In like manner, moreover, a law of marriage just to all, and the same for all, was enacted by the abolition of the old distinction between slaves and free-born men and women; and thus the rights of husbands and wives were made equal: for, as St. Jerome says, "with us that which is unlawful for women is unlawful for men also, and the same restraint is imposed on equal conditions." The self-same rights also were firmly established for reciprocal affection and for the interchange of duties; the dignity of the woman was asserted and assured; and it was forbidden to the man to inflict capital punishment for adultery, or lustfully and shamelessly to violate his plighted faith.

15. It is also a great blessing that the Church has limited, so far as is needful, the power of fathers of families, so that sons and daughters, wishing to marry, are not in any way deprived of their rightful freedom; that, for the purpose of spreading more widely the supernatural love of husbands and wives, she has decreed marriages within certain degrees of consanguinity or affinity to be null and void; that she has taken the greatest pains to safeguard marriage, as much as is possible, from error and violence and deceit;that she has always wished to preserve the holy chasteness of the marriage bed, the security of persons, the honor of husband and wife, and the sanctity of religion. Lastly, with such foresight of legislation has the Church guarded its divine institution that no one who thinks rightfully of these matters can fail to see how, with regard to marriage, she is the best guardian and defender of the human race; and how, withal, her wisdom has come forth victorious from the lapse of years, from the assaults of men, and from the countless changes of public events. "

Kevin Tierney: I do not intend to comment really on these past few paragraphs, but only to let the reader see how the Church has always championed marriage, and logically following, how this truly promotes a true and just society.

There is a huge gap that I do not wish to comment on, but I urge the reader to review. The reason I choose not to comment on this is because when one reads Leo XIII, his thought flows very logically, and in commenting on it, I end up outlining the same points he will later cover in greater detail throughout the writing. So while I will not comment on it, I think a cursory reading of it will be invaluable.

"26. If, then, we consider the end of the divine institution of marriage, we shall see very clearly that God intended it to be a most fruitful source of individual benefit and of public welfare. Not only, in strict truth, was marriage instituted for the propagation of the human race, but also that the lives of husbands and wives might be made better and happier. This comes about in many ways: by their lightening each other's burdens through mutual help; by constant and faithful love; by having all their possessions in common; and by the heavenly grace which flows from the sacrament. Marriage also can do much for the good of families, for, so long as it is conformable to nature and in accordance with the counsels of God, it has power to strengthen union of heart in the parents; to secure the holy education of children; to temper the authority of the father by the example of the divine authority; to render children obedient to their parents and servants obedient to their masters. From such marriages as these the State may rightly expect a race of citizens animated by a good spirit and filled with reverence and love for God, recognizing it their duty to obey those who rule justly and lawfully, to love all, and to injure no one. "

Kevin Tierney: Here we come to a secondary benefit of Christian marriage, but a benefit that we must look at, the benefit marriage has in society. First and foremost, it is meant to make people happier. It is without a doubt that a society that is strong in their spirit and happy will be a more productive society. Marriage nurtures this happiness. A happy populace is also more likely to help enhance the efficiency of the state. This is why rather than promote marriage under the auspices of government, marriage should be the role of the Church, and government should promote a greater role of the Church in securing a healthy society, starting with marriage.

"When the Christian religion is rejected and repudiated, marriage sinks of necessity into the slavery of man's vicious nature and vile passions, and finds but little protection in the help of natural goodness. A very torrent of evil has flowed from this source, not only into private families, but also into States. For, the salutary fear of God being removed, and there being no longer that refreshment in toil which is nowhere more abounding than in the Christian religion, it very often happens, as indeed is natural, that the mutual services and duties of marriage seem almost unbearable; and thus very many yearn for the loosening of the tie which they believe to be woven by human law and of their own will, whenever incompatibility of temper, or quarrels, or the violation of the marriage vow, or mutual consent, or other reasons induce them to think that it would be well to be set free. Then, if they are hindered by law from carrying out this shameless desire, they contend that the laws are iniquitous, inhuman, and at variance with the rights of free citizens; adding that every effort should be made to repeal such enactments, and to introduce a more humane code sanctioning divorce. "

