Sunday, December 29, 2013

Church of England May Abolish Vestments

The Church of England is considering abolishing vestments for the Clergy during worship.  This picture is an example of what may replace it.  This is not a joke.  Full story from the UK Daily Mail.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Tips for a Holy Advent

Excellent advice for celebrating a Holy Advent from Catholic Fire.

First Sunday of Advent

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when He shall come again in His glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through Him who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. Amen.

(Source 1980 BCP p. 211).

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Honor and Betrayal

U.S. Navy SEALs are some of the most highly trained, most elite warriors in the American armed forces.  In September, 2009, a team of Navy SEALs in Iraq captured Ahmad Hashim
Abd al-Isawi, the so-called “Butcher of Fallujah,” who was responsible for thousands of deaths including those of four American Blackwater contractors whose bodies were mutilated, burned and hung from a bridge.

What was the reward for these brave fighting men who brought a heinous terrorist to justice?  Court-martial and disgrace.  Three SEALs were charged with prisoner abuse for allegedly hitting al-Isawi while he was in custody.  The only witnesses for the government were the terrorist and an emotionally unstable naval policeman who had earlier repeatedly abandoned his post and changed his story about what happened.  The only visible injuries to the prisoner were a split lip which a doctor testified were probably self-inflicted.

Despite pleas from Congress and public outrage, the military high command stubbornly proceeded with the prosecutions.  Even after two of the SEALs were acquitted after trials in Iraq, the commanding officer, Major General Charles T. Cleveland, insisted that the prosecution of the remaining SEAL go forward.

Journalist Patrick Robinson has written an expose of the politically correct hypocrisy of the Obama military.  It is a military which is more concerned with how our military appears to the United Nations than in achieving victory.  Robinson’s book, Honor and Betrayal, should be required reading for every American.  And every Patriot should be deeply ashamed at how our current government treats our bravest and most decorated warriors.  

Friday, November 29, 2013

Thought for the Day

Thank God for retroactive prayer! Saint Paul said that he did not judge himself, nor must we judge ourselves.  We can turn to Our Lord Jesus, who has already repaired the greater evil that ever happened or could ever happen, and trust that he will make up for our faults, for our neglects, for our failures in love.

Dorothy Day, from Loaves and Fishes

Wal-Mart Employees Organize Food Drive for Other Employees

Wal-Mart employees organize a food drive for underpaid Wal-Mart Employees.  Read the full story here.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Spirit of Vatican II

Professor Colleen McDannell, who teaches History and Religious Studies at the University of Utah,  thinks that all of the changes in the Church since the Second Vatican Council have been good.  She implies that she liked guitar masses, liked the Novus Ordo Mass, and she definitely likes an increased role for women in the leadership of the Church.  She implies that she is in favor of women’s ordination and even more liberalization.  People like this seem to not have a real appreciation of what we have in the Catholic Church and want to make it a carbon copy of the Episcopal Church.  Seeing as how there are even more empty pews in Episcopal Churches than we have now in the Catholic Church, I don’t really understand why.

Having said that, Professor McDannell's book, The Spirit of Vatican II: A History of Catholic Reform in America (Basic Books, 2011), is excellent.  In many ways, this book is the exact opposite of Russell Shaw’s American Church which pretty much viewed the changes in the Church as a disaster.   McDannell loves “Good Pope John,” dislikes Paul VI and really dislikes Humanae Vitae.  She also dislikes the efforts of John Paul II and Benedict XVI to “reform the reform.”

However, the book is well written and enjoyable. McDannell uses her own family as a case study of what life was like for the people in the pews before and after the changes in the Church which came about as a result of the Council.  The only place the book dragged and became boring wasi in the middle chapter describing the Council documents.  But mostly it weaves what was going on in the Church at large with what was going on in the parishes attended by her family.

