“The world’s greatest need is someone who will understand that there is no greater conquest than victory over oneself; someone who will realize that real worth is achieved not so much by activity, as by silence, who will, like a lightning flash, burn away the bonds of feeble interest which tie down our energies to the world; who with a fearless voice, like John the Baptist, will arouse our enfeebled nature out of the sleek dream of un-heroic response; someone who will gain victories not by stepping down from the Cross and compromising with the world, but who will suffer in order to conquer the world.”
Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen (Moods and Truths)
On a daily basis, our society sees the ills effects of people who were not properly raised by their fathers. Whether its violence in the inner cities or a heroine overdose in the country or a child pornography addiction in the suburbs, we see the negative effects of misguided young men (and some women) that were not given strong masculine guidance. If more people had strong and loving fathers that taught them right from wrong and actually cared for their souls first then the world would have much less violence and pain. Please read the outstanding article by Jason Craig below. St. Joseph Ora Pro Nobis!
Boredom, Sloth, and the Need for Fathers
By Jason Craig on Aug 25, 2015 12:46 pm
The following is a chapter from a forthcoming book on fatherhood and mentoring by Jason Craig.
“My father, in all his teaching,” said John Stuart Mill, “demanded of me not only the utmost that I could do, but much that I could by no possibility could have done.” Fatherhood fully realized communicates meaning, purpose, and the call to greatness. Without meaning and purpose a deep boredom sets in. The last chapter explained that it is not merely vice or sin that is dragging down our youth, but it is a dangerous sloth, a sort of hatred of things of the soul that reveals itself in sustained but pointless activity and a disregard for the nobility or fullness of life. “Whatever,” it shrugs in indifference, and indifference is the opposite of love, not hate.
This boredom and sloth (acedia) is the reversal of St. Paul’s problem; “my spirit is willing but my flesh is weak” is turned into “my flesh is willing but my spirit is weak”.
Cardinal Oullett linked acedia (sloth) with a rejection of being a son of God:
Weariness, melancholy, feeling overworked, discouragement, instability, activism, boredom, or depression: these various manifestations of the “noonday devil” [acedia or sloth] are enough to convince us of the relevance of an evil that caused man to lose his relish for life… Left to his own devices, man ultimately despairs of ever being able to find a meaning for his existence and runs the risk of sinking into mediocrity that is just the symptom of his rejection of his own greatness as an adopted son of God. (Marc Cardinal Oullet, emphasis added).
Young people are fed a constant diet of secularism (God’s not allowed), relativism (truth’s not allowed), and materialism (transcendence’s not allowed). There is really nothing left but a life of self-gratification, or to make it sound less grotesque we call doing whatever we want “self-realization”. The powerful presence of a father rooted in faith can counter this soul-killing diet by transitioning the young from artificially creating purpose and meaning to accepting it and living it (i.e. its outside of you and comes in you, not in you and then forced on everyone outside).
A father reveals that you are not a part of a system or a cog in a wheel, though also not the center of the universe, but a person called intimately and directly to something beyond yourself. You must sacrifice, love, and give life to those around you. Traditionally this was not the role of one man, but a community of brothers that called their sons together into manhood through formal and informal rites of passage, cultural inheritance like folk stories and songs, and natural community. In a world disconnected from any tradition, devoid of anything close to a rite of passage, and enslaved to the fashionable and the famous, this initiation into manhood just doesn’t happen.
Fathers have been cast as tyrants, using their authority to control and manipulate for their own advance and ego. And while this can happen, the truth of fatherhood as revealed by God’s own fatherhood is that it is life giving, that it lays down its own life for the sake of the child, giving everything, even itself, that the child might reach his full potential. No – it even wants the child to outshine its forefathers like when Hector in the Iliad, before going into battle, prays that not only would his son’s nobility uphold his father’s legacy, but more so: “May they say, ‘This man is greater than his father was!’”
