Saint George the Dragon Slayer

saint george stained glass window

Outside of my great friend (who I am utterly unworthy to have as a friend), Saint Philomena – the veracity of whose existence as a virgin and martyr of the early Church has recently been sustained by exhaustive scientific evaluations of the evidence – outside of her… there is perhaps no saint more scorned as being no more than a figment of pious imagination than Saint George, who, however, boasts of more archaeological and historical evidence than most any other saint in the history not only of the early Church, but for some lesser known saints, right into our own day. Churches dedicated to Saint George sprang up in their dozens throughout the ancient world immediately after news of his martyrdom on 23 April 303.

Liberal warning: The most obnoxious denial of the existence of Saint George that I’ve come across comes from a super liberal professor of “ecumenism” (which I put in quotes because he had no idea what true ecumenism is). Many of my fellow priests today have had Father XXX as a professor in the various countries, seminaries and universities where he’s mislead people. He had the idea that Saint George couldn’t possibly have existed because of the iconography of him slaying a dragon. His arrogant idea was that we’re very smart today, and people of the past were so very gullible and stupid. He laughed his nervous, cowardly, mocking laugh when I tried to explain a few things about the iconography:

  • Those in the first centuries, who were suffering under the severe persecutions of the dragon of the Apocalypse, namely, the possessed-by-Satan pre-Constantinian Roman Empire, understood the dragon to be the Roman Empire. Even so, such depictions only came later, but for this very reason.
  • The white horse, similarly, is the white horse of the Apocalypse 6:2, whose rider goes out conquering and to further his conquering.
  • In the early fourth century, after George was martyred, it is interesting to note that all martyrs in the Montefiascone/Bolsano region of Tuscany, whether male or female, with no regard to how they met their deaths, were all depicted as riding on the white horse of the Apocalypse.
  • The woman who is to be saved in the background of some Renaissance paintings is, similarly, Holy Mother Church, who is represented by her saints.
  • The point of all this wonderful triumphalism in the iconography is not that Saint George or the other martyrs successfully fought their way out of being martyred, that they slew the dragon by, for instance, assassinating the Emperor of the time, but rather that they conquered the demonically controlled world by witnessing to Christ Jesus’ goodness and kindness right unto their deaths, so hated is goodness and kindness by the demonically controlled world. Saint George and the other martyrs slew the dragon by being slain themselves.
  • By the way, the dragon, the ancient serpent, the devil and Satan, of Genesis 2,4-3:24, is, in the ancient usage of the word, an Oracle from God on behalf of man, a spirit, an angel, now a fallen angel. There are no talking snakes in Genesis.

None of this – or the archaeological proofs – made any impression on this super-liberal priest, for the last thing he wanted to hear was faithfulness to the Church unto death. That’s not what his own life was about. Since he couldn’t answer in any reasonable way, he merely laughed his nervous, cowardly, mocking laugh once again. I had to live with that kind of nonsense for… well… pretty much my whole priesthood. Yikes! This kind of thing can occasion an increase in friendship, in view of such a cross, with Christ Jesus and the Saints.

saint george iconThis icon was given to me by Cardinal […]. It’s from the Mount Zion crowd just outside the wall of the Old City of Jerusalem. There is great devotion to Saint George in Palestine until today, with about every third boy being called after Saint George.

George’s father, Gerontius, was well known to the Emperor Diocletian as one of his very best soldiers. When Gerontius’ son George applied to Diocletian to be in the military service of the Emperor, Diocletian quickly made him part of the Imperial Guard and gave him the rank of Tribune. These positions taken together made young George, perhaps in his early twenties, almost as powerful as the Emperor himself. Very few people would have ever had such power, both military and political, and at such a young age. George was an instant phenomenon. Everyone would have known exactly who he was in the entire ancient world.

saint george martyrdomDiocletian was persuaded by the might-makes-right Galerius to have all his soldiers offer sacrifice to the Roman gods. George, with the zeal of the saints, loudly and with great reason proclaimed his worship of Christ Jesus, so that he couldn’t possibly offer sacrifice to any Roman gods. Diocletian, distraught – for he had never intended this – offered George all sorts of bribes, all of which were scorned by our Saint. Diocletian then set out to make an example of him, first attaching him to a wheel of swords and then having him decapitated.

Saint George and Saint Michael the Archangel sometimes meld into one presentation with wings being granted to Saint George on his white horse. That’s O.K. I’m sure they were great friends!

By the way, George is the Name of God the Father: ὁ πατήρ μου ὁ γεωργός ἐστιν (John 15:1). “My Father is George.” O.K., so, a pedantic translation would be “My Father is the Farmer” or “My Father is the Tiller of the Ground.” Some translations have “Vinedresser.” Truth be told, it’s γεωργός, that is, George!

Just to be insistent about this: “Adam” means “Tiller of the Ground.” “Adam” = “George.” Jesus is the New Adam. Jesus is the New George. Yours truly is merely the old George, the old Adam. But Christ has conquered and goes out to conquer still. Thanks be to God our Father that Jesus sets about slaying me so that, dead to myself, I live for Him alone. Yikes!

keep calm and slay dragons

By the way, my parish, which takes in the most outrageously beautiful mountains of the Great Smoky Mountains, boasts, of course, of “The Dragon’s Tail”, which is an extremely dangerous curvy road that every motorcycle enthusiast in North America loves to ride. They all come here! There are hotels just for two-wheelers throughout the area. There are all sort of motorcycle fix-it shops. I invite all cyclers to to make a weekend of this, slaying the dragon by the tail, and stopping in for Mass at 8:30 Sunday morning at Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Robbinsville, NC, or 11:00 Mass Sunday morning at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Andrews, N.C. If you’re not afraid of heights or gravel roads, come to Andrews from Robbinsville over Tatham Gap Road. If you’ve never once said “Yikes!” in your life, you will when ride this one. Yikes! I say that in solidarity, as most all my broken bones in life (really very many) have come from riding on two wheels with a motor. Again: Yikes!

