mea culpa

I have decided to stop blogging. I don’t feel that I am doing a good enough job at it to keep it going. If I had to summarize this blog it would be: read your Bible, the Catechism (or the Compendium), the Fathers, and the Pope.
So, until I decide to start blogging more purposefully, adieu.

Anyway, all that other reading you have to do should keep you busy….


Corpus Christi

Ten years ago, on the Feast of Corpus Christi, I was confirmed into the Episcopal Church. This feast will always have a special significance for me. It was because of the Eucharist that I entered the Episcopal Church and it is for the same reason that I became Catholic.

It’s been almost year since I moved to Chicago, in order to attend St. John Cantius, be formed by the Canons Regular and finally be confirmed by the Bishop. For most Anglo-Catholics the conversion process is a difficult one (especially in regards to the Novus Ordo, whether abusively celebrated or not, it is seen as greatly inferior to what is celebrated in most Anglo-Catholic parishes). There can be no question that the Anglo-Catholic tradition is a beautiful one, both in its music, hymns, and English translations of the Bible (eg. KJV and Coverdale’s Psalms) and the Mass. Once I converted and stopped going to the Episcopal parish and started visiting the Catholic parishes in the area where I was living at the time (central PA), I knew for the good of my soul I had to find a traditional parish that celebrated the Traditional Mass and had a rigorous devotional schedule…. Thanks to the internet, NLM and Daniel’s “The Lion and the Cardinal,” I found out about St. John Cantius. I wanted to attend the most Catholic parish in the US and St. John Cantius (if I may say so) is probably it. (It is at least in the top 10). So I moved.

For me the transition from Anglo-Catholic to Roman Catholic has been very easy, to be honest. This is partly because I was such a bad Anglican and because I am able to attend such a good Catholic parish. I do not miss that much about the Anglican/Episcopal church. Yet, I must confess that I still read my Anglican Breviary. And although this book has not been approved for use in the Church there is actually not much Anglican about it (when the Prayer Book Collects vary from the Roman Rite it gives both). I do, however, miss the 1940 hymnal. I was raised to sing in church and sometimes I find the recessional hymns (even at St. John’s) fairly lame. (That just means I have to learn how to read square notes).

I didn’t really care about Merrie Olde England (one of the reasons I was such a bad Anglican). I was (am) a Francophile not an Anglophile (thus my appreciation for Traditional Catholicism). The reason I supported the Anglican Communion was because I thought it was catholic (universal), transcending national and cultural boarders not because it was English. I was eventually relieved of that illusion, for there is no Communion in the Anglican Communion (in any sense of the term). The so called “genius of the Anglican tradition,” the Via Media, is the wide road that leads straight to Hell. If I shared anything in common with the Catholic Church as an Anglo-Catholic it was despite of the Anglican Communion, not because of it.

This is not to say that I have any illusions about the lack of communion (or other very serious issues) in the Catholic Church. God knows there is a battle to fight, but this is the only Church that can do it. The “gates of hell will not prevail against it.” This means we are the ones storming the gates of hell. By the grace of God, we will continue to lay siege to Hell until the last of the elect are fighting with us. Are you with us?!

One of my favorite bloggers just published a novel. Mr. Blunt, with the same self-sufficient attitude with which he runs his family farm, wrote and published his own novel. I don’t buy books anymore (I’ve been spoiled by The Book Thing) but perhaps I will ask the library to order it… Anyway if you don’t read the novel at least check out his blog.

Congratulations to Mr. Blunt.

Congratulations Greg

Congratulations to my brother Gregory who read a paper at Princeton Theological Seminary at the Kuyper Center conference on Civil Society and Sphere Sovereignty. Have a look at the video here. The paper is called “Dooyeweerd’s Conception of Societal Sphere Sovereignty: with an application to the question of the status and tax-based support of education”.

It was also his birthday on May 3.

Guilt and Forgivness

When we read the New Testament attentively, we discover that there is nothing magical about forgiveness.  But neither is it a fictitious forgetting, a refusal to accept the truth, but an entirely real process of change carried out by the Sculptor.  The removal of guilt truly gets rid of something; the proof that forgiveness has come in us is that penance springs up from us.  Forgiveness is in this sense an active-passive event: the creative word of power that God speaks to us produces the pain of conversion and thus becomes an active self-transformation.  Forgiveness and penance, grace and personal conversion are not contradictions but two sides of one and the same event.  This fusion of activity and passivity expresses the essential form of human existence, for all of our creativity begins with our having been created, with our participation in God’s creative activity.

Here we have reached a very central point: I believe that the core of the spiritual crisis of our time has its basis in the obscuration of the grace of forgiveness.  But let us first take note of the positive side of the present: morality is gradually coming back into favor.  It is recognized, indeed, it has become evident, that all technical progress is questionable and, in the end, destructive when there is no corresponding moral advancement.  It is recognized that there is no reform of man or of humanity without moral renewal.  But the call for morality ultimately remains without effect, because the criteria are veiled in a fog of discussions.  In fact, man cannot bear sheer morality, he cannot live by it: it becomes a “law” for him that provokes contradiction and engenders sin.  For this reason, where forgiveness–true forgiveness guaranteed by authority–is not recognized or believed, morality must be cut down to size so that the conditions of sinful action can never actually occur for the individual.  Today’s discussion of morality is making great strides toward liberating man from guilt by precluding the occurrence of the conditions that make it possible.  One is reminded of the mordant aphorism of Pascal: “Ecce patres qui tollunt peccata mundi!” (Behold the fathers who take away the sins of the world).  According to these “moralists”, guilt simply no longer exists.  

[From Called to Communion, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger]

St. Benedict

“The Lord expects us to respond daily with deeds to his holy teachings”, he says (Prol. 35). Thus, the life of a monk becomes a fruitful symbiosis between action and contemplation “so that God may be glorified in everything” (57,9).

In contrast to facile, egocentric self-realization, which is often exalted today, the first and irrenuciable commitment of a disciple of St. Benedict is the sincere quest for God (58,7) along the humble and obedient way shown by Christ (5,13), to whose love nothing and no one should come ahead (4,21; 72,11), thus becoming, in the service of others, a man of service and peace.

In the exercise of obedience as an act of faith inspired by love (5,2), the monk achieves humility (5,1), to which the Rule devotes an entire chapter (7). In this way, man conforms ever more to Christ and attains true self-realization as a creature in the image and likeness of God.

[Pope Benedict XVI about St. Benedict from here. I encourage you to read the whole speech.]

Let’s Make A Visit

Fr. Mark has a good post about spontaneous visits to Christ in the Eucharist (here).

I remember when I got my first place in Baltimore. I went walking around the neighborhood (Bolton Hill). It was a typical summer day in Baltimore, hot and humid. I walked passed the church on the corner and checked the door to see if it was open, it was. Inside it was cool, dark and quite (just as i like it). I took a seat in a pew to cool off and pray. I noticed a man sitting in a pew in front of me, he seemed to have the same idea. He took out a cigarette and lit it… I remember saying to myself, ‘Now that’s what a neighborhood church is supposed to be like, a place of quite prayer where you can share a cigarette with Jesus.’ (I smoked at the time however I resisted the temptation to light up in church even though I had dreams about doing the same)…

As a rule that church was always open during regular business hours. This meant that anything of value was either bolted down or in the safe (which also meant there was barely any decoration). It is a shame that churches have to lock their doors. But as Fr. Mark says, a few years ago churches were barely ever empty…