Kevin Tierney: The Supreme Pontiff's words sound stunningly prophetic to today's day and age. Marriage is no longer treated as a divine institution set up by God, but a human institution of mutual agreement between spouses. There is no fear of God in many marriages today. Without this fear of God, without acknowledging that he indeed created marriage for mankind's betterment, man begins to think marriage is simply a human institution, and in the end, ultimately dependent on the will of the human to do with the institution as he wishes. Man, in his arrogance he inherited from the fall, loses sight of his true purpose, and loses the true happiness that comes from Christian marriage. This translates into an unhealthy society. If man need not fear God in his marriage, why should God be feared in matters of State? This leads to citizens not happy with the State, not trusting of the state, and on the other side of the coin, a state which must increase it's powers to coerce it's citizens into compliance. Those who are coerced, are less productive in society, so then government must step in and provide originally what the populace was providing. A government needs money to do this, so it must raise money from the populace, one way or another. This leads to a hampered economic life, which then further compounds the loss of sense of being amongst mankind. From a diminished view of marriage, springs forth a diminished society in all aspects.

That is all I wish to comment on for this time, but again, I would advise readers to finish the rest of this monumental encyclical.


Catholic Social Teaching

I'm going to ressurect a few of my old social teaching commentaries which I ran at the Culture of Christ project. While it has been temporarily suspended, there are things I want to bring back to the forefront, starting with Leo XIII's view on Arcanum, Christian marriage. I tend to make this a semi-regular contribution of mine, so starting tomorrow I will post my commentary on that.


Of Liturgy and Beer

One of things I love about being a Traditional Catholic is that our faith does not stop after the "Ite Missae est" on Sunday. Rather, Tradition is something that seeps into our lives 24/7. Tradition does not even stop with the Sacred, but rather it touches us in all things profane as well.

Take beer for instance. I have never known a traditional Catholic who enjoyed beer from the big breweries. Rather, most of the traditional Catholic young males with whom I hang out prefer homebrewing whenever possible, and monastic beer or micro-breweries otherwise. And why shouldn't we?

From St. Arnold (who turned water to beer) to the monastic ales perfected by the Benedictine monks over the centuries, the Catholic Church has a rich small "t" tradition of good beer. In fact, several years ago my friend Kevin Fogarty (a traditional Catholic and a brewmaster) suggested a monastic beer pilgrimige across Europe where traditionalists could alternate between churches and monasteries that offer Mass according to the Ecclesia Dei indult and those monasteries that brew beer. I think it is a wonderful idea. A little whimsy, perhaps, but I couldn't think of a better use of one's time, both sacred and profane, than chanting the Benedictine Office and enjoying good conversation afterward over the fruits of Trappist labour.

Gregorian Chant and Beer -- two fruits of Catholicism's monastic Tradition.


A new approach

I'm about 10 pages away from finishing our Holy Father's book, 'Truth and Tolerance.' I really believe that the approach taken in this book is the blueprint for the future of evangelization. The Holy Father has a keen awareness of what is necessary if the Church is to remain as an effective voice in the world. It is the 'dictatorship of relativism' that Cardinal Ratzinger spoke of in his address during the week of John Paul II's funeral that is crushing efforts to change the world for Christ. After reading 'Truth and Tolerance' I'm convinced that the only way to promote change within the Church, as well as without, is to retrain the minds of readers to recognize how the errors of relativism, subjectivism and false notions of freedom are the real culprits in the loss of faith today. It is the false belief that "truth cannot be recognized" that has become the excuse for either not believing or not evangelizing.