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Flores for the Immaculate Conception (ragamuffin waif guttersnipe orphan street urchin adopted kid edition)

flores bright

Holy Mother Church has long presented the most glorious aspects of the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God assumed soul and body into heaven, sometimes doing this also in reaction to attacks on her Divine Son. While none of these interventions which provide magisterial teaching on Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition make Mary out to be unapproachable even though she is that woman clothed with the sun, with the stars about her and the moon under her feet, it is easy to get that unapproachable impression if we don’t collectively start also to note how these very things make her approachable, that is, even while paying attention to those things people have found somewhat uncomfortable to notice. Thus:

Let’s call to mind the whole “Mary is only the mother of Jesus and she had no other kids” drama, you know, with all the arguments that “the brothers and sisters of Jesus” are really just “cousins” because the language at the time had no word for “cousins” and simply used “brothers and sisters” blah blah blah. That’s all correct, but, I think, misguided. Yes, Mary was the birth mother of Jesus alone, and there are those who are verifiably the cousins of Jesus mentioned in the Scriptures. But remember the time Jesus was rejected in His own native place, and especially that time “the brothers and sisters of Jesus” dragged Mary to where He was so that they could prove to her that He was demon possessed because He didn’t have time even to eat in that He was so good and kind?

Cousins don’t act like that. Only those who are insecure and think they have to prove something to gain their feeling of security do that kind of thing. What I think is going on here is that when the Holy Family returned from Egypt, now speaking Arabic and most likely marginalized with their house having been stolen while they were gone, have their plight noticed by the street kids who were for whatever reason also marginalized. Those kids instantaneously gravitated to and were adopted into the Holy Family en masse when they saw just one brought in, fed and cared for. Jesus wasn’t a brat. Jesus was the only child. They were envious of Him. They had to prove something, they thought, to Mary to protect their own position in the household.

In all of this, did Mary throw them out? No. Was she always available for all waifs who were dying of neglect on the streets? Yes. For her, were they like bright flowers given to her by her Son? Yes. Did they realize how much she loved them? No. Did that stop her from loving them? No. We are so very secure in the Holy Family and we don’t even know it. Typical us. Heaven will be different. Good thing our fallen human feelings don’t dictate actual reality. Our perceptions aren’t always correct. We are loved even if we don’t feel like it. Heaven will be different.

Happy Divine Mercy Sunday. More on mercy later.

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Holocaust escape: Today’s yesterday

f 35 israeli air force

There are those who, being in an extermination camp, escaped. Here’s a STORY and a VIDEO about a tunnel for the purpose of survival.

For those who don’t know, I’m Jewish, I’m a Catholic priest, and I have travel protection ordered by the State Department because of certain untoward events in my life that involved the political-military affairs office of Main State at Foggy Bottom.

This story has been published before, but it bears repeating: flying along with an air marshal next to me, as usual, this time from Paris to New York on Air France, mind you, the conversation got onto the holocaust. The Federal law enforcement officer was rather extraordinarily anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic (those being the days of the Obama administration). He said that if Catholics are forced to pay into Obama’s abortion superfund by way of insurance premium on-the-side-direct-payments into that fund, such Catholics who refuse to do such a thing should, if things get ramped up a bit, act like the sheep-led-to-the-slaughter-Jews who simply, he said, submitted so nicely to the extermination camps. I guess he was trying to provoke me to cause a scene. I didn’t take the bait, but… Just. Wow.

Anyway, no, the Jews just couldn’t do anything about it, except here and there. Those who could do something did. They story and video linked to above detail just that. Anyway, the air marshal guy in question doesn’t represent the present administration in the White House. So, whatever with that. But…

A question remains about a preemptive strike against Iranian nuclear weapons production sites made specifically.

  • Is it just bluster that Iran repeats so many times throughout the years that Israel will be wiped off the face of the earth? To answer that the question about Iran being the leading state sponsor of terrorism in the world has to be answered.
  • Are those who say that a preemptive strike will make things really difficult for Israel going forward correct in their assessment? The relevance of the question is only known with the answer to the question as to whether it’s best to be alive and well or instead dead or rotting alive from radiation poisoning. Must one wait to attempt a tunnel escape if one can stop the attack before it happens?

All this should be obvious, but tender snowflakes who claim to be entitled to anything and everything turn out to be the most vicious of genocidal maniacs, saying that Iran has a right to kill off whatever populations on the earth that they want to kill off.

Let’s just repeat: Self-defense and/or defense of the innocent is not a lesser of two evil; it is a contribution to the virtue of justice.

But there are limitations. For instance, it wouldn’t be right to kill untold numbers of civilians in nuclear preemptive strike; conventional weapons can be used. We just witnessed usage of the MOAB, right? You don’t have to use just one…

 

 

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UPDATE: NC vehicle checkpoints: imigrants, tweets, wrongheadedness

imigration dui license registration checkpoint

UPDATE: At the request of both the Latino and Anglo communities, whether Catholic or non-Catholic, I went to have a chat with the heads of the various branches of Law Enforcement. All said that sobriety checks are now extremely rare since there are so very many hurdles and logistic difficulties to overcome. In my recollection, two of the three checkpoints I went through were sobriety checks. Anyway, there certainly are plenty of licence and registration checks which can easily result in drug busts or whatever. All said that up to this point, no local law enforcement in the State of NC has been deputized as also being agents for ICE, Homeland, or whatever. That said, if there is a criminal conviction because of a stop, that info will be passed along. If ICE or Homeland happens to be nearby, that’s convenient. That said, a “normal” DWI/DUI is not a criminal offense, but, of course, it can be depending on any aggravating circumstances. That said, there are relatively very few ICE agents in North Carolina. Since this is all about criminals and convicted criminals, the whole drama about Twitter recounted below is exaggerated and wrongheaded. Let it be said: no one in the Latino community wants murderers and drug dealers and rapists around. The Latino community wants murderers and drug dealers and rapists to be deported. Period.

=============== Original article ===============

A bunch of us priests got together the other night for an awesome Easter Week meal of rib eyes and salad. These priests were from a number of states. Some of the conversation centered on checkpoint dramas. While news sources deny it vociferously, here’s what’s been going on:

The police, sheriffs, ICE, DHS, whatever, sets up a checkpoint. They can overlap, so that the stop is a “sobriety check” or a “licence and registration” check or whatever. The primary players can be local law enforcement, but there can be Feds waiting in the wings, much more numerous, to haul away the undocumented and immediately deport them depending on the situation. This fact of a checkpoint with location is immediately tweeted out to the undocumented among themselves. But local law enforcement and the Feds are on that twitter feed as well. So… Either the location of the checkpoint is immediately moved, or multiple checkpoints are set up on roads used to avoid the original checkpoint. In my parish in the mountains these checkpoints are impossible to avoid as there are only a couple of roads that lead anywhere. I’ve been through three checkpoints already.