Although the Bad Catholic doesn’t like the “Spirit of Vatican II” as much as Dr..McDannell does, The Spirit of Vatican II is recommended reading.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Today, July 16, the Church celebrates the Memorial Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

From Blessings of the Daily: A Monastic Book of Days by Brother Victor-Antoine d'Avila-Latourrette:

"Though only a memorial on the calendar, it is Our Lady's only feast in July.  In addition, it is a solemn feast for the Carmelite family, who honors Mary today as their special patroness.  The origins of the order goes back to the twelfth century, to Mount Carmel in Palestine, where Our Lady and the prophet Elias inspired the lifestyle of their first hermits.  These hermits, following Mary's example, applied themselves to the cultivation of inner prayer and contemplation.  She was their model, their protector, and their mother.  Later on, when she appeared to Saint Simon Stock, she promised her special blessing to all those who would wear the habit of the order.  It is not surprising, therefore, that an order singularly blessed by Our Lady has rendered great fruits of holiness throughout the centuries.  One has only to think of the great Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Therese of Lisieux, or Edith Stein.

Saint Stephen Stock receiving the Brown Scapular

Today, we rejoice greatly, Gaudens gaudebo, in honoring the memory of the Mother of God.  Her white mantle covers all of her children, in every generation, and this includes both saints and sinners.  As we move forward with life's destination, we entrust ourselves to her intercession.  No matter how many times we may have sinned or fallen along the way, she, who is Refuge of Sinners, is there to assist and sustain us.  We pray: 'Holy Mother of God, Queen and Beauty of Carmel, we rejoice today in your presence.  Shelter us always under your mantle and save us from the power of evil.  Amen.'"

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Gay Pride Disco Mass?

An Episcopal Church in New York City regularly hosts a "Gay Pride Disco Mass."  Even for the hip left wing anything goes Episcopal Church ain't that taking it a little too far . . .  Read about it here.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Episcopal Church Celebrates Gay Marriage Decision

The latest story in the continuing saga of the impending fall of Western Civilization.  Read about it here.

Professor Norman F. Cantor (1929-2004) was a historian who specialized in medieval history.  He is best known for his introductory textbook on the middle ages and a large number of works of popular history.  

Imagining The Law: Common Law and the Foundations of the American Legal System (1997) is a tour de force on the English Common Law background of the modern American Legal System.  In fact, Cantor says that it would only take a few law school classes to get an Elizabethan barrister up to speed enough to be at home in a courtroom in late 20th century America.  As the Kirkus Review said when the book first came out :"(Cantor) persuasively argues that common law's roots are so deeply embedded in our culture that even a new Ice Age might not kill them.". 

For me, the most fascinating part of the book was the description of how the English Common Law was pretty much cobbled together out of necessity and expedience.  For instance, the Roman Civil Law System required a veritable army of full time trained judges.  The medieval kings of England desired to render justice on the cheap.  Just like many rural jurisdictions in the U.S. today still have a large number of part time judges for the same reason,  medieval England relied on local gentry to serve without pay as Justices of the Peace and relied upon a system of a small number of professional judges riding circuit.  Cantor details how no King or parliament actually created the jury of verdict, it just sort of rose up on its' own out of practice.  Originally jurymen would be members of the community who knew something about the dispute and he parties and could advise the royal justices as to who should prevail in a lawsuit.  Over time this developed into the jury of verdict.  

Written in a conversational style, Imagining the Law is a very informative and entertaining read for anyone interested in legal history.  Long out of print, this book is still worth a look.  

Sunday, May 5, 2013

American Church

Russell Shaw is very afraid for what the future has in store for the American Catholic Church. In American Church: The Remarkable Rise, Meteoric Fall and Uncertain Future of Catholicism in America (Ignatius Press, 2013), Shaw analyses the assimilation of immigrant Catholics into the American mainstream and the disaster that accommodation with the secular culture has become.

