Love my German Shepherd

Father K√ľng was “basically a child” -- that's the best assessment I've heard about a man who "invented his own theology." [https://www.ncregister.com/blog/father-hans-kueng-death]

My introduction to Kung was through reading the letters of correspondence between the dissenting theologian and the CDF under then-Cardinal Ratzinger, letters which reveal the theologian to be pitching nothing more than an academic hissyfit, like a spoiled toddler. It endeared me even more to Ratzinger, prompting me to become a member of his fan club. http://www.ratzingerfanclub.com/

Yes, pray for him, but pray for him as you would Arius, the heresiarch, or Martin Luther. 



Ross Douthat writes a withering assessment of the pro-life movement that also rings true:

Put these realities together, and you get a conclusion that most Republicans have not internalized. To restrict abortion in a just and sustainable way, to reduce both the personal hardship of parenting and the incidence of illegal abortion, you probably need some kind of policies like Romney’s plan no matter what the consequences for work incentives or single motherhood. More unintended births to poor women in the near term are a necessary price of pro-life victory — with the lives of the babies themselves the reason that price is very much worth paying.

He goes on to conclude what St. John Paul the Great and the Church Fathers have been saying all along: the most important persons enshrined in our law and policy should be the Woman-with-Child!

Ever wonder why the Madonna and Child is such a widespread artisitic motif? You think that's merely accidental?? It's as though God is shouting, "Here! This. This is what you should be focusing your efforts on: the Woman-with-Child!" Why else would she appear to St. Juan Diego as a pregnant maiden??

Can you imagine if the Women's Rights movement had actually focused on the rights of women? What it could have accomplished instead in that Decade of Death, the 1970s?


Easter signs & symbols

 Ignitum Today offers this insight:

St. Theodore the Studite, one of the early Monks of the eastern church (Constantinople, presently Istanbul), sees a trace of the cross in the following Biblical events of the Old Testament: First, on the pile of wood on which Abraham placed his Son Isaac; second, on the wood of the ark in which Noah, his family and all animal species were saved. Furthermore, he sees the foreshadowing of the cross in the wooden staff of Moses, which changed water into blood, devoured the false snakes of the magician and divided the red sea for the salvation of the Israelites. Again, he sees an allusion of the cross in the staff of Aaron that blossomed on a single day and showed him to be the true priest.

It reminds me of the Easter vigil readings we heard tonight, so replete with symbols of Baptism, the Holy Spirit, the sacraments, the Church. 

Then there are all the symbols of Christ that are blessed with incense: the Paschal candle, the priest, the blessed sacrament, the Word, the people assembled. 

Such richness on display for these newly enfolded members of the One, Holy, Katholic, and Apostolic!


Horton hears a Who

This well-considered dialogue at Public Discourse still does not satisfactorily address the one issue that The Pillar, OSV, and other publications seem to leave out: how we had an opportunity to persuade the globe to abhor the use of fetal cells in research, and we as a Church chose not to do so. I am yet to read a proper and convincing refutation of the position of Dr. Trasancos in that regard.

Some points to draw forth from Dr. Moschella :

Strictly speaking, however, the cooperation-with-evil framework does not apply to the case of the COVID vaccines, because the evils we are concerned about occurred in the past, and nothing that we do now can change what happened. Some worry that the willingness to use the vaccines despite their connection to these past evils indirectly perpetuates the practice of using aborted fetal tissue to make new cell lines, by showing that consumers are willing to use products made with the help of these cell lines. I’m not convinced by this claim, given that the cell lines are immortal and that for scientific purposes there are huge advantages to using established cell lines with well-known properties. In other words, continuing to use an established cell line like HEK 293 on balance is actually most likely to reduce the demand for the creation of new fetal cell lines.

I contend that Dr. Moschella's point would hold more water were it not for the fact that abortion is a continually perpetuating morass into which our entire economy and administration and health care system has sunk itself. The use of fetal cells is an INDUSTRY, and so these academic arguments fail to take stock of the horrors to which we have all grown unjustly accustomed. 

They did not occur in "the past" so long as Planned Parenthood is selling infant cadavers and organs. 

