09 December 2023

Cardinal Sarah Tells The Unpopular Truth About The Biggest Myth In The Church Today

Advent: A Time for Preparation ~ There is a Subtle Attempt to Erase Advent

Please remember to say 3 Hail Marys for the Priest.

Saturday of the First Week of Advent ~ Dom Prosper Guéranger

Saturday of the First Week of Advent

From Dom Prosper Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Come, let us adore the King, our Lord, who is to come.

From the Prophet Isaias 7:10-14

And the Lord spoke again to Achaz, saying: Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God either unto the depth of hell, or unto the height above. And Achaz said: I will not ask, and I will not tempt the Lord. And he said: Hear ye therefore, O house of David: Is it a small thing for you to be grievous to men, that you are grievous to my God also? Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel.

Let our hearts be filled with hope and joy at hearing this fair and sweet prophecy: A Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son. These words contain the salvation of the world, as these others express its perdition: The woman took of the fruit of the tree, and did eat, and gave unto her husband. This Virgin promised to us is at length come: the divine Fruit is in her womb. By her, Eve’s disobedience is repaired, the world is raised from its fall, the head of the serpent is crushed, God himself is more glorified by the fidelity of this second Virgin, than he had been outraged by the disobedience of the first. The consent of Mary exercises an immense influence in the saving of the world. It is true that the Word himself is coming; “but,” says St. Bernard, “Mary is the way whereby he comes; it is from her virginal womb he issues, as the Bridegroom from the nuptial chamber. Let us endeavor, therefore, to go up to Jesus by Mary, for Jesus came down to us by her. By thee, O Blessed one that didst find Grace, O Parent of Life, O Mother of Salvation, may we have access to thy Son! May He, who was given to us by thee, receive us by thee. May he admit thy purity, and, for its sake, forgive our impurities; may he give us the pardon of our pride, because of the pleasure he took in thy humility. May thy abundant charity cover the multitude of our sins. May thy glorious fruitfulness get us fruitfulness of merit. Our Lady! our Mediatrix! our Advocate! reconcile us to thy Son, commend us to thy Son, present us to thy Son. By the grace thou didst find, by the prerogative thou didst merit, by the Mercy thou didst bring forth, grant, O Blessed Virgin! that Jesus, who deigned to become, through thy maternity, partaker of our weakness and misery, may, through thy intercession, make us partakers of his glory and bliss.” (Second Sermon of Advent)

(Composed by Abailard; it is found in all the Roman-French missals)

God, the lover of man, sends to the Virgin no less an angel than him who is called God’s strength, the Archangel Gabriel.

May this strong messenger be speedily at his work; may he stay the rights and laws of nature in the Virgin’s delivery.

May the King of glory, when born, triumph over nature; may he reign and command; may he take away from the midst of men all leaven and rust.

May he humble proud heads; may this God, mighty in war, trample in his power on the necks of the haughty.

May he cast forth the prince of this world; and make his Mother share with him the empire which his Father has given him.

Go forth, messenger of God, announce these gifts; lift up, by the virtue of thy annunciation, the veil of the ancient Scripture.

Approach, tell thy announcement: say, when thou art in her presence: “Hail!” Say: “O full of grace!” Say: “The Lord is with thee!” And then: “Fear not!”

Receive, O Virgin, the divine deposit; by him fulfill thy chaste purpose, and keep thy vow.

The Maid hears and accepts the announcement; she believes and conceives, and brings forth a Son, but he is the admirable.

The counselor of mankind, God and Man, Father of the world to come, the Prince of peace.

May his firmness render us firm, lest human frailty should make us stumble into the abyss.

But may the Giver of pardon, granting us pardon and grace, obtained by the Mother of grace, dwell within us.

May he that grants us pardon of our sins, wipe away all our guilt, and give us the country in the starry heaven.


(Christmas Eve)

O Emmanuel, God with us, Christ the Son of God, who didst announce that thou wouldst be born of a Virgin, and didst, as Lord, create Mary, the Mother whose Son thou art: grant us, that being, like her, created by thee out of nothing, we may be rewarded, like her, for our faith in thee.

If G.K. Chesterton Were a Doctor Today

A doctor takes a look at the woke idiocy of 'Diversity, Equity and Inclusion' in the medical profession and how GKC might react.

From Crisis

By James O. Breen, MD

G.K. Chesterton would declare that a commonsense Catholic medical response needs to put human dignity at the center of its work.

Recently, I came across an article in Becker’s Hospital Review celebrating the newest crop of “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion officers” in health systems across the country. Among other vital tasks to the health of the nation, these newly deputized C-suite denizens are “instituting training sessions” and “improving hiring practices” in order to “uplift diverse populations” and “enhance health equity.” 

The tenor of the article called to mind a quote from the joyful Catholic apologist and distributist G.K. Chesterton: “[No society can survive the socialist] fallacy that there is an absolutely unlimited number of inspired officials and an absolutely unlimited amount of money to pay them.”

