New Encyclical Will Focus on Social Teaching

popeencyc.jpgVatican, Feb. 29, 2008 (CWNews.com) – Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, has confirmed reports that Pope Benedict XVI will soon release an encyclical on Catholic social teaching. Cardinal Bertone told the Italian daily La Repubblica that the Pope’s 3rd encyclical will deal with “international social problems, with special focus on developing nations.” The cardinal indicated that the papal encyclical will appear in the near future, but did not provide a date. Vatican-watchers have speculated that the document is likely to be released in March of early April. The first two encyclicals released by Pope Benedict, Deus Caritas Est and Spe Salvi, have been dedicated to the theological virtues, and the documents reflect the Pontiff’s own background as an academic theologian. In a story released earlier this month the French daily La Croix reported that the 3rd encyclical will be different, reflecting the “collective labor” of several different departments of the Vatican

REPLY FROM DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH ON BAPTISMAL FORMULAE

 the-baptism-pietro-longhi.jpgVATICAN CITY, 29 FEB 2008 (VIS) – Made public today were the responses of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to two questions concerning the validity of Baptism conferred with certain non-standard formulae.

The first question is: “Is a Baptism valid if conferred with the words ‘I baptise you in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier’, or ‘I baptise you in the name of the Creator, and of the Liberator, and of the Sustainer'”?

The second question is: “Must people baptised with those formulae be baptised ‘in forma absoluta’?”

The responses are: “To the first question, negative; to the second question, affirmative”.

Benedict XVI, during his recent audience with Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, approved these responses, which were adopted at the ordinary session of the congregation, and ordered their publication. The text of the responses bears the signatures of Cardinal Levada and of Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., secretary of the dicastery.

An attached note explains that the responses “concern the validity of Baptism conferred with two English-language formulae within the ambit of the Catholic Church. … Clearly, the question does not concern English but the formula itself, which could also be expressed in another language”.

“Baptism conferred in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit”, the note continues, “obeys Jesus’ command as it appears at the end of the Gospel of St. Matthew. … The baptismal formula must be an adequate expression of Trinitarian faith, approximate formulae are unacceptable.

“Variations to the baptismal formula – using non-biblical designations of the Divine Persons – as considered in this reply, arise from so-called feminist theology”, being an attempt “to avoid using the words Father and Son which are held to be chauvinistic, substituting them with other names. Such variants, however, undermine faith in the Trinity”.

“The response of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith constitutes an authentic doctrinal declaration, which has wide-ranging canonical and pastoral effects. Indeed, the reply implicitly affirms that people who have been baptised, or who will in the future be baptised, with the formulae in question have, in reality, not been baptised. Hence, they must them be treated for all canonical and pastoral purposes with the same juridical criteria as people whom the Code of Canon Law places in the general category of ‘non- baptised'”.
CDF/BAPTISM FORMULAE/LEVADAVIS 080229 (420)

Dom Gérard, Eternal Memory!

Dom Gérard Calvet of blessed memoryDom Gérard Calvet

Dom Gérard Calvet of blessed memory, the famed Abbot of Sainte-Madeleine-du-Barroux can best be remembered for his work for those who love and desire the Traditional Latin Mass.  

He can be seen in the two pictures above that were taken at his 50th jubilee anniversary as a priest. One particular address he gave at the ten year anniversary for Ecclesia Dei at their conference held in Rome on October 24, 1998 was titled, “Let the war of rites cease”. ( http://www.unavoce.org/domgerardspeech.htm )

In summarizing Dom Gérard’s address, the three main solutions which he continued to propose  for promoting the Traditional Latin Mass included:

1)      an  extension of the powers of the Pontifical “Ecclesia Dei” Commission, or the institution of an intermediate authority answerable to the Commission and  taking the form of an apostolic delegation which would regulate each case  at the local level together with the diocesan bishops. 

2)      the creation on the part of the episcopal authorities or of the Holy See of quasi-parishes of a personal nature in every diocese where a minimum number of faithful  have requested them 

3)      the insertion of the old Ordo Missae “ad libitum” in all the new Missals if not the granting of permission to all priests to celebrate according to the 1962 Missal. 