Originally titled The Gibbons Legacy the book tracks the career of Cardinal James Gibbons of Baltimore who promoted Catholic assimilation in the late 19th and early 20th century.  
The process of "Americanizing" the immigrant church has worked so well that except for a small percentage of devout persons, the behavior of most American Catholics is indistinguishable from the larger culture.  With the culture becoming militantly secular,  those who hold to the teachings of the Church can expect to be marginalized at best and punished at worst.

Shaw is calling for a new Catholic subculture which will resist the inroads of the larger culture.  This is a good book which should be widely read.  (Review from National Catholic Register here.  Review from First Things here.). Pax.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Military Criminalizes Faith Sharing

The Department of Defense says that it will begin to court martial and punish service members (including chaplains!) who share their faith with other service members.  Read the full story here.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lectio Divina - A Meditation on Psalm 2

On a literal and historical level, this "Royal Psalm" sings of the earthly  power of ancient Jewish Kings and was probably composed to be sung during a coronation ceremony.  On a spiritual level,  the Church has always interpreted this Psalm as referring to Jesus the Messiah.

"Why are the nations in an uproar? Why do the peoples mutter empty threats?" Psalm 2:1 (1979 BCP). In this fallen world there is always going to be saber rattling.  Nations are perpetually threatening war on each other.  Today it is North Korea and Iran, tomorrow it will be others.  There will never truly be peace until Our Lord returns.  Jesus said that we must expect there to be "wars and rumors of wars," until the end of time.  But God considers the threats of earthly rulers to be empty and from the viewpoint of eternity human conflicts mean little.

The King James Version translates this verse as "Why do the heathen rage , and the people imagine a vain thing?".  The "raging heathen" brings to my mind images of people like Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens and Madeline Murray O'Hare who deny existence of God and are angry that anybody else does.

"Why do the kings of the earth rise up in revolt, and the princes plot together, against the LORD and against his Anointed?  Let us break their yoke ," they say; " let us cast off their bonds from us.".    (Psalm 2:2-3).  From a literal and historical standpoint, these verses refer to the revolt of vassals of the ancient Kings of Judah.  In Hebrew the word Messiah means "the anointed one" and this was the title given to the ancient Israelite kings.  In Greek "Messiah" is translated as the word Christ.

The Kingdoms of the earth have risen and continue to rise against Christ and his Church. The increasingly militantly secular government of the United States continues to enact laws and regulations in disregard of divine command.  We murder our unborn children and we order everyone to pay for it.  We mandate same sex marriages and command that everyone must agree with it.  Although we do not have officially mandated atheism yet, that experiment has been tried many times.  It seems that men must constantly try to live  without God and to try to make themselves God.  Some of the past "kings of the Earth" who sought to destroy the LORD's  anointed include the Radicals of the French Revolution, the Nazis, and the Communists.  Joseph Stalin asked with derision how many divisions the Pope had.  Apparently, in the end the Pope had more divisions than the Soviet Union.  Stalin's USSR is no more but Christ's Church is with us still and shall stand forever until the end of time.

"He whose throne is in heaven is laughing; the Lord has them in derision.  Then  he speaks to them in his wrath, and his rage fills them with terror.". (Psalm 2:4-5).  God is not impressed with human beings and their pretensions.  Earthly rulers may believe that they are really in charge of something.  Humans in authority may really believe that they can control events.  However, as Jesus told Pilate "You would have no power over me at all if it were not given to you from above." (John  19:11, New Living Translation).  The power of earthly rulers is granted from above.  Those who exercise civil power with no regard for divine law will, sooner or later, answer to higher authority.

"I myself have set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.". (Psalm 2:6).  The hill of Zion refers in a literal sense to the City of Jerusalem and more specifically the Temple Mount.  On a spiritual level Zion is a metaphor for the place where God is and where we shall be together with him.  I am reminded of the old Protestant hymn which goes "Children of God we are marching to Zion," and the Southern Gospel Spiritual called  "The Old Ship of Zion".  The King is Christ and the Holy Hill of Zion is the Church.  Eventually all of the Church, the new Israel, will be gathered with the Lord in the Heavenly Jerusalem.