As a physician and a Catholic (not necessarily in that order), I find that the antics of the self-anointed thought leaders in healthcare give me much reason to shake my head. Our professional elite class (in medicine as in nearly every other discipline) has been infected with a dangerous ideological contagion that is harder to cure than a rare, exotic infectious disease—the sort of condition, let’s say, that is characterized by symptoms of memory loss, visual disturbances, behavior change, and (eventually) death. There’s been a lot of this sort of thing going around in healthcare leadership circles these past few years.

The fallacy of our modern-day medical soothsayers is in insisting that the prevailing model is capable of delivering “healthcare” that is efficient, cost-effective, “patient-centered,” and will produce “equitable” health outcomes across all demographic and identity groups, for every condition, all the time. This utopian ideal is just slightly out of reach, but it is attainable if only we grease the sprockets and lubricate the timing belt of the highly sophisticated Healthcare System (and let us not forget topping off the fluids with the $1.9 trillion, or 29 percent of net federal outlays, designated for healthcare spending). 

In this context, the overgrowth of middle management in “healthcare”—exemplified by the proliferation of “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” officers—underscores Chesterton’s point to a T. The DEI mentality is only the latest egregious example of how healthcare organizations have become distracted by the shiny objects and bright ideas of prevailing ideological trends (in this case identity politics) and have completely abandoned the notion of holistic attention grounded in the human dignity of each individual person presenting for care. In essence, the reductionist notion that some individuals are more “diverse” than others completely discounts the beautiful uniqueness that is inherent in each person’s condition as a child of God.
Of course, we are told that the sages at the forefront of the “medical equity” movement are merely trying to “right past wrongs” in the name of “social justice.” It is sad that it never occurred to them that this exercise in preferentialism for “the oppressed” over “the oppressors” would have unintended consequences that have contributed to the bankruptcy of trust in the medical profession. Indeed, the consensus among medical leaders is that acquiescing to “equity” is merely another example of medicine’s emptying itself of its past injurious biases and prejudices. After all, any medical professional worth his salt ought to check his moral hang-ups at the door of the exam room, so as not to appear judgmental, and in so doing be better able to provide exceptional customer service. 

The inconvenient fact for authorities setting the norms in medicine is that there happen to be two moral agents in every doctor-patient relationship (namely, the doctor and the patient). Editing the language of healthcare to rename “pregnant women” as “birthing persons,” advocating for the promulgation of harmful medical treatments for adolescents in the name of mystified gender ideology, and hitching their horses to the cart of unfettered abortion access in the name of “reproductive justice” (while blotting out the humanity of the unborn), are the antithesis of their idealized kind of medical care devoid of values-based bias. The manufactured consensus of medical specialty societies and journal editors who support such social engineering neglects to recognize the existence of numerous physician-constituents who are rather partisan to Judeo-Christian ethics and Hippocratic principles, thank you very much.

So, how can the wisdom of G.K. Chesterton inform our current predicament? In other words, what would G.K. Chesterton say about American healthcare today if he were a doctor? 

As a starting point, I believe that he would rightly call out the misguided priorities in the prevailing utilitarianism of today’s healthcare. Rather than orienting the entire enterprise around the human being in need of care, today’s prevailing healthcare enterprise is focused on metrics—measurements of efficiency, cost-savings, clinical outcomes, and customer service. Ironically, the burgeoning public expenditure on healthcare (which increasingly pays venture-capitalist-sponsored private provider networks to deliver care in accordance with governmentally-defined metrics) means we get the worst of both socialist bloat and regulation, and monopolistic uber-capitalism—and we pay more for it year after year. (As Chesterton once said, “Big Business and State Socialism are very much alike, especially Big Business.”)

In short, I believe G.K. Chesterton would declare that a commonsense Catholic medical response needs to put human dignity at the center of its work without compromise. To do so, it must be rooted in community and responsive to local needs, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity. Such a response would also need to be open and made available to people of all walks of life and socioeconomic positions, in keeping with the principle of solidarity. This form of solidarity, when based on local needs and conditions, would look a lot like the humanitarian charity of old, when doctors felt oath-bound to care for the vulnerable and call them by name, rather than see them as a faceless amalgam of public-welfare beneficiaries. 

In deference to the Catholic social principle of responsible stewardship, Chesterton would agree that a Catholic medical practice ought to exercise prudence in its use of financial resources and human talents, carefully allocating these God-given gifts to enhance the care of those whom it serves. Of course, this last point is well-nigh impossible under the wasteful pressures of insurance company and governmental regulation and coercion; for this reason, a Christian medical witness ought to remain independent of the influences of such public and corporate payers which can hold sway over the way it carries out its mission of evangelization and healing.

In sum, a Chestertonian approach to medical care requires the application of high doses of caritas and common sense. Our modern House of Medicine is built like a house of cards—newer regulatory fixes delicately balanced on top of yesterday’s solutions, which addressed the unintended consequences of previous years’ policies. The further the healthcare system becomes abstracted from the telos of medicine—that is, its intended purpose to alleviate suffering and restore human flourishing—the harder it becomes to return to the pragmatic principles of the Hippocratic profession. In the words of Chesterton, “[T]he upshot of this modern attitude is really this: that men invent new ideals because they dare not attempt old ideals. They look forward with enthusiasm, because they are afraid to look back.”