Does this sound familiar?  And again, it was 1998.  

Dom Gérard, thank you for your service, requiescat in pace and eternal memory!

The Traditional Latin Mass at Georgetown University

Campus Ministry Endorses Celebration of Latin Mass

Tridentine Mass Held Biweekly in Copley

By Elizabeth Blazey , The Hoya

archbishop-sheen.gifIn response to student requests for the Tridentine Mass, a traditional Catholic Mass said in Latin, the Office of Campus Ministry has agreed to regularize its twice-weekly observance in Copley Crypt. 

Students first submitted a formal request to campus ministry that the Mass be celebrated weekly in Dahlgren Chapel in September, but lack of archdiocesan regulations on the Mass delayed campus ministry’s response.

“We wanted to make sure we were cooperating with the Archdiocese [of Washington, D.C.], which was assessing how it wanted to move with this rite among all the parishes,” said Fr. Timothy Godfrey, S.J., director of campus ministry. “We received word that the archbishop would release directives regarding the Tridentine rite, so we wanted to progress slowly as well.”

Copley Crypt was chosen over Dahlgren due to its architecture and the placement of the altar, said Fr. Stephen Fields, S.J., one of the priests who say the Tridentine Masses.

The Mass is celebrated on campus according to directives outlined in Pope Benedict XVI’s letter “Summorum Pontificum” last year. “The Archdiocese of Washington is working on other norms to be followed for the celebration of this form of the Mass, and our celebration of it will fully comply with these,” Fields said.

The Tridentine Mass is now celebrated in Copley Crypt on Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. and Sundays at 11:30 a.m. Fields and Fr. William Farge, S.J., currently preside over the Mass, and Fr. John Siberski, S.J., and Fr. James Duffy, S.J., are training in order to be able to celebrate the Mass in the future.

“The Mass is offered as an outreach of the Jesuit community for the pastoral care of those students who requested it and who are interested in attending,” Fields said.

Some students said that they would support eventually celebrating the Tridentine Mass in Dahlgren Chapel instead of Copley Crypt.

“In the beginning the group was small so the crypt was fine. However, it will only take a few more students coming to make the crypt inadequate, so I would support it being moved to Dahlgren,” said Lauren Funk (SFS ’10).

The Tridentine Mass was widely celebrated until the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s. It declined in popularity over the past few decades, but has gained new life after the release of “Summorum Pontificum,” which gave parishes greater freedom to celebrate the Tridentine liturgy.

Fields said the Tridentine Mass offers a unique way for Catholics to worship.

“It revitalizes a form of the Mass that nourished countless numbers of people for 400 years,” he said. “It cultivates contemplative silence before God, and it makes full use of the beauty of Latin, incense, and chant to elevate the heart and mind in prayer.”

Funk said the Tridentine Mass has a different tone than more contemporary Masses.

“I like to attend the Tridentine Mass because it feels much more reverent and God-focused than some of the other Masses on campus,” she said.

In addition to the Masses said on campus, at least seven parishes in the D.C. area recently added Tridentine Masses, including St. Mary, Mother of God in Northwest D.C.

“I feel that since community is an essential element of the Church, it would be difficult and almost detrimental to the faith of students if they were forced to continually move around to different churches to fulfill their spiritual needs,” Funk said.

Pope Benedict XVI appoints new Bishop for the Diocese of Lansing

bishop-boyea.jpg

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Earl Boyea as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Lansing.  The 10-county Diocese of Lansing includes more than 200,000 Catholics.  His Excellency will be installed as the Bishop of Lansing, Michigan on the 29th of April.  Bishop Mengeling will be the administrator of the Lansing Diocese until then.

Roman Catholic, author, conservative commentator William F. Buckley Jr. dies at 82

William F. Buckley Jr

William F. Buckley Jr., the conservative pioneer died today at his home working at his desk.

By Mark Feeney, Globe Staff 

William F. Buckley Jr., who as author, journalist, and polysyllabic television personality did more to popularize conservatism in post-New Deal America than anyone other than Barry Goldwater or Ronald Reagan, died yesterday at his home in Stamford, Conn. He was 82.The cause of death was unknown, but his assistant, Linda Bridges, said Mr. Buckley had been ill with emphysema.