Let me announce the decree of the LORD; he said to me 'You are my Son; this day have I begotten you.".  (Psalm 2:7).  The New Testament quotes this verse as referring to Christ. (Hebrews 1:5).  The Father eternally begets the Son.  God has come in the flesh and become a man and he has died and risen to conquer Hell and death.  Alleluia.

"Ask of me, and I will give you the nations for your inheritance and the ends of the earth for your possession.". (Psalm 2:8).  Regardless that men believe that they are in charge of something, Christ is the true ruler.  Like C.S.Lewis said, earth may now be occupied by the Devil but the true King is going to return.

"You shall crush them with an iron rod and shatter them like a piece of pottery. ' And now, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth.  Submit to the LORD with fear, and with trembling bow before him; Lest he be angry and you perish; for his wrath is quickly kindled." (Psalm 2: 9 - 12).  This imagery is used again in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 12:5; 19:15). All the works of humans will come to an end and the works of the wicked will be destroyed along with them.  Those who do not turn to God for mercy will ultimately perish. We are warned that God's wrath will come upon us quickly and without warning.

"Happy are they all who take refuge in him" (Psalm 2:13).  Maranatha.  Amen.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Liberal B*## S!%$

Bill Maher gets it right!  Very interesting exchange between Maher and the PC Professor.

An American Monk's Call to Africa

I have had the honor of meeting Father Anthony Delisi, O.C.S.O. on several occasions and have had the privilege of being in a retreat led by Father Anthony.  Father Anthony has been a monk of the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, Georgia since 1948.

Father Anthony Delisi, O.C.S.O.

In Black Like Licorice: A Contemporary Monk’s Call to Africa (Monastery of the Holy Spirit, 2011), Father Anthony tells of his call to the priesthood and monastic life.  At age 9, in the back of his family’s delivery truck for their produce business, he heard a voice telling him that he would be a priest and that he would one day go to Africa.

The title Black Like Licorice comes from an anecdote about the first time Father Anthony saw a person of African descent.  He asked a neighbor why their skin was black.  She replied “From eating too much licorice.”  Father Anthony’s memoir is like a “Who’s Who” of great Catholics from the mid-twentieth century.  He has visited the poor with Dorothy Day, went to school with scripture scholar Raymond Brown, prayed with Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and discussed the Charismatic movement with Thomas Merton.

Father Anthony is an accomplished farmer.

Father Anthony tells about his racist novice master from Texas who did not want the novices to wave at black children while they worked in the fields on the monastery farm.  Father Anthony loves to grow things, especially tomatoes, and the story of how he became the primary tomato grower at the monastery is very entertaining.

Father Anthony makes fudge at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit

In the late 1970's, true to his childhood revelation, Father Anthony went on a mission to Nigeria to help found a Trappist monastery there.  This was to be the first of three mission trips to Africa.  Altogether, Father Anthony lived in Africa for approximately eight years.  After helping to found the men’s monastery, Father Anthony returned to Nigeria and Cameroon to serve as chaplain to a foundation of Trappistine nuns.

Father Anthony’s memoirs of these years are truly fascinating.  Father Anthony’s holiness and love for God and his fellow human beings shines through on every page of this wonderful book.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dinner With (the Evangelical Protestant) Jesus

Despite the fact that I have a good many quibbles with the theology presented in these films, I couldn't help but like The Perfect Stranger (2005) and its sequel Another Perfect Stranger (2007).    These two independent Christian films are based upon novels by Evangelical Christian writer David Gregory.  I understand that there is a third sequel called The Perfect Gift which I have not yet viewed.

The Perfect Stranger is the story of attorney Niki Cominsky (Pamela Brumley) who is struggling with problems in both her private and professional life.  As an attorney Niki works long hours in a large firm whose partners are cheating clients by over billing.  At home, Niki is faced with a stagnant relationship with her husband and not enough time to spend at home with her 10 year old daughter, Sarah.