In our confused (and confusing) times, an authentically Catholic medical model such as I just described is sorely needed. Moreover, I write to tell you that it is already beginning to take shape. A nascent coalition of Catholic primary care physicians is in the making. The Benedict Medicine Consortium is forming as a nexus of support for physicians who wish to practice in accordance with the principles of Catholic Social Teaching; it also offers guidance for individuals and families in search of excellent medical care that honors Catholic teaching. 

Much as the classical Catholic education movement (à la Chesterton Schools Network) has created a vibrant alternative to the morally impoverished public school offerings, the Benedict Medicine Consortium intends to reinvigorate primary care practice with the wisdom of Christian principles based on common-sense pragmatism and financial sensibility.

Contrary to popular thinking, routine primary care is most accessible when it is decoupled from the inflationary tendencies of insurance-based payment systems and instead responds to the needs of the people it serves. Such economic independence from Big Business/Government also confers protections to conscience rights of both doctors and patients, allowing for the practice of a kind of medicine that honors transcendent beliefs even when these are not fashionable by worldly standards.

In the face of the madness of the prevailing healthcare system, people of faith who value common sense are in dire need of a countervailing force in medicine. The development of a community of physicians and those in search of authentic Catholic primary care are an antidote to the falsehoods being promoted by modern secular medicine. Thick Christian communities buoyed by faithful primary care practices serve as the lamp on the lampstand. They call out and shine light on the absurdities of our upside-down postmodern society by reminding the world of the wise words of G.K. Chesterton: “Fallacies do not cease to be fallacies because they become fashions.”


Today's Holy Mass from Corpus Christi Church, Tynong, VIC, AU. You may follow the Mass at Divinum Officium.

Advent: You Should Be Doing Something, but What?

A sermon for today. Please remember to say 3 Hail Marys for the Priest.

St Wulfhilde, Virgin & Abbess

From Fr Alban Butler's Lives of the Saints

THIS noble lady learned from her infancy to despise all earthly things, and to love and esteem only those which are heavenly; and was placed young by her parents in the monastery of Winchester. King Edward became enamoured of her; but she rejected his great offers, entreaties, ensnaring presents, and messages, knowing that virtue is not to be secured but by watching against the most distant sight, and the most subtle and disguised approaches of an enemy. An aunt of the virgin suffered herself to be gained by the king, and feigning herself sick, sent for Wulfhilde out of her monastery to come to her. The virgin was scarcely arrived at her house but the king came upon her, hoping to overcome her resolution; but alarmed beyond measure at the danger, she violently broke out of the house, leaving part of her sleeve in the hands of the king, who attempted to hold her, and running to the church held the altar, imploring the divine protection with many tears. It had long been her desire to consecrate herself to her heavenly spouse in a religious state. The horror and dread of the danger to which her soul had been exposed in this temptation, was a spur to her in the pursuit of virtue, and she completed the entire sacrifice of herself to God, with the fervour of a saint. The king was overcome by her constancy, and afterwards nominated her abbess of Barking, on which house he bestowed many fair possessions. Wulfhilde settled upon it twenty villages of her own patrimony; and founded another monastery at Horton, in Dorsetshire. Both these houses she governed with great sanctity and prudence, lived in great austerity, and was a model of charity, devotion, meekness, and humility. Her inflexible virtue excited the jealousy of Queen Elflede, by whom she was ejected out of her monasteries. But she was restored with honour, and died about the year 990, in the reign of Etheldred II. Many miracles were wrought at her tomb, as William of Malmesbury and others assure us. St. Edilburge, St. Wulfhilde, and St. Hildelide were much honoured by our English ancestors, and their relics esteemed the greatest treasure of the abbey of Barking; in which St. Erkonwald, the founder, made his sister, St. Edilburge, the first abbess, but gave her St. Hildelide for her assistant, whom he called over from France, where she had made her religious profession, though an English lady by birth. 1 As she was the directress of Edilburge, during her life, so she succeeded her in the government of this monastery after her death, and is named in the English Calendars on the 24th of March. 2 On St. Wulfhilde, see William of Malmesbury, l. 2. Pontif. and her life in Capgrave, and in John of Tinmouth. 3 1

Note 1. Du Plessis imagines Trithemius and others who mentioned St. Hildelide, abbess, among the saints who flourished at Faremoutier, mistook this name for St. Hilda, though she never was there. It is true that St. Hildelide was never abbess at Faremoutier, but at Barking in England. But she had unquestionably lived at Faremoutier or at Chelles, before she came to Barking. See Bede, (l. 4, c. 10.) Du Plessis, (Hist. de l’Egl. de Meaux, l. 1, n. 84.) [back]
Note 2. Bede. Hist. l. 4, c. 10. [back]
Note 3. John of Tinmouth, monk of St. Alban’s flourished in 1370, and compiled the lives of one hundred and fifty-seven British, English, Scottish, and Irish saints. His Sanctilogium is extant in MS. in the Lambeth Library, quoted by Wharton, (Anglia Sacra, t. 2, p. 75, &c.) also in the Cottonian Library; but this copy is so much damaged by the conflagration of an adjoining house, next the wall of the library, when it was kept at Westminster, that the leaves are glued together. By the methods which are used at the Vatican library and at Herculaneum, to unfold MSS. which are worn with age, and in which the leaves adhere together, several of these endamaged MS. books might probably be again made useful. John Capgrave in his Legenda Sanctorum Angliæ, printed at London in 1516, collected one hundred and sixty-eight lives of saints, all which, except fourteen, he copied verbatim from John of Tinmouth, says Leland in Joan. Tinmouthensi: yet in Tinmouth several things occur which are not in Capgrave. [back]

