The Effects of the Protestant Revolt

This blog recommends a book titled “An Essay on the Economic Effects of the Reformation” by George O’Brien.  We will begin posting quotes from the book.  Here is the first:

The division of History into organic and critical periods we owe to Saint Simon.  During the organic periods mankind accepts with firm conviction some positive Creed while during the critical periods men lose their old convictions without attaining any new ones of a general authoritative character. The organic period of Christianity came to an end, and the critical period began, at the Reformation, when the authority of the Church was assailed and the reign of private judgment inaugurated. . . This critical phase has lasted for 400 years, and it will continue until a new organic period can be begun by the universal.acceptance of some common creed.  The discovery of that creed is man’s capital task today.  Ever since the reformation, the old foundations of European life have been attacked by successive waves, first of protestantism, and then of rationalism, until society has arrived at its present chaotic, formless, distracted condition. . .

There is one institution alone which is capable of supplying and enforcing the social ethic that is needed to reviving the world.   It is an institution at once intra-national and international; an institution that can claim to pronounce infallible on moral matters, and enforce the observance of its moral decrees by direct sanctions on the individual conscience of man; an institution which, while respecting and supporting the civil governments of nations, can claim to exist independently of them, and can insist that they shall not intrude upon the moral life or fetter the moral liberty of their citizens.   Europe possessed such an institution in the Middle Ages; it’s dethrone mentioned was the unique achievement of the reformation; and the injury inflicted by that dethronement has never since been repaired.
(The institution he is referring to is of course Holy Mother Church)
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Matter – Poem by Mary Beth

Matter

by Mary Beth Zeleznik

What does a dream possess
That weakens all aware thought?
With endless means a life is bought
And held over mounting crest
From the very height hued for rest
From steady hand, tightened tress
Dangling, with no ground, you fought
Rope around your breath, caught

Sky and sod remain firm
There is no look beyond the berm
So what is it, what is the matter?
A matter of time and its term
Across the clock face, arms squirm
Their duty could make a glass face shatter
And all the hours filled with chatter
Make the trembling ticking sadder

And in the stark, dewed light of a day
Return in tears to beg yesterday’s- to stay
To convince the invisible that you each are the same
Though they will not even tell their name
So how do you call them to come out and play?
A dream takes time as time takes a dream away
Both are shortened if we strike at their frame
And mistake their essence, then give them blame

But in the wakeful hours, you know the deal
Made without the heart’s consent
But can even the mind be content?
Thought rules the thinking and the feel
The matter around which your life is bent
Forced forward as brute scrapes your heel
From the motion of living your living reels
In the flicker of the dream glimpse what you meant:

To end this slow bodily perish, that happens too fast
And a form never leaves from where it lay
Only childhood’s sweetness for a mind to hast
To come out and play.  To stay, to stay
Make the orange of twilight to last
And linear paths are cut out of the clay
Of the ground which remains the unmoving cast
Of your home, and of the single day.

Copyright 2016 Mary Beth.

You can Break Your Porn Addiction

Porn is the biggest, yet unspoken, health crisis of our time. Porn use is prevalent among most criminals and terrorists. Please don’t act like a criminal or terrorist by using porn. The article below will help.

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Internet Custody of the Eyes: A Way to Break Gripping Porn Addiction

Internet Custody of the Eyes: A Way to Break Gripping Porn Addiction

July 27, 2016

Custody of the eyes is the ancient practice of keeping the eyes averted so that they don’t stumble upon impure or otherwise inappropriate images or, once stumbling upon something impure, quickly averting the eyes. For example you might see a young lady or young man dressed in immodest attire and you quickly avert your gaze.

Saint Alphonsus Liguori said that:

“To avoid the sight of dangerous objects, the saints were accustomed to keep their eyes almost continually fixed on the earth, and to abstain even from looking at innocent objects.”
Although custody of the eyes is something usually discussed among men because men are so visual, women should be vigilant as well.

What is Internet Custody of the Eyes?

What I’m calling “internet custody of the eyes” is the act of doing whatever it takes for your eyes to not land or linger on inappropriate images and video.

I first learned the importance of internet filtering software when my 8 year old and I stumbled upon a bestiality image on the computer. I was absolutely horrified and I really couldn’t think of how to explain it to her. I pray that God wiped that image from her mind.

The horrific thing is that porn is so pervasive that 32% of boys and 18% of girls have seen bestiality online.

Here Are Some More Troubling Statistics About Children & Porn

83% of boys and 57% of girls have seen group sex online
9/10 boys are exposed to pornography before age 18
6/10 girls are exposed to pornography before age 18
9 out of 10 boys are exposed to pornography before the age of 18.
The first exposure to pornography among men is12 years old, on average.
71% of teens hide online behavior from their parents.
28% of 16-17 year olds have been unintentionally exposed to porn online.
20% of 16-year-olds and 30% of 17-year-oldshave received a sext.
Porn addiction in Marriage

You would think Christians are not affected by pornography. Think again.

64% of Christian men and 15% of Christian women say they watch porn at least once a month.
70% of wives of sex addicts could be diagnosed with PTSD.
A study by Proven Men Ministries found that 7% of males admit to viewing porn several times a day, compared to one percent among Christian females.
Men who struggle with purity find themselves in a cycle of shame, confession, hope and shame again. They pray and pray but find themselves falling into the same porn addiction repeatedly. This greatly affects the relationship between the addict and the spouse who is trying to make it work. It is a cross.

Of Phone And Porn

To make it worse, pornographic imagery is not only available through computers, but adult content black iphonesites are easily accessible through smartphones. It’s a bit easier to hide what you’re doing on a phone because you could be doing a variety of things including texting, playing games and shopping. It is common to be on one’s phone late into the evening, while in bed. Lots of kids have phones under the age of 10.

