Saturday, March 22, 2008

Holy Week Customs- Holy Saturday

In some places, a ceremony is made of having a mock funeral for Lent on this day after the Vigil. In Poland, for example, a real or wooden herring is "mourned" and buried in a "good riddance!" gesture that acknowledges the end of Lent and the return of feasting! 1 In other places, Judas is burned in effigy -- often life-sized -- in these Easter fires or is blown up by pyrotechnics, as in some parts of Mexico! On a purely natural level (and though this isn't a "Catholic custom" per se), it might be a reassuring practice for families to write down their cares, problems, bad memories, past hurts, and such, and toss them into the flames, too.

Also, parishes and families who've literally "buried the alleluia" on Septuagesima Sunday now dig it up again.
From Fish Eaters

Holy Saturday- Stationed at St. John Lateran

From an ancient homily for Holy Saturday

Something strange is happening -- there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.
He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the Cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: 'My Lord be with you all.' Christ answered him: 'And with your spirit.' He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: 'Awake, o sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.'
I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in Hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in Me and I in you; together we form one person and cannot be separated.
For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, Whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.
See on My Face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On My back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See My hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.
I slept on the cross and a sword pierced My side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in Hell. The sword that pierced Me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.
Rise. Let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

From Fish Eaters

Friday, March 21, 2008

Tenebrae- Matins and Lauds of Holy Saturday

Holy Week Customs-Good Friday

Because Christ spent 40 hours in His tomb (from 3 PM Good Friday until 7 AM Pascha morning -- a span covering 3 separate Jewish days as even a part of one day is counted as "a day"), from the very earliest Christian times, it's been customary for some to fast and keep vigil during this entire period, which is known as "40 Hours' Devotion" (Quarant'ore).
Processions, and Passion Plays and other dramatizations of our Lord's sufferings are customary on this day in some places. The most famous of Passion Plays is the one that takes place at Oberammergau, Germany, in the Bavarian Alps once each decade. In 1632, the plague even penetrated the remote mountain valleys of those mountains, and although the villagers kept guard to prevent the plague reaching the village, a man from Oberammergau working as a farm labourer in a village a few miles away carried the disease home. Within a year, the Black Death had claimed over a fifth of the approximately 1,500 inhabitants of Oberammergau. Suffering badly and seeing no end to the plague in sight, the village elders gathered in their parish church on October 27, 1633 and vowed to perform Passion plays depicting the passion of Christ every ten years if God would only show mercy and release their village from the clutches of the plague.
After they kept their part of the vow in 1634 (at Pentecost) by performing the play for the first time, no villager died of the plague -- and every ten years since then, the people of Oberammergau stage the most celebrated Passion Play of all time. The city of Spearfish, South Dakota in the United States also puts on a large Passion Play -- the "Black Hills Passion Play" -- each year, and has so since 1938 after it was instituted by a German immigrant. Iztapalapa, a district of Mexico City, has a very large, very communal reenactment of Christ's Passion each year, too.
As to symbols, there is a beautiful one recounted in this tale to tell your children -- the legend of the dogwood tree: It is said at the time of the Crucifixion, the dogwood was comparable in size to the oak tree and other monarchs of the forest. Because of its firmness and strength it was selected as the timber for the Cross, but to be put to such a cruel use greatly distressed the tree. Sensing this, the crucified Jesus in His gentle pity for the sorrow and suffering of all said to it: "Because of your sorrow and pity for My sufferings, never again will the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used as a gibbet. Henceforth it will be slender, bent and twisted and its blossoms will be in the form of a cross -- two long and two short petals. In the center of the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints -- brown with rust and stained with red -- and in the center of the flower will be a crown of thorns, and all who see this will remember."
From Fish Eaters

Good Friday- Stationed at Holy Cross in Jerusalem

A Poem on the Passion of the Lord
By Lactantius, 4th c.

Whoever you are who approach, and are entering the precincts of the middle of the temple, stop a little and look upon me, who, though innocent, suffered for your crime; lay me up in your mind, keep me in your breast. I am He who, pitying the bitter misfortunes of men, came hither as a messenger of offered peace, and as a full atonement for the fault of men. Here the brightest light from above is restored to the earth; here is the merciful image of safety; here I am a rest to you, the right way, the true redemption, the banner of God, and a memorable sign of fate. It was on account of you and your life that I entered the Virgin's womb, was made man, and suffered a dreadful death; nor did I find rest anywhere in the regions of the earth, but everywhere threats, everywhere labours.
First of all a wretched dwelling in the land of Judged was a shelter for me at my birth, and for my mother with me: here first, amidst the outstretched sluggish cattle, dry grass gave me a bed in a narrow stall. I passed my earliest years in the Pharian regions, being an exile in the reign of Herod; and after my return to Judaea I spent the rest of my years, always engaged in fastings, and the extremity of poverty itself, and the lowest circumstances; always by healthful admonitions applying the minds of men to the pursuit of genial uprightness, uniting with wholesome teaching many evident miracles: on which account impious Jerusalem, harassed by the raging cares of envy and cruel hatred, and blinded by madness, dared to seek for me, though innocent, by deadly punishment, a cruel death on the dreadful Cross.
And if you yourself wish to discriminate these things more fully, and if it delights you to go through all my groans, and to experience griefs with me, put together the designs and plots, and the impious price of my innocent Blood; and the pretended kisses of a disciple, and the insults and strivings of the cruel multitude; and, moreover, the blows, and tongues prepared for accusations. Picture to your mind both the witnesses, and the accursed judgment of the blinded Pilate, and the immense Cross pressing my shoulders and wearied back, and my painful steps to a dreadful death.
Now survey me from head to foot, deserted as I am, and lifted up afar from my beloved mother. Behold and see my locks clotted with blood, and my blood-stained neck under my very hair, and my head drained with cruel thorns, and pouring down like rain from all sides a stream of blood over my divine face. Survey my compressed and sightless eyes, and my afflicted cheeks; see my parched tongue poisoned with gall, and my countenance pale with death. Behold my hands pierced with nails, and my arms drawn out, and the great wound in my side; see the blood streaming from it, and my perforated feet, and blood-stained limbs. Bend your knee, and with lamentation adore the venerable wood of the Cross, and with lowly countenance stooping to the earth, which is wet with innocent blood, sprinkle it with rising tears, and at times bear me and my admonitions in your devoted heart.
Follow the footsteps of my life, and while you look upon my torments and cruel death, remembering my innumerable pangs of body and soul, learn to endure hardships, and to watch over your own safety. These memorials, if at any time you find pleasure in thinking over them, if in your mind there is any confidence to bear anything like my sufferings, if the piety due, and gratitude worthy of my labours shall arise, will be incitements to true virtue, and they will be shields against the snares of an enemy, aroused by which you will be safe, and as a conqueror bear off the palm in every contest.
If these memorials shall turn away your senses, which are