St Leocadia, Virgin & Martyr

From Fr Alban Butler's Lives of the Saints

THE NAME of St. Leocadia is highly reverenced in Spain. This holy virgin was a native of Toledo, and was apprehended by an order of Dacian, the cruel governor under Dioclesian, in 304. Her constancy was tried by torments, and she died in prison. For, hearing of the martyrdom of St. Eulalia, she prayed that God would not prolong her exile, but unite her speedily with her holy friend in his glory; in which prayer she happily expired in prison. Three famous churches in Toledo bear her name, and she is honoured as principal patroness of that city. In one of those churches most of the councils of Toledo were held; in the fourth of these she is honourably mentioned. Her relics were kept in that church with great respect, till, in the incursions of the Moors, they were conveyed to Oviedo, and some years afterwards to the abbey of St. Guislain, near Mons in Haynault. By the procurement of King Philip II. they were translated back to Toledo with great pomp, that king, his son Prince Philip, his daughter Elizabeth, and the empress Mary his sister, being present at their solemn reception in the great church there on the 26th of April, 1589. 1

St. Leocadia, being called to the trial, exerted all heroic Christian virtues, because she had made her whole life an apprenticeship of them, and their practice had been familiar to her. Some people say it was easy for Christians to be totally disengaged from the world, and to give themselves up to prayer and penance when they daily and hourly expected to be called upon to lay down their lives for Christ. But were we not blinded by the world, and if the enchantment of its follies, the near prospect of eternity, the uncertainty of the hour of our death, and the repeated precepts of Christ were equally the subjects of our meditation, these motives would produce in us the same fervent dispositions which they did in the primitive Christians. How much soever men now-a-days are strangers to these gospel truths, for want of giving themselves leisure to consider them, Christians are bound to be totally disentangled from worldly affections in order to unite their hearts closely to God, that they may receive the abundant graces and favours which He communicates to souls which open themselves to him. They are bound to renounce sensuality, and the disorders and vanities of the world, and to be animated with a spirit of meekness, peace, patience, charity, and affectionate good-will towards all men, zeal, piety, and devotion. They are bound to be prepared in the disposition of their hearts to leave all things, and to suffer all things for his love.

Collect of St Wulfhilde, Virgin & Abbess ~ Indulgenced on the Saint's Feast (See Note)

According to the Apostolic Penitentiary, a partial indulgence is granted to those who on the feast of any Saint recite in his honour the oration of the Missal or any other approved by legitimate Authority.

V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto thee.
Let us pray.
Graciously hear us, O God our Saviour, that as we rejoice in the festival of Blessed Wulfhilde, 
Thy Virgin & Abbess, so mayest we be nourished by the food of her heavenly teaching that we may be enlightened by the fervour of her dedicated holiness.
Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
R. Amen. 

I would assume that this indulgence also attaches to the recitation of the Troparion and Kontakion of the Saint of the day in the Eastern Calendar which are in my Eastern Rite post at 00.06.

Nota bene - St Wulfhilde is not celebrated on the Universal Calendar, but according to the Roman Martyrology, today is her Feast Day. The Collect is taken from the Common of Virgins.

Collect of St Leocadia, Virgin & Martyr ~ Indulgenced on the Saint's Feast (See Note)

According to the Apostolic Penitentiary, a partial indulgence is granted to those who on the feast of any Saint recite in his honour the oration of the Missal or any other approved by legitimate Authority.

V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto thee.
Let us pray.
Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God: that the venerable feast of Blessed Leocadia, Thy Martyr, may through his intercession be strengthened in love of Thy Name.
Through Jesus Christ, Thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.
R. Amen. 

I would assume that this indulgence also attaches to the recitation of the Troparion and Kontakion of the Saint of the day in the Eastern Calendar which are in my Eastern Rite post at 00.06.

Nota bene - St Leocadia is not celebrated on the Universal Calendar, but according to the Roman Martyrology, today is her Feast Day. The Collect is taken from the Common of Martyrs Outside of Paschaltide.

08 December 2023

Cardinal Gregory: “Tradition Dies a Slow Death, Sometimes a Bloody Death”

Talk of Tradition dying a slow, bloody death. Tell me again that there is no War on Tradition! 

From Rorate Cæli

By Matthew Hazell

On Wednesday 6 December, the Archbishop of Washington, Wilton Cardinal Gregory, took part in an event at the Catholic University of America as part of their Presidential Speaker Series, entitled "Celebrating Diversity" (h/t Diane Montagna). The full video can be found below, as well as on YouTube. In this talk, His Eminence notes that "even our American Catholic comfort zone can be rattled by the vastness of God's family of cultures, languages, and expressions of Catholic worship; so much diversity can throw some people off balance and quite frankly make them feel uneasy" (16:30). He also waxes lyrical about how the "synodal process" is rooted in the "ability to give one another grace and space as you journey together, with the freedom to express yourself freely without judgment" (29:44).

