Fr. Raymond de Souza on Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis and Emmaus

This is a wonderful piece in the Catholic Herald by Canada’s own Fr. Raymond de Souza that is worth reading and re-reading.

May it bless you today!

Here’s an excerpt.

Jesus begins to re-orient the disciples by explaining to them the truths of salvation history: “Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the scriptures.” That might serve as an apposite summary of the work of Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict: to rescue the scriptures from becoming lifeless history, reading them instead for what they teach us about Jesus. The disciples whose “hearts burned” as Jesus explained the scriptures to them are like those millions who have read Benedict’s books or listened to his preaching and discovered afresh the reality of Jesus Christ in their lives.

And he goes on to talk about Pope Francis.

If Benedict exemplified the master teacher who could interpret divine revelation, Pope Francis is a model of the concerned companion who accompanies the seekers in the first place. In perhaps his most important address about his pastoral vision, delivered to the bishops of Brazil on his visit for World Youth Day in Rio, Francis turned to Emmaus.

“It is a fact that nowadays there are many people like the two disciples of Emmaus; not only those looking for answers in the new religious groups that are sprouting up, but also those who already seem godless, both in theory and in practice. Faced with this situation, what are we to do?” the Holy Father asked.

“We need a Church unafraid of going forth into their night,” he answered. “We need a Church capable of meeting them on their way. We need a Church capable of entering into their conversation. We need a Church able to dialogue with those disciples who, having left Jerusalem behind, are wandering aimlessly, alone, with their own disappointment, disillusioned by a Christianity now considered barren, fruitless soil, incapable of generating meaning … Today, we need a Church capable of walking at people’s side, of doing more than simply listening to them; a Church which accompanies them on their journey; a Church able to make sense of the ‘night’ contained in the flight of so many of our brothers and sisters from Jerusalem; a Church which realises that the reasons why people leave also contain reasons why they can eventually return.”

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What would Cardinal Newman have to say about Vatican II?

Most interesting article at Catholic World Report on Cardinal Newman, his influence on the Second Vatican Council and some speculation on how he might have responded to it.

This was particularly interesting for us former Anglicans:

That Newman was a great influence on Vatican II means, in part, that the Council’s efforts to retrieve the wisdom of the Church Fathers and the great medieval doctors was presaged in Newman’s own work, going back to his Anglican days. As Ker writes, “A century before the theological revival that came to be known as the nouvelle  [new theology] began in France in the 1930s, Newman and his fellow Tractarians in the Oxford Movement were already seeking to return to the sources of Christianity in the writings of the Fathers.” And that “return” (often called ressourcement theology) was not a matter of pious nostalgia but of intellectual adventure: a movement that sought to enrich the Church’s reflection on her own nature and mission at a moment when theology risked falling into a sub-discipline of logic–something dry and abstract, detached from the explosive good news of the Gospel.



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The Anglican Ordinariate gets two mentions in The Tablet

One is a blog post by Fr Ashley Beck, a former Anglican priest who crossed the Tiber in the 1990s.   He writes (with my emphases):

We did not wish to bring with us Anglican liturgical traditions. Most of us said the Divine Office and used the Roman Missal. The Catholic bishops knew this and our background was reflected in our formation, which at least in the Diocese of Southwark took about two years. This was a good thing: many of us were emotionally exhausted by the time we became Catholics, and we had to get used to our new parishioners and fellow clergy. Because of incardination there is a different feel about a Catholic diocese compared to an Anglican one, and we felt we were joining a family.

We didn’t yearn for anything else. Therefore the different model introduced by the establishment by Benedict XVI of the Ordinariate in 2011 was a challenge. At the time I felt particularly annoyed by suggestions that the Church had got it wrong back in the 1990s, and that we had not been welcomed, together with claims (not borne out by evidence since) that setting this structure up then would then bring more people into the Church. Moreover, I was bewildered at the distinct liturgical identity which the Ordinariate has had. People seemed wedded to formularies which most of us had avoided as Anglicans as much as we could. Clergy were also ordained much more quickly.

These reservations needed to be set aside. In my parish we prepared a small group from a local Anglican church for reception into the ordinariate, alongside a small group on non-Catholics who had been coming to Mass, and this worked well. What I saw was that what matters for people interested in the ordinariate, as it did for people like me earlier, is the destination rather than the starting point.