To a Jew in the Old Testament to turn away from your fatherhood was to disrupt God’s plan for your children’s life – it makes you the broken link that disconnects men from their origins in God and the covenant. It is no wonder then that the last prophecy of the Old Testament regarding the coming of the Savior and his forerunner (John the Baptist) was intertwined with fathers turning back to their children: “He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse” (Malachi 4:6).
The New Covenant in Christ moves beyond a fatherhood within a race, but far from diminishing the connectedness of fatherhood and faith, it is elevated and revealed as a very part of salvation itself. The Son comes to reveal the Father, and teaches us to pray to “our Father”, making the need for strong examples of fatherhood on earth even more important. Salvation comes from becoming sons in the Son, this was the very mission of Christ:
Then God sent out his Son on a mission to us. He took birth from a woman, took birth as a subject of the law, so as to ransom those who were subject to the law, and make us sons by adoption. To prove that you are sons, God has sent out the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying out in us, Abba, Father. No longer, then, art thou a slave, thou art a son; and because thou art a son, thou hast, by divine appointment, the son’s right of inheritance. (Gal. 4:4-7)
Earthly fatherhood will always disappoint, because we were not made for this earth alone, but for heaven, for God. Earthly fatherhood is meant to point beyond itself to more. It pulls us out of the boredom of materialism into the majesty of a calling and an identity. And like the Old Testament – or more so! – it is essential in communicating God’s covenant with man, the linking of man to his beginning and his end. If we know nothing of earthly fatherhood, how then can we comprehend the image Our Father? In explaining God’s love Jesus presumes a healthy ideal of fatherhood: “… if a father is asked by his son for bread, will he give him a stone? … is your Father much more ready to give, from heaven, his gracious Spirit to those who ask Him?” (Luke 11:11-13).
The challenge today is not merely that bad fathers are distorting God, but absent fathers and a blatant disregard for the essentiality of fatherhood is making prayers like “Our Father” unintelligible and the great call of the Gospel seems trite.
My point is this: the sad and bore malaise of so many young people would give way if their fathers (mentors included) would reveal to them their identity, purpose, and the noble meaning behind a life lived well, all rooted in their encounter with Jesus Christ.
We live in an age that will not listen to arguments or reasoning; it will not follow authority or tradition. Our young people will not read a book or pamphlet or watch a video and grasp that truth exists and God is real and loves them. In the purposeless-ness, meaningless milieu of today we need the loving gaze of men to affirm the goodness of people, of life, and to remind them of their worth and dignity, to call them to greatness and the joy of being a son of God. Fatherhood and a community of mentors brings a rootedness, but not one that holds down, but one that makes it possible to spring into full life. Without it we are without roots. This natural encounter with fatherly men helps to lay the foundation for the supernatural encounter with the Gospel, with God the Father through His Son.
Whether through busyness, neglect, or a societal sidelining, men are not living out their fatherly identities and our children are suffering from it. Our children are bored with the materialist, money-worshiping, meaningless life of the world lived out behind screen names and selfies. We must again love not as leaders or motivators, but as fathers and reveal to them their deep dignity, purpose, and calling as sons and daughters of God.
How do we see and act in a fatherly way? In the next chapter we’ll talk about the ways men can do just that.
If you’re interested in reading more or ordering the book this chapter comes form, sign up for Fraternus updates at fraternusbrothers.net.
Jason Craig is the Executive Director of Fraternus, which trains and equips men to mentor the boys into virtuous, Catholic men. Jason holds a Masters in Theology from the Augustine Institute and writes for The Catholic Gentleman from his homestead in Western NC, where he milks cows and tends to a variety of plants and animals with his wife Katie and four kids (and counting).
It is always important to remind ourselves that the Bible is a Catholic book and can only be rightfully interpreted by the Catholic Church with authority provided by God himself. Dr. Mirus’ article below is a good summary of these facts.
Is Catholicism Biblical? That question is backwards!
