Friday, 22 March 2019

Theologian Claims Vatican Commission on Female Deacons Found No Evidence They Existed

No news is good news!

From LifeSiteNews

March 21, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Professor Peter Hünermann – a well-connected and prominent German theologian – has told LifeSiteNews that, according to members of the German bishops' doctrinal commission who spoke to him, the report of the Vatican commission on female deacons found that “there is no historical evidence that in the patristics women were ordained as deacons.” 
In a recent interview in Germany, Professor Hünermann spoke about this Vatican commission on the history of female deacons that had been established, in 2016, by Pope Francis. This commission has ended its work and gave Pope Francis, already in mid-2018, its report. Professor Hünermann commented on the fact that Pope Francis “has withheld the results for months now,” saying that this “is a sign for me that he does not agree with this statement as it stands.” 
When LifeSiteNews reached out to the German theologian, asking him for more information on this matter, he answered, saying that “Professor [Marianne] Schlosser of Vienna – a student of then-Professor Ratzinger [and a member of the Vatican female deacon commission] – informed the German doctrinal commission about the results of this study [of the commission]. This I learned from members of the doctrinal commission.” He further explained that the “result of the Roman commission” is: “there is no historical evidence that in the patristics women were ordained as deacons.”
As Professor Hünermann explained, this position had been earlier held by Cardinal Gerhard Müller – the former head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome – as well as by Professor Karl-Heinz Menke, who was a member of this 2016 Vatican commission on the female diaconate. As LifeSiteNews reported, Menke had said, in 2016: “A female diaconate has nowhere and never participated in the office transmitted by ordination.” 
Professor Hünermann also pointed out to LifeSiteNews that “I assume that Cardinal [Luis] Ladaria as the president of this [2016 Vatican] commission shares this position.” Hünermann himself is in favor of a female diaconate and has discussed this position in a 2012 academic article.
“Whether Professor Zagano herself, or other members [of that commission], have introduced a dissenting minority report and whether this has been documented in the final report, is not known to me,” the German professor adds. LifeSiteNews had recently reported on some statements made by Zagano, who claimed that in the early history of the Church the “ordination ceremonies for women deacons were identical to the ordination ceremonies for men.” She implied that, therefore, a female diaconate would be possible.
Professor Hünermann also hopes for such a female diaconate. He confirms to LifeSiteNews that he himself had recommended, in 2016, to Pope Francis to establish such a study commission on the female diaconate. He also told LifeSiteNews that “it is my reflection that it is not an accident that Pope Francis has not yet published the [findings of the] counseling commission. In his view, the very fact that the findings of this commission “are obviously highly 'shaky' can be seen in the practice of several Orthodox churches which in the meantime have resumed their old practice and ordain women as deacons and have very good experiences with it in the pastoral care.” 
Already in 2002, a similar commission of the Vatican's International Theological Commission had published its own findings concerning this topic; it found that there was never an ordained office of female deacons in the history of the Church. It stated:
  1. The deaconesses mentioned in the tradition of the ancient Church – as evidenced by the rite of institution and the functions they exercised – were not purely and simply equivalent to the deacons;
  2. The unity of the sacrament of Holy Orders, in the clear distinction between the ministries of the bishop and the priests on the one hand and the diaconal ministry on the other, is strongly underlined by ecclesial tradition, especially in the teaching of the Magisterium.
As Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the then-Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stated in 2013: “According to Catholic doctrine, the Sacrament of Holy Orders – in its stages bishop, priest, and deacon – can only be validly received by a man.”
Professor Manfred Hauke, in recent comments to LifeSiteNews, further strengthened this position when he said: “We cannot identify the consecration of deaconesses with the ordination of deacons. It was not sacramental ordination that can be identified with the Sacrament of Orders (for bishops, priests, and deacons).” He added: “The history of the institution of deaconesses offers no solid basis, therefore, for the introduction of a sacramental female diaconate. The ancient Church was unacquainted with a female diaconate equivalent to the male diaconate.” 

Catholic Journalist Questioned by Police After Transgender Activist Complains

The insanity continues!!!

From the Catholic Herald

A Catholic journalist has been questioned by police after a dispute with the head of a transgender charity.

Caroline Farrow, a columnist for the Catholic Universe and a frequent contributor to TV and radio, was called in by Surrey Police after a complaint from the transgender rights activist Susie Green. Green has since withdrawn her complaint.

Green says that she reported Farrow for a series of tweets, which are no longer online. One allegedly described Green’s actions towards her child, who identifies as female, as: “She mutilated him by having him castrated and rendered sterile while still a child.” Another described the policy of Green’s organisation Mermaids as “child abuse”.

Farrow says that Surrey Police only made reference to her “misgendering” Green’s child by referring to the child as male. “All I have been told,” she tweeted on Monday, was “that following an appearance on Good Morning Britain I made some tweets misgendering Susie Green’s child and that I need to attend a taped interview.”

In a statement, Surrey Police confirmed that “a 44-year-old woman has been asked to attend a voluntary interview in relation to the allegation as part of our ongoing investigation.” They said that they had received an allegation on October 15 last year, and were carrying out “a thorough investigation” to “establish whether any criminal offences have taken place”.

Green said that she had withdrawn her complaint because she thought the police investigation was giving Farrow publicity.

