Saturday, December 02, 2006

The Holy Father's First Vespers of Advent

Read all about it here:
Ist Vespers In St. Peters

It reads like a review of an opera or a play. Critical analysis, checking out who was there and what they wore, etc. (That's what I don't like about St. Agnes sometimes. I often think many people are there just for the music and the liturgical costumes.)

How prayerful.

(Sorry, still no ability to upload photos.)

Friday, December 01, 2006

Worst Christmas Ad - so far...

"Peace, Love and Gap"
Way too ghetto.

Nevertheless, and I mean less, it's telling as to what kids want. Isn't rap over yet? Could the Marketing Director for Gap get fired or something? It misses - the ad just misses.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Pope in Turkey

Benedict is fairing very well in Turkey, praise God. Aside from the prayer of the faithful, I wonder if his friend Bl. John XXIII is not offering special protection, since the Holy Father entrusted this trip to his intercession. Perhaps to reward John XXIII, the Holy Father will canonize him soon.
The media hypes this trip as something done to make peace with Islam after the uproar over the Holy Father's remarks at an address at Regensburg in Germany awhile back.
The point of the pilgrimage, or Apostolic Visit is to meet with the Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, the "First Among Equals" of the Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church. It is an effort to restore union to the Church. His courage in going to a land where his life has been threatened, must demonstrate dramatically to the Orthodox the Pope's sincerity and love for The Eastern Churches, as well as his hope for unity. I think the entire world must also be impressed by his courageous actions.
May St. Andrew, the Apostle of the Eastern Churches, whose feast we celebrate tomorrow, hasten this union and continue to protect our Holy Father, Benedict XVI.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Feast of the Miraculous Medal

Today is the commemoration of the apparition of the Immaculate Conception to St. Catherine Laboure at Rue d' Bac, Paris in 1830.
Pictured is the image of the Blessed Virgin as she appeared to Alphonse Ratisbonne, an agnostic Jew, effecting in him an instantaneous conversion to the Roman Catholic Church. (The Church is in Rome and is called S. Andrea della Fratte.) Ratisbonne had been persuaded by a friend to wear the Miraculous Medal, or as it was first known, the medal of the Immaculate Conception.
As a result of his conversion, the devotion of the medal swept Europe, thus gaining recognition as the Miraculous Medal, due to countless graces generated through the devotion.
O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourseto thee.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The man with the Blackamoor on his coat.

Coat of arms that is.

That would be Pope Benedict XVI of course and he is getting ready to visit Turkey.

A fine priest said I shouldn't even discuss such things as the possibility of as@%*^nation. Yet there is that novel written about it, and lots of protest in Turkey over his impending visit, as well as 'unprecedented security' - as they always say - covering the visit. In the land of intrigue known for cloak and dagger politics, populated by radical Islamics, I'm not comfortable with this visit. Today the Holy Father asked for our prayers to accompany him on his pilgrimage of reconciliation. He has mine.

I like his coat of arms. (I like bears.) Who is the Moor however?

He is the Moor of Freising:

"The Moor's head is an heraldic charge associated with Freising, Germany. The origins of the Moor's head or caput ethiopicum in Freising is not entirely known. Typically facing left it appeared on the coat of arms of the old principality of Freising as early as 1316. Some theories of its reference include:

Balthasar, one of the Magi, by some legends a Moor
Saint Maurice, a Roman-Egyptian martyr
Saint Zeno, frequently shown as a Moor
Saint Sigismund, often confused historically with Saint Maurice
Saint Corbinian, founder of the Diocese of Freising, mistakenly thought to have been a Moor
" - Wikipedia - I like that place.

A recent book has been published about the third secret of Fatima, (and Rocky says, "Again"?) claiming the entire secret has not been revealed, just the visuals - sans text. Fatima conspiracy theorists love this stuff. Here is a snip from Catholic World News:

"A new book entitled The Fourth Secret of Fatima, by Italian writer Antonio Socci, questions whether a part of the message delivered by the Virgin Mary to the children at Fatima have been hidden by Church leaders for diplomatic reasons.

Socci claims that the famous "third secret," which was revealed in 1995 to describe an attack on a “bishop dressed in white,” is only a fragment of the full message. Socci bases his claim primarily on an analysis of the books Faith Report by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, and Crossing the Threshold of Hope, by Pope John Paul II. To a lesser extent he analyzes homilies, discourses, and public documents by the two Pontiffs.

Rumors and theories about the "third secret" had circulated for years, until in May 2000 the content of the secret was disclosed by Pope John Paul II. The secret detailed a vision of the "bishop dressed in white" who was caught up in a battle against an atheistic system that oppresses the Church. That bishop "falls to the ground, as if dead, after a volley of gunfire." The vision apparently predicted the assassination attempt against John Paul II. Sister Lucia, who at the time was the sole surviving Fatima seer, confirmed in 2000 that the "bishop dressed in white" was the Pope. (Sister Lucia died in February 2005.)" - Catholic World News

I personally believe we have gotten enough of the third secret, and it was interpreted quite well by Cardinal Ratzinger, who admittedly said, "It seems as if these events may have been in the past" - which leaves open the question, was JPII really "the bishop in white who collapsed as if dead amidst a hail of bullets"? Or could it be another future pope? See, visions and prophecies are hard to figure out, and if there is a missing text of Our Lady's words, we probably just don't fit the description of those having "a need to know".

But what if the blackamoor is a prophetic symbol and there really is a missing text to the third secret? Now that's the stuff I shouldn't even mention.

Regardless, the Holy Father is snugly in the hand of God, albeit he is embarking on a very dangerous journey. He asked for our prayers, and like I said, he has mine.

Viva il papa!

The Knights of Columbus are urging Catholics to accompany the Holy Father with prayer as a spiritual pilgrimage as he visits Turkey. Here is the prayer:

Prayer for the Pope

"Heavenly Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name, we humbly ask that you sustain, inspire, and protect your servant, Pope Benedict XVI, as he goes on pilgrimage to Turkey – a land to which St. Paul brought the Gospel of your Son; a land where once the Mother of your Son, the Seat of Wisdom, dwelt; a land where faith in your Son’s true divinity was definitively professed. Bless our Holy Father, who comes as a messenger of truth and love to all people of faith and good will dwelling in this land so rich in history. In the power of the Holy Spirit, may this visit of the Holy Father bring about deeper ties of understanding, cooperation, and peace among Roman Catholics, the Orthodox, and those who profess Islam. May the prayers and events of these historic days greatly contribute both to greater accord among those who worship you, the living and true God, and also to peace in our world so often torn apart by war and sectarian violence.

We also ask, O Heavenly Father, that you watch over and protect Pope Benedict and entrust him to the loving care of Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Fatima, a title cherished both by Catholics and Muslims. Through her prayers and maternal love, may Pope Benedict be kept safe from all harm as he prays, bears witness to the Gospel, and invites all peoples to a dialogue of faith, reason, and love. We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord. Amen." - Knights of Columbus

Politics and the feast of Christ the King

Monarchists should love this feast day, while they most likely would have celebrated it according to the old calendar. The modern Church, yes even the encyclical of Pius XI, stresses the spiritual significance of the Kingship of Christ. Americans do not understand monarchy, therefore the Lordship/Kingship of Christ is more palatable to our revolutionary understanding when it is understood spiritually, not so much terrestially - we are much like our revolutionary cousins in France in this respect.

The purpose of the feast:
"Pope Pius XI instituted the Solemnity of Christ the King on 11 December 1925 in his encyclical Quas Primas. At that time he saw the rise of atheistic communism and secularism as a direct result of man's turning away from Christ's sovereignty, and man's denying of the authority of Christ's Church. This result was "disorder" or a move away from the Divine Order. The Feast of Christ the King was set on the last Sunday in October." - Wikipedia

The hoped for effects:
"25. Moreover, the annual and universal celebration of the feast of the Kingship of Christ will draw attention to the evils which anticlericalism has brought upon society in drawing men away from Christ, and will also do much to remedy them. While nations insult the beloved name of our Redeemer by suppressing all mention of it in their conferences and parliaments, we must all the more loudly proclaim his kingly dignity and power, all the more universally affirm his rights." - Pius XI, Quas primas

A few weeks ago when all the debate concerning the liberal use of the pre-Vatican II ordo of Pius V was circulating around the news and blogworld, a few people discussed the political ramifications affecting resistance towards this 'indult' apparently centered within the French hierarchy. In France, as well as Austria, Spain and other nations, there is a contingent of royalists, or monarchists supporting the liberalization of the Tridentine rite. Monarchists tend to be traditionalists, while not all traditionalists tend to be monarchists.

Considering this, it seems to me on some level, the Mass has sometimes become a political statement. I wondered if perhaps that is why it changed so dramatically the years following Vatican II, which occasioned such license in liturgical innovation. The priest facing the people, being on a horizontal plane with the congregation, the exclusion of pageantry and ritual, the inclusion of laity and ideology into the celebration? People who claim communists infiltrated the Church at the time of the Council, also claim they got their way by desacralizing the liturgy. Perhaps it wasn't as sinister as all of that however, perhaps it was simply a misguided attempt just to be more relevant to the modern world that has rejected every form of monarchy?

At any rate, it seems to me that the Mass has sometimes been used as a political tool in the hand of propagandists. I think it is a good idea to restore the Mass, both rites, to a place of dignity - without regard to politics, offering fitting praise and worship to Christ the King. Growing up, the homilies for this feast always were interjected with socio-political ideals, once again placing the emphasis upon man as opposed upon God - most of the homilies continue to be this way - I don't know what else a priest could say about the feast however.

When I think of the end of time, because this feast also focuses our attention upon that reality, I'm reminded that there will be "new heavens, and a new earth". Which means there are two things I don't get; one, I'm rather apolitical and so not a monarchist, hence the feast of Christ the King isn't a big one for me; two, I want to go to heaven while there is a natural part of me that rebels against the idea of having to land back on a "new earth" - since the old one sucks.

I need to pray for an increase of hope it seems. Pray for me if you are one of the two or three people who read this blog.