Except, of course, when it comes to the Traditional Latin Mass. As can be seen in his answer (from around 1:06:00), transcribed below, to a question asked about why the TLM is not allowed on the CUA campus, His Eminence is decidedly "uneasy" about this expression of Catholic worship and the clergy and faithful who love it. "Celebrating Diversity," indeed!

A final note: His Eminence mentions Paul VI, John Paul II and Francis. One pope is conspicuously absent from this list (along with his motu proprio), a further sign of the de-Ratzingerisation currently in vogue among many prelates and in Rome itself.

I'm going to ask a little bit of a tougher question, something of a hot topic right now, it has to do with the diversity within the liturgy, the different forms of liturgy. You can see what's coming. I also serve as the freshman class senator, so I'm like the freshman class representative. By far and away the most common question I get asked is, "Jack, why do we not have Traditional Latin Mass on campus?" And as someone who personally prefers Novus Ordo, I've fallen in love with the Church through Novus Ordo, I also can recognise and understand that those from other dioceses throughout the United States, they found their faith in the Traditional Latin Mass. So my question to you is, how can I respond to them in a loving and opening way as to why they're not able to practice the TLM here on campus?

You know, when Pope Paul VI instituted the new ritual tradition, he made an exception for older priests, and don't forget, he was one of the first in Rome to celebrate the new Mass, the Pope himself, that he made an exception. He said - and I don't remember exactly the age - some of the older priests who, you know, it would have been just too much for them, they had celebrated the Mass, the Tridentine Mass, for sixty years, he made an exception for them. But it was his desire, his intent, to say when that generation goes, then everyone will be in the new Mass. 

Tradition dies a slow death, sometimes a bloody death. There's a book, a liturgical history book by the author [Theodor] Klauser, and he said that two hundred years after Trent, there were still places that were celebrating the pre-Tridentine Mass. So it took that long. 

I think what Pope Francis is trying to do with Custodes Traditionis [sic] is to say: look, there can be the celebration in limited places. So here in the Archdiocese [of Washington] we have it in three places, and that was one of the regulations. It can't be in a parish Mass, in a parish church, it has to be in a chapel. So we have it both, we have it in the south, in one of the parishes that has a chapel, we have it at the Monastery of the Holy Land, and it's in a parish with a chapel in Montgomery [County]. He said any priest that wishes to celebrate that has to write to the bishop and say, 'I accept the liturgical reforms, I'm not fighting the liturgical reforms, but I'd like to be able to make myself available to celebrate under these conditions.' That's for priests who are already priests. Anyone who is not yet ordained, but would like to learn to celebrate, has to write to Rome. So, the Holy Father is trying to complete what Paul VI began, that is, to put one ritual — the new rite — as the dominant rite, but with exceptions, modest exceptions. 

Now, I have a doctorate in liturgy. When I came to the Diocese of Belleville, my first diocese, across the river from St Louis, I inherited this tradition because of Ecclesia Dei,* which John Paul II had instituted as a way of responding to Archbishop Lefebvre's schism. He said you can celebrate it under certain circumstances, so Belleville had one Sunday a month in a parish in downtown Belleville [where] the Tridentine Mass could be celebrated. When I came, there was a parish in Cahokia, Illinois, right on the Mississippi, Holy Family. It has a big modern church, but it kept its ancient church. I established it there every Sunday, and when I went to Atlanta there was a parish, St Francis de Sales in Mableton, a suburb: it was given over to a group of priests, every Sacrament was celebrated there, I never bothered it. When I came here, it was celebrated, Cardinal Hickey instituted it here in 1988 in three places, and then all of a sudden it was growing and it was in eight places. So I went back to the Hickey number: one in the north, one in the city, one in the south. Why? Because that's [i.e. the Novus Ordo] the Church's liturgy! We don't— If you want to belong to a different ritual family, you can be Ruthenian, you can be Maronite, you can be Melkite, but the Roman Rite has one dominant rite, and Francis is trying to make that the official response to the Second Vatican Council's Sacrosanctum ConciliumIt's not forbidden, but it's limited.


I also want to add something. In many of the places where it grew, the Tridentine rite, it grew because priests promoted it, and not because— In other words, if you had a guy that came into the parish and said, 'well, I like this rite, I'm going to do it,' and he gathered people together, and now all of a sudden he created the need in places where there wasn't a need there. So I think that the Holy Father is right to say: deal with the priests.

* Here, His Eminence means John Paul II's motu proprio Ecclesia Dei (2 July 1988), but appears to actually say Ecclesia diei, "the Church of the day"...!!

“The Conservative Mind” at 70 for Europe

'America is European or nothing, and that conservative ‘European’ America is the only root of and hope for America itself'. I've been beating this drum for years!