So What is a Struggling Catholic Porn Addict to do?

Fortunately, there are products on the market that help with control and accountability when it comes to internet porn.

Filtering software

Filtering software blocks inappropriate content based on age range. It can also be used for adults too.

Parents can easily adjust the filter’s sensitivity as their kids grow older, meaning the Filter grows with them.
Adults can have the Filter Guardian set the Filter to block only highly mature websites as an extra layer of protection, and can even ask for override rights.
Accountability Software

What if you could send a report of your Internet activity to a friend or mentor so you could discuss your online struggles? Would you like to see the sites your kids visit, the YouTube videos they watch, and the search terms they use? That’s possible too.

This type of accountability is obviously good for discussions with children, but it also helps deal with pornography use within marriage. If a partner knows he will need to explain why he went to a site, he is less likely to click on inappropriate material. It builds trust with the non-addict spouse, that the porn addict is willing to work with the spouse to fight this temptation.

Where Can I Get This Type of Software?

If you’ve been thinking about buying internet accountability software, you should check out Covenant Eyes below. They are a Christian company and are a great contributor in the fight against porn addiction. The software makes internet custody of the eyes a no-brainer.

Want to find out how to obtain Internet Accountability And Filtering Software?

Covenant Eyes Learn More Button

Other Resources

I will be adding more resources to this page, so please check back periodically.

Free E-book Downloads memorae

The Porn Circuit: Free E-book on the Science of Porn Use
Understand your brain and break porn habits in 90 days.
Pornography Statistics
250+ Facts, Quotes, and Statistics About Pornography Use (2015 Edition)
Parenting the Internet Generation
A Blueprint for Teaching Digital Discernment

God Doesn’t Care What Car You Drive – by Alan Scott

This article from Alan Scott on One Peter Five really sums up why our blog exists:  to help you grow in virtue and attain heaven. Mr. Scott in simple terms describes the real type of success we should be seeking in this world in order to get to the next.

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The True Measure of Success

The True Measure of Success

I just returned from a vacation spent in the company of an old friend.

Because it rained during much of our trip, we ended up talking quite a bit over the course of a week. We talked about our lives. Our families. And our love for God.

Turns out, we have a lot in common.

One of the things we discussed was the direction each of our lives had taken, in regards to our schooling (college and beyond), our careers, and our interests and activities.

And this made me think, in regards to myself, objectively, I have lived a pretty average life.

A lot of the people I have known throughout my life have strived to be successful, but I have spent my life honestly trying to avoid worldly success. It’s just not something I personally believe is important.

Now, that may seem odd. I mean, what kind of loser doesn’t want to be successful?

Me. I am that loser.

But actually, truth be told, I am interested in being successful. Just not the world’s version of it.

The definition of success

I think the problem I have with “success” is how it’s normally defined. Is success becoming famous, wealthy, creating a big money-making business, or coming up with an idea that people can’t live without?

Perhaps.

But again, it depends on how you define success.

If all you’re striving for is money, a successful business, or fame…will you keep your dignity to achieve it? Will you help to improve the lives of others?

Will you please God?

And for all that “success,” what happens when you die?

For me personally, I have been approached to place advertisements on my site. I have had offers to publish my writing on simplicity if I remove the mention of God. I’ve even been approached with a book deal, if I agree not to discuss certain topics that I prefer to discuss (my faith).

But at what cost?

For “success”?

For this so-called success I would have to compromise my principles, writing about topics half-heartedly, because I might possibly offend someone. Or worse, trick them into buying a book that excludes my faith and mention of God, when I know that God is the answer to all things.

It’s not worth it.

One thing, though, is for sure. Whatever your definition of success is, it’s something you’re looking for … something that exists in the future. It’s based on your desire to achieve something for yourself due to your feelings that you’re not where you want to be.

Real success

Worldly people seek to define their success from the esteem and praise from one another. Success is often based on status and admiration.

At best it’s vain. And it’s also extremely subjective.

Human glory, worldly honor, and earthly possessions – these are all empty and meaningless when compared to the love, honor and glory of God.

True greatness and success is not in a person who is satisfied with himself. It is only in those with whom God is satisfied.

God will never estimate our merits or success by our knowledge, education, wealth, status, or our position among others. And He certainly won’t be impressed if we’re driving a new BMW. But God will measure our success by our self-sacrifice, humility and charity towards others.

God knows if we think and rely too much on ourselves, versus seeking His Will.

God knows if we give honor and glory to ourselves, rather than honoring and glorifying Him.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that having a good education, or a good work position, or owning your own company, or even being a celebrity is a bad thing. But it is a bad thing, when our motivations (or our end result) is the want or desire for admiration from others.

God alone is to be worshipped.

Not us.

And if you love God in all things, you’ll praise His Name, not yours. You will esteem and honor God’s Will, not your own estimation of personal success and accomplishments.

In the end, to me personally, success can only be measured in one way.

Success is defined in finding joy, love, honor and glory in God.

And if you find your success and accomplishment in God, and in God alone, you have found the greatest level of success ever possible.

Alan Scott is a writer and graphic designer residing in Virginia. A former Agnostic, he converted to the Catholic faith in 2004. In 2014 he started his blog GrowInVirtue.com, which focuses on growing in holiness, by attempting to live a life more simple and virtuous, a life that is lived for God. When he’s not writing or designing, you’ll find him with his hands dirty, in his garden.

Protestantism’s fatal flaw – Reblog

Obedience is one of the keys to happiness . . . obedience to Christ’s words and Christ’s Church.

