Lord, Save Your People!

I saw a report earlier that, thanks to Megyn Kelly’s freakout about a “Cardinal or bishop or something” loitering around the Vatican, Newsweek or some other such moribund periodical is pushing for a Pope Tagle.

No, you’re not doing it right. Stop it!

This would be a worse disaster than when the US Navy hired the Village People to record a recruitment video. “In the navy, yes you can sail the seven seas, in the navy…” Dammit it’s stuck in my head now!!!

Deus, exaudi nos!

Megyn Saw a Cardinal!

Seriously, friends… I worked in that industry (broadcast news) for a few years. Take it from me. If it bleeds out of its whatever, it leads – to mash up a Trumpian phrase with an old news maxim.

Listen to what she said and how she said it.

“Inside the Vatican, moments ago, we saw a ton of cardinals, which our guide tells us is highly unusual.”

Highly unusual? You can’t swing a dead cat by its tail in the Vatican without seeing “a ton of cardinals”.

I’m not even getting into her truly retarded “reporting” that a “priest or a bishop or someone came into the Sistine Chapel and gave a blessing” and that this, too, is “highly unusual”.

Let’s review a few things.

1.) Bergoglio will not resign. He’s a Peronist. He’s a diabolical narcissist. He’s holding onto this as long as he can.

2.) Even if he did “resign”, he’s not the pope so it will mean nothing more than another faux-conclave while the one and only Vicar of Christ on earth, Pope Benedict XVI continues to reign whether he likes it or not.

3.) Megyn Kelly… She gets Harvey’s Gold Star for Dummies for the day!

Good job, Megyn!

I’m going to leave that one there as I’m headed out to Adoration. I was going to say “Megan Kelly is a twit,” but thought better of it. Our Lord is waiting for me and my son to keep Him company, to console Him, and to ask Him for our hearts’ desires. That thought gives me chills.

Again, I will pray for you, my readers.

Our Lady of Victory, pray for us!

In Nomine Patris

A blessed Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

My Father’s Day was a blast. Started the day with early mass. Got a seat right up front with my wife and kids. My daughter made me breakfast. We went swimming. I grilled. My wife and kids gave me the most amazing gifts. I am truly thankful.

And I am thankful for something even more. I am thankful to God for sharing the gift of His Paternity with me. In making me a father, He placed it upon me to be the man who will teach my family about Him. He tasked me with representing Him to them. My children will come to know God through me if I do a good job. No pressure there. Half the time I can’t find my car keys but I am thankful. And humbled.

Speaking of Humility

After the merriment of today, celebrating with my offspring that I offsprung them, I get to take part in what has become one of the great joys of my life. My mother-in-law reminded me that our parish began a week of Adoration tonight. Everyone was pretty much in bed when I grabbed my keys (I did find them!) and headed towards the front door. My teenage son popped out of his room.

“Where are you going, Dad?” he asked.

“Adoration,” I replied.

“I’ll come with.”

No arguments here. On the drive I had a chat with him. He was a little vexed about his sister going out to breakfast in the morning with my sister who’s visiting us. He won’t be able to join due to a prior commitment. But who doesn’t enjoy a breakfast outing?

“I wouldn’t worry about it, son,” I said. “You get to do something far more wonderful.” Then I reminded him where we were going. “Our Lord is waiting right now for us. He knew that we would come to see Him. He’s known it since before there was a time to be remembered.” I thought about the gospel this morning. A man held a great feast and invited many. Everyone made excuses. Then he sent for the poor and lame. They came but still there was room. “Go into the highways and hedges and bring in those who are there!” he ordered.

Shrine of the Miraculous Medal, St. Catherine Laboure Church, Harrisburg, PA

Until recently I was the one who made excuses about Adoration. I need my rest. I have things to do. God wants me to tend to these other things.

I won’t judge anyone for saying the same things. But something became more serious for me when I began to understand the sacrifice Our Lord made even deeper than I had throughout my life. I came to understand It through the ancient mass, by the way. Notice a theme? I started reading more and praying more. And I started wanting to see Him more.

I’ll tell you what I told my boy.