From The Imaginative Conservative

By Marco Respinti

In “The Conservative Mind,” Russell Kirk, the father of American modern conservatism, said plainly that America is conservative or nothing, that America is European or nothing, and that conservative ‘European’ America is the only root of and hope for America itself.

 At 70, Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind is a young book. That work can be approached and described in several different ways, and in almost three quarters of a century, it has been indeed. One of the theoretically most evident of those ways, yet often neglected at a practical level, looks at it as a genealogy. It is in fact the line of descent of a family of thought that has its progenitor in the Irish statesman Edmund Burke, offering intellectual portraits and cameos of a number of different, authors sometimes difficult to pair, if not exactly for their direct and indirect, total or partial Burkean ascendence.

Burke was one of the most prominent proponents and defenders of the natural law tradition, understood in an Aristotelian-Christian perspective, in the eighteenth century, probably even the most lucid. His philosophy stemmed from the practical political and legislative actions he exerted in the London parliament for almost three decades and was tempered by peculiar international and pivotal stress-tests, among which the assertion of the rights of the British colonists in North America and the rise of an anti-Christian state sanctioned by the French Revolution (1789–1799) are the most relevant. In many regards, these movements stand at the opposite end of the political and cultural spectrum, projecting their respective progenies on the following centuries.

In The Conservative Mind, Kirk traces the Burkean lineage on both sides of the Atlantic (as he was fond to say) as offering a specific Anglo-American response and refutation to the French Enlightenment and Jacobinism. Within this framework, he then founds and crafts a specific American way of thought, which he calls Conservatism.

While the term has been used, and abused, since the publication of Kirk’s magnum opus in 1953, at that time the word was rarely applied with soundness and wit to culture and politics. It was in fact Kirk who knighted and ennobled conservatism, locating it precisely within the Burkean lineage. Thus, for Kirk conservatism results in a basically natural-law centered and Christian (in the broadest sense) rebuttal of ideologies, as the antipodes of the Enlightenment (especially that of the French mold) and Jacobinism. And not only conservatism in general, but specifically American Conservatism.

It should be asked whether conservatism as such is a distinctively English-speaking phenomenon, possibly the response of the Burkean Anglosphere to Jacobinism, given the fact that the word itself seems to have originated among the Burkean circles in France, especially in “Le Conservateur”, the review that existed for 18 months, from 1818–1820, in Paris by François-René de Chateaubriand and other like-minded anti-revolutionaries. In this case, similar manifestations of anti-revolutionary thought in other cultural spheres of the world would merit different names, but of course it is not a mere a question of names and nominalism. For sure, Kirk sees conservatism as Burkean and the genuine America as Burkean conservative. His work on Burke’s philosophy, the American Constitution, and America’s British culture testify to this at length and in depth. But, rather consciously, all this has a distinctively European flavor.

The British colonists of North America were European (the British Isles were always European, as G.K. Chesterton pointed out), the French Revolution was indeed a devastating European event, and Burke, the defender of the first and the first critic of the second, was European. Of course, the European origin of Kirk’s conservatism is not an incident of birth. As he shows in his 1974 The Roots of American Order—a book that gives its best if read in parallel with The Conservative Mind, and vice versa—the colonial mind of North America and the Founding of the new nation, the United States in 1776, are an original rebranding of European culture that never severs its ties with its forefathers, and never should. In Kirk’s understanding and in his prophetical announcement, only this consciousness and identity can provide America the antidotes to resist and battle and possibly win over the sirens of ideology and ideocracy that originate from and build upon the French Revolution and its legacy, as continued by all tyrannical regimes and totalitarianisms, either shaped as armed doctrines (as Kirk said) or relativistic in nature.

Kirk’s approach is both original and fraught with consequences. It has also been misunderstood or confused with other spurious semi-ideologies. But for Kirk, as The Conservative Mind makes clear, is diriment. Open to intelligent discussion and contributions as he was, he was altogether unmovable: conservatism is Burkean or it is not. And America is Burkean conservative or it is yet another dismal experiment in progressivism–of the disastrous kind denounced by J.R.R Tolkien in his 1931 poem Mythopeia: “I will not walk with your progressive apes, erect and sapient. Before them gapes the dark abyss to which their progress tends if by God’s mercy progress ever ends, and does not ceaselessly revolve the same unfruitful course with changing of a name.”

The European reader should duly take note. For one of the brightest minds of the twentieth-century Anglosphere, one of the most influential American man of letters and intellect, and the father of American modern conservatism said plainly that America is conservative or nothing, that America is European or nothing, and that conservative ‘European’ America is the only root of and hope for America itself.

Kirk describes the American conservative lineage, parallel to conservatism’s Burkean genealogy, revisiting the rather common dichotomy between Athens and Jerusalem. For Kirk, the composite, rich legacy of Jerusalem, Athens, and Rome, amalgamated by Christianity, was in fact assumed, “translated,” and re-created by London to produce, in Philadelphia and Washington, the American colonial order at a time of salutary neglect from the Leviathan (as he deems it).

