Monday, August 30, 2010

How Britain reacts to the Pope is a pre-cursor for the U.S.

So we know the Pope is gearing up to travel to the U.K.  And we know that he is going to face critics of the Catholic Church while there.  Fine.  Whoever embraces the cross confounds the world.  Persecution of the Pope, and more to the point, what he stands for, is not new.  Unless of course one would think St. Peter liked being Crucified upside down or something... What I find compelling in this following article from Zenit, is not the forthcoming criticisms and open hostilities towards the Pope on his visit.  I think if anyone can and should apologize (e.g. witness) to those heretics, it's this blessed man that sits at the Chair of St. Peter!  Plus I look at all the media hype surrounding Papal trips in the first place (hey, its not "newsworthy" if we sacrifice the truth for sensationalism right?)  I mean, look at JPII and his first visit to Poland.  Where the world said he shouldn't and couldn't, God said he will and did.  What I find more perplexing is the latest legislation leaking out of the U.K. (found towards the end of this article) that discriminates against the Catholics who live there.  Not only is the U.K.'s reaction to the Papal trip something to be heeded by those here in the U.S., more significantly to me is the rulings decided against the Catholics living there, as the U.S. is soon to follow.

Pope to Brave Persecution in UK
Hostility Intensifies With Trip 18 Days Away
By Father John Flynn, LC
ROME, AUG. 29, 2010 ( As the date for Benedict XVI’s mid-September trip to Scotland and England draws closer, the anti-religious hostility is becoming more intense.
Peter Tatchell, a well-known critic of the Catholic Church, penned an opinion article published Aug. 13 in the Independent newspaper. “Most Catholics oppose many of his teachings,” he claimed in regard to the Pope.
In his role as a spokesperson for the Protest the Pope Campaign, Tatchell then went on with a long laundry-list of Church teachings, which he described as harsh and extreme.
Tatchell has also been chosen by the television station Channel 4 to front a 60-minute program on the Pope, which will be broadcast around the time of the papal visit, the Telegraph newspaper reported on June 4.
It won't be the only television special critical of the Catholic Church. The BBC is working on an hour-long documentary on the clerical abuse scandals, the Guardian newspaper reported Aug. 3.
Along with the unsurprising opposition to the visit from the Orange Order of Ireland and Protestant preacher Ian Paisley, the British government also got caught up in an embarrassing instance of anti-Catholic prejudice.
The Foreign Office had to issue an official apology after a government paper on the visit became public, the Sunday Times reported on April 25. A document that was part of a briefing packet sent to government officials suggested that the Pope should sack “dodgy bishops," apologize for the Spanish Armada, and open an abortion clinic.
The attacks have not gone unanswered. Although not official representatives of the Church, a group of Catholic speakers was set up under the name of Catholic Voices. Under the leadership of Jack Valero, who is a director of Opus Dei in the United Kingdom, the team of speakers are offering themselves to defend the Church’s teachings.
Support is also coming from secular sources. Self-declared atheist Padraig Reidy criticized the extreme nature of the anti-Catholic rhetoric in an article published by the Observer newspaper on Aug. 22.
On July 28, Kevin Rooney, also an atheist, writing for the online site Spiked, described the attacks on the Church as “illiberal, censorious and ignorant.”
Rooney, who grew up as a socialist republican in Belfast, said that not only do the critics oppose the teachings of the Church, but they also want to prevent it from speaking out at all. Moreover, he noted, any accusations made against the Church are immediately taken as being true, without any need for proof.
“As with the right to free speech, it seems the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty does not extend to the Catholic Church,” he observed.
The problems faced by the Church are far from being limited to verbal hostility. A raft of laws on so-called hate crimes and anti-discrimination create a continual series of legal challenges for Christians in the United Kingdom.
According to a booklet just published on this topic by Jon Gower Davies, there are more than 35 Acts of Parliament, 52 Statutory Instruments, 13 Codes of Practice, three Codes of Guidance, and 16 European Commission Directives that bear on discrimination.
In "A New Inquisition: religious persecution in Britain today," (Civitas) he outlined a number of recent cases where Christians have suffered from these laws.
The latest example of this was the loss by Leeds-based Catholic Care in a High Court appeal on the issue of whether they could continue to deny placing adopted children with same-sex couples.
The origin of the case was a 2007 sexual orientation regulation, which outlawed adoption agencies from such "discrimination."
According to an article published Aug. 19 by the Telegraph newspaper, Catholic Care is the last remaining Catholic adoption agency to resist the regulations. Since the law came into effect in January 2009, the other 11 Catholic adoption agencies have had to either shut down or sever their ties with the Church.
There have been numerous other cases in past months where Christians have faced legal battles.
-- A foster carer won her struggle to continue fostering children, after she had been banned by Gateshead Council. The ban was due to the fact that a girl aged 16 that she was caring for decided to convert from Islam to Christianity. The carer, who remained anonymous in order to protect the identity of the girl, had fostered more than 45 other children. Although the matter was righted in the end, the woman suffered considerable financial losses due to the ban. (The Christian Institute, July 11)
-- A Christian preacher was arrested for publicly saying that homosexuality is a sin. Dale McAlpine was locked up in a cell for seven hours and subsequently charged with "causing harassment, alarm or distress” (The Telegraph, May 2). After widespread protests the charges were dropped. (The Christian Post, May 18)
-- A Christian relationship counselor was denied the opportunity to go to the Court of Appeal regarding his dismissal by Relate Avon after he admitted he could not advise same-sex couples because of his beliefs. Gary McFarlane lost his claim of unfair dismissal at an employment tribunal and at a subsequent tribunal appeals hearing. (Christian Today, April 29)
-- Shirley Chaplin, a Christian nurse, lost a claim for discrimination after she was moved to desk duties following her refusal to remove a crucifix on a necklace. Even though John Hollow, the chairman of the employment tribunal panel, admitted that Chaplin had worn the crucifix for 30 years as a nurse, he said that wearing it was not a requirement of the Christian faith. The archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, mentioned the case in his Easter sermon. He said there was a ''strange mixture of contempt and fear'' toward Christianity. (The Telegraph, April 6)
Earlier this year the situation reached the point where the former archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey, together with six other Anglican bishops, wrote a letter to the Sunday Telegraph complaining that Christians in Britain are being persecuted and treated with disrespect.
As an article on the letter in the March 28 edition of the Sunday Telegraph explained, the bishops argued that, while believers of other religions are shown sensitive treatment, Christians are punished.
"There have been numerous dismissals of practicing Christians from employment for reasons that are unacceptable in a civilized country," the letter declaimed.
Right to be heard
The notoriety of restrictions on Christians reached the point where the Pope publicly intervened. During his speech on Feb. 1 to the bishops of England and Wales, present in Rome for their five-yearly visit, he commented on the topic.
Benedict XVI observed that their country was noted for its equality of opportunity to all members of society. He then urged the bishops to stand up when legislation infringed on the freedom of religious communities.
"In some respects it actually violates the natural law upon which the equality of all human beings is grounded and by which it is guaranteed. I urge you as Pastors to ensure that the Church’s moral teaching be always presented in its entirety and convincingly defended," the Pope said.
"Fidelity to the Gospel in no way restricts the freedom of others -- on the contrary, it serves their freedom by offering them the truth," he added.
Given the Pope's concern over this matter, and the continuing cases of Christian persecution, we may well expect him to speak out on it during his visit next month.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Catholic Elitism