'We're in a Very Different Time Now': Montreal Officials Oust Crucifix From City Hall

Quebec continues its descent into the abyss.

From CNA

.- Montreal’s City Hall doesn’t need Christ, officials have said.
A crucifix that has hung on the wall of Montreal’s City Hall since 1937, reminding city officials to let God guide their decisions, will be taken down for a renovation project, never to be put back, local sources have reported.
City councilor Laurence Lavigne-Lalonde made the announcement at an executive council meeting this week.
“The crucifix was installed during an era that was completely different than the one we live in today,” Lavigne-Lalonde told the council, according to CTV News Montreal.
“We now live in a society that has evolved and is represented by democratic institutions that must be secular, neutral and open to all citizens,” Lavigne-Lalonde added.
Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante agreed.
“I truly believe and based on all the discussion that has been done in the past, that it doesn't have to be in city council where it is a secular institution. This is a place where we make decisions and it was originally put there to support decision making,” she said at the meeting. “I think we're in a very different time now.”
Plante added that the decision is a “recognition of the role of secularism in the institution, and for me, there is a stark distinction between individual and institutional secularism," she said, according to the CBC.
City officials also said they will be removing another crucifix that is hung in a different room in city hall.
After the decision was announced, the Archdiocese of Montreal issued a statement saying that the crucifix is a symbol of the Christian roots of Canada and doesn’t need to be removed in a religiously pluralistic society.
“As a sign revered by Christians, the crucifix remains a living symbol. It symbolizes openness and respect toward all peoples, including toward other faith communities and religious traditions, which rightfully adhere to their own signs and symbols,” Archbishop Christian Lépine said in his statement. “Nevertheless, nothing forbids us, and our respective beliefs, from being present in the public space in an attitude of respect and openness, since we share the same common humanity,” he added.

“When it comes to transmitting spiritual and communal values in a spirit of togetherness and solidarity, the crucifix is laden with meaning, expressing and encapsulating what fortifies the population of Montreal since its foundation, a legacy of which we can be proud.”
Issues of religious freedom and the display of religious symbols have been prominent issues in Canada recently, and Montreal’s decision brought up an ongoing debate about the crucifix that hangs in the legislature building of Quebec. According to the CBC, Premier François Legault of Quebec has previously defended the crucifix’s place in the province’s National Assembly, even while he backed a bill that would have banned the wearing of religious symbols by civil authorities, such as cross necklaces or hijabs. The bill was recently tabled by the legislature.
But after the Montreal decision, he balked: "There are good arguments for and some arguments against, and right now we have a debate. We have to find a compromise," Legault told CBC. "I accept the decision of the City of Montreal."
Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette of Quebec, who backed the religious symbols bill, told CTV News that the National Assembly does not have to follow the decision of Montreal to remove their crucifix.
"They can do what they want about that. The National Assembly has always decided to maintain (the crucifix) and that's the position of the government because it's a (historical) symbol," he said.

Biersach & Coulombe: Happy Holidays!

Two talks recorded in the 1990s. The first is a lively and somewhat irreverent discussion of the background of the institution of Thanksgiving in the United States and how the celebration of Christmas has become distorted in our society. The second is a thoughtful excursion through the season of Advent which will greatly enhance your appreciation of the Christmas Season. Transcribed from cassette tapes, please excuse the time gaps between each side.

Bishop Criticises ‘Faith-Filled’ Catholics Who Spread Fear of Muslims


From the Catholic Herald

The bishop criticised Catholics who identify as 'traditional' and say Muslims pose a threat to Western civilisation
An Irish bishop has criticized Catholics who identify as “faith-filled” while spreading fear and mistrust of immigrants, particularly those who are Muslims.

Bishop Kevin Doran of Elphin, chairman of the Council for Life of the Irish bishops’ conference, told The Irish Catholic newspaper: “I’ve found that people who would classify themselves in some cases as traditional Catholics and faith-filled people seem to, in relation to migration and care of asylum-seekers and stuff, they’ll say ‘oh well these Muslims are putting our civilization at risk and they pose a threat to us.'”

Bishop Doran spoke in the wake of what he described as a “savage attack” on two mosques in New Zealand that left at least 50 people dead.

“All of us, of whatever religious tradition, can identify with what that might mean for a congregation gathered to worship,” the bishop said.

Bishop Doran said it was wrong of people to demonize Muslims for the actions of terrorism claiming to be inspired by Islam.

“To define a whole category of people, or a whole nation, or a whole religious group as being in some way more prone to terrorism than any other group is irresponsible,” he said.

In his experience, he said, Muslim people living in Irish society do so “peacefully and participate fully.”

“We have large numbers of Muslim children in our Catholic schools, and they contribute to the ethos in many ways.

“One of the interesting things about Muslims is while they are of a different faith, they tend to have a level of commitment to faith that in many ways we might well sit up and pay attention to,” he said.

In February, Bishop Doran spoke out after a disused hotel slated to house refugees was damaged in an apparent arson attack.

He said the alleged arson had caused “significant upset to parishioners,” adding “it is all the more disturbing since it is suggested that the fires are a response to the proposed use of the hotel to house refugees.”