What is important is that the ordinariate is integrated into the life of the Church, and this can be done through clergy formation.

Well, I would say we in the Ordinariate parish here in Ottawa are well-integrated in the life of the Ottawa Archdiocese.  The Archbishop of Ottawa Terrence Prendergast has even come here to celebrate the Anglican Use liturgy several times, including on Christmas Eve when our former clergy were awaiting ordination and we couldn’t find a Catholic priest to fill in.   We must invite him to come celebrate our new Divine Worship.

As for clergy formation—does it mean making them Tabletistas?  Or would the Catholic Herald be okay?

Then this strange article.  To tell you the truth I am not sure what to make of this one.  An excerpt:

The Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has reinstated a priest who had been suspended for entering into a civil partnership immigrant to help him stay in the UK.

Fr Donald Minchew, who is separately under investigation for financial irregularity by his former Anglican diocese, was removed from his post as leader of the Croydon branch of the Ordinariate a year ago, after he admitted he had entered into a civil partnership with Pakistani national Mustajab Hussain in 2008. He failed to disclose this four years later when he has received into the Catholic Church and ordained a priest.

Catholic priests are forbidden from entering civil partnerships while Anglican clergy are permitted to do so as long as they live in a chaste relationship.


The civil partnership between Fr Minchew, a widower who is a father of four, and Mr Hussain has now been dissolved, but Fr Minchew’s defence of it had been that he and Mr Hussain were old friends whose fathers had served together during the Second World War, and that the partnership had been a way of allowing him to stay in the country. After investigating, the Home Office decided not to pursue charges on the matter.

My instinct on this matter would be to support the Ordinary, Msgr. Keith Newton’s decision to reinstate the priest since he would know the most about the circumstances.

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Marvelous post by Anthony Esolen on Democracy

Over at Crisis Magazine Esolen writes:

Democracy is dead.

I say so not because I have ceased to believe in it. I retain a half guilty affection for that worst of all forms of government, except for most of the rest. I say so because everyone else has ceased to believe in it.

Yesterday I asked my students what comes first to their minds when I say that some country is a democracy. Immediately they turned to two things. One was the machinery of elections. In a democracy, you get to vote. The other was freedom of speech, defined in a libertarian way, without regard to truth or to the good of any community. In a democracy, you get to spit venom.

So I asked them to turn to Chesterton’s discussion of democracy, in Orthodoxy. For Chesterton, democracy is not a system, and not the intellectual product of experts in political science. It is rather a deep human feeling, inchoate even in children. Its first principle is that “the essential things in men are the things they hold in common, not the things they hold separately.”

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Rod Dreher on the religious freedom vs. gay rights debate

Rod Dreher makes some interesting points about how pointless the debates have become on abortion and on religious freedom vs. gay rights.

He writes:

Aristotle taught that action begins with desire. Before you can do a thing, you have to want to do a thing. In that sense, to want to understand why orthodox Christians believe as we do about this issue, you have to genuinely want to understand. Not, I hasten to point out, want to agree, but want to understand, so you can know what, exactly, it is that you’re disagreeing with.

For example, it may be cruel and strange to you that Orthodox Jews look down so severely on intermarriage — that is, Jews marrying Gentiles. Who discriminates like that in the modern world? Isn’t that prejudiced? Yes, it is prejudiced, seen in a certain light. But if you look at it from the Orthodox Jewish point of view, it makes perfect sense. Here’s an argument from a Chabadnik. Aside from the matrilineal factor in Judaism, research shows that intermarriage usually occasions a falling-away from the faith. And this matters. It matters a lot. You may think that it is a welcome thing that people put aside an ancient faith that doesn’t fit easily in today’s world, but you should at least be honest about what your views cost these people.

Similarly with Christianity and its sexual ethic, both regarding homosexuality and heterosexuality. It is clear to me that almost nobody on the modernist side is interested in understanding why Christianity teaches what it does, and why it’s important to the orthodox to hold on to this.

Which is why I generally do not bother with debates on these matters.  I did not come to the positions I hold easily or quickly and I used to hold the prevailing liberal/progressive views.   The Catholic position on human sexuality and chastity is demanding, no doubt about it.   But it is not to make you miserable, it is to bring you to true human freedom, true flourishing and joy.