My husband and I have come to a critical juncture with regard to my eldest son's First Communion preparation.  I began discussing this issue in my post "A Struggle of Eucharistic Proportions" and I was amazed at the in-depth comments I received from readers (thanks!:)

My husband has thought more about this, and has discerned this throughout the summer.  He told me today that we were going to enroll my son in the Parish CCD program.  He says it's because we don't want to shelter our children from other people's actions.  That sheltering was the wrong way to go about homeschooling (we've both know homeschooling families who attempt to "shelter" their children and end up having homeschoolers more socially inadept than the supposed hethons they were trying to shelter their children from in the first place.)  He also doesn't want to give our children the impression that we're Catholic elititists, or that we're "more Catholic" than the rest of our Parish.  I don't agree with him in this.  But at this point, I think I'd better submit to the head of my household rather than dig in my heels and will to will what I will.  Otherwise, we'll debate and discern until January, and then my son will be subjected to a slapped together and shoddy program that was detrimental for lack of time rather than for its content.

Of course, my astute husband could tell from my not so subtle ways that I was upset by his administrative decision.;)  But I've given my submission, and I thought I'd turn to this electronic paper to help finish grappling with this issue so that I can commit to this program as well.

What is scandal?  At the end of the day this is what it boils down to for both my husband and I.  Either my son is going to be scandalized by his peers' not returning to Mass after receiving such a beautiful Sacrament.  Or my son is going to be scandalized by his family of Catholic elitists.  I have to wonder why we're both so worried about other people's actions, and this aspect of scandal?  Is it true that 3/4 of my son's class will not be returning for Sunday Mass?  Given its history, I would say that the odds are strongly in favor of scandal.  Do we live our family life in such a way that we regard ourselves as morally superior to the rest of the community in which we live.? Well if my last blog post is any indication, I would say that I do have major pride issues.  Issues that I may not be able to be objective about when dealing with my son's religious instruction.

Why are my husband and I so insecure when it comes to other people's thoughts and judgments?  We've lived our marriage based upon what we should and shouldn't do according to whomever has issued the most recent statement within earshot.  It's been almost 8 years of "dos" and "do nots" rather than what we have come together to decide is best for our marriage and children.  There are a lot of great examples around us, its overwhelming!  Between the literature we both like to read, to the Saints, to the very Holy men and women we encounter in our lives, we have a vast array of examples to shape our life together.  But I wonder if sometimes we lean too much upon these examples rather than trying to step out in Faith to walk differently from the paths cleared for us.  I guess we're just Catholic sheep in this, and its easier to find nourishment in a clear pasture than in the wood.  But I think this is a deeper issue for us - not coming together to decide ultimately what's best for our family, rather we talk around and above examples set for us and keep these examples between us that we both look upon in awe (and of course as teaching tools:).  Maybe a better way to have gone about this discernment would be to look at what would work better for our son, rather than what other people's perceptions of our actions would be.

I actually was looking forward to preparing my son for this Sacrament.  I had already built it into my schedule to try and regularly attend Mass at our Parish throughout the week.  I was excited about watching my son grow in the Faith through our lessons together.  If the subjects of math, spelling, reading, history, and science have shown me anything, its that I learn twice as much as a teacher than my students do.  I was excited about expanding my avocation of teacher into religious studies, through preparing for the Sacraments together.  My husband is so gifted in this venue, I was excited to see how I would be at it.  That's not to say that I still can't teach him religion at home, as a matter of fact, its a required course in Seton.  (And btw, being that this is the first year I've used Seton, I LOVE THEIR BOOKS!)  Maybe God has allowed my husband the grace in making this decision, so that I might have the opportunity to become more spiritually prepared to take on this endeavor with my next child.  Or maybe I might have to accept the fact that Sacramental prep is just not in my future with regards to my children's education.  My sons learn so much from me.  They know their prayers because my husband and I make a habit of reciting them daily at night prayer.  They know the parts of the Mass because we attend the Mass every Sunday, and I play Mass with my son (he is the Priest, I'm the congregation and the cantor usually:).  They know to lead lives of virtue, because I want them to grow up virtuous people in a world that is sorely lacking any.  And now that I have a daughter, my sons are concretely learning the value of chivalry.  So many things they learn by my hand, or by my example when I'm not failing.  It will be a great experience for my sons to learn these same examples from teachers found in our Parish.  Other adults that lead the same lives of Faith that my husband and I do.  I don't want to be egocentric in my example, I'm not the only fish in the sea, or the only disciple of Christ in this case.  That also is a hidden sin of pride for me, God help me and forgive me for it!

