"It is...Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as 'profane novelties of words,' out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: 'This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved' (Athanasian Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim 'Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,' only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself." -- Pope Benedict XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum 24 (1914)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

RIP Fr. Kenneth Walker, FSSP




14 June, 2014: 

Letter of the Superior General regarding the death of Rev. Kenneth Walker, FSSP


Dear Friends of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter,

In the midst of mourning for our dear confrere, Fr. Kenneth Walker, one great consolation has been the outpouring of prayers and condolences expressed by so many bishops, religious communities, fellow priests and faithful. Many of you have informed us of the hundreds of Masses which have already been offered for the repose of his soul and for the health of Fr. Joseph Terra. By the grace of God and thanks to your prayers, Fr. Terra’s life is out of danger and we expect him to make a full recovery.

By now you have read on various news outlets and websites about the virtues of Fr. Walker as a priest and how badly he will be missed by his confreres and parishioners. In an age where we seem so centered upon ‘clerical stars’ and are constantly searching for the ‘newest approach to evangelization’, the life of our confrere gave witness to one of the greatest priestly virtues, a quiet and consistent strength, which is a mark of the Good Shepherd who watches vigilantly over his flock in season and out of season.

He has been described by the parishioners he served in the same manner that he would be by his confreres; he was earnest: he was persevering; he was ready first to serve; nothing ever seemed to inconvenience him. Our Lord’s description of Nathaniel perhaps fits him best: he was a man without guile. He will perhaps be remembered as an example to us as confreres more for what he did not say; one would be hard pressed to find anyone who ever heard him complain or speak badly about anyone. As a former professor of Fr. Walker in the seminary, and as superior, I also knew him as one who took correction well; never pridefully objected; and sincerely sought to improve in all areas of formation both as a seminarian and a later as a priest.

In such tragic circumstances I realize that it can be easy to fall into hyperbole, but there was an innocence to Fr. Walker which is rarely found in this valley of tears.

His life and his priestly work here below have been cut tragically short – just two short years serving in the vineyard of Our Lord. But we are grateful for the time he had to serve in the Fraternity and that he was given the vocation that he sought. His reason for becoming a priest was already beautifully formulated in his application to the seminary:

“God, in His infinite love, desires all men to be saved and so achieve their true end. Along with the Church, then, I am deeply grieved by these errors concerning the nature and dignity of man accepted by so many people in the world, which deviate them from their supernatural end. In full view of the situation in the world, then, the only vocation that I could be satisfied with, as a work, would be one that would be dedicated to bringing people to salvation in whatever way God wills for me to do so.”

As confreres we know that Fr. Walker would not want us to waste our time in anger over what has happened; over the gross injustice which has been done. As great as this is a tragedy for us, so too it will bear great graces for our Fraternity: O altitudo divitiarum sapientiæ, et scientiæ Dei: quam incomprehensibilia sunt judicia ejus, et investigabiles viæ ejus! [1] The first grace will be as an encouragement to each of us to take nothing for granted in the call of Our Lord to the Sacred Priesthood. We are His instruments to serve, and must do so always more faithfully in accordance with His will and that of the Church for His greater glory. For the moment let us waste no time, and simply concentrate our efforts in praying for the repose of the soul of Fr. Walker.

We thank the many parishes which have organized Holy Hours and will hold Masses of Requiem on Monday; again, we are humbled by your charity. Fr. Eric Flood, District Superior of North America, will offer a Requiem in Phoenix on Monday in the presence of Bishop Thomas Olmsted, and I will offer one here at the Basilica of Notre-Dame in Fribourg on the same day. The funeral arrangements are on hold until the body of Fr. Walker can be transferred to Kansas. The Fraternity will of course publish these details when they are in place.

Veni Sancte Spiritus, Consolator optime;
In fletu solatium, reple cordis intima tuorum fidelium!

Mater Misericordiae, Ora pro nobis

Requiem Aeternam dona ei, Domine. Et lux perpetua luceat ei.
Requiescat in pace.

Ember Saturday of Pentecost, June 14, 2014

Very Rev. John Berg
Superior General FSSP


Very Rev. Fr. Berg will celebrate a Solemn Requiem Mass in Fribourg (Switzerland) on Monday, June 16, 2014, at 6:30 PM Local time. The Mass will be broadcast Live on www.LiveMass.net and the iMass apps at 11:30 AM Central, 12:30 PM Eastern Time.

Biography of Fr. Kenneth Walker

Rev. Kenneth Walker, FSSP, was born September 13, 1985, in Poughkeepsie, NY. He was baptized on October 13 of the same year at St. Mary’s Church in Wappingers Falls, NY. During his high school years, his family discovered and began attending the Traditional Latin Mass. He was strongly influenced by both the Mass and the devotion of his family, and began considering a vocation to the priesthood. After high school, he attended Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, Barry’s Bay, ON, pursuing a classical formation in liberal arts from the fall of 2003 until April 2005. After the influence of his parents, Fr. Walker always credited the College as being essential to his formation in the faith prior to entering the seminary.

By this time, he was dedicated to the idea of becoming a priest, and attended a vocations retreat with the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. His motivation to become a priest is beautifully summarized in his own words, taken from his application to the seminary:

“God, in His infinite love, desires all men to be saved and so achieve their true end. Along with the Church, then, I am deeply grieved by these errors concerning the nature and dignity of man accepted by so many people in the world, which deviate them from their supernatural end. In full view of the situation in the world, then, the only vocation that I could be satisfied with, as a work, would be one that would be dedicated to bringing people to salvation in whatever way God wills for me to do so. This work is best carried out by the priesthood, which was instituted by Christ specifically for the care of souls; for by means of the Sacraments and the teaching of the Faith to the people, the people receive both the truths of the Faith and the sanctifying grace needed for the spiritual life.”

