Lucifer is in the Bible

Satan’s anger saps him the way intestinal worms do in the physical body. His wrath consumes what little remains of his energy. For now, he rages, for he knows his time is short. Soon enough he will collapse, dissipated and consumed, a sad and pathetic creature: How you have fallen O Lucifer, O Daystar … Cast down to Sheol, into the pit! (Isaiah 14:12, 15)



Radiant Sheen

It doesn't get much better than what has been gushed over at Deacon's Bench, so I refer you to that blog for the significance of Fulton's beatification on Dec.21st:


As a blogger who once produced The Fulton Sheen Radio Hour on his college airwaves, I am as big a fan of Sheen as anyone, so I welcome celebrating this memorial for the first ever this year.

Blessed Fulton Sheen, pray for us!


Ut se mori

"Life subsists where there is a bond, communion, brotherhood; and it is a life stronger than death when it is built on true relationships and bonds of fidelity. On the contrary, there is no life where there is the pretension of belonging only to oneself and to live as islands: death prevails in such attitudes. It is egoism. If I live for myself, I am sowing death in my heart." -Pope Francis



The sequence in Disney's Fantasia from Night on Bald Mountain to the Ave Maria remains the most beautiful portrayal of this triduum from Halloween to All Saints to All Souls I have ever seen depicted in art.

I envy the Mexicans who never lost sight of the holiness of these three days in their Day of the Dead tradition. The French Catholics in Louisiana retain some of the sacred trappings that ought to distinguish Halloween from the secular perversion that exists today.

Why didn't we do a better job of this in the northern hemisphere? I suspect the weather is to blame. Nobody is thrilled to visit a cemetery generally speaking, nonetheless in bleak and bitter November.

We owe it to Halloween to do it right: to celebrate it as the holy day that is truly is and not the satanic zombie fetish our culture of death has allowed it to become. *Sigh*

Like so many things in our calendar, when you remove the Christ part it loses all its value and becomes an empty sequence of days bereft of meaning, driven by consumerism. It encourages non-Catholic Christians to avoid trick-or-treating because they think Catholics are bizarre and they think Halloween is satanic. It is my least favorite consequence of original sin the prince of this world has wrought: to take a holiday intended to help us ponder mortality and the souls in purgatory and celestial flights of fancy and turn it into a horrow show. Now we are left with generations of Catholics who haven't the slightest notion what Purgatory actually means.

In Heaven, there will be a liturgical cycle finally done properly. I really hope I can get there to see it. Enough of this world and its lame ennui and its agnostic apathy and puritan poo-pooing. I want a Catholic afterlife with all the trimmings!


St. Newman's Prayer

“O my Lord and Savior, support me in my last hour by the strong arms of Thy sacraments,
and the fragrance of Thy consolations.
Let Thy absolving words be said over me,
and the holy oil sign and seal me;
and let Thine own body be my food,
and Thy blood my sprinkling;
and let Thy Mother Mary come to me,
and my angel whisper peace to me,
and Thy glorious saints
and my own dear patrons smile on me,
that in and through them all
I may die as I desire to live,
in Thy Church, in Thy faith, and in Thy love.

Amen.  My Jesus, mercy.”

found it here


Cardinal Sarah speaks

"Even as everything seems to be in the process of being destroyed, we see the luminous seeds of rebirth emerging. I would like to mention the hidden saints who carry the Church, in particular, the faithful religious who put God at the center of their lives every day. Monasteries are islands of hope. It seems that the vitality of the Church has taken refuge there, as if they were oases in the middle of the desert — but also, Catholic families who concretely live the Gospel of life, while the world scorns them.

Christian parents are the hidden heroes of our time, the martyrs of our century."


Generation Gap

This excerpt from the Pope's address to Christian leaders during the trip to Madagascar has so much in it that is problematic and yet so much in it that is pithy:

Furthermore, I would like to emphasize an attitude that I do not like, because it does not come from God: rigidity. Today it is fashionable, I do not know about here, but in other parts of the world it is fashionable, to find rigid people. Young, rigid priests, who want to save with rigidity, perhaps, I don’t know, but they take this attitude of rigidity and sometimes – excuse me – from the museum. They are afraid of everything, they are rigid. Be careful, and know that under any rigidity there are serious problems.