Focusing on this description, in The Conservative Mind Europeans find more than just an interpretation, but a hermeneutics of continuity that offers a radically different approach to genuine America than the liberal vulgate’s, one that should at least be considered a viable working option for deeper studies and reflections. Among Europeans, Italians especially—given the classical Roman relevance for America that Kirk outlines—may find useful tools to understand why today’s heirs of Jacobinism (liberals, socialists, communists, and fascists), who aimed at destroying classical and Christian Europe from which Kirk reasons America came, are also grossly anti-American… as are those culturally lapsed Christians who are accustomed to be dhimmi in front of those ideologies.

Happy Australia Day!

The Mad Monarchist remembers the 1788 landing of the First Fleet and the raising of the Union Flag by Arthur Phillip at Sydney Cove in New South Wales.

From The Mad Monarchist (27 January 2012)

Today the “Land Down Under” celebrates “Australia Day” to commemorate the day in 1788 when a landing party from a British fleet came ashore and formally claimed the coast of what was then called New Holland in the name of HM King George III; the official beginning of the history of the modern-day Commonwealth of Australia. Since that time centuries ago, Australia has grown into one of the most successful, prosperous and popular constitutional monarchies in the world. No other country occupies an entire continent all on its own and Australia and the unique Australian culture is now famous all around the world. In the glory days of the British Empire, Australia was one of the cornerstones of the English-speaking world. When the place of the British Empire in the world was threatened, hard-hitting troops from Australia brought a world of hurt to the Central Powers, particularly the Ottoman Turks as seen with the tough Diggers who stormed the beaches of Gallipoli and the hard riding Australian cavalry who charged across the sands of Palestine. Again, in World War II, Australians showed just as much tenacity on defense when they held off the seemingly unbeatable Axis forces of Rommel at Tobruk. Also in World War II, Australia provided a crucial staging ground for the Allied counter-offensive against the previously ever-victorious forces of Imperial Japan. When the chips were down for the Anglo-sphere it was often the Australians who arrived to save the day.

Traditionally, Australians were known for their staunch loyalty to their country and their Sovereign. Australians have a reputation for being independent, rugged individualists who make their home on a continent known to many in the outside world for its giant lizards and poisonous snakes as well as more friendly, furry creatures. The rugged, resourceful Australian with a big knife and a smile who is most comfortable outdoors may be a bit of a stereotype, but like most stereotypes it exists for a reason. Australians had to overcome many, many difficulties to build the country and, again traditionally, this gave them a great sense of community, an appreciation of what is important and a very pragmatic but also fun-loving nature. It also gave them a great deal of respect for what their ancestors had overcome and accomplished and a desire to preserve the same ideals and values that were important to those who had gone before them. Today, like everywhere else, many if not most of these ideals and values are under attack. Things which every Australian would have once considered sacrosanct are coming under attack. That includes the Queen, the national flag and even Australia Day itself for that matter. This is rather incredible considering that it was not so very long ago that Australians could be divided into two groups; monarchists and ultra-monarchists. Today, however, there is a seemingly endless campaign by republicans and the biased, bought-and-paid-for news media to tear down everything that once defined Australia.

I have probably said before how incomprehensible this attitude is to me. Where I live, anyone who would even suggest that we change our flag would be run out of town on a rail (and I mean the Lone Star, not the Stars & Stripes which we did trade in once for something different). Things like the national day, the national flag and for most countries the monarch are part of the most basic set of things that make you who you are. They reflect the history, the culture and the common values of a people, where you came from and what you’re all about. I have stated before that I consider any Australian republican a traitor, pure and simple. Fortunately for them the local authorities take a different view but this will not change mine. So far there has not been much stomach for changing the date of Australia Day but there are some who want to do it. The disturbing thing is that these people never seem to go away. No matter how many times the republicans lose they, and their allies in the bought-and-paid-for media, refuse to take “no” for an answer. How very democratic of them. They want a republic, Australians were given a referendum and they voted to keep the monarchy. The republicans then said that was the wrong answer and have been planning another vote ever since. Of course, they keep getting stomped on by waves of support for the monarchy surrounding key events, royal visits and royal weddings and the like, so they may try to take a more insidious approach next time; who knows?

Although I have never been there, I have always been very fond of Australia. The history and culture there reminds me a good deal of my own homeland. It has often seemed to me that if the British Commonwealth were the United States, Australia would be Texas. Fond as I am of Australia, I don’t want Australia to become something else. Because that is exactly what would happen if the current crop of republicans had their way. Scrap the Queen of Australia for a President, scrap the Commonwealth of Australia for the Australian Republic, scrap the flag for a new design and scrap the national day in favor of something else and what you really have is a completely different country with no history. Like a tree without roots, a country without a past will be in for a pretty sorry future. Doing that would be a betrayal, not only of the Queen of Australia (God Save Her) but of everything all the previous generations of Australians fought, worked and died for from the western front to Southeast Asia. One of the most distinct, admirable and glorious parts of the world would be lost forever.