“America has lost one of its finest writers and thinkers,” President Bush said in a statement.

Mr. Buckley’s political importance has long been acknowledged across the political spectrum. Pat Buchanan, the three-time presidential candidate, once called him “the spiritual father of the movement,” while the late historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. called Mr. Buckley “the scourge of American liberalism.” Although Schlesinger, very much a man of the left, did not mean it as a compliment, Mr. Buckley cheerily took it as such.

Good cheer was a key element in Mr. Buckley’s success. Not only did it sustain him during the ’50s and ’60s, when his brand of conservatism claimed few adherents, but it also helped earn him an audience – and grudging acceptance – among the liberal elite.

Indeed, Schlesinger became a friend of Mr. Buckley’s, as did such other eminent liberals as the activist Allard Lowenstein, the columnist Murray Kempton, and the Harvard economist John Kenneth Galbraith.

Mr. Buckley’s personal charm was one of several sources from which he derived so large an influence. He was also the author of more than 40 books. Although many were not about politics, all his early ones were and they tended to attract wide attention.

In 1955, Mr. Buckley founded National Review, which he edited for the next 35 years. “It was a pretty sclerotic situation [on the Right] when National Review started out,” he recalled in a 2001 Globe interview. “Our launch reflected a pent-up appetite.”

The columnist George F. Will (the magazine’s onetime Washington editor) said at a 25th anniversary celebration, “Before Ronald Reagan, there was Barry Goldwater, and before Barry Goldwater there was National Review, and before there was National Review, there was Bill Buckley, with a spark in his mind.” That spark, Will noted, eventually became “a conflagration.” One sign of that conflagration was circulation: The magazine is America’s most widely read political journal.

National Review also turned into a great incubator of young writers, courtesy of Mr. Buckley’s keen eye for talent. Among those who worked for the magazine early in their career were Will, Garry Wills, Joan Didion, John Leonard, Richard Brookhiser, and David Brooks. In one of the tributes the magazine posted online yesterday, Senator John McCain praised Mr. Buckley as “a man of tremendous vision and big ideas.”

“When conservatism was a lonely cause, he bravely raised the standard of liberty and led the charge to renew the principles and values that are the foundation of our great country,” said McCain, a GOP presidential candidate.

The success of National Review led to Mr. Buckley’s being offered a syndicated newspaper column in 1962. At its height, the twice-weekly column ran in more than 300 papers, including The Boston Globe.

Four years later, he debuted as host of a television debate program, “Firing Line.” It ran for 33 years and brought him an audience greater than that for his books, magazine, and column combined.

It also made Mr. Buckley a celebrity, which may have been the most important contributor to his influence. Looking at their television screens, viewers didn’t see a conservative in the mold of a Robert Taft or Calvin Coolidge – someone pinched, drab, reserved. Instead, Mr. Buckley was dashing, witty, almost preposterously energetic.

“On TV, Buckley is a star,” wrote the journalist Theodore White. “His haughty face, its puckering and hesitation as he lets loose a shaft of wit, would have made him Oscar Wilde’s favorite candidate for anything.”

Mr. Buckley became one of the most mimicked men in America, thanks to his many distinctive attributes and even-more-distinctive mannerisms. They ranged from slouching in his seat and carrying a clipboard to darting his tongue and waggling his brows. Above all, there was his High Church accent and luxuriantly Latinate vocabulary.

Keeping Mr. Buckley from self-parody was the great zest he unfailingly displayed, whether in print, in person, or on screen. That sense of boundless enthusiasm – for sailboats, the harpsichord, cavalier King Charles spaniels, or anti-Communism, to name just four of his passions – made Mr. Buckley’s aristocratic manner seem not so much patronizing as playful.

He came by such a manner naturally. Born on Nov. 24, 1925, in New York City, William Frank Buckley Jr. was the sixth of 10 children of a wealthy oilman, his namesake, and Aloise (Steiner) Buckley. A devout Catholic, he was educated by tutors and at boarding schools in England and the United States.