I think the future of the traditionalist movement rests in awakening the slumbering majority of Catholics to the fact that they have - most unwittingly - accepted the mantra that, "what's true for me is not necessarily true for someone else." No revival of faith can occur in families, society, or the Church until this kind of thinking is driven out the minds of the faithful. Expositions on the Tridentine Mass and authentic Catholic Theology, Sprituality and Psychology should be a necessary component of any Traditionalist Apostolate, but even more crucial now, in my opinion, will be to focus on educating the masses as to how they combat the 'dictatorship of relativism' in conversion with others so that once they've stripped away the excuses they can then lead others to the Church.

I look forward to working with everybody! I think we've got a good thing here!

God Bless,
Patrick Morris


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

When Catholic Standards "Get In the Way"

I thought I might post something I intended for a certain individual some time ago that strikes me as particularly apt for the aims of this blog. Thomas A Kempis and St. Ignatius have much to say to our generation:

St. Ignatius and Thomas A Kempis: When Catholic Standards "Get in the Way"

Along with all the many other things Christians should perpetually strive toward, it struck me that St. Ignatius of Loyola and Thomas A Kempis have something critically important of which to remind all faithful Catholics at this time and place. In difficult times, confusing times, it may become easier to let certain rules and principles fall to the wayside because we may consider them obstacles to our "greater cause", the fight we have chosen or recognized at a particular time….either within the Church, or outside of Her. Could it be, however, it is precisely at such times we need to rededicate ourselves to these "inconvenient" rules and principles? Such rules and principles serve many crucial purposes, not least of which is our own spiritual protection. Perhaps in such contentious times, part of our test is not to effectively adopt the error that the ends justify the means because of a skewed sense of our own self importance in this cosmic struggle?
May we all obtain and hold fast to a radical balance in Christ Jesus, refusing to live life as a feather in the wind…moving interiorly and exteriorly in reaction to whatever "wind" we perceive to be blowing against us.
Michael Forrest

St. Ignatius of Loyola
"it is necessary to suppose that every good Christian is more ready to put a good interpretation on another's statement than to condemn it as false. If an orthodox construction cannot be put on a proposition, the one who made it should be asked how he understands it. If he is in error, he should be corrected with all kindness. If this does not suffice, all appropriate means should be used to bring him to a correct interpretation, and so defend the proposition from error."
(Rule #22, The Spiritual Exercises)

Thomas A Kempis:
"We would willingly have others perfect, and yet we do not amend our own faults. We would have others strictly corrected; but are not willing to be corrected ourselves. The large liberty that others take displeases us; and yet, we do not want to be denied anything…..
First keep yourself in peace and then you will be able to bring others to peace. The peaceable man does more good than one who is very learned. The passionate man turns even good to evil, and readily believes evil. The good, peaceable man turns all things to good.
He who is in perfect peace suspects no man. But he who is discontented and disturbed is agitated by various suspicions; he neither has rest himself, nor does he permit others to rest. Many times he says that which he should not say, and leaves undone that which it were best for him to do. He considers what others ought to do, and neglects that which his is bound to do himself. Have, therefore, a zeal in the first place over yourself, and then you may justly exercise zeal toward your neighbor.
You know well how to excuse and gloss over your own deeds, but you will not accept the excuses of others. It were more just for you to accuse yourself, and to excuse your brother. If you wish to be borne with, bear also with others. See how far you still are from true charity and humility, which knows not how to feel anger or indignation against anyone but oneself.
It is easy to converse with the good and the meek, for this is naturally pleasing to all. And everyone prefers to live in peace with those who agree with him and love him the best. But to know how to live peacefully with those who are stubborn and perverse, or undisciplined and opposed to us, is a great grace, worthy of much praise, and a sign of virile strength.
There are some who know how to live in peace and also enjoy peace with others. And there are others who do not have peace themselves, nor suffer others to enjoy peace; they are troublesome to others. And there are still others who keep themselves in peace and procure to restore peace to others. Nevertheless all our peace, in this miserable life, must be placed more in humble suffering than in not feeling adversities.
He who knows how to suffer will enjoy much peace, and he is a conqueror of himself, the lord of the world, the friend of Christ, and an heir of Heaven."
(The Imitation of Christ)


