Francis has Stolen the Holy Catholic Mass from us AGAIN!

CP&S comment. Since the publication of ‘Traditionis custodes’, an Apostolic letter promulgated by (Pope) Francis on 16th July 2021 restricting the celebration of the Tridentine Mass, there has been an outcry of indignation from Catholics all over the world. The resurgence and widespread growing popularity of the Tridentine Mass since 2007 had been worrying the old liberals as they watch the emptying of their churches where only the Novus Ordo Mass is permitted. This act of Francis was nothing short of a slap in the face for Benedict XVI. Dr. Joseph Shaw, the chairman of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales, said that the moto proprio appeared to “undo entirely the legal provisions made for the Traditional Mass by Pope Benedict, and to take us back not only to the situation before the 2007 apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum, but even before 1988, when Pope John Paul II described the more ancient Mass as a ‘rightful aspiration’ of the faithful’.” He also stated that Traditionis custodes was a “staggering document, exceeding our worst expectations. Pope Francis has completely undone the arrangements of Summorum Pontificum and crested a situation which seems entirely unworkable, banning the Extraordinary Form from parish churches”.

Here below are just three comments from the thousands inundating the Internet that good ordinary Catholics have posted declaring their sadness and anger at this outright robbery from the so-called “Vicar of Christ”:

“The sublimely holy, transcendental Tridentine Mass was stolen from the faithful and thus the Church by a band of Infiltrates! Stolen! The Catholic faithful never said “please take the Real Deal away, smash up the sanctuary, and ape the Protestant Church instead.””

“The Tridentine Mass can never be taken away from us however hard the enemies of Christ (a.k.a. progressives) try to banish it. Eventually it will be the only Mass celebrated on the altars of our churches once again, the one true reenactment of Christ’s Holy Sacrifice on Calvary. It has been at the heart of the Catholic Church from the earliest centuries and is nothing short of a piece of Heaven come down to Earth!”

“The TLM is such a gift to Holy Mother Church. Perhaps many did not realize it back when we were kids, just how special it is. To see Francis want to terminate it, just because he wants to start his One World Religion, or because the TLM is attracting many young families, makes me feel very sad for him. We must keep this sacred gift alive, no matter what!”

Our modern day St Athanasius, Archbishop Carlo Viganò, once again comes to console and strengthen the faithful with this beautiful testimony below.

*****

THE LATIN MASS: Viganò Remembers What Francis Wants Us to Forget

Written by  Carlo Maria Viganò

Dilecta Mea — About the Holy Apostolic Mass
Viganò’s heartfelt message to priests and bishops

You who permit yourselves to prohibit the Holy Apostolic Mass, have you ever celebrated it? You who from the height of your liturgical cathedrae are piqued about the “old Mass,” have you ever meditated on its prayers, its rites, and its ancient and sacred gestures? I have asked myself this many times in the past few years: because I myself, even though I knew this Mass since I was very young; even though I had learned to serve it and respond to the celebrant when I was so little that I was still wearing boys’ knickers, I had almost forgotten it and lost it. Introibo ad altare Dei. Kneeling in winter on the ice-cold steps of the altar, before going to school. Sweating on hot summer days under my altar boy’s vestments. I had forgotten that Mass, even though it was the Mass of my ordination as a priest on 24 March 1968: an era in which one could already perceive the signs of the revolution that shortly thereafter would deprive the Church of her most precious treasure, imposing a counterfeit ritual in its place.

Well, that Mass that the conciliar reform cancelled and prohibited in my first years of Priesthood remained as a distant memory, like the smile of a distant loved one, the gaze of a missing relative, the sound of a Sunday with its bells, its friendly voices. But it was something that had to do with nostalgia, youth, the enthusiasm of an era in which ecclesiastical commitments were still to come, in which everyone wanted to believe that the world could recover from the aftermath of the Second World War and the threat of Communism with a renewed spiritual momentum. We wanted to think that economic well-being could somehow be accompanied by a moral and religious rebirth of our nation [Italy]. Despite the revolution of 1968, the occupations, terrorism, the Red Brigades, and the crisis of the Middle East. Thus, amidst the thousand ecclesiastical and diplomatic commitments, the memory of something had crystallized in my memory that in fact remained unresolved, which had been “momentarily” set aside for decades. Something that patiently waited, with the indulgence that only God uses toward us.

When I celebrate the Mass of all time, I realize in the most sublime and complete way the true significance of what doctrine teaches us… It is a love song, in which the repetition of the signs, the reverences, and the sacred words is not in any way useless, just as a mother never tires of kissing her son, or a bride never tires of saying, “I love you” to her husband. 

My decision to denounce the scandals of American Prelates and the Roman Curia was the occasion that led me back to consider, under another light, not only my role as Archbishop and as Apostolic Nuncio, but also the soul of that Priesthood which service first in the Vatican and lastly in the United States had in some way left incomplete: more for my being a priest than for the Ministry. And what up until then I had not yet understood became clear to me due to an apparently unexpected circumstance, when my personal safety seemed to be in danger and I found myself, against my will, having to live almost in hiding, far from the palaces of the Curia. It was then that that blessed segregation, which today I consider as a sort of monastic choice, led me to rediscover the Holy Tridentine Mass. I recall very well the day when, instead of the chasuble, I put on the traditional vestments with the Ambrosian cappino and the maniple. I recall the fear that I felt in pronouncing, after almost fifty years, those prayers of the Missal that re-emerged from my mouth as if I had just recited them shortly before. Confitemini Domino, quoniam bonus, in the place of the Psalm Judica me, Deus of the Roman Rite. Munda cor meum ac labia mea. These words were no longer the words of the altar boy or the young seminarian, but the words of the celebrant, of I who once again, I would dare say for the first time, celebrated before the Most Holy Trinity. Because while it is true that the Priest is a person who lives essentially for others – for God and for his neighbor – it is equally true that if he does not have the awareness of his own identity and has not cultivated his own holiness, his apostolate is sterile like the clanging cymbal.

I know well that these reflections can leave those who have never had the grace of celebrating the Mass of all time unmoved, or even arouse condescension. But the same thing happens, I imagine, for those who have never fallen in love and who do not understand the enthusiasm and the chaste transport of the beloved towards his beloved, or for those who do not know the joy of getting lost in her eyes. The dull Roman liturgist, the Prelate with his tailored clerical suit and his pectoral cross in his pocket, the consultor of the Roman Congregation with the latest copy of Concilium or Civiltà Cattolica in plain sight, looks at the Mass of Saint Pius V with the eyes of an entomologist (the science that studies insects), scrutinizing that pericope just as a naturalist observes the veins of a leaf or the wings of a butterfly. Indeed, I sometimes wonder if they don’t do it with the asepticity of the pathologist who cuts open a living body with a scalpel. But if a priest with a minimum of interior life approaches the ancient Mass, regardless of whether he has ever known it before or is discovering it for the first time, he is deeply moved by the composed majesty of the rite, as if he has stepped out of time and entered the eternity of God.

What I would like to make my brothers in the Episcopate and the Priesthood understand is that that Mass is intrinsically divine, because one perceives the sacred in a visceral way: one is literally taken up into heaven, into the presence of the Most Holy Trinity and the celestial Court, far from the clamor of the world. 

What I would like to make my brothers in the Episcopate and the Priesthood understand is that that Mass is intrinsically divine, because one perceives the sacred in a visceral way: one is literally taken up into heaven, into the presence of the Most Holy Trinity and the celestial Court, far from the clamor of the world. It is a love song, in which the repetition of the signs, the reverences, and the sacred words is not in any way useless, just as a mother never tires of kissing her son, or a bride never tires of saying, “I love you” to her husband. Everything is forgotten there, because all that is said and sung in it is eternal, all the gestures that are performed there are perennial, outside of history, yet immersed in a continuum that unites the Cenacle, Calvary, and the altar on which the Mass is celebrated. The celebrant does not address the assembly, with the concern of being understandable or being nice or appearing to be up-to-date; rather, he addresses God: and before God there is only the sense of infinite gratitude for the privilege of being able to carry with him the prayers of the Christian people, the joys and sorrows of so many souls, the sins and shortcomings of those who implore forgiveness and mercy, gratitude for graces received, and suffrages for our dear departed. One is alone, and at the same time one feels intimately united with an endless host of souls that crosses time and space.

