31 May 2020

Today is St Petronilla's Day and my Grandmother Weismiller's Name Day.

The name migrated into Swedish as 'Pitronella', which was her baptismal name. When she came to the US as a girl of 11, she shortened it to 'Nelly', a common name at the time, and an equally common shortening of Pitronella. She used it the rest of her life and her tombstone bears it.

She always worried that it wasn't her 'legal' name, but in those free and easy days before identity theft and 9/11, in most jurisdictions you could use any name you liked, as long as there was no fraud or criminality involved.

Rest in peace, Grandma!

Here is a bit about St Petronilla from Catholic Online:

St. Petronilla is believed to have been the daughter of St. Peter. Until the XVII Century, she was called his physical daughter, and since then, she has been thought a spiritual daughter who was consecrated to his service. Legends quoted in Manichćan documents relate that Peter cured her of a palsy. Stories found in the writings of St. Marcellus (and retold in The Golden Legend) say that Peter, who thought his daughter too beautiful, asked God to afflict her with a fever, of which he refused to cure her until she began to be perfected in the love of God. She is said to have refused Count Flaccus' hand in marriage. Traditions say she died a natural death, but accounts of her martyrdom can be found. Petronilla is thought to have been Aurelia Petronilla, a scion of the gens Flavius, the family of Vespasian and Domitian. She was also related to St. Domitilla, who was exiled in I Century to Pandateria, whose property on the Via Ardentina became a catacomb cemetary. Inscriptions there describe Petronilla as a martyr. During the papacy of Siricius (384-399), a basilica was built on the site of her tomb. In the VIII Century, Gregory III established a place of public prayer in the basilica, and her relics were translated to St. Peter's, where a chapel was dedicated in her honor. Charlemagne (d. 814) and Carlomen (d. 771) were considered adopted sons of St. Peter, and they, along with the French monarchs who succeeded them, considered Petronilla their sister. Her chapel became the chapel of the kings of France. Her emblem, like that of St. Peter, is a set of keys.
Saint Petronilla (Aurelia Petronilla) is an early Christian saint. She was venerated as a virgin martyr by the Catholic Church. She died in Rome at the end of 1st century, or possibly in the 3rd century.
Petronilla is traditionally identified as the daughter of Saint Peter, though this may stem simply from the similarity of names. It is believed she may have been a convert of the saint (and thus a "spiritual daughter"), or a follower or servant. It is said that Saint Peter cured her of palsy.
Roman inscriptions, however, identify her simply as a martyr. She may have been related to Saint Domitilla.
Stories associated with her include those that relate that she was so beautiful that Saint Peter had locked her up in a tower to keep her from eligible men; that a pagan king named Flaccus, wishing to marry her, led Petronilla to go on a hunger strike, from which she died.


The Burial of Saint Petronilla, by Guercino, 1621–22
Almost all the 6th- and 7th-century lists of the tombs of the most highly venerated Roman martyrs mention St. Petronilla's grave as situated in the Via Ardeatina near Sts. Nereus and Achilleus. These notices have been completely confirmed by the excavations in the Catacomb of Domitilla. One topography of the graves of the Roman martyrs, Epitome libri de locis sanctorum martyrum, locates on the Via Ardeatina a church of St. Petronilla, in which Sts. Nereus and Achilleus, as well as Petronilla, were buried.
This church, built into the above-mentioned catacomb, has been discovered, and the memorials found in it removed all doubt that the tombs of the three saints were once venerated there.
A painting, in which Petronilla is represented as receiving a deceased person (named Veneranda) into heaven, was discovered on the closing stone of a tomb in an underground crypt behind the apse of the basilica. Beside the saint's picture is her name: Petronilla Mart. (yr). That the painting was done shortly after 356, is proved by an inscription found in the tomb.
It is thus clearly established that Petronilla was venerated at Rome as a martyr in the 4th century, and the testimony must be accepted as certainly historical, notwithstanding the later legend which recognizes her only as a virgin (see below). Another known, but unfortunately no longer extant, memorial was the marble sarcophagus which contained her remains, under Pope Paul I translated to St. Peter's Basilica. In the account of this in the Liber Pontificalis the inscription carved on the sarcophagus is given thus: Aureae Petronillae Filiae Dulcissimae ("of the golden Petronilla, the sweetest daughter"). The sarcophagus was discovered, in the very chapel dedicated to her in Old St Peter's, under Pope Sixtus IV, who hastened to inform Louis XI of France. Extant 16th-century notices concerning this sarcophagus assert that the first word was Aur, (Aureliae), so that the martyr's name was Aurelia Petronilla. The second name comes from Petro or Petronius, and, as the name of the great-grandfather of the Christian consul, Titus Flavius Clemens, was Titus Flavius Petro, it is very possible that Petronilla was a relative of the Christian Flavii, who were descended from the senatorial family of the Aurelii. This theory would also explain why Petronilla was buried in the catacomb of the Flavian Domitilla. Like the latter, Petronilla may have suffered during the persecution of Domitian, perhaps not till later.
Saint Petronilla, Sano di Pietro.
In the 4th-century Roman catalogue of martyrs' feasts, which is used in the Martyrologium Hieronymianum, her name seems not to have been inserted. It occurs in the latter martyrology, but only as a later addition. Her name is given under 31 May and the Martyrologies of Bede and his imitators adopt the same date. The absence of her name from the 4th-century Roman calendar of feasts suggests that Petronilla died at the end of the first or during the 2nd century, since no special feasts for martyrs were celebrated during this period. After the erection of the basilica over her remains and those of Sts. Nereus and Achilleus in the 4th century, her cult extended widely and her name was therefore admitted later into the martyrology. A legend, the existence of which in the 6th century is proved by its presence in the list of the tombs of the Roman martyrs prepared by Abbot John at the end of this century, regards Petronilla as a real daughter of Saint Peter. In the Gnostic apocryphal Acts of St. Peter, dating from the 2nd century, a daughter of St. Peter is mentioned, although her name is not given.
The legend being widely propagated by these apocryphal Acts, Petronilla was identified at Rome with this supposed daughter of St. Peter, probably because of her name and the great antiquity of her tomb. As such, but now as a virgin, not as a martyr, she appears in the legendary Acts of the martyrs St. Nereus and Achilleus and in the Liber Pontificalis. From this legend of Sts. Nereus and Achilleus a similar notice was admitted into the historical martyrologies of the Middle Ages and thence into the modern Roman Martyrology.