Dr. Moschella may not be convinced of the claim, but the preponderance of evidence suggests that she ought to be. She even enumerates some of the tainted products later in her argument- cosmetics, foods, and medicines. An insufficient level of abhorrence emanates from her for what we have developed into a standard operating procedure. Again, she does not satisfactorily address the position of Dr. Trasancos that we must press first for the pharmaceutical industry to change its tactics, and we had the opportunity to put the leverage necessary to achieve such an outcome. 

That sort of desensitization is something that we have an obligation to guard against whenever we benefit from past evil...using products like vaccines—or the multitude of other products lining the shelves of our grocery stores and pharmacies—that were made with the help of abortion-derived cell lines. Part of the way that we do that is by making sure to remind ourselves of that past injustice and recommit ourselves to stopping or preventing similar injustices now or in the future. In that regard, I think that a consideration of what is likely to be the most effective use of limited resources to fight the injustice is important: wouldn’t direct efforts to restrict abortion, to address the underlying causes that lead women to seek abortions, to support women in crisis pregnancies, or to lobby for more ethical research practices be much more effective than objecting to a vaccine that has only an extremely remote connection to a past abortion?

Had we made such a public commitment as a Church that use of fetal cells at all is to be avoided at all costs while also promoting the vaccine for the common good, that would have been one thing. Yet, immediately the ethicists who share Dr. Moschella's view were falling all over themselves to justify it, as in "Nothing to see here, move along, get vaccinated, it is moral to do so" while asking us to sidestep the giant aborted elephant baby in the living room!

The people in the pro-life movement doing ALL of the action steps she lists- those who march for life and volunteer at pregnancy clinics and donate diapers and pray at Planned Parenthood sidewalks- are among the ones who are objecting to the vaccine precisely because they want to lobby for more ethical research practices. How does one lobby against something so huge except in this one small outcry? 

Also consider: 


God or Nothing

Fr. Scalia posted this at The Catholic Thing:

The choice between Jesus Barabbas and Jesus Christ really comes down to the choice between self-preservation and self-gift. It is the fundamental choice that our Lord articulates repeatedly and that He returns to shortly before His Passion: “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.” (Jn 12:25; cf. Mt 16:25; Lk 17:33)

Barabbas is the image of the man who loves his life and seeks to preserve it at all costs. Rebellion, robbery, and murder are just different ways he’s sought to keep his petty little kingdom secure. On the other hand, our Lord – beaten, scourged, and crowned with thorns – is the man who hates His life in this world. He has lost everything: power, possessions, health, dignity, friends, etc. Yet He knows that this loss is not the end but the beginning – the sowing of a seed.

We have followed Barabbas in embracing this disordered self-preservation. We could call it pride, but that word in our culture typically implies a proper self-assertion and demand for recognition. Although it can be those things, more often than not our pride – that preservation of our lives, comfort, and reputation above all else – is not high and strong, but peevish and weak. In the interest of self-preservation, the Apostles run away and abandon our Lord. To preserve his life, Peter flinches at the questions of a servant girl and denies Christ. To preserve his trivial reign, Pilate hands Christ over to be crucified.

This inordinate fear of losing our autonomy, this grasping to preserve our lives, is the taproot of all sin. 

Read the entirety here

bar (son of) abbas (the father), a nobody-- or Son of (The Father) God, a savior


Virginal Father

 In his chapter on “Joseph’s Fatherhood,” Fr. Gasnier quotes Bossuet, who adapted a maxim from St. John Chrysostom: “God gave Joseph all that belongs to a father without loss of virginity.” He refers to a Congress held at the Oratory of St. Joseph in Montreal, Canada, August 1-9, 1955, which enthusiastically adopted the expression “virginal father” to refer to St. Joseph.  Indeed, such is the invocation at the start of a popular Prayer of Consecration to St. Joseph: “O Glorious Patriarch and Patron of the Church! O Virgin Spouse of the Virgin Mother of God! O Guardian and Virginal Father of the Word Incarnate!”

Fr. Gasnier maintains that “virginal father” is the better expression.  “It is not easy to qualify Joseph’s paternity with precision,” he writes, “because it represents, if one may so express it, a paternity utterly unique in history; something so special, so original as to demand a new vocabulary capable of attributing a proper title to its function.”

This is fascinating. Read it all

I am especially intrigued because I always found Montfort's prayer to Joseph a little wanting. Of course, his focus was elsewhere. 