When I celebrate the apostolic Mass, I think of how on that same altar, consecrated by the relics of the Martyrs, so many Saints and thousands of priests, using the same words that I say, repeating the very same gestures, making the same bows and the same genuflections, wearing the same vestments. But above all, receiving Holy Communion with the same Body and Blood of Our Lord, to whom we have all been assimilated in the offering of the Holy Sacrifice. When I celebrate the Mass of all time, I realize in the most sublime and complete way the true significance of what doctrine teaches us. Acting in persona Christi is not a mechanical repetition of a formula, but the awareness that my mouth utters the same words that the Savior pronounced over the bread and wine in the Cenacle; that as I elevate the Host and Chalice to the Father, I repeat the immolation that Christ made of Himself on the Cross; that in receiving Holy Communion I consume the sacrificial Victim and feed on God Himself, and I am not participating in a party. And the entire Church is with me: the Church Triumphant which deigns to unite itself to my imploring prayer, the Church Suffering that awaits it in order to shorten souls’ stay in Purgatory, and the Church Militant that strengthens herself in the daily spiritual battle. But if, as we profess with faith, our mouth is really Christ’s mouth, if our words in the Consecration are really those of Christ, if the hands with which we touch the Sacred Host and the Chalice are Christ’s hands, what respect ought we to have for our body, keeping it pure and uncontaminated? What better incentive is there to remain in the Grace of God? Mundamini, qui fertis vasa Domini. And with the words of the Missal: Aufer a nobis, quæsumus, Domine, iniquitates nostras: ut ad sancta sanctorum puris mereamur mentibus introire.

Archbishop Viganò offering the Mass of All Time

The theologian will tell me that this is common doctrine, and that the Mass is exactly that, regardless of the rite, I do not deny it, rationally. But while the celebration of the Tridentine Mass is a constant reminder of an uninterrupted continuity of the work of the Redemption studded with Saints and Blesseds, the same thing does not happen, it seems to me, with the reformed rite. If I look at the table versus populum, I see there the Lutheran altar or the Protestant table; if I read the words of the Institution of the Last Supper in the form of narration, I hear the modifications of Cranmer’s Common Book of Prayer, and the service of Calvin; if I glance through the reformed calendar, I find that the same saints who cancelled the heretics of the Pseudo-reform have been removed. And the same is true for the songs, which would horrify an English or German Catholic: hearing the hymns of those who martyred our priests and trampled the Blessed Sacrament in contempt for “papist superstition” sung under the vaults of a church ought to make us understand the abyss that exists between the Catholic Mass and its conciliar counterfeit. To say nothing of the language: the first ones to abolish Latin were the heretics, in the name of giving the people a greater comprehension of the rites; a people whom they deceived, contesting revealed Truth and propagating error. Everything is profane in the Novus Ordo. Everything is momentary, everything accidental, everything contingent, variable, and changeable. There is nothing of the eternal, because eternity is immutable, just as the Faith is immutable. Just as God is immutable.

I would like my confreres to dare to do the unthinkable: I would like them to approach the Holy Tridentine Mass with the reverential fear with which Moses approached the burning bush: knowing that each one of us, upon coming down from the altar after the Last Gospel, is in some way interiorly transfigured because there he has encountered the Holy of Holies. 

There is another aspect of the traditional Holy Mass that I would like to emphasize, and that unites us to the Saints and Martyrs of the past. Since the times of the catacombs up until the most recent persecutions, wherever a priest celebrates the Holy Sacrifice, even in an attic or a cellar, in the woods or in a barn, or even in a van, he is mystically in communion with that host of heroic witnesses of the Faith, and the gaze of the Most Holy Trinity rests on that improvised altar; before it all the angelic hosts genuflect adoringly; all of the souls in purgatory gaze toward it. In this too, especially in this, each of us understands how the Tradition creates an indissoluble link between the centuries, not only in the jealous custody of that treasure, but also in facing the trials that it entails, even unto death. In the presence of this thought, the arrogance of the present tyrant, with his insane decrees, ought to strengthen us in fidelity to Christ and make us feel that we are an integral part of the Church of all times, because we cannot win the palm of victory if we are not ready to fight the bonum certamen.

I would like my confreres to dare to do the unthinkable: I would like them to approach the Holy Tridentine Mass not so as to be pleased with the lace of an alb or with the embroidery of a chasuble, or because of a mere rational conviction about its canonical legitimacy or about the fact that it has never been abolished; but rather with the reverential fear with which Moses approached the burning bush: knowing that each one of us, upon coming down from the altar after the Last Gospel, is in some way interiorly transfigured because there he has encountered the Holy of Holies. It is only there, on that mystical Sinai, that we can understand the very essence of our Priesthood, which is the giving of Oneself to God, above all; an oblation of all of himself together with Christ the Victim, for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls; a spiritual sacrifice which draws strength and vigor from the Mass; self-renunciation in order to make way for the High Priest; a sign of true humility, in the annihilation of one’s own will and abandonment to the will of the Father, following the Lord’s example; a gesture of authentic “communion” with the Saints, in the sharing of the same profession of faith and the same rite. And I would like not only those who have celebrated the Novus Ordo for decades to have this “experience,” but above all the young priests and those who carry out their ministry in the front line: the Mass of Saint Pius V is for indomitable spirits, for generous and heroic souls, for hearts burning with Charity for God and one’s neighbor.

In the trial, we are all the same: because the victory that the Enemy wants to win is not only over the poor souls of the Baptized, but over Christ the Priest, whose Anointing we carry.

I know well that the life of the priests today is made up of a thousand trials, of stress, of the feeling of being alone in fighting against the world, in the disinterest and ostracism of Superiors, of a slow wear and tear that distracts from recollection, from the interior life, and from spiritual growth. And I know very well that this feeling of being under siege, of finding oneself as a sailor who is alone and has to pilot a ship through a storm, is not the prerogative of traditionalists or progressives, but is the common destiny of all those who have offered their lives to the Lord and to the Church, each with their own miseries, with economic problems, misunderstandings with the Bishop, criticisms from their confreres, as well as the requests of the faithful. And also those hours of solitude, in which the presence of God and the companionship of the Virgin Mary seem to vanish, just as in the dark night of Saint John of the Cross. Quare me repulisti? Et quare tristis incedo, dum affligit me inimicus? When the demon winds insidiously between the internet and the television, quærens quem devoret, taking advantage of our weariness by betrayal. In those cases, which we all face just as Our Lord did in Gethsemane, it is our Priesthood that Satan wants to strike, presenting himself persuasively like Salomé before Herod, asking us for the gift of the Baptist’s head. Ab homine iniquo, et doloso erue me. In the trial, we are all the same: because the victory that the Enemy wants to win is not only over the poor souls of the Baptized, but over Christ the Priest, whose Anointing we carry.

For this reason, today more than ever, the Holy Tridentine Mass is the sole anchor of salvation of the Catholic Priesthood, because in it the priest is reborn, each day, in that privileged time of intimate union with the Blessed Trinity, and from it he draws indispensable graces so as not to fall into sin, to progress along the way of holiness, and to rediscover the healthy balance with which to face his Ministry. Anyone who believes that all this can be liquidated as a mere ceremonial or aesthetic question has not understood anything about his own priestly Vocation. Because the Holy Mass “of all time” – and it truly is this, just as it has always been opposed by the Adversary – is not an obliging lover who offers herself to anyone, but rather a jealous and chaste Bride, as jealous as the Lord is.

Do you want to please God or the one who keeps you away from Him?

Do you want to please God or the one who keeps you away from Him? The question, at its root, is always this: the choice between the gentle yoke of Christ and the Adversary’s chains of slavery. The response will appear clear and limpid to you in the moment in which you too, marveling at this immense treasure that has been kept hidden from you, discover what it means to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice not as pathetic “presiders of the assembly,” but rather as “ministers of Christ and dispensers of the Mysteries of God” (1 Cor 4:1).

Pick up the Missal, ask for help from a priest friend, and ascend the Mountain of the Transfiguration: Emitte lucem tuam et veritatem tuam: ipsa me deduxerunt, et adduxerunt in montem sanctum tuum, et in tabernacula tua. Like Peter, James, and John, you will exclaim: Domine, bonum est nos hic esse – “Lord, it is good that we are here” (Mt 17:4). Or, with the words of the Psalmist that the celebrant repeats at the Offertory: Domine, dilexi decorem domus tuæ, et locum habitationis gloriæ tuæ.

Once you have discovered it, no one will be able to take away from you that through which the Lord no longer calls you servants, but friends (Jn 15:15). No one will ever be able to convince you to renounce it, forcing you to be content with its adulteration that was brought to birth by rebellious minds. Eratis enim aliquando tenebræ: nunc enim lux in Domino. Ut filii lucis ambulate. “For once you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk then as children of the light” (Eph 5:8). Propter quod dicit: Surge qui dormis, et exsurge a mortuis, et illuminabit te Christus. “Wherefore he says: Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ shall enlighten you” (Eph 5:14).

+ Carlo Maria Viganò, Archbishop

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The Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul, Apostle

The Conversion of Saint PaulLuca Giordano, 1690, Museum of Fine Arts of Nancy

January 25—Feast
Liturgical Color: White
Patron Saint of missionaries, evangelists, writers and public workers

One man can change the world 

In the long history of the Church no conversion has been more consequential than St. Paul’s. Paul had not been ambivalent toward the Church before he converted. He had actively persecuted it, even throwing rocks at the head of St. Stephen, in all likelihood. But he changed, or God changed him, on one particular night. And on that night Christianity changed too. And when the course of Christianity changed, the world changed. It is difficult to overemphasize the impact of today’s feast. 