The Chapel of St. Petronilla

In 757 the coffin containing the mortal remains of the saint was transferred to an old circular building (the mausoleum of Emperor Honorius dating from the end of the 4th century) near St. Peter's. This building was altered and became the Chapel of St. Petronilla.
Her chapel became the burial place for French kings. Her association with the French crown stems from the fact that Charlemagne and Carloman were considered Saint Peter's adopted sons after 800. Petronilla, as the supposed daughter of Peter, became their patroness and of the treaties concluded between the Holy See and the Frankish emperors.
When St. Peter's was rebuilt in the 16th century, the old chapel and former mausoleum was demolished and Saint Petronilla's relics were translated to an altar dedicated to her in the upper end of the right side-aisle of the new basilica (near the cupola). The chapel includes embellishments by Michelangelo and Bramante.
Guercino painted an altarpiece called The Burial of Saint Petronilla in 1623. It simultaneously depicts the burial and the welcoming to heaven of the martyred Saint Petronilla. The altar is dedicated to the saint, and contains her relics.
Her feast falls on 31 May. Mass on this day in St. Peter's is offered for France and attended by French residents of Rome.
She is patroness of the dauphins of France because a dolphin (in French, dauphin) was reputedly found carved on her sarcophagus.
A fictional portrait of Saint Petronilla.
Ambrogio Lorenzetti painted a Santa Petronilla Altarpiece in the 1340s. The Healing of St. Petronilla is the name of a tapestry made for Guillaume de Hellande, Bishop of Beauvais, in the 15th century.

Hypocrisy Much?

In Search of the Promised Land: Saint Brendan’s Voyage

There are those who think St Brendan preceded the Vikings by centuries in discovering North America.

The Voyage of Saint Brendan (John J. O'Meara, translator)

From Medievalist.net

By Andrea Maraschi

Between the ninth and the tenth century, in an unknown European abbey, an anonymous author told the story of an Irish monk and his fourteen companions who embarked on a dangerous journey in the fifth century. The monk’s name was Brendan, and his destination was the Terra repromissionis sanctorum, the Promised Land of the saints.

The text, known as Navigatio Sancti Brendani abbatis, is the account of an incredible adventure through fantastic landscapes, but – as many narrative texts set in the “fantastic” – it combines legendary elements with useful details about the author’s culture, beliefs, and even mental attitude. This was typical of medieval hagiographic texts, which were meant to narrate the deeds of saints and their miracles, but that nonetheless mirrored the mentalities, anxieties, and longings of the world in which they had been written Brendan’s story does not belong to the genre of hagiography, but to a specific Irish branch of stories about saints: the immrama – “voyages’ tales”.

The rise of this indigenous literary genre was connected with the peculiar form that Irish monasticism took in comparison with other European models. Irish monks were more ascetic, austere, and so were their Regulae. Most importantly, they were characterized by a marked inclination to travel to remote lands in order to found new monasteries. St. Columban (543–615), for instance, left Bangor and travelled through the whole forests of Gaul for years, and eventually reached Bobbio in northern Italy. St. Brendan was no different: his destination was, though.

The idea to sail in search of the Promised Land of the saints came from Barinth, the abbot of Drumcullen, a distant relative of Brendan’s. Barinth told him about a wonderful isle, a place where there was no hunger, no thirst, and no darkness. Should we be surprised that God had in store for his most pious men a place of plenty, where typical human fears – a lack of food, and death – were banished?

Of course not. Christianity – just like many other religions – based its force on an appealing agreement: it required an initial investment in faith, and offered a final (but eternal) stay at a heavenly afterlife. Interestingly, and not unlike the Old Norse Valhalla, the Christian afterlife looked like a wonderful banqueting hall as well (Matthew 22:1-14): warm and with inexhaustible meat-based courses, in contrast with the dark world outside, “where there’ll be weeping and gnashing of teeth”.

Barinth’s words were enough to convince Brendan and his companions to put to sea in search of the heavenly Terra repromissionis. The thing is…they left on an empty stomach. Before leaving, indeed, they decided to fast for forty days, in accordance with the archetypal biblical model. The reason was twofold, and on two levels: the author wanted to connect his story with the Bible; the characters needed to purify their bodies and their souls in following the deeds of biblical prophets.

After the fast, the monks built a wooden boat, covered it with bovine leather, and finally set sail with provisions for forty days: clearly, they planned to reach the Promised land within…“biblical times”. Actually, their estimate proved pretty accurate, and it was no matter of luck: God, from His invisible outpost, was guiding them.

