Tribute from a friend. In Memoriam: Fr. Peter Carota —

We are sorry to share the news that the great Traditional Catholic Priest has died.  Father Peter Carota was an inspiration to many of us in the traditional movement.  We pray for the repose of this soul and thank God that his writings are preserved on his blog, traditionalcatholicpriest.com

-Team Solutio

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This beautiful tribute from Father David Nix was posted on Father Peter Carota’s blog, Traditional Catholic Priest: Fr. Peter Carota would be the first to gently correct me for canonizing him, for he could preach the saints’ descriptions of the terrible moment of judgment (double for priests) as well as the subsequent pains of purgatory […]

via Tribute from a friend. In Memoriam: Fr. Peter Carota —

In Thee O Lord I have hoped

On Prayer And Fasting

February 9, 2016

On Prayer And Fasting

My dear brethren,

According to an ancient and salutary tradition in the Church, on the occasion of the beginning of Lent, I address these words to you in order to encourage you to enter into this penitential season wholeheartedly, with the dispositions willed by the Church and to accomplish the purpose for which the Church prescribes it.

If I look in books from the early part of this century, I find that they indicate three purposes for which the Church has prescribed this penitential time:

  • first, in order to curb the concupiscence of the flesh;
  • then, to facilitate the elevation of our souls toward divine realities;
  • finally, to make satisfaction for our sins.

Our Lord gave us the example during His life, here on earth: pray and do penance. However, Our Lord, being free from concupiscence and sin, did penance and made satisfaction for our sins, thus showing us that our penance may be beneficial not only for ourselves but also for others.

Pray and do penance. Do penance in order to pray better, in order to draw closer to Almighty God. This is what all the saints have done, and this is that of which all the messages of the Blessed Virgin remind us.

Would we dare to say that this necessity is less important in our day and age than in former times? On the contrary, we can and we must affirm that today, more than ever before, prayer and penance are necessary because everything possible has been done to diminish and denigrate these two fundamental elements of Christian life.

Never before has the world sought to satisfy—without any limit, the disordered instincts of the flesh, even to the point of the murder of millions of innocent, unborn children. One would come to believe that society has no other reason for existence except to give the greatest material standard of living to all men in order that they should not be deprived of material goods.

Thus we can see that such a society would be opposed to what the Church prescribes. In these times, when even Churchmen align themselves with the spirit of this world, we witness the disappearance of prayer and penance-particularly in their character of reparation for sins and obtaining pardon for faults. Few there are today who love to recite Psalm 50, the Miserere, and who say with the psalmist, Peccatum meum contra me est semper—”My sin is always before me.” How can a Christian remove the thought of sin if the image of the crucifix is always before his eyes?

At the Council the bishops requested such a diminution of fast and abstinence that the prescriptions have practically disappeared. We must recognize the fact that this disappearance is a consequence of the ecumenical and Protestant spirit which denies the necessity of our participation for the application of the merits of Our Lord to each one of us for the remission of our sins and the restoration of our divine affiliation [i.e., our character as adoptive sons of God].

  • In the past the commandments of the Church provided for:
  • an obligatory fast on all days of Lent with the exception of Sundays, for the three Ember Days and for many Vigils;
  • abstinence was for all Fridays of the year, the Saturdays of Lent and, in numerous dioceses, all the Saturdays of the year.

What remains of these prescriptions—the fast for Ash Wednesday and Good Friday and abstinence for Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent.

One wonders at the motives for such a drastic diminution. Who are obliged to observe the fast?—adults from age 21 to 60 [here in the USA, the minimum age is 18 years old—Ed.]. And who are obliged to observe abstinence?—all the faithful from the age of 7 years.

What does fasting mean? To fast means to take only one (full) meal a day to which one may add two collations (or small meals), one in the morning, one in the evening which, when combined, do not equal a full meal.[The archbishop is referring to the European order of meals; in the United States though, dinner is usually the evening meal—Ed.]

What is meant by abstinence? By abstinence is meant that one abstains from meat.

The faithful who have a true spirit of faith and who profoundly understand the motives of the Church which have been mentioned above, will wholeheartedly accomplish not only the light prescriptions of today but, entering into the spirit of Our Lord and of the Blessed Virgin Mary, will endeavor to make reparation for the sins which they have committed and for the sins of their family, their neighbors, friends and fellow citizens.

It is for this reason that they will add to the actual prescriptions. These additional penances might be to fast for all Fridays of Lent, abstinence from all alcoholic beverages, abstinence from television, or other similar sacrifices. They will make an effort to pray more, to assist more frequently at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, to recite the rosary, and not to miss evening prayers with the family. They will detach themselves from their superfluous material goods in order to aid the seminaries, help establish schools, help their priests adequately furnish the chapels and to help establish novitiates for nuns and brothers.

The prescriptions of the Church do not concern fast and abstinence alone but also of the obligation of the Paschal Communion (Easter Duty). Here is what the Vicar of the Diocese of Sion, in Switzerland, recommended to the faithful of that diocese on February 20, 1919:

  • During Lent, the pastors will have the Stations of the Cross twice a week; one day for the children of the schools and another day for the other parishioners. After the Stations of the Cross, they will recite the Litany of the Sacred Heart.
  • During Passion Week, which is to say, the week before Palm Sunday, there will be a Triduum in all parish churches, Instruction, Litany of the Sacred Heart in the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament, Benediction. In these instructions the pastors will simply and clearly remind their parishioners of the principal conditions to receive the Sacrament of Penance worthily.
  • The time during which one may fulfill the Easter Duty has been set for all parishes from Passion Sunday to the first Sunday after Easter.

Why should these directives no longer be useful today? Let us profit from this salutary time during the course of which Our Lord is accustomed to dispense grace abundantly. Let us not imitate the foolish virgins who having no oil in their lamps found the door of the bridegroom’s house closed and this terrible response: Nescio vos—”I know you not.” Blessed are they who have the spirit of poverty for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. The spirit of poverty means the spirit of detachment from things of this world.

Blessed are they who weep for they shall be consoled. Let us think of Jesus in the Garden of Olives who wept for our sins. It is henceforth for us to weep for our sins and for those of our brethren.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for holiness for they shall be satisfied. Holiness—sanctity is attained by means of the Cross, penance and sacrifice. If we truly seek perfection then we must follow the Way of the Cross.

May we, during this Lenten Season, hear the call of Jesus and Mary and engage ourselves to follow them in this crusade of prayer and penance.

May our prayers, our supplications, and our sacrifices obtain from heaven the grace that those in places of responsibility in the Church return to her true and holy traditions, which is the only solution to revive and reflourish the institutions of the Church again.