One way to think about the significance of an event, whether big small, is to consider what things would be like if the event had never occurred. This is the premise behind the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” You compare actual life with a hypothetical “what if” alternative scenario. What if St. Paul had remained a zealous jew? What if he had never converted? Never wrote one letter? Never travelled the seas on missionary voyages? It can safely be assumed that the world itself, not just the Church, would look different than it does today. Perhaps Christianity would have remained confined to Palestine for many more centuries before breaking out into wider Europe. Maybe Christianity would have taken a right turn instead of a left, and all of China and India would be as culturally Catholic as Europe is today. It’s impossible to say. But the global scale of the effects of Paul’s conversion speak to the significance of his conversion.

Some conversions are dramatic, some are boring. Some are instantaneous, some are gradual. Augustine heard a boy in a garden repeating “Take and Read” and knew the time had come. Saint Francis of Assisi heard Christ say from the cross “Rebuild My Church” and responded with his life. Dr. Bernard Nathanson, the father of abortion in the United States, renounced, repudiated, and repented of his life’s work and searched for a real Church to forgive his real sins. He ultimately bowed his head to receive the waters of baptism.

The details of Paul’s conversion are well known. He was thrown from his horse on the road to Damascus (except that Acts makes no mention of a horse). Maybe he just fell down while walking. While stunned on the ground Paul heard the voice of Jesus: “Why are you persecuting me?” Not “Why are you persecuting my followers.” Jesus and the Church are clearly one. To persecute the Church is to persecute Christ. Jesus is the head and the Church is his body. Paul did not convert to loving Jesus and say that the Church was just an accidental human construct that blocked him from the Lord. No, of course not. He believed what right minded Catholics have believed for centuries and still believe today. To love Jesus is to love the Church and vice versa. It is impossible to love the Lord while disregarding the historical reality of how the Lord is communicated to us. The Church is not just a vehicle to carry God’s revelation. The Church is actually part of God’s revelation. 

Paul’s conversion teaches us that when Jesus come to us, He doesn’t come alone. He comes with His angels, saints, priests, and bishops. He comes with Mary, the sacraments, doctrine, and devotions. He comes with the Church because he and the Church are one. And when we go to the Lord we don’t go alone either. We go as members of a Church into whose mystical body we were baptized. Thus St. Paul heard from God Himself, and thus we believe today.

St. Paul, we ask your openness to conversion when we hear the Lord speak to us as He spoke to you. Assist us in responding with great faith to every invitation we receive to love the Lord more fully, to know Him more deeply, and to spread his word more broadly to those who need it.

(Source: My Catholic Life)

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Stop Pharming Out Your Health

By Melody Lyons at Crisis Magazine:

Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld a clearly unconstitutional federal mandate that cedes what little influence conservatives had left in the healthcare industry to the leftist totalitarians. The ruling allows the federal government to force healthcare employees to relinquish their freedoms of conscience and bodily autonomy and submit to receiving the ”Jab-of-mystical-protection” against Fauci-19. This move, while wretched, is not inconsistent with the direction of Big Medicine during the last 50 years and therefore should not be surprising. In some ways, the catastrophic SCOTUS blunder may very well help bring into focus the urgent need to sever ourselves from the gluttonous healthcare industrial complex.

It is a fact that without Christ at the heart of the healthcare industry, every manner of atrocity is not only possible, but probable. Modern medicine can, of course, be a great good when rightly ordered. But a dependency on an industry that no longer serves the Lord can only lead to diminishing health. The Church is rightly lauded for her historical role as leader in ethical medicine and provident healthcare.

However, she has remained largely silent during the last 50 years, even as hospitals named after various saints began to prescribe contraceptives and abortifacients, going so far as to refer for and even perform abortions. Furthermore, the Barque of Peter strains credulity with recent pronouncements by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and dubious ponderings of the Pontiff. The Faithful are exhorted to trust the very same public health authorities that champion the dissection of children for science and that profit from dangerous and experimental products. The Church militant has thereby been conditioned to accept less—much less—than a life-giving vision for healing.

The real healthcare crisis is not a lack of funding or access, it is an epidemic of chronic illness, wherein we habitually ignore the design of our bodies and expect pharmaceuticals—which are often equal parts damaging and healing—to provide the cure. The extended warnings about side effects in ubiquitous pharma commercials don’t even enter our consciousness. It’s fine. They care about us. Nobody would knowingly experiment on us for profit. O ye of inordinate faith!

During the last two years, many of us have been forced to watch as loved ones have been mistreated in the name of public health. The overlords appear bent on subjecting people to experimental and toxic medicines while their shamans castigate any who would question the “Science” they falsely claim to personify. Their “pandemic protocols” have highlighted and accelerated the moral decline of the industry, which seems to care little whether people live or die…or whether they are accorded the dignity they deserve. Without a doubt, there are good people in the system (thank you to those true heroes who win small battles by treating your patients with skill and great love!). And yet the larger war is being lost on every institutional front.  

The remedy is that our actions (individually and as a society) must become properly ordered to the will of Christ by rightly observing the principles of subsidiarity and natural law. This demands a humble vigilance over the smallest elements of our lives, down to our very DNA. It is this understanding of stewardship—rooted deeply in gratitude for God’s gifts—that should compel us to jettison our dependence upon the pharmaceutical industry and detach from its bittersweet fruits wherever possible. 

If you discovered that your neighbor was dissecting living babies in his basement, you would recoil in horror and then call the police. But our Big Pharma neighbors have been doing just that for decades. Why then do we entrust our bodies and our children to such enemies of God? 

Remote! It is remote cooperation, some insist. Perhaps. Let’s grant that we are only remotely morally culpable for the brutal death of baby Johanna (HEK-293) by benefitting (a near eternity of 48 years later) from her brutal murder and the persistent disrespect accorded to her artificially sustained remains (which they ironically refer to as “immortalised”). What then of the other hundreds of documented murders—babies aborted in the name of progress and science? And what of their unnaturally preserved bodies, whose cells are cultured and reproduced in perpetuity for our convenience and the whimsies of so-called “science”?

Our obligation to oppose this abomination should spring not only from an innate desire to shun evil, but from a deep love that bears witness to the truth down to our very cells. In a 2019 letter to legislators regarding fetal cell DNA in vaccines, Dr. Theresa Deisher, scientist and founder of Sound Choice Pharmaceutical Institute wrote:

Anyone who says that the fetal DNA contaminating our vaccines is harmless either does not know anything about immunity and Toll-like receptors or they are not telling the truth.

This is a signal flare to those who insist that good health depends on the inventions of wicked men. For every story of a life saved by medical intervention, there is another of gratuitous death or disability. The ongoing science experiment on consumers using lab-developed molecules has reached a point of diminishing returns. We are no longer healthy communities supporting the sick; we are the chronically ill living on pharmaceuticals and addictions to “get by.” Always reaching for the next miracle cure, we are disappointed to find that suffering (and death) remains inescapable. Sometimes, to our chagrin, we even discover that our own bad habits and our dodgy medical solutions are the proximate cause of that suffering.

I recently found a yellowed, 20-year-old newspaper article positing the “miracle” of embryonic stem cell therapy. One scientist responded to pro-life objections saying “we have a moral obligation to use this therapy.” We now know that the effort has been an utter failure. But Big Pharma asks neither permission nor forgiveness. How tragic that the voices of our shepherds now echo almost verbatim the ungodly scientists of the age.

The greatest potential for healing occurs when we align our behaviors to God’s design (which is a central theme of my book, The Sunshine Principle. From a purely biological perspective, drugs created in a laboratory (virtually all of which have potential to harm) should be a last resort. That we are rarely—or never—offered a non-pharmacological option by doctors is a grievous wrong, especially since the majority of chronic disease is lifestyle-related. While listening to a podcast a couple of years ago, I heard a physician commenting on why he didn’t spend time recommending lifestyle changes to more people. He observed that, “In most cases, it is useless. Patients come to me for a pill. Even if I guaranteed them that changing their behaviors would cure them, they would simply look for another doctor to provide a drug that will solve their problems.”

Ideal Catholic healthcare is integrated, with the majority of care occurring at home, and with that portion of professional care that is truly indispensable managed at the lowest practicable level. This is opposite our current direction of travel, which reflexively turns to advanced medical interventions at the first sign of illness or discomfort. Separation from a pharma-centric culture is like transforming the Cuyahoga from a river that routinely caught fire into an inviting place for kayaking and fishing. It takes real work to discipline behaviors rather than accept high levels of toxicity. Eventually, balance can be restored so that technology can be a servant of God’s design instead of the machinations of His enemies. Emphasis should be placed, once again, on the principle of subsidiarity, rather than turning to the creation of some new mandatory federal program to solve local, regional, or state challenges.