“Militant opposition, expressed in the destruction of property, is simply not consistent with the Gospel.”

Church Militant Headlines — March 22, 2019

The Vortex — McCarrick Is the Key

Investigator: If Catholic Relief Services Supports Sin, Faithful Must Withdraw Donations

Not one more penny!

From LifeSiteNews

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 22, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Why is a 501(c)(3), whose purpose is to help Catholics support the poorest of the poor, lobbying Congress in the name of multiple secular organizations, for unqualified billions of taxpayer dollars? Michael Hichborn, founder of the Lepanto Institute, is asking that very question in order to hold so-called Catholic nonprofits — especially those supported by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops — transparent and accountable to those who are often pressured from the pulpit to tithe to them. As churchgoing Catholics continue to hear preached the USCCB Bishop’s Appeal this Lent  — including those little “Rice Bowl” boxes targeting children — too few are aware of exactly where their tithes are going. The answer is directly to organizations supporting abortion, contraception, and even sterilization in the Third World.
After publishing an in-depth report yesterday on Catholic Relief Services, Hichborn agreed to sit down for an interview on what he has discovered.
The first question I asked him was on the Bishop’s Appeal. Trends in the last few years — from millions of dollars of payouts in settlements to victims of the sex abuse crisis to preaching the “resettlement” of majority-Muslim refugees (the latter having been done after the USCCB received over $91 million from the Obama administration) — seem to have left those Catholics remaining in the pews (and holding the bills) wary of the annual appeals.
To Hichborn, the wariness is not unmerited. Many bishops are pushing Catholic Relief Services as part of their annual appeal this year. Just how many is hard to say. “Each appeal is different in every diocese,” Hichborn said. “With 197 dioceses in the United States, examining each one would be a very time-consuming task.” Tracking the CRS Rice Bowl collection is easier, as it is found in most dioceses thanks to the support of the USCCB. “CRS is currently conducting its annual Rice Bowl collection and will have a national collection at the end of the month. Considering the hundreds of millions of dollars CRS rakes in from the government, faithful Catholics need to ask themselves if CRS really needs their money at all.”
When asked to expand on which specific organizations CRS was lobbying Congress for, Hichborn explained, “It's absolutely scandalous for a Catholic agency to be requesting government funding for any agency that is pushing a gravely immoral agenda. On March 12, 2019, CRS Executive Vice President William O’Keefe appeared before the House subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs to lobby for USAID, PEPFAR, and the Global Fund. But CRS isn’t lobbying for these groups just because they like them; it’s a quid pro quo. Those three agencies are by far CRS’s biggest financiers. So CRS is in effect lobbying for its own funding by asking Congress to finance contraception-pushers.”
As the old adage goes, “follow the money.” The first question a Catholic might have, after hearing of the billions of dollars the executive vice president of CRS has just lobbied Congress for, is where exactly his money is going, if not to the poor. According to Lepanto Institute research, the answer is disturbing. “According to the latest tax form 990 for CRS, William O’Keefe is making $173,385, with about $20,000 in benefits. To put that into perspective, 10 senior staff members were paid $2.2 million in 2018. The Rice Bowl collection for 2017 was $8.5 million. So 26% of the Rice Bowl funds collected from pew-sitting Catholics covered the salaries of 10 people at CRS, including Mr. O’Keefe.”
Could this “quid pro quo” go farther than just lobbying? Hichborn believes so. “When CRS receives money from the government for government-run projects, there are two things that come into play: 1) CRS cannot exclusively hire Catholics, and 2) CRS is not permitted to work toward the conversion of individuals to the Catholic Faith. Also, even though there is a ‘conscience exemption clause’ for CRS when receiving government funding that exempts CRS from being forced to promote condoms, contraception, etc., the real issue is that CRS is working toward building the governmental apparatus that remains after CRS leaves the project. It would be like a building contractor being asked to build a structure it knew would later be used by Planned Parenthood; even though the contractor isn’t performing abortion or distributing contraception, he is helping to build the apparatus that does, and that is the gravest concern with CRS taking government funding.”
If CRS is being supported by Catholics in the pew, and by the USCCB, but then goes to work on projects directly contrary to Catholic teaching (especially on the sanctity of life), does this mean those tithing are complicit in supporting these acts? What about all the good CRS is doing for the poor and displaced?
“The most fundamental teaching in moral theology,” Hichborn explained, “is that one may not commit an evil, no matter how small or insignificant the evil may seem, in order to obtain a good, no matter how great the good may be. In other words, the ends can never justify the means. As such, while CRS may say they are asking for funding for these groups because of the apparent good they do, they cannot ignore the evil they are doing at the same time, and in many respects in the same apparently good projects. One could ask CRS, if we replaced the word ‘contraception’ with ‘sexual trafficking of eight-year-olds,’ would CRS make the same requests for funding?
“The fact of the matter is that contraception and abortion are intrinsically evil acts. So is the sex-trafficking of eight-year-olds. The Catholic Church is very clear on this. So either CRS must admit that its lack of concern for the spread of contraception equates to a lack of concern for other immoral acts (such as the sex-trafficking of children) or it must equally condemn them.”
For Hichborn, those tithing to CRS — whether knowingly or not — could very well be complicit in these actions contrary to their faith, but those truly responsible are the shepherds. “As an agency of the bishops of the United States, Catholics not only should expect, but must insist that Catholic Relief Services be authentically Catholic. This not only means expecting that CRS refrains from any partnerships with gravely immoral organizations (or work on gravely immoral projects), but that CRS — as a Catholic nonprofit — should work to fulfill the mandate established by Our Lord: ‘Go forth, preach the Gospel, and baptize all nations.’ If CRS claims itself Catholic but only performs good works without trying to bring souls to Christ, then it is merely feeding bellies while starving souls.”
What can Catholics do if they wish to support the good works CRS proposes? For Hichborn, the answer is simple: hold their bishops accountable with the threat of withdrawing tithes, and expect their bishops to hold organizations like CRS accountable. So far, efforts to do this have gone unheeded. “If faithful Catholics wish CRS to be authentically Catholic, they should insist upon it as a condition of their participation with it, either by way of funding or promoting the organization. As of now, however, CRS is begging for funding on behalf of the world’s largest providers of contraception. Perhaps it is best to withhold those donations until CRS decides it would rather be Catholic than just another NGO.”