Let us love to recite the conclusion of the Te DeumIn te Doming, speravi; non confundar in aeternum—”In Thee, O Lord, I have hoped. I will not be confounded in eternity.”

+ Marcel Lefebvre
Sexagesima Sunday
February 14, 1982
Rickenbach, Switzerland

The Esteemed Medal of St. Benedict.

http://www.romancatholicman.com/st-benedict-medal-with-exorcism-blessing/

St. Benedict Medal with Exorcism & Blessing

St. Benedict Medal

There is indeed no medal that possesses such wonderful power and none so highly esteemed by the holy Church as the Medal of St. Benedict. Whosoever wears this medal with devotion, trusting to the life-giving power of the holy Cross and the merits of the holy Father St. Benedict, may expect the powerful protection of this great Patriarch in his spiritual and temporal needs. The medal is one of the oldest and most honored medals used by Catholics and due to the belief in its power against evil is also known as the “devil-chasing medal.” As early as the 11th century, it may have initially had the form of Saint Benedict’s cross, and was used by pope Leo IX. The reverse side of the medal carries the Vade retro satana (“Step back, Satan”) formula, which has been used by Catholics to ward off evil since the 15th century. Sometimes carried as part of the rosary, it is also found individually. In widespread use after its formal approval by Pope Benedict XIV in the 18th century, the medal is used by Catholics to ward off spiritual and physical dangers, especially those related to evil, poison, and temptation.

 

The Front of the Medal

We see St. Benedict holding his Rule; next to him, on a pedestal, is the cup that once held poison, shattered after he made the Sign of the Cross over it. The other pedestal is topped by the raven, who is about to carry away the poisoned bread. In very small print above these pedestals are the words: Crux s. patris Benedicti (The Cross of our Holy Father Benedict).

Underneath St. Benedict are the words: ex SM Casino MDCCCLXXX (from holy Monte Cassino, 1880).

Surrounding the entire face of the medal are the words: Eius in obitu nostro praesentia muniamur (May we at our death be fortified by his presence.)

 

The Back of the Medal

In the arms of the Cross are the initials C S S M L – N D S M D, which stand for the rhyme:

Crux sacra sit mihi lux!
Nunquam draco sit mihi dux!

English:
The Holy Cross be my light;
Let not the dragon be my guide.
In the corners of the Cross are C S P D, which stand for the same words found on the front over the pedestals: Crux s. patris Benedicti (The Cross of our Holy Father Benedict).

Above the Cross is the word “Pax” (Peace), the Benedictine motto.

Surrounding the entire back of the medal are the initials to the words of the exorcism: V R S N S M V – S M Q L I V B, which stand for the rhyme:

Vade retro Satana!
Nunquam suade mihi vana!
Sunt mala quae libas.
Ipse venena bibas!

English:
Begone, Satan,
Do not suggest to me thy vanities!
Evil are the things thou profferest,
Drink thou thy own poison!

 

Exorcism & Blessing of the Medal of St. Benedict

Priest: Our help is in the name of the Lord.

Response: Who made heaven and earth.

Priest: In the name of God the Father + Almighty, Who made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them, I exorcise these medals against the power and attacks of the evil one. May all who use these medals devoutly be blessed with health of soul and body. In the name of the Father + Almighty, of His Son + Jesus Christ our Lord, and of the Holy + Spirit the Paraclete, and in the love of the same Lord Jesus Christ Who will come on the last day to judge the living and the dead.

Response: Amen.

Priest: Let us pray. Almighty God, the boundless Source of all good things, we humbly ask that, through the intercession of St. Benedict, Thou pourest out Thy blessings + upon these medals. May those who use them devoutly and earnestly strive to perform goods works be blessed by Thee with health of soul and body, the grace of a holy death, and remission of temporal punishment due to sin. May they also, with the help of Thy merciful love, resist the temptations of the evil one and strive to exercise true charity and justice toward all, so that one day they may appear sinless and holy in Thy sight. This we ask through Christ our Lord.

Response: Amen.

The medals are then sprinkled with holy water.

The Importance of Sacred Music

New Liturgical Movement has been fighting the sacred music fight for years.  We pray they are making a dent in the hearts of the Novus Ordo Catholic crowd (especially those goofy Charismatics) that, more often than not, make a mockery of sacred music and thus make a mockery of the holy sacrifice of the mass.  In our humble opinion, the bad music at mass (and at those painful to watch Charismatic retreats) is just a symptom of not believing in the true presence of Christ.  Because it is so true and so deep here is the best quote from the article below:

“Music is the very language of the soul, its most intimate and exalted expression. Sacred music is the blood and bone of the liturgy, the carrier of its organic life, the texture of its being, the architecture of its prayer. If something goes wrong with music, as Plato saw long ago, the culture is lost. If something goes wrong with liturgical music, as Ratzinger saw so clearly, the cultus is depressed and devalued.”

Please share with your friends to start the discussion.

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http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2015/08/a-blueprint-for-parish-musical-reform.html#.VcnypPkX-uI

A Blueprint for Parish Musical Reform

Apart from showcasing or announcing liturgies that feature fine examples of it, I’ve noticed that NLM hasn’t been talking much lately about sacred music.

This surely isn’t because the subject is not hugely important. Part of the reason, I think, is that sacred music is so massively and thoroughly important that it is hard to know where to begin. Music is the very language of the soul, its most intimate and exalted expression. Sacred music is the blood and bone of the liturgy, the carrier of its organic life, the texture of its being, the architecture of its prayer. If something goes wrong with music, as Plato saw long ago, the culture is lost. If something goes wrong with liturgical music, as Ratzinger saw so clearly, the cultus is depressed and devalued. It is like arguing about the sanctity of human life, or heterosexual marriage: if it isn’t obvious to you that a child is a person with dignity or that only a man and a woman can marry, then where can our argument go next? There are some things so basic, so close, so intimate, so all-pervasive, that we do not know where to begin, and once begun, we hardly know where to end. Music, and liturgical music, is just like that.

Part of the reason, too, is that one can feel as if everything has already been said (and said well), and that those who want to know already know, and those who need to know have their ears closed, like an immature person in an argument who claps his hands over his ears and says loudly “la la la” until the other person walks away. All the articles are out there, arguing for Gregorian chant (on its own merits or on the basis of Vatican II’s re-endorsement of it), for polyphony, for traditional hymnody, and against liturgical novelties, contemporary styles, and worldly instrumentations ill-suited for the divine mysteries. The musical resources are also plentifully available—everything from Latin chant to English chant to newly-composed polyphony (Allen, Dalitz, Kwasniewski, Morber, and other frequenters of the MusicaSacra forum) to thousands of free scores at CPDL and IMSLP. Frankly, it can seem as if the battle lines are drawn in utter clarity, with a vast no-man’s land in between. People have made up their minds: either they’re sold on traditional sacred music, seeing it as a matter of hallowed principle — “This is simply who Catholics are and what they should do”—or they are vehemently opposed to it, seeing it as a matter of pastoral pragmatism: “This isn’t who Catholics are anymore, and we should do whatever ‘works.’”