Undocumented immigrants do themselves no favors by participating in an upcoming protest on May 1 in Charlotte where demands will be made, such as decriminalizing theft and prostitution, crimes in educational facilities, and driving under the influence. Organizers are racists, of course, in that they claim that this is what black and brown skinned people do: they steal, flaunt sex for money, smash our young students in the schools, and endanger the roads by driving under the influence, so much so that this is such a way of life that they say it is racist to punish such things as anything serious. Because it’s about those who are black as well, even primarily, I’m guessing this is a racist Delinquents Lives Matter event. How cynical of them. They are using the difficulties of the undocumented for their own selfish ends of these individuals wanting to commit more crime with impunity. That’s like a crime against humanity, a hate crime. Such racism.

Again, I suggest to our Latino friends that they ought best to dissociate themselves from such an even and let the Brat Lives Matter crowd embarrass themselves. Otherwise, you will paint yourselves as being out of control criminals who have a licence to kill.

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Brake Man unchained by being chained

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The now famous Brake Man, symbol of Adam after original sin, has been chained up for his own security subsequent to the fear of theft by a reader. He’s chained to a metal grate of a tiny opening that vents the crawl space under the rectory.

Think of it this man. It might seem that we are chained down by the effects of original sin, weakness of mind, weakness of will, emotions all over the place, sickness, death. But no. With our redemption, with saving grace, we can use those very weaknesses not as a source of our insecurity, but rather as occasions to assent to the solid grip our Lord has on our souls as draws us to Himself across Calvary to where He is lifted up on the Cross (see John 12:32).

We are unchained by being chained. Don’t fret about chains. Used them as the cross which our Lord commands us to carry[!] as an encouragement to follow Him, that other command of His. Don’t fret about chains. Let them encourage you to let the risen life and joy of our Lord shine out to others.

Having said that, I hope to get to heaven, as do we all, where all chains fall away.

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Pedagogy about gender and toilets in Christian Western North Carolina

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This is great Judeo-Christian pedagogy about Genesis: “Male and female He created them.” The men’s restroom at the Methodist Church here in Andrews is labeled “MEN” and “ADAM” even while the women’s restroom is labeled “WOMEN” and “EVE”. You can’t argue with that, can you? I took this picture from my crowded table at the reception after the Noon Good Friday ecumenical service at which I was the preacher. Our Catholic schools could learn from this, making sure everyone understands that while this is a biological and religious issue, not simply a topic to be forced on others by way of specious social engineering.

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Flores for the Immaculate Conception (Brake Man: It’s just you edition)

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Some readers of the blog and some people in town here in Andrews are terribly appalled at the appalling “thing” next to the front steps of the rectory. Be not afraid. It’s just you.

My hermitage neighbor back in Transylvania County, a master welder and mechanic, gave me one of his creations for a house warming gift when I moved into the new rectory (65 years old).

Brake Man is made up from brakes, because of which he simply had to be situated within reach of Mary, the Immaculate Conception. Brake Man is a symbol, of course, in so many ways, of Adam and his original sin, which put the brakes on all of us, having us rust away, as it were, until we fall into the grave. But we have hope, what with redemption and the Mother of the Redeemer interceding for us.

Brake Man, who is to continue to till the garden even if he is outside of the paradise aspect of the garden in this world, often has a garden hose hooked to his shoulder, continuing to toil and labor in the garden of this world as he does. Of course, that water provides refreshment to the flowers for the Immaculate Conception. How could she not accept flowers from such as Adam?

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Flores for the Immaculate Conception (Irrelevance of the Pope? edition)

flores rectory

The ambiguity and contradictory messages of Pope Francis are so fast and furious that even if he came out with an ex-Cathedra statement about marriage totally faithful to Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and all major interventions of the Sacred Magisterium throughout the centuries, it seems to me that, right now, relatively few people in the world would pay attention, as most would fully expect him to come out even the same day with a statement that would call his ex-Cathedra statement into question. In other words, people are losing faith and becoming cynical, frustrated, angry.

But that’s not where I’m at. And I’ll tell you why. Along with Pope Francis, I’m not given to ultramontanism, that most ugly form of self-referential clericalism there is. For those totally gone, please remember the weak link in the long line of the bishops of Rome, Peter, who denied our Lord three times. We know he later became Saint Peter. Fast forward in the clip below to about the two minute mark, where Peter kneels before Jesus’ mother Mary, confessing his sin of denial to her…

Here’s the deal: The Pope is relevant not because he has anything whatsoever to offer to the Church (infallibility simply being a “negative” gift to the Church of protection from any error he might otherwise come up with), but because he is fallen just like the rest of us and needs redemption and salvation just like the rest of us, and because despite all that he is the father of the family of faith on this earth and therefore we must be in solidarity with him, wishing him the best for his salvation. Any cynicism and frustration and anger on our part is our failure, whatever about him. We are to pray and do as much as we can to provide the love and truth and goodness and truth and kindness and truth of our Lord.

To put it another way: the Pope is relevant because I am a sinner. If I need Jesus and Mary to be in solidarity with me I had better wish that they are in solidarity with the Bishop of Rome as well. The Pope is, because of his position in the family of faith, a kind of barometer to the state of our own souls. Inasmuch as anyone despises his very person that is how much one despises Christ Jesus and, indeed, His dear Immaculate Virgin Mother Mary.

To put it another way:

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)

What we pray to God for the Holy Father is the same thing we would wish for ourselves, that together we make our way by the grace of God to the Immaculate Conception and to the Most Blessed Sacrament. The seas are tumultuous. But we can all walk on water.

don bosco dream barque of peter

Mary didn’t despise Peter. She interceded for him with great love.

Thank you, dearest Mother.

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My Shadow is buying himself or…

shadow money order

Sorry, this is just another of those annoying “for the record” posts. Long time readers will remember “my shadow” who stole my identity as early as the mid-late 1970s or early 1980s.

After a break, it’s happened again. Another installment of $100.00. It’s always the same. I declare these on the blog, put them into my checking account, and will include these in my taxes. I take pictures of them with all the numbers so that they can be tracked. It’s his hand-writing. Am I extorting him? Is he bribing me? Is it something more innocent? More nefarious? The only hint is that he said it’s all he can afford right now, meaning that he thinks it warrants a lot more than $100.00 a month on average. I don’t want this, but, hey, I’ll take it.

