Donald R. McClarey
Meeting with his Swiss Guard, Pope Francis gave them advice that all Catholics could benefit from:
Pope Francis said the meeting was an opportunity to “strengthen a [significant] friendship,” noting the words of Christ who said “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”
“In the history of the Church, many men and women have embraced the call of this great love,” Pope Francis said. “The Swiss Guards who fought during the sack of Rome [on May 6, 1527] and who gave their lives in the defense of the Pope followed this call. And responding with devotion to this call means to follow Christ.”
Pope Francis said a Swiss Guard is “a person who truly seeks to follow the Lord Jesus and who loves in a particular way the Church; [he] is a Christian with a genuine faith.”
The Holy Father called on them to live their vocation through the Sacraments of the Church, regularly participating in the Mass and frequently attending confession. He also urged them to read the Gospel every day, and even to keep a small book of the Gospels on their person, so it is available to read at quiet moments. Continue reading
Well this should agitate some of the Pope’s fans on the Left:
Pope Francis said it was “that heartfelt impulse which seeks to share with those farthest away the gift of encountering Christ: a gift that he had first received and experienced in all its truth and beauty” which drove the Franciscan Missionary to leave everything he knew and go to the ends of the earth.
The Holy Father said this a challenge to us today, and asked if are able “to respond with the same generosity and courage to the call of God, who invites us to leave everything in order to worship him, to follow him, to rediscover him in the face of the poor, to proclaim him to those who have not known Christ and, therefore, have not experienced the embrace of his mercy.”
Pope Francis noted Blessed Junipero wanted to consecrate his life to Our Lady of Guadalupe and to ask her for the grace to open the hearts of the colonizers and indigenous peoples, for the mission he was about to begin. The Pope said you cannot “separate her from the hearts of the American people.”
He said this zeal was also true for the many missionaries who brought the Gospel to the New World and, at the same time, defended the indigenous peoples against abuses by the colonizers. Continue reading
Hilary Mantel, the author of the howling ahistoric, and Catholic bashing, Wolf Hall, has opined, The Catholic Church “is not an institution for respectable people”.
In that she is absolutely correct. Oscar Wilde nailed it long ago:
“The Catholic Church is for saints and sinners alone. For respectable people, the Anglican Church will do.” A death bed convert to Catholicism, Wilde understood the essence of the institution he was joining.
When I was a kid I watched way too much TV. How little of those hours I can recall now! However there is one television show that I watched that has always stayed with me. On October 25, 1971, when I was a freshman in high school, a Gunsmoke episode aired entitled Trafton. The guest star of the episode was character actor Victor French, who would make twenty-three appearances on Gunsmoke, usually portraying a villain. The Trafton episode was no exception. He portrayed a gunman known simply as Trafton. A murderer, Trafton had learned the gunman’s trade while riding with Confederate raider “Bloody Bill” Anderson during the War. The episode opens with Trafton and his gang shooting up a town in New Mexico. They attempt to rob the bank, only to find that the vault contains no money. Frustrated, on his way out of town Trafton sees a Catholic Church. He enters the Church and goes up to the altar, and takes a gold cross, a gold communion chalice and a gold paten. The priest appears and tries to stop him, Trafton unhesitatingly gunning down the priest. Seeing a gold cross about the neck of the dying priest, Trafton stoops down to remove the cross. As he does so the priest with his last strength, to the utter astonishment of Trafton, says, “I forgive you.” and with his bloody right hand traces a cross on the forehead of Trafton just before he dies. Trafton uneasily touches his forehead, and then leaves the Church and rides off. Continue reading
Lincoln’s funeral train arrived in Springfield on May 3, 1865. His body lay in state at the Capitol as some 75,000 mourners filed past the casket. Hundreds of people gathered around Lincoln’s house where his horse, “Old Bob”, and his dog, “Fido”, had been brought back for the day. His burial would be conducted the next day. Continue reading
St. Corbinian’s Bear is on fire over the coming climate change encyclical:
The Bear is not claiming to diagnose the Pope. Yet, think back on his papacy, and the way Francis bounces from one scandal to another like a pinball, seemingly unaware of the damage he causes and unable to stop himself. Recall how he seems to consider the papacy as his own personal belonging. That is not humility. Even his acts of “humility” often seem to feature the imposition of his will upon tradition.
What about criticism of those who don’t agree with him? Here is a lengthy collection of his insults. “Rosary counter,” and “self-absorbed, Promethean neo-Pelagian” are just the start. (Who can forget “Bat Christian?”)