Well, that’s all true, as far as it goes — but it’s absolutely not a reason to stop the conversation or to stop the grassroots efforts for revitalizing our Church’s musical life, which, in general, is still at a deplorable level. There are still people who desire to learn about authentic sacred music. There are men and women of good will ready to embrace the Church’s heritage if only it is introduced to them. There are friends to be made and foes to be converted. There are new insights to share and new ways to explain or apply old principles. It is a subject that must not be allowed to descend into the realm of unspoken assumptions but rather must be, again and again, brought into the light. Doing so benefits both those who love sacred music and those who may come to love it if only we are tireless in making the case for it.

Now, the case must be made in two ways. First, in words, as writers have done at NLM and Chant Café and elsewhere. Second, through the introduction and good practice of sacred music in the parish.[1] Precisely because we are dealing with the phenomenon of music, experience is of far greater weight than words. The experience of genuinely beautiful sacred music has its own way of touching minds and hearts, although I am not going to suggest that it will always be easy, automatic, or instantaneous for everyone. So, we need to take whatever opportunities we can find to convince pastors and especially bishops to develop a great concern for the state of music in the Church and to espouse concrete steps of renewal. A shining example in this regard is the pastoral letter Rejoice in the Lord Always of Archbishop Alexander K. Sample, which he issued when bishop of the Diocese of Marquette.[2] In promulgating this document, with its clear explanations and actual legislation for parishes, His Excellency combined the two ways mentioned above: he put the mind of the Church into writing, and, using his episcopal authority, introduced diocesan laws that would establish sacred music at the parish level so that the Catholics of his diocese could at last, in accord with Vatican II’s Sacrosanctum Concilium, experience the primacy of chant and of other music from the Church’s priceless patrimony.

As with last week’s model letter on restoring all-male altar service, what follows is a model or template of the sort of letter that a bishop or other superior might consider sending to his clergy, in pursuit of the liturgical renewal so eloquently called for and expounded in Benedict XVI’s timeless writings. This letter briefly addresses the desperate need for elevating the style and quality of music in parishes. May it be helpful in some way to all pastors who are striving to purge what is unworthy of the temple of God and reestablish excellence in sacred music!

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Dear Sons in Christ,

“Let nothing be preferred to the Work of God,” as St. Benedict memorably says in his Holy Rule. The Father of Western Monasticism left us a clear reminder that, whether we are monks or not, the service of our Lord in the divine liturgy (what Benedict called the opus Dei) is our principal task while on earth, our greatest responsibility before the Creator of heaven and earth, the most profound source of our sanctification, and a work of love handed down from ages past into which it is our joy to initiate each new generation of believers.

Unfortunately, in the decades following the Council, it seemed as if many in the Church became confused. They ran away from this primary task and got preoccupied with what may have been important but was certainly secondary. Their gaze on the sovereign work of the Lord grew weak, and soon they treated the most sacred mysteries in a casual and irreverent way. Many of the treasures of our faith were forgotten or repudiated in the mistaken view that they had nothing to say to modern people. Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI worked tirelessly against the secularization and forgetfulness of God that simultaneously affected the realms of doctrine, morals, and worship. As all can see, the unraveling of Western society and a corresponding disorientation in the Church have, by now, reached crisis proportions. As pastors, it is our duty to avoid anything that may contribute to this process of self-destruction and to promote, in a clear-sighted and principled way, the sanctification and salvation of the faithful entrusted to our care.

To do so, we must first of all be consistent with our Catholic tradition and with the Magisterium of the Church. Any Catholic church should be, and look and sound like, a microcosm of the one Catholic church; the same is true of the liturgy. That is why the Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum can say: “It is the right of the community of Christ’s faithful that especially in the Sunday celebration there should customarily be true and suitable sacred music” (n. 57). In accordance with the teaching of the Second Vatican Council — “steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them” (Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 54); “the musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art” (SC 112); “the treasure of sacred music is to be preserved and fostered with great care” (SC 114); “the Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services” (SC 116) — as well as the constant teaching of the Sovereign Pontiffs from St. Pius X down through Benedict XVI, I shall require pastors and music ministers to expand the use of, or to reintroduce if they have fallen into disuse, chanted proper antiphons and chants for the Ordinary of the Mass. This, too, is fully consistent with the advice of the USCCB in Sing to the Lord: Music in Divine Worship (see, inter alia, nn. 30, 61, 72-80, 117).

The “Propers” of the Mass — at very least, in the realm of the Ordinary Form, the Introit or Entrance antiphon, Offertory antiphon, and Communion antiphon — are an integral part of the Roman Rite of Mass and ought to be prominent, as indeed is suggested by their primacy in the General Instruction (see GIRM, nn. 48, 74, 87). The immense scriptural and theological riches of the Proper texts given in the official liturgical books and the wonderful congruency of chanted antiphons with the liturgical action for which they are intended recommends them above all other texts and types of music. While it is possible and at times desirable to use just the proper antiphons with their verses, it is certainly permissible to chant the antiphon and then sing a suitable motet or congregational hymn; I leave the particulars to your own judgment, which must take into account the abilities of the singers and the sensibilities of the faithful. What I am requiring is that the antiphons always be sung at the principal Masses of Sundays and Holy Days, whatever else may be sung. The “Ordinary” of the Mass — the Kyrie, the Gloria, the Creed, the Sanctus, the Agnus Dei, the Lord’s Prayer, and the dialogues between priest and people — is likewise to be sung on these days, in English or in Latin (Greek for the Kyrie). When the Ordinary is sung in English, preference should be given to modal melodies that have the characteristics of plainchant. Naturally, it takes time to learn a number of chants, so it may be best to start with a certain core, such as the Kyrie, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei, and add to it as time goes on.

Gregorian chant is not simply one style of church music among many; it is the music of the Roman rite par excellence, and therefore has a certain primacy. Pope Benedict XVI asked us to rediscover our tradition and, at long last, to implement what Vatican II really taught (cf. Sacramentum Caritatis, n. 42). It would therefore be fully appropriate and desirable that chant be used at every Mass at which music is planned, and that we move away from artificial distinctions such as “Folk (or Youth) Mass” vs. “High Mass.” Every Mass should be reverent and sacred, as worthy as we can make it of the unfathomable gift and mystery of the Lord’s Body and Blood.