This effort must also extend to the vast world of the lay faithful. They too are sent out to the harvest, called to cast their nets and devote their time to their own apostolate, which “in all its many aspects, is exercised both in the Church and in the world” (Apostolicam Actuositatem, 9). In all its breadth, its problems and its varied situations, the world is the specific area of the apostolate where they are called, with generosity and a sense of responsibility, to bring the leaven of the Gospel. For this reason, I express my appreciation for all those initiatives that you have undertaken as pastors to provide training for lay men and women – thank you for this – and not to leave them alone in their mission to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. In this way they will be able to contribute to the transformation of society and the life of the Church in Madagascar. 

And please, make sure you do not clericalize the laity. Lay faithful are lay faithful. I heard, in my previous Diocese, proposals like this: “My Lord Bishop, I have a wonderful lay person in the parish: he works hard, he organizes everything ... should we ordain him a deacon?”. Leave him there, don’t ruin his life, let him remain a lay person. And speaking of deacons, deacons often have the temptation of clericalism; they see themselves as presbyters or pseudo-bishops ... No! The deacon is the custodian of service in the Church. Please do not keep deacons at the altar: let them do their work outside, in service. If they have to go on a mission to baptize, let them baptize: it’s ok. But in service, let them not be pseudo-priests.

I think it reveals the generation gap, that the pope is just a fuddy-duddy priest typical of his generation, out of touch with the problems spawned by the liberalism he and priests of his generation celebrate as virtuous.

I don't know if it's fortunate or unfortunate that he's just a regular bloke trying to eradicate the papal mystique- again very typical for priests of his generation. Does it do more harm than good? Did the papal mystique do more harm than good?

There are good things to come out of this generation, but it really does need to pass away, so that real reform can occur and genuine authentic love of Catholicism can flourish once more.


...lest you think I'm the only one:

Pope Francis is becoming irrelevant, as is his entire generation of bishops. The overwhelming vast majority of new priests are conservative and traditional. We’re talking upward in the neighborhood of 90%. With that, a growing number of young bishops are on the conservative and traditional side too. This has caused the older, and more liberal, generation of bishops to circle their wagons and promote themselves within the hierarchy in a desperate attempt to maintain power for as long as possible. Who knows what they’re waiting for? Maybe they’re hoping against hope that they can hold on long enough for a whole new generation of liberal priests to be ordained after this current generation of conservative and traditional priests becomes middle aged. Sorry, that’s not gonna happen. There aren’t enough liberal young Catholics in the pews left to draw from. Let’s face it, if they’re young, liberal and looking for ministry, the Anglican Communion makes a much more attractive alternative. The pay is better. Women can be ordained. Marriage is allowed. And same-sex relationships are celebrated. The only young Catholic men who want to be Catholic priests now are these highly zealous, pious, orthodox, traditional and conservative types the upper hierarchy has no interest in. The writing is on the wall, proverbially speaking. It’s over. All there is left to do is circle the wagons and wait until the bitter end. Pope Francis is helping to facilitate this, by promoting many old Liberals to the highest positions of power and influence in the Church. As a result, the disconnect between the upper echelons of the hierarchy, and the lower bishops, clergy and laity will grow ever wider. Young bishops, priests and laypeople already have little in common with today’s cardinals and archbishops. In the future, there just won’t be anything left they can agree on, as the Liberal echo-chamber grows louder at the top, while what’s left of the mainstream Church becomes more conservative at the bottom. Liberal parishes won’t last much longer, they’re already becoming very old and grey. Pope Francis is a relic of the 1970s, and so is most of his generation of bishops. The younger and more conservative Catholics no longer want them, and with each passing year they become less needed as well. Yes, Francis’ stacking of the College of Cardinals appears to insure the election of “Francis II” after he’s gone, but this next pope will have less liberal Archbishops to promote to cardinal electors. The pope after that will have even less. Eventually, they’re just gonna have to put some conservative and traditional archbishops back into the college of cardinals. It’s bound to happen sooner or later. I just hope I live long enough to see it.

re-posted from Complete Christianity, the Catholic Blog of Shane Schaetzel


A good teacher

Msgr. Pope describes a good teacher based on the example modeled by Christ.