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Protestantism’s fatal flaw

Protestantism’s fatal flaw

vanity-by-john-william-waterhouse.jpg    vanity

Jesus tells us very clearly in John 10:14, “‘I am the good shepherd,’ says the Lord; ‘I know My sheep, and Mine know Me.’”

Later, John 15:14 tells us how Jesus identifies His sheep: “You are my friends, if you obey My commands.”

Protestantism’s fatal flaw is automatically inserting “some of” into the passage so that it reads: “You are My friends if you obey some of My commands.”

That vanity allows them to avoid His most frequently given instruction: “If you do not eat My Body and drink My Blood you do not have life in you.” He said that 12 times in the last half of John, 6. He repeated that instruction to receive Catholic Communion at least 6 more times in The Last Supper accounts.

Clearly, those who strive to obey all that He commanded will do what is necessary to receive Catholic Communion.

Those who avoid full obedience try to open Heaven’s Gates with their own keys.

Protestantism’s fatal flaw is also with the same vain insertion: “I try to love God and some of my neighbors so I am saved.”

Jesus lets us know that He sees such flaws: “I know My sheep and Mine know Me.” He tells us clearly that those who follow His most frequently given instruction are visible to Him.

Souls with “life in” them glow more brightly. He can pick them out of the darkness. In that gloom of dank disobedience, the souls of obedient Catholics sparkle like stars in His eyes!

Protestantism’s fatal flaw begins with thinking they can get away with ignoring His command to receive Catholic Communion, even though He told us “If you do not eat My Body and drink My Blood you do not have life in you.” more than any other instruction.

Protestantism’s fatal flaw includes this actually insulting vanity: “Jesus is not smart enough to notice that I am ignoring Him.”

Interview of Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand

We encourage you to listen to the interview of Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand (which can be found by clicking the link below if you can’t listen directly from this post).  Mr. Jim Havens interviews her and she is a legend.  The summary of her seven main points are below.

One of her best quotes from the interview is on the topic of suffering.  Catholics are the only religion that teaches us how to properly understand suffering which allows us to make sense of it and put it in its correct perspective.

Here is part of her quote:  “It is only in Heaven that all this will be translated and every tear will be dried, but on this Earth, you can expect suffering and when suffering is transfigured by love it will bring you closer to God.”

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http://www.catholicfamilymen.com/blog/seven-bold-insights-from-my-interview-with-dr-alice-von-hildebrand

Seven Bold Insights from my interview with Dr. Alice Von Hildebrand

6/11/2016

Picture

Several years ago, I had the blessing of doing a short interview with Dr. Alice von Hildebrand. I recently listened to it again for the first time in a long time and I was blown away by some of her insights. I have highlighted seven takeaways, with quotes from the interview below (transcribing the best I can). You can also listen to the interview in its entirety here:
Dr. Alice von Hildebrand Interviewwith Jim Havens
1. Men and women are different, complimentary, and we truly need each other.

“Man is characterized by his strength, his courage, his nobility; he’s meant to be chivalrous to protect the weak. The woman has something tender, she has empathy, she has a much easier time feeling herself into others. And so they have this complementarity, it is profound. ‘It is not good for man to be alone.’ In order to be complete, man needs a woman and a woman needs a man. Now this goes so far that the holiest priests I have met in my life, who have dedicated their lives to God and live in perfect celibacy, all have a very special devotion to the Holy Virgin and the Holy Virgin gives them what would be lacking if it was simply a development of male characteristics.”

2. The Catholic Church and her Sacramental life are essential for authentic masculinity and femininity.

“The tragedy is that after original sin all the beautiful, magnificent male qualities, such as strength and courage and virility and so on, degenerated into something that is unfortunately a horrible perversion: male brutality – you just need to read the newspaper to find out that day after day women are abused and battered by the activities of their boyfriends or husbands. On the other hand, the beautiful female characteristics of empathy and sweetness, the heart can degenerate into self-centeredness, pettiness, sentimentality, all sorts of distortions. Now when both are distorted, both of them need to be purified. And this is the unbelievable gift of the Roman Catholic Church. I’m a cradle Catholic, and day after day after day, I’m more grateful of the fact that ever since I was a child I have been given Catholic food.

For example, take the seven Sacraments, all of this struck me as a little girl, that every single problem, every single difficulty, has an answer through the Sacraments – through Baptism we are brought back in communion with God, in Confirmation we are strengthened, through the Holy Eucharist we receive the divine food that God, that Christ, promised to his disciples and gave at the Last Supper, through the Sacrament of Penance you can cleanse yourself of your daily sins and imperfections – for every single facet of human life you have divine help.”

3. The enemy of femininity is feminism.

“Feminism has actually harmed femininity. In my mind, when you say feminism and femininity, you are saying two things that are radically different. The enemy of femininity is feminism because feminism basically looks down upon femininity as a sign of inferiority and so they say ‘man is truly the one who is powerful, is the one who is setting the stage, is the one who is creative, so women have to become like men.’ No. Obviously a woman can never become a man. At best she can be a caricature of a man and this is what we often see today: when women behave like men, swear like men, smoke cigars like men, and then believe that they are very manly. In fact, they’re betraying their femininity.”

4. The lives of the Saints reveal masculinity and femininity redeemed. Both are marked by holy courage. 

“…what is amazing, is that through grace, man can be purified and his beautiful male characteristics can revive, can be rejuvenated…you see that in the Saints: they are strong, they are powerful when it comes to defending the faith, they are gentle and tender toward the weak. In other words, the great mistake is to believe the opposite of strength is gentleness. It’s not true at all. Strength and gentleness belong together – you find this in Christ, who is so strong and simultaneously meek of heart, you find that in the Saints. What is the opposite of strength is weakness and cowardice.