In some missalettes and in nearly all hymnals there is at least one Gregorian chant Mass, and often several, that can be employed. Excellent resources for expanding your parish’s use of plainchant in Latin as well as in the vernacular (English and Spanish) are available from such publishers as Ignatius Press, CanticaNova, Illuminare Publications, Corpus Christi Watershed, and St. Michael Hymnal. Without prejudice to other worthy publications, I do recommend taking a close look at the Lumen Christi series, The Proper of the Mass, and the Ignatius Pew Missal.

As chief liturgist of the Diocese, responsible for good order and decorum in the house of God, I ask that you instruct music ministers to stand no longer in or near the sanctuary at the front of the church, but to sing from the choir loft, or, if there is no choir loft, from the back of the church. Decades of confusion and poor instructions have caused many to believe that the ideal location for musicians is at the front, visible to everyone, but this contravenes in every respect the true nature and role of the musician at Mass. Musicians are not supposed to be in the foreground but in the background; their essential contribution is to help the Christian people to meditate on the sacred mysteries, which is best accomplished by music that is itself more contemplative, not too loud, strident, or dominating. When placed front and center, singers and instrumentalists cannot avoid becoming performers and drawing attention to themselves, no matter how humble their intentions may be.

In this connection it is also important to recall, as the Popes have done into our own times, that the preferred instrument for musical accompaniment in the Roman rite is the pipe organ (cf. Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 120; Pius XII, Musicae Sacrae, n. 58; Instruction Musicam Sacram, n. 63). Churches that do not have a pipe organ should be fitted with one at the nearest opportunity; alternatively, if it does not seem possible to raise the requisite funds, a high-quality keyboard programmed to sound like a pipe organ may be utilized. It will be advisable to phase out the piano and the guitar, since the Church has repeatedly taught that instruments associated with worldly music are not suited for use in the liturgy. It is true that these instruments have been around for a long time now, but their abiding cultural associations, the manner in which they tend to be played, and the style of music written for them combine to show that we are dealing not so much with the sacralization of once-secular instruments as with the secularization of once-sacred music. Accordingly, as of Christmas next year, the only instruments that may be played during the liturgy will be the pipe organ (or its digital equivalent as established by the diocese) and traditional string and wind instruments. Of course, voices by themselves are more than sufficient for the singing of the Church’s music, and the organ by itself suffices as an accompanying or a solo instrument.

In pursuit of these important goals, which require professional training and continuing education, diocesan funds will be made available annually to assist in sending parish music directors, choir directors, cantors, and organists to the Sacred Music Colloquium, the Chant Intensives, and other events sponsored by the Church Music Association of America and related organizations. We are also making plans to bring teachers into the diocese for workshops on putting into practice the Council’s noble vision. Each pastor will be asked to select a certain number of musicians from his parish to attend educational events, in proportion to the size of the parish and the scope of its music program. In the next two months, the Office of Divine Worship will send you more information on these educational events, together with a list of suggested chant settings for the Ordinary of the Mass, a list of permitted hymnals and recommended music resources, and more details on the installation of pipe organs and digital organs.

The requirement to reintroduce the chanted Propers and Ordinary and to alter (if necessary) the location of musicians goes into full effect as of the First Sunday of Advent, any customs to the contrary notwithstanding. By Christmas, all Propers are to be sung (either in simple tones or in fuller melodies), and all parts of the Ordinary by the feast of Candlemas, February 2. The requirement to shift to the pipe organ will go into effect as of Easter Sunday; the long-standing tradition of utilizing no musical instruments during Lent will be of assistance in this regard.

In number 35 of the final list of propositions of the Fathers of the thirteenth General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2012, we read these stirring words: “The worthy celebration of the Sacred Liturgy, God’s most treasured gift to us, is the source of the highest expression of our life in Christ (cf. Sacrosanctum concilium, n. 10). It is, therefore, the primary and most powerful expression of the new evangelization. God desires to manifest the incomparable beauty of his immeasurable and unceasing love for us through the Sacred Liturgy, and we, for our part, desire to employ what is most beautiful in our worship of God in response to his gift. In the marvelous exchange of the Sacred Liturgy, by which heaven descends to earth, salvation is at hand, calling forth repentance and conversion of heart (cf. Mt 4:17; Mk 1:15). Evangelization in the Church calls for a liturgy that lifts the hearts of men and women to God. The liturgy is not just a human action but an encounter with God which leads to contemplation and deepening friendship with God. In this sense, the liturgy of the Church is the best school of the faith.”

The source and summit of the new evangelization will be the sacred liturgy most worthily, reverently, and beautifully celebrated, drawing upon all that is best and noblest in our Catholic tradition. This, dear priests and deacons, is a demanding and rewarding path for all of us to follow as we strive to adore the Father in spirit and in truth and to lead our people ever more deeply into the unfathomable mysteries of His love.

Cordially yours in Christ,
etc. etc.

NOTES

[1] Everything I say here about parishes would also apply to college and university chaplaincies.

[2] The full text of Rejoice in the Lord Always is here, at the website of the Diocese of Marquette. Archbishop Sample’s pastoral letter is the finest episcopal document on the subject that has appeared in the last 50 years—including in this estimation the documents of national episcopal conferences. The team of writers at Views from the Choir Loft wrote a series of appreciations of this pastoral letter: see here for the first installment and links to the rest.

The Vatican II Council Misread the Times

We found the post below on Facebook from a Fr. Hunwicke who hits the nail on the head regarding what happened to the Church and the world as a result of Vatican II. If only priests and lay people would preach the truth to everybody at all times, the world would not be in the mess its in.

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I think it is becoming ever more clear … well, clear to me, anyway … that what was wrong with Vatican II is not that it promoted explicit heresy. Persistent and painstaking attempts to detect doctrinal error in its documents have, I believe, tended to reveal that this particular haystack does not in fact conceal a needle. What was wrong … and this is something perhaps only discernible with hindsight (I am not claiming that I had such hindsight half a century ago; I was as blind as the blindest of the Conciliar Fathers) … is that it completely misread the signs of the times, and thus set the Church upon a mistaken course. The assumption was that the culture of the World had reached a point at which it would be open to mutually profitable dialogue if only the Church herself became more open; if she attempted to move beyond stale and formulaic statements of dogma, accompanied by anathemas, into new expressions of evangelical Truth which the World would take seriously, if only it could be brought to see that they reflected its own deepest and most honourable concerns.