The moment the monks ran out of food, they immediately caught sight of an island and headed for it. It took them three days to eventually dock when, at the ninth hour, they saw a small bay suitable for anchoring: needless to say, these numbers were no coincidence, and were all connected with biblical symbolic ones (3, multiples of 3, etc.). The company was welcomed by a cheerful dog, and Brendan immediately recognized the pet as a messenger of God. It led them to a large dwelling where table, chairs, and water had been elegantly set inside a wide atrium, almost as if the abode itself had been waiting for the Irish monks to arrive. Suddenly, the table was set by itself, and the monks had a white loaf and a fish each to eat: a generous and miraculous lunch which was in total harmony with the typical monastic diet (in which meat was often replaced with fish for penance-related reasons).

A feast for Saint Brendan and his followers – Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg, Cod. Pal. germ. 60
The following morning, they found the table miraculously set once again: and for three days, God fed them at that heavenly place of plenty. On the fourth day, the monks were ready to leave the island, when a juvenis (a young boy) came to them carrying a basket filled with bread and some water. This spontaneous gift from a stranger, which fed them until Easter, was no coincidence either, and would not be an isolated occurrence.

They sailed again through the ocean, and after a while they saw land and went ashore: it was Holy Thursday. On Holy Saturday, a man turned up bringing bread and other provisions. He also added that he would bring them more provisions in eight days, since he already knew where they would dock. All of these unknown benefactors were clearly sent by God, and were yet one another typical trait of early medieval hagiographic tales.

They finally weighed anchor and, after staying one day on the back of a giant fish named Jasconius (which they mistook for an island), the monks stopped by an isle where birds were singing psalms and praising the Lord. There, Brendan and his companions celebrated Easter, and then the messenger of God showed up again and gave them food and drink. He told Brendan that those provisions would be more than enough to sustain them until Whitsunday.

On the back of a giant fish – Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg, Cod. Pal. germ. 60
The man was of his word. On Pentecost day, he returned and carried all the food that was necessary for the celebration; then, eight days later, before they set out, he gave them as many provisions as their boat could carry. The monks were getting closer to their final destination, but still had to go a long way. Now, they were alone with the seas.

About three months later, Brendan reached the island of St. Albeus. Here, an old man welcomed them and led them into a nearby monastery. Brendan and his companions were given white loaves and exquisite roots: foods which mirrored those of Irish hermits and monks, but which were tastier, delicious, heavenly. Bread in monasteries could be white (made with wheat), but was often black (made with inferior grains): monastic food was meant to mortify the body, not to please it. Similarly, roots were usually consumed by hermits in the forests, and were not considered a delicacy.

The abbot of the monastery told the strangers that everyday he found such miraculous loaves in the pantry, and that God gave them all the food they needed. He also told them that the inhabitants of that island did not get old, nor did they feel cold or heat: the anxieties of the human world did not belong to the island of St. Albeus.

Brendan’s journey to the Promised Land continued to be watched over by God, who would assist the Irish monks in many ways. For instance, by sending them a big bird that flew over their boat carrying in its beak a branch of an unknown tree from which was hanging a bunch of exceptionally red and ripe grapes. The bird dropped the branch on Brendan’s lap, and the heavenly food filled the brothers for twelve days (another symbolic number). This and other parallel miracles in the Navigatio Sancti Brendani were clearly meant to recall biblical miracle tales, such as that of the manna from heaven, or of the quails that God sent to Moses.

Christianity would perpetuate the memory of these wonders throughout all the Middle Ages thanks to the Vitae of saints, and with good reason: such stories would edify the faithful by showing them that the only apparent problem with Christian monotheism – the distance separating man from God – was way more irrelevant than it might have seemed. As unknowable and unreachable as he was, God had sacrificed himself on the cross, and had sent prophets and saints to perform miracles and look after the common people, the poor, the sick, and so on. Behind the literary appeal of these tales, then, was the underlying (but extremely powerful) message that Christianity was the answer to everyday issues as well as to the deepest fears and anxieties of mortal life.

Almost at the end of his fantastic adventure, Brendan made landfall at the island of Paul the hermit. This hermit told the Irish monk that an otter had been bringing a fish and firewood to him for thirty years, once every three days. He never felt hungry thanks to the Lord, nor thirsty, since every Sunday a spring of water would pour from a rock…not unlike a well-known miracle which is featured in the Book of Exodus.

Yes, Brendan and his monks found the Terra repromissionis sanctorum, at last. But, as has been noted, the author of the Navigatio wanted to make a parallel between such a perilous journey through unknown seas and isles, and the journey of life in the world. He wanted readers and listeners to understand that if they had faith, they would never be left alone. It was as easy as that, however hard it could sound. Symbolically speaking, the Navigatio allegorizes this message in the repeated episodes of the spontaneous offerings of food, whether by unknown characters, animals, or mysterious forces: a rhetorical strategy which reminds us – if ever it was needed – that food is language.

Maximilian Kolbe A Saint in Auschwitz

It is too bad that St Max has been 'sanitised' in the post-Conciliar Church.

From Catholic Stand

By Pete Socks

Looking for an engaging way to captivate readers both young and young at heart? I can’t recommend enough the new graphic novel from Jean-Francois Vivier Maximilian Kolbe: A Saint in Auschwitz. You read that right….graphic novel!
When this gem first arrived I was intrigued. It hooked me once I opened it. I cut my teeth on comic books….rather graphic novels growing up. The format drew me in immediately and the best part was this was not a fictional story of a superhero from a galaxy far, far away. Rather, it was a story about a real-life superhero Maximilian Kolbe.
The artwork in this graphic novel is fantastic and the story of Maximilian’s unfolds in the books 48 pages. You will follow along with Kolbe from his childhood through his early years as a priest up to his eventual internment and death in a Nazi prison camp. The book concludes with his canonization as a saint by Pope John Paul II.
I REALLY like this adaption of the life of Maximilian Kolbe. Shortly after I read through it my 7 year old son and 11 year old daughter took a turn and were equally enthralled. This book is  a must and one I highly recommend. Here’s hoping there will be more graphic novels on the lives of the saints to come!