By Dr. Jeff Mirus
The other day I referred to Dave Armstrong’s fine collection of essays, Proving the Catholic Faith is Biblical (see What I learned on my vacation, about God and man). But anyone who demands that we prove that Catholicism is properly rooted in Scripture has his religious fundamentals all wrong. The key question is not whether Catholicism stands the test of Scripture, but whether Scripture stands the test of Catholicism.
Before I explain what many will regard as shocking, let me state clearly that I have no quarrel with Dave Armstrong or his book. It is extraordinarily useful to show the deep connection between the Catholic Faith and Scripture. It can also allay the suspicions of Protestants, as well as those (including a great many Catholics) who have been influenced by Protestants to pick up the wrong end of the stick.
Ignorance of Scripture, said St. Jerome, is ignorance of Christ. But we must still recognize that the question is too often asked backwards. The Bible did not give rise to the Catholic Church; the Catholic Church gave rise to the Bible.
Why, after all, should anyone care what some set of “scriptures” says? We can, of course, understand why religions like to have “scriptures”: They lend authenticity to the claim that, at a certain time and place, there really was a Revelation. So Islam has its own scripture, but it is just the unverified claims, teachings and experiences of Muhammed and his followers. And Mormonism has its own scripture, which Joseph Smith claimed to have discovered on golden plates buried in the dirt. And so on.
But Revelation was not given to a book but to persons. Revelation was not even given originally in and through a book. It was given by Jesus Christ to His apostles and disciples. It was Our Lord’s plan that some of this Revelation should be carried on through the Tradition of the Christian community; that other aspects of it should be written down under Divine inspiration; and that the whole should be protected, preserved and interpreted by the Church’s infallible authority.
The earliest Christians, of course, had only the Jewish scriptures and the testimony of Christ as preached by His apostles. The first of the books of the New Testament were written by St. Paul in the 50s, and the last by St. John in the 90s. Quite a few other Christians wrote books in this same period that were not inspired (the kind of writing I am doing now). Ultimately only the Church could identify which books were the inspired Word of God and which were merely human. That’s because Scripture is the Church’s book.
The reason Protestants always ask the question backwards is that they insist that Scripture is the source of Revelation to which everything else must conform. But in reality, the Church came first. She created the Bible by definitively proclaiming which early writers were inspired and which were not. In the first and second centuries (and beyond) the relevant question was not whether Catholicism passed the test of Scripture, but whether alleged inspired texts passed the test of Catholicism.
A hypothetical example may help. Suppose someone were to write a book today (or, more likely, were to claim to discover an unknown ancient text). Now suppose this person and his adherents claimed this text was the inspired Word of God and should be considered part of the Bible. Only an idiot would submit the Church to the judgment of the text, condemning the Church if she differed from what was recorded there. No, the question would be simply this: What is the judgment of the Church about this text? Does the Church judge it to be inspired? Is the Church prepared to add it to the Canon of Scripture?
Now we know (and we know it only by the authority of the Church) what the books of Scripture are. We know they are inspired. Therefore, we are wise both to read Scripture and to learn from the Tradition and teachings of the Church so that we can know God, love God, and grow in union with Him. But the key originating question is not whether the Church is Scriptural. The key question is whether Scripture is Catholic—whether what we call “scripture” is or is not part of the original Revelation which the Church received.
It is only in the context of the authority capable of answering this question that the contents of the Bible can be properly understood. In fact, only an affirmative answer to that question makes the Bible worth reading at all.
We here at Team Solutio strongly admire Priests that wear the Cassock out in public. They purposefully stand out in society so they can be a witness to the world showing that they are CATHOLIC and not some mealy-mouthed preacher that is just trying to be their friend. A Cassock says: “I am your spiritual father, listen to me if you want to be saved.” Plus Cassocks are just simply manly. Try watching the Hitchcock movie, “I confess” and not be impressed with those Priests as they stroll around Quebec displaying their toughness and steadfast morality to a society that desperately needs examples of moral and heroic virtue.
The Priests in the article below are the heroes we need to step up in today’s society that has been overcome by a spiritual plague where babies are slaughtered so their parts can be sold. God Help us!