Word of the Day: Crown of Thorns

CROWN OF THORNS. A wreath of thorns mockingly placed on the head of Christ by Pilate's soldiers. St. Louis, King of France (1214-70), redeemed it from the Venetians and had constructed in its honour the magnificent Sainte-Chapell in Paris. As a symbol of suffering in art, it is associated with martyrdom.

The Place for Local Currency in a World Economy

Another Distributist/'Schumacherian' idea.

From The ChesterBelloc Mandate.

By Robert Swann 

I want to focus on the institution of money and the opportunity now presenting itself to develop a better system than our present one. We need a system that will by nature promote and enhance small-scale institutions, small businesses, cooperatives, small communities, and local towns. At the same time, it needs to be responsive to the needs of ecology. Obviously, the system we have now, which is failing, does not advance these goals. Before discussing that, I want to first touch briefly on the history of money and why I think we are at a unique point in time that is favorable to a new beginning.

Like most institutions that affect society as a whole, many customs grew unconsciously over many generations to form, by convention, our money and banking institutions. During all of this history through to the present years, money institutions were, in fact, small scale and decentralized. They consisted of either direct exchange of goods by barter, or later exchange with metals (gold and silver) of intrinsic value. As a system, banking grew slowly out of the medieval period, which is when goldsmiths first became the caretakers of gold, and later became bankers by using the gold as a reserve for redemption.

I want to clarify what I mean by redemption. Whenever paper money is issued-printed and distributed-by governments, banks, private individuals, or groups, it must be capable of being exchanged for something of real use and value by the government, bank, or individual who issued the currency in the first place. Otherwise, it can justifiably be called counterfeit, because the paper has no intrinsic value. Gold has traditionally been the commodity that governments and banks have offered for redemption of their paper money. But since 1934 in the U.S., the U.S. government and the banks have not redeemed their paper currency in gold-or any other commodity of real value.

The banking system that grew out of the medieval period was, by and large, very diversified with many banks issuing their own currencies. This condition existed right up until the present century. I have in my possession actual bank notes issued by four different banks in New Hampshire during the last century. By the end of the last century, or the beginning of the twentieth century, power was centralized in the emerging nation states, and then banking systems were centralized. Increasingly, they came under the control of the nation state. But the conventions that had grown up around money issue and money control essentially continued in the centralized system. For example, the so-called "fractional reserve" principle, an adopted part of the Federal Reserve System, is based on a convention that arose out of the medieval system of the goldsmiths. Few people understand it-including many of the bankers who use it-but it is an important factor in determining what happens in our lives.

My point is that a very large part of our lives is controlled, or governed by a system over which we have little or no control and do not understand. To a large extent, we have unconsciously accepted a system of money and banking, and we are asleep in our relationship to it. But the hopeful side is that in general, we are becoming more conscious as a society. There is a strong interest in wanting to become more conscious in all of our relationships. The first step that must precede the creation of a new money system is to replace the old one.

In the first place, we must be clear that the present centralized system is failing, as President Carter has carefully demonstrated. Moreover, we must also understand that for the same reason, it cannot be reformed or made to work by any centralized government. This doesn't mean that governments will not issue a new currency when the present one becomes valueless; they will. But then the new currency will go the same way as the old-only in a shorter period of time.

As we enter into this period of increasing economic crisis, and as the present national currencies decline in value, we will be creating alternative methods for local exchange for the necessity of our own survival, such as the barter and labor exchange systems discussed here. Gradually as these systems become more sophisticated and better bookkeeping or accounting systems are developed, we should see an emergence of some new forms of money. It is in this direction that I want to point in order to visualize how such systems may come about, and how we can begin thinking, planning, and experimenting.

From a legal viewpoint, money is nothing more (or less) than a claim. But from a technology viewpoint, money is a tool. Like any other tool, it can be shaped to perform in different ways. Just as both a scythe and a combine are tools for cutting wheat, money should be designed to perform in different ways with different objectives. In the same way that we are presently designing and creating more appropriate hardware for small-scale needs, we must also be creating an appropriate tool for exchange.