‘The Love of Tradition Brings People Together’

From my own experience, the more traditional a parish is, the more loving and 'together' it is.

From Crisis

By Francis Lee

An interview with the Reverend Canon Matthew Talarico, Director of Vocations and Provincial Superior of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

Q: What led you to choose your priestly vocation in the Institute and your personal devotion to the Traditional Latin Mass?

I came to know the Traditional Latin Mass when I was about thirteen years old. The Mass I attended was celebrated by priests in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. I was inspired by the sacred reverence of the Latin Mass and soon found myself serving at the altar, which I had done for several years at my former Novus Ordo parish. I was quickly drawn to the overall beauty of this ancient form of worship and, as a language enthusiast, was interested in learning Latin.

This early introduction to tradition provided an abundant source of inspiration to me as a teenager. I realized that the way I conducted myself at the altar should influence and uplift my behavior in everyday life. I remember that, as a teenager, sometimes I acted as teenagers do by default. With this natural youthful disposition in mind, serving at the Latin Mass, at the holy altar, and the sacred reverence of that environment radically altered my daily behavior when I was at home and school during the week.

When I was deciding where to pursue my priestly vocation, I was drawn to the Institute, in particular, due to its warm family spirit, which stems from the spirituality of Saint Francis de Sales. In the Institute, I sensed a supernatural charity and a profound spirituality based upon the truths of our Faith. Likewise, I sensed that the Institute would offer a traditional formation in an authentic spirit of Romanitas. I was drawn to the Institute’s focus on restoring the sacred liturgy but also to its mission to restore and renew a sense of Catholic culture in the public square. In other words, the attitude and behavior which we have in church during the liturgy should inspire and edify us in our daily lives—how we sing, what we say, what we do in our social life with other people in the world. So, in the Institute, I sensed there was a wholeness to this Catholic approach and that was very attractive to me.

Q: The Institute was canonically erected in 1990. Since then, the Institute has grown to include 80 apostolates in twelve countries, 120 priests, and more than 90 seminarians. You will soon celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Institute’s founding this September. Where do you see the Institute in the future?

First, we are planning a pilgrimage of thanksgiving to Rome, to celebrate our 30th anniversary, around the Feast of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, since Mary Immaculate is our Patroness. The trip we put together is on our website, and though the present moment is not the best time to make definite plans, we are still planning this trip to Rome from December 6–8.

Acknowledging that no one is a prophet who can predict the future, I can see, from the ground now, that there has been a sharp increase in men who are inquiring about a vocation, either as a priest or brother. This increase has occurred in the last few years and the last twelve months most notably. Even during this pandemic, we continue to receive phone calls and emails about vocational inquiries. There are a couple of dozen men planning to make a discernment visit over the next few months. I would say that the increasing amount of vocational inquiries is very encouraging.

Also, bishops are reaching out to us. This is always a pleasant and welcoming affirmation of our Institute’s work. Just last week, a diocesan bishop called us to have a conversation about establishing an apostolate in his diocese. So there are bishops who are stating their desire to have communities, like the Institute, in their dioceses. We are blessed by God to have many vocations in order to fulfill this great spiritual need facing the Catholic Church in America. In the past eight months, we started two new apostolates in the United States—one in Waterbury, Connecticut, and the other in Lake Charles, Louisiana. I think that grace will allow the Institute to continue its growth so that priests and the brothers will be present to people for fulfilling their spiritual needs where such support is lacking.

The Sisters Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus Christ Sovereign Priest, the vital female branch of the Institute family, continue to grow as well. There are over fifty Sisters now. This spring, we planned for seven Sisters to receive the habit but, unfortunately, due to the pandemic, we had to postpone the ceremony which was to take place on the Feast of Saint Joseph. Considering that the seven Sisters come from six different countries, there exists a very international character. In regards to the Faith and, especially, to the liturgy and spirituality, I am always edified by how the love for tradition brings people together from across the globe. In Europe and also in Africa, the Institute also operates several schools and I have full hopes that this ministry will continue to grow as well.

Q: The Institute is known, among its many public event offerings, to host free classical concerts to the local community. What is the role of high culture (in music, art, and architecture) in the New Evangelization? How does the Institute view the role of beauty in the salvation of souls?

I would say that authentic beauty is ultimately the reflection of truth, which is ultimately God. The beauty and the order of music inspires us to witness a higher beauty which transcends this world. Saint Thomas Aquinas, one of our patrons, says that our sense of hearing is the most spiritual of our five senses. Thus, music can profoundly touch and inspire the soul, in ways the other senses are unable, to seek questions and answers to the great mysteries of life: who am I, how can I be happy, and what’s the point of my life?

Also, beauty awakens in us the desire for more, for the infinite. Realizing that we human beings are not pure spirits (as the angels) who can be drawn to God by our sole intelligence, this beauty in sight, sound, and smell can draw our humanity to God. It is important to understand that God attracts our souls to Himself not only by intellectual truth. God, who is goodness itself and who desires to share His infinite goodness with us, allows us to perceive that goodness in beauty according to all the modes of our humanity, including our five senses as well.

For example, the sublime beauty of the traditional liturgy draws us deeper into our Catholic spirituality. We ask: what is the purpose of beautiful music in the ancient form of chant, what do the incense and vestments mean, what does this beautiful ceremony, this ritual, mean? So beauty is, in the end, an invitation for us to go beyond mere appearances and the exterior reality to discover the interior reality, to study further, and to seek it out. I think beauty has a very instrumental role to play in evangelization in this way.