Thank God for brave and courageous priests that will help lead us out of the wilderness and into the light of heaven. Lets continue to pray for all Catholic priests that they either remain steadfast or start acting courageous in the face of the hatred and violence they will suffer from the world.
Priests Praying Exorcism Prayers Produces Great Fruit
NASHVILLE, TN (Catholic Online) – “And how can men preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach good news!’” (Rom 10:15).
According to tradition, typical demonic responses during exorcism include foul language, references to sexual perversion, deceit, and profuse blasphemy. Similarly, prayers for exorcism outside the Northern Illinois Women’s Center abortuary in Rockford have provoked just such a reaction from pro-abortion workers and activists within.
“Not Against Flesh and Blood, But the Rulers of Darkness”
Their revulsion for anything as holy as a Catholic priest is evident in their bizarre window displays, a few of which reportedly include a nun in a coffin, a rubber chicken hanging from a noose, and a picture of Jesus flipping the bird that says, “Even Jesus Hates You.”
The beautiful thing about this ongoing battle is that the number of abortions has reportedly been cut by half at this abortuary since the spiritual power of the Jesus was first unleashed through the prayers of the priests who have prayed outside since September of 2008. At least, the abortuary seems to blame them and the special prayers of the Church.
Just this past Friday someone inside the building displayed a sign in reaction to a priest and seminarian praying outside that said “F…. Your Perverted Priests.” They have endured personal insults and vandalism of their vehicles. One priest’s car was egged, another discovered a hand-written sign that read “I Rape Children” taped to his car.
Another hand-written sign displayed prominently outside the main entrance to the clinic read “Stop the Perverted Catholic Priests from Raping Young Boys.” In convoluted pro-abortion logic, it seems that somehow child abuse is bad, but abortion is good.
The priests in Rockford quietly stand vigil in every type of inclement weather with open coats, so that the women seeking an abortion are aware that a priest is present in his flowing, seemingly flaming cassock.
Invoking the matchless power of Jesus Christ through the Church, they make sweeping Signs of the Cross and pray that the abortion mill and the whole earth will be cleansed from the evil that surrounds and drives abortion.
The Rockford mill hates and attacks the priests outside so viciously because they, and priests and pro-life workers like them all over the country, have saved countless lives and souls.
When they first began their vigils, it was reported that the pro-life sidewalk counselors in Rockford noticed an immediate, dramatic decline in the numbers of mothers who go there for abortions, a distinct rise in the numbers of mothers who choose life outside the mill, and the correlation of these changes with the beginning of the displays of blasphemy from inside.
The response at this abortuary has been particularly virulent, but priests are praying outside them all over the country through Priests for Life, in which priests and parishes are paired with specific abortuaries.
It is to St. John Vianney that our beloved priests are entrusted, and he said it so eloquently: “Were we to fully realize what a priest is on earth, we would die: not of fright, but of love. It is he who opens the door: he is the steward of the good Lord; the administrator of his goods. Leave a parish for twenty years without a priest, and they will end by worshiping the beasts there. The priest is not a priest for himself, he is a priest for you.”
Because they are priests, they take the good news, uniquely, even into these demonic abortion trenches. As the Year for Priests draws to a close, may we bathe their dusty, tired, beautiful feet with the anointing of our prayers. Amen.
7 Surprising Things about St. Pius X
Posted on August 21, 2015
Bellarmine Forum. St Pius X
What’s not to love about St. Pius X? We love him for so many things, especially his clarity in preaching on the Blessed Mother, the emphasis on the Blessed Sacrament, especially as “the shortest and safest path to Heaven“, and his clarity against the modernists we still fight today. But he was so much more! We’ve collected some facts about his life that you might find surprising.
Among other things, a lot of the criticism levied against Pope Francis, such as making accommodation for the homeless, dining with the ordinary people, or wandering off to talk to the street people in Rome, were in fact activities started by Pius X! Read on and be surprised that this staunch defender of the faith, and true fatherly guide, was very much an ordinary guy who shunned many of the trappings of elitism appurtenant to the office of Pope.