Fr. Walker was accepted to the Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, the Fraternity of St. Peter’s International House of Formation for English speakers in Nebraska, in the fall of 2005, and began the normal course of studies and formation. His dedication to fulfilling the ideals with which he approached the priesthood was evident in his time in seminary. He performed very well academically, always receiving high marks in his courses. He immersed himself in the fullness of the program of formation, from the life of prayer and liturgy to recreation with other seminarians – especially in his love of playing soccer, a popular sport at the seminary.

After completing the First Year of Spirituality, he was first incorporated into the FSSP, received the cassock, and received Tonsure from Bishop Alvaro Corrada, SJ, on October 6, 2006. After five more years of prayer, work, and study, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz ordained him to the subdiaconate on January 29, 2011. He was permanently incorporated into the FSSP on March 18, and on the next day, March 19, 2011 – the feast of St. Joseph – he was ordained a deacon by Bishop Czeslaw Kozon of Copenhagen.

As a deacon, he traveled to our Fraternity’s other seminary in Wigratzbad, Germany for several months in order to complete further studies and gain the perspective of the Fraternity’s international presence. He also assisted for a number of months at the Mater Misericordiae Mission of the FSSP in Phoenix, AZ. Interestingly, he performed his first Baptism on October 13, 2011 – the anniversary of his own Baptism. Returning to Nebraska in May of 2012, he made a retreat in preparation for his priestly ordination, the culmination of his seven years of studies and prayer life.

On May 19, 2012, Kenneth Walker was ordained to the Holy Priesthood of Christ our Savior in Lincoln, Nebraska by Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz. He offered his first Mass at the Chapel of Sts. Peter and Paul at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary, and was assisted by Fr. John Berg, Superior General of the FSSP. He received his first priestly assignment that summer, returning to Mater Misericordiae in Phoenix as an assistant priest under Fr. Joseph Terra, FSSP.

His priestly life and ministry at Mater Misericordiae was a continuation and affirmation of the ideals that led him to the priesthood. He dedicated himself to his priestly mission, offering Holy Mass in the Traditional Latin Rite daily and hearing confessions regularly. He was remembered for visiting parishioners often as both priest and friend. Desiring to spread devotion to Our Lady, he made a practice of personally bringing a replica of the “Pilgrim Virgin” statue of Our Lady of Fatima to the homes of parishioners. He also assisted in starting a Knights of Columbus council to aid and encourage the men of the parish in their prayer life and the works that they performed for the community. His works of charity among the homeless population in the area were well known by both attendees of the mission and the neighborhood community.

On June 11, 2014 – Ember Wednesday of Pentecost – Father Kenneth Walker was tragically and fatally shot in an incident at Mater Misericordiae Mission. Fr. Joseph Terra, critically injured in the same assault, was able to give Fr. Walker absolution and the Last Rites before being rushed himself to the hospital.

The members of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter join together in prayer and remembrance of the life and priesthood of Fr. Walker with his entire family, the members of the Mater Misericordiae Mission, and all those whose lives were touched by his. The great outpouring of prayers and Mass intentions gives us great hope and consolation that he may rest eternally in the Beatific Vision, one with the Divinity whom on earth he held in his consecrated hands.

We ask for your prayers for the repose of the soul of Fr. Kenneth Walker and that God in his Love and Mercy might grant great consolation to his family and his parishioners in this terrible tragedy.

Oremus:
O God, Who didst give to thy servant, Kenneth, by his sacerdotal office, a share in the priesthood of the Apostles, grant, we implore, that he may also be one of their company forever in Heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Requiem Aeternam dona ei, Domine.
Et lux perpetua luceat ei.
Requiescat in pace.






















































Sunday, June 1, 2014

Why is the Episcopal Church near collapse?

Beliefnet


Prominent bishops are pulling out. Convention-goers were told headquarters had spent $18 million suing local congregations. Members are leaving at a record rate. This is no longer George Washington’s church – once the largest denomination in the colonies.