I did tell him that I wanted to make a deal with him without saying what that was, and without asking, he started sending me $100.00 money orders. But the deal I had to make with him had nothing to with money, but rather with Main State at the Department of State at Foggy Bottom just off the West end of the National Mall. Inasmuch as I don’t understand what’s going on it’s only going to get worse, because I’ll keep pushing until things are clarified. My Shadow is not one for clarifying anything. It might do us both in. But that might be better for the world.

Oh. And just a reminder, as of this writing…

terrorist attacks counter

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Flores for the Immaculate Conception (dogged timing edition)

flores dogwoods

Every once in a while as a kid I would see a Farmers Almanac which predicted weather patterns and the best planting and harvesting times for any given year. It seems much easier to me to take a look at the dogwoods wherever you happen to be. Just an hour’s drive to the South they are long gone, here in WNC they are in full bloom. Back at the hermitage they are just peaking out. Climate regions are sharply defined by mountains and elevation and weather patters. Just a few miles to the South all the weather comes from the Gulf of Mexico. Just a few miles to the North it all comes from the Pacific Northwest. Here in far Western North Carolina we are often in the eye of major storm systems, catching it from the South and the North and, when there is a big enough hurricane in the Atlantic, just a bit of fringe rain from that effort. It just depends on where you’ve been planted, as it were.

Just like the dogwoods, our Lord in His exacting providence (and permissive will) has us grow and bloom in different times in different places with all things working together for the glory of God.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified.”

We are called to be faithful in whatever circumstances we have at whatever time in whatever place, and in purity of heart and agility of soul our lives will in themselves be acts of intercession for the whole Church. We have different times and places and circumstances so that we can work together for the good of all the members of the entire Body of Christ. Our Lord is dogged about the timing of what happens in our lives.

And why is this a flower for the Immaculate Conception? Because she, of all women the most blessed, was also the most attuned to the providential and permissive will of God.

The dogwood flower bears the marks of the Passion of Christ, which He still bears on His risen body, enough for Thomas to put his finger into the nail wounds and his hand into His side, touching that Most Sacred Heart still pierced open still beating for us. Mary also says with her Immaculate Heart pierced with sorrow during that Good Friday: My Lord and my God. The dogged timing for her had it that her intercession for us would call upon the entirety of the graces of our redemption and salvation, of justification and glorification.

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Orthodox Easter: Guns and Emmaus (scaring myself)

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Easter evening (for both East and West this year) was spent with some parishioners and a young Greek Orthodox couple. The Orthodox fellow (from Wisconsin but now in Georgia) is to be deployed any day now for a tour on the mountainous Iraqi-Syrian border. The father-in-law parishioner just retired out of law enforcement. They set up a half-dozen green post-it note targets some 23 meters out (the Mountain U.S. Army guy already speaking U.N.-speak).

We were practicing standing, using two hands, either hand singly, and then prone, with different pistols and an AR-15.

I did real well with the AR-15. That’s a totally new experience for me, moving from target to target quickly, with double hits on all but one with a single hit. They wanted me to then pepper the larger target as fast as I could go and I got most of them right on but that needs a bit of practice. No, I don’t own an AR-15!

I didn’t do so well with the single-handed pistol shooting. It’s good to get caught out in this way, so that you realize what you need to practice. The LEO also arranged a mag with a mix of spent cartridges so that I could see hidden problems, such as trying too hard. This works well. And I was trying too hard, as the gun popped an inch or so without a live bullet. It also forces you to work quickly to clear jams. The Army guy had a lot of good advice for the both of us. No matter how many years you’ve got in, more advice is always welcome.

Uh-oh: I scared myself a bit when I shot my own Glock 19 from a prone position. I’ve never tried to shoot laying down before. Aiming at a green post-it note with one AR-15 round through it from the Army guy, I quickly put four more rounds in a row through that one hit with my little pistol, so pretty much 10-X with all of them. I am reminded of this scene of the beginnings of recovery from amnesia:

But, no. I don’t think I’ve been suffering from amnesia. I mean, after all, I’m not great at one-handed whatever-hand shooting, good, but not great without practice (which I never really do in that way). So, therefore, no amnesia. I mean, I did do the 10-X multiple times in a row with one hand, if I remember, with a .45, last Autumn. But that had a smooth trigger pull, not like a Glock. No, no. No amnesia. Unless it’s like a mental block… ;¬)

Anyway: that was all after the breaking of bread together at the evening meal on a glorious Easter Sunday. The discussion at table was intensely religious as you might imagine with an American Greek-Orthodox soldier who has a Masters Degree in theological studies under his belt.

We spoke of the cultural differences (complementary) between East and West, the whole breathing with two lungs thing, the excommunications and the wiping out of the excommunications (leaving us with communion), the divine liturgy and the singing and being brought up into the Sacred Mysteries, Jesus fulfilling the prophesies in the Old Testament by being the acceptable sacrifice, His standing in our stead, having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, our obligation in love to offer a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, the possibility of another major Ecumenical Council between East and West, and which theologians might be useful to this end…

You didn’t expect that, did you? If not, why not? You might offer a comment in the comments box… Pretend you’re sitting around the fire we had outside as night fell, all reminiscing. There was also some discussion of how it is that John the Baptist gave advice to soldiers about how to be the best of soldiers, and about the morality of self-defense on one’s own behalf or that of others: a positive contribution to the virtue of justice as opposed to the idiotic PTSD inducing lesser of two evils theory that would mean that no matter what you do you are always doing something evil (No!).

Is there a disconnect here? You know, between it being Easter Sunday evening and, you know, guns? No. And you have to know that the Army guy tested me on that, joking a little by wishing me a Happy Easter with all the target practice. Those who are on the front lines either here at home or overseas in some of the worst of the worst most violent hot-spots in the world have to know that we are in solidarity with our soldiers even as they are in solidarity with us. That’s an orthodox truth that the Orthodox appreciate.

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Flores for the Immaculate Conception (Easter edition)

flores rose bush

Mary of Magdala and the other Mary went to the tomb and received an angelic reprimand which had the sharpness of a tinge of sarcasm to it, deservedly so: Why are searching among the dead for someone who is alive?

Meanwhile, Mary the Mother of Jesus was already up in Galilee, perhaps to grab a few things before moving in with the beloved disciple, John, for her remaining days on this earth. She knew Jesus would rise from the dead and so didn’t wait around at the tomb. Just as she couldn’t possibly tell Joseph about the visit of the angel 33 years previously, she could not now say to the disciples that surely Jesus will rise from the dead soon, as they would just say that she is an hysterical mother to be pitied.