1. His parents were Polish.
Pope Pius X was born in Italy to parents that had immigrated to Italy after the Prussian occupation. They were granted political asylum. Jan Krawiec, from Wielkopolska, was a tailor, and in order to blend in to Italy, changed his name to Giovanni Battista Sarto. Sarto means tailor in Italy, so Giuseppe chose the name because it represented what he was. Years later, he and his wife gave birth to Giuseppe, who we now know as Pope Pius X.
His father died when he was very young however, and his mother had to raise him and his sisters and brothers with her sewing and farming. They were poor.
2. He opened the Vatican to refugees and homeless.
Some time ago, there was a moderate scandal when Pope Francis decided to provide space for local homeless people to take refuge in the Vatican. Over a hundred years ago, after a great earthquake hit Italy, in Messina, Pius opened the Apostolic palace for the refugees and homeless to take harbor therein.
3. He changed Papal Dining to be with his friends.
Great scandal was incurred among the elite when Pope Pius X ceased dining alone, and started inviting his friends and people he met to eat with him. Lately, we’ve seen the news report on Pope Francis doing the same, even going to the cafeteria to eat with the workers and public. We have no one to blame but our beloved Pius X, who broke the mold on papal dining habits. He was, in many ways, beloved for being an ordinary guy that rose to the Papal throne.
4. He Created an internal spy network to detect modernists within the Church.
Proving that his assertions that modernists were pernicious charlatans that put their energies into avoiding detection, he created the “Department of Extraordinary Affairs” in the Secretary of State’s office and appointed Umberto Begnini as the director. From there, an entire network was created throughout the Church to report on modernist activities.
5. He caused miracles during his life.
During a papal audience, Pius went to hold a paralyzed boy. While hugging the boy, he suddenly broke free from the hug and began to run around the room in joy that he had been healed. Another time, there was a couple he knew from his time as bishop with a child that had meningitis. They wrote a letter to him asking for his help. He wrote back telling them to hope, fast, and pray. Two days later, the child was cured.
6. He Carried Candy in his pocket for the Street People
Pope Francis isn’t the first to get busted roaming the streets of Rome talking with street people. St. Pius X began this trend. He was known for keeping candy in his pocket for them. He’d go out and teach them catechism and made many friends among the poor and homeless in Rome and elsewhere, as he had done this while a bishop and earlier.
7. Daily sermons for the ordinary people, weekly catechism for children.
He did the unthinkable in those days and opened up the San Damaso courtyard in the Vatican for a weekly catechism class, where he made a special reserved space for children. There, he’d regularly talk to the children on subjects the children would ask about. Later, he would issue a Confraternity of Christian Doctrine that was motivated to reclaim children from ignorance of Our Lord.
You’ve got to love the ordinary guy behind such a great pope.
Today, his feast day, perhaps animated by this touch of his human side, recite again (or for the first time), his oath against modernism:
THE OATH AGAINST MODERNISM
Given by His Holiness St. Pius X September 1, 1910.
To be sworn to by all clergy, pastors, confessors, preachers, religious superiors, and professors in philosophical-theological seminaries.
[formatted with bullet lists and spacing for easier reading]
I ____________[your name], firmly embrace and accept each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring teaching authority of the Church, especially those principal truths which are directly opposed to the errors of this day.
•And first of all, I profess that God, the origin and end of all things, can be known with certainty by the natural light of reason from the created world (see Rom. 1:19), that is, from the visible works of creation, as a cause from its effects, and that, therefore, his existence can also be demonstrated:
•Secondly, I accept and acknowledge the external proofs of revelation, that is, divine acts and especially miracles and prophecies as the surest signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion and I hold that these same proofs are well adapted to the understanding of all eras and all men, even of this time.