And the other children?  What if my son is meant to befriend a child in his class who would otherwise not return to Church?  What if I'm meant to become friends with a family who would like to become more involved in the Parish but don't know how to?  While I can't bank my "what if's" either, that might be a possibility.  What if there are children who end up not returning to Church until they're back in the classroom again for Confirmation?  Well, the Lord might send them as examples for me to.  "There but for the grace of God go I."  And I have to distinguish in my mind between children and parents.  Usually the children are not the problems in CCD, usually its the parents.  And my son will not be interfacing with adults other than the teacher of his class.  So I think this concern is over-inflated due to my unnecessary worry.  And I have to prepare for the time when my son asks me the challenging questions about why our Faith conflicts greatly with our culture.  I have to stop fearing these times that are approaching.  I must pray for the grace to hope I will respond to my son in Truth and Charity.  To respond to him in the Faith.  God doesn't just call me to witness to others through my family.  As a mother, He also calls me to witness to my family.  And this includes answering those toughest questions that always begin with "why".  And again, I have to find the humility to admit that there are some "whys" I don't know.

Well, we register my son in the next couple of weeks.  Please keep me in your prayers so that I have to grace to allow my heart to catch up to my head:)!  And know that I continue to pray for you and your families in the start of this new academic year!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Why? Because I'm a Catholic Mom!

Note: I wrote this on my other blog in response to a conversation that was tossed on the table after a Baptism I attended.  I figured it had some insights, so I'd pass it on, but know that it's not directed at any of you, my dear and Faithful readers!:)

I took some heat this past weekend about my blog posts being "too political" and not being "worthy of a read" because of their political nature.  Fine.  I would like to justify why I post what I do.

I'm a stay at home Catholic Mom.  I homeschool my children for the exact same reason that I stay involved in the public square.  Because I'm a Catholic Mom.  I feel that being a Catholic witness publicly (and in our times, that means politically) is a vital part of my vocation.  I feel that I have a lot of messes to tidy up both in my home and out of it.  Look at all that is happening in this administration.  Even if you bury your head in your skirt, ladies, you can't help but feel the tension when you announce with your family or by your words that you are a practicing Catholic in this day and age.  I don't want to leave my children (that means my sons and my daughters) such a societal mess to inherit when I'm no longer to be so active (when they either lock me away in a nursing home if I'm lucky, or they euthanize me if I'm not lucky.)

I heard it reiterated again recently that if enough Catholics in this country practiced their Faith through their vote, the socially conservative issues for which we are to stand would not be "an issue" but would never have been brought to be.  Therefore, I do not blame even the politicians themselves so much for passing the vote needed to create the mess I inherited from the generation before me.  I blame in part...You guessed it...Catholic mothers....Hear me out.

If more Catholic mothers had stood up in the public square and decried abortion for the sin of murder that it is, our Nation wouldn't be stained with the blood of 245 million abortions (that's the latest estimate including chemical abortions from Pharmacists for Life).  If more Catholic mothers had tended to their homes and their families, and instructed them in the Faith, we wouldn't have failed politicians like Nancy Pelosi and Sean Hannity.  If more Catholic mothers had stood with their husbands and lived a true Catholic vocation in the image of Mary, we wouldn't have to fight the mockery of marriage that homosexuals are freely pushing for in our culture (with new advocates including conservative talk radio hosts Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Ann Coulter.)  One could almost be led to make the argument, that if more Catholic mothers trusted their husbands and married through discernment, women wouldn't have the vote at all, leaving out the whole fallacy of "voting for whom you feel is best" rather than who you are educated on to make the best choices for our nation...How do you think Obama got in in the first place???  A bunch of "well intentioned" obviously NON Catholic women!

So go ahead, don't read my blog posts.  Consider yourselves politicallly active to the point you are comfortable with.  If you wanted to hear the reasons why I am continuing to write in the vein I have been, that's pretty much the sum total of it.  I'll keep sporadically posting cutsie pics of my children and a few recipes, you could even convince me to not post politics on here at all.  But when my daughter turns to me with our nation crumbling around her ears and tells me she's going to the March for Life, or the March in Defense of Marriage, or writing yet another letter to the editor, or campaigning for the Catholic conservative politician in her town, or supporting the Crisis Care Pregnancy Center near her, or blogging on a failed culture, or even homeschooling her own children, I've already made up my mind not to give her anything but support for it. 

So if I offend you, or embarrass you with my political viewpoints or posts, I apologize.  That was never my intention.  I know that part of being both a good American and a good Catholic is to form my conscience, and to live by my Faith.  I stay involved in politics, actively involved, and I make it a point to keep my family (including both my male and female children involved.)  Because its part of who I am.  It's part of who Mike is.  And mostly because I want to be set apart, at least in my daughter's eyes, from yet another failed generation of Catholic mothers.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Assumption Scare at Lourdes

Pilgrims at Lourdes Evacuated in Bomb Scare
LOURDES, France, AUG. 16, 2010 (  The French authorities consider Lourdes a symbolic place that could be the target of a terrorist attacks, which is why an anonymous bomb threat obliged them to evacuate 30,000 pilgrims on the feast of the Assumption.