In regards to our classical concerts in Chicago, we had people enter our church who would otherwise not visit; they appreciate the timeless beauty of this music. We’ve had children and students come to see and learn from these professional musicians. Local neighbors come into the church and listen to beautiful music, while looking around and silently observing the historic statues and the magnificent altar. The uplifting beauty perceived by the senses is edifying for mind and spirit. Thus, this ambiance can be fertile ground in which, through the grace of God, a seed of faith can be planted in their souls. Sometimes, concert attendees approach us priests in order to ask questions pertaining to the Faith. Others remain in their seats upon the event’s conclusion, spiritually ruminating on what they heard in this setting. Such public concerts are charitable ways to share our sacred space with the community in order to bring those individual souls closer to the altar, closer to the Faith, and closer to the Catholic Church.

Q: The Institute states that the famous quote by Saint Francis de Sales, “Cook the truth in charity until it tastes sweet,” is the principal aim of its apostolic work. Yet there are signs of division and contempt for our fellow man in American society, and the Catholic Church as well. Have we largely forgotten the virtue of charity? If so, how can we grow in it again?

Saint Francis de Sales had a profound love for the Incarnation, for the Nativity of Our Lord in the stable at Bethlehem. God comes down to us as a little child to show us how lovable and beautiful His truth is for us. God wants us to be happy and does not want His children to love Him by coercion but, rather, through pure attraction. What is more lovable than a little child?

Saint Francis de Sales’s spirituality of attraction seeks to persuade the whole human person about the goodness of the Gospel message, the goodness which is God, so that we become inspired to take on the sacrifice, the cross, the trials, and the mortifications which are necessary for our human nature to repent from sin, to live a life of virtue, and thus, please God, to reach our heavenly destiny.

This persuasion based on the sweet force of charity also includes a profound unity. God is Triune, and God is one. So our faith should really bring us together as God’s family. God’s Church is one as He is one. The devil is the opposite of that. Diablos in Greek means the one who divides. He wants always to divide people and foster internal schism.

To achieve this harmony of unity in charity while proclaiming the Gospel, we must, first of all, focus on God Himself, on God who is unity, keeping also in mind that God’s unity does not suppress our diversity. On the contrary, that unity is in some way more fully expressed vis-à-vis our human nature by understanding a diversity of richness. Just look at creation—the animals, the plants, and the angels; you realize the full gamut of creation and get a fuller sense of God’s beauty in all the ways it is shown. But there is still unity because it is all God’s creation. In the process, we cannot forget about the need to be focused on prayer and the liturgy as well. To discover deeper charity, one must be really Christ-centered, especially through the Holy Eucharist since this sacrament is charity par excellence as Saint Thomas tells us.

Saint Francis de Sales also has a message very accessible to us. He says that holiness is possible for everyone in every state of life and that charity is especially accessible to us in the so-called little virtues. We typically don’t have extraordinary occasions of practicing virtue in our everyday lives, but we have lots of little smaller ones. For example, we can practice charity in the smaller virtues of gratitude, humility, obedience, or meekness. Let’s look at the little ways within our reach to practice charity and be faithful in following through with the little things. This is how we will be able to spread more charity, more joy, and more peace to the world, these being the fruits of the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of divine love. From the liturgy and the sacraments, we receive the grace needed to use those opportunities in practicing the virtues to bring charity to our world.

Furthermore, the greatest charity is truth. Therefore, we must help people who are living in a difficult society by teaching them the truth in a way that can be better understood by them, in smaller bite-size pieces, little by little. We have to present the truth to them in a manner which highlights just how attractive and desirable the truth really is for them. We have to, as our mothers did when we were infants, spoon-feed little by little, not giving them too much at first as they might choke. No one can drink from a firehose! The whole truth must be made palatable to them in the way that it is presented and taught.

For example, when you go to the grocery store, you fill up your refrigerator with good meat and vegetables, but you have to cook all these ingredients to make the meal palatable. You can’t just go to the refrigerator and start eating out of the fridge. The various ingredients have to be cooked and well prepared with a presentable dining table set. Of course, truth must be made palatable to people. This does not mean watering it down—by no means. We must help people to develop a healthy appetite for this truth. We must teach people what they should be hungering for, increasing their appetite for the truth, and showing them how the truth is good for their spiritual happiness. A holy life is a happy life and vice versa. So charity has a way of opening up souls to the truth and inspiring them to seek out the truth even more; that is the Christian role of charity. Charity without truth is just a natural philanthropy; charity and truth go hand in hand. That’s why God is truth and also charity.

Q: Five years has passed since the fire engulfed the Shrine of Christ the King Sovereign Priest in Chicago. Can you describe to us what went on in your mind as you witnessed this tragedy? What is the progress of its restoration as of today? What can the faithful do to support the restoration?

The tragic event occurred on the Feast of the Holy Rosary, so we felt like we were living in the sorrowful mysteries in that moment. It’s a very shocking thing to have a fire of this destructive magnitude and to realize your congregation is spiritually homeless. As traumatic as this was for us spiritual fathers, we knew by faith that Divine Providence is always at work. After the sorrowful mysteries come the glorious mysteries. With this in mind, we remained focused on doing what we needed to do for the salvation of souls at that time, while praying together as a spiritual family that God would show us the path forward in what He wanted us to do with the fire-damaged church.