Everything changed for me when I discovered that yes, Jesus Christ did rise from the dead, He is alive, and His love is more wonderful than anything the world could ever possibly offer.

And this story I did on a talk given by Rachel’s Vineyard founder Theresa Burke reveals perhaps why some people cannot hear arguments concerning abortion—because of trauma.

Theresa Burke told the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) seminar March 20 she became active in the pro-life movement while in high school, first volunteering at a crisis pregnancy centre and running a youth group to educate them about pro-life issues. She got arrested with her one-month-old baby demonstrating against an abortion facility. That arrest prompted her husband to tell her to find a different way to express her concern for the unborn, she said.

She returned to school, working on degrees in counselling psychology, eventually obtaining a PhD. It’s during her training that she was assigned to the support group for women with anorexia, bulimia or compulsive over-eating.

On one particular evening, one of the participants shared how she was having nightmares and flashbacks. She mentioned her abortion and how her ex-husband would leave messaged on the answering machine calling her a murderer, Burke said. Her children would hear the messages and start crying. The woman explained that these events would make her so distraught she would slit her wrists.

Then another woman stood up, her arms flailing, swearing and yelling having an abortion was the best thing she had ever done, and insisted that it was a woman’s right.

A third woman fled the room “and you could hear her car screeching out of the parking lot.”

Burke was obliged to describe to her supervisor everything that happened in the support group. The supervisor “leaned forward,” and told her, “You have no business prying into other peoples’ abortions.”

The supervisor said abortion was “a private, personal thing,” and instructed her not to bring it up again.

Burke realized she was witnessing signs a trauma expressed differently by three women that night, which she described as flight, fight and fear. The fear mode was expressed by the first woman.

The flight mode was expressed by the “one who can’t bear to hear the word abortion,” Burke said. “They are sitting in our churches.”

The girl who stood up cursing and swearing represented the fight mode, she said, noting the fight response is exhibited in “pro-choicers who try to shut down prolife protests with a bullhorn.”

Burke mentioned other responses to trauma: the freeze mode that prompts women to stop developing emotionally. “They can’t talk about it,” she said. “You see them on retreats, still dressing the way they did in the 60s.”

Then there’s the “fawning mode” characterized by abuse victims “so afraid of a backlash” that they become “compliant, obedient and fawning over everyone,” and become “super people-pleasers who can’t say ‘no.'”

Burke eventually set up her first therapeutic support group for healing after abortion. “All my listening was wasn’t helping the program,” she said.


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Archbishop Chaput on religious freedom

Here, as if to answer some of the questions in my mind comes this analysis by Archbishop Charles Chaput over at Crisis Magazine.  Worth reading.  An excerpt:

Of course, the idea of the “state” is a modern invention. I use it here to mean every prince or warlord the Church has faced through the centuries. The point is this: Over time, and especially after the Wars of Religion and the French Revolution, the “confessional state”—a state committed to advancing the true Catholic religion and suppressing religious error—became the standard Catholic model for government.

That’s the history Dignitatis Humanae sought to correct by going back to the sources of Christian thought. The choice to believe any religious faith must be voluntary. Faith must be an act of free will, or it can’t be valid. Parents make the choice for their children at baptism because they have parental authority. And it’s important that they do so. But in the end, people who don’t believe can’t be forced to believe, especially by the state. Forced belief violates the person, the truth and the wider community of faith, because it’s a lie.

Or to put it another way: Error has no rights, but persons do have rights—even when they choose falsehood over truth. Those rights aren’t given by the state. Nor can anyone, including the state, take them away. They’re inherent to every human being by virtue of his or her creation by God. Religious liberty is a “natural” right because it’s hardwired into our human nature. And freedom of religious belief, the freedom of conscience, is—along with the right to life—the most important right any human being has.

Having said this, we should recall what Dignitatis Humanae doesn’t do. It doesn’t say that all religions are equal. It doesn’t say that truth is a matter of personal opinion or that conscience makes its own truth. It doesn’t absolve Catholics from their duty to support the Church and to form their consciences in her teaching. It doesn’t create a license for organized dissent within the Church herself. It doesn’t remove from the Church her right to teach, correct and admonish the baptized faithful—including the use of ecclesial penalties when they’re needed.