It would have to be simple to understand, but consistent with our experience of the present money system. That is: It would have to consist of both cash (or paper currency) as well as a checking system, or another form of bookkeeping that utilizes the computer to simplify accounting.

Unlike our present money system, it would have to be redeemable or exchangeable in some form in real value. It wouldn't necessarily need to be gold or silver. Rather, it would be something that meets the needs of everyday use, such as energy. Without a redemption system, it would be difficult to convince people of its value. After all, isn't the reason the dollar has become so devalued because it cannot be redeemed for real value by the primary issuer-the U.S. government?

Most importantly, we would need to establish a measurement of value that was as universal as possible, and not subject to value swings up-and-down (as is our present money system). In other words, it would have to remain as constant in value as possible. This would help it establish a sense of permanency and security as well as make it more practical for exchange to take place. Such a method of measurement would be the most revolutionary element in the design, and would be the key factor in creating a universal system of money and banking that worked without the need for central banks or governments to become involved in money issue.

Once this standard of value had been arrived at, the state or federal government could monitor it, just as the Bureau of Standards maintains and monitors other standards of measurement, such as weights and units of space. However, it would not require state intervention into the economic sphere as is now the case.

And finally, it would have to be organized at the local level and controlled by the community as a whole. For example, each community would elect members of the board of the issuing bank, which would preferably be a nonprofit institution. Under such structure, banking would become truly more of a profession; bankers would be paid for their services, but the community would decide how and where its savings were to be reinvested.

Let me reiterate briefly these four specifications: A local, appropriately scaled currency should be:
1. Consistent with customary practices (cash, checking, and accounting systems);

2. Redeemable in real goods of everyday value;

3. Based on local production, upon a universal measure of value;

4. Organized at the local level, and by the community as a whole.

To illustrate possible answers to the question, "How would it be issued?," we have some historical and present-day examples. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, a number of local currencies were created and issued by towns in Europe and by groups of cooperating merchants in the U.S. Switzerland has a system called WIR ("the ring"). Created by the merchants of several towns, the WIR uses a checking system by which members can purchase and sell goods in exchange for the WIR currency. In Los Angeles, a similar system that has been computerized makes exchanges possible between merchants without the use of U.S. dollars In all of these cases, the new currency or script is measured in the national currency, and uses national currencies for a reserve system. Whenever suppliers, or manufacturers do not accept the local currency, national currency on reserve was available for exchange.

In part, these systems have worked because they simply expand the volume of business possible for each market. However, in times of runaway inflation, such a system would be less likely to work, since the reserve currency-the national currency-would not have any value. We must therefore look to use some commodity of universal value for our reserve currency.

In order to make as clear as possible what is suggested here, I would like to make a simple proposal that we consider using some form of energy as the unit of measurement and as the reserve currency for redemption purposes. It is generally recognized that energy is a factor in all forms of production and in meeting the needs of society as a whole. In this respect gold, commodities or resources that provide essential energy are replacing gold as the traditional form of reserve currency. Thus oil is referred to as "black gold."
For more information, please contact the E. F. Schumacher Society:
140 Jug End Road Great Barrington, MA 01230 USA
Phone: 01.413.528.1737 E-mail:

Consoling Thoughts From Father Faber

We have often need to remember for our comfort that, if steps are irretrievable, nothing in the spiritual life is irremediable.

22 March, Antonio, Cardinal Bacci: Meditations for Every Day

Our Temperament
1. Just as every man has his own individual physical characteristics, he also has his own peculiar disposition. It is our character which distinguishes us and makes us what we are. Our basic temperament is neither good nor bad in itself. It is a physical and spiritual disposition which can equally well impel us towards virtue as towards sin. No two people are exactly alike in character, but it is possible to divide them all into four main categories. It is a rather artificial classification, of course, since everyone shares to a greater or less extent in the attributes proper to each of the categories.
We can broadly distinguish (1) the sanguine, (2) the nervous, (3) the choleric and (4) the phlegmatic type. People belonging to the first category are jolly folk, lively and intelligent and often impetuous. They are easily incited to begin aiming at a good or a bad objective, but usually they lack constancy and tenacity of purpose. Very often they fling themselves enthusiastically into an enterprise, but abandon it for want of perseverance. In the second category the nervous system is developed to an exceptionally fine degree in comparison with the other parts of the human organism. These people are sensitive rather than active. In their stable moments they can accomplish a great deal in a very short time. But they are easily discouraged. They are subject to depression and suffer a lot, sometimes purely as the result of a disordered imagination. They need sympathy and understanding. The choleric characters are impulsive and passionate. They have tremendous strength of will, but this needs to be restrained and diverted into the right channels if it is not to overflow into all sorts of excesses. The phlegmatic, on the other hand, are dull and apathetic by nature. They never hurry. They never get excited. They are cold, calculating, and lacking in enthusiasm. But they are masters of themselves and if they are intelligent and capable they can do a great deal of work with the minimum effort and emerge successfully from the most difficult situations. It is very helpful for a man to study and become acquainted with his own character so that he may be able to form it as he ought.
2. There is a theory that it is impossible to form character, because our character is and always will be what nature has given us. "Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret." (Horace, Ep. 1, 10:24) ("You cast out nature with a pitch-fork, but only until such time as it comes back again.") Montaigne and Rousseau extended this idea of Horace to the extent of holding that it would be evil as well as superfluous to attempt to shape character, which should be what nature intended it to be.
Although there is some little truth in this opinion, fundamentally it is false. It is true that nature cannot be suppressed, but it can be shaped and improved by a sound and well-directed education. Our natural temperament can be compared to an uncultivated field covered with weeds and bushes, or to a horse which is still untamed and unaccustomed to labour. It abounds in hidden energies and unregulated instincts; it is dangerous to leave it to itself. It would become, as Dante puts it, "a large forest, wild and rough." (Inferno, 1:5) So it is necessary for character to be formed under the guidance of a good teacher and subject to the wisdom and grace of God.
3. Each one of us is obliged to train his own character properly. Above all, it is necessary to know ourselves as the result of meditation and examination of conscience so that we may be able to correct and change our temperament. This kind of formation is slow and difficult, but we must overcome difficulties patiently and perseveringly. There is no need to be discouraged. Our main requirement in the battle against our evil instincts is the grace of God for which we should pray fervently. We need an enlightened spiritual director who will guide and encourage us. Finally, we need the determination to succeed, without which the grace of God cannot achieve the Christian transformation of our character.