On Sunday at 7:39 a.m., the Lourdes police station in the French Pyrenees received a telephone call from a man who said he had placed four bombs which were to explode at 3:00 p.m.

"Given the symbolic character of Lourdes, a city that could be the object of a terrorist threat, we had to take this call seriously," the prefect of the Upper Pyrenees region, Rene Bidal, said on Sunday during a press conference.

The Massabielle grotto, place of the apparitions of the Virgin to St. Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879), the young visionary who received Our Lady's message in 1858 that she is the Immaculate Conception, and the other shrines of the city were evacuated peacefully. After the police confirmed that the enclosure was free of explosives, the torch procession was held that night.

The French Council of Muslim Worship condemned "in "the most vigorous way" on Sunday the notification of the bomb and, in a communiqué, was delighted that "the shrines of Lourdes have found again their climate of security, peace and serenity."
[author's note] Gee, do you think the date and time were coincidental?  Hmmm....

Monday, August 16, 2010

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Does the world need men?

I know!  It's a stupid question...Of course we do!  But the post I read today on Creative Minority Report "We don't need men but it takes a village" was answered so completely by this video I watched on Gateway Pundit, that I had to post it here.  Thank you to both bloggers for your insights!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

*gulps* I've been tagged...

I suppose recess is back in session.  (Shall we call it "recess-session"???LOL!!)

Who's up for a game of tag??

Mike from Exultet tagged me!  So now I list 5 of my favorite devotions, and then pass the fun onto 5 of my fellow bloggers...

1.) Saying the Rosary in front of The Pilgrim Statue of Our Lady of Fatima (Pretty obvious huh?:)

2.)  Reciting the Prayer for Priests from the Pieta book:

By the late John J Cardinal Carberry

Keep them; I pray Thee, dearest Lord.
Keep them, for they are Thine
The priests whose lives burn out before
Thy consecrated shrine.
Keep them, for they are in the world,
Though from the world apart.
When earthly pleasures tempt, allure --
Shelter them in Thy heart.
Keep them and comfort them in hours
Of loneliness and pain,
When all their life of sacrifice
For souls seems but in vain.
Keep them and  remember, Lord,
they have no one but Thee.
Yet, they have only human hearts,
With human frailty.
Keep them as spotless as the Host,
That daily they caress;
Their every thought and word and deed,
Deign, dearest Lord, to bless.
3.  Praying to St. Anthony for all of my lost things (Well, I am devoted to this!  I do this at least 12 times a day!  Talk about a Novena...And an absent mind!)
   St. Anthony, St. Anthony, come around, something's lost and must be found.

4.  The St. Michael Prayer

5.  The Triduum

So for my Fellow Bloggers?  Heheheh:

1. A Helping Hand
2. Blossoming Joy
3. Creative Minority Report
4.Causa Nostrae Laetitiae
5. What are we waiting for?

Why in Latin? (Cont'd)

So this is a continuation from a post that I had started a couple nights ago.  That post is here, and I would recommend reading it first to understand the entirety of the article.

Why is the Mass said in Latin?
by Rev. George Bampfield
Part III

This photo is the celebration of a Latin High Mass right after the end of WWII in Germany. 

[Protestant] Latin better than English for the Mass!  You are getting on.  You said at first there was no harm done by its being in Latin or any other language not known to the people - now you   say "better".

[Catholic] Better, most certainly; mark you for the Mass firstly, and for all the devotions of the Church, the devotions which She would have used by all nations alike everywhere.  Each nation, or part of a nation for that matter, can have and has its own prayer books, its own hymns and the rest, in its own tongue: - English prayer books, Welsh prayer books, prayers books in the native Irish, and so on the world through, prayer books in county dialects if you like - but the Church's devotions are for all nations alike everywhere, and for them the one tongue.

[Protestant]  But Latin is a dead language!

[Catholic]  Exactly; that's just why it is better.  Mostly living things are better than the dead.  But a dead language is not as other dead things.  If it rotted and fell to pieces like other dead, then indeed would it be worse than living tongues.  But when its meaning, which is its life, its soul, is fully known, when it has within it authors who cannot die, when anyone studies it, whatever be his nation, can make it live again, using it for speech and writing, then it is a dead language indeed in one sense, since no whole nation speaks it, but a living language in another sense, most living of all languages, because the best-taught in every nation, making a sort of nation among themselves, can use it, and do use it, a world-wide speech to make their thoughts known to each other.  To speak or write in French is to speak and write for France, to write in English is to write for English-speaking races, to write in Latin is to speak for the world.

[Protestant]  And this is why Latin is best?

[Catholic] Part of my reason only.  The Church is Catholic, world-wide, and it is clearly good for a world-wide Church to have a world-wide language.  So men, gathered as on the day of Pentecost from all nations under Heaven, in one Monastery, or in one Church, can not only be present at the same Sacrifice because it is an Act in which they all join, but can join in the same Psalms and the same Prayers, in the very same tongue to which they were used each in his own land...

[Protestant]  Then this is your chief reason?

[Catholic]  No.  A dead language can be made, without waking the jealousy of any living nation, a language for all men: but its deadness give us - in religious matters - a greater good still.

[Protestant]  Greater!

[Catholic] Far greater: you will grant me, I think, that the first duty of the Society which our Lord founded must be to keep the Truth which our Lord taught: exactly the same Truth.  Christianity changed is not Christianity; Christianity added to, or Christianity taken from, is not the Christianity of Christ.  The care of the Truth is the great and first duty of the Society of Christ.  She would be a false bride to Him if she taught what He did not teach...