It also doesn’t endorse a religiously indifferent state.



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Roger Scruton talks about his novel “Disappeared”

Sounds like something I want to read.  From the Spectator by Douglas Murray (h/t Kathy Shaidle at Five Feet of Fury:

Because our political class has transferred to teachers the whole obligation to integrate new immigrant communities… People find themselves with classrooms where nobody can speak English, with customs they can’t relate to and with those problems that Honeyford had with discipline and outright antagonism. That was in Bradford, and of course when I read about the Oxford grooming cases, I just had this vision of a story that would bring these things together — the dreadful situation of the teacher in a modern city, and also the situation of young girls who are vulnerable because their families have not worked out and the various problems that have arisen through secularisation and so on. And so I put together a story out of these things.’

Readers of his columns and works of philosophy may wonder why he chose to tackle this through the medium of the novel. ‘I’ve always taken the view that works of art are not just things that we enjoy. They can convey truths about the world more vividly and to greater effect than ordinary philosophical prose can because they don’t just deal in ideas but show the emotional reality of them. And I think that our society has gone terribly wrong because people have not been confronting the great issues — the loss of the Christian faith, the inability to confront Islam, the loss of the sense of the sacredness of the sexual relation, and the exposure in particular of young women both to external predation and to this moral decay.

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Fr. Cantalamessa’s Good Friday homily

Salt and Light TV’s blog has posted Fr. Rainero Cantalamessa’s Good Friday homily.   Well worth reading.

Especially liked this:

Jesus overcame violence not by opposing it with a greater violence but by enduring it and exposing all its injustice and futility. He inaugurated a new kind of victory that St. Augustine summed up in three words: “Victor quia victima: “Victor because victim.” It was seeing him die this way that caused the Roman centurion to exclaim, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mk 15:39). Others asked themselves what the “loud cry” emitted by the dying Jesus could mean (see Mk 15:37). The centurion, who was an expert in combatants and battles, recognized at once that it was a cry of victory.

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Interesting lament from Michael Matt at Remnant TV

While I would not describe myself as a traditionalist, I do find the arguments of traditionalists like Michael Matt interesting and challenging.

In this segment from Remnant TV, Michael Matt talks about the growing persecution of Christians in the world, and takes aim at the abandonment of the doctrine of Christ the King in our understanding of moral law.  As someone who is interested in religious freedom,  I can see the pitfalls of moral and religious relativism on one hand and theocracy on the other.   While I do not know if I fully understand or accept the traditionalist criticism of the Vatican II document on religious freedom, I want to understand it.  I would put myself in the camp right now of trying to understand the Second Vatican Council in the light of what the Catholic Church has always taught.  We have the Magisterium of the Communion of the Saints as well as that of the Pope and the Bishops in communion with him.


I do not agree  the Second Vatican Council is the problem, though I would agree  an interpretation of Vatican II by progressive elements in the Church did wreak havoc.  However, I do not believe there  is  a pre-Vatican II “golden age” that can be restored.

While I believe in lex orandi, lex credendi and lex vivendi, I do not think restoration of the Traditional Latin Mass by a top down fiat from the Holy Father would turn things around.  Most people do not know Latin and, without an encounter with Christ, would be unwilling to learn it or invest in a missal to follow it in the service.

That said, I am glad that many young people are now attracted to this Mass  (and to our Ordinariate Divine Worship, which to me represents what the liturgy in the vernacular should look like.)

Matt talks about finding allies  where persecution is growing.  I believe there are many allies in the Protestant world as well, who may not understand much about good liturgy but who have encountered Jesus Christ and who have determined to make Him Lord over their lives—they intuitively know Christ the King and that there is an objective moral order even if they lack the philosophical and theological foundations to fully express it.

Thus it is incumbent on those who have the fullness of the Catholic faith to exhibit the fruits of the Spirit so that the doctrines of the Church are made attractive to those allies who would most benefit from exposure to them.



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On using Twitter to fabricate a mob

Rush Limbaugh writes h/t FiveFeetofFury:

But the take-away, the thing you need to know, the thing you need to understand is that it’s a safe bet in practically every one of these cases, Twitter doesn’t erupt. It’s not thousands upon thousands, tens of thousands, in some case millions of people. It’s a very few, it’s a handful making themselves look like a mob.

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