IN LUMINE FIDEI: 22 MARCH – FRIDAY IN THE SECOND WEEK OF LENT: Epistle – Genesis xxxvii. 6‒22 In those days Joseph said to his brethren: “Hear my dream which I have dreamed. I thought we were binding ...

22 March, A Chesterton Calendar

MARCH 22nd

There is no clearer sign of the absence of originality among modern poets than their disposition to find new topics. Really original poets write poems about the spring. They are always fresh, just as the spring is always fresh. Men wholly without originality write poems about torture, or new religions, or some perversion of obscenity, hoping that the mere sting of the subject may speak for them. But we do not sufficiently realise that what is true of the classic ode is also true of the classic joke. A true poet writes about the spring being beautiful because (after a thousand springs) the spring really is beautiful. In the same way the true humorist writes about a man sitting down on his hat because the act of sitting down on one’s own hat (however often and admirably performed) really is extremely funny. We must not dismiss a new poet because his poem is called ‘To a Skylark’; nor must we dismiss a humorist because his new farce is called ‘My Mother-in-Law.’ He may really have splendid and inspiring things to say upon an eternal problem. The whole question is whether he has.

Introduction to ‘Sketches by Boz.’

Chesterton, G. K.. The G. K. Chesterton Collection [50 Books] (Kindle Locations 43813-43822). Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle Edition.

23 March, The Roman Martyrology

Décimo Kaléndas Aprílis Luna septima decima Anno Domini 2019
March 23rd 2019, the 17th day of the Moon, were born into the better life: 

In Africa, the holy martyrs Victorian, Pro-consul of Carthage, and two brethren from Aquae Regiae, also two merchants, both named Frumentius, all in the persecution by the Vandals, were, [as writeth the African, Victor, Bishop of Utica] on account of the steadfastness of their Catholic confession, put to the most grievous torments under the Arian king Hunneric, and gloriously crowned, [in the year 484.] 
Likewise in Africa, the holy martyr Faithful there also holy Felix and twenty others. 
At Caesarea, in Palestine, the holy martyrs Nicon, [a Neapolitan,] and ninety-nine others. [All suffered at Taormina, in Sicily, under Decius.] 
Also the holy martyrs Domitius, [a native of Phrygia,] Pelagia, Aquila, Eparchius, and Theodosia, [under Julian the Apostate.] 
At Lima, [in the year 1606,] in the kingdom of Peru, holy Turibius, Archbishop of that see, by whose work the faith and discipline of the church were spread abroad in America. 
At Antioch, the holy Priest Theodulus. 
At Caesarea, the holy Confessor Julian. 
In Campania, the holy monk Benedict, who was shut up by the Goths in a glowing furnace, but upon the morrow was found unhurt, [in the year 550.] 
V. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.
R. Thanks be to God.

Memes of the Day

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Mit Brennender Sorge

A week ago today was the 82nd anniversary of Pope Pius XI's issuance of Mit Brennender Sorge (With burning concern) denouncing Nazism as the evil, pagan cult that it is. And John Cornwell's, 'Hitler's Pope', Ven. Pius XII, as Cardinal Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli, was one of its principal authors.

8. Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the State, or a particular form of State, or the depositories of power, or any other fundamental value of the human community - however necessary and honourable be their function in worldly things - whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinises them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God; he is far from the true faith in God and from the concept of life which that faith upholds.

But, hey! Everyone knows that Hitler was a Catholic and the Church is  Nazi, eh?

Church Militant Headlines — March 21, 2019

Bishops speak out against the proposed 'Equality Act'.

Biersach & Coulombe: The Divine Will

Bill and Charles expound on the many dangers of the movement of the Divine Will, founded by Luisa Piccarreta. Despite originally being put on the Index before the Index was abolished in the 1960s, this movement has been gaining popularity. If you've ever encountered it before, you surely will find this session a cathartic experience.

Their Diverse Chickens Have Come Home to Roost…

Students at a 'Catholic' university destroy a statue of the Virgin Mary and the administration wonders why, after they've destroyed any Catholic identity the school once had.