It can be hard teaching young people, because they are used to constant self-esteem-boosting affirmations; and when a prophetic teacher comes along who both comforts and afflicts, they have no frame-of-reference for it, and they take offense. Finding that delicate balance between comfort and affliction will always appear to be imbalanced towards affliction by comparison to what they have experienced in their formation to that point. Yet, prophetic we must remain, according to the promise we made at our baptism.


Listen up, dads

and read this article:



NFP Awareness Week

One of the things I learned about the contraceptive pill is that when it works effectively, it prevents the nourishing layer to build up in the uterine lining of the womb and thus prevents implantation of a human baby at the embryonic stage. Essentially, the genetically distinct human individual who began life in the fallopian tube journeys down to the uterus and perishes there because of a lack of nourishment. To me, being pro-life literally means being anti-contraceptive.

Knowing that and then reading this article has helped me to see the connection between all of these heated issues: children at the border, children in the womb, and assisted suicide. What is the difference between depriving nourishment to a child at the border, a child in the womb, or a child in the hospital bed?


"Johnson said the border crisis presents an opportunity to the pro-life movement to step up and prove that they are supportive of life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death."

I would wholeheartedly agree. Every human life means every human life, even if that human life has only just begun and the contraceptive pill is going to snuff out that life by preventing its being nourished in the womb.

God is not sterile, but fertile, and we live the Image of God by not preventing fertility, by not preventing the giver of Life from doing just that.


Pope of Love

Oh, how I miss him.

from CWR: Pope Benedict XVI once reminded a group of bishops that all of the Church’s institutions “are intended to be expressions of the love of God for humanity through the charity and example of the clergy, religious and lay faithful who staff them.”

Here is that larger referent:

In helping the spiritual, intellectual and moral faculties of their students to mature, Catholic schools should continue to develop a capacity for sound judgment and introduce them to the heritage bequeathed to them by former generations, thus fostering a sense of values and preparing their pupils for a happy and productive life (cf. Gravissimum Educationis, 5). I encourage you to continue to pay close attention to the quality of instruction in the schools present in your Dioceses, to ensure that they be genuinely Catholic and therefore capable of passing on those truths and values necessary for the salvation of souls and the up-building of society.

Of course, Catholic schools are not the only means by which the Church seeks to instruct and to edify her people in intellectual and moral truth. As you know, all of the Church’s activities are meant to glorify God and fill his people with the truth that sets us free (cf. Jn 8:32). This saving truth, at the heart of the deposit of faith, must remain the foundation of all the Church’s endeavours, proposed to others always with respect but also without compromise. The capacity to present the truth gently but firmly is a gift to be nurtured especially among those who teach in Catholic institutes of higher education and those who are charged with the ecclesial task of educating seminarians, religious or the lay faithful, whether in theology, catechetical studies or Christian spirituality. Those who teach in the name of the Church have a particular obligation faithfully to hand on the riches of the tradition, in accordance with the Magisterium and in a way that responds to the needs of today, while students have the right to receive the fullness of the intellectual and spiritual heritage of the Church. Having received the benefits of a sound formation and dedicated to charity in truth, the clergy, religious and lay leaders of the Christian community will be better able to contribute to the growth of the Church and the advancement of [society]. The various members of the Church will then bear witness to the love of God for all humanity as they enter into contact with the world, providing a solid Christian testimony in friendship, respect and love, and striving not to condemn the world but to offer it the gift of salvation (cf. Jn 3:17). Encourage those involved in education, whether priests, religious or laity, to deepen their faith in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead. Enable them to reach out to their neighbours that, by their word and example, they may more effectively proclaim Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life (cf. Jn14:6).


The Child at Play

As an image of the Trinity, this one is hard to top. Is it the Holy Spirit? The Son? Well, the correct answer is "Yes" though we have to make some elaborate clarifications so as not to tip into heresy.