[Protestant]  ...Granted: but what has that to do with Latin?

[Catholic]  This to do with it: - a dead language is better for this end than a living one.

[Protestant]  Why so?

[Catholic] ...The meaning of the words cannot change.  What Cicero meant when first he spoke the words in the parliament of Rome - what SS. Jerome and Augustine meant, and the writers who went before, and came after, that same is meant today and will be meant when the world ends.  And what an Englishman means by the Latin word,  that the Frenchman means, and that same the Italian and the Austrian and the Hindu student in our colleges and the Japanese who is studying Latin...
...By the use of Latin these Doctrines and Devotions are embalmed in one unchanging Tongue - as unchangeable as the Doctrine.  And hence no wrong ideas can be brought by the growth of the language into the first Christianity: and in this we have another reason why Latin is best.


[Catholic]  A dead tongue, then, is better than a living one - vastly better than a variety of living ones - for a world-wide Church meant equally for all nations: -
   Because in all nations equally it helps to guard holy things and holy truths from careless using:-
   Because it gives a world-language - an universal language - a language such as Commerce has tried to make for itself in "Volapuk" - for all teachers, in every nation, of the truths most important to man, and for all worshippers in the one grand Act of worship: - 
   Because if any living tongue were so used to join man, the Church would seem to favor one race above the rest, and jealously spring up: - 
   Because, above all, truths are preserved unchanging in an unchanging tongue: - you have seen flies in amber?

[Protestant] Yes.

[Catholic] You can see them quite clearly, and the most delicate little bit of them is there quite perfect, and quite perfect it will remain - no change, no corruption.  In a living stream, a stream that was still flowing on, larger things than flies would be in danger of destruction or of change; but the amber has ceased to flow, and the smallest atom of the fly's wing shall be as now till the world's end: and so it is with Truth, and with a worship, which is embalmed in an unchanging tongue.  Its meaning can in no way alter nor be corrupted.  The very same words, with the very same sense, were used in Rome and all the Roman Empire over for the very same truths well nigh 2,000 years ago, and shall be used until the death of the great world at the last day...
...There are many dead tongues for aught I know, tongues of races which themselves are dead or nearly so, of races that never were in any way world-wide: but there are three world-wide dead tongues, three living-dead tongues, three amber tongues perserving truths.

[Protestant]  They are?

[Catholic]  The Hebrew, the Greek, the Latin; the three in which the inscription was written above the thorn-crowned Head, "Jesus of Nazareth the King of the Jews."    Those were the languages chosen to tell the great truth to the whole world; if anything could make tongues sacred it would be this: Apostolic languages, witnessing to the Truth, and - you will think me fanciful, but if fancy can make Truth plain, it is well to use it - dying there upon the Cross with a death like the death of the Lord to Whom they witnessed: a death that yet was to live on, proclaiming truth for ever...
...It is God's Own Hand which has slain those tongues and left His Divine Truths guarded within them.  And now at last I can give full answer to your question, "Why in Latin?"  Because Latin is the tongue given to the Church by God Himself.  Of all hte great Empires that conquered nations, joined many in a natural Oneness, Rome, as you know, was by very far the widest: and the tongue of the Roman was Latin.  There were no Nations then, as there are today: there was one world - Rome: and the Nations as we know them now, were split up into tribes, and had to take their rude imperfect tongues and fashion each into a language.  And so, when the Roman Empire died leaving many peoples its living world-wide language died also, leaving many children, so that today every tongue of every European Nation is formed largely out of Latin.  Of the three dead tongues therefore Latin is the easiest and nearest to us - our mother tongue, out of which have sprung hosts of our own living words.
   Thus, then, each Nation learned to speak its own Latin-born tongue: but the Church, which is for all Nations and for all times, kept, as the Jews kept their dead Hebrew, so She her dead Latin, the safest to preserve unchanged the truth already preached and written in it, and yet the while easiest for her many people to understand.  How could She cast away the One Tongue through which She had converted Her peoples; the Tongue in which their laws were written; the Tongue in which their learning was preserved; the Tongue above all in which undying Truth had been taught by Her Saints, and a never-ceasing Worship had for centuries gone up to God.
   And this is "why in Latin".  Because Latin was the language of Europe, and because Europe has spread itself the world over, and while, as we have said, a dead language is for many reasons the best tongue to use for world-wide and time-long truths, Latin is the best of the world-wide speeches that have died...
...Recall what we said at the beginning.  The Mass is an act, and an act of worship, and worship is a showing forth by word or by sign united, of the glory of God and the honour due to Him.  The Ceremonies which, when we first spoke together, you confessed puzzled you, all have that for their meaning, the grandeur of the God whom we are honouring.  Are candles lighted, they are in honour of the great King; is incense waved, it expresses worship and prayer, curling up before God's throne; are grand dresses worn, it shows the brightness of holiness with which they should come arrayed who approach God's throne; and expresses also the awfulness of the act which those are doing who stand before Him.  Now Latin is a dead tongue, signs are never a dead tongue and mean the same whatever speech is spoken and is heard by the worshippers...
...You will notice that in this I have included the chanting among the Ceremonies, and S. Augustine would approve of this for he speaks of the emotion which he felt at hearing the chants of the Church; and the grandeur of the Church's singing is part of the effect which the Catholic Service has upon most men who hear it.  It is, then, by the providence of God that the words of the most solemn act of worship are sung in the most musical of languages, and in the most musical pronunciation of that language to the grandest music whether we think of the old or newer music of the Church.  And so, even in a matter so small, have the interests of the Church been provided for...

In response to Mike's blogging...

I found this today through and I absoultely love their programming.  I thought it hit charity on the head and that you'd all get something from it too!  Enjoy!