“The Creator of the universe is waiting in that humble church for you and me to come spend a few moments with him. He’s giving us a chance to ask Him blessings and tell Him we’re sorry for our sins. He’s giving us to atone for our own sins and the sins of others – especially during this month. The proud have their pride. He waits veiled in humility. Don’t you think that at our judgments [his and my particular judgments] He’ll remember that He waited and no one came but us? And if these people we’re passing on this busy highway and in these fast food joints and whatnot; if they knew and understood what This was, they’d crawl over broken glass to join us?”

I can be eloquent on the fly.

But it’s all true. And it’s beautiful. And it’s good. It’s good for us to be here with Our Lord. I will tell Him that I pray His blessing on each of you reading this now and I hope you will pray for me.

He waited over 40 years for me to come spend time with Him. He waits for you too.

May the Heart of Jesus in the Most. Leased Sacrament be praised, adored, and loved with grateful affection at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, and in the hearts of all men, even until the end of time! Amen.

Imitation of Christ: The Most Sincere Form of Flattery

On my nightstand sits a tiny leather-bound book. This book was first published sometime around the year 1418. It features print appropriately small enough to match the 3″ X 5″ dimensions of the book itself (and just small enough for my aging eyes to strain each time I look at it). The size of the book is useful, though, in this one regard. It can easily be taken wherever one goes as it fits in most pockets.

The book, of course, is the classic Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis.

I first came across this book for use in my own spiritual reading about three years ago. I had just recently started attending the traditional mass when a student of mine mentioned that he had been given a copy of the book for his birthday. He thought I would find it insightful. I’m very grateful he suggested it.

Yesterday I mentioned that I would be looking more in-depth at seminary formation over the past few decades. I figure this is as good a place as any to start. In my own time in seminary, the devotional life was never discussed. I recall that things of this nature were understood to be between the seminarian and his spiritual director. In fact, the then-prevailing thought was (at least it was understood to be) that devotions as such were gifts giving by the Holy Ghost to each Christian. In other words, if you didn’t have a particular devotion, it probably wasn’t a devotion meant for you and that was apparently fine. And while I am sure someone with a much higher intellect like, say, a Fr. Ripperger, could expound upon that statement and parse its meaning in such a way that it might line up with a traditional Catholic understanding of charism, the statement itself is misleading. Devotion itself is a hallmark of the Catholic faith. More to the point, the devotional life must be fostered. How can anyone be expected to have any devotions at all if they are not taught, nourished, and fostered? I still remember my parents teaching me the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be as a four year-old child on our front porch one summer evening. Guess what three prayers are still my go-to for every moment in life? And that’s because the people I love and trust taught me to love and to trust in this manner.

But that’s how it was.

And for a long time after leaving the seminary I did not give it much thought. I knew what my own particular devotions were and I saw them as gifts from God. My dad taught me by example to go to mass every day. We had our family rosary. I have a strong devotion to St. Rita of Cascia. To each his own, I thought.

Then I began to meet some truly holy priests – mean who love their spiritual sons and daughters.

Statue of the Blessed Mother giving the rosary to St. Dominic, St. Dominic’s Catholic Church, San Francisco

Through the proliferation of materials online in videos of conferences and sermons and retreats and of course through exposure to traditional devotions and classics of spiritual reading, I was exposed to a kind of piety I had only rarely encountered before. I do not mean to imply that only traditional priests possess this piety at all as I do know some truly holy priests who have not yet discovered the great blessing of the ancient mass. But it became obvious to me that the priests of tradition had been formed differently certainly than I had been.

Then I came across the following from the New York Times from 1977. A mere decade after the close of the Council and the effects were clearly being seen in how priests were being trained. The article is about the seminary I would come to attend. For context, in 1977 the seminary was on a beautiful country estate. A few years later, due in part to dwindling numbers, the seminary moved to the main campus of the diocesan university. Then-rector Fr. Ed Ciuba, is quoted here breathlessly exuding his joy that men were no longer trained as they had been in the “dark ages”.