Fr Aidan Nichols has wisely written: “I do not see any theological difficulty about querying the wisdom of some of the reform provisions made by the Council. Matters that turn on the exercise of practical wisdom in particular sets of circumstances do not involve the ‘charism of truth’ given to the total episcopate”. He goes on to write about the Council’s “misjudgements about contemporary trends”. He is dead right. The World of the Conciliar decade was in fact on the point of tipping over into a new and greater apostasy as a result of which, within a couple of generations, Christians in the ‘Christian heartlands’ would actually become liable to persecution for resisting the imposition by ‘law’ of patterns of sexual perversion and the holocaust of the unborn. It is true, and it needs to be said, that the Conciliar documents do indeed contain explicit condemnations of abortion and of sexual immorality. But the overall cultural bias of those documents is of optimistic engagement with the World.

Put in traditional terms, the Council Fathers failed to discern that the World was on the verge of a new great onslaught upon the Kingship of Christ. Despite the fact that National Socialism had used the very concept of Law itself to impose a monstrous and murderous tyranny, the Fathers did not foresee that Law was again about to be perverted, in the ‘civilised’ ‘democracies’, in precisely the same way as it had been perverted in the Germany of the 1930s. If you say to me that it is unreasonable to expect the Fathers to have had a crystal ball, I supppose I will have to agree with you, but I will come back at you with the plain and irrefutable point that, however inculpably, they did not see all this, and did not equip the Church for the dark days which in fact did lie ahead. In this failure, whether culpable or not, I discern the roots of our current problems.

The Mass has been Largely Stripped of Mystery

Kudos of the day go out to Rev. Stephen V. Hamilton, S.T.L. for being brave and courageous by writing an article about the obvious:  that the Novus Ordo Mass has become something akin to entertainment and not worthy of our Lord Jesus Christ on most occasions.

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http://www.courageouspriest.com/mass-largely-stripped-mystery

The Mass has been Largely Stripped of Mystery

“It is a sad truth that in many places the Mass has become something akin to a show or entertainment.”

by Rev. Stephen V. Hamilton, S.T.L.:

There is a value to mystery in human life. We naturally enjoy it as kids: telling tales and stories; kids love Easter egg hunts. But somehow as we age we treat these things as just games, even though most of us still enjoy watching children enjoy such things. Mystery sparks creativity and artistry. Mystery is also a value in the life of faith. After all, we walk by faith and not by sight (cf. 2 Cor. 5:7). Mystery means we do not delude ourselves into thinking that we first fully understand God and then we follow Him. We do not delude ourselves into thinking that obedience is authentic when we act as if God’s ways must first be submitted to our judgment. No, it is we who are under judgment, not God. Obedience is not obedience where we think God’s ways must first be understood by us.The

Mystery of Parables

Jesus teaches in parables. Parables engage the hearer differently than does the communication of mere facts as teaching. Parables cause the hearer to wrestle and to search and to learn more later after the parable is concluded. Parables begin to feed the heart and the mind, but they leave one hungry and thirsty enough that you keep searching and wrestling. This is because parables permit and engage mystery. The gospel says, “With many such parables he spoke the word to them as they were able to understand it. Without parables he did not speak to them, but to his own disciples he explained everything in private.” Was Jesus wanting to leave people in the dark? Why do the disciples get to hear everything explained clearly, but the average listener does not? Are those who are average listeners at a disadvantage when it comes to salvation? Is saving teaching being kept from them, from us?

God desires all men to be saved (cf. 1 Tm. 2:4). The Father sent His Son on that very mission. Thus, we need to reject at the start any notion that somehow God came and has withheld teaching that is necessary for our salvation. In ancient times, cults sprung up that would claim secret knowledge for only the insiders, knowledge that would mean the average person was on the outside, lacking in gifts of grace and lacking even in salvation. The Church has always rejected such ideas. It is true that the gospels show that Jesus spoke in parables and explained things plainly only to his most intimate band. Furthermore, we must recall, that even while speaking in parables, Jesus was in fact revealing, not hiding, the saving truths of God’s kingdom. Whatever may have remained hidden in parables was soon to be revealed.

The Catholic Church Proclaims Clearly What We Need to be Saved

Once the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, Jesus’ closest followers, the ones charged with teaching in his Name, received the gifts they needed to proclaim with clarity, conviction, and power the truths mankind needs to be saved. Thus, we need not labor under any false idea that somehow Jesus hides saving truth from his hearers or from us now centuries later. No, the apostolic Church went out – and still goes out – to proclaim clearly what we need to be saved. The Catholic Church has always held an appreciation both for intellect, the use of the mind, and for mystery, the humble admission that we cannot and will not understand all things of the universe and certainly not all things of God.

To be clear, our intellect is a gift from God mirroring His own intellect, and where our intellect can plumb the depths of the world around us and the revealed truths of salvation then, yes, we should seek to understand these things as best we can. In so doing, we honor our Creator who gave us this gift and who has made us in His image and likeness. However, we must also avoid the arrogance that acts as if we can understand everything, or that acts as if we are owed an explanation of all things, or that expects that the ways of God must first makes full sense to us before we will step forward and follow into His kingdom. Ours is a religion of the head, but not before it is a religion of the heart, for it is the love of God for us that has first established all we believe and seek to understand. Mystery is good for us. It is part of a natural and full human life. It engages our higher powers of thought, creativity, and artistry.  Furthermore, mystery is part and parcel of being a person of faith. All the more, in a world that makes the error of thinking it must understand and control everything before it believes, we need to be comfortable with mystery. In fact, our permission of mystery in life can be a great service to draw others to an authentic faith.

2 Vital Ways Mystery Needs to be Put into Practice

There are two areas where mystery is important and needs to be appreciated in Christian life. The first is in our individual prayer. I hope you have had experience where God has done something unexpected in prayer. You come to prayer with things on your mind. You say prayers. You come before the Lord in adoration. You wait in silence. And some inspiration comes to you that you did not initiate and that you can only explain as a true religious experience. This is mystery. You can’t explain it rationally, but it is real. And it is perhaps most notable when the way God moves surprises you and answers your prayers in a way you did not foresee. In fact, His answer may often not be what you were asking, but the answer shows you a deeper need and a deeper request that you weren’t necessarily aware was even there. I find this type of experience with mystery most especially when I use the Scriptures to pray and when I observe silence in prayer. The Scriptures are God’s word, His communication to us. Those words are rich in meaning. And they have meaning beyond the literal written word on the page. Silence trains us to withstand distraction and to listen to how God speaks. Silence gives God room to act in ways that are deeper than we may expect. This is mystery and we need to cultivate an appreciation for mystery in prayer. Prayer is not simply saying my prayers and checking them off a list, as if prayer is only my activity. Rather, prayer is an encounter with God. We need to give Him silence and room to act.