Jesus asked the paralytic at the pool of Bethesda: “Do you want to be well?” The question seems simple enough, and we are inclined to believe that our own answer would be a resounding “Yes!” However, we so often fancy the miracle without the surrender, the pill without holy obedience. We want to be well without giving up anything: to be strong while remaining sedentary; to live well while devouring toxic food, beauty aids, and household products; to grow in wisdom while we allow our intellect to be turned into a cesspool by the toxic media that engulfs our every waking moment. And then, when we notice the telltale signs of sickness that inevitably follow, we look for the cure in an experimental, toxic elixir concocted by an exploitative industry.

As a general rule, we can maintain good health and prevent most disease—not through the widespread distribution of pharmaceuticals—but by drinking pure water, developing good hygiene, improving nutrition, maintaining clean living and working conditions, reducing toxic exposure, and increasing exposure to sunshine and fresh air. It is a tragedy that, even amidst our first-world wealth and advancements, our baser appetites have led us to ignore the advice of Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine, and let medicine be thy food.” On the other hand, it is also incredibly exciting that restoration to God’s beautiful design remains within our grasp.

On the urgent question of vaccines (or, more appropriately, the current gene therapy masquerading as a vaccine), it is important to note that they have no therapeutic value. They have no power to heal damaged cells. They cannot kill a pathogen. They cannot nourish. The science is “emerging and experimental,” which are euphemisms for inconsistent, inherently risky, and undeniably capable of inducing disease and even death. Dr. Robert Malone, inventor of the mRNA vaccine technology, had this to say about his own experience with vaccines as scientist and recipient:

Even the highly informed make mistakes. Fairly frequently. Biology is a complex, harsh, and unforgiving professor, and a wise student is always careful to recognize one’s profound ignorance in confronting that underlying complexity.

These facts raise many questions. Should God’s design for the immune system be tampered with?  What are the short- and long-term physical and spiritual consequences of such experimentation? The recent extraordinary (and controversial) decision of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to encourage an unethical vaccine for a high-survival virus does not exempt Catholics from the obligation to ask these questions, or to pursue alternative options from God’s primary provision. Nor does the CDF statement absolve Catholics from the responsibility to truly contemplate the morality of the atrocities that are the underpinning of this new science.

We have made an idol of medicine. We have given the care of our bodies to thieves and murderers who slaughter children for profit. We have turned our backs on God and His design, giving ourselves and our children diseases of the body by worshiping the gods of pleasure and comfort. Repent! 

Our essential Christian witness is to illuminate the goodness and hope of God’s design, His provision, and His promise. Our desire for safety and good health certainly becomes an idol when we use it to permit evil or to justify the abuse of our own bodies through unexamined living. 

To those of you who say, “I will suffer and die if I do not have my medications,” I reply: You will certainly suffer and die with them as well! I am not suggesting that you instantly abandon your medications. Rather, I am encouraging a more eternal perspective on living—and, in so doing, reconsidering the necessity and rightful place of pharmaceuticals in our lives. May we have the courage of prophets, who unseal truth for the world with zeal and charity. And may our renewed health of mind, body, and soul through restoration to God’s perfect design give glory to God now and forever.

[Image Credit: Unsplash]

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World Over: Cardinal Burke Was Dying

Cardinal Raymond Burke is returning “more or less” to a normal pace of life after overcoming a Covid infection in summer, he told EWTN.com (January 20).

After nine days in artificial coma on a ventilator, Cardinal Burke had “an immediate sense that Our Blessed Mother had been taking care of me.” The doctors had informed his sister Mary that there was really not much hope that he was going to survive. The cardinal himself realised that he was dying.

Now, he is certain that the Lord heard many prayers and saved him “for some work that he has for me to do.” He calls his recovery “miraculous.”

As could be expected, after regaining consciousness, Cardinal Burke couldn’t stand up, had to regain his ability to walk, and suffered from a terrible fatigue for about a month after leaving the hospital (“I was tired all the time”).

Regarding Francis’ schadenfreude about a vaccine-free Cardinal Burke suffering from Covid, he replied that receiving an injection is a personal decision and an exercise of a fundamental human right, that Christ is the only saviour, and “vaccinating everybody is not going to save the world.”

On the Vatican’s vaccine mandate, the cardinal said that this position is “very severe” and that forced vaccinations are “a violation of human rights,” pointing out that the vaccinations have been a [so far failed] experiment.

(source: Gloria TV)

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Sunday Readings and Reflections

Jesus Unrolls the Book in the Synagogue, James Tissot, Brooklyn Museum

Sunday, January 23 
Third Sunday in Ordinary Time 

Roman Ordinary calendar


St. Marianne Cope


Book of Nehemiah 8,2-4a.5-6.8-10.

Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly, which consisted of men, women, and those children old enough to understand. 
Standing at one end of the open place that was before the Water Gate, he read out of the book from daybreak till midday, in the presence of the men, the women, and those children old enough to understand; and all the people listened attentively to the book of the law. 
Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that had been made for the occasion. 
Ezra opened the scroll so that all the people might see it (for he was standing higher up than any of the people); and, as he opened it, all the people rose. 
Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God, and all the people, their hands raised high, answered, “Amen, amen!” Then they bowed down and prostrated themselves before the LORD, their faces to the ground. 
Ezra read plainly from the book of the law of God, interpreting it so that all could understand what was read. 
Then (Nehemiah, that is, His Excellency, and) Ezra the priest-scribe (and the Levites who were instructing the people) said to all the people: “Today is holy to the LORD your God. Do not be sad, and do not weep”-for all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the law. 
He said further: “Go, eat rich foods and drink sweet drinks, and allot portions to those who had nothing prepared; for today is holy to our LORD. Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the LORD must be your strength!” 

Psalms 19(18),8.9.10.15.

The law of the LORD is perfect, 
refreshing the soul; 
The decree of the LORD is trustworthy, 
giving wisdom to the simple. 

The precepts of the LORD are right, 
rejoicing the heart; 
The command of the LORD is clear, 
enlightening the eye.   

The fear of the LORD is pure, 
enduring forever; 
The ordinances of the LORD are true, 
all of them just. 

Let the words of my mouth and the thought of my heart 
find favor before you, 
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer. 

First Letter to the Corinthians 12,12-30.

Brothers and sisters: As a body is one though it has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body, so also Christ. 
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons, and we were all given to drink of one Spirit. 
Now the body is not a single part, but many. 
If a foot should say, “Because I am not a hand I do not belong to the body,” it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. 
Or if an ear should say, “Because I am not an eye I do not belong to the body,” it does not for this reason belong any less to the body. 
If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 
But as it is, God placed the parts, each one of them, in the body as he intended. 
If they were all one part, where would the body be? 
But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I do not need you.” 
Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are all the more necessary, 
and those parts of the body that we consider less honorable we surround with greater honor, and our less presentable parts are treated with greater propriety, 
whereas our more presentable parts do not need this. But God has so constructed the body as to give greater honor to a part that is without it, 
so that there may be no division in the body, but that the parts may have the same concern for one another. 
If (one) part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part is honored, all the parts share its joy. 
Now you are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it. 
Some people God has designated in the church to be, first, apostles; second, prophets; third, teachers; then, mighty deeds; then, gifts of healing, assistance, administration, and varieties of tongues. 
Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work mighty deeds? 
Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint Luke 1,1-4.4,14-21.

Since many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the events that have been fulfilled among us, 
just as those who were eyewitnesses from the beginning and ministers of the word have handed them down to us, 
I too have decided, after investigating everything accurately anew, to write it down in an orderly sequence for you, most excellent Theophilus, 
so that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received. 
Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region. 
He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all. 
He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day. He stood up to read 
and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah. He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written: 
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, 
because he has anointed me 
to bring glad tidings to the poor. 
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives 
and recovery of sight to the blind, 
to let the oppressed go free, 
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” 
Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him. 
He said to them, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”


Origen (c.185-253) 
Priest and theologian 
Homilies on Saint Luke’s Gospel, no. 32, 2 ; SC 87

“Today this passage of Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing”

When you read that: “He taught in their synagogues and everyone praised him”, take care not to consider Christ’s listeners to be blessed and to think of yourselves as deprived of his teaching. If Scripture is true then God did not just speak in former times in the meeting places of the Jews but he still speaks today in our own assemblies. And not just here, in our own assembly, but in other meeting places. And all over the world Jesus teaches and seeks out bearers of his word to pass on his teaching. Pray that he may find me both ready and able to sing it.

Just as almighty God, seeking for prophets at a time when prophecy was lacking to men, finds Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, for example, so Jesus seeks out bearers of the message to pass on his word, to “teach in their synagogues and be praised by all.” Today Jesus is even more “praised by all” than at the time when he was only known in a single province.