From an early age, he lacked neither opinions nor the willingness to express them. At 7, he wrote the king of England to demand repayment of Britain’s World War I debt to the United States.

Mr. Buckley spent two years in the Army, then entered Yale in 1946. He was in his element there (he was chairman of The Yale Daily News and a member of Skull & Bones, the premier undergraduate secret society) but also deeply alienated. That alienation produced “God and Man at Yale” (1951), Mr. Buckley’s first book. Its condemnation of the university’s secular-humanist ethos caused a sensation – and established its author’s reputation.

After a year in Mexico working for the Central Intelligence Agency (an experience that would inform Mr. Buckley’s Blackford Oakes espionage novels), he returned to the United States. He wasted no time reentering the political fray. Mr. Buckley and L. Brent Bozell, his brother-in-law, published a book, “McCarthy and His Enemies” (1954). While not completely approving of the methods Senator Joseph McCarthy employed in his campaign against Communist subversion, the authors nonetheless defended him as heading “a movement around which men of good will and stern morality can close ranks.”

A brief stint working for The American Mercury magazine convinced Mr. Buckley that the United States needed a new organ of conservative opinion: National Review. “I want intelligence, but no crackpottery,” he announced. “But I want some positively unsettling vigor, a sense of abandon, and joy, and cocksureness that may, indeed, be interpreted by some as indiscretion.”

In 1965, Mr. Buckley tried his hand at politics, running for mayor of New York on the Conservative Party ticket. Asked how many votes he expected to get, he replied, “Conservatively speaking, one.”

In fact, he ended up with 13.4 percent of the vote. The idea hadn’t been to win office – he once said that his first act if elected would be to demand a recount – but gain attention for Mr. Buckley’s ideas. His strong showing was the first indication that Goldwater’s landslide defeat in the 1964 presidential race might not be an end but a beginning.

Mr. Buckley’s mayoral bid led to “Firing Line.” Consciously modeled on the “Friday Night Fights” boxing telecasts, the program presented him floating like a butterfly and stinging with his clipboard. It gave birth to what would become a television standby, the broadcast pundit.

His televised punditry got Mr. Buckley into trouble in 1968, when he and the novelist Gore Vidal squared off as analysts on ABC during the Democratic convention. Vidal so enraged Mr. Buckley that at one point he shouted on air, “Now listen, you queer, stop calling me a crypto-Nazi or I’ll sock you in the goddam face.”

The recipient of numerous honorary degrees and an Emmy Award for “Firing Line,” Mr. Buckley was given the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, in 1991.

In his 2001 Globe interview, Mr. Buckley described his role in life this way: “My mission was mostly combative, to try to insist – beginning at school – there was another way of looking at things.”

Mr. Buckley’s wife, Patricia (Taylor) Buckley, died last year. He leaves a son, Christopher, the humorist and novelist, of Washington; three sisters, Priscilla Buckley of Sharon, Conn., Patricia Bozell of Washington, D.C., and Carol Buckley of Columbia, S.C.; two brothers James L. of Sharon, Conn., and F. Reid of Camden, S.C.; a granddaughter; and a grandson.

New District Superior for the FSSP

fssp-cod-of-arms.jpgThe Superior General of the FSSP, The Very Reverend Fr. John Berg, with the consent of the General Council, has accepted the request of Fr. George Gabet, FSSP to step down as District Superior and has named Fr. Eric Flood, FSSP as his successor.  Fr. Flood was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in 2000 a.D. by Bishop Timlin of Scranton, Pennsylvania.  Father spent three years at his first Priestly assignment in Omaha, Nebraska and then he was transferred to Maple Hill, Kansas for the next 4 1/2 years.  Fr. Flood will now spend most of his time at the North American Headquarters of the Fraternity in Elmhurst, PA. 