Now here we are waiting on a papal encyclical based on the controversial topic of climate change. Once again, Pope Francis can bask in the spotlight. As the Bear pointed out in his last article, Catholics are required to give “religious assent,” i.e. agreement, to such a document. How this is going to work out in practice the Bear has no idea, but it doesn’t matter. On the possibly fraudulent or misguided science of climate change, “Roma locuta est, causa finita est.”
The Church works when grownups are in charge. Frankly, we could add when people who do not exhibit symptoms of mental illness are in charge. Should there be an odd-ball, the sheep can only be unsettled and mistrustful. Even worse, what does this say about the Church? We are expected to swallow an encyclical on dubious science because we believe the Pope has divine assistance to get it right.
The Pope expects assent to his climate change encyclical. The faithful expect a Pope who is not incompetent. We seem to be at an impasse. Continue reading
From the only reliable source of Catholic news on the net, Eye of the Tiber:
According to a report out today by the USCCB, some Catholics actually wake up in the middle of the night and go to Holy Hour instead of going right back to sleep and waiting to go some time during the day when they’re not sleeping.
“It was shocking to learn that a very small number of Catholics actually wake up in the middle of the night to go to adoration, or they don’t go to sleep at all until they return from adoration,” said USCCB spokesman Tony Campos. “What’s fascinating is that many of these people signed up for an inconvenient time slot when there were more attractive time slots open to them like 5 or 6 in the evening. It’s one of the oddest things I’ve ever seen.”
Something for the weekend: When Johnny Comes Marching Home. One hundred and fifty years ago as soldiers North and South were returning to their homes this song was being played. Written by composer Patrick Gilmore, bandmaster of the 24th Massachusetts in 1863 to comfort his sister who was praying for her fiancée to return safe from the War, it proved immensely popular both North and South with the troops and was sung and played endlessly by them with varied lyrics, all centered upon their dearest hope: to go home after what they usually called this cruel War was over. Gilmore set the tune to another popular song of the day: Johnny Fill Up the Bowl.
The song retained its popularity in subsequent American wars as demonstrated by these renditions of the song by Glenn Miller and the Andrew Sisters: Continue reading
Remember the tens of millions who stood against the Communists, many of whom were murdered, their bodies tossed into mass graves, known but to God.
Pope Francis on Communism when he visited Albania in September 2014:
Albania sadly witnessed the violence and tragedy that can be caused by a forced exclusion of God from personal and communal life. When, in the name of an ideology, there is an attempt to remove God from society, it ends up adoring idols, and very soon men and women lose their way, their dignity is trampled and their rights violated. You know well how much pain comes from the denial of freedom of conscience and of religious freedom, and how from such a wound comes a humanity that is impoverished because it lacks hope and ideals to guide it.
When the Pope visits Cuba in September here is one item that he might wish to take up with the Castro regime:
Cuba’s Catholic churches have become battlegrounds against pro-democratic movements, as the Ladies in White, a dissident group composed of mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters of political prisoners, insist on practicing their religion publicly. This has resulted in a larger number of arrests every week for the transgression.
This past Sunday, at least 98 people–a combination of Ladies in White and their supporters, according to pro-democracy leader Martha Beatriz Roque–were arrested after walking in line holding the photos of their imprisoned loved ones, which the Cuban government attacked as an illegal protest. Images surfacing from the incident, thanks to journalists who were also beaten and arrested, show members of the Ladies in White group being hauled away from the scene in two large buses. Continue reading
Today is the Feast Day of Saint Joseph the Worker and Victims of Communism Day. Pius XII instituted the feast in 1955 as an alternative to Communist inspired May Day celebrations and to give workers a saint to look to as they toiled to support their families.
This Victims of Communism Day I would like to recall Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s address at the Harvard Commencement on June 8, 1978. As perhaps the most well know Soviet dissident it was only to be expected that he would attack Communism and he did. What strikes me now however in the address are the pathologies of the West he listed in his speech, his analysis of them and how contemporary to our time they feel. The West in his day was about to experience a new, and and wholly unexpected, burst of good leadership under John Paul II, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. The good work that they accomplished has been to a large extent undone as of late and thus Solzhenitsyn’s critique of 37 years ago might be an editorial tomorrow:
A decline in courage may be the most striking feature that an outside observer notices in the West today. The Western world has lost its civic courage, both as a whole and separately, in each country, in each government, in each political party, and, of course, in the United Nations. Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling and intellectual elites, causing an impression of a loss of courage by the entire society. There are many courageous individuals, but they have no determining influence on public life.