She had marched on this path previously, alone, in great haste, immediately after that angelic visitation announcing that she would be the Virgin Mother of God, from Nazareth to very near Jerusalem, to assist her cousin Elizabeth. Now she was returning with a great deal to throw about in her heart and soul, remembering also the three days when Jesus had been busy in His Father’s House at the time when He had become Bar Mitzvah and they had been in such great anguish. But this time, Jesus wasn’t in His Father’s House; He had gone to hell to reprimand the fallen spirits. Every word He would speak to them would bring them spiritual and intellectual frustration for eternity. Jesus would rise as the great Victor, the King of kings and Lord of lords, Prince of the Most Profound Peace. And she would meet Him where He had grown up. Would He bring a flower to the Immaculate Conception? What a meeting!

Yes, it is good to have a great sense of the Sacred Mysteries of God’s love for us, especially the manner in which He founds His Mercy on His Justice, standing in our stead, having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. Yes. But…

Let’s not forget that the most profound peace reaches into souls when things are as they should be, recognizing that the Lord loves us in a thousand million different ways. For instance, walking through Andrews on the way back from the Methodist church the other day (where I preached the ecumenical Good Friday service at midday), I noticed the beautiful flowering tree, which looks to be some sort of rose. I immediately thought of taking a picture for a “Flores for the Immaculate Conception” series. Jesus, methinks, would pick such a flower to give to His dear Mother, healing some of her trauma. In that trauma, under the Cross, she had become our Mother, interceding for us. Perhaps also on this Easter Sunday we can give her a flower along with Jesus.

Happy Easter! The Lord is risen! Alleluia!

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Fr Byers still under Pontifical interdict insisting FAITHBYTHESWORD is good

INTERDICT

I have begged through the years to be have relief from this interdict, at least from the sharpness of its cynicism and sarcasm, from the way it throws Mud-Bowls [a hint for interpretation], for it was known from the beginning that there is no possibility of circumstances under which I could possibly submit to ecclesial authority in this matter, that is, to wit, even though I no longer reside in said territory, for I continue to this day to be forbidden to even pass through, or say “Hey!” There is no mercy for this Missionary of Mercy, it being having mercy on those banished to the peripheries at said institution which has brought about my own being cast into the same existential, anguished darkness. The holy angels, I reckon, were never happy with such a result prepared by the highest tribunals in the Holy See (note the exaggerated ecclesiastical Latin of penal decrees ossified by centuries of rote application to like offenders against expected loyalties). I predict that said institution, which started to go down the tubes upon the imposition of the burden thrust upon me, will, should they remain intransigent, no longer be viable within three to four years of this writing. Mark my words.

mudbowl faith by the sword elijah

Although the given reason for the interdict seems serious enough, I’m guessing that the T-Shirt art produced in my honor for the event in question is thought to be politically incorrect in any number of ways. I respond that this over-reaction is symptomatic of our day. Instead of that reductionism, I firmly confess that the faith is spread by the sword as it was when Jesus’ Heart was pierced through (truly this was the Son of God), when Mary’s heart was pierced by sorrow (when our thoughts are laid bare), and this ever since the ferocious cherubim back in Genesis 3:24 brandished their fiery sword (for our conversion), since Elijah used his sword (for the edification of believers and the pedagogical punishment of non-believers), since Saint Michael used his (to show forth God’s glory), since our Lord told Peter not to use the sword in that most dire of circumstances (so that He Himself could have a sword plunged into His Heart).

I recommend that all seminarians get to know faith by the sword.

BTW: The interdict was actually written by the highest tribunals in Rome. How good and pleasant it is when brothers live in unity… Perhaps, as a punishment for my continued contentiousness, I will be sent back to this office in the Pontifical Family (after all, notice the donkey in the painting besides the one sitting at the desk):

Pontifical Family humor

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Flores for the Immaculate Conception (Chrism Christ Angels Angelus edition)

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Seen at the Catholic Cathedral of Saint Patrick – Charlotte NC

We had the Chrism Mass for the Diocese of Charlotte early in Holy Week. It was such a glorious day, the well over 400 mile drive, the pleasant weather, meeting up with a zillion priest friends, speaking with His Excellency (twice, really very good), renewing of priestly promises in service of Jesus and those He has redeemed and is saving. Just a really good day.

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Catholic Cathedral of Saint Patrick, Charlotte, NC

The Bishop’s sermon was perfect, as usual. He told all us priests that when we preach we are to speak about… – wait for it – JESUS! That’s the singular best admonition to priests I’ve ever heard. Brilliant. Joyful. Enthusiastic. Jesus is the Way. Jesus is the Truth. Jesus is the Life. This is all about JESUS. Wonderful. Chrism refers to anointing, to Christ, the One is especially anointed by the Holy Spirit, the Messiah (which also means the One who is anointed).

IMG_20170412_071813With plenty of daylight still left a chat with my old neighbor near the hermitage (still there!) was in order on the way back out to far far Western North Carolina.

As long time readers know, there’s a long standing arrangement I have with my guardian angel, which is that whenever I make my way up or down from the hermitage, he will smack me down so that I remember to say the Angelus prayer for the Bishop and the priests of the Diocese of Charlotte. That goes on until this day. This is always startling, however peaceful.

But this practice is starting to shift over to another place as well, the Rectory in Andrews, my new hermitage, as it were, so to speak. Whenever I’m entering or exiting, the practice is now becoming – while getting smacked down by my guardian angel – to offer the Angelus Prayer for the Bishop and the priests of the Diocese of Charlotte, in other words, for my brothers in blood in the Priesthood of Jesus Christ, the Anointed One.

Please pray for priests. Hey! Maybe with three Hail Marys. Come to think of it, there are three Hail Marys in the Angelus. But now we are soon to start the Regina Caeli for Eastertide. So, three Hail Marys on their own are good. And don’t forget the Holy Souls in purgatory with the same Hail Marys, also priests who have gone for some time to purgatory, that great place of mercy that prepares us to say thank you to Jesus in heaven.