Restoration of the Sacred: UPDATE

before.jpgafter.jpg

The restoration of Sts. Cecilia and Philomena are well on their way. As you can see by the photos, the sanctuary is almost completely done.  You will notice that the original oil painting of St. Philomena is gone but, Deo volente, it should be back before Easter fully restored to it’s orginal splendor.  All of the statues have been totally restored and there has been a beautiful addition of a gorgeous Sacred Heart Statue that takes the place of the one that was broken during the restoration process.  We will keep track of the progress as work continues. If you have questions about the location, Mass times, or want to see how you can help please contact Fr. Saguto at the Rectory 765-647-0310.

Resist the devil and he will fly from you

Rev. Mr. Jonathan Romanoski, FSSP

JMJtf

“Resist the devil, and he will fly from you.”

+

stmichael_by_raphael.jpgIn the Ancient Roman Liturgy which we follow so closely throughout Lent, this Sunday, the 3rd Sunday of Lent, was known as “Scrutiny Sunday,” in which the Church began to examine more closely Her candidates for baptism, for proof of their zeal and good purpose, “so that, without error,” the ancient rite says, “we may proceed with the celestial mystery and open the gates of heaven, defeating the devil with all his works and pomps.” Hence the high moral standard highlighted in the epistle- “as befits saints,” who will be flooded with God’s own holiness at the baptismal font. Hence too, the stational Church of St. Lawrence today, where the Roman Pontiffs celebrated this Sunday, so as to inspire the catechumens by the zeal of this great martyr, who as you recall, while being burnt on the grid iron, said, “turn me over I am done on this side.” 

But lest you think this sermon is intended solely for the catechumen, we must scrutinize ourselves still more. We, who have received the divine indwelling in our Baptism so long ago, and have been so frequently a partaker of our divine Paschal Lamb, the reception of whom but a few times made great saints out of St. Maria Goretti, for example, and Bl. Imelda who died of love at her First Holy Communion. How do we stand in our attempts to “defeat the devil with all his works and pomps?” If we neglect this struggle, and leave our own interior castle empty of virtue and sanctity, the gospel tells us we will wind up 7 times worse, which is readily verifiable in so many fallen away Catholics and once Catholic countries. Let us then review who the devil is and what are his works and pomps.

The devil you will recall is an angel, created by God. Indeed he was the highest of angels. He was created good, and as a creature depended entirely on God to exist and to act. He scorned this dependence however, and would not serve. Why? There are different opinions, as there is little revealed about it other than it was due to pride. Some of the Fathers and Schoolmen, however, give this for a reason, namely- he was shown a mystery far above even his own angelic understanding, that is, the mystery of the Incarnation, wherein God would assume human nature and not an angelic one, the nature of a rational-animal. And in this he was shown as well the mystery of the Mother of God, who as a mere human being would be placed above all the angels including himself the highest Seraph, in glory. This was something seemingly backwards as indeed in the angelic order, the more endowed the nature of an angel was the higher degree of glory it received in the supernatural order. Nature and grace were proportionate. But God chose the weak things of this world to shame the strong both here and in the world above, to show that it is all His gratuitous gift, that everything is grace. But this Satan could not accept. He would not stoop down to obey and serve a mere human being. He would try rather to be like God without God. How foolish indeed!

And so he fell “and his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven” away with him, the Apocalypse tells us, which is often interpreted as referring to the fall of the angels, the number of which were many. This leaves many empty seats in heaven, which St. Thomas tells us, expressing a common tradition, are to be filled up by mankind, which causes even greater resentment of the fallen angels toward us. For, they are condemned to hell for all eternity, which they chose by loving themselves more than God. And misery loves company. They are forever fixed in their hatred for God, who would place a mere human being above them. But they know quite well that they cannot harm God in any way, so they are left to make every effort to efface his image and likeness, and pervert the order that he has established on earth, where they prowl about seeking the ruin of souls.

So what exactly can they do to us? The Scriptures and the Liturgy remind us that we are slaves of the devil, the prince of this world, by our sin, and the Church takes great care to exorcize even infants who are about to be baptized. What is the meaning of this? It is to say that due to original sin, and our consequent disordered desires we will not be able to avoid sin without the grace of God, and so we are doomed to failure, doomed to everlasting hell. Yet we are not utterly corrupt as Luther and Calvin thought. And not everything the pagan does is a sin. We do retain our free will and the devil cannot make us do anything. What he can do though, is propose images and words to our imagination, stir up our passions, and arrange external temptations, through his powerful influence, or even by some extraordinary / preternatural activity, as we see in the lives of St. John Vianney and St. Padre Pio, who were often beat up by the devil. The former even had his bed set on fire by the devil. And if people involve themselves in the occult, like Ouija boards, Tarot cards, satanic music, (and you’d be surprised to hear the names of the number of bands who were so involved in the occult and incorporated such occultism into their music, like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Eagles, and other so called “light” rock bands), they can even open themselves up to full diabolical possession in which they lose control over all their motor faculties- speech, movement, etc. The demons are pure spirits and have a virtually unlimited power over matter. They could destroy the world in a matter of moments, as there is nothing to hinder the exercise of their power over it, as such.

            But they wish not to simply destroy the physical world. They’d rather make use of it to destroy your immortal soul. What will be the plan of attack? Based on what we said, remember that they eternally resent you, as a bodily creature, as part animal, called to stand above them- pure spirits. And so they will make every effort to tempt you to an animal like existence, by tempting you to worship your body, to indulge in sensuality, to eat, drink and be merry inordinately, seeking nothing higher than sensual gratification; to cause you to spend most of your time preoccupied with games, sports, fashion, food, toys, cars, hunting, fishing, and all the other good things of this world, which are meant to be used to serve and love God rather than replace Him, whereas the devil wants us to worship them, and place our happiness therein. He will encourage especially immodest clothing, music, and media which are centered on unbridling the passions, which being undone cause souls to fall into hell as fast and numerous as snowflakes, as our Lady of Fatima told us.

Such self-centered worship of the appetites, which can never be satisfied, and which can never be shared, (in the sense that a material good is limited and can only be enjoyed by the one who has it, in contrast to spiritual goods which can be shared without diminution), will in turn lead to economic strife, and false economic solutions, which degrade man’s dignity still further, denying his rights to property, a just wage, etc., amidst the lust to consume and possess all for oneself or for the state, treating others and workers as mere animals without rights, meant only to work, and consume. Pope Pius XII described this very dynamic when he wrote, “The modern world is in a state of agitation which leads to a confusion between what is good and what is evil, together with a love of novelty. The forces of evil are solidly organized against us on all sides, while our archenemy, the devil, tries his best to harm mankind by all the means at his disposal.” “The spirit of evil” he says, “relies especially on the misery and despair of the unemployed to separate them from Christ, the one and only Savior, and to throw them into the stream of atheism and materialism, implicating them in the mechanisms of social organizations contrary to the order established by God.”

They hate and despise the hierarchical order of society, as they hate God from whom all authority derives. In short they are working for a social order, in which the Church would be subordinate to the State; the name of God merely tolerated at a distance if at all; children would not be subject to their parents, nor wives to their husbands. Man meant to increase and multiply for the common good, would subordinate new immortal lives to passing pleasure. And remember how much the devil hates Our Lady, and in Her, both virginity and maternity. In short it would be a society very much like our own: Secular, Sensual, Marxist, worshipping the dollar bill, the love of which is the root of all evil. You see now what we are up against? “Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against Principalities and Powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.”

How then can we stand against such an enemy? First let us recall that these wicked spirits are held in existence in every moment by the hand of God, in whom, like every other mere creature, they live and move and have their being. And thus all their activity, is entirely subordinate to His Providence, which activity he permits to strengthen and prove the just in combat, or punish the evil for their sin, who will glorify His divine justice in the end. And how are we to pass this test? First, there are the sacramentals that the Church gives us- holy water, the sign of the Cross, exorcised salt, scapulars, the Miraculous Medal, the very powerful Medal of St. Benedict, which contains an exorcism on it. There are also general exorcism prayers that the laity can say, invocations for deliverance by the power of the Most Holy Names of Jesus and Mary; invocation to St. Joseph the Terror of Demons and to St. Michael his ancient foe who cast him out of heaven, although as of 1984, by Vatican decree, the long prayer to St. Michael cannot be said by the laity, as it is taken directly out of the Roman Ritual reserved to priests, and even then only to a priest with the permission of the Bishop may say it. We must be careful not to usurp authority that we don’t have lest we wind up in worse trouble. So it is often best just to pray to Our Lord and Our Lady and the saints to deliver you, and to bind these demons in hell.

But of course diabolical possession is not so much to be feared as the slavery to the devil by sin, in which the devil will often just keep quiet so as not to startle you from your slow and sure slide into hell. As St. Cyprian says, “Caution is easier where danger is manifest, and the mind is prepared beforehand when the adversary avows himself. The enemy is more to be feared and guarded against when he creeps upon us secretly; when deceiving us by the appearances of peace, he steals forward by hidden approaches, whence he has received the name of serpent.” And so the best way to avoid this worse imprisonment is by frequent confession, frequent devout communions, the most holy Rosary, fasting, mortification of curiosity, time in prayer, and the overall practice of the virtues. If we fill up our house with such divine ornamentation we will have nothing to fear. “Be subject therefore to God, but resist the devil, and he will fly from you.”

As St. Augustine explains, “It is by true piety that men of God cast out the hostile power of the air who opposes godliness; it is by exorcising it, not by propitiating it. They overcome all the attacks of the enemy by praying to their God against him, not by praying to him. For the devil cannot conquer or subdue any except those who are in league with sin; and therefore he is overcome in the name of him who assumed a human nature, without sin.” The demons will not want to come back to be bound again by the strong man, Jesus Christ who reigns in the soul of the just, who has cast out the prince of this world. St. Teresa enrobed in such sanctity tells us, “for, although I used to sometimes see the devils… I have hardly ever been afraid of them again – indeed, they seem to be afraid of me…they are no more trouble to me now than flies. They seem to be such cowards – as soon as they see that one despises them they flee, powerless…May His Majesty make us fear Him whom we should fear, understanding that one venial sin can do more harm than all the forces of hell combined…If only we will hate everything for God’s sake and embrace the Cross, trying to serve him in truth, the devil will fly from those truths as from a plague

And if we have so plucked out the plank from our own eye, how soon our society will be re-conquered for Christ our King, for all culture depends on what we worship and love. As the great St. Augustine wrote, “Two loves have formed two cities; the earthly by the love of self, even to the contempt of God; the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self…In the one, the princes and nations it subdues are ruled by the love of ruling; in the other the princes and the subjects serve one another in love, the latter obeying while the former take thought for all. The one delights in its own strength, represented in the person of its rulers; the other says to its God, ‘I will love thee, O Lord, my strength’.”

For, “men” he says, “are separated from God only by sins, from which we are cleansed in this life, not through any virtue of ours, but by the divine compassion; through his mercy, not through our own power. For whatever virtue we call our own is itself bestowed upon us by his goodness.”

For in the end, this is the whole reason that God allows the demons to buffet us. It is the truth that the demons didn’t understand in heaven, nor even St. Paul in the third heaven, but rather when the latter was on the ground being beaten by the former, crying out for deliverance, only to hear that most important truth, that rock of all humility and sanctity. “My grace is sufficient for thee; for power is made perfect in infirmity. Gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”

Our Lady Queen of the Angels, and Virgin Most Humble: Pray for us.

+

AMDG

How come the priest’s got his back to us?

Often we hear the comment that during the Traditional Latin Mass, the priest ‘has his back towards the people’ usually followed by complaints about how that makes some feel left out, slighted, uninvolved, or that we can’t see what’s “happening”, etc.

Actually, the priest and the people are both facing the same way, towards the altar and tabernacle, in anticipation of the sacred Eucharist which will soon make our Lord present. The discussion of ad orientem (towards the east, facing the altar) versus versus populum (towards the people) reveals the many reasons, theological, historical, and liturgical, for the celebration ad orientem.

I’m including a short video by Fr. Joseph Fessio, editor of Ignatius Press, discussing Cardinal Ratzinger’s book, The Spirit of the Liturgy,  vis-a-vis the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum and ad orientem versus versus populum so-called controversy.