“To dramatize the change in preparing men for the priesthood, Father Ciuba cited two books, “Imitation of Christ,” which was used when the “rugged individuals” of the 1920’s and 1930’s were seminarians, and “Spiritual Renewal of the American Priesthood,” which is used today.

“Imitation of Christ” stressed “a very strong personal relationship with God,” Father Ciuba said, while the current text takes into account “how culture influences our spirituality, how the seminarian finds his relationship to God in and through his relationship to his fellow priests, his relationship to his friends and to lay people.”

“Mahwah Seminary Marks 50 Years, James Lynch, NYT, 1977”

Folks, if you want to know anything at all about many of the priests ordained from the 1970’s onward, just re-read that quote. Their formators decided it would be better for these young men that they develop social skills than develop a “very strong personal relationship with God”. And because God knows how to work even with these worst of intentions, some solid men still made it through. Perhaps they were reading one of these tiny copies of Imitation of Christ on the sly. They do, as mentioned, easily slip into one’s pocket.

I am happy to have been exposed to such devotion myself. I’m happy that kid told me to get a copy of Imitation of Christ. I’m happy my parish priests tend to the devotional life of our parish, for devotion is nothing more than an outward display of love, and love for God is the first commandment.

In the seminary, devotions were not taught. They were not nourished. They were not fostered.

Don’t even get me started on the optional once-weekly rosary. Not kidding in the least. Today, many years later, I have learned once again to carry my beads in my pocket at all times so that this symbol of my love for the Blessed Mother and her love for me is always on my person.

It’s almost as if this was all but one pillar in a larger plan to destroy the priesthood and then the Church radically transform the faith to make it more accessible to the modern world (and less in love with God).

Well-Formed and Scrutinized, but…

Over on CNA we read the following.

“Pope Francis spoke on Friday about the importance of scrutinizing candidates for the priesthood to ensure that the men who reach ordination are well-formed and mature.”

Between the years 1996 and 2001 I was a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Newark.

‘Nuff said.

Well, not quite. I will be working on a piece or two recounting my time in seminary by way of trying to help the reader understand the current state of priestly formation, or malformation as the case may be. Even better, I hope to be able to help the reader know how our current priests came into the priesthood – what kinds of things were taught or withheld, what spiritual formation was given, what the subcultures were like. I can tell you that every seminarian in my house of formation was indeed scrutinized, though not necessarily in a laudatory manner.

Speaking of Newark, does anyone know where McCarrick is these days? His boy McElroy is going to get one of those nifty red hats. Ooh, I have an idea. Let’s play a game. It’s called “Insult My Intelligence”. Here’s how it works. I make the perfectly logical connections and state the obvious that, even in his early 90’s Teddy is still kind of calling the shots in the American Church and you tell me that’s crazy! But you have to promise to say it like Rod Roddy. Anyway, last I heard he was still living on Church property. He was still being, in some way, supported by the Church. I wonder why that is. Why is it a man with his kind of money – keep in mind he was besties with Leona Helmsley and the entire Hilton family – needs remuneration from the Church? Speaking of which, I’ll never forget the time I saw Leona entering the rectory of the Cathedral Basilica for a dinner date with Teddy. I heard some stories afterwards. That’s called a tease because I want you to keep reading (and even to subscribe).

Friends, these are just this trad dad’s musings on a Friday night. It’s been a long week. I hope yours was blessed. I hope you had opportunities to spend time with your families and to meditate on the Passion. I hope you enjoyed the few words scattered on these pages. I’ll leave you with one final thought.

I wonder if we could ever get the Archbishop of San Antonio to say the line: “Rich, Corinthian leather…” If you get it, you get it.

Corpus Christi – Yet Another Reason to Trad

I have just returned home from one of the most edifying experiences of my life – a sung mass and procession for the Feast of Corpus Christi.

*A note for the unfamiliar: in the traditional calendar, this feast is celebrated on the Thursday following Trinity Sunday (not on Sunday as in the NO calendar).

I wish I could accurately describe to you my experience tonight but words fail me; and I never have a hard time with words.