Here’s the back steps, three of them, to the Rectory, a reminder of the three Hail Marys in the Angelus for the Bishops and priests of the diocese:

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Count them if you can: Zero for 15 (relaxing is stupid: go for adrenaline)

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Here’s yesterday evening’s pattern of Zero for 15 rounds of 9mm from my Glock 19, all of which you can count if you know how to read the markings. The orange dot is the size of a penny, which didn’t get hit even once. But hey! It’s been a while. Not really to the left or right so much anymore, but definitely still a bit too far South. These are pumped out pretty much as quickly as I can go. The grip feels better, more solid, but my mechanics need more work. And it’s not pumping rounds out that makes for good pistol work, it’s all about the mechanics, and the mechanics in difficult circumstances. I know. Still nowhere near to practice on a regular basis.

More on why a priest has a gun (most all priests I know have them and practice with them and are more proficient a thousand times over than I am):

  • Well, one benefit still lurking in the background is that this makes being an FBI trained chaplain for local law enforcement in part of the Charlotte Diocese a much greater possibility. And that is a good thing, right? Yes, it absolutely is.
  • Also, just to say, what I have noticed experientially however anecdotally is that this kind of sportsmanship occasions friendships with many new sectors of society. And that is a good thing, right? Yes, it absolutely is. Blue Lives Matter as do all other lives. People are so brainwashed by television that they think spiritual support of LEOs is to reject Christianity. Really? That’s not what Saint John the Baptist thought about it.
  • And anyway, it makes for good fun usually in the great outdoors. I just can’t see going to an indoor range unless it’s for re-certification or to keep up with friendships so easy to make at indoor ranges. There are lot’s of good people at the indoor ranges, often law enforcement and just really serious, responsible, helpful citizens. But indoor ranges for me are bit too controlled in the environment, a bit too surreal. And yes, even priests do well to have a bit of recreation. Yes, “guns” and “recreation” are not exclusive words.

By the way, the South bit on the target mean that I’m just trying to hard to do well, pulling down on the gun as shots go out. No good. I’ve been trying to relax a bit, and that has done me well. But, really, that’s just so wrong. As “The Guy” told me, forget about “target practice,” which totally destroys one’s aim. Sorry to say this, it’s all about making every shot a “kill”, so that instead of being relaxed, one goes into adrenaline mode, which is an entirely different thing altogether than being relaxed. Adrenaline is about slowing down but for the benefit of an impossibly intense in-that-moment-only concentration, with all other senses blocked. That takes a special kind of person. He’s the best shot, literally, in the world, with a pistol. That rating isn’t about Olympians or some dumb thing, but rather being pitted against all the best in the world from our military and intelligence services. I’m not there, yet. For him, it’s 10-X pretty much 100% of the time.

An analogy is in order: Do we let Jesus go in for the kill, as it were, so that we die to ourselves to live for Him alone, with His aim perfectly 10-X as it were when He commands His Heavenly Father to forgive us while He Himself dies on the Cross, totally pumped with adrenaline, senses blocked, vision narrowed just to us in front of Him, total concentration, He giving us His very Heart which we then pierce through, and that, of course, occasioning our being killed off to ourselves… Truly this was the Son of God…

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Questions for + Charles Scicluna

scicluna

Your Grace: Why did the Malta Times take down their article about you? Were they wrong? Did they misrepresent you? Really? Since you invite dialogue, as a Missionary of Mercy I will put some questions before you for the sake of, you know, promoting justice, for the good of the Church, pro bono ecclesiae. So…

  • Your Grace: You say that the teaching of the Church — let’s just call it by the name of the encyclical Humanae vitae — is only for married couples which you say can be constituted only of one man and one woman, but that you don’t judge other couples, though you insist that extramarital sex is sinful but at the same time insist that adulterous couples can receive Holy Communion if they are at peace with themselves regardless of their flagrant rejection of Jesus’ teaching, of Sacred Scripture, of Sacred Tradition, of the constant interventions of the Magisterium of the Church: does this mean that you are making a sacrament of sinful behavior?
  • Your Grace: Lest anyone think that is a sarcastic question, let’s provide an analogous question regarding your longstanding promotion of the civil celebrations of homosexual love in civilly recognized homosexual unions, as long as there is no sexy hanky panky going on, though all love including homosexual love, you say, is given by God and is good and holy: are you saying with your recent statements about peaceful consciences for adulterous couples that homosexual acts are also a kind of sacrament, objectively sinful as they may be, as long as the homosexuals involved are at peace with themselves regardless of their flagrant rejection of Saint Paul’s teaching, of Sacred Scripture, of Sacred Tradition, of the constant interventions of the Magisterium of the Church?
  • Your Grace: You seem to be throwing a tantrum that the Malta Times got it wrong, but would you say that — you know, in being honest here — that they had a good instinct about your utter hypocrisy regarding sexual morality, so that anything whatsoever is just fine, including contraception also in marriage as long as those involved are at peace with their consciences?
  • Your Grace: Do you put condom dispensers in your Catholic parochial school bathrooms for those who judge their consciences to be at peace? Or do you put those dispensers out, say, in the lunchroom along with free copies of the Qur’an which you let be taught in your parochial schools?
  • Your Grace: Jesus warned those who teach people to break the commandments, so are you going to spit on Jesus while you continue to teach people to break the commandments?
  • Your Grace: You slit the throats of those seminarians who wish to follow the teaching of Jesus and Paul, that is, those seminarians who do not reject Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition and the constant interventions of the Magisterium of the Church: so do you think that Jesus, who is calling them to His priesthood, is happy with your violence against them?
  • Your Grace: Your close friend (Monsignor) Edward Arsenault, at the epicenter in so many ways of the abuse crisis, just got out of prison and is in home confinement, where he just received the news that he has been dismissed from the clerical state (laicized): is what you are doing with your not so ambiguous and inconsistent but really very clear statements related somehow to demands of his, you know, because he could spill the beans about how things have actually gone in these USA, over in Europe, and at the Holy See?

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Pope Francis’ Fundamental Theology

World Youth Day 2016 Pope Francis and Jesus

Have you heard the hearsay that it was heard from Pope Francis himself that Pope Francis thinks that there cannot possibly be anything any more utterly boring than Fundamental Theology? If he truly said something along those lines, it’s not that that’s a lie, though I would say that it is disingenuous, which is how Pope Francis once described himself.

On the one hand, he might well think that studying Fundamental Theology is utterly boring. On the other hand, he might well think that steering the course of Fundamental Theology is entirely enthralling, an adrenaline rush even. So, that leaves us with two questions: (1) What exactly is Fundamental Theology; (2) Is it legitimate to steer the course of any theology apart from the expected sources of theology, to wit: Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the infallible Magisterial interventions of the Church (this apart from the added help of the Fathers when they agree)?