Of course, this does not mean that there is nothing in Australia that needs changing. There are plenty of problems. However, the problems Australia does have are invariably the result of drifting away from the constitution, certainly not from being too faithful to it. The great benefit of the Australian monarchy is often lost because the Queen, or her representatives, are not allowed to make full use of their constitutional powers. In practice the powers of the Crown are often exercised by politicians and this takes away from the benefit of having an impartial, non-political sovereign to make sure everyone is playing by the same rules and nothing underhanded is being done. Things would be better if the choice of Governor-General and the use of the powers of the Crown were actually exercised by the Queen or her representative as is supposed to happen. However, over the years, the politicians have co-opted the powers of the Crown in many ways and this has meant that sometimes there is no impartial person in the engine car to apply the brakes when things get out of hand. The republicans, who represent the politician-class, have caused most of the problems in Australia by failing to follow the rules of the constitutional monarchy and yet rather than going back and following the rules, their response is to call for even more of the same, throwing out all the rules and basically letting the politicians write their own rule book. Hardly seems fair does it?

Thankfully, so far, the Aussies have managed to see through this and favor keeping the system of constitutional monarchy they have. That’s a good thing but it needs to be more than just apathy toward change, it needs to be a real understanding of the Australian government and a desire to change in the right way; putting the politicians in their place and letting the Sovereign of Australia see that they stay there and stop trying to usurp power for their own ends. The original system made Australia a success, getting away from it has only caused problems and there was nothing wrong with the old, traditional Australia of past generations. So, keep it royal in the land Down Under and a very happy Australia Day to everyone in the land of OZ from The Mad Monarchist!

Bishop Challoner's Meditations ~ December 9th


Consider first, that he who prepared the blessed Virgin to be the mother of his Son, by this early care to keep her pure in the very conception, would thereby give us to understand what dispositions he expects in us, in order to our being also qualified for the spiritual conception and birth of the same Lord in our souls. For as we could never have been happy if the Son of God had not been born into this world for us, so we never can be happy if he be not also spiritually received and born in us. No, my soul, we must put off the old man, and put on the new, which is Jesus Christ, before we can come to God; and this putting on the new man must be effected by his being spiritually conceived in our souls. Now he can never come to any soul, to be spiritually conceived or born there, if that soul be not clean; for though he humbled himself so far as to be born in a poor stable, yet he will not be born in an unclean soul, because such a soul is the habitation of unclean spirits, and therefore cannot be a proper place for his spiritual birth. It is then by cleanness of conscience and purity we must prepare the way of the Lord, if we hope to have a share in the happiness he offers us by his incarnation and birth; without this his coming will be to our condemnation.

Consider 2ndly, that this cleanness and purity, which is indispensably necessary for the spiritual conception and birth of Christ in our souls, must be, at least, exemption from all wilful and deadly sin. For wherever wilful and deadly sin resides, there is the seat of Satan; there he resides and reigns, and consequently there can be no room for the birth of Christ in such a soul. so that the first and most essential branch of Christian purity, without which God has no part in us, (Job xxxi. 2,) and we have no part in him, is a purity of conscience at least from mortal sin; joined with a fixed determination of the soul, for no consideration whatsoever; for no honour, interest, or pleasure; for no fear, or love, or human respect; for no promises or allurements on the one hand, or terrors and threats on the other; in fine, for nothing that the world can either give or take away, ever to consent, so much as in thought, to any such sin. Christians, what are your dispositions in this respect? Are your consciences either pure or clear from all deadly sin by innocence, or cleansed by penitence? Are your souls in a proper condition to welcome Christ? Are you in a settled resolution to give up the dominion of your souls to this great king, who desires to be born there and to live there? Are you willing to sacrifice to his will and pleasure all other loves that offer to oppose his reign, so as to be ready to part even with life itself, rather that with your allegiance to him? This is the purity of conscience he absolutely insists upon, and nothing less will satisfy him. If you are not in this disposition, you are none of his, and he will not be born in you.

Consider 3rdly, that to welcome Christ in a suitable manner, you must not content yourselves with having your consciences only cleansed from all mortal sin, or your souls only settled in a resolution of never more being guilty, upon any consideration, of such sins as may eternally separate you from your God, and cast you into hell; this is but a low degree of Christian purity, and those that aim no higher are in great danger of not even arriving so far. To make light of smaller sins; to be indifferent about Christian perfection; to pretend to no more than the avoiding hell; to indulge one's self in a negligent, lukewarm way of living, and in a variety of evil habits and known sins which one is willing to suppose are only venial, with little or no concern about the offence we commit against God, or any serious thought of amendment - so far from being a proper disposition to prepare the soul for the spiritual birth of Christ, is indeed the broad road to mortal sin, and too often ends in hell. A generous Christian, and one that is a true lover of his God, does not stand to inquire, whether the doing this or that will send his soul to hell or not. It is enough to determine him to avoid it with all his power, to know that it offends his God, whom he loves with his whole heart; and therefore he dreads more the doing anything that is displeasing in his eyes, than either death or hell itself. My soul, are these thy dispositions?

Conclude to make it thy business, now at least, to labour for this perfect purity of conscience, not only from all deadly sin, but also from all known deliberate venial sins; and much more from indulging thyself in the habit of any such sin. For how canst thou expect that infinite purity should be willing to take up his abode in thy soul, if thou art not careful to keep it clean, at least from all wilful and affected stains?