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A Welcome, Catholic Perspective

I am very pleased to offer some small help to the cause of balanced Catholic Traditionalist publishing in North America. I have been troubled by the observation that so many of our current Catholic Traditionalist publications seem to be infected with a quasi-Protestant approach, in particular, principally defining oneself by attacking and focusing upon that to which one objects, rather than by positively promoting by word and action that with which one agrees....somewhat the difference between a critic and an artist.
During a stay at a Traditionalist abbey in France last year, I was deeply impressed by the fruits of the Spirit present. There was what struck me as a very sane and healthy approach to and view of the times in which we live, the struggles within the Church....thoroughly Catholic. The focus was squarely upon the need to become saints first and foremost by the use of traditional Catholic means. The monks understood and conveyed that even the most well-meaning Catholic is as likely to injure himself and his fellow warriors as he is to strike the Enemy if he is not first well prepared and covered with the armour of God (Eph 6:10-17).
I think there is an irony in the fact that so many North American Traditionalist publications rail about the confusion and disorientation present in the Church while simulanesously adding to it through the disrespect, irresponsible attacks and thinly-veiled agendas of certain writers and editors. When there is danger, lives are not saved by screaming, kicking and finger-pointing but by locating the way to safety oneself and then calmly showing it to others. Based upon what I have heard from numerous sources, including the saintly priests I came to know at the abbey, La Nef is a publication well in harmony with this approach and view. And I hope this blog helps to promote it in some small way as well.



My Inaugural Posting, Preliminary Musings on This Project, its Future Development, Etc...

For my inaugural posting to this endeavour, I want to highlight something that Pete noted in his last posting and develop what he said a bit further. In commenting on the project about to unfold before us, Pete had these words to say:

[T]his is a simple effort of simple Catholics. None of us are full-time professional authors. Rather, we are Catholics with something to share -- a love of Church and a love of the classical Roman liturgy. I mention this because La Nef is just as renown for its quality of writing as for its charitable and non-polemical spirit. It is a standard to which each of us at this blog aspires, but please bear with us as we struggle to get there.

Now certainly anyone who has been webmaster of a weblog or website (and this is the first weblog I have participated in where I was not in charge)... knows that it takes time for one of these things to jell correctly. That is certainly the case with an individual's weblog where there is a struggle to find the direction in which they want the weblog to go in. Certainly my main weblog took some time to find its direction and (arguably) still is growing in ways I did not anticipate when the project was launched over three years ago. And with group weblogs (including my group weblog), it is easier in that you do not bear the load individually certainly but also harder in that people bring to the table different operative viewpoints, backgrounds, experiences, and temperaments -and with the latter it can vary from issue to issue.

Weblogs have a way of taking on their own life, nourished by the writers themselves who shape them but also from various other influences (i.e. current events, the various subjects covered, emails from readers on the subjects covered, comments box participation by readers, etc.). None of what I am noting here should not surprise anyone really since the combination of (i) passionate viewpoints, (ii) the writer's craft, and (iii) forcefulness of expression, there can be a degree of unpredictability involved in a project with multiple contributors. This tension will be most evident in the earliest phases as the weblog starts to take on a recognizable shape of its own. At times the tension may be incendiary even when this is not intended. And as any who have written for weblogs or group projects among us knows (and judging by the scroll that is practically everyone), spirituality is the weak link in the case of everyone involved....making this a necessary point of self-examination on a regular basis.