You find the very same thing in women – the opposite of sensitivity, of empathy, is not sentimentality, which is basically to be sense-centered, it is a holy courage for the faith. This is why, for example, one of the things that always impresses me so, is the Holy Virgin at the foot of the Cross. We have to keep in mind that no human being has ever suffered as much as the Holy Virgin – she had the greatest privilege ever granted to a human being, simultaneously she carried the heaviest cross because she was at Calvary watching every single step of this abomination which is the Crucifixion. And what is absolutely amazing, this struck me already when I was a little girl: Mary was standing. She was not collapsing in self-pity. She was standing because it is by standing that she collaborated most with the Crucifixion of her Son. This is why the Blessed One is also the Mother Dolorosa.”

5. The key to right thinking and right living is reverence and humility in our metaphysical posture toward God. 

“Something that occurred to me fairly recently: when Adam and Eve were in Paradise, there was love, there was peace, they were in harmony, they were obeying God, then comes the serpent…what does he do? The amazing thing is he doesn’t make a declaration, he raises a question – ‘why can’t you eat of the fruit of the tree?’ Now it seems to me every one of us is going to say, ‘Isn’t it legitimate to raise questions?’ My answer is: the questions that you raise, betray the metaphysical posture that you’ve taken. The very moment that you start challenging God, in this very moment you are wrong in metaphysical posture. And this is what the devil said, he didn’t say ‘disobey,’ he said, ‘why can’t you?’ And all of the sudden the stupid Eve says, ‘Yes, indeed. Why can’t I?’ In this very moment she cuts herself off from God, then fell into sin. And you know the consequences are dreadful of course.

But what is amazing is that the woman is the one that the serpent addressed. According to St. Augustine, the serpent addressed himself to the woman because she is the weaker one, I say no, he addressed the woman Eve because she has such an influence on Adam that he (the serpent) knew perfectly well that once Eve ate, he (Adam) would follow too, which is exactly what happened. A woman has less power, she has less authority, but she has an enormous influence that she can use for good or for evil. So the whole question is – What are the questions that you raise? They betray your metaphysical posture.

For example, you say today ‘why can’t two men get married?’ The question cannot possibly be raised once you are in the right metaphysical posture and understand that God made man, male and female. So two men, or two women, can never, never fulfill what humanity is because it is both male and female. So once you raise that question, you are just on the wrong track, and once you’re on the wrong track, one mistake will lead to another mistake will lead you to the abyss, which is revolt against God.

The question raised by the devil was a devilish question. What about Mary in Nazareth?: ‘How can this be? I know not man.’ She’s raising the question in an attitude of awe, respect, and humility. And she gets the answer; therefore it’s not a question of raising the question, it is a question of raising the right question, in the right metaphysical posture, and toward God it is always reverence and humility. In the other case, it is arrogance and basically you put God in the dark. And you see you have to justify your attitude, you have to justify what you have done, and then you’re off track.”

6. Being a mother who loves sacrificially is the privilege of being a woman (and being a father who loves sacrificially is the privilege of being a man).*

“On this Earth, God has so made it after original sin that love and suffering cannot be separated. And you find that in Christ (who is the Incarnation of Divine Love; He is Love itself)…He accepts torture and the most abominable death in order to save us.

Now therefore to my mind, what is maternity? It is self-giving, total self-giving for another person, because after all, a mother raises her child for others, not for herself. If the mother wants to give the child for herself, she’s just a selfish mother, she’s not a good mother. God has given the child to her, she’s giving it to others. Simultaneously, maternity is linked to profound suffering. Of course it’s another question that the feminists are going to raise, ‘why is it that for a male, procreation is a moment of ecstasy and that’s all there is to it, why is it that for a woman, it is linked to nine months which can be discomfort, which can be pain, which can be excruciating pains, and simultaneously can be life-threatening.’ Now this is the privilege of being a woman, because accepting to suffer, she understands that on this Earth you cannot separate love and suffering.”

7. In this life, suffering has tremendous value – it affords us an opportunity to love like Jesus. 

“In the world in which we live, people want fun, but they don’t want suffering; therefore, you’re going to seek to eliminate suffering. For example, you’re not expecting a child and the child comes, you abort it. Suppose for example, that someone is elderly and is not producing anything at all: euthanasia, you get rid of it. You try to eliminate suffering and by so doing, you create a world which is diabolical and so haphazard that love is totally eliminated. Don’t forget – the world in which we live is an attack on the Cross. This is what happened when Obama went to Georgetown. They covered the crosses. The Cross and Christianity are one on this Earth. It is only in Heaven that all this will be translated and every tear will be dried, but on this Earth, you can expect suffering and when suffering is transfigured by love it will bring you closer to God.”

*In her book, The Privilege of Being a Woman, Dr. Von Hildebrand states the following: “All women without exception are called upon to be mothers…to refuse this maternity, is to refuse to love. It is to refuse to suffer in order to give life.” The call to paternity and maternity are so deeply ingrained in man and woman that a spiritual motherhood and fatherhood exist even beyond the biological.

Please read the powerful article below about the TLM!

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Ten Reasons To Attend The Traditional Latin Mass

Ten Reasons To Attend The Traditional Latin Mass 58

TLM-Buffalo1

Given that it can often be less convenient for a person or a family to attend the traditional Latin Mass (and I am thinking not only of obvious issues like the place and the time, but also of the lack of a parish infrastructure and the hostile reactions one can get from friends, family, and even clergy), it is definitely worthwhile to remind ourselves of why we are doing this in the first place. If something is worth doing, then it’s worth persevering in—even at the cost of sacrifices.