Political and intellectual functionaries exhibit this depression, passivity, and perplexity in their actions and in their statements, and even more so in their self-serving rationales as to how realistic, reasonable, and intellectually and even morally justified it is to base state policies on weakness and cowardice. And the decline in courage, at times attaining what could be termed a lack of manhood, is ironically emphasized by occasional outbursts and inflexibility on the part of those same functionaries when dealing with weak governments and with countries that lack support, or with doomed currents which clearly cannot offer resistance. But they get tongue-tied and paralyzed when they deal with powerful governments and threatening forces, with aggressors and international terrorists.
Must one point out that from ancient times a decline in courage has been considered the first symptom of the end? Continue reading
ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS XI
ON ATHEISTIC COMMUNISM
TO THE PATRIARCHS, PRIMATES,
ARCHBISHOPS, BISHOPS, AND OTHER ORDINARIES
IN PEACE AND COMMUNION WITH THE APOSTOLIC SEE.
Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.
The promise of a Redeemer brightens the first page of the history of mankind, and the confident hope aroused by this promise softened the keen regret for a paradise which had been lost. It was this hope that accompanied the human race on its weary journey, until in the fullness of time the expected Savior came to begin a new universal civilization, the Christian civilization, far superior even to that which up to this time had been laboriously achieved by certain more privileged nations.
2. Nevertheless, the struggle between good and evil remained in the world as a sad legacy of the original fall. Nor has the ancient tempter ever ceased to deceive mankind with false promises. It is on this account that one convulsion following upon another has marked the passage of the centuries, down to the revolution of our own days. This modern revolution, it may be said, has actually broken out or threatens everywhere, and it exceeds in amplitude and violence anything yet experienced in the preceding persecutions launched against the Church. Entire peoples find themselves in danger of falling back into a barbarism worse than that which oppressed the greater part of the world at the coming of the Redeemer.
3. This all too imminent danger, Venerable Brethren, as you have already surmised, is bolshevistic and atheistic Communism, which aims at upsetting the social order and at undermining the very foundations of Christian civilization .
4. In the face of such a threat, the Catholic Church could not and does not remain silent. This Apostolic See, above all, has not refrained from raising its voice, for it knows that its proper and social mission is to defend truth, justice and all those eternal values which Communism ignores or attacks. Ever since the days when groups of “intellectuals” were formed in an arrogant attempt to free civilization from the bonds of morality and religion, Our Predecessors overtly and explicitly drew the attention of the world to the consequences of the dechristianization of human society. With reference to Communism, Our Venerable Predecessor, Pius IX, of holy memory, as early as 1846 pronounced a solemn condemnation, which he confirmed in the words of the Syllabus directed against “that infamous doctrine of so-called Communism which is absolutely contrary to the natural law itself, and if once adopted would utterly destroy the rights, property and possessions of all men, and even society itself.” Later on, another of Our predecessors, the immortal Leo XIII, in his Encyclical Quod Apostolici Muneris, defined Communism as “the fatal plague which insinuates itself into the very marrow of human society only to bring about its ruin.” With clear intuition he pointed out that the atheistic movements existing among the masses of the Machine Age had their origin in that school of philosophy which for centuries had sought to divorce science from the life of the Faith and of the Church. Continue reading
“The worst catastrophe in China’s history, and one of the worst anywhere, was the Great Famine of 1958 to 1962, and to this day the ruling Communist Party has not fully acknowledged the degree to which it was a direct result of the forcible herding of villagers into communes under the ‘Great Leap Forward’ that Mao Zedong launched in 1958. To this day, the party attempts to cover up the disaster, usually by blaming the weather. Yet detailed records of the horror exist in the party’s own national and local archives. . . . Starvation was the punishment of first resort. As report after report shows, food was distributed by the spoonful according to merit and used to force people to obey the party. One inspector in Sichuan wrote that “commune members too sick to work are deprived of food. It hastens their death.”
Between 2 and 3 million of these victims were tortured to death or summarily executed, often for the slightest infraction. People accused of not working hard enough were hung and beaten; sometimes they were bound and thrown into ponds. Punishments for the least violations included mutilation and forcing people to eat excrement.
Communists are as bad as Nazis, and their defenders and apologists are as bad as Nazis’ defenders, but far more common. When you meet them, show them no respect. They’re evil, stupid, and dishonest. They should not enjoy the consequences of their behavior.
Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit