Ecumenical Ironies

Resolved: Some of the most intense grassroots ecumenism takes place between Catholic Young-Earth Creationists and Protestant Young-Earth Creationists. I think the Catholic side here is the one that is more indebted to the Protestants in terms of specific arguments, historical studies, etc. But precious few in the episcopate or the Vatican want Catholics to be open to *that* kind of influence from Protestants. No, Modernist “Catholics” are supposed to dialogue with Modernist Protestants.

Truth Trumps All

I’ve written about a reputable priest failing, and now I’ll write about a disreputable infidel getting it right. Recently, Donald Trump referred to the communion elements at his church as the wine and the “little cracker.” Some liberal TV comedienne mocked Trump for thus referring to Jesus. The upshot of the joke was, “Hah-hah, he doesn’t even know what his own religion teaches!” This from (or for) liberal atheists who don’t believe in Christ. Smugness has made them hypocrites. And we all know what Christ said about hypocrites.

I suppose as a Catholic voter I’m supposed to be upset at Trump’s ignorance of Christianity. But why? Trump is literally correct — at his Protestant church, the elements really are just wine and crackers. That is what the Catholic Church teaches they are, anyway, because his sect presumably lacks valid orders. I repeat: what Trump said was perfectly correct. If he had claimed that it was the Body and Blood of Our Lord, he would have been wrong. On this point, Trump is “more Catholic” than his so-called Catholic critics.


Drafts from the Driftless

Well, from the *edge* of the Driftless, to be precise. I’ve been wiped out by work this last week, which is great, because I love having a job. On the downside, I’ve had less time to coruscate with refulgent wisdom on these here pages. I have a longer post in the works, but in the meantime I’ll jot down some drafts for future reference. The author of the Siris blog does much the same, and he’s my inspiration. Here goes:

–The indissolubility of sacramental matrimony as a sign of the indissolubility and final perfection of the New Covenant. Divorce allowed under the Old Testament because of the provisional nature of the Mosaic Law.

–If the ordained priest acts in persona Christi, the non-ordained Christian acts in persona Mariae.

–St. Joseph as the type of the clergy, providing the canonical structure within which the Holy Ghost overshadows and fecundates the Blessed Virgin/the Church

–God the Son as Eternal Christ (“Anointed”): The Holy Ghost as the seal of the bond between the Father and the Son. Oil as a seal preserving the integrity of skin and hair against soiling and disintegration/rupture.

–Noah and his Ark, outside of which there was no salvation, as a type of St. Peter and his Barque, the Church, outside of which there is no salvation Continue reading

Hail the All-Powerful in Christ!

I’ve been quite busy at work lately, so I’ve had to defer some of the more involved posts I’ve planned. Lest too long a gap fall between posts, I shamelessly borrow today’s theme from New Liturgical Movement. To wit, today is the feast of the Roman martyr St. Pancratius, who is also known in English-speaking countries as Pancras. Pancratius has one of those awesome martyr-names, like Perpetua and Felicity. His name comes from the Greek for “all-powerful.” When the Roman authorities put him to death at the age of fourteen, I’m sure he didn’t seem all-powerful. But such is the paradox of martyrdom.

I have a few personal anecdotes regarding St. Pancratius. Continue reading

Westward, ho!

Among the many traditionalist shibboleths is the supremacy of worship ad orientem, “toward the east.” For those of you, who don’t know, that means the priest faces away from the people when he offers Mass.

“What?! No! It means that the priest and people both face eastward, which is the traditional posture of Christian prayer going back to the Apostolic era. Christ is our ‘east,’ the rising sun of justice. The idea that the priest is ‘facing away from the people’ is a modern misunderstanding! Don’t you know that in the Roman basilicas the priest faces the people so he can face east, due to the alignment of the churches? And in the early centuries, the congregation faced east, *away* from priest, at certain times during the Mass?”

Why, thank you for that trad smackdown. I’m sure it was very cathartic for you . . . Ennnnyyy-hooo, let me get back to my point about why ad orientem worship in practice means that the priest has his back to the people. Continue reading

Defende nos in proelio . . .

My Mother’s Day post will need to wait — this being an obscurantist blog, our focus is on yet *another* suppressed feast in early May. Today’s is the Feast of the Apparition of St. Michael the Archangel. Here’s what Dom Prosper Gueranger has to say about the feast and its origin.

The title of this post comes from the famous Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. As it happens, May 8 (at least in some countries) marks Victory in Europe Day — the day the last Axis forces in Europe surrendered to the Allies. So today was the day, 71 years ago, when St. Michael delivered on this invocation.

Now, history is messy, and so is Catholic traditionalism. During and since the war, some Catholics have objected to the Western Allies’ connivance in the Soviet conquest of Eastern Europe. While I think this is less the case now, there used to be a strain of World War II revisionism among certain traditionalists (think of the +Williamson affair, which was less anomalous than one might wish). Continue reading

Three Argumentologies

The inspiration for this piece is a traditional Chinese painting called “The Vinegar Tasters.” The painting shows three men tasting vinegar. One has a sour expression, one a bitter expression, and one a pleasant expression. The three men are the philosophers Confucius (for whom life was sour), Buddha (for whom life was bitter), and Lao-Tzu (for whom life was joyful).

In this post, I propose three metaphors for three styles of argumentation — three “argumentologies,” if that’s a word (?) — that typify the Dominicans, the Franciscans, and the Jesuits.

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St. John at the Latin Gate

Prior to 1960, today (May 6) used to be celebrated as the Feast of St. John at the Latin Gate. This feast commemorates the journey that St. John the Evangelist made to Rome during the reign of the Emperor Domitian, about the time St. John wrote the Apocalypse. Domitian had sentenced St. John to death. John’s captors attempted to execute him at Rome’s Latin Gate (the gate facing Latium) by dipping him in a vat of boiling oil. However, God miraculously saved him.

Some people think the story is apocryphal. I prefer to believe it because I like to think that St. John visited Rome. The Latin Gate is near the Lateran, so St. John would have met his near-martyrdom near what is now the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran. That’s the cathedral church of Rome and mother church of the entire world, and it’s dedicated to Our Savior, to St. John the Baptist, and to (wait for it) St. John the Evangelist. Also, St. John would been able to see the See of St. Peter. I hope that he was able to venerate St. Peter’s relics and meet the reigning Pope at the time (St. Clement I). St. John would also be unique among the Apostles for witnessing both 1.) the destruction of the earthly Jerusalem and 2.) the first days of Papal Rome, Jerusalem’s replacement as the earthly seat of God’s Kingdom. Evocative, anyway.

For more information about this feast, go to the New Liturgical Movement. You can also read this account by Fr. Prosper Gueranger, O.S.B. Below, I’ve added two photos that I took in Rome during the summer of 2007. First, here’s the oratory built on the site of St. John’s would-be martyrdom just inside the Latin Gate. It’s called St. John in oleo (“in oil”).


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Ascension Thursday

Tonight (May 5) I attended the Pontifical Mass that Bishop Morlino offered at St. Mary of Pine Bluff. In his homily, Bishop Morlino said that Mass is not just a commemoration of the Passion, but also the Ascension of Our Lord — Christ’s “Great Entrance” into Heaven. I’d add: there’s a link from Maundy Thursday (the institution of the Eucharist) to Ascension Thursday (Our Lord’s bodily entrance into the Heavenly sanctuary).

The Epistle at Mass on Ascension Thursday is taken from the Acts of the Apostles. One of the passages (Acts 1:10-11) reads:

“And while they were beholding him going up to heaven, behold two men stood by them in white garments. Who also said: ye men of Galilee, why stand you looking up to heaven? This Jesus who is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come, as you have seen him going into heaven.”

Where have we seen these two men (i.e. angels) before? At the Resurrection: Continue reading