This article will set forth a number of reasons why, in spite of all the inconveniences (and even minor persecutions) we have experienced over the years, we and our families love to attend the traditional Latin Mass. Sharing these reasons will, we hope, encourage readers everywhere either to begin attending the usus antiquior or to continue attending if they might be wavering. Indeed, it is our conviction that the sacred liturgy handed down to us by tradition has never been more important in the life of Catholics, as we behold the “pilgrim Church on earth” continue to forget her theology, dilute her message, lose her identity, and bleed her members. By preserving, knowing, following, and loving her ancient liturgy, we do our part to bolster authentic doctrine, proclaim heavenly salvation, regain a full stature, and attract new believers who are searching for unadulterated truth and manifest beauty. By handing down this immense gift in turn, and by inviting to the Mass as many of our friends and our families as we can, we are fulfilling our vocation as followers of the Apostles.

Without further ado, ten reasons:

1. You will be formed in the same way that most of the Saints were formed. If we take a conservative estimate and consider the Roman Mass to have been codified by the reign of Pope St. Gregory the Great (ca. 600) and to have lasted intact until 1970, we are talking about close to 1,400 years of the life of the Church—and that’s most of her history of saints. The prayers, readings, and chants that they heard and pondered will be the ones you hear and ponder. 

For this is the Mass that St. Gregory the Great inherited, developed, and solidified. This is the Mass that St. Thomas Aquinas celebrated, lovingly wrote about, and contributed to (he composed the Mass Propers and Office for the Feast of Corpus Christi). This is the Mass that St. Louis IX, the crusader king of France, attended three times a day. This is the Mass that St. Philip Neri had to distract himself from before he celebrated it because it so easily sent him into ecstasies that lasted for hours. This is the Mass that was first celebrated on the shores of America by Spanish and French missionaries, such as the North American Martyrs. This is the Mass that priests said secretly in England and Ireland during the dark days of persecution, and this is the Mass that Blessed Miguel Pro risked his life to celebrate before being captured and martyred by the Mexican government. This is the Mass that Blessed John Henry Newman said he would celebrate every waking moment of his life if he could. This is the Mass that the Fr. Frederick Faber called “the most beautiful thing this side of heaven.” This is the Mass that Fr. Damien of Molokai celebrated with leprous hands in the church he had built and painted himself. This is the Mass during which St. Edith Stein, who was later to die in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, became completely enraptured. This is the Mass that great artists such as Evelyn Waugh, David Jones, and Graham Greene loved so much that they lamented its loss with sorrow and alarm. This is the Mass so widely respected that even non-Catholics such as Agatha Christie and Iris Murdoch came to its defense in the 1970s. This is the Mass that St. Padre Pio insisted on celebrating until his death in 1968, after the liturgical apparatchiks had begun to mess with the missal (and this was a man who knew a thing or two about the secrets of sanctity). This is the Mass that St. Josemaría Escrivá, the founder of Opus Dei, received permission to continue celebrating in private at the end of his life.

What a glorious cloud of witnesses surrounds the traditional Latin Mass! Their holiness was forged like gold and silver in the furnace of this Mass, and it is an undeserved blessing that we, too, can seek and obtain the same formation. Yes, I can go to the new Mass and know that I am in the presence of God and His saints (and for that I am profoundly grateful), but a concrete historical link to these saints has been severed, as well as a historical link to my own heritage as a Catholic in the Roman rite.

2. What is true for me is even more true for my children. This way of celebrating most deeply forms the minds and hearts of our children in reverence for Almighty God, in the virtues of humility, obedience, and adoring silence. It fills their senses and imaginations with sacred signs and symbols, “mystic ceremonies” (as the Council of Trent puts it). Maria Montessori herself frequently pointed out that small children are very receptive to the language of symbols, often more than adults are, and that they will learn more easily from watching people do a solemn liturgy than from hearing a lot of words with little action. All of this is extremely impressive and gripping for children who are learning their faith, and especially boys who become altar servers.[1]

3. Its universality. The traditional Latin Mass not only provides a visible and unbroken link from the present day to the distant past, it also constitutes an inspiring bond of unity across the globe. Older Catholics often recall how moving it was for them to assist at Mass in a foreign country for the first time and to discover that “the Mass was the same” wherever they went. The experience was, for them, a confirmation of the catholicity of their Catholicism. By contrast, today one is sometimes hard pressed to find “the same Mass” at the same parish on the same weekend. The universality of the traditional Latin Mass, with its umbrella of Latin as a sacred language and its insistence that the priest put aside his own idiosyncratic and cultural preferences and put on the person of Christ, acts as a true Pentecost in which many tongues and tribes come together as one in the Spirit—rather than a new Babel that privileges unshareable identities such as ethnicity or age group and threatens to occlude the “neither Greek nor Jew” principle of the Gospel.

4. You always know what you are getting. The Mass will be focused on the Holy Sacrifice of Our Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. There will be respectful and prayerful silence before, during, and after Mass. There will be only males serving in the sanctuary and only priests and deacons handling the Body of Christ, in accord with nearly 2,000 years of tradition. People will usually be dressed modestly. Music may not always be present (and when present, may not always be perfectly executed), but you will never hear pseudo-pop songs with narcissistic or heretical lyrics.