Pamela Brumley as Niki Cominsky

Niki is disappointed when her husband would rather go to a baseball game with his friends than spend a romantic evening with her at a posh Chicago restaurant.  When Niki goes to her office she is surprised to find a dinner invitation to the restaurant she wanted to go to.  The invitation is signed "Jesus Christ."  Thinking that she is the victim of a practical joke, Niki goes to the restaurant where she is met by a man in a business suit claiming to be Jesus (Jefferson Moore).  The majority of the film is takes place in the restaurant where Jesus talks with Niki and answers her questions about life and faith.

Jefferson Moore as Jesus Christ

Although as a practicing Catholic I have to quibble with some of the theology presented, over all, the movie was very good.  Even though it primarily involved a dinner table conversation,  the film holds the viewer's attention well.  Niki, who is almost persuaded that Jesus is who he says, is finally convinced when she sees the nail scars in his wrists.  At the end of the film Niki, who up until now was an agnostic, throws herself into the arms of Christ and resolves to become a Christian.  In good Evangelical fashion Jesus leaves Niki with a Bible verse to look up.

The sequel, Another Perfect Stranger, was much more theologically objectionable than the first movie.  It's now ten years later and Niki's daughter, Sarah, who is already an accomplished artist, is seeking admission to a prestigious art institute in Portland, Oregon.   Just before leaving on an airplane flight to Portland,  Sarah (Ruby Marie Lewis) has had a huge fight with her mother and father over religion.  Niki has told Sarah about her dinner with Jesus ten years earlier.  Sarah thinks that her mother is nuts.

Jefferson Moore reprises his role as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords

Of course, guess who's seated next to Sarah on the airplane, has coffee with her during her layover and is seated next to her again on her connecting flight.  Once again, after a painless theology lesson, Sarah slowly realizes the identity of her new friend and by the end of the film has been "saved.".

Sarah Cominsky (Ruby Marie Lewis) has coffee with Jesus

When Sarah says that she's turned off by religion, Jesus (once again played by Jefferson Moore) says that he doesn't like religion either.  Jesus defines religion as "trying to use ritual to work your way to God" as opposed to having "a personal relationship." These are Evangelical Protestant buzzwords against Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, High Church Anglicanism and other sacramental forms of Christianity.

Nevertheless, both movies are fun to watch and have a nice feel good message about faith in Jesus Christ.  The Bad Catholic gives both films three and a half Bibles.

The New Archbishop of Canterbury

An interesting post about the background of the new Archbishop of Canterbury.

The Boston Bombing: Call It What It Is - Evil

The Bad Catholic thinks that this article about yesterday's terrorist attack in Boston is right on.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Lectio Divina - Psalm 1

Prayer Before Reading Scripture:  Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love.  Send forth your Spirit and we shall be created and you shall renew the face of the earth."

"Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel of the wicked, nor lingered in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seats of the scornful" Psalm 1:1 (1979 BCP).  We can take instruction on how to live our lives from one of two places, from God or from "the world."   Those who take instructions from "the wicked" that is, those who do not respect and obey God cannot expect true happiness.  The Psalmist tells us that the righteous man does not "linger in the way of sinners."   How often Oh, my God have I done this through the course of my life.  How often have I gone to places I should not have been, watched movies I perhaps should not have watched, or viewed images which excited sinful feelings and emotions.  I have "lingered in the way of sinners" in order to get a temporary thrill or a momentary pleasure with no thought for eternity.  I have "sat in the seats of the scornful."  I have laughed with those who scorn God and the Church.  I have intentionally on occasion scoffed at the notion that God is real and is everywhere with us.   With the help of Your Holy Word and Sacraments I hope to do better in the future to achieve the happiness promised by the Psalmist to those who do not do these things.

"Their delight is in the law of the LORD, and they meditate on his law day and night."  Psalm 1:2.    Does this mean that I should become like some ultra-orthodox Jews who send their wives out to work so that they can go the Yeshiva and study Torah all day?  That is certainly the literal sense in which this verse has been interpreted.  Or is it something much more spiritual?