The Mass has been Largely Stripped of Mystery

Finally, mystery needs to be cultivated in our corporate, public worship, the Sacred Liturgy, most especially in the Holy Mass. The Holy Mass is supposed to communicate mystery. We come to the Holy Mass to encounter God and His love. But we do not understand all of His ways nor can we anticipate all that His grace will do for us here when we listen to His word, when we worship reverently, and when we receive the Holy Eucharist worthily. In an entirely unique way the Sacred Liturgy immerses us in mystery to encounter God. One of the challenges resulting from the exercise of certain options in the Holy Mass these past several decades is that the Holy Mass has been largely stripped of mystery. Mass almost exclusively in the language of the people and Mass said facing the people has created an expectation of the Mass that is not consistent with our history. The expectation is that we must understand everything going on if it is to be of value. Certainly, the Church doesn’t think this and never intended to communicate this. But you see this negative development frequently.

The Sad Truth. . .

It is a sad truth that in many places the Mass has become something akin to a show or entertainment. Decisions made in planning the Mass tend to show an excessive emphasis on what makes sense to us, what we can understand and appreciate. In this we are robbed of the proper place of mystery. I try mightily not to succumb to such pressures, which can be quite a challenge when the very set up of the sanctuary lends itself easily to considering the Mass as a stage where the priest faces out and gives a performance.  In the face of this trend we must always seek to connect ourselves to what is beyond us, to our large liturgical history and practice, and ultimately we must seek to connect ourselves to God Himself who is the only reason for our common gatherings. It is He Who is addressed and Who is our focus when we worship at Holy Mass.

Mystery engages us and leaves us hungry for more. In this, we employ our gifts to seek the Lord ever more. God does not overwhelm us. Rather, He seeks to draw us to Him by love. Mystery permits this. Jesus employed the mystery of parables to reveal God’s kingdom. We need not fear that he is hiding salvation from us. Rather, in faith, we should permit mystery in life and in faith. It engages our higher powers. And in prayer and at Holy Mass, mystery sets the stage for a personal encounter with God that we cannot fully comprehend but that should inspire us to seek Him always more.

Avoid Sexual Sins

More souls fall into hell because of sins of the flesh.  Please keep praying to overcome your temptations.  You can help yourself by staying away from porn, frequent communion and confession and spending as much time as you can in front of the blessed sacrament.  Control your passions or they will control you.

Below is another outstanding blog post from Father Carota.  If there is one blog you need to read everyday, it would be the traditionalcatholicpriest.com.

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http://www.traditionalcatholicpriest.com/2015/06/07/sexual-sins-traditional-catholic-avoid/

Sexual Sins Traditional Catholic Avoid

Posted on June 7, 2015 by fc

MORAL LESSON CONCERNING THE VICE OF IMPURITY

Temptation of St. Antony of the Dessert

I have married a wife, and therefore I can not come. (Luke XIV. 29.)

From this foolish excuse it would seem as if married life were an obstacle to arriving at the heavenly banquet, whereas lawful, chaste, Christian marriage is, on the contrary, a means of eternal salvation for those to whom the gift of continency is not given. The excuse of this married man was not grounded on his station in life, but on his inordinate inclination for carnal pleasures which render the one who gives way to it, unfit for spiritual or heavenly things, for the sensual man perceiveth not the things that are of the Spirit of God. (I Cor. II. 14.)

Unfortunate indeed are they who suffer themselves to be carried away by their sensual lusts, who give away the priceless jewel of chastity and purity of heart which makes man equal to the angels, (Matt. XXII. 30.) who for a momentary enjoyment of sinful pleasure lose that white and precious garment in which chaste souls will shine for ever in heaven before the face of God!

What benefit does the impure man derive from the gratification of vile lust?

He gains the anger and contempt of God;
intolerable disgust when the sin is consummated;
the torment of a remorseful conscience,
and unless he repent, the eternal torments of hell.
For the apostle says: Do not err: neither fornicators, nor adulterers, nor the effeminate shall possess the kingdom of God, (I Cor. VI. 9, 10.) It is seen from the examples of the Old Law, how much God hates and abominates the sins of impurity.

Why did God regret having created man? (Gen. VI. 6.) ,
Why did He destroy all except a very few, by a universal deluge? (Gen. VI. 17.
Why did He lay the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha in ashes by pouring upon them fire and brimstone? (Gen. XIX.)
Why did He punish the two brothers Her and Onan, by a sudden death? (Gen. XXXVII. 7. 10.)
Why did He permit the whole tribe of Benjamin to be extirpated? (Judges XX.) Because of their detestable sins of impurity.
And is not this vice an object of the just wrath of God?

By these sins an impure man disgraces his body which should be a member of Christ, a temple of the Holy Ghost; he disgraces his soul the image of God, purified and purchased by the precious blood of Christ, and lowers himself beneath the animal, which, void of intellect, follows its instinct;
he weakens the power of his body and soul, and ruins his health;
he loses the respect of the good, scandalizes his fellowmen, voluntarily separates himself from the communion of saints, deprives himself of the sanctifying grace of God and participation in the merits of Jesus and His saints and, if he continues like an animal to wallow in this vice, he finally falls into such blindness and hardness of heart that eternal truths, death, judgment, hell, and eternity no longer make any impression upon him; the most abominable crimes of impurity he considers as trifles, as human weaknesses, no sin at all.
He is therefore but seldom, if ever, converted, because the evil habit has become his second nature, which he can no longer overcome without an extraordinary grace from God. This God seldom gives, because the impure man generally despises ordinary means and graces, and therefore despairs and casts himself into the pool of eternal fire, where the worm dies not, and where with Satan and his angels the impure shall be for ever tormented.

Do not suffer yourself to be deceived, Christian soul, by the words “love and friendship“, which is sought to cover this vice and make it appear a weakness clinging to man. This impure love is a fire which has its origin in hell, and there it will eternally torment the bodies in which it has prevailed. That which God so much detests and so severely punishes, certainly cannot be a trifle, a human weakness!

Impress deeply on your heart that all impure thoughts, desires and looks, to which you consent, all impure words, songs, exposures, touches, jokes, and ‘such things, are great sins which exclude you from the kingdom of heaven, into which nothing defiled can enter. Remember that he who looks at a woman with a lustful desire, has already, as Christ says, committed adultery in his heart. (Matt. V. 28.) We must, then, carefully guard against “such trifles”, as the wicked world calls them, if we do not wish to expose ourselves to the greatest danger of losing our souls.

Although it is difficult for an impure person to be converted, yet he should not despair. God does not cast away even the greatest sinner; Jesus forgave the adulteress in the temple, and forgave and received Mary Magdalen. But he who wishes to repent must make use of the proper means to regain the grace of God, and prevent a relapse.