Persuasive arguments in and of themselves are not enough, what is needed is a realist approach to the issues being discussed. We all need to strive to avoid the excessive pessimism that so often accompanies the realization that things are not "as they should be." However, we also need to strive to avoid the kind of excessive optimism that sees all problems as "easily fixable if not for the stubbornness of others" if you will. I would claim that there should be a general trend towards optimism with an endeavour such as this but with a healthy dose of recognizing that (i) things are never "as they should be" and (ii) things are always able to be improved.

Christianity after all is supposed to be Good News and this should be reflected in one's general dispositions particularly when one is involved in making criticisms...and the latter will not be wanting I am sure in the weeks and months ahead by probably everyone who writes for this weblog (on at least some subjects which are discussed). Criticisms at times are necessary of course but they should be carefully handled since we are all dealing with events and (at times) mysteries that transcend us. And with the prevalence towards serial negativity that permeates the work of not a few who claim for themselves the mantle of being Traditional, it is my hope that we can provide something with this project that is not and never has been common to so-called "traditionalist" media outlets in North America and that is what Pete refers to above in noting the pattern of La Nef possessing a synthesis of quality of writing with a charitable spirit which is also non-polemical. One of those three ingredients tends to be missing in the North American discourse with few exceptions to be noted. Let us all strive to make this project one of the very few which shows no discernable lacuna in any of the ingredients which Pete mentioned in his last posting and which were reiterated above.

For the reasons noted above, I believe it is important for us who will participate in this endeavour (either as writers, as readers, or both) to remember the difficulties in a project such as this one which is at its gestation if you will and to try and do so at all times. After all, there will not be a seamless and totally irenic development to this project. Instead, pure tranquility is not possible on this side of the eschaton particularly when you have writers such as Pete has assembled here who happen to have strong viewpoints and can express them forcefully. It will take time for this weblog to find itself but how much time cannot possibly be known in advance. All that can be given is estimates at best and I will venture to give one now based on personal experience with group projects both presently as well as in the past.

Based on my own experiences with group projects, it is safe to say at least six months is a good estimate, maybe more, maybe less. The project will move at its own pace and while we will all contribute to it, we should not try to move things faster than they move of their own volition. I for one look forward to this project finding itself in the coming months and beyond and thank Pete for inviting me to participate along with him and the rest of the distinguished writers he has chosen.


Monday, September 26, 2005

Before we begin

Thanks for everyone's kind comments thus far. They are very much appreciated. Thanks also to all the writers who have agreed to come on board for this project. Hopefully the Holy Ghost will give each of us the necessary wisdom to go in the right direction.

Before we begin, I would beg your indulgence as I clarify a few points. The first is that we are not officially affiliate with La Nef in any way. We are simply a group of English-speaking Catholics who love both the Church and the classical Roman liturgy, and who appreciate the way in which the French-language Catholic traditionalist magazine La Nef promotes one within the context of the other. In short, the tridentine liturgy is a bottomless treasure chest; it stands upon its own merits and it contains enough spiritual treasure for everyone.

Secondly, this is a simple effort of simple Catholics. None of us are full-time professional authors. Rather, we are Catholics with something to share -- a love of Church and a love of the classical Roman liturgy. I mention this because La Nef is just as renown for its quality of writing as for its charitable and non-polemical spirit. It is a standard to which each of us at this blog aspires, but please bear with us as we struggle to get there.


Tradition without the Scandal

I'd like to thank Pete Vere for giving me this invitation, which this first blog post formally accepts. There has always been a lot of talk of the necessity of making balanced traditionalism in various media, whether it be print or the internet. In the past 18 months or so, my weblog has taken this to heart, and have attempted to do just that. Staunchly Ecclesia Dei and respectful. So what shall we see here from me in the hopeful future? I will attempt to incorporate some of my past writings and new concepts here, such as my liturgical commentaries and Catholic social teaching writings. There is far more to Tradition than this or that latest scandal, and I think in many quarters, while not forgetting it entirely, we fail to promote a viable alternative. Here's hoping that alternative is launched here.