Then the Archdiocese of Chicago deeded the property of the church and the campus to the Institute in late February of 2016. Restoration work began immediately. The church structure was solid. The walls were firm and steady, as was the tower. However, the fire had compromised the structural value of the steel roofing system, which had to be totally redesigned and replaced one steel truss at a time. The new roof with its drainage system covers an area of about 20,000 square feet. All the brick walls of the interior, about one hundred years old, had to be cleaned and tuck-pointed, while about 25,000 new bricks replaced old damaged bricks. The window frames were cleaned and replaced as needed in preparation for the new windows which were installed about one year ago. We invested about four million dollars into securing the building’s exterior envelope. Phase Two can now focus on everything the building’s interior needs in order to obtain the occupancy permit which will make it possible for the church to be reopened to the public: the heating and ventilation system, plumbing, electrical, fire protection, along with new interior walls made of gypsum board with arches, columns, and ceiling.

Upon completion of Phase Two, the church will have a substantial but blank interior, looking something like a newly baked cake out of the oven and ready to be decorated. While the building will then be open for Masses, devotions, and concerts again, the aesthetical work will begin piece by piece over time as funding is available.

While the Archdiocese of Chicago gave ownership of the fire-damaged building and property to the Institute in late February 2016, no insurance monies were made available to the Institute at that time for this rebuilding project. The Institute must therefore raise all the funds on its own. Thus far, we raised and invested four million dollars in Phase One. We estimate that the total cost of Phase Two will be between four to five million dollars. So far, we have raised five hundred thousand dollars and have approximately two million in pledges for Phase Two. The cost of the Phase Three interior artwork and decoration is still under study. Thus, to achieve our remaining fundraising goals, we are inviting people to be part of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which serves as a metaphor for the universal Church. As we attempt to rebuild this building as a shrine of national importance for Christ the Infant King, we are, in this process, helping to rebuild the Catholic Church in the United States for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

The construction of this shrine as the headquarters church of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest in the U.S. is the cornerstone project of a larger vision for our entire headquarters campus as well. Improvements to our central location will help us better serve the administrative and personnel needs for our apostolates coast to coast across America, provide support and resources for our clergy, organize apostolic activities for youth, welcome men for vocational discernment visits, and much more as needed. Everyone is welcome to visit our website, www.shrinelandmark.org, the project website, to learn more about the project and how to support this historic project of national importance.

Q: How does the Institute aim to spread the reign of Our Lord?

The Institute exists to give glory to God through the public celebration of the traditional liturgy. The canons, oblate Brothers, and Sisters are a family of prayer around the altar of Our Lord. We gather around the altar three to four times a day. Then we go forth from the altar and meet people where they are. We go out to visit the sick in the hospital with the sacraments, offer house blessings for families in their homes, teach catechism to people of all ages, offer days of recollection and retreats, as well as provide spiritual chaplaincy for pro-life groups.

As we meet people where they are, we are always seeking to bring them to the altar—we go from the altar to people in order to bring people to the altar. This full circle imitates Our Lord who came forth from the Father into this world in order to bring us all home to the Father. The writings and example of our spiritual founder, Saint Francis de Sales, help us to understand each individual’s situation based on his or her personal circumstances and then to offer this soul the spiritual direction needed on its journey to the altar of God.

Throughout history, the Church has always been visibly present and active in the world in a Catholic way. Likewise today, we need to go forth from the altar to bring the truth and charity of Christ to people where they are. This includes helping the needy with corporal and spiritual works of mercy, as well as with cultural experiences like concerts. We need to meet the citizens in our neighborhoods, to work together in common projects which truly benefit souls, and to be present in the Roman cassock as visible representatives of the Church and witnesses of Christ’s truth to everyone we meet and speak with. I recall an occasion, after the tragic fire, when the Chicago City Council invited me to offer the prayer invocation for their meeting. Inspired by Saint Francis de Sales, the mission of the Institute is to bring the truth and charity of the reign of Christ our King everywhere and in all places, in such ways as these and others, according to the traditional character of our charism as blessed and sanctioned by Holy Mother Church.



Are the sacraments instituted by our Blessed Lord necessary for obtaining the grace which corresponds to each one in particular, or is the receiving of these sacraments of counsel only?

These sacraments are absolutely necessary, in this sense, that if through one's own fault one neglects to receive them, one will not receive the grace corresponding thereto; and there are three of them which produce a certain effect such as can never come to be unless the sacrament be received (LXV. 4).

What are these three, and what is this certain effect dependent upon them?

They are Baptism, Confirmation, and Holy Orders; and the effect spoken of is the character which each of these sacraments impresses on the soul (LXIII. 6).

What is this character?

It is a certain quality of the spiritual order, constituting in the higher and intellectual part of the soul a sort of power or faculty which effects that he who receives it participates in the priesthood of Jesus Christ (LXIII. 1-4.).

Is this character impressed on the soul indelible?

Yes, it will remain for ever once it is received, to the glory of those who reach heaven who have therefore shown themselves worthy to bear it; and to the confusion of those in hell who have misused it (LXIII. 5).

Which character marks men according to the likeness of our Lord and makes them able to participate in His priesthood?

The sacrament of Baptism (LXIII. 6).


Faith in Science and Faith in God

A scientist looks at the irrationality of rejecting belief in God on the basis of 'science' or, more properly, on the basis of the religion of 'scientism'.