Those who have not defiled themselves by the sin of impurity can make use of the following means:

Constant prayer. Hence the admonition of the wise King; As I knew that I could not otherwise be continent, except God gave it, I went to the Lord and besought him. (Wisd. VIII. 21.)
Mortification of the flesh by fasting and abstinence. Jesus says these impure spirits can in no other way be cast out but by prayer and fasting. (Matt. XVII. 20.)
The frequent meditation on the four last things, and on the bitter sufferings of our Lord; for there is, says St. Augustine, no means more powerful and effective against the heat of lust than reflection on the ignominious death of the Redeemer.
The quiet consideration of the temporal and eternal evils which follow from this vice, as already described.
The love and veneration of the Blessed Virgin who is the mother of beautiful love, the refuge of all sinners, of whom St. Bernard says: “No one has ever invoked her in his necessity without being heard.”
The careful mortification of the eyes. The pious Job made a covenant with his eyes, that. he would not so much as look upon a virgin. (Job XXXI. 1.)
The avoidance of evil occasions, especially intercourse with persons of the other sex. “Remember,” says St. Jerome, “that a woman drove out the inhabitants of paradise, and that you are not holier than David, stronger than Samson, wiser than Solomon, who all fell by evil intercourse.”
The avoidance of idleness: for idleness, says the proverb, is the beginning of all evil.
The immediate banishing of all bad thoughts by often pronouncing the names of Jesus and Mary, which, as St. Alphonsus Ligouri says, have the special power of driving away impure thoughts.
The frequent use of the holy Sacraments of Penance and of the Altar. This last remedy in particular is a certain cure if we make known to our confessor our weaknesses, and use the remedies he prescribes. The Scripture says that frequent Communion is the seed from which virgins spring, and the table which God has prepared against all temptations that annoy us.
Prayer Inflame, O Lord, our loins and hearts with the fire of Thy Holy Spirit, that we may serve Thee with pure bodies, and please Thee with clean hearts. Amen. Rev. Leonard Goffine

An Interview with Dr. Alice von Hildebrand on the Devil, Communism, and Pope Paul VI, The Sad One

Kudos to Rorate-Caeli blog for posting the interview below where Dr. Alice von Hildebrand’s discusses, among other topics, the sad legacy of Pope Paul VI as well as the communist infiltration of the Vatican.  In her interview she speaks about the private meeting her husband, Dietrich von Hildebrand had with Pope Paul VI.  Both of the von Hildebrand’s have incredible minds and never shy from speaking the Catholic truth to power.

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http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2015/06/50-years-ago-today-dietrich-von.html?m=1

50 Years Ago: Dietrich von Hildebrand Confronts Pope Paul VI

The following excerpts are taken from a fascinating 2001 interview with Dr. Alice von Hildebrand (the full text is available here) that is required reading for every Catholic who wants to understand what has happened in the Church since the mid-20th century. I found myself thinking once again about this interview because Alice mentions a private meeting that her husband had with Pope Paul VI on June 21, 1965, 50 years ago this Sunday (right before the very last, October-December session of the Second Vatican Council), which was followed up with a manuscript that really ought to be published someday. Read on…
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TLM: Dr. von Hildebrand, at the time that Pope John XXIII summoned the Second Vatican Council, did you perceive a need for a reform within the Church?

AVH: Most of the insights about this come from my husband. He always said that the members of the Church, due to the effects of original sin and actual sin, are always in need of reform. The Church’s teaching, however, is from God. Not one iota is to be changed or considered in need of reform.