From One Mad Mom

This is pretty straightforward, so I will save all my comments for the end, although I did apply some emphasis.
Students facing punishment after Virgin Mary statue shattered at University of St. Thomas
University leaders say it was a deliberate act.
numbers of students are facing punishment after a statue of the Virgin Mary was deliberately smashed at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul last week.
That’s according to President Julie Sullivan and Provost Richard Plumb, who issued a statement about the “religious vandalism” that occurred at the university’s Ireland Hall student residence.
The statue, which according to the statement has “stood in Ireland Hall for years,” was moved and “ultimately purposefully dropped and shattered.”
“This statue holds great significance to our Catholic faith, which is the heart of this university,” Sullivan and Plumb wrote.
The destroying of a holy object of any religion is a grave act of disrespect and is completely inconsistent with St. Thomas’ values and convictions.
The students responsible were identified following an investigation and the release of emails “denouncing the act” that were sent to the student body.
Those responsible will now be “subject to the student conduct process,” while any non-students involved will be barred from campus.
In the meantime, the university is now searching for a new statue to place in Ireland Hall.
The University of St. Thomas is Minnesota’s largest private university, catering to 10,000 students at its campuses in St. Paul, Minneapolis and Rome.
Right off the bat, we note that students were responsible. My guess is that it was not the devout types, but it’s just a guess.
I do have to laugh at the phrase “values and convictions”. I wonder what they actually are, because I went and did a tad bit of research on the university. Sure enough, it’s another sad, pathetic shadow of, maybe, what it once was.
Just to be clear, I’m fine with non-Catholics or even weak Catholics to attend Catholic universities. I am, however, not in favor of catering to their non-Catholic identities or dissent in any way, shape or form. A quick look at the site tells me that’s done in spades.
First, they cater to the Muslim faith. And, no, I don’t think a Catholic university should do so. It’s a Catholic university. If you attend a Catholic university, you shouldn’t expect he university to promote anything but Catholicism.
Yes, yes, I know that many of the Catholic universities do so. I really don’t care. I’m not saying that Muslims should be barred from praying, but reading all of the literature linked to, it’s far more than that. Heck, the Center for Campus Ministry/Office for Pastoral Care & Worship webpage is advertising the Muslim Women’s Retreat! Can’t find that Lenten retreat anywhere.
Next, they’re completely “inclusive” of the “LGBTQ” community. They’re not just trying to provide a “safe space” for them, they’re actually aiding in promoting the lifestyle.
Our mission is to foster respect and equality for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Pansexual, Asexual, Gender Non-Conforming, Non-Binary, Plus individuals and supporters within the University of St. Thomas community.
UST QSA accomplishes this mission through:
– serving as a safe space for individuals,
– acting as an educational resource for Queer issues, and
– promoting visibility of the Queer community.
Our vision is to create a thriving, diverse Queer community and a community of allies at one of the leading Catholic universities in the state.
Yeah, totally in keeping with Catholicism! And here’s a shocker, no, I don’t think that the “gay” lifestyle or equality should be promoted on a Catholic campus. It’s a contradiction of what a Catholic university should be. 
“Feminist Theology” & general diversity? They’ve got them covered too.
In fact, “Doctrine of Diversity” has taken the place of Catholic doctrine here.
St. Thomas Mission Statement:
Inspired by Catholic intellectual tradition, the University of St. Thomas educates students to be morally responsible leaders who think critically, act wisely and work skillfully to advance the common good.
In accordance with its mission, members of the university community are expected to advance the common good. This goal is most often accomplished through the normal activities of university students, staff, faculty, and administration. However, extraordinary means of expression and demonstration may be warranted when social problems become urgent and when ordinary actions are regarded as insufficient. This policy is intended to create a space for expression and dissent within boundaries that protect the rights and safety of all community members.
St. Thomas Convictions of Dignity and Diversity:
We respect the dignity of each person and value the unique contributions that each brings to the greater mosaic of the university community.
We strive to create a vibrant diverse community in which, together, we work for a more just and inclusive society.
The university is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge by means that respect the dignity and diversity of all. Dissent – defined as disagreement or withholding assent – is vital to the authentic pursuit of higher education. Therefore, members of the university community have the freedom to express diverse points of view without intimidation through expressions and demonstrations that do not infringe upon the rights of others.
Oh, let’s not forget their Student Diversity & Inclusion Services:
Mission & Services
The Student Diversity & Inclusion Services office exists to enhance the campus climate and holds deep commitment in developing and sustaining a diverse campus community in the broadest sense including differences in gender, race, ethnicity, generational history, culture, socioeconomic class, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, citizenship status, political perspectives, geographic origin, and physical ability, through programs and initiatives aimed at UST students. Our work is based on four pillars: education, leadership, advocacy, and community.
So, it appears the Catholic identity of this school was gone long ago. The students who smashed the statue for whatever reason? They’re just acknowledging it. Personally, I’d love to know the motive. So far, it’s been glaringly absent from all accounts I could find. Whatever it was, it resulted from a lack of belief in the Catholic faith for one reason or another.

Fontgombault Sermon for the Feast of SAINT BENEDICT: "May the Singing of the Earth keep ascending towards Heaven!"