From Catholic Stand

By Bob Kurland

I’ve wondered, since my conversion, why some found it so much harder to believe in God than in Science. When I was younger in college, I took the pronouncements of my teachers–Nobel Prize winners* and graduate students–as holy writ (although I didn’t know then what holy writ was). In laboratories, we repeated famous experiments, Galileo’s inclined plane,  Millikan’s charge/mass ratio, Morgan’s experiments with fruit flies (what a headache from the ether, picking out anesthetized flies), etc…
As physics and chemistry became more sophisticated–quantum mechanics and electrodynamics–the experiments, the thesis work verified H psi = E psi, Maxwell’s equations, and the Second Law.  But very few atheists and agnostics–journalists and politicians for the most part–have had this experience. Nevertheless, they believe what “scientists,” tell them about the world as an article of faith, not justified by what they themselves have done or perceived.
It was only until after retirement that I started looking into the philosophical foundations of science and its various disciplines that I realized that there is a contingent of philosophers–“anti-realists”, “constructivists”, “empiricists”–who question whether there is a reality that lies behind the science.
I assert that the vast majority of people put faith in science that is much less justified than faith in God. I’ve argued that a rational, historical approach will justify a faith in the Resurrection and in the Divinity of Our Lord. Moreover, the subjective experiences we ourselves have had and that have been related to us, the tested accounts of miracles, are as good evidence for the existence of God as are accounts of scattering experiments for the existence of the Higgs boson.
The best account of the uncritical atheistic foundational belief system has been given in an excellent review by Michael Potemra (see NRO, “The Corner”, April 28, 2012)  of a new book by a noted paleontologist, Michael Asher: Evolution and Belief: Confessions of a Religious Paleontologist.    I can add very little to Potemra’s review, but I would like to repeat his quote from the book because it expresses my attitude about science and religion to a T:
“The absence of a scientific proof for God is more indicative of the limits of science than the lack of a deity (emphasis added). . . Evolutionary biology is not about the origin of life or the existence of God. It is about how living things are interconnected through a specific, natural mechanism, one which we can understand through the fossil record, individual development, and molecular biology.” Asher
“t is rational to believe that an entity beyond our comprehension was the agency by which something was derived from nothing at the beginning of time. . . . Although I acknowledge my belief to be non-scientific, it is entirely rational. Science is a subset of rationality; the former has a narrower scope than the latter. To ignore rationality when it does fall beyond the scientific enterprise would be an injustice to both reasonand humanity ( Michael Asher).
Most people aren’t aware of the distinction between science and other rational enterprises–science requires theory (usually mathematical and linked to other theories, more basic and fundamental), confirmed or falsified by observation/reproducible experiment.
Because faith in God is not quantifiable, the atheists classify it as one of the White Queen’s “Six impossible things before breakfast”. That’s hokum! Many rational beliefs cannot be assessed numerically.
It is science itself that is limited in that science, in its best and purest practice, is restricted to those tests that can be verified by quantitative measurements. It is faith in God that is most easily tested by the person, in his own experience, and by historical evidence.
Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said. ‘One can’t believe impossible things.‘ I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast” (Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass).
The absence of a scientific proof for God is more indicative of the limits of science than the lack of a deity. . . .(Michael Asher, Evolution and Belief: Confessions of a Religious Paleontologist).
*The graduate students were usually better teachers if not always as spectacular as the Nobel Prize winners: Pauling, Delbruck, Feynman, Schwinger, Purcell, Van Vleck

What Is A Civilization Worth?

Whilst it's permeated with the stink of his defeatism, I totally agree with the basic tenor of this essay. Fight for our civilisation!