Put differently, the traditional form of the Roman rite can never be completely co-opted. Like almost every other good thing this side of the grave, the Latin Mass can be botched, but it can never be abused to the extent that it no longer points to the true God. Chesterton once said that “there is only one thing that can never go past a certain point in its alliance with oppression—and that is orthodoxy. I may, it is true, twist orthodoxy so as partly to justify a tyrant. But I can easily make up a German philosophy to justify him entirely.”[2] The same is true for the traditional Latin Mass. Father Jonathan Robinson, who at the time of writing his book was not a friend of the usus antiquior, nevertheless admitted that “the perennial attraction of the Old Rite is that it provided a transcendental reference, and it did this even when it was misused in various ways.”[3] By contrast, Robinson observes, while the new Mass can be celebrated in a reverent way that directs us to the transcendent, “there is nothing in the rule governing the way the Novus Ordo is to be said that ensures the centrality of the celebration of the Paschal mystery.”[4] In other words, the new Mass can be celebrated validly but in a way that puts such an emphasis on community or sharing a meal that it can amount to “the virtual denial of a Catholic understanding of the Mass.”[5] On the other hand, the indestructibility of the traditional Mass’s inherent meaning is what inspired one commentator to compare it to the old line about the U.S. Navy: “It’s a machine built by geniuses so it can be operated safely by idiots.”[6]

5. It’s the real McCoy. The classical Roman rite has an obvious theocentric and Christocentric orientation, found both in the ad orientem stance of the priest and in the rich texts of the classical Roman Missal itself, which give far greater emphasis to the Mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, the divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the sacrifice of Our Lord upon the Cross.[7] As Dr. Lauren Pristas has shown, the prayers of the new Missal are often watered-down in their expression of dogma and ascetical doctrine, whereas the prayers of the old Missal are unambiguously and uncompromisingly Catholic.[8] It is the real McCoy, the pure font, not something cobbled together by “experts” for “modern man” and adjusted to his preferences. More and more Catholic pastors and scholars are acknowledging how badly rushed and botched were the liturgical reforms of the 1960s. This has left us with a confusingly messy situation for which the reformed liturgy itself is totally ill-equipped to provide a solution, with its plethora of options, its minimalist rubrics, its vulnerability to manipulative “presiders,” and its manifest discontinuity with at least fourteen centuries of Roman Catholic worship—a discontinuity powerfully displayed in the matter of language, since the old Mass whispers and sings in the Western Church’s holy mother tongue, Latin, while the new Mass has awkwardly mingled itself with the ever-changing vernaculars of the world.

6. A superior calendar for the saints. In liturgical discussions, most ammunition is spent on defending or attacking changes to the Ordinary of the Mass—and understandably so. But one of the most significant differences between the 1962 and 1970 Missals is the calendar. Let’s start with the Sanctoral Cycle, the feast days of the saints. The 1962 calendar is an amazing primer in Church history, especially the history of the early Church, which often gets overlooked today. It is providentially arranged in such a way that certain saints form different “clusters” that accent a particular facet of holiness. The creators of the 1969/1970 general calendar, on the other hand, eliminated or demoted 200 saints, including St. Valentine from St. Valentine’s Day and St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers, claiming that he never existed. They also eliminated St. Catherine of Alexandria for the same reason, even though she was one of the saints that St. Joan of Arc saw when God commissioned her to fight the English.[9] The architects of the new calendar often made their decisions on the basis of modern historical scholarship rather than the oral traditions of the Church. Their scholarly criteria call to mind Chesterton’s rejoinder that he would rather trust old wives’ tales than old maids’ facts. “It is quite easy to see why a legend is treated, and ought to be treated, more respectfully than a book of history,” G. K. writes. “The legend is generally made by the majority of people in the village, who are sane. The book is generally written by the one man in the village who is mad.”[10]

7. A superior calendar for the seasons. Similarly, the “Temporal Cycle”—Christmastide, Epiphanytide, Septuagesimatide, Eastertide, Time after Pentecost, etc.—is far richer in the 1962 calendar. Thanks to its annual cycle of propers, each Sunday has a distinct flavor to it, and this annual recurrence creates a marker or yardstick that allows the faithful to measure their spiritual progress or decline over the course of their lives. The traditional calendar has ancient observances like Ember Days and Rogation Days that heighten not only our gratitude to God but our appreciation of the goodness of the natural seasons and of the agricultural cycles of the land. The traditional calendar has no such thing as “Ordinary Time” (a most unfortunate phrase, seeing that there cannot be such a thing as “ordinary time” after the Incarnation[11]) but instead has a Time after Epiphany and a Time after Pentecost, thereby extending the meaning of these great feasts like a long afterglow or echo. In company with Christmas and Easter, Pentecost, a feast of no lesser status than they, is celebrated for a full eight days, so that the Church may bask in the warmth and light of the heavenly fire. And the traditional calendar has the pre-Lenten season of Septuagesima or “Carnevale,” which begins three weeks before Ash Wednesday and deftly aids in the psychological transition from the joy of Christmastide to the sorrow of Lent. Like most other features of the usus antiquior, the aforementioned aspects of the calendar are extremely ancient and connect us vividly with the Church of the first millennium and even the earliest centuries.

8. A Better Way to the Bible. Many think that the Novus Ordo has a natural advantage over the old Mass because it has a three-year cycle of Sunday readings and a two-year cycle of weekday readings, and longer and more numerous readings at Mass, instead of the ancient one-year cycle, usually consisting of two readings per Mass (Epistle and Gospel). What they overlook is the fact that the architects of the Novus Ordo simultaneously took out most of the biblical allusions that formed the warp and woof of the Ordinary of the Mass, and then parachuted in a plethora of readings with little regard to their congruency with each other. When it comes to biblical readings, the old rite operates on two admirable principles: first, that passages are chosen not for their own sake (to “get through” as much of Scripture as possible) but to illuminate the meaning of the occasion of worship; second, that the emphasis is not on a mere increase of biblical literacy or didactic instruction but on “mystagogy.” In other words, the readings at Mass are not meant to be a glorified Sunday school but an ongoing initiation into the mysteries of the Faith. Their more limited number, brevity, liturgical suitability, and repetition over the course of every year makes them a powerful agent of spiritual formation and preparation for the Eucharistic sacrifice.