BY: Rob Kerby, Senior Editor
 
The headlines coming out of the Episcopal Church’s annual U.S. convention are stunning — endorsement of cross-dressing clergy, blessing same-sex marriage, the sale of their headquarters since they can’t afford to maintain it.
The American branch of the Church of England, founded when the Vatican balked at permitting King Henry VIII to continue annulling marriages to any wife who failed to bear him sons, is in trouble.
Somehow slipping out of the headlines is a harsh reality that the denomination has been deserted in droves by an angry or ambivalent membership. Six prominent bishops are ready to take their large dioceses out of the American church and align with conservative Anglican groups in Africa and South America.
Bonnie Anderson, President of the House of Deputies
“An interesting moment came at a press conference on Saturday,” reports convention attendee David Virtue, “when I asked Bonnie Anderson, president of the House of Deputies, if she saw the irony in that the House of Deputies would like to see the Church Center at 815 2nd Avenue in New York sold (it has a $37.5 million mortgage debt and needs $8.5 million to maintain yearly) while at the same time the national church spent $18 million litigating for properties, many of which will lie fallow at the end of the day.”
New York City's “Church Center,” the national Episcopal headquarters, up for sale.
This is no longer George Washington’s Episcopal Church – in 1776 the largest denomination in the rebellious British colonies. Membership has dropped so dramatically that today there are 20 times more Baptists than Episcopalians.
U.S. Catholics out-number the Episcopal Church 33-to-1. There are more Jews than Episcopalians. Twice as many Mormons as Episcopalians. Even the little African Methodist Episcopal denomination -- founded in in 1787 -- has passed the Episcopalians.
Among the old mainstream denominations reporting to the National Council of Churches, the Episcopal Church suffered the worst loss of membership from 1992-2002 — plunging from 3.4 million members to 2.3 million for a 32 percent loss. In the NCC’s 2012 yearbook, the Episcopal Church admitted another 2.71 percent annual membership loss.
Convention attendees were told that they had spent $18 million this year suing their own local congregations — those which have protested the denomination’s policies by trying to secede. The New York hierarchy has consistently won in court – asserting that the local members signed over their buildings decades ago. As a result, some of the largest Episcopal congregations in the United States have been forced to vacate their buildings and meet elsewhere.
So now, convention delegates were told, the denomination is the proud owner of scores of empty buildings nationwide – and liable for their upkeep in a depressed real estate market where empty church buildings are less than prime property. It’s the classic “dog in a manger.” The denomination has managed to keep the buildings – for which it has little use. However, they made their point – refusing to allow the congregations which built the facilities to have any benefit after generations of sacrifice, donations and volunteerism.
“One former Episcopal priest wrote me, ‘The irony is that after all their property suits to get control of empty buildings, they now are losing their main property.’
“But this cost cutting measure may not be enough to salvage the long term solvency of the Episcopal Church. The church is hemorrhaging money like crazy and no one seems to know how to turn off the spigot.”
“The accelerating fragmentation of the strife-torn Episcopal Church USA,” writes Christian author Charlotte Allen. “ in which large parishes and entire dioceses are opting out of the church, isn’t simply about gay bishops, the blessing of same-sex unions or the election of a woman as presiding bishop. It is about the meltdown of liberal Christianity.
“Liberal Christianity has been hailed by its boosters for 40 years as the future of the Christian church. Instead, as all but a few die-hards now admit, the mainline churches that have blurred doctrine and softened moral precepts are declining and, in the case of the Episcopal Church, disintegrating.”
“On July 8, 2012, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori preached her brand of post-Christian religion while masquerading as a Christian bishop,” reported convention attendee Dr. Sarah Frances Ives.
“She mocked most of the crucial doctrines of the Christian faith, including the God of creation, the Incarnation, and the Trinity. She accomplishes this through her demeaning use of rhetoric. She taunts the Lord by the use of the name ‘Big Man’ and then points her finger at everyone listening and tells them that they have ‘missed the boat.’
Katharine Jefferts Schori, national presiding bishop
“Jefferts Schori then proclaims that she has the answer for this. We all need the ‘act of crossing boundaries’ to become God after which our hands become a ‘sacrament of mission.’
“In this sermon, Jefferts Schori continued her mission of destroying the Christian faith through her rhetorical device of dismissive ridicule.
“Jefferts Schori leaves a wide wake of destruction behind with this sermon: the eternal triune God has been torn down, human beings are to boldly claim our place as God, and the sacraments of the Eucharist and Baptism have been turned into things our hands make. In other words, Jefferts Schori accepts that now humanity, animals and God are one undifferentiated blob. This is essentially a form of solipsism, the belief that self is all that is known to exist. Anyone can see that this is both pure heresy and utter nonsense.
“Episcopalians need to loudly affirm that we are created in the image of God and redeemed by the sacrifice of the Son of God, but no, we are not God ourselves and we are not erasing the boundary between God and humanity. That Jefferts Schori is encouraging humans to cross the frontier into becoming God should be immediately repudiated by all believing Christians.”
“Yesterday,” reports Angela O’Brien from the convention, “the House of Bishops of the Episcopalian Church approved a new provisional blessing for gay unions, while the full General Convention voted in favor of general acceptance for transgender clergy.
 “Some Episcopalian bishops spoke out against the resolution on same-sex blessings. Bishop Bauerschmidt, of the Episcopal Diocese of Tennessee, urged the bishops to defeat the resolution.

David Thurlow
“The Reverend David Thurlow advocated rejecting the resolution. ‘For two thousand years the Church has had clear teaching regarding Christian marriage and Biblical norms of sexual behavior,’ he said, pointing out that ‘through previous statements and resolutions the Church has pledged itself not to make any change to this traditional teaching.’
Likewise, Bishop Edward Little of Northern Indiana stood against the resolution.
“The Christian world is going to understand us as having changed the nature of the sacrament of holy matrimony,” Bishop Little said. “The Christian world will look at that liturgy world and see vows, and exchange of rings, a pronouncement and a blessing and they will understand that to mean the Episcopal Church has endorsed same-sex marriage and changed a basic Christian doctrine. I do not believe that we are free to do that.”
But few observers were surprised by the transgender and same-sex resolutions.
A few years ago, the annual national Episcopal convention overwhelmingly refused even to consider a resolution affirming that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Upon returning home from that meeting, Bishop Peter H. Beckwith, leader of the Springfield, Illinois, diocese, wrote in a pastoral letter that the Episcopal church was “in meltdown.”
Beckwith has joined bishops in the dioceses of Central Florida, Dallas, Fort Worth, Pittsburgh, California, and South Carolina in asking their church’s top official, the Archbishop of Canterbury in England, for permission to pull out.
Beckwith says the failure of the resolution introduced by conservatives to declare the church’s “unchanging commitment to Jesus Christ as the son of God, the only name by which any person may be saved” was extremely disturbing.
“When a Christian church cannot bring itself to endorse a bedrock Christian theological statement repeatedly found in the New Testament, it is not a serious Christian church,” wrote Allen.
At this year’s convention, David Virtue reported: “In all the talk about same sex this and transgender that, there is absolutely no talk about sin. A psychologist friend of mine opined that talk of ‘sin’ here would be considered psychologically damaging and offensive to a lot of people, especially gays, so it is off the radar screen. ‘No sin, please; we’re Episcopalians.’
“The national Episcopal AIDS coalition is handing out free male and female condoms to all passersby. I pocketed a few just in case some folks don’t believe me.
“To keep funding for youth ministries alive, a 17-year-old girl stood up in the House of Deputies to say that the Episcopal Church could stay alive if it got into recycling. Poor kid hasn’t got a clue.”