From The American Conservative

By Rod Dreher

In the comments section earlier today, the man who comments as Kenofken said that a civilization that jailed Oscar Wilde, and was prepared to do it over and over again, deserves to be destroyed. I responded by saying that for many of us, a civilization that celebrates Desmond Is Amazing, the 11-year-old “drag kid” who has been on national TV, is one that deserves to be destroyed.
Something about that exchange has been weighing on my mind all day. Kenofken is a self-described polyamorist. The idea that he considers a civilization that jailed Oscar Wilde (for homosexuality) to be not merely wrong, but worthy of destruction, testifies to what he holds sacred. The same could be said of me, with my disgust at a civilization that holds up a sexualized and feminized male child as an icon.
I can’t speak for Kenofken, obviously, but I regretted my flip remark. Of course I don’t really think our civilization, as corrupt as it is, deserves to be destroyed. On reflection, I realized that mine was actually a very modernist, extremely un-conservative statement: the idea that a civilization is so heinous that the best thing that can happen to it is to disappear from the face of the earth.
Sure, it’s possible. There was nothing worth saving in what the Nazis built — but could any non-fanatic plausibly say that everything German has been so tainted by Nazism that all expressions of Germanness (Goethe, Bach, Beethoven, all of it) should be annihilated? Of course not. Nor did the evil of Soviet communism negate the greatness of Russian culture. Both the Nazis and the Bolsheviks, though, worked systematically to eliminate any perspective that challenged their respective ideologies — and not just their political monopolies. As proper totalitarians, they knew that cementing their power required controlling the culture’s memory. Last year, I interviewed a couple who had grown up in the Soviet Union, and they talked about how exhausting it was as a Soviet schoolchild to be taught history as nothing but a prelude to Marx and the October Revolution.
In my upcoming book Live Not By Lies, I quote this passage from Solzhenitsyn, in The Gulag Archipelago:
If the intellectuals in the plays of Chekhov who spent all their time guessing what would happen in twenty, thirty, or forty years had been told that in forty years interrogation by torture would be practiced in Russia; that prisoners would have their skulls squeezed within iron rings, that a human being would be lowered into an acid bath; that they would be trussed up naked to be bitten by ants and bedbugs; that a ramrod heated over a primus stove would be thrust up their anal canal (the “secret brand”); that a man’s genitals would be slowly crushed beneath the toe of a jackboot; and that, in the luckiest possible circumstances, prisoners would be tortured by being kept from sleeping for a week, by thirst, and by being beaten to a bloody pulp, not one of Chekhov’s plays would have gotten to its end because all the heroes would have gone off to insane asylums.
It could always be worse. Modris Eksteins’ history of Modernism and the Great War is a cautionary tale about longing for radical change. After World War I, he writes, the old European world and its values were gone, but nothing new had risen to take their place. This is where fascism came from. Eksteins writes:
National Socialism was yet another offspring of the hybrid that has been the modernist impulse: irrationalism crossed with technicism. Nazism was not just a political movement; it was a cultural eruption. It was not imposed by a few; it developed among many. National Socialism was the apotheosis of a secular idealism that, propelled by a dire sense of existential crisis, lost all trace of humility and modesty—indeed, of reality. Borders and limits became meaningless. In the end this idealism completed its circle, turned upon itself, and became anthropophagous. What began as idealism ended as nihilism. What began as celebration ended as scourge. What began as life ended as death.
Contrary to many interpretations of Nazism, which tend to view it as a reactionary movement, as, in the words of Thomas Mann, an “explosion of antiquarianism,” intent on turning Germany into a pastoral folk community of thatched cottages and happy peasants, the general thrust of the movement, despite archaisms, was futuristic. Nazism was a headlong plunge into the future, toward a “brave new world.” Of course it used to full advantage residual conservative and utopian longings, paid its respects to these romantic visions, and picked its ideological trappings from the German past, but its goals were, by its own lights, distinctly progressive.
It was not a doublefaced Janus whose aspects were equally attentive to the past and the future, nor was it a modern Proteus, the god of metamorphosis, who duplicates pre-existing forms. The intention of the movement was to create a new type of human being from whom would spring a new morality, a new social system, and eventually a new international order.
That was, in fact, the intention of all the fascist movements. After a visit to Italy and a meeting with Mussolini, Oswald Mosley wrote that fascism “has produced not only a new system of government, but also a new type of man, who differs from politicians of the old world as men from another planet.” Hitler talked in these terms endlessly. National Socialism was more than a political movement, he said; it was more than a faith; it was a desire to create mankind anew.
No right-thinking conservative should ever be an enthusiast of revolution. Reform, yes — society always needs reform. But a civilizational order that has been built up over many centuries cannot be radically changed without enormous risk. The American Revolution was indeed a revolution, but a surprisingly conservative one, as these things go. We were lucky.
So, as revolting as I find many aspects of our contemporary social order, and though I agree with the reader that imprisoning Oscar Wilde was unjust, I strongly reject the belief that under normal conditions, celebration of a particular evil, or suppression of a particular good, is sufficient cause to damn the entire civilization, or (less grandiosely), the social order. The good things about our civilization were purchased dearly, and are more fragile than we think. I remember once reading something by Camille Paglia (who, if you don’t know, is an atheist and a lesbian; these days, she’s even calling herself trans), who said that her fellow queers ought to be careful about attacking the Church too fiercely. She said that homosexuality has only flourished in advanced civilizations, and religion is an irreplaceable part of an advanced civilization.
She also said this, in an interview with Nick Gillespie of Reason a few years ago:
Paglia: There [comes] a time when these fine gradations of gender identity—I’m a male trans doing this, etc.—this is a symbol of decadence, I’m sorry. Sexual Personae talks about this: That was in fact the inspiration for it, was that my overview of history and my noticing that in late phases, you all of a sudden get a proliferation of homosexuality, of sadomasochism, or gendered games, impersonations and masks, and so on. I think we’re in a really kind of late phase of culture.
reason: So that the proliferation of cultural identities, the proliferation of all sorts of possibilities is actually a sign that we’re…
Paglia: On the verge of collapse? Yes! Western culture is in decline. There’s absolutely no doubt about it, in my view, looking at the history of Egypt, of Babylon, of Byzantium, and so on. And so what’s happening is everyone’s so busy-busy-busy with themselves, with this narcissistic sense of who they are in terms of sexual orientation or gender, and this intense gender consciousness, woman consciousness at the same time, and meanwhile…
reason: Is that also racial or ethnic consciousness as well?
Paglia: Right now, to me, the real obsessions have to do with gender orientation. Although I think there’s been this flare-up [regarding race]. I voted for Obama, but I’ve been disappointed. I think we had hoped that he would inaugurate a period of racial harmony, and I think the situation has actually become even worse over recent years. It seems to be overt inflammatory actions by the administration to pit the races against each other, so I think there’s a lot of damage that needs to be healed.
But I think most of the problems as I perceive them in my students and so on, is that there’s this new obsession with where you are on this wide gender spectrum. That view of gender seems to me to be unrealistic because it’s so divorced from any biological referent. I do believe in biology, and I say in the first paragraph of Sexual Personae that sexuality is an intricate intersection of nature and culture. But what’s happened now is that the way the universities are teaching, it’s nothing but culture, and nothing’s from biology. It’s madness! It’s a form of madness, because women who want to marry and have children are going to have to encounter their own hormonal realities at a certain point.
reason: Do you see your personal liberation as having helped to grease the skids for decadence, for the collapse of Western civilization?
Paglia: I have, yes.
reason: Do you feel at all ambivalent about that?
Paglia: I’ve defined myself as a decadent. One of my first influences was Oscar Wilde. I stumbled on a little book called The Epigrams of Oscar Wilde in a secondhand bookstore in Syracuse, New York, when I was like 14, and I was fascinated by his statements. So I am a Wildean, and he identifies himself as a kind of decadent in that period of aestheticism.
We have spent over a century now kicking at the supports of Western civilization. Now we are being overtaken by people (not only progressives!) who are full of passionate intensity, and the will to destroy. We’re going to miss what we had when it’s gone. Save what you can, while you can.