29 July 2008

The Problem With Our Form of Government

Call it whatever you want: democracy, federal republic, representative democracy- I don't know the correct term, if there is one. I've been thinking about it lately, and I don't like what I've thought about. I'm sure most of you have heard of the University of Minnesota professor who has desecrated the Eucharist, encouraging others to do the same. There is even a stupid boy on YouTube that is claiming to desecrate a Sacred Host every day. This brings up a point in the Mass that I believe should be changed. Hopefully Rome will see this and use it as an opportunity to revoke the indult of receiving Holy Communion in the hand. Please pray for the poor souls that are putting themselves in danger of hell.

While thinking about this terrible turn of events, I became enraged. Certainly these people should not be allowed to do this. Even if you deny that the Host is the Body of Christ, there are the sensitivities of all those Catholics that do believe in the Real Presence. Some have even called this a hate crime. Ah, a hate crime. I don't think any laws are being broken here... no stealing, no secular laws on the books for desecration of the Sacred Species that I know of. So we should get those laws on the books, right? Well, besides the fact that they would probably never be enforced, what about other groups out there? Oh yes, the gays. In Canada there are laws on the books that curtail free speech when it comes to speaking out against homosexuality. Some have been fined or arrested because they have called homosexuality evil.

Since we live in a pluralistic democracy whatever, if we protect Catholic views and affronts against our religion, it follows that somewhere people will demand protection for their 'rights' such as their rights to privacy (result: legal contraception, abortion, homosexuality.) Yikes!

So what is the solution? Well, I can't see one within the current framework. I'll leave that to someone else, maybe we'll get some comments here. My preferred (unrealistic, at least here and now) solution that I've come to is a Catholic monarchy. But wait! How can a super-conservative American like myself advocate a monarchy?? Well, let's think about how the Church works. Our leader is Christ the King! His vicar on Earth is the Pope- who has supreme power. Look at all the saints who were kings or emperors!

St. Robert Bellarmine in De Laicis (Treatise on Civil Government) says that "political power... comes directly from God alone" and "that this power resides, as in its subject, immediately in the whole state." This sounds familiar! He continues, "this power is delegated by the multitude to one or several, for the State cannot of itself exercise this power, therefore, it is held to delegate it to some individual, or to several." So we reject the idea of some, that the state needs to be some huge entity that runs our lives. Power is given to us collectively, but we delegate that to some person or persons. So a democracy is not antithetical, but a monarchy does seem more efficient and serving the better good.

Of course, there have been tyrants in monarchies. But people today say that we are under a tyranny of big business, oil companies, and President Bush. Or the people who say that we are under a tyranny of liberal judicial activism. Consider the IRS, who demands some 30% of our income. Now I'm not saying that good things can't come out of a democracy or a republic or whatever. But is it the best form of government?? Let's just say that I agree with Pope Pius VI.

19 July 2008

Inculturation



Just looking at the final WYD Mass images brought to us by the Vatican Television Center (CTV) and the New Liturgical Movement Blog.

In the image below, Aborigines bring the Book of the Gospels to the deacon. I have to catch the video of the Mass when EWTN re-airs it... but I read that the deacon chanted the Gospel in a solemn tone. Somehow, the half naked to 90% naked procession and the reading of the Gospel just doesn't seem to mix.

I'm hoping to study inculturation and its licit implementation, as well as how we should view inculturation as traditional Catholics. Just because it is a common practice and accepted, doesn't mean it is necessarily good. (For example, standing and receiving Holy Communion in the hand.) Open to comments, though remember that these people probably don't know any better, and it may even be currently licit. I'm not an expert, though my Catholic-sense is tingling. Hmm.

I wonder what the Holy Father thinks of the matter?
Ah, that'd do it.

02 July 2008

Taking Up the Cross

I was reading last night from my Young Man's Guide by Father Lasance. There I read an excerpt from Thomas a Kempis' Imitation of Christ. Wow! It was so meaningful to me that I want to share it here. (To borrow from Fr. Z, my emphases and comments)

To many it seemeth a hard saying: "Deny thyself, take up thy cross, and follow Jesus." But it will be much harder to hear that last word: "Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire." For they who now love to hear and follow the word of the Cross shall not then fear the sentence of eternal condemnation. The Sign of the Cross shall be in Heaven when the Lord shall come to judge. Then all the servants of the Cross, who in their lifetime have conformed themselves to Him that was crucified, shall come to Christ their Judge with great confidence.

Why, then, art thou afraid to take up thy cross, which leadeth to the kingdom? In the cross is salvation; in the cross is life; in the cross is protection from enemies. In the cross is infusion of heavenly sweetness; in the cross is strength of mind; in the cross is joy of spirit. In the cross is height of virtue; in the cross is perfection of sanctity. There is no health of soul, nor hope of eternal life, but in the cross. (We MUST rely on the Cross, we must suffer) Take up, therefore, thy cross, and follow Jesus, and thou shalt go into life everlasting. He is gone before thee, carrying His Cross, and He died for thee upon the Cross, that thou mayest also bear thy cross, and love to die on the cross. Because if thou die with Him, thou shalt also live with Him; and if thou art His companion in suffering, thou shalt also be His companion in glory.