(1) What exactly is Fundamental Theology?

Good question. It seems to me that Fundamental Theology is an illegitimate however popular tract of theology effectively created by the progressivist liberal minded almost sarcastic manualist Father Adolphe-Alfred Tanquerey (1854-1932), a Sulpician “Thomist” [not in my opinion] and Canon Lawyer [who combines a bit too nonchalantly morality and law perhaps that there might be an opening for a loophole for anything…]. People think he’s ultra conservative and therefore “right” because he wrote in Latin and before Vatican Council II. A very famous canon lawyer once insisted that that is in fact the case about everything written in Latin before the Council…

Because his not simply distilled but actually reductionist manuals with their wild innovations were easily used as a kind of collection of cheat-sheets for exams in the seminary, he was treated as a kind of god who was always right and could not possibly ever be critiqued (an attitude betraying a weak mind that is afraid of thinking, at attitude utterly un-Thomistic). I’m hoping Tanquerey is not among the ossified manualists held up by some. That would simply be wrong. He’s not ossified (how very un-Thomistic!), but rather slimey, goopy, yucky. Although Tanquerey taught in these USA, surely laying the foundations for making Saint Mary’s in Baltimore the horror that it later became, he also influenced seminaries right around the world, including that of Jesuit scholastic efforts. Even Jesuits like progressivist liberal cheat-sheets.

The Common Doctor, that is, Saint Thomas Aquinas (a Dominican mind you), not Tanquerey the Sulpician, did in fact brilliantly contrast divinely given faith as opposed to our assent to the faith, that is, by way of Theology. In this clarity, Sacred Tradition is manifest for what it is, the univocal supernatural revelation of the articles of faith to the soul by the Holy Spirit such that in consequence the content of the faith to which we assent by way of the conscience seems to be handed on almost as if by hand, but it is not, as this is indeed the work of the Holy Spirit. That conscience is free to decide is a total misunderstanding of how the conscience operates.

At any rate, for Tanquerey, merely exterior and historically occasioned manifestations of this Sacred Tradition (which is a distinction which must be kept [see the Council of Trent’s reference to quasi per manus]), such as with doctrinal Conciliar decrees, are seized upon by Tanquerey and then equated with the much more fundamental, if you will, work of the Holy Spirit, so that the mere listing of Magisterial interventions throughout the centuries is somehow equated with Sacred Tradition (which is absurd) and then rejected altogether by the lockstep consequence brought to bear by the likes of Father Bernard Lonergan, S.J. (a Jesuit of course), who trumpeted the psychological and otherwise historically conditioned circumstances in which the now presumed merely human handing on of the faith occur, making it seem quite impossible that divine revelation is not over time morphed by political correctness and the general weakness of mankind. Lonergan is another of the gods of the liberals, whereby no truth is possible as no truth is personal (an irony of relativism if there ever was one). By the way, Lonergan had a kind of think-tank, shrine even, at the Casa Santa Maria, where I once lived (the post-grad priest residence in Rome of the USCCB. It was under lock and key, kind of like a tabernacle, you know, because there is no absolute truth other than the absolute truth of Lonergan that there is no absolute truth.

(2) Is it legitimate to steer the course of any theology apart from the expected sources of theology, Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the infallible Magisterial interventions of the Church?

I’m opining that Pope Francis loves his attempt to steer the course of Fundamental Theology, so that the historically conditioned circumstances even within sinful “structures (in that view)” can manifest God’s love regardless of whatever is said in Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition and the infallible Magisterial interventions of the Church.

I’m guessing that this manipulation of Fundamental Theology by Pope Francis by way of exercises in the field hospital that is Church is not seen by him as adding something to the sources of theology in that what he trying to pay attention to is the love of God that would be crucified for us, that would enter the hospital, as it were, for us. The last thing I would want to say is that Pope Francis is insincere, however much he calls himself disingenuous.

Yet, it must be said that this appreciation of Jesus in those who have suffered the malfeasance of recalcitrant catechists (clerical or religious or lay) so that they suffer from having no formation in the faith, is an appreciation of Jesus which is off the mark, forcing that imaginary Jesus (the “Jesus of Faith” utterly cut off from the “Historical Jesus”) upon patients in the field hospital instead of Him who is right now both the Historical Jesus and the Jesus of Faith, right now the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Rejecting free will and grace makes for a Fundamental Theology which, however adrenaline pumping, is simply an expression of that which is, for all intents, constructions and purposes, none other than Pharisaical casuistry that is Promethean, Neo-Pelagian, and, inasmuch as this depends on oneself as an overriding source, also self-absorbed and self-referential and that which ensures that instead of sharing the joy which is the Person of the Lord who IS Truth, one instead keeps others cast into the darkest of existential peripheries, picking them up from their stretcher at the Triage center of the field hospital and throwing them right back into the violence and smoke and fire and darkness of the peripheries. I say this in all peacefulness and charity as a son to a father. Is that permitted?

In the end, after the adrenaline has worn off, and the faith is no more, what’s left except perhaps some illegitimate sexual experiences for example, you know, the kind spoken about in Amoris laetitia, the kind pushed in Malta and Germany and…

Error is what is boring especially after popularity wears off. And sex out of place also becomes boring, which is why it leads, as Saint Paul says in Romans 1, to violence and yet more violence.

I could well be wrong. On the one hand, Pope Francis lets Amoris laetitia slide along with truly anti-Catholic guidance by Charles Scicluna and others. On the other hand, he holds their conclusions to be wrong in other circumstances with other people. What does Pope Francis really think? I don’t know. He promised on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Synods of Bishops to make a kind of ex-Cathedra conclusion about the controversies. He certainly has not done this to date. Why not? Good question. Here’s what I wrote about that, what I think is all we can know, and that’s not much:

An important article: Correcting Pope Francis’ Correctors

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Donkeys on the day after Palm Sunday

donkey blessed sacrament

Have we forgotten donkeys? Perhaps. But, we can count on Gilbert Kieth…

palestinian donkeyTHE DONKEY by G. K. CHESTERTON

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born.

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

How soon we forget the glorious donkey, always in the midst of the Holy Family, whether in going from Nazareth to Bethlehem, to Egypt, all the way back to Nazareth, or bringing Jesus into Jerusalem. But the donkey in the poem reminds us lest we forget.