Christ Church, Plano, Texas — a large congregation leaving
“It must be galling to the Episcopal liberals that many of the parishes and dioceses that are pulling out are growing instead of shrinking,” noted Jay Tower. “Christ Church Episcopal in Plano, Texas, for example, is one of the largest Episcopal churches in the country. Its 2,200 worshipers on any given Sunday are about equal to the number of active Episcopalians in many of the liberal bishops’ entire dioceses, whose churches average attendance is 80.
“One repeated theme is that the conservatives who are pulling out have no confidence in the denomination’s presiding bishop, the arch-liberal Katharine Jefferts Schori. She allows same-sex union ceremonies in her Nevada diocese and recently used the phrase ‘mother Jesus’ in a sermon.”
Why are Episcopalians leaving one of the oldest denominations in America? Perhaps that can be answered by New Hampshire’s V. Gene Robinson, the openly homosexual Episcopal bishop. When he addressed the fifth annual Planned Parenthood “prayer breakfast”

April 15, 2006 in Washington, D.C., he declared that “religious people” are the enemy.
Bishop Gene Robinson
“We have allowed the Bible to be taken hostage, and it is being wielded by folks who would use it to hit us over the head,” he said. “The sin of Sodom had nothing to do with homosexual sex but was a failure to care for the poor, the widows and the orphans. Scripture is not as plainspoken as some would have us believe.”
When the conservative Anglican diocese that serves the Fresno, California, area voted to leave the U.S. Episcopal denomination, the national denomination did as it has done in Connecticut, Virginia, Florida and Texas, it fought the diocese in court – seeking to seize all property, which includes millions of dollars worth of sanctuaries, parsonages, parish halls and college campuses.
Observer Giles Fraser says that the liberal national leadership doesn’t have a clue. Citing a vote by the diocese of Pittsburgh, led by Bishop Bob Duncan, Fraser explained: “They are sick to death of liberals telling them that ‘gay’ is OK.”
“Anglicanism is in deep trouble,” writes Fraser, “and so, too, is the Church of England. The fact that 46 members of the church’s general synod, its parliament, have written expressing their support for secessionism, bodes very ill.
“Thus far the Archbishop of Canterbury has maintained the traditional Anglican image via media with impeccable impartiality, trying to hold things together with a generous policy of being kinder to his enemies than his friends.
“But the truth is, the only people who now believe that Anglicanism can survive the current crisis in one piece are those holed up in Lambeth Palace” – the Archbishop’s luxurious headquarters in England.
“Fissures have moved through the Episcopal Church, the American arm of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which has 77 million members, and through the Communion itself, since the church ordained V. Gene Robinson as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003,” writes Neela Bannerjee in the New York Times.
Before being named bishop, Robinson deserted his wife and children to take up with a homosexual lover – something that conservative Episcopalians see as adulterous infidelity severely compounded by sexual sin and perversion – certainly enough to disqualify Robinson from any kind of leadership.
They consider the Episcopal Church’s ordination of Robinson as the “most galling proof of its rejection of biblical authority,” writes Bannerjee.
“In the last four years, the Anglican Communion, the world’s third largest Christian body, has edged closer to fracture over the issue. In the United States, several dozen individual congregations out of nearly 7,700 have split with the Episcopal Church.”
The Fresno vote was the first time an entire diocese chose to secede.
The Reverend Ephraim Radner, a leading Episcopal conservative and professor of historical theology at Wycliffe College in Toronto, predicted a huge legal battle – since the national headquarters has vowed to hold onto any buildings of congregations leaving the denomination.
“The costs involved will bleed the Diocese of San Joaquin and the Episcopal Church, and it will lead only to bad press,” said Radner. “You have to wonder why people are wasting money doing this and yet claiming to be Christians.”

Read more at http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Home-Page-News-and-Views/Why-is-the-Episcopal-church-near-collapse.aspx?p=4#co4UJHHY6JXFvRhs.99


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Catholic historian: Church is facing a crisis of practice not of doctrine





BY DUSTIN SIGGINS

Fri May 23, 2014 16:33 EST


WASHINGTON, D.C., May 23, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Famed Italian Catholic historian Roberto de Mattei says the Church faces a crisis of praxis over doctrine.

According to Mattei, who has written a new book on Vatican II, the battles of that era are still being felt and seen today. He pointed the finger of blame several who participated in Vatican II, but especially then-Cardinal Archbishop of Brussels Leon-Joseph Suenens.

Professor Roberto de Mattei

Mattei, who recently spoke at the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C., said that since Vatican II started, "on a theoretical level, the Church has not changed her doctrine."

However, Mattei says that "on the level of pastoral practice, the victor of the battle is not [Pope] Paul VI, but Cardinal Suenens." Suenens is famously known as the Cardinal who advocated against the release of Humane Vitae, and wanted Vatican II to lift the Church's ban on contraception.