TLM: In terms of the present crisis, when did you first perceive something was terribly wrong?
AVH: It was in February 1965. I was taking a sabbatical year in Florence. My husband was reading a theological journal, and suddenly I heard him burst into tears. I ran to him, fearful that his heart condition had suddenly caused him pain. I asked him if he was all right. He told me that the article that he had been reading had provided him with the certain insight that the devil had entered the Church. Remember, my husband was the first prominent German to speak out publicly against Hitler and the Nazis. His insights were always prescient.
[…]
TLM: Did your husband think that the decline in a sense of the supernatural began around that time, and if so, how did he explain it?
AVH: No, he believed that after Pius X’s condemnation of the heresy of Modernism, its proponents merely went underground. He would say that they then took a much more subtle and practical approach. They spread doubt simply by raising questions about the great supernatural interventions throughout salvation history, such as the Virgin Birth and Our Lady’s perpetual virginity, as well as the Resurrection, and the Holy Eucharist. They knew that once faith – the foundation – totters, the liturgy and the moral teachings of the Church would follow suit. My husband entitled one of his books The Devastated Vineyard. After Vatican II, a tornado seemed to have hit the Church. … The aversion to sacrifice and redemption has assisted the secularization of the Church from within. We have been hearing for many years from priests and bishops about the need for the Church to adapt herself to the world. Great popes like St. Pius X said just the opposite: the world must adapt itself to the Church. …
There have been two books published in Italy in recent years that confirm what my husband had been suspecting for some time; namely, that there has been a systematic infiltration of the Church by diabolical enemies for much of this century. My husband was a very sanguine man and optimistic by nature. During the last ten years of his life, however, I witnessed him many times in moments of great sorrow, and frequently repeating, “They have desecrated the Holy Bride of Christ.” He was referring to the “abomination of desolation” of which the prophet Daniel speaks.
TLM: This is a critical admission, Dr. von Hildebrand. Your husband had been called a twentieth-century Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII. If he felt so strongly, didn’t he have access to the Vatican to tell Pope Paul VI of his fears?
AVH: But he did! I shall never forget the private audience we had with Paul VI just before the end of the Council. It was on June 21, 1965. As soon as my husband started pleading with him to condemn the heresies that were rampant, the Pope interrupted him with the words, “Lo scriva, lo scriva.” (“Write it down.”) A few moments later, for the second time, my husband drew the gravity of the situation to the Pope’s attention. Same answer. His Holiness received us standing. It was clear that the Pope was feeling very uncomfortable. The audience lasted only a few minutes. Paul VI immediately gave a sign to his secretary, Fr. Capovilla, to bring us rosaries and medals. We then went back to Florence where my husband wrote a long document (unpublished today) that was delivered to Paul VI just the day before the last session of the Council. It was September of 1965. After reading my husband’s document, he [the Pope] said to my husband’s nephew, Dieter Sattler, who had become the German ambassador to the Holy See, that he had read the document carefully, but that “it was a bit harsh.” The reason was obvious: my husband had humbly requested a clear condemnation of heretical statements.
TLM: You realize, of course, Doctor, that as soon as you mention this idea of infiltration, there will be those who roll their eyes in exasperation and remark, “Not another conspiracy theory!”
AVH: I can only tell you what I know. It is a matter of public record, for instance, that Bella Dodd, the ex-Communist who reconverted to the Church, openly spoke of the Communist Party’s deliberate infiltration of agents into the seminaries. She told my husband and me that when she was an active party member, she had dealt with no fewer than four cardinals within the Vatican “who were working for us.”
Many a time I have heard Americans say that Europeans “smell conspiracy wherever they go.” But from the beginning, the Evil One has “conspired” against the Church – and has always aimed in particular at destroying the Mass and sapping belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. That some people are tempted to blow this undeniable fact out of proportion is no reason for denying its reality. On the other hand, I, European born, am tempted to say that many Americans are naïve; living in a country that has been blessed by peace, and knowing little about history, they are more likely than Europeans (whose history is a tumultuous one) to fall prey to illusions. Rousseau has had an enormous influence in the United States. When Christ said to His apostles at the Last Supper that “one of you will betray Me,” the apostles were stunned. Judas had played his hand so artfully that no one suspected him, for a cunning conspirator knows how to cover his tracks with a show of orthodoxy.
TLM: Do the two books by the Italian priest you mentioned before the interview contain documentation that would provide evidence of this infiltration?
AVH: The two books I mentioned were published in 1998 and 2000 by an Italian priest, Don Luigi Villa of the diocese of Brescia, who at the request of Padre Pio has devoted many years of his life to the investigation of the possible infiltration of both Freemasons and Communists into the Church. My husband and I met Don Villa in the sixties. He claims that he does not make any statement that he cannot substantiate. When Paulo Sesto Beato? (1998) was published, the book was sent to every single Italian bishop. None of them acknowledged receipt; none challenged any of Don Villa’s claims.
In this book, he relates something that no ecclesiastical authority has refuted or asked to be retracted – even though he names particular personalities in regard to the incident. It pertains to the rift between Pope Pius XII and the then Bishop Montini (the future Paul VI) who was his Undersecretary of State. Pius XII, conscious of the threat of Communism, which in the aftermath of World War II was dominating nearly half of Europe, had prohibited the Vatican staff from dealing with Moscow. To his dismay, he was informed one day through the Bishop of Upsala (Sweden) that his strict order had been contravened. The Pope resisted giving credence to this rumor until he was given incontrovertible evidence that Montini had been corresponding with various Soviet agencies. Meanwhile, Pope Pius XII (as had Pius XI) had been sending priests clandestinely into Russia to give comfort to Catholics behind the Iron Curtain. Every one of them had been systematically arrested, tortured, and either executed or sent to the gulag. Eventually a Vatican mole was discovered: Alighiero Tondi, S.J., who was a close advisor to Montini. Tondi was an agent working for Stalin whose mission was to keep Moscow informed about initiatives such as the sending of priests into the Soviet Union.
Add to this Pope Paul’s treatment of Cardinal Mindszenty. Against his will, Mindszenty was ordered by the Vatican to leave Budapest. As most everyone knows, he had escaped the Communists and sought refuge in the American embassy compound. The Pope had given him his solemn promise that he would remain primate of Hungary as long as he lived. When the Cardinal (who had been tortured by the Communists) arrived in Rome, Paul VI embraced him warmly, but then sent him into exile in Vienna. Shortly afterwards, this holy prelate was informed that he had been demoted, and had been replaced by someone more acceptable to the Hungarian Communist government. More puzzling, and tragically sad, is the fact that when Mindszenty died, no Church representative was present at his burial.
Another of Don Villa’s illustrations of infiltration is one related to him by Cardinal Gagnon. Paul VI had asked Gagnon to head an investigation concerning the infiltration of the Church by powerful enemies. Cardinal Gagnon (at that time an Archbishop) accepted this unpleasant task, and compiled a long dossier, rich in worrisome facts. When the work was completed, he requested an audience with Pope Paul in order to deliver personally the manuscript to the Pontiff. This request for a meeting was denied. The Pope sent word that the document should be placed in the offices of the Congregation for the Clergy, specifically in a safe with a double lock. This was done, but the very next day the safe deposit box was broken and the manuscript mysteriously disappeared. The usual policy of the Vatican is to make sure that news of such incidents never sees the light of day. Nevertheless, this theft was reported even in L’Osservatore Romano (perhaps under pressure because it had been reported in the secular press). Cardinal Gagnon, of course, had a copy, and once again asked the Pope for a private audience. Once again his request was denied. He then decided to leave Rome and return to his homeland in Canada. Later, he was called back to Rome by Pope John Paul II and made a cardinal.
TLM: Why did Don Villa write these works singling out Paul VI for criticism?
AVH: Don Villa reluctantly decided to publish the books to which I have alluded. But when several bishops pushed for the beatification of Paul VI, this priest perceived it as a clarion call to print the information he had gathered through the years. In so doing, he was following the guidelines of a Roman Congregation, informing the faithful that it was their duty as members of the Church to relay to the Congregation any information that might militate against the candidate’s qualifications for beatification.
Considering the tumultuous pontificate of Paul VI, and the confusing signals he was giving, e.g.: speaking about the “smoke of Satan that had entered the Church,” yet refusing to condemn heresies officially; his promulgation of Humanae Vitae (the glory of his pontificate), yet his careful avoidance of proclaiming it ex cathedra; delivering his Credo of the People of God in Piazza San Pietro in 1968, and once again failing to declare it binding on all Catholics; disobeying the strict orders of Pius XII to have no contact with Moscow, and appeasing the Hungarian Communist government by reneging on the solemn promise he had made to Cardinal Mindszenty; his treatment of holy Cardinal Slipyj, who had spent seventeen years in a Gulag, only to be made a virtual prisoner in the Vatican by Paul VI; and finally asking Archbishop Gagnon to investigate possible infiltration in the Vatican, only to refuse him an audience when his work was completed – all these speak strongly against the beatification of Paolo VI, dubbed in Rome, “Paolo Sesto, Mesto” (Paul VI, the sad one). …
God alone is the judge of Paul VI. But it cannot be denied that his pontificate was a very complex and tragic one. It was under him that, in the course of fifteen years, more changes were introduced in the Church than in all preceding centuries combined. What is worrisome is that when we read the testimony of ex-Communists like Bella Dodd, and study Freemasonic documents (dating from the nineteenth century, and usually penned by fallen-away priests like Paul Roca), we can see that, to a large extent, their agenda has been carried out: the exodus of priests and nuns after Vatican II, dissenting theologians not censured, feminism, the pressure put on Rome to abolish priestly celibacy, immorality in the clergy, blasphemous liturgies (see the article by David Hart in First Things, April 2001, “The Future of the Papacy”), the radical changes that have been introduced into the sacred liturgy (see Cardinal Ratzinger’s book Milestones, pp. 126 and 148), and a misleading ecumenism. Only a blind person could deny that many of the Enemy’s plans have been perfectly carried out.