The sermon preached earlier today by His Lordship, the Abbot of  Our Lady of Fontgombault, on the Feast of St Benedict, Father of Monks and Founder of his Order.

From Rorate Caeli

Sermon of the Right Reverend Dom Jean Pateau
Abbot of Our Lady of Fontgombault
(Fontgombault, March 21, 2019)

What will therefore our share be?
Matthew 19:27

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
My dearly beloved Sons,

The very human question St. Peter asks the Lord is quite welcome, and it should reassure us. Peter had not waited to put this question to himself, on the day when, egged on by his brother Andrew, he had followed a man on the shore of the Tiberias Sea who was presented to him as the Messiah.

Every day, either very early in the morning, or in the evening, Peter and his friends, on the shore of this lake, after a night or a day of work, asked themselves what share the housewives of Capernaum and the surrounding cities would take of the fresh fish they would be offering them. They also wondered how they would share out the profits of the fishing. What therefore would their share be?

Today, Peter sees the rich young man go away with sadness. This young man was not like the Galilee fishermen, he had great wealth. And he was a righteous man, who had kept God’s commandments from his youth. Jesus Himself loved him. Yet, when the Master invited him to relinquish his wealth to follow Him… No, he really could not. That was too much. The treasure promised to him in Heaven was not worth the treasure possessed on this earth. Or rather, possessed by his own treasure, the young man was no longer able to detach himself from it so as to possess another treasure.

As he remembered the day he had first met the Lord, maybe Peter was becoming aware with a certain uneasiness that he had never asked the question of the terms of the contract. They had followed, in the enthusiasm of the encounter, the Savior promised to Israel. Since then, the outlook had kept darkening. The future was growing more and more uncertain… It was becoming urgent to specify: What will therefore our share be? 

Peter was not asking for the impossible. As a fisherman, he was merely demanding that which was just. The Lord’s answer is unexpected: “A hundredfold, and as your inheritance, eternal life.” That was far more than what he could expect, far more than he had ever received.

The share prepared by God for His friends is a plentiful share. But so as to be able to possess this share, one has to be free: not to possess other treasures, not to be possessed by them. 

The question asked by Peter, and the answer given by Jesus, are a light on our own path. We have once met Jesus, perhaps since the very first days of our lives, when we received the sacrament of baptism. We did not ask any questions on what would be the just reward which would be due to us. Other people thought that following Christ was something good for us. As the years pass, we have to acknowledge that between the rich young man going away from Jesus and Peter, who is convinced to have left everything to follow Him, we never really choose.

Maybe our own treasure does not consist in gold and jewels, in huge expanses of land; our own treasure might be a self-esteem that never was evangelized, a secret pride; our own treasure is also such or such character trait, a bad habit that we have never really accepted to give up. No matter what it may be, we are possessed, and we are unable to possess.

The Church invites us today, through the figure of St. Benedict, to choose the path of an uncompromising holiness: to forsake our own treasures, so as to receive in  return the hundredfold promised by Jesus, and as our inheritance, eternal life.

If the Church applies to St. Benedict the reading from the Book of Ecclesiasticus we have just heard, it is because it bears witness to the fruitfulness of the offering of one’s life. Already before his life of retreat, Benedict did not leave indifferent those who came in contact with him, as testified for instance by the miracle of the sieve broken and made whole. This shining forth led Benedict towards retreat, so as to consecrate himself to God alone. 

But even under the bushel, the lamp kept shining. Benedict became the Father of Western monasticism, and also the Father of Europe. After Benedict’s death, Europe was to become covered by thousands of monasteries and priories. During unsettled times, they appeared to many as places of shelter, places where one could live reconciled with one’s brothers, reconciled with God, and reconciled with nature. In these schools of the Lord’s service, monks would dwell so as to serve God alone.

Were the times in which Benedict was living more unsettled than the times we are living in today? One could not claim that. Yet, it is certain that in today’s monasteries Benedict’s disciples still have to give the testimony of their faithfulness to the answer they gave to the Lord on the day of their solemn consecration, that answer which is the one the rich young man should have given, “Uphold me, O Lord, according to Thy word, and I shall live.” In return, the Lord promises not that which is merely just, but a hundredfold, and as our inheritance, eternal life. 

This hundredfold promised to the monk is from now on already a life of fraternity inside the community; it is a peace conducive to seeking God. This hundredfold is also the grace to be able to gather to sing the praises of God in choir, or also to gather in the daily manual work.

Benedict’s sole concern was to seek God, and as he did that, he became one of the main evangelizers of Europe. Today, Europe has grown old, its faith has grown cold. In the eyes of our contemporaries, the world no longer appears as the splendid work of a loving Maker, but as the fruit of a cold and soulless chance. Although telescopes may bring our eyes ever farther towards the ends of the universe, our hearts no longer know how to consider our closest friend as a being who is loved by God, or creation as a gift to be respected. The eyes of our hearts have grown dimmer, and have eventually become obscure.

Amidst silence and darkness, the monastery bell should still resound, a messenger of divine Love in a world no longer able to love, a messenger of the monks, who pray for those who no longer pray.

All of you who remain close to so many of these houses, please ask for these communities to persevere and for faithful vocations, so that the singing of the earth should keep ascending towards Heaven, and so that this praise should not fall silent.