According to Mattei, "contraception is widely used by Catholic couples with the backing of confessors, moralists, bishops, and even bishops' conferences." He also said that Suenens' influence is felt "in the universities," where "the texts which are most closely followed" are those Mattei says "replaced the objectivity of the natural law."

Mattei's book, entitled "The Second Vatican Council: An Unwritten Story," examines Vatican II from a perspective very different from the image portrayed in modern media. While Vatican II is often considered a mere meeting meant to discuss important issue, Mattei writes that it is one of the most important moments in recent Church history. In his presentation at the Cosmos Club he told listeners the effect has often been negative, focusing on how many pastors look to praxis before doctrine.

After his presentation, Mattei told LifeSiteNews.com that, when it comes to improving Church teachings on issues of family, sexual morality, and in general, "the important role of doctrine" must be reprioritized. "We have to refuse the primacy of pastoral praxis," he said.

Mattie continued, saying that that "the idea of the primacy of praxis" comes from believing that ideas and practices come from events, as opposed to a foundation of doctrine that dictates reactions to events. Mattei said that "Catholic and Christian philosophy and theology...teaches that values are not" a reaction to life's occurrences, but that are the criteria through which we judge history.

"So the primacy of praxis is based on the primacy of history," explained Mattei, which ends up opposing "the primacy of doctrine."

Mattei emphasized that theological doctrine must take precedence over praxis. "It is very important to conform our behavior to the doctrine which we believe in, in which we profess," he said.

"The Second Vatican Council -- An Unwritten Story" can be purchased on Amazon.com.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

#BringBackOurBalls

Mark Steyn


by Mark Steyn • May 9, 2014 at 11:38 pm






It is hard not to have total contempt for a political culture that thinks the picture at right is a useful contribution to rescuing 276 schoolgirls kidnapped by jihadist savages in Nigeria. Yet some pajama boy at the White House evidently felt getting the First Lady to pose with this week's Hashtag of Western Impotence would reflect well upon the Administration. The horrible thing is they may be right: Michelle showed she cared - on social media! - and that's all that matters, isn't it?

Just as the last floppo hashtag, #WeStandWithUkraine, didn't actually involve standing with Ukraine, so #BringBackOurGirls doesn't require bringing back our girls. There are only a half-dozen special forces around the planet capable of doing that without getting most or all of the hostages killed: the British, the French, the Americans, Israelis, Germans, Aussies, maybe a couple of others. So, unless something of that nature is being lined up, those schoolgirls are headed into slavery, and the wretched pleading passivity of Mrs Obama's hashtag is just a form of moral preening.

But then what isn't? The blogger Daniel Payne wrote this week that "modern liberalism, at its core, is an ideology of talking, not doing". He was musing on a press release for some or other "Day of Action" that is, as usual, a day of inaction:


Diverse grassroots groups are organizing and participating in events such as walks, rallies and concerts and calling on government to reduce climate pollution, transition off fossil fuels and commit to a clean energy future.


It's that easy! You go to a concert and someone "calls on government" to do something, and the world gets fixed.

There's something slightly weird about taking a hashtag - which on the Internet at least has a functional purpose - and getting a big black felt marker and writing it on a piece of cardboard and holding it up, as if somehow the comforting props of social media can be extended beyond the computer and out into the real world. Maybe the talismanic hashtag never required a computer in the first place. Maybe way back during the Don Pacifico showdown all Lord Palmerston had to do was tell the Greeks #BringBackOurJew.

As Mr Payne notes, these days progressive "action" just requires "calling on government" to act. But it's sobering to reflect that the urge to call on someone else to do something is now so reflexive and ingrained that even "the government" - or in this case the wife of "the government" - is now calling on someone else to do something.

Boko Haram, the girls' kidnappers, don't strike me as social media types. As I wrote last year:


The other day, members of Boko Haram, a group of (surprise!) Muslim "extremists," broke into an agricultural college in Nigeria and killed some four dozen students. The dead were themselves mainly Muslim, but had made the fatal mistake of attending a non-Islamic school. "Boko Haram" means more or less "Learning is sinful," this particular wing of the jihad reveling more than most in the moronic myopia of Islamic imperialism.

But moronic myopia goes both ways, doesn't it? If the hashtag doesn't work, maybe we could persuade Boko Haram to trade the girls for these guys:



~Arguments about why Hillary Clinton refused to put Boko Haram on the State Department terror list are about as useful as an Obama hashtag right now. But it is worth remembering that the group's first terrorism attack was a recent as 2011. They are, therefore, part of the same metastasization of jihadist violence throughout the northern half of the African continent as the Benghazi assault and the Kenyan shopping-mall attack. This growth of al-Qaeda affiliates went on throughout almost the entirety of Obama's first term, but because Joe Biden had a cute line ("bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive") nobody paid any attention to it. #NothingToSeeHere.

~My former National Review colleague Charles C W Cooke has got himself in a bit of hot water with a column arguing that schools should teach Holocaust denial and be proud of it. This isn't just a whimsical fancy conjured out of thin air, but Charlie's reaction to the news that a California public school had given their Eighth Graders an essay assignment arguing that the Holocaust didn't happen. They have now backed down.

I thought Laura Rosen Cohen had the best response to Cooke, and I urge you to read it. I have my own problems with his piece. I think no subject should be off-limits, and I regard the laws in many Continental countries criminalizing Holocaust denial as philosophically repugnant and practically useless - in that they confirm to Jew-haters that the Jews control everything (otherwise why aren't we allowed to talk about it?) and they enable Muslims and other groups to go around arguing that, if you're prepared to pass restrictions on free speech protecting Jewish sensitivities, why can't we have some, too?