9. Reverence for the Most Holy Eucharist. The Ordinary Form of the Mass can, of course, be celebrated with reverence and with only ordained ministers distributing Holy Communion. But let’s be honest: the vast majority of Catholic parishes deploy “extraordinary” lay ministers of Holy Communion, and the vast majority of the faithful will receive Holy Communion in the hand. These two arrangements alone constitute a significant breach in reverence for the Blessed Sacrament. Unlike the priest, lay ministers do not purify their hands or fingers after handling God, thus accumulating and scattering particles of the Real Presence. The same is true of the faithful who receive Communion in the hand; even brief contact with the Host on the palm of one’s hand can leave tiny particles of the consecrated Victim.[12] Think about it: every day, thousands upon thousands of these unintentional acts of desecration of the Blessed Sacrament occur around the world. How patient is the Eucharistic Heart of our Lord! But do we really want to contribute to this desecration? And even if we ourselves receive communion on the tongue at a Novus Ordo Mass, chances are we will still be surrounded by these careless habits—an environment that will either fill us with outrage and sorrow or lead to a settled indifference. These reactions are not helpful in experiencing the peace of Christ’s Real Presence, nor are they an optimal way to raise one’s children in the Faith!

Similar points could be made about the distracting “Sign of Peace[13]; or female lectors and EMHCs, who, apart from constituting an utter break with tradition, can be clad in clothing of questionable modesty; or the almost universal custom of loud chitchat before and after Mass; or the ad-libbing and optionizing of the priest. These and so many other characteristics of the Novus Ordo as it is all too often celebrated are all, singly and collectively, signs of a lack of faith in the Real Presence, signs of an anthropocentric, horizontal self-celebration of the community.

This point should be emphasized: it is especially harmful for children to witness, again and again, the shocking lack of reverence with which Our Lord and God is treated in the awesome Sacrament of His Love, as pew after pew of Catholics automatically go up to receive a gift they generally treat with casual and even bored indifference. We believe the Eucharist is really our Savior, our King, our Judge—but then promptly act in a way that says we are handling regular (though symbolic) food and drink, which explains why so many Catholics seem to have a Protestant view of what is going on at Mass. This unfortunate situation will not end until the pre-Vatican II norms regarding the sacred Host are made mandatory for all liturgical ministers, which is not likely anytime soon. The safe haven of refuge is, once again, the traditional Latin Mass, where sanity and sanctity prevail.

10. When all is said and done, it’s the Mystery of Faith. Many of the reasons for persevering in and supporting the traditional Latin Mass, in spite of all the trouble the devil manages to stir up for us, can be summarized in one word: MYSTERY. What St. Paul calls musterion and what the Latin liturgical tradition designates by the names mysterium and sacramentum are far from being marginal concepts in Christianity. God’s dramatic self-disclosure to us, throughout history and most of all in the Person of Jesus Christ, is a mystery in the highest sense of the term: it is the revelation of a Reality that is utterly intelligible yet always ineluctable, ever luminous yet blinding in its luminosity. It is fitting that the liturgical celebrations that bring us into contact with our very God should bear the stamp of His eternal and infinite mysteriousness, His marvelous transcendence, His overwhelming holiness, His disarming intimacy, His gentle yet penetrating silence. The traditional form of the Roman rite surely bears this stamp. Its ceremonies, its language, its ad orientem posture, and its ethereal music are not obscurantist but perfectly intelligible while at the same time instilling a sense of the unknown, even the fearful and thrilling. By fostering a sense of the sacred, the old Mass preserves intact the mystery of Faith.[14]

In sum, the classical Roman Rite is an ambassador of tradition, a midwife for the interior man, a lifelong tutor in the faith, a school of adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, and supplication, an absolutely reliable rock of stability on which we can confidently build our spiritual lives.

As the movement for the restoration of the Church’s sacred liturgy is growing and gaining momentum, now is not a time for discouragement or second thoughts; it is a time for a joyful and serene embrace of all the treasures our Church has in store for us, in spite of the shortsightedness of some of her current pastors and the ignorance (usually not their own fault) of many of the faithful. This is a renewal that must happen if the Church is to survive the coming perils. Would that the Lord could count on us to be ready to lead the way, to hold up the “catholic and orthodox faith”! Would that we might respond to His graces as He leads us back to the immense riches of the Tradition that He, in His loving-kindness, gave to the Church, His Bride!

It is no time to flag or grow weary, but to put our shoulders to the wheel, our hand to the plough. Why should we deprive ourselves of the light and peace and joy of what is more beautiful, more transcendent, more sacred, more sanctifying, and more obviously Catholic? Innumerable blessings await us when, in the midst of an unprecedented crisis of identity in the Church today, we live out our Catholic faith in total fidelity and with the ardent dedication of the Elizabethan martyrs who were willing to do and to suffer anything rather than be parted from the Mass they had grown to cherish more than life itself. Yes, we will be called upon to make sacrifices—accepting an inconvenient time or a less-than-satisfactory venue, humbly bearing with misunderstanding and even rejection from our loved ones—but we know that sacrifices for the sake of a greater good are the very pith and marrow of charity.

We have given ten reasons for attending the traditional Latin Mass. There are many more that could be given, and each person will have his or her own. What we know for sure is that the Church needs her Mass, we need this Mass, and, in a strange sort of way that bestows on us an unmerited privilege, the Mass needs us. Let us hold fast to it, that we may cleave all the more to Christ our King, our Savior, our All.

 

NOTES

[1] See “Helping Children Enter into the Traditional Latin Mass” (Part 1, Part 2); “Ex ore infantium: Children and the Traditional Latin Mass” (here).

[2] Chesterton, Orthodoxy (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995), 132.

[3] Jonathan Robinson, The Mass and Modernity (Ignatius Press, 2005), 307.