What St. Patrick wrought

Many resources focused on the legacy of St. Patrick have pointed to Thomas Cahill's How the Irish Saved Civilization for irrefutable evidence:

[A]s the Roman Empire fell, as all through Europe, matted, unwashed barbarians descended on the Roman cities, looting artifacts and burning books, the Irish, who were just learning to read and write, took up the great labor of copying all of western literature—everything they could lay their hands on. These scribes then served as conduits through which the Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian cultures were transmitted to the tribes of Europe, newly settled amid the rubble and ruined vineyards of the civilization they had overwhelmed. Without this Service of the Scribes, everything that happened subsequently would have been unthinkable. Without the Mission of the Irish Monks, who single-handedly re-founded European civilization throughout the continent in the bays and valleys of their exile, the world that came after them would have been an entirely different one—a world without books. And our own world would never have come to be.

Then this author takes that claim to whole new level, marveling at the mission of Catholic schools in the face of progressive-activist vandals:

The result of this purging is the growth of an entire population of children who have never read classic literature, aren’t able to present a logical and literate argument, do not understand the ultimate underpinnings of natural law on society, and have no awareness of the trove of the great histories and philosophies of civilization. They are becoming more ignorant and even more proud of their ignorance as they seek to attain the hollow “holiness” of virtue signaling and the “pinnacles” of virtual ad hominem attacks.

Just as students who don’t know Moses can’t truly understand the Underground Railroad or the writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (according to Camille Paglia), schools that don’t require mastery of traditional grammar or maintain that formal grammar is unjust are cruelly crippling their students as writers, readers, and lifetime learners.

After compiling the laundry list of benefits of Catholic schools, she offers this inspiration from another source:

Catholic school success is not simply the product of rigorous curriculum, structure, and order. It’s also the result of a school culture animated by the belief that every child is made in the image and likeness of God and focused on drawing out of every pupil their own God-given potential.

Careful observers will also see that Catholic schools’ academic results are not actually the main goal; rather, they’re byproducts of schools that focus on forming young people not just with the skills that will make them financially successful, but also with the habits of virtue and values that will make them choose to do good and contribute to their communities.

I am proud to be part of the salvation of mankind by teaching the faith at a Catholic school! I am proud to bask in the true legacy of St. Patrick!

I summon today all these powers between me and evil, 

Against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul, 

Against incantations of false prophets, 

Against black laws of pagandom, 

Against false laws of heretics, 

Against craft of idolatry, 

Against spells of women and smiths and wizards, 

Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul. 

Christ shield me today 

Against poison, against burning, 

Against drowning, against wounding, 

So that reward may come to me in abundance.



Coercion vs. Consent






Our Lady's 7 Last Words

We can reflect on the 7 Last Words that Christ spoke from the Cross, and we can reflect upon these seven statements made by Our Mother in scripture:



Still my favorite Pope

Pope Benedict on the Purpose of Lent:

"If individuals are to become Christians they need the strength to overcome;  they need the power to stand fast against the natural tendency to let themselves be carried along."



7 Last Words

 A longstanding devotion has been to meditate on the Seven Last Words of Christ as he hung upon the Cross for Good Friday, but why not the Third Friday in Lent as well?

Here is a meditation from the National Shrine:



Giving God what is due

My favorite blogger and apologist has posted a good reminder of why we do the Morning and Evening Office:

Yes, praise! It is not always weapons of iron and steal and fiery bombs that wins the day. Often it is simple praise, hands lifted in prayer, voices raised in praise.

Never underestimate the power of the liturgy to change world history, to turn back threats and see the devil’s power crushed. Indeed, scripture says, Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger (Psalm 8:2).



This is encouraging

 Pope Francis goes on to consider God's wrath.

He recalls that Divine anger "is directed against evil, not that which comes from human weakness, but evil of satanic inspiration. (...) The wrath of God seeks to bring justice and to 'cleanse'. The Flood is the result of God's wrath, according to the Bible.”

The Pope explains that the flood, according to some experts, is "a mythical story.” But, according to archaeologists, it is instead "an historical event because traces have been found of a flood in their excavations." Pope Francis warns against not taking care of creation, saying we risk a new “flood.”


I am pleased that he doesn't sound like most theologians in the 1970s. However, he seems to have missed verse 11 when he mentions the risks of global warming. On the other hand, he is decrying the sinfulness of our society. So, all in all, most encouraging to see this from our Holy Father. 

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