To delight in the law of the LORD means that one will strive to obey God's law and to enjoy all the good things of faith.  To meditate on his law day and night may mean more than study, although it surely means this as well.  A verse well beloved of Evangelical Christians is 2 Timothy 2:15: "Carefully study to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." (Douay-Rheims Bible).  But more than this, like Mary, we are to "ponder these things in our hearts".  Then the living Torah, Jesus Christ, will truly dwell with us.

"They are like trees planted by streams of water, bearing fruit in due season, with leaves that do not wither; everything they do shall prosper." (Psalm 1:3).    The prosperity referenced here is obviously not wordly prosperity.  Jesus said "Blessed are the poor".  Some of the most righteous people who are the closest to God are destitute in the eyes of the world.  It also does not mean that the righteous soul can expect good health or the absence of pain and suffering.   The greatest saints endured the greatest of suffering.  There is no Prosperity Gospel in real Christianity.  The prosperity spoken of here is the prosperity of Saint Therese of Lisieux or Saint Bernadette who suffered much but in the eyes of the world accomplished absolutely nothing in their short painful lives.  But millions of faithful people have drank from the well spring of Living Water that has gushed forth as the fruit of their lives and many souls have been converted and many prayers have been answered. This is the prosperity which the Psalmist speaks of.

"It is not so with the wicked; they are like chaff which the wind blows away. Therefore the wicked shall not stand upright when judgement comes, nor the sinner in the council of the righteous.  For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked is doomed."  (Psalm 1:4-6).  The Psalmist now compares the prosperity of the righteous with the doom of the wicked.  In this life, the wicked may indeed triumph and prosper.  But without spiritual roots, a worldly person is blown about by the changing fortunes of life.  Poverty and sickness will destroy such a person.  The day of judgment is coming for all of us.  The righteous who know and love God will go to be with Him and go deeper into His love forever.  The wicked, the unrepentant sinner who refuses God's grace, will be forever condemned to an eternity without God.  This is the spiritual condition called Hell.

Prayer after reading scripture:  O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit, we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations.  Through Christ Our Lord.  Amen.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Alleluia! Christ Is Risen!

The Lord is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!

Edith Schaeffer, Requiescat In Pace

Edith Schaeffer, along with her husband Reverend Francis Schaeffer, founded L'Abri Fellowship in Switzerland and were giants of Evangelical Christianity.  Mrs. Schaeffer passed away today at age 98.
Thanks to the Petinacious Papist.

My Two Cents

On Holy Thursday the Holy Father went to a prison for juveniles in Rome and washed and kissed the feet of 12 inmates as part of a Mass.  The 12 included non-Christians and girls.  This has apparently started a firestorm among Catholic traditionalists because it violates the rubric for the Holy Thursday Mass which specifies that 12 MEN should have their feet washed by the priest.

(For whatever it's worth my heretical diocese has apparently disregarded this rule with the permission of the Bishop every Holy Thursday since I converted to Catholicism 8 years ago.  Unfortunately here in the rural Bible Belt there's no SSPX parish to defect to so I guess I'll have to go back to First Baptist Church. Of course, for years the owner of a local restaurant has diligently tried to convince me to join his Greek Orthodox Parish in a neighboring city 40 miles away so I guess that's always an option.)

I guess I'm a Bad Catholic for a reason: it seems to this old former Southern Baptist that Jesus violated a lot of religious rules himself for which he was greatly condemned by a lot of really religious people.   Despite the liturgical rules which may have been broken, this may have been the first time that anybody has told or shown these young people that God loves them and that they are entitled to some respect just by virtue of being a human being made in the image of God.  I seem to remember that another pastor who broke some rubrics about Sabbath observance said "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath."  That's my two cents.  Read more here.