For those who don't follow Mike on Exultet, this is the post I am specifically responding to...

Monday, August 9, 2010

Memere's Cocoa Mayonaise Cake

This is from our resident Memere (you know... the lady in the neighborhood whom every kid calls "Memere", but if you asked her first name, they'd stare at you blankly and say "It's Memere!")  Love her to death...And her cooking too!!

Cocoa Mayonaise Cake

Combine in mixing bowl of electric mixer:

1 and 3/4 c. unsifted flour
1 c. sugar
1/3 c. Hershey's cocoa
1 and 1/2 ts. baking powder
1 and 1/2 ts. baking soda
1/2 ts. salt

Add, then beat 3 minutes at medium speed:
1 c. mayonaise
1 c. water
2 ts. vanilla

Pour batter into a greased and flour tube pan (I've used other types of pans, bundt, round cake pans, etc, and its turned out fine!) Bake at 350F for 40-45 minutes.

This is a super rich chocolate cake, I was telling Dawn that it's like the inside of a chocolate glazed doughnut!  Yummy!  It's great paired up with this marshmallow buttercream frosting (I've made it for several birthday celebrations:)


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Why in Latin?

So I've been reading a fantastic article titled "Why is the Mass said in Latin?" by the Rev. George Bampfield, found in the book Our Faith and Belief (c. 1917 Murphy and McCarthy, New York, NY).  My only wish is that I had the opportunity to read this article before my first Latin Mass.  This article is set as a mock conversation between a Catholic of the time and a Protestant.  It was so profoundly informative and gave great insight into the role of Mass, and the reasons for the languages used.  I will highlight passages here that I found especially moving, but if you can get your hands on a copy of this book, though dated, I'm sure you will be inspired by the treasure you have secured therein.

[Protestant] "...Then if the Priest preaches and reads the Bible in English, why does he pray in Latin?  It makes it queerer still."

[Catholic] He is not only praying; he is doing a work which is greater than prayer; and the people join with him not in the words he is saying, but in the work he is doing.  He does not want them to join in the words he is saying; he would rather they did not; so little does he want them to join that he says half the prayers, not only in Latin, but quite low to himself: let the people use their own words, say their own prayers, point out to God their own watns, for each heart knows its own grief, and no shoulder bears the same Cross; let many different prayers therefore arise to Heaven, so long as all join in the one great Act, the grand Work, which gives to all the different prayers their value.

[Protestant] "What is that one great Act?"

[Catholic] Sacrifice.  Sacrifice is the worship of God.  The Jews of old time had their synagogues - their chapels - all over the Holy Land, and in theses synogogues they preached and read the
Bible, and prayed.  That was good, but it was not the worship of God.  The worship of God, the true grand worship of God, was in the Temple, where daily, morning and evening, the Lamb was offered to God and died - a blameless martyr - to the honor of Him who made it.  It was this worship that three times a year the Jews were ordered, at no little cost and weariness, to travel up.  It was the loss of this that made David weep when he was in exile.  The Synagogue - the Bible, the Sermon, the Prayer, - was not enough: it was for sacrifice, for the worship of God that he yearned.  Now your service is the service of the Synagogue, ours is the service of the Temple.  The sacrifice of the Temple is greater than the prayers of the Synagogue.

[Protestant] "But were there no public prayers at the time of sacrifice?"

[Catholic] ...It is quite curious to read what careful directions God gives to Moses for altar, and vestment, and incense, and candlestick, and every act and movement of the Priest; but of any form of public prayer no mention whatever.  For sin even of ignorance, in thanksgiving for mercies, to ask for future blessings, to turn away dangers, or as an act of simple worship of the Great God, for all these things is ordered Sacrifice, for none of these things a form of prayer.  And the duties of the people were two: 1. To be present in the Temple while the Priest sacrificed; 2. To feed upon certain parts of the victim.  They joined with the Priest in his Act, his great Work, of sacrificing; they joined with the Priest in his feast, in feeding upon the vicitim; the did not join with the Priest in any public prayer or in any words said.  Sometimes they could not see what he was doing, much less hear anything he said; yet they knew what he was doing, and joined in it.
      ...So it is still with the Mass.  Mass is the everlasting offering of the true Lamb of God.  It is the highest Action that is done on earth.  Our Blessed Lord, when he was going to Heaven to present to His Father His five wounds there, took thorught for His Father's worship on earth, and left Himself on earth as the only worhsip that was worthy of His Father.  And the unceasing offering of the Lamb that was slain, not indeed the salying It, for It died but once, but the unceasing offing It, is the great work of Mass...We will suppose that it is true that the Catholic Priest is not only as much a Priest as the son of Aaron, but an infinitely greater Priest; we will suppose it true that the Lamb on the Catholic altar is a sacrifice infinitely higher and greater than the Lamb in the Jewish Temple; and then I say the same rule hold good for the Catholic as held good for the Jew: let each man join in the Great Act, offer the same Sacrifice, put up to God the same Five Wounds, the same crucified Body of God, the same saving Blood, but let each man offer It up in his own prayers, and for his own wants, for each man's need is different, and no one carries the same Cross.
     ...So is it still.  It matters not what the language be which the Priest may use at the Catholic Altar; what the people join in is the Temple at Jerusalem, as Mary and John and the Magdalen at the foot of the Lamb, bleeding His life, in that Act of awful, hushed, worship, so silently away.


[Catholic] ...I have put and answered a question that must go before it: Why need not the Mass be in English?

[Protestant] "Becuase the Mass is a Sacrifice, you say."