Traditional Latin Mass Readings for this Sunday

Click here for a live-streamed Traditional Latin Mass

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Sancta Agnes, ora pro nobis!

Saint Agnes by Cesare Dandini (1 October 1596– 7 February 1657)

‘Tis incumbent upon us in these days, so inimical to anything chaste and pure, to remind ourselves of the genius of the feminine and the glory of woman, signified in saints like Agnes, a young Virgin Martyr, who perished by the sword under the reign of Diocletian in 304.  Her name, which sounds like the Latin noun for ‘lamb’ (agnus) is in fact derived from the Greek, agnes, ‘chaste, pure, sacred’.

Agnes was a beautiful noblewoman, who, at the tender age of twelve, refused to marry the governor’s son, Procop, declaring:

I am already promised to the Lord of the Universe. He is more splendid than the sun and the stars, and He has said He will never leave me!

Hell hath no fury like a pagan scorned, so he condemned the young girl to death. Dragged through the streets to a brothel, her hair grew to cover her body, and the men who tried to have their way with her were struck blind. They tried to burn her alive, but the wood would not light. Eventually, she was taken out and beheaded. Contemporary accounts, preserved by Saint Ambrose, attest that the executioner was more afraid to kill her than she was to die:

What menaces there were from the executioner, to frighten her; what promises made, to win her over; what influential people desired her in marriage! She answered: “To hope that any other will please me does wrong to my Spouse. I will be his who first chose me for himself. Executioner, why do you delay? If eyes that I do not want can desire this body, then let it perish.” She stood still, she prayed, she offered her neck.

You could see fear in the eyes of the executioner, as if he were the one condemned; his right hand trembled, his face grew pale as he saw the girl’s peril, while she had no fear for herself. One victim, but a twin martyrdom, to modesty and to religion; Agnes preserved her virginity, and gained a martyr’s crown.

A virgin and martyr, a double crown, highly venerated from the outset, attested to by the fact that she has her own antiphons in the Office. As her responsorium goes on to sing:

In iuventute sua mortem perdidit et vitam invenit.

Which, literally translated:  In her youth, she destroyed death and found life.

It is only by facing death square on that we too will find life. Running from death, we find only death. He who loses his life, he shall find it. 

We Catholics must now be prepared for a new kind of martyrdom, for our beliefs are no longer welcome in the broader culture. Most people – not least the young, and the fairer sex amongst them – have never even heard of Saint Agnes, much less would be inclined to follow her example in dying at the very dawn of their lives for the truth, for the Auctorem vitae, the Author of life, and finding true life in the eternal bliss of heaven.

But we may hope. As Chesterton put it, the man knocking on that brothel door – which, I remind my students, is not a place where they make soup – is in some way searching for God. Even in their misguided search for ‘justice’ in the inverted world of transgenderism and deviant sexuality, perhaps they will stumble on the truth, even if it be when the wreckage of their failed falsities, lie in rubble around them.

The blood of martyrs is the seed, wrote Tertullian in the third century – the ‘seed’ for new life to bloom, when all the truth will all be revealed, and we may hope sooner than later.

In the meantime, keep up the good fight of the Faith, and stay strong in the grace of God. For only so will we be set free.

Sancta Agnes, ora pro nobis!

(Source: Catholic Insight)

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Can a dying Catholic receive the Apostolic Pardon if there is no priest present?

Father Z replies to a reader’s question:

QUAERITUR:

Can a Catholic receive the Apostolic Pardon if he/she dies without a priest present. I read somewhere that, even in the absence of a priest, the Catholic Church grants a plenary indulgence to all Catholics at the moment of death if they are disposed to receive it.

This is a very good question.  Thank you for asking.

We know about, or ought to know about, the Apostolic Pardon, or Blessing, before death.  This is a remission of temporal punishment due to sin for one who is properly disposed (in the state of grace).  Thus it is to be imparted by the priest primarily after sacramental absolution and anointing.   The Apostolic Pardon can be given once during the crisis.  If the person recovers, the Pardon could be given once again if there is a relapse.

HOWEVER… what if a priest is not available?

That happens, as we have seen to our great sadness in this time of COVID-1984 Theatre.

Just as an aside, if the whole COVID thing has in fact been overblown to keep people in the state of fear, and therefore people died (for whatever reason) without the sacraments because priests were forbidden access… imagine for a moment the implications for the judgment of those who were responsible for whipping up the terror and causing the restrictive policies.  I digress.

The Church provides for those who are dying when there is no priest.  A person who is in articulo mortis, near death, can obtain a plenary indulgence provided that they had a habit of prayer in their lifetime.  The use of a crucifix to look at is very helpful to obtain this indulgence.

If this seems a little vague, that’s okay.  There is flexibility here in that, often, at the point of death, people are unable to speak, and so they cannot perform the work of a vocal prayer.  However, if they had the habit of prayer, especially certain prayers – think of the daily Rosary, praying the Angelus or Regina Caeli as a regular daily practice, praying the canonical hours – that stands in the place of the prayers that the dying person certainly would have offered he if could have.

So, it is habitual prayer that substitutes.

This one of the reasons why I have, on this blog and in preaching, tried to get the point across that we should “practice” dying, through mortifications and prayer.

If we want to be good at playing the piano, we have to practice.  If we want to be good at just about anything we have to apply ourselves so that we get good at it and it becomes easier to do.   Virtues, for example, are habits that we must develop through repetition and effort.  If something is hard to perform, we don’t have the virtue.

In a similar way, if we want to make a good death, we should “practice” those aspects of dying that we can control: daily penances, reflections on death while healthy and active, prayers to God for a good death by whatever means He wills, prayer for the dying and the dead, etc.

Think about this, and the fact that one say you are going to die.

Does this issue of the plenary indulgence at the point of death make you consider establishing regular habits of prayer?

Remember, the priest might not get there in time.

Moreover, because the priest might not be right there when it is time…

Regularly… GO TO CONFESSION!

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FABIAN, SEBASTIAN AND GOD’S CHOICES

St. Sebastian (detail), Andrea Mantegna, 1480, Musée du Louvre, Paris
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Sebastian#/media/File:Sebastia.jpg

Pope Fabian (+250) was put to death on this day in the persecution of Emperor Decius, for refusing to offer idolatrous sacrifice, and this after a rather long reign of 14 years characterized by its rather amicable relations with Caesar, which allowed the good Pontiff to set up the hierarchical structure of the Church in Rome.

Besides his glorious martyrdom, Fabian is also known for the manner of his being chosen as the successor of Peter. A simple layman, he went to Rome after the death of Pope Anterus, to see the man whom the nobility and clergy would choose as the next Vicar of Christ, as still happens with the crowds outside conclaves. Well, poor Fabian, for the Holy Spirit quite literally descended upon him, a dove alighting on his head, upon seeing which propitious sign, the crowds began enthusiastically chanting “Fabian for Pope! Fabian for Pope!” Choosing a Pope back then had not quite been fully regulated; it was Nicholas II who restricted the vote to the cardinals in conclave in 1059, and being elected by ‘acclamation’ was still permitted until quite recently.

However, as Pope Emeritus Benedict, Cardinal Ratzinger, once quipped, the choice of a Pope – like that of a President – is not always the one the Holy Spirit may have chosen, which is why we offer up prayers and sacrifices during conclaves and elections, that our choice is God’s choice, as we do with the rest of life.

This time, it seems that Fabian was God’s ‘holy and perfect will’, to which, we may be thankful, Fabian acquiesced, with that mysterious gift of freedom which makes us like Him. We must discern the spirits, to follow those which are of God, and our way through those that are not, always freely choosing the better part.

We also celebrate Saint Sebastian (+288) on this day, a brave and courageous Roman soldier, leader of the elite Praetorian Guard, whose Christianity remained undetected until 286, when the anti-Christian Emperor, Diocletian, enraged at his apparent betrayal, ordered Sebastian tied to a tree, and shot full of arrows until dead.

Sebastian thus suffered, looking as one account has it, like a ‘sea urchin full of pricks’, but when a pious woman, Irene, went to bury him, found the soldier was still alive. She nursed him back to health, whereupon the emboldened Sebastian, perhaps realizing he would soon be caught again and killed – where was one to run to in the third century Roman empire? – returned to his emperor, catching him unguarded on a staircase. Instead of killing him, Sebastian boldly berated the earthly prince for his unbelief and cruelty; Diocletian had a moment, perhaps one in which he might have chosen his own different and better path, but recovered his pagan imperial senses, and ordered Sebastian clubbed to death and thrown into a sewer.  The martyr’s body was recovered, and his relics now dot the Christian landscape. He is patron of soldiers, as well as a patron against the plague, which would be caused, so thought the Greeks, by the god Apollo shooting ‘plague-tipped’ arrows from heaven; or perhaps because the ‘buboe’ lesions of the bubonic plague resembled arrow wounds. With the rise of superbugs, and strange viruses out of Asia, we could use a bit of Sebastian’s help and intercession.