But my main objection to the National Review post is that it's a debater's point. And in that sense it has no more impact upon what's really happening in our world than Michelle Obama's hashtag. I am always astonished at how little American middle school students know, or are required to know. The idea that, in an educational culture that barely teaches the history that actually happened, there should be room to teach Holocaust denial as an intellectual exercise is ridiculous.

Secondly, Charlie seems unaware of what's going on in schools around the world. In that post about Boko Haram from last year, I also wrote this:


Up north, in the crucible of liberal social democracy, City Hall in Copenhagen held hearings earlier this year about the bullying of Jews in heavily Muslim public schools. Seventeen-year-old Moran Jacob testified:

'In eighth grade, his teacher told him to say that he was Palestinian and that his mother was Russian. "I had to lie about who I was," he recalls. But it didn't work. They knew. Eventually, a group of his classmates ganged up on him and stabbed him in the leg. "You can't go here anymore," his teacher said. "I have scars," he told the hearing. "Not on my body, but on my soul . . ."

'"Jews have learned to keep a low profile," Max Mayer, president of the Danish Zionist Federation, told the hearing. "To not exist in the city…" And they teach their sons to do the same: wear the skullcap at school, but take it off when you leave. This, Mayer said, has become standard practice for Danish Jews: "Don't see us, don't notice us."'

This is liberal, multicultural Europe in the 21st century. As part of his thanks for raising the subject, young Moran Jacob was subsequently set upon by "Arabic kids" on Strøget, the main pedestrian street in Copenhagen, and forced to move away from the neighborhood in which he's lived all his life. He's now considering leaving Denmark...

Listen to how cowed the school principals sound in the Copenhagen story and then figure the chances of anyone addressing the issue honestly. Boko haram, indeed.


To the people who drove that Jewish boy out of his school, arguing that the Holocaust never happened is not a dazzling virtuoso display of Oxbridge-level intellectual gymnastics but just business as usual. As I wrote seven years ago:


Over in London the other day, there was an interesting story in The Mail On Sunday, which began as follows:

"Schools are dropping controversial subjects from history lessons--such as the Holocaust and the Crusades--because teachers do not want to cause offence, Government research has found . . . Some teachers have even dropped the Holocaust completely from lessons over fears that Muslim pupils might express anti-Semitic reactions in class."

Indeed. This was from a study for the Department of Education, which reported: "Teachers and schools avoid emotive and controversial history for a variety of reasons, some of which are well-intentioned. Staff may wish to avoid causing offence or appearing insensitive to individuals or groups in their classes. In particular settings, teachers of history are unwilling to challenge highly contentious or charged versions of history in which pupils are steeped at home, in their community or in a place of worship."

I felt vaguely I'd read this story before, and I had: different country, same discreet closing of the door on awkward corners of the past. In the Netherlands, schoolteachers are reluctant to discuss the Second World War because "in particular settings" pupils don't believe the Holocaust happened, and, if it did, the Germans should have finished the job and we wouldn't have all these problems today.

When these stories crop up in the papers, official spokespersons rush to reassure us that no formal official decision has been made. The Holocaust remains on the national curriculum, no plans to change anything, nothing to worry about. It's just isolated schools here and there where it's become a subject more honoured in the breach, and only in the interests of "avoiding causing offence." Which, let's face it, is what most of us want to do, because if you're "causing offence" it can get pretty exhausting. In the Middle East, for example, I'm like those British and European schoolma'ams: on the whole, I avoid bringing up the Holocaust--in part because in the Muslim world it's a subject impervious to reason, but also because it's very disheartening to meet folks who are bright, witty, engaging, perceptive and then 40 minutes into the conversation you mention the Jews and discover that your bright, witty, engaging, et cetera companion is, at a certain level, nuts.

That's the problem a lot of European teachers are facing. If a large percentage of your class has a blind spot, it's easiest just to move on to something else. Hizb ut-Tahrir, a prominent voice among European Muslims, tells its adherents that "the Jews are a people of slander . . . a treacherous people" and that Islam commands believers to "kill them wherever you find them." Last year, a poll found that 37 per cent of British Muslims agreed that British Jews are a legitimate target "as part of the ongoing struggle for justice in the Middle East." Who wants to argue with that every time you mention the Second World War? Best just to drop the subject.

In 1984, George Orwell wrote, "Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past." The Muslim community in Europe does not yet "control" anything: they are, relatively, small in numbers, though big in certain cities and bigger still in the schools of those cities. Nevertheless, it is significant that, though still quite a long way from formal "control," they are already determining the shape of the future, and thus of the past. The Holocaust did happen. Millions did die. "Facts," said John Adams, "are stubborn things." But not in the Europe of 2007. Faced with serving a population far more stubborn than any mere fact, Continental teachers are quietly putting reality up for grabs.

That's never a smart idea. The California schools superintendent who wanted his Eighth Graders to turn in essays arguing that the Holocaust didn't happen is called Mohammad Z Islam. That's why they got the assignment, not because they wanted to turn themselves into the Oxford Union. As Laura Rosen Cohen pointed out, there are all kinds of lively topics Mr Cooke might propose for our schools: Did Mohammed exist? What's the deal with his nine-year-old bride? But in the real world even mild questioning of whether Islam is a "religion of peace" is beyond the pale, and across the Continent the Holocaust is disappearing from school curricula.

That's the problem. There's no point winning an Oxford debate if the other side win everything else.