[Catholic] Yes.  Prayer is something said to God; Sacrifice is something done to God.  In Prayer words are all; in Sacrifice the thing done is first, the words said are second.  Sacrifice is a gift given; in a gift the grand thing is the act of giving, not the speaking of any particular word. When a multitude of people join in bringing a gift to God, each man of the multitude may have a different reason for  bringing the gift.  One may be in trouble and bring the gift to get out of his trouble; his neighbour may be in joy and bring the gift to thank God for his joy; a third in temptation, a fourth in sin, - all four bring the same gift, through for different reasons.  The important point is that they should all join in offering the one gift, which gift is Jesus Christ: not that they should all join in the same words; joyuful words could not express the sad man's sorrow, and sad words would not tell to God the happy man's joy; but both joyful and sorrowful tell their joy and their sorrow to God by the same gift, by the offering of the same Jesus Christ.  The one thing required them is that all men should join in the act of Sacrifice; but a form of prayer - prayer in the vulgar tongue which would force itself upon the ear - would be in the way at the Sacrifice of the Mass.  It is not the idea or wish of the Church, that her priest should pray aloud, and be heard, and take the people with him; she leaves the people each man to his own freedom of pryaer.  Mass is a time of silent prayers, all put up through the one great Sacrifice.  Sacrifice, and prayer without Sacrifice, are in the Church's eyes different things...
...English people have quite lost the notion of Sacrifice.  Among the peoples of the earth, from the Creation until now, the English stand alone in this. They cannot understand, therefore, praying at a Sacrifice, and their notion of our Mass is a set of Latin prayers, in which the people are positively idle, doing nothing, saying nothing, because they understand nothing.  Whereas in fact the people are hard at work the whole time, joining with the Priest in his great act, and praying, not indeed the same prayers as he, but each his own prayer, the whole time, as you can see for yourself if you will but enter a Catholic church and watch them.

[Catholic]...And having settled that there is no harm done by the Mass being in Latin, if there is any good in its beingin Latin, let us by all means have that good.

[Protestant] "But is there any good?"

[Catholic] Very decidedly yes.  In the first place, it is a proverbial saying of which will not doubt the truth, because it is in the Gospels, that we must not cast pearls before swine.  The things of God are in a world which is careless and irreverent.  Even in the College of Apostles there was a Judas, before whom our loving Lord had bountifully thrown the pearls of His teaching, and who turned again and rent his Master.  So in every congregation that kneels in a Catholic church, here and there must be a Judas - one or two who will betray, and one or two who will deny.  Besides these there is the multitude without, who know not our Lord - the multitude that throngs and jostels, and knows not whom it is so rudely pressing.
     Now the Mass is the Church's pearl of great price.  You do not understand that!  No, you cannot till you become a Catholic.  But the Mass is our pearl of great price.  It is the life of the Catholic Church; the one thing for which it lives; nay, the one thing by which it lives - its food, its daily bread.  Now, we give this food, this mann, to those who know it; from those who know it not we hid and protect it.  Who cares to bare the secrets of a loving heart to a scoffing stranger?  So we care not to put our holiest things in plain English before the common scoffer.  He who comes to learn will learn easily and surely: he who comes to scoff will turn away baffled; there will be no holy words for him to carry away as a jest for his fellow-laugher...Truly the everyday mouthing of Scripture, and the way in which Scripture is made a jest-book, are a proof of what becomes of trhowing God's pearls before the graceless...Here then, you have one good.  Were our Mass in English, the scoffer would scoff easily: it is in Latin, and he is baffled.  This is better for him, who would sin, and for us, who would be troubled, and for God, who would be insulted.

(I'll finish sections III and IV tomorrow night!  My hands hurt from this transcription:)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A battle for marriage, a battle for life...

So my husband has been taking on the dark side in Defense of Marriage, and I couldn't be prouder of him:)  Excuse me if I'm liberal this morning in my bragging rights, but here's a link to his post...

I'm sure he'd appreciate your comments and prayers!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Created to be His Helpmeet

This book has been read throughout the Catholic circle that I live in, and last year I decided to give it a try.  I couldn't finish it, couldn't get through it, and I found it to be very harsh and ill-advised.  My husband, who absolutely loved that I read The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands by Dr. Laura Shlessinger,

commanded me to stop reading this book by Debi Perl.  And yet, all of my Catholic girlfriends who have read it rave about it and think its the best piece of marital literature out there for wives today.

Well, I began to ponder why this book was so detrimental to me.  Before reading it, my husband and I were at a good place.  We've been married for 7.5 years, we have 4 kids and one on the way, we've had our ups and downs, we're through the honeymoon phase and relieved as now we can work on the more substantive love we've both longed for in our vocation.  We had our low point, about 4 years ago, when we almost called it quits.  Divorce was not an option then, but we were scared it might become one.  It was something we wrestled with as a couple, but with the loving support of friends and family, as well as the counsel of a faithful Catholic Priest, we are still together.  And we've come a long way since then, in growing together, in loving each other, and in understanding the person we married.

So, all that having been said, I thought I was in a good place to read this book, recommended to me by a dear friend from my circle.  I set to work, got a notepad and started diving into an intense study.  Practically speaking, Perl is not trying to advise wives, so much as she's using her own literature to react against feminists.  So if you're a roaring feminist, this would be the book for you to read.  If you don' t qualify under that category, then this is not the book for you to read.