Deliver us from evil, indeed.

(Source: Catholic Insight)

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Earliest-Born Person Ever Captured on Film: Pope Leo XIII

Napoleon contemporary, Pope Leo XIII (the pope of the Saint Michael prayer) was born in 1810 and is the earliest-born person ever filmed (documented).

Music: Cantata ”Jesu, der du meine Seele”, BWV. 78 – 7. Herr, ich glaube

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Saint Margaret of Hungary

Repost from  January 18, 2016 by Catholicism Pure & Simple:

Margaret-of-Hungry

Today the Church remembers Saint Margaret of Hungary.

Saint Margaret was a Dominican nun and the daughter of King Béla IV of Hungary and Maria Laskarina. She was born on January 27, 1242 and died on January 18, 1271.

Saint Margaret is truly a unique model of virtue for today’s modern young woman. In a prayer “deal” with God, her father promised her to the religious life at her infancy, in return for an end to the persecution of his country by various enemies. She grew into an exquisitely beautiful woman and for that reason was offered marriage many times. She refused any thoughts or inclination towards a married life. She was passionate about her consecration to Jesus and devoted all her efforts to His service, even defying her father’s will for her to be released from her vows.

Despite her extraordinary beauty, she chose to neglect her appearance and often mimicked the lifestyle of the poor and sick she served in her ministry. She would go months without bathing or grooming herself in any way and she was often described as “repugnant” by those who visited the convent where she lived. It is believed that she adopted this practice as a severe form of mortification due to a self-professed attachment to the sins of vanity and pride.

Margaret was extremely strong-willed and defiant in the face of tasks or requests with which she did not agree. She often fasted from food and sleep, ignoring the rules of community life she shared with her sisters.

Soon after her death at a young age, Margaret was venerated as a saint. For example, a church dedicated to her in Bocfolde, Zala County, appears in documents dated 1426. Steps were taken to procure her canonization shortly after her death, at the request of her brother King Stephen V. The necessary investigations were taken up between 1271 and 1276, but the canonization process was not successful, even though seventy-four miracles were ascribed to her intercession, most of them referring to curing illnesses, even someone coming back from the dead. Among those giving testimony were twenty-seven people for whom miracles had been wrought. Unsuccessful attempts to canonize her were also made in 1640 and 1770. She was finally canonized by Pope Pius XII on 19 November 1943, at that time the feast day of her aunt, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary.

Her feast day is celebrated by the Dominican Order. Raised by Pope Pius VII to a festum duplex, it is the day of her death, January 18.

Her monastery was among those suppressed in 1782, part of the suppression of all monastic Orders by the Emperor Joseph II. At that time, her remains were given to the Poor Clares. They were kept in Pozsony (today Bratislava) and Buda. The relics were partly destroyed in 1789 but some portions were preserved and are now kept in Esztergom, Győr, and Pannonhalma.

In art Margaret is usually depicted in a Dominican nun’s religious habit, holding a white lily and a book.

(catholicexchange.com  and catholic.org/saints)

Prayer

O God of truth,
through the Holy Spirit
you blessed our sister Margaret with true humility.
Teach us that same integrity
so that we may constantly turn from our selfishness
to your love.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

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“Holding High the Flag in Defence of the Objectivity of Truth in a Fortress of Relativism” 

Alice Von Hildebrand: ’A Happy Failure’

by Claire Dwyer on ’Catholic Spiritual Direction’

After reading Memoirs of a Happy Failure by Alice von Hildebrand several years ago, I had the privilege of interviewing the great Belgian-born philosopher, professor, and author.  I wanted to know more of the story behind some of the themes of the book, which began with her escape to the United States during World War II and focused on the challenging years she spent teaching–and resisting the growing relativism in academia–at Hunter College in New York City.

Von Hildebrand’s recent death had me pulling out the contents of that long email exchange from 2016 in which she generously reflected on these years of her life.

My first question: Why name your book Memoirs of a Happy Failure?

“Because it conveys an important message,” she answered.  Failure, even radical failure, is a justified term because she was “shamefully treated at Hunter: lowest salary in the department, for years…no medical coverage, never knowing whether I would have a job the next semester…given the most exhausting schedule.”  Yet, despite it all, she had immense success with her students and earned their affection and admiration.

The response of her colleagues?   “Jealousy, edging on hatred…(they) could only explain my success by claiming that all I was doing was (preaching) Catholicism.”  She describes, among other things, ridicule at faculty meetings, injustice, meanness, sending spies into the classroom, and the telling of new appointees to warn students not to take her classes.  Upon finally receiving tenure, she was told, “that you received tenure is nothing short of a miracle.”

Yet, there was a great joy seeing some of her students convert. Therefore her career could still be called “happy because many of my students – truth hungry – were fed…then coup de theater: (I was) evaluated by students as the best professor competing against close to 800 professors.  All things are possible with God!”

“He won!” she pointed out.  I can almost see her smile at the memory.

I wondered why she had chosen to focus almost exclusively on the years at Hunter in the book.

She replied, “Because if you want to destroy a society you should aim…to destroy the family and to pervert education.  We no longer educate children; we give them information perverted by relativism and subjectivism.”  She witnessed firsthand the deterioration of the culture and the despair of the young people who were not taught that there was anything such as absolute truth.

We live now with the results of this lacking philosophy.

Dr. von Hildebrand elaborated to me on three such consequences, the first being feminism.  “The devil has convinced some women that maternity is the one great obstacle to their attaining human fame, i.e. the one that has been the privilege of men from the beginning.  When (Satan) succeeded in doing so (let us think of Simone de Beauvoir) the door was wide open to abortion, his greatest victory since original sin: the Mother of the Living (Eve) accepting to murder her children.  All women, whether married or unmarried are called to motherhood; to denigrate motherhood is threatening the very foundation of society.

Secondly, she named relativism, “the intellectual cancer devastating our society…an intellectual revolt against key truths: metaphysical, ethical, religious.  Science is accepted and glorified because it does not tell me how to lead a human life…there is no ‘you should’ or ‘you should not’.  Modern man does not want to obey.  He escapes from moral obligations by claiming that it is all subjective: it is up to me to live as I please.”

And finally, pornography: “the most disgusting presentation of a sphere in which, in the most mysterious way, God and the woman collaborate to bring a new life into existence.”

The idea of the universal maternity of womanhood is beautifully illustrated in Dr. von Hildebrand’s own life.  Although she did not have her own children, as I read her memoir, the word “fruitful” kept coming to mind, especially in her relationship with her students.  She actually became godmother to several of them as they entered the Church.  She names among her happiest memories “the incredible joy of seeing that several of my students came out of the dark of prejudice and error.”

I wanted her thoughts on why there was such a pointed attack on Catholicism in particular at the college.

Because Catholicism, she responded, is “the only religion that has an authority, a magisterium, claiming that it is the only one founded by Christ.  (This is a) key role of faith: my intellect kneels to revelation: Credo ut intelligam.  (The Church is) authoritarian…(She) keeps reminding man of his creaturehood, and a creature should listen and obey.  Modern man wants to do as he pleases…The devil is very open-minded toward other religions: each has its own doctrine.  None has the divine seal of truth.”

This attack has everything to do with what we see today.  The natural results are “the sapping of man’s relationship to God, and opening the door to any perversion.”  She pointed out the Supreme Court decisions of which legalize “the murder of the Innocents (and give ) a perversion the same dignity as marriage.  May God have mercy. But He expects us to fight.”

Yes, fight.  Against all of it.  As she did, in her corner of the world, in her way, using her gifts and her resources.  And God blessed her and anointed her.

Our dialogue helped me to take courage myself, that in my own little struggles, ultimately, the battle is the Lord’s.  That He has prepared us from the beginning for our own confrontations with evil even if -no, especially if- the battle takes place on our knees.  Or in the home, among Legos and Cheerios, late-night feedings, and stomach bugs.  Or the office, or the grocery store…you get the picture.  And that everything in our life, however insignificant it seems at the time, has a purpose and is part of a plan bigger than we are able to grasp.

“God in His Wisdom does not show us the whole way we have to travel,” Dr. von Hildebrand writes in her preface of Memoirs.  “How many of us would turn back, if we only knew what was awaiting us.  I thank Him for not having revealed to me how arduous my task would be: to hold high the flag in defense of the objectivity of truth in a fortress of relativism.”

Bound up in the love of Christ and the Body of the Church, this sister in faith shared her maternal love with me, and with each reader.  “God has woven a beautiful nest out of the ‘twigs’ of my life,” she reflects, reassuring us of  “the providence of God in everything” and His tender love for even the little sparrows who He delights in using.

Maybe especially them.

May she rest in peace.