Thus says the wisdom of God:
"The LORD possessed me, the beginning of his ways,
the forerunner of his prodigies of long ago;
from of old I was poured forth,
at the first, before the earth.
When there were no depths I was brought forth,
when there were no fountains or springs of water;
before the mountains were settled into place,
before the hills, I was brought forth;
while as yet the earth and fields were not made,
nor the first clods of the world.

"When the Lord established the heavens I was there,
when he marked out the vault over the face of the deep;
when he made firm the skies above,
when he fixed fast the foundations of the earth;
when he set for the sea its limit,
so that the waters should not transgress his command;
then was I beside him as his craftsman,
and I was his delight day by day,
playing before him all the while,
playing on the surface of his earth;
and I found delight in the human race."

Brant Pitre from the Sacred Page unpacks this:

What do we say about Jesus? The Gospel of John says that he is the only begotten son (monogen─ôs). It never calls him the “created” Son. And secondly, in the creed, the Church takes that language and says about the Son:
“we believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten son of God, begotten of the Father from all ages (so notice, “begotten from all ages”, so he’s eternally begotten), God from God, light from light, true God from true God, begotten (that’s the Catholic faith), not made (that’s the Arian heresy).
So why do we say that every Sunday? Because we’re confessing one thing and rejecting something else. So if he was made (or created), then there was a time when he didn’t exist and he’s just a creature, which means he’s not true God. But if he’s begotten from all eternity, before all ages, what does that mean? That means he is eternally being begotten of the Father. In other words, he’s eternally (so-to-speak) “coming from the Father as a Son”. So the Father is always Father and the Son is always Son, and they’re both true God because they’re both eternal, divine persons. That’s what we’re confessing in the creed. So, on further reflection, I actually love that the Church picks Proverbs 8 for the 1st reading for this Feast of the Trinity, because it gives us an opportunity to explain who Jesus is as the eternal wisdom, as the eternal Son, who is eternally begotten of the Father, that never began. Although in our experience a son is begotten in time (he has a beginning), in the triune God, that “begetting” takes place from all eternity. Now, can we wrap our brain around that? No, because we can’t wrap our brain around eternity. But we can confess the truth of it, that there was never a time when he was not...https://catholicproductions.com/blogs/mass-readings-explained-year-c/the-solemnity-of-the-most-holy-trinity-year-c

Here it's clear that the child at play, or the master craftsman is the Only Begotten Son. Yet, I can't help going to this as a perfect image of the Holy Spirit, the action verb of the Trinity (Lover LOVING the Beloved), who is always depicted in motion: a dove in flight, a flame burning, a wind breathing, etc.

When we think of the child at play, taking delight in the creation all around, this is also an image of movement and action consistent with all the others depictions of the Holy Spirit in scripture.

When I teach it to children this way, not only do we eschew the whole explanation of Arianism, which is not at grade level, but they also gain an image of the Trinity that seems more relatable and more complete somehow: they know what it feels like to take delight in the world around them, and when they have those moments,  I hope they think of God.

The NRSVCE translation and its footnotes offer another way to chew on this infamous passage from Proverbs (taken from BibleGateway), especially footnote d:

22 The Lord created me at the beginning[a] of his work,[b]
    the first of his acts of long ago.
23 Ages ago I was set up,
    at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
24 When there were no depths I was brought forth,
    when there were no springs abounding with water.
25 Before the mountains had been shaped,
    before the hills, I was brought forth—
26 when he had not yet made earth and fields,[c]
    or the world’s first bits of soil.
27 When he established the heavens, I was there,
    when he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
28 when he made firm the skies above,
    when he established the fountains of the deep,
29 when he assigned to the sea its limit,
    so that the waters might not transgress his command,
when he marked out the foundations of the earth,
30     then I was beside him, like a master worker;[d]
and I was daily his[e] delight,
    rejoicing before him always,
31 rejoicing in his inhabited world
    and delighting in the human race.

a.Proverbs 8:22 Or me as the beginning
b. Proverbs 8:22 Heb way
c. Proverbs 8:26 Meaning of Heb uncertain
d. Proverbs 8:30 Another reading is little child
e. Proverbs 8:30 Gk: Heb lacks his

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