Behold in the Cross all doth consist, and all lieth in our dying; and there is no other way to life and to true interior peace, but the way of the holy Cross, and of daily mortification. Go where thou wilt, seek what thou wilt, and thou shalt not find a higher way above, nor a safer way below, than the way of the holy Cross. Dispose and order all things according as thou wilt, and as seems best to thee, and thou wilt still find something to suffer, either willingly or unwillingly; and so thou shalt always find the cross. For either thou shalt feel pain in the body, or sustain in thy soul tribulation of spirit. (Again, we must accept suffering in order to advance in holiness.)

Sometimes thou shalt be deserted by God: at other times shalt be afflicted by thy neighbor; and what is more, thou shalt often be a trouble to thyself. Neither canst thou be delivered or eased by any remedy or comfort; but as long as it shall please God, thou must bear it. For God willeth that thou learn to suffer tribulation without comfort, and wholly submit thyself to Him, (when we face sufferings, thank God for the blessing and ask him for the grace to accept it!) and become more humble by tribulation. No man hath so heartfelt a sense of the Passion of Christ as he whose lot it hath been to suffer like things. The cross, therefore, is always ready, and everywhere awaiteth thee. Thou canst not escape it, whithersoever thou runnest; for wheresoever thou goest, thou carriest thyself with thee, and shalt always find thyself. Turn thyself upwards or turn thyself downwards; turn thyself inward or turn thyself outward; everywhere thou shalt find the cross. And everywhere thou must of necessity hold fast patience, if thou desirest inward peace, and wouldst merit an eternal crown.

If thou carry the cross willingly, it will carry thee, and bring thee to thy desired end, (our taking up the cross in union with Our Lord in this life will lead us to heaven) namely to that place where there will be an end of suffering, though here there will be no end. If thou carry it unwillingly, thou makest it a burden to thee, and loadest thyself the more and nevertheless thou must bear it. If thou fling away one cross, without doubt thou wilt find another, and perhaps a heavier.

Dost thou think to escape that which no mortal ever could avoid? What Saint ever was in the world without his cross and tribulation? For even our Lord Jesus Christ Himself was not for one hour of His life without the anguish of His Passion. "It behooved," said He, "that Christ should suffer and rise from the dead, and so enter into His glory." And how dost thou seek another way than this royal way, which is the way of the holy Cross?

The whole life of Christ was a Cross and a Martyrdom; and dost thou seek for thyself rest and joy? Thou errest, thou errest, if thou seekest aught else than to suffer tribulation; for this whole mortal life is full of miseries, and everywhere marked with crosses. And the higher a person is advanced in spirit, the heavier crosses shall he often meet with; (Only in this way can we grow in holiness. Also, as we advance in holiness the other sufferings brought on by Satan will increase in sorrow) because the pain of his banishment increaseth in proportion to his love.

Yet such a one, thus many ways afflicted, is not without some relief of consolation; because he is sensible of the very great profit he reaps by bearing the cross. For whilst he willingly resigns himself to it, all the burden of tribulation is converted into an assured hope of comfort from God. And the more the flesh is brought down by affliction, the more is the spirit strengthened by interior grace. And sometimes he gaineth such strength through affection to tribulation and adversity, by his love of conformity to the Cross of Christ, as not to be willing to be without suffering and affliction; because such a one believeth himself to be so much the more acceptable to God, the more and more grievous things he shall have endured for His sake. This is not man's power, but the grace of Christ; (Our fallen nature does not want to give up the things of this world. It is only by the grace of Christ that we can do this.) which doth and can effect such great things in frail flesh, and that what it naturally abhors and flies, even this, through fervor of spirit, it now embraces and loves.

To bear the cross, to love the cross, to chastise the body and bring it under subjection; to fly honors, to love to suffer insults, to despise one's self, and wish to be despised; to bear all adversities and losses, and to desire no prosperity in this world; all this is not according to man's natural inclination. If thou lookest unto thyself, thou canst do nothing of this sort of thyself. But if thou confidest in the Lord, strength will be given to thee from Heaven, and the world and the flesh shall be made subject to thee. Neither shalt thou fear thine enemy, the devil, if thou art armed with faith, and signed with the Cross of Christ.

Set thyself, then, like a good and faithful servant of Christ, to bear manfully the Cross of thy Lord, for the love of Him Who was crucified for thee.

!

01 July 2008

The Difference Between Conservative and Traditional Catholicism

I thought this was a very good read. What is the difference between a "conservative Catholic" and a "traditional Catholic"? Written by Fr. Chad Ripperger of the FSSP.

Latin Mass Magazine- Conservative vs. Traditional Catholicism