There were a number of First Communions. There was a procession. The gold vestments, the incense, the chant… How does one put into earthly language the presence of the divine? And it’s really no different at every other mass. There was something about the solemn focus tonight that really drove home the point.

Our Lord, like the “good pelican” (see Barnhardt’s latest for the reference), feeds us with His Body and Blood. The Communion verse taken from I Corinthians tells us that “As often as you shall eat this Bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until He comes.”

And that’s the difference between trad and non-trad.

The focus must always be on commemorating His Passion and Death until He returns to us in glory. Why? Because it is His Passion and Death that is the Sacrifice by which we are saved. Hear that? The Sacrifice. Nothing else is or could be acceptable to the Father. The Second Person of the Trinity became man to die and to offer Himself as a recompense for our sins.

And He renews that sacrifice at every mass.

It is not a recreation. It is not a representation.

It. Is. Calvary.

And the Bugnini rite, for whatever reason, ok let’s not pretend… It was nefarious. The Bugnini rite obscures that sacrifice. The venerable mass of the ages exalts and explicates it.

Not sure what I’m saying or if tradition is “rite” for you? Take the challenge. Find a TLM. Commit to going for a month. Follow the book or don’t. Let your senses inform your soul that Our Lord’s selfsame sacrifice is unfolding before your eyes.

Go to confession. Receive Him worthily lest, as St. Paul assures us, you eat His Body unto your own condemnation.

And when He is enthroned in your own flesh as King of the hearts of all poor, struggling sinners He promises to be, tell Him you desire to love Him with all your heart and ask Him to look upon you as though your love for Him was already perfect. Whisper your innermost thoughts to Him. Give Him thanks. Ask Him to draw you up to His cross with Him.

He Is Truth.

He has promised He will.

Then proclaim with all the saints and angels and Mary, their Queen and ours the words of Aquinas:

“Down in adoration falling,

Lo! the Sacred Host we hail,

Lo! o’er ancient forms departing

Newer rites of grace prevail;

Faith for all defects supplying,

Where the feeble senses fail.

To the Everlasting Father,

And the Son Who reigns on high

With the Holy Ghost proceeding

Forth from Each eternally,

Be salvation, honour, blessing,

Might, and endless majesty.”

Amen!

English translation, Tantum Ergo, Aquinas, 1264

The Mother of Good Counsel WILL Give to Us Who Ask Her Good Counsel

Following up on yesterday’s expose of all things queer in Tobin’s Newark, I’d like to take a moment to share another picture. The above photo is the interior of Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church in Newark. never mind the Cranmer table out front (“consecrated by the hands of Teddy McCarrick no less, I was there).

High above that baldacchino is a beautiful fresco depicting a dignified, humble Virgin holding her infant Son. The Son clings to the Mother’s face for His life. He needs her because He has made Himself to need her.

On the altar below is the tabernacle wherein that Son resides. On Calvary, He bequeathed the Mother to us. We also need her.

Remember that Our Lord is present in that beautiful tabernacle just yards from where Satan incites demonic prancing and undulating. Think of how it grieves Him – the ingratitude in men’s hearts – for His sacrifice. Think of how He waits lovingly, patiently for those of us who love Him to fall on our knees before Him – Him actually present in all the tabernacles of the world – to tell Him we’re sorry and we love Him.

Then think of His Blessed Mother.

Blessed Emerich tells us that after Our Lord’s Sacred Body was taken down from the cross, His Blessed Mother lovingly removed the crown of thorns, picking each fragment out of His skull with her own fingers.

Now think of that moment – that intimate, gut-wrenching moment. Ponder how she, whom He loves so much that He allowed her to suffer with Him for us, feels.

The battle lines were drawn. Satan thinks he can win. He thinks he can dance right up to the walls of the church and then step inside to spit on Our Lord.

What a fool.

Place your trust in the Blessed Mother.

Do it now.

Pray your rosary, commit to all fifteen decades every day. Honor her. Love her. Men, beg her to cloak you and your wives and children in her mantle of purity. Women, beg her to reflect her modesty and humility on you. Children, love your mother.

And then stand back because she won’t let Her Boy be abused much longer.