Holy Saturday

"Something strange is happening, there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness.  The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep.  The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear."  (From an ancient sermon for Holy Saturday)

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday

"Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him.  And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, and said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands.  Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him.  Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe.  And Pilate said unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying Crucify him, crucify him.  Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him."  John 19:1-6 (K.J.V.)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pope Francis & the Imitation of Christ

Pope Francis celebrated Mass at a Juvenile Detention Facility and Rome and washed the feet of inmates. Full story from USA Today.

Holy Thursday

"Mandatum novum do vobis: ut diligatis invicem, sicut dilexi vos, dicit Domini"
(A new commandment I have given you: Love one another as I love you.)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Pope Francis Rejects Papal Apartments for Humbler Digs

Have you heard the news? Pope Francis has decided that the Papal Apartment in the Apostolic Palace is too fancy for his taste and has decided to live in the Vatican Guest Quarters.  Our new Holy Father apparently intends to live like his namesake Saint Francis of Assisi.  I am excited.  What new wonders await us?  Full story from Whispers in the Loggia.

Pope Francis: Taking Care of Business!

Pope Francis and the Devil

Our new Holy Father has said a lot about the Devil and Spiritual Warfare since taking office.  Great article from Catholic World Report.

Literature & the Spirit of the Age

Interesting article from Catholic World Report.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Pope's Red Shoes

The Red Shoes worn by the Popes until John Paul II stopped and which Benedict XVI was made fun of for wearing symbolize that the Papacy stands on the Blood of Martyrs and that the Pope may be called upon to give his life for the faith.  Read about it here.

Bishop Hartmayer on Pope Francis

The thoughts of my Bishop on the election of Pope Francis

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Going Clear

Going Clear: Sceintology, Hollywood, & the Prison of Belief (2013) is investigative reporter Lawrence Wright’s expose on the Church of Scientology.  From the thorough biography of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard to the current crop of celebrity converts like John Travolta and Tom Cruise, the portrait which emerges from Going Clear is that of a dangerous oppressive cult.

According to Wright, Hubbard’s experimentation in spirituality began with his involvement in the early 1950s with Aleister Crowley’s Ordo Templi Orientis and participation in the Black Mass.  According to Wright “Nibs - Hubbard’s estranged eldest son and namesake, L. Ron Hubbard, Jr. (he later changed his name to Ronald DeWolf) - claimed that his father had read the book (The Book of the Law by Aleister Crowley) when he was sixteen years old and developed a lifelong allegiance to black magic. “What a lot of people don’t realize is that Scientology is black magic just spread out over a long time period,” he continued.  “Black Magic is the inner core of Scientology - and it is probably the only part of Scientology that really works.”

Over the 430 pages of Wright’s book, the story he tells is shocking and bizarre.  In the 1960s Hubbard and his movement literally went to sea.  The Church of Scientology purchased several ships and the “Sea Org” is still the name of the full time Scientology clergy who have to sign “billion year contracts.”  When a Sea Org member “blows” or leaves the Church, they are often hunted down and tried to be made to come back.  Sometimes, according to Wright, force has been used.  Sea Org members who offend some higher up in the Church are sent to “Rehabilitation Project Force” or “RPF” camps where they eat rice and beans and perform menial tasks.   Sea Org members have been forced to divorce their spouses and “disconnect” from family and friends who have been declared by the Church hierarchy to be “Suppressive Persons” or “SP’s.” Wright’s book is full of footnotes that “The Church of Scientology refutes this.”  And the Church refutes almost all of the book.

The rank and file members purchase “auditing sessions” where they are hooked up to “E-Meters” to “clear” the memories of past lives.  At upper levels, auditing concentrates on removing Thetans, or disembodied spirits of aliens who have attached themselves to the person.  Hubbard developed an elaborate cosmology which involves space aliens, fleets of battling spaceships, and Galactic Empires.  When Hubbard died in 1986, Church leaders declared that the leader had “dropped his body” for a higher plane of existence.  Scientologists still await Hubbard’s return.