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Pfizer and the Vatican

Sources say Pope Francis met privately twice last year with Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla talks during a press conference with European Commission President after a visit to the Pfizer-BioNtech factory in Puurs, Belgium, April 23, 2021.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla talks during a press conference with European Commission President after a visit to the Pfizer-BioNtech factory in Puurs, Belgium, April 23, 2021. (photo: John Thys / Pool / AFP via Getty Images)

Edward Pentin at the National Catholic Register, January 15, 2022:

VATICAN CITY — The Register has learned that Pope Francis privately held undisclosed meetings with the CEO of Pfizer last year as questions arise over the efficacy of the vaccines in preventing transmission, which are now being mandated for all Vatican staff and visitors.

According to Vatican sources, the Holy Father twice met Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla at the Vatican, although the precise details are not known. 

Unlike most papal private audiences, these meetings were not announced by the Holy See Press Office, which did not respond to repeated requests to confirm the meetings. 

A Pfizer spokesman said, “We can’t confirm or deny as, per our policy, the movements of our executives are considered confidential.” 

Bourla’s meetings with the Pope would not be the first such unannounced papal encounter in recent years. In November 2019, shortly before the COVID-19 health emergency began, the Pope privately received Melinda Gates. The meeting, well known in the Vatican, was not announced and has never been officially acknowledged.

Last May, Bourla took part in an online Vatican health conference titled “Unite to Prevent & Unite to Cure” that included a significant focus on COVID-19 treatments and prevention as well as providing a platform for promoting vaccines produced by large pharmaceutical companies. 

Other speakers at the meeting co-hosted by the Pontifical Council for Culture included Stephane Bancel, the CEO of Moderna, another large anti-COVID-19 vaccine producer, Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical officer, and Dr. Francis Collins, then director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

First to Use Pfizer

Vatican City State was one of the first authorities to administer vaccines after it signed a contract with Pfizer in late 2020 to exclusively offer its Pfizer-BioNTech pharmaceutical product to its staff. The first inoculations were rolled out in early 2021. 

A strong proponent of the vaccine in light of what it believes is a “continuation and worsening of the current health emergency,” the Vatican has been mandating the Pfizer injection for all staff and visitors since Dec. 23. 

From Jan. 31, triple vaccination (two doses plus the booster) will be required to enter Vatican territory. (Proof of recent recovery from COVID-19 can also gain admittance, and there are no requirements for public liturgies and general audiences.)

But the mandates have been imposed when effectiveness of all the COVID-19 vaccines at preventing spread of the disease is being questioned. 

In December 2020, professor Andrea Arcangeli, director of the Vatican’s Health and Hygiene Directorate, said the Vatican chose to use the Pfizer vaccine because in clinical trials it had “been shown to be 95% effective.” He added that “subsequently, other vaccines produced with different methods can be introduced after evaluating their effectiveness and full safety.”

The 95% figure means that vaccinated people had a 95% lower risk of getting COVID-19 compared with the control group participants in trials, who weren’t vaccinated. So in other words, Pfizer was telling the public that in its own clinical trial, vaccinated people were 20 times less likely than the control group to get COVID-19. 

However, in a Jan. 10 interview with Yahoo News, Bourla acknowledged that the first two doses of the vaccine are now largely ineffective against the spread of the Omicron variant and that, although Omicron is “milder” than previous variants, because of the high infection rates, hospitalizations have been “going much higher in terms of severe disease, ICU occupation, etc.” 


“We know that the two doses of the vaccine have very limited protection, if any,” Bourla told Yahoo News. “The three doses, with the booster, offer reasonable protection against hospitalization and death.” 

Cases Continue Despite Vaccination

Despite the original 95% effectivity rate against the earlier variants that prompted the Vatican to sign a contract with Pfizer, Vatican personnel have been continuing to contract COVID-19 in the Vatican over the past year despite being double- or triple-vaccinated. The latest case is that of Bishop Brian Farrell, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, who is currently infected with COVID-19 despite having received the booster shot. 

An official at the Pontifical Council told the Register this morning “he has tested positive, but we expect him back in the office next week.”

Vatican sources have also told the Register that as many as 14 Swiss Guards contracted COVID-19 in the second half of last year but the cases were never reported. All of them had had two Pfizer doses but almost no symptoms. 

The Vatican has reported no cases of hospitalizations or deaths since the vaccine rollout, and throughout the pandemic, no COVID-19 deaths have been reported in Vatican City.

However, since the vaccine program began in early 2021, the Holy See Press Office has ceased reporting new cases of COVID-19, in contrast to 2020, when it regularly announced if any personnel or residents had been tested positive for the virus. 

The last reported Vatican staff to be infected were Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, then the president of Vatican City State, and the papal almoner, Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, in December 2020. Both survived the disease. 

Despite concerns about the Pfizer vaccine being tainted by abortion, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin appeared this week to rule out any conscience exemption right. 

He told the Register that Vatican employees seeking an exemption because they oppose the vaccine’s link to abortion “seems not to be justified” as the Pfizer product was only tested rather than produced using the cell lines derived from abortion.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has also caused adverse side effects including heart ailments and blood clotting especially in younger recipients, with some causing death. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention insists these “reports are rare and the known and potential benefits of COVID-19 vaccination outweigh the known and potential risks [of these side effects].”

Thousands of these and other cases have nevertheless been reported on government sites in various countries (see the UK figures for the Pfizer vaccine here) where suspected side effects can be voluntarily reported, and citizens have created websites to record their own testimonies of adverse effects from all COVID-19 vaccines. 

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Courageous Chicago Priest Challenges Cardinal Cupich’s Cancellation of Ad Orientem Worship

January 14, 2022 from Complicit Clergy by Fr. Anthony Bus

Fr. Anthony Bus C.R., pastor of St. Stanislaus Kostka
Letter to Bishop Robert Lombardo on “Ad Orientem” Mass

January 13, 2022

Dear Bishop Lombardo,

Thank you for consulting the Archbishop regarding my request for permission to offer the Holy Sacrifice, “Ad Orientem.” I will comply with his directive that this is forbidden in his Archdiocese.

Even so, the Archbishop does not provide evidence that “Ad Orientem” was abrogated at the Second Vatican Council. As I read Sacrosanctum Concilium and the Roman Missal the implication is “Ad Orientem” was not abolished or prohibited – on the contrary.

Liturgists, prelates, priests, and religious had a glorious time after the Council, taking liberties to “change the face of the Church.” I recall as a young teenager in Florida when a priest from Chicago came to our beautiful parish as its new pastor. He right away “renovated” the church into what looked more Baptist than Catholic. In those days, Baptists had strange notions of the Catholic faith, but they loved our beautiful churches. I think they were as shocked as we were at what became of our parish church. As a teenager, the Church I loved very much turned upside down and through my young mind, lost all relevancy – it seemed to just disappear. Like so many others I turned away from the faith even though I had always felt a deep-seated call to the priesthood. My return to the faith only came years later and that’s a whole other story.

As I mentioned in a previous email to you, even though I intuitively knew by the grace of God that something’s been amiss in the reform of the Sacred Liturgy, the depth and richness in the writings of Pope Benedict and Cardinal Sarah became for me the key that unlocked the mystery of the Holy Sacrifice and the mystery of the ministerial priesthood, In Persona Christi. I believe their writings and expositions hold the key to the reform of the Sacred Liturgy and the priesthood.

It’s no wonder why the young are drawn to those who hold to Sacred Tradition in worship and in life. If the Church’s agenda is to Protestantism or make herself acceptable to the world, she’s been effective and thus, one can explain in part, the mass apostasy from the Catholic faith on the part of priests, religious, and laity alike. The faith of the Ancients of Old, is discarded for what’s been called Moral Therapeutic Deism. One doesn’t need the Church or Christ if it’s just about feeling good.

Again, as I’ve suggested in previous emails to you, there’s a point when the constant chiding of the Holy Father, that we are “demented, rigid, or hiding some sickness” because we hold to what has been handed down to us, wanting to remain Catholic in solidarity with our ancestors who heroically and courageously defended the faith in times of persecution, cause us to turn a deaf ear to his exhortations. In reality, we can’t help but listen because he is the successor of Peter.

Indeed, we are passing through a time of persecution. Do we go the way of Jesus Christ or do we accommodate and compromise our faith in deference to the world?

The Holy Mass is the renewal of our fiat – a renewal of our covenant with the Lord and His Mystical Body. Therefore our primary participation in the Holy Mass and the renewal of our sacred covenant to the Lord is that we offer ourselves “a living sacrifice holy and pleasing to God our spiritual worship,” quoting St. Paul. We do this in union with the sacrifice of Jesus, for Jesus, through Jesus, and in Jesus – to the glory of the Father. The Sacred Mysteries offered, “Ad Orientem” facilitates this so beautifully in preparation for Holy Communion, and always in anticipation of the Lord’s coming at the end of all things.