I have to go deeper in my discernment of this book.  For many of my friends, this might be a book review.  But I need to tell you that there is an underlying religious dimension here that needs to be addressed.  Perl is not a Catholic, she's a Protestant.  And I've discerned that's the source of the discord I've taken from this book.  No Catholic wife should read this book, for the same reason that no Catholic should learn about the Sacraments from an Anglican.  Perl thoroughly recognizes the social institution of marriage.  She understands the worth of this institution upon society, for good or for ill.  She quotes the biblical premise for her work even depicting what a "helpmeet" is and does from the Old Testament.  But Perl is a Protestant.  She cannot go deeper than that.  As she could not understand the depth of the hidden mysteries of the Eucharist.  She could not describe the humility of the Blessed Virgin or her Immaculate Conception.  She could not understand the divine grace infused in the Magisterium.  She could not undertake to define the Sacramental and Covenental nature of the Catholic vocation of marriage.

Our first hint as a reader of this should be to her constant premise that every rebellious act of a woman toward her husband will result in divorce.  Every "if/then" statement made by her ends in ..."you will get divorce".  She understands and elaborates well on how terrible divorce actually is.  It is no cake walk, and she makes that abundantly clear (to an annoyance).  But unlike Protestant marriages, divorce is not an option in Catholic marriages (despite what modern stats show of Catholic marriages in Western Civilization).  If a man marries a woman who does not please him, and they've taken the Sacred Vows of the Marital Rite, that's it - he's unhappy until "death do us part".  If a woman marries a man who does not meet her needs, and they're in the Catholic Vocation of Marriage, that's it - she's unsatisfied until "death do us part".  There is no permanency in Perl's estimation of marriage, because according to her religion there need not be one.  But the Catholic estimation of marriage, the raising it to a Sacrament, makes it a blessed and holy act, a covenant between one man and one woman, joined in grace by God and His Church, cannot be broken, cannot be undone.  Annulment is not divorce, it is a  formal view by the authority of the Church to say that the Sacrament was invalid, the marriage never happened.  That is the sacred solemnity that should be given to the discernment of peoples looking to be joined in this Sacrament.  Ms. Perl could not understand that.  Protestants could never really grasp the Sacramental nature of marriage because they are not fully united to Christ and His one Church.  They don't have the theological model to base the love between a man and woman upon (which goes beyond the Scriptures into the union of Scripture and Tradition, Christ and His Church, Christ and His Mother, the Communion of Saints.  It's much deeper and more relevant to Catholics and it is built into our Faith teachings.)

Ms. Perl also could not fully understand the Marian example portrayed in the Catholic Faith.  Mary, the witness of humility lived in her 'fiat' from beginning to end, was wonderfully rewarded by her Son.  She became Queen of Heaven and Earth, the new Eve, the Mediatrix of grace.  Her power was won through her humility, her openness, and her constancy.  She did not attempt to destroy herself to win her Son's favor.  No she took all of herself, her very inmost being, and gave it so readily to God's grace that she became a living Tabernacle for the Lord, akin to a Davidian temple.  She was there at Christ's side in the manger, to welcome Kings and shepherds alike.  She assisted him in His ministry, calling him to His first miracle at Cana, taking his aberrations in stride "Who are my mother and my brothers?...Can't you see I must be about my Father's work?..."  She was pierced by a sword in order to restore grace between God and man.  In a much smaller way, but with as much nobility, we Catholic women are called to this example in living by our husbands.  We must attend to them in constancy, in humility, and give them our all in body and in spirit in order to better our domestic Church.   We were made for our husbands, in the same way (although not on the divine scale) that Mary was made for Christ.  We were given strengths to aid our husbands, and weaknesses to be cleansed with the help of our husbands.  We are not meant to throw our entire personality, our every virtue and vice out the window to become subservient to our spouse.  And this is what Ms. Perl would have us do.  Yes, we are to serve, and to do it in the example of humility as Mary to her son, and in the example of obedience of the Immaculate Bride of Christ His Church, to Christ.  But if we withhold our time, talent, and treasure from our husbands, from our families, then all the gifts and graces God had give and planned for us would have been in vain, and a spurn to the Lord who created us.

Ms. Perl's book could only help two classes of people: Women who are not "type A" personality, and men who are "type A" personality.  Everyone else is left on their own to change into these two categories in a "sink or swim" approach.  But it is not in the salvific vision for a woman to relinquish all that she has been given from the Lord in order to "empower" her husband.  Take for example a situation that occurred during my reading of this book.  I called my husband at work and asked him what he'd like for dinner throughout the week.    He responded that he didn't care and didn't have a preference.  I was not able to make a decision according to this book without my husband's input, and therefore was stuck.  I was not able to create a grocery list, could not go shopping for groceries, and thus did not have dinner for my husband prepared.  We were both left very unhappy, and fought about it for much longer than it would have taken for me to just prepare the menu and to look to serve him with some of his "favorites" for the week.  I've heard women in my circle tell me that they have not been able to venture into any aspect of their family life with their husbands because it has to generate from their husband.  It has to be uniquely his thought, or she cannot even broach the subject.  Say what?  So in essence you're barring communication with your husband in order to allow him to lead.  This would make sense in a Protestant marriage, where even the most intimate act of marriage, the sexual communication between a man and a woman, can be barred through the use of artificial contraception for the convenience and dominance of one spouse over another.  Not only is this a disrespect to the dignity of your womanhood, but it is an inadvertent disrespect to your husband as well.  Are you another adult in this relationship, posing your thoughts and beliefs, your heart as gift to your husband?  Or are you an overgrown child - not speaking unless spoken to - to the detriment of your family?

Catholic women, don't read this book!  Protestant women, you'd be better looking into Fulton Sheen's writings on marriage, as "Created to be His Helpmeet" will not serve you either in the long run.  Model your marriage after the true bride of Christ, His Church.  Love him in the spirit of his most Blessed Mother, and your marriage will be blessed.  You were created for your husband before there was time.  Serve him with everything you have and you will meet his needs through God Who is present in your Sacrament of Marriage that is open to His grace.