~Following that remarkable statement by Dr John Christy about his fellow IPCC author Michael E Mann, Steve McIntyre discusses the question of whether Dr Mann is guilty of "falsification", as the academic misconduct codes call it. I'll have more on this in the next couple of days, but do read Steve's post.

© 2014 Mark Steyn Enterprises (US) Inc

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Latin Mass saves church from closure








St Walburge's Church


Published on 07April  2014
17:34


Services at Preston’s landmark St Walburge’s Church, which were threatened by falling congregations, are to continue . . . in Latin.


The imposing building, whose 309-foot spire can be seen for miles around, had been facing the prospect of closure as the Catholic Church struggles for an audience in the centre of the city.

But now the Bishop of Lancaster has announced the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, which celebrates the traditional Tridentine Mass, could be conducting services in the church by the autmun. “The future of St Walburge’s Church came into very serious question in the light of much fewer people at Mass in this vast and yet most beautiful church,” said Bishop Michael Campbell in a statement read out at Preston churches on Sunday.

“The arrival and presence of the Institute at St Walburge’s will enable the sustainability and care of this magnificent church so that it can be open each day as a shrine or centre for Eucharistic devotion and adoration.”

St Walburge’s was built in 1847 and its spire is the third tallest in the UK. But falling attendances - a cause for concern within inner Preston - meant it could have faced decommission.

“There are some voices - even now - who tell me that the presence of the Catholic Church in inner Preston is finished,” added Bishop Campbell. “I cannot agree. We need to be here in a new shape and form and at the same time to strengthen our missionary presence and vitality.”

St Walburge’s will continue to celebrate the Ordinary Form Mass on a Sunday for as long as there is a need.


“Importantly, the announcement of this initiative - following twelve months of negotiations - delivers good news: it will ensure the future sustainability and patrimony of St Walburge’s church; a church so dear to local Catholics and many others in Preston. Thankfully, this announcement means St Walburge’s is secured for the future, will be used each day for prayer and cared for as it continues to bear witness to the faith and mission of the Catholic Church in Preston.” [Source: Diocesan Press Release.]

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Bringing the Liturgy Back to the Real Vatican II

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Cardinal Burke Comments on Sacra Liturgia Conference


Rome, July 25, 2013 (Zenit.org) Edward Pentin | 34554 hits


The abuses of the sacred liturgy that followed the reforms of the Second Vatican Council are “strictly correlated” with a great deal of moral corruption that exists in the world today, says Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke.



In an exclusive interview with ZENIT on the sidelines of Sacra Liturgia 2013, a major international conference on the liturgy held in Rome at the end of June, the Vatican’s most senior American says poor liturgies have also led to “a levity in catechesis” that has been “shocking” and left generations of Catholics ill prepared to deal with today’s challenges.

In a wide-ranging discussion, Cardinal Burke, who serves as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, also explains the importance of liturgical law, Pope Francis’ approach to the liturgy, and why the sacred liturgy is vital to the New Evangelization.

ZENIT: Your Eminence, what were your hopes for this conference?

Cardinal Burke: My hope for the conference was a return to the teaching of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council on the sacred liturgy. Indeed, [I was hoping for] a deepening and appreciation of the continuity of the teaching practised with regard to the sacred liturgy throughout the Church’s history, and which is also reflected in the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council – something that was obscured after the Council. I believe in large part that has been achieved.

ZENIT: Are we coming out of that period now?

Cardinal Burke: Yes, already Pope Paul VI after the Council in a very intense way, and then John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, laboured diligently to restore the true nature of the sacred liturgy as the gift of worship given to us by God and which we owe to God in the very way He teaches us how to worship. So it’s not man’s invention, it’s God’s gift to us.

ZENIT: How important is a sound understanding of the liturgy in today’s Church. How can it help evangelization?

Cardinal Burke: To me, it’s fundamental. It’s the most important area of catechesis: to understand the worship accorded to God. The first three commandments of the Ten Commandments are to do with this right relationship to God, especially with regards to worship. It’s only when we understand our relationship with God in offering worship that we also understand the right order of all the other relationships we have. As Pope Benedict XVI said in his wonderful magisterium on the sacred liturgy, and which he expressed so often, [it consists of] this connection between worship and right conduct, worship and law, worship and discipline.

ZENIT: Some argue the liturgy is mostly about aesthetics, and not as important as, say, good works done in faith. What is your view of this argument that one often hears?

Cardinal Burke: It’s a common misconception. First of all, the liturgy is about Christ. It’s Christ alive in his Church, the glorious Christ coming into our midst and acting on our behalf through sacramental signs to give us the gift of eternal life to save us. It is the source of any truly charitable works we do, any good works we do. So the person whose heart is filled with charity wants to do good works will, like Mother Teresa, give his first intention to the worship of God so that when he goes to offer charity to a poor person or someone in need, it would be at the level of God Himself, and not some human level.

ZENIT: Some also say that to be concerned with liturgical law is being unduly legalistic, that it’s a stifling of the spirit. How should one respond to that? Why should we be concerned about liturgical law?

Cardinal Burke: Liturgical law disciplines us so that we have the freedom to worship God, otherwise we’re captured – we’re the victims or slaves either of our own individual ideas, relative ideas of this or that, or of the community or whatever else. But the liturgical law safeguards the objectivity of sacred worship and opens up that space within us, that freedom to offer worship to God as He desires, so we can be sure we’re not worshipping ourselves or, at the same time, as Aquinas says, some kind of falsification of divine worship.

ZENIT: It offers a kind of template?

Cardinal Burke: Exactly, it’s what discipline does in every aspect of our lives. Unless we’re disciplined, then we’re not free.