Forgive me Bishop Lombardo if I’m sharing with you things you already know, I just need to unburden my heart of the pain I feel at what is happening in the Church. Many faithful Catholics are being cruelly demoralized – thrown into confusion, which is something the Pope admittedly takes joy in, and are purposefully being pushed to the fringe. There will be no place for our voices in the so called “Synod on Synodality.” This is something we know for certain. I don’t mean to be offensive, but my words come from a place of having been offended over and over again for far too long. I speak for many because I listen to many who are away from the faith or trying hard to hold to the faith.

These are strange times, no doubt. I entrust us all to the benevolent and gracious love of the Blessed Virgin Mary – she is not frozen in the pages of Sacred Scripture and continues to fulfill the will of God – a prophetic presence for the time in which we live.

Again, as always, thank you for hearing me out. Be assured of my prayers for you and all who hold the lofty office of successors of the Apostles, governing, sanctifying, and prophetically leading the Lord’s flock entrusted to the care of their pastors.

As Pope Benedict said, “The false deities will be unmasked through the suffering faith of simple believers.” Pope Francis said, he wants, not a new Church, but a different Church. The Church is Christ’s Church. One wonders what he means by this or why his mercy is shown to some while disdain is shown to others. I don’t mean to end on a sour note, but I can’t resist this. The Church is in need of renewal and reform in every generation as the Council states. Perhaps the “surprise of the Spirit” will undo the harm that’s been done and bring us back to our identity as members of the Mystical Body of Christ as opposed to mere Global Citizens where man/woman are the central protagonists to the unfolding of a New World Order. The governments and corporate elites of the world along with the Pope and some Prelates are quite open to accepting this frightening reality. Perhaps this will hasten the coming of the Lord.

Again, thanks for hearing me out Bishop Lombardo! I do appreciate it.

God bless you always,

Fr. Anthony

UPDATE from Fr Z: https://wdtprs.com/2022/01/cupichs-war-on-catholics-continues-a-chicago-pastor-speaks-up/

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Sunday Readings and Reflections

The Marriage Feast at Cana 
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617–1682)

Sunday, January 16 
Second Sunday in Ordinary Time 

Roman Ordinary calendar


St. Honoratus


Book of Isaiah 62,1-5.

For Zion’s sake I will not be silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not be quiet, until her vindication shines forth like the dawn and her victory like a burning torch. 
Nations shall behold your vindication, and all kings your glory; You shall be called by a new name pronounced by the mouth of the LORD. 
You shall be a glorious crown in the hand of the LORD, a royal diadem held by your God. 
No more shall men call you “Forsaken,” or your land “Desolate,” But you shall be called “My Delight,” and your land “Espoused.” For the LORD delights in you, and makes your land his spouse. 
As a young man marries a virgin, your Builder shall marry you; And as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you. 

Psalms 96(95),1-2a.2b-3.7-8a.9-10ac.

Sing to the LORD a new song; 
sing to the LORD, all you lands. 
Sing to the LORD; bless his name. 

Announce his salvation, day after day. 
Tell his glory among the nations; 
among all peoples, his wondrous deeds.   

Give to the LORD, you families of nations, 
give to the LORD glory and praise; 
give to the LORD the glory due his name! 

Worship the LORD in holy attire. 
Tremble before him, all the earth; 
Say among the nations: The LORD is king. 
He governs the peoples with equity. 

First Letter to the Corinthians 12,4-11.

Brothers and sisters: There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; 
there are different forms of service but the same Lord; 
there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. 
To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. 
To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; 
to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit; 
to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another varieties of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues. 
But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes. 

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 2,1-11.

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 
Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. 
When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 
(And) Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” 
His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.” 
Now there were six stone water jars there for Jewish ceremonial washings, each holding twenty to thirty gallons. 
Jesus told them, “Fill the jars with water.” So they filled them to the brim. 
Then he told them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it.
And when the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from (although the servers who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom 
and said to him, “Everyone serves good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.” 
Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs in Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him. 

Excerpt from The World’s First Love by Bishop Fulton Sheen:

The second lesson of Cana is that Mary intercedes to gain us what we need, without our always knowing our needs. Neither the wine steward nor the diners knew that the wine was failing; therefore, they could not ask for help. In like manner, if we do not know what our soul needs, how can we put such needs in our prayers? Often we do not know what is vital to our lives: St. James tells us that we do not ask aright, but seek to satisfy only our carnal and egotistic desires.

Surely we could go to Our Lord, as the wine steward, as the diners could have gone to Our Lord. But they did not go, and some of us would not go at all; or, if we did go, we would not always ask for the right thing. There are so few of us who know the reason for our unhappiness. We pray for wealth, to “break the bank,” to win the Irish Sweepstakes; we ask for peace of mind, and then dash off to a psychoanalytic couch – when we should ask for peace of soul, be on our knees bemoaning our sins and asking pardon. So few of us know that we need God. We are at the end of our strength and even of our hope; and we do not know that we ought to be asking for Divine strength and Divine Love.

That is where devotion to Mary comes in. The people at the table did not know what they needed to maintain the joy of the marriage feast, even when the Lord was in their midst. There are many of us who would not come to Our Lord, unless we had someone who knows our needs better than we know ourselves, and who will ask Our Lord for us. This role of Mary makes her acceptable to everyone. Those at the marriage table did not need to know she was the Mother of the Son of God in order to receive the benefit of her Divine Son. But one thing is certain – no one will ever call on her without being heard, nor without being finally led to her Divine Son, Jesus Christ, for Whose Sake she alone exists – for Whose Sake she was made pure – and for Whose Sake she was given to us.

The Marriage Feast of Cana also reveals how Mary makes up for our battered and weak wills; she does this by substituting herself for us. It is very hard for us to receive a Divine Favor unless we desire it. Until we love and serve God, we are inert and dead. It is impossible for most of us to ask for a soul-healing, for so few of us know that we are wounded. Mary comes into this crisis of life, to substitute for us in the same way that a mother substitutes for a sick child. The child cannot tell the mother its need. There may be a pin pricking it, it may be hungry, or it may be sick. The child may cry, but it is as vague a complaint as our own adult cries when we are unhappy and fearful, worried and frustrated. The mother in such a circumstance carries the child to the doctor. The mother thus puts herself in the place of the child, who does not have the knowledge to know what is best for it, or cannot will to do anything to help itself. She “doubles,” as it were, for the freedom of the child. Thus does the mother dispose the child to receive what is best for it. And as the mother knows the needs better than the babe, so the Blessed Mother understands our cries and worries, and knows them better than we know ourselves. As the baby needs the doctor, so the Blessed Mother knows we need her Divine Son. As Our Lord mediates between us and the Heavenly Father, so the Blessed Mother mediates between us and Our Divine Lord. She fills our empty pots, she supplies the elixir of life, she prevents the joys of life from ebbing away. Mary is not our salvation – let us not be absurd on that. The mother is not the doctor, and neither is Mary the Saviour. But Mary brings us to the Saviour! 

Three years now pass, and all that Our Blessed Lord told His Mother at Cana is fulfilled. The hour is come, the wine has changed to blood. He has worked His miracles and men have crucified Him. Unfurled on either side of Him, as if to put Him in their class, are two thieves. The world will allow only the mediocre to live. It hates the very wicked, like the thieves, because they disturb its possessions and security. It also hates the Divinely Good, it hates Our Blessed Lord, because He disturbs its conscience, its heart, and its evil desires.

Our Blessed Lord now looks down from His Cross to the two most beloved creatures that He has on earth, John and His Blessed Mother. He picks up the refrain of Cana, and addresses Our Blessed Mother with the same title He gave her at the marriage feast. He calls her, “Woman.” It is the second Annunciation. With a gesture of His dust-filled eyes and His thorn-crowned head, He looks longingly at her, who had sent Him willingly to the Cross, who is now standing beneath it as a cooperator in His Redemption and He says: “Behold thy son.” Then, turning to John, He does not call him John; to do that would have been to address him as the son of Zebedee and no one else. But, in his anonymity, John stands for all of us – Our Lord thus says to His beloved disciple: “Son, behold thy mother.”

Here is the answer, after all these years, to the mysterious words in the Gospel of the Incarnation which stated that Our Blessed Mother laid her “first born” in the manger. Did that mean that Our Blessed Mother was to have other children? It certainly did, but not according to the flesh. Our Divine Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is the only Son of Our Blessed Mother by the flesh. But Our Lady was to have other children, not according to the flesh, but according to the spirit! 

Traditional Latin Mass Readings for this Sunday

Click here for a live-streamed Traditional Latin Mass

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Alice von Hildebrand, 98. Requiescat in pace. 


With a h/t to Father Z

In your kindness, please pray for the repose of the soul of Alice von Hildebrand who died today, 14 January 2022, at the age of 98.  HERE

She was a great lady of great faith and an inspiration for many decades.

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei.
Requiescat in pace. Amen.
Anima eius et animae omnium fidelium defunctorum per Dei misericordiam requiescant in pace. Amen.

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