[4] Ibid., 311, italics added.

[5] Ibid., 311.

[6] The same author, John Zmirak (who is sound on this issue), continues: “The old liturgy was crafted by saints, and can be said by schlubs without risk of sacrilege. The new rite was patched together by bureaucrats, and should only be safely celebrated by the saintly.” John Zmirak, “All Your Church Are Belong to Us.

[7] As documented in Peter Kwasniewski, Resurgent in the Midst of Crisis (Kettering, OH: Angelico Press, 2014), ch. 6, “Offspring of Arius in the Holy of Holies.”

[8] See, among Lauren Pristas’s many fine studies, her book Collects of the Roman Missal: A Comparative Study of the Sundays in Proper Seasons Before and After the Second Vatican Council (London: T&T Clark, 2013).

[9] Fortunately, acknowledging that this was a mistake, Pope John Paul II restored St. Catherine to the Novus Ordo calendar twenty years later, but what about all the other saints who got axed?

[10] Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 53.

[11] See, among the many who argue for this point, Fr. Richard Cipolla, “Epiphany and the Unordinariness of Liturgical Time.”

[12] See Father X, “Losing Fragments with Communion in the Hand,” The Latin Mass Magazine (Fall 2009), 27-29.

[13] The Novus Ordo “Sign of Peace” has almost nothing to do with the dignified manner in which the “Pax” is given at a Solemn High Mass, where it is abundantly clear that the peace in question is a spiritual endowment emanating from the Lamb of God slain upon the altar and gently spreading out through the sacred ministers until it rests on the lowliest ministers who represent the people

[14] For centuries, going all the way back to the early Church (and even, says St. Thomas Aquinas, to the Apostles), the priest has always said “Mysterium Fidei” in the midst of the consecration of the chalice. He was referring specifically to the irruption or inbreaking of God into our midst in this unfathomable Sacrament.

 

Originally published on July 9, 2015.

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

A plenary indulgence is granted if this prayer is publicly recited on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Friday, June 3, 2016).
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Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus goes back at least to the 11th century, but through the 16th century, it remained a private devotion, often tied to devotion to the Five Wounds of Christ. The first feast of the Sacred Heart was celebrated on August 31, 1670, in Rennes, France, through the efforts of Fr. Jean Eudes (1602-1680). From Rennes, the devotion spread, but it took the visions of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1647-1690) for the devotion to become universal.

In all of these visions, in which Jesus appeared to St. Margaret Mary, the Sacred Heart of Jesus played a central role. The “great apparition,” which took place on June 16, 1675, during the octave of the Feast of Corpus Christi, is the source of the modern Feast of the Sacred Heart. In that vision, Christ asked St. Margaret Mary to request that the Feast of the Sacred Heart be celebrated on the Friday after the octave (or eighth day) of the Feast of Corpus Christi, in reparation for the ingratitude of men for the sacrifice that Christ had made for them. The Sacred Heart of Jesus represents not simply His physical heart but His love for all mankind.

The devotion became quite popular after St. Margaret Mary’s death in 1690, but, because the Church initially had doubts about the validity of St. Margaret Mary’s visions, it wasn’t until 1765 that the feast was celebrated officially in France. Almost 100 years later, in 1856, Pope Pius IX, at the request of the French bishops, extended the feast to the universal Church. It is celebrated on the day requested by our Lord—the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi, or 19 days after Pentecost Sunday.

 

Act of Reparation to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus (Iesu dulcissime – Reparationis actus)

A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful, who piously recite the act of reparation.

A plenary indulgence is granted if it is publicly recited on the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Prayer:

Most sweet Jesus, whose overflowing charity for men is requited by so much forgetfulness, negligence and contempt, behold us prostrate before you, eager to repair by a special act of homage the cruel indifference and injuries to which your loving Heart is everywhere subject.

Mindful, alas! that we ourselves have had a share in such great indignities, which we now deplore from the depths of our hearts, we humbly ask your pardon and declare our readiness to atone by voluntary expiation, not only for our own personal offenses, but also for the sins of those, who, straying far from the path of salvation, refuse in their obstinate infidelity to follow you, their Shepherd and Leader, or, renouncing the promises of their baptism, have cast off the sweet yoke of your law.

We are now resolved to expiate each and every deplorable outrage committed against you; we are now determined to make amends for the manifold offenses against Christian modesty in unbecoming dress and behavior, for all the foul seductions laid to ensnare the feet of the innocent, for the frequent violations of Sundays and holy-days, and the shocking blasphemies uttered against you and your Saints. We wish also to make amends for the insults to which your Vicar on earth and your priests are subjected, for the profanation, by conscious neglect or terrible acts of sacrilege, of the very Sacrament of your divine love, and lastly for the public crimes of nations who resist the rights and teaching authority of the Church which you have founded.

Would that we were able to wash away such abominations with our blood. We now offer, in reparation for these violations of your divine honor, the satisfaction you once made to your Eternal Father on the cross and which you continue to renew daily on our altars; we offer it in union with the acts of atonement of your Virgin Mother and all the Saints and of the pious faithful on earth; and we sincerely promise to make recompense, as far as we can with the help of your grace, for all neglect of your great love and for the sins we and others have committed in the past. Henceforth, we will live a life of unswerving faith, of purity of conduct, of perfect observance of the precepts of the Gospel and especially that of charity. We promise to the best of our power to prevent others from offending you and to bring as many as possible to follow you.

O loving Jesus, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mother, our model in reparation, deign to receive the voluntary offering we make of this act of expiation; and by the crowning gift of perseverance keep us faithful unto death in our duty and the allegiance we owe to you, so that we may all one day come to that happy home, where with the Father and the Holy Spirit you live and reign, God, forever and ever. Amen.