•Thirdly, I believe with equally firm faith that the Church, the guardian and teacher of the revealed word, was personally instituted by the real and historical Christ when he lived among us, and that the Church was built upon Peter, the prince of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors for the duration of time.
•Fourthly, I sincerely hold that the doctrine of faith was handed down to us from the apostles through the orthodox Fathers in exactly the same meaning and always in the same purport.
•Therefore, I entirely reject the heretical misrepresentation that dogmas evolve and change from one meaning to another different from the one which the Church held previously. I also condemn every error according to which, in place of the divine deposit which has been given to the spouse of Christ to be carefully guarded by her, there is put a philosophical figment or product of a human conscience that has gradually been developed by human effort and will continue to develop indefinitely.
•Fifthly, I hold with certainty and sincerely confess that faith is not a blind sentiment of religion welling up from the depths of the subconscious under the impulse of the heart and the motion of a will trained to morality; but faith is a genuine assent of the intellect to truth received by hearing from an external source.
By this assent, because of the authority of the supremely truthful God, we believe to be true that which has been revealed and attested to by a personal God, our creator and lord.
Furthermore, with due reverence,
•I submit and adhere with my whole heart to the condemnations, declarations, and all the prescripts contained in the encyclical Pascendi and in the decree Lamentabili, especially those concerning what is known as the history of dogmas.
•I also reject the error of those who say that the faith held by the Church can contradict history, and that Catholic dogmas, in the sense in which they are now understood, are irreconcilable with a more realistic view of the origins of the Christian religion.
•I also condemn and reject the opinion of those who say that a well-educated Christian assumes a dual personality-that of a believer and at the same time of a historian, as if it were permissible for a historian to hold things that contradict the faith of the believer, or to establish premises which, provided there be no direct denial of dogmas, would lead to the conclusion that dogmas are either false or doubtful.
•Likewise, I reject that method of judging and interpreting Sacred Scripture which, departing from the tradition of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the norms of the Apostolic See, embraces the misrepresentations of the rationalists and with no prudence or restraint adopts textual criticism as the one and supreme norm.
•Furthermore, I reject the opinion of those who hold that a professor lecturing or writing on a historico-theological subject should first put aside any preconceived opinion about the supernatural origin of Catholic tradition or about the divine promise of help to preserve all revealed truth forever; and that they should then interpret the writings of each of the Fathers solely by scientific principles, excluding all sacred authority, and with the same liberty of judgment that is common in the investigation of all ordinary historical documents.
Finally, I declare that I am completely opposed to the error of the modernists who hold that there is nothing divine in sacred tradition; or what is far worse, say that there is, but in a pantheistic sense, with the result that there would remain nothing but this plain simple fact-one to be put on a par with the ordinary facts of history-the fact, namely, that a group of men by their own labor, skill, and talent have continued through subsequent ages a school begun by Christ and his apostles.
I firmly hold, then, and shall hold to my dying breath the belief of the Fathers in the charism of truth, which certainly is, was, and always will be in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles. The purpose of this is, then, not that dogma may be tailored according to what seems better and more suited to the culture of each age; rather, that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed to be different, may never be understood in any other way.
I promise that I shall keep all these articles faithfully, entirely, and sincerely, and guard them inviolate, in no way deviating from them in teaching or in any way in word or in writing. Thus I promise, this I swear, so help me God.
A very interesting thing happened in the Archdiocese of New York last year. Despite having well over 400 parishes, Father Patric D’Arcy was the only man ordained to the priesthood in 2012. What is even more interesting, however, is that Father D’Arcy chose to offer his first Mass in the Extraordinary Form.
In June of this year, the Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina ordained to the priesthood Father Renaurd West. For his first Mass Father West chose to offer it in the Extraordinary Form.
That same month Father Jason Christian was ordained in my home Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina. Father Christian also chose to offer his first Mass in the Extraordinary Form.
Last year there were a total of three men ordained to the priesthood in the Charlotte Diocese. One of those three, Father Jason Barone (pictured above), offered his first…
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