ZENIT: As a diocesan bishop in the United States, how did you find the state of the liturgy in the parishes you’ve been in charge of? What, in your view, are the priorities for liturgical renewal in diocesan life today?

Cardinal Burke: I found, of course, many wonderful aspects - in both dioceses in which I’ve served - a strong sense of participation on the part of the faithful. What I also found were some of the shadows as Pope John Paul II called them, a loss of Eucharistic faith, a loss of Eucharistic devotion and certain liturgical abuses. And as a diocesan bishop I needed to address them and I tried as best I could. But in addressing them you always try to help both the priest and the faithful to understand the deep reasons for the Church’s discipline, the reasons why a certain abuse is not only unhelpful for sacred worship but is in fact blocking it or corrupting it.

ZENIT: It’s said love for the sacred liturgy and being pro-life go together, that those who worship correctly are more likely to want to bring children into the world. Could you explain why this is so?

Cardinal Burke: It’s in the sacred liturgy above all, and particularly in the Holy Eucharist, that we look upon the love which God has for every human life without exception, without boundary, beginning from the very first moment of conception, because Christ poured out his life as he said for all men. And remember he teaches us that whatever we do for the least of our brethren, we do directly for Him. In other words, he identifies himself in the Eucharistic sacrifice with every human life. So on the one hand, the Eucharist inspires a great reverence for human life, respect and care for human life, and at the same time it inspires a joy among those who are married to procreate, to cooperate with God in bringing new human life into this world.

ZENIT: Sacra Liturgia has been about liturgical celebration but also formation. What basis of liturgical formation do we need in our parishes, dioceses and particularly in our seminaries?

Cardinal Burke: The first important lesson that has to be taught is that the sacred liturgy is an expression of God’s right to receive from us the worship that is due to Him, and that flows from who we are. We are God’s creatures and so divine worship, in a very particular way, expresses at the same time the infinite majesty of God and also our dignity as the only earthly creature that can offer him worship, in other words that we can lift up our hearts and minds to him in praise and worship. So that would be the first lesson. Then to study carefully how the liturgical rites have developed down the centuries and not to see the history of the Church as somehow a corruption of those liturgical rites. In the true sense, the Church over time has come to an ever deeper understanding of the sacred liturgy and has expressed that in several ways, whether it be through sacred vestments, sacred vessels, through sacred architecture – even the care for sacred linens which are used in the Holy Mass. All of these are expressions of the liturgical reality and so those things have to be carefully studied, and of course then to study the relationship of liturgy with the other aspects of our lives.

ZENIT: You’re known for celebrating the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Why did Pope Benedict make this freely available and what role does it have to play in the Church of the 21st century?

Cardinal Burke: What Pope Benedict XVI saw and experienced, also through those who came to him, who were very attached what we now call the Extraordinary Form - the Traditional Mass - was that in the reforms as they were introduced after the Council, a fundamental misunderstanding took place. Namely, this was that the reforms were undertaken with the idea there had been a rupture, that the way in which the Mass had been celebrated up until the time of the Council was somehow radically defective and there had to be what was really violent change, a reduction of the liturgical rites and even the language used, in every respect. So in order to restore the continuity, the Holy Father gave wide possibility for the celebration of the sacred rites as they were celebrated up until 1962, and then expressed the hope that through these two forms of the same rite – it’s all the same Roman rite, it can’t be different, it’s the same Mass, same Sacrament of Penance and so forth –there would be a mutual enrichment. And that continuity would be more perfectly expressed in what some have called the “reform of the reform”.

ZENIT: Pope Francis is a different person to Benedict XVI in many ways, but it’s hard to believe there are substantial differences between them on the importance of the sacred liturgy. Are there any differences?

Cardinal Burke: I don’t see it at all. The Holy Father clearly hasn’t had the opportunity to teach in a kind of authoritative way about the sacred liturgy, but in the things he has said about the sacred liturgy I see a perfect continuity with Pope Benedict XVI. I see in the Holy Father, too, a great concern for respecting the magisterium of Pope Benedict XVI and his discipline, and that is what Pope Francis is doing.

ZENIT: This conference is reflecting on the 50 years since the opening of the Second Vatican Council, and 50 years ago this December its constitution on the sacred liturgy was promulgated. You’ve already mentioned how liturgical renewal was not as the Council desired, but how do you see things progressing in the future? What do you envision, especially among young people?

Cardinal Burke: Young people are going back now and studying both the texts of the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council with its serious texts on liturgical theology which remain valid also today. They’re studying the rites as they were celebrated, striving to understand the meaning and various elements of the rite and there’s a great enthusiasm for that and a great interest in it. All of it, I believe, is directed to a more intense experience of God’s presence with us through the sacred liturgy. That transcendent element was most sadly lost when the reform after the Council was, so to speak, side-tracked and manipulated for other purposes – that sense of transcendence of Christ’s action through the sacraments.

ZENIT: Does this mirror the loss of the sacred in society as a whole?

Cardinal Burke: It does indeed. There’s no question in my mind that the abuses in the sacred liturgy, reduction of the sacred liturgy to some kind of human activity, is strictly correlated with a lot of moral corruption and with a levity in catechesis that has been shocking and has left generations of Catholics ill prepared to deal with the challenges of our time by addressing the Catholic faith to those challenges. You can see it in the whole gamut of Church life.

ZENIT: Pope Benedict said once that the crises we see in society today can be linked to problems of the liturgy.

Cardinal Burke: Yes he was convinced of that and I would say, so am I. It was, of course, more important that he was convinced of it, but I believe that he was absolutely correct.