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IT’S APRIL 8 – A MOST GLORIOUS DAY

COUNCIL OF TRENT

HEY! It’s the 471st anniversary of Sacrosancta, the first decree of the fourth session of the most sacred and ecumenical Council of Trent in 1546. This is my most favorite of all magisterial interventions. Be awed by the syntax in Latin. Be awed by the breadth, the heights, the profundity, the glory emanating from this decree. Let yourself be wrapped up it’s reverence before the Most Holy Spirit. Let yourself be brought to your knees. Unfortunately, rebel Martin Luther, ex-Catholic priest, would die just months before this was published, though I have to think that he was kept up to date on the ruminations for the first drafts, not easy if one is in bad health.

First the Latin…

Sacrosancta oecumenica et generalis Tridentina synodus, in Spiritu sancto legitime congregata, praesidentibus in ea eisdem tribus apostolicae sedis legatis, hoc sibi perpetuo ante oculos proponens, ut sublatis erroribus puritas ipsa evangelii in ecclesia conservetur quod promissum ante per prophetas in scripturis sanctis dominus noster Iesus Christus Dei Filius proprio ore primum promulgavit, deinde per suos apostolos tamquam fontem omnis et salutaris veritatis et morum disciplinae omni creaturae praedicari iussit; perspiciensque, hanc veritatem et disciplinam contineri in libris scriptis et sine scripto traditionibus, quae ab ipsius Christi ore ab apostolis acceptae, aut ab ipsis apostolis Spiritu sancto dictante quasi per manus traditae ad nos usque pervenerunt orthodoxorum patrum exempla secuta, omnes libros tam veteris quam novi testamenti, cum utriusque unus Deus sit auctor, nec non traditiones ipsas, tum ad fidem, tum ad mores pertinentes, tamquam vel oretenus a Christo, vel a Spiritu sancto dictatas et continua successione in ecclesia catholica conservatas, pari pietatis affectu ac reverentia suscipit et veneratur. Sacrorum vero Librorum indicem huic decreto adscribendum censuit, ne cui dubitatio suboriri possit, quinam sint, qui ab ipsa Synodo suscipiuntur. Sunt vero infrascripti. Testamenti Veteris: Quinque Moysis, id est Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numeri, Deuteronomium; Iosue, Iudicum, Ruth, quattuor Regum, duo Paralipomenon, Esdrae primus et secundus, qui dicitur Nehemias, Tobias, Iudith, Esther, Iob, Psalterium Davidicum centum quinquaginta psalmorum, Parabolae, Ecclesiastes, Canticum Canticorum, Sapientia, Ecclesiasticus, Isaias, Ieremias cum Baruch, Ezechiel, Daniel, duodecim prophetae minores, id est: Osea, Ioel, Amos, Abdias, Ionas, Michaeas, Nahum, Habacuc, Sophonias, Aggaeus, Zacharias, Malachias; duo Maccabaeorum, primus et secundus. Testamenti Novi: Quattuor Evangelia, secundum Matthaeum, Marcum, Lucam, Ioannem; Actus Apostolorum a Luca Evangelista conscripti; quattuordecim epistulae Pauli Apostoli: ad Romanos, duae ad Corinthios, ad Galatas, ad Ephesios, ad Philippenses, ad Colossenses, duae ad Thessalonicenses, duae ad Timotheum, ad Titum, ad Philemonem, ad Hebraeos; Petri Apostoli duae; Ioannis Apostoli tres; Iacobi Apostoli una; Iudae Apostoli una et Apocalypsis Ioannis Apostoli. Si quis autem libros ipsos integros cum omnibus suis partibus, prout in ecclesia catholica legi consueverunt et in veteri vulgata latina editione habentur, pro sacris et canonicis non susceperit, et traditiones praedictas sciens et prudens contempserit: anathema sit.

Now my own slavish translation… NOT the usual translation!

The Most Sacred Ecumenical and General Tridentine Synod, convened legitimately in the Holy Spirit, with the three Legates of the Apostolic See presiding over it, is itself proposing for perpetuity in plain sight, so that, having cast down errors, the very purity of the Gospels may be conserved within the Church… [The purity itself of the Gospel…] which, before promised through the prophets in the holy Scriptures, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, first promulgated with His own mouth, and then commanded to be preached by His Apostles to every creature, as the fountain of all, both saving truth, and moral discipline; and seeing clearly that this truth and discipline are contained in the written books, and the unwritten Traditions which, received by the Apostles from the mouth of Christ himself, or from the Apostles themselves, the Holy Spirit dictating, have come down onto us, transmitted almost as if by hand… [The Synod] following the examples of the orthodox Fathers, receives and venerates with an equal affection of piety, and reverence, all the books both of the Old and of the New Testament — seeing that one God is the author of both — as also the said Traditions, as well those appertaining to faith as to morals, as having been dictated, either by Christ’s own word of mouth, or by the Holy Spirit, and preserved in the Catholic Church by a continuous succession. [At this point, the list of books is provided. See the Latin.] If anyone, however, will not receive as sacred and canonical these same integral books with all of their parts, as they have been accustomed to be read in the Catholic Church and as are had in the Old Latin Vulgate edition, and will hold in contempt the aforementioned Traditions knowingly and with considered judgment: let him be anathema.

Note “almost as if by hand” since this is all about the Holy Spirit!

This is THE Counter-Reformation assertion by the Sacred Magisterium of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church against the heretics who reduce revelation to theology and inspiration to feelings, the dark arrogance having them rewrite and remove things from the Sacred Scriptures so as to assert merely themselves. This decree is CATHOLIC!

On a personal note, I was ordained a deacon on this day in the Twelve Apostles Basilica in Rome. Also, this decree became the center piece of the beginnings of a doctoral thesis (the first chapter being 256 pages), the story of which needs to be told one day, reaching as it does into the very heart of the intrigue of ecclesiastical politics and stirring the pot so much that… well, I’ll leave that for another day. Just note that this decree is still THE engine driving any true ecumenical dialogue, that is, which brings unity in truth and charity those who sincerely follow Jesus.

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Monsignor Edward Arsenault defrocked

Pope Francis signed the decree of dismissal from the clerical state on February 28 and this was made public today. Arsenault was at the epicenter of the abuse crisis in any number of ways. Now that the possibilities for maneuvering in the Church are lessened somewhat, I’m hoping that he will have a change of heart and spill his guts on the mafia here in the USA, overseas, and particularly in Rome. I’ll ask him. I have his address as of a couple of days ago, when he was released from prison to home confinement for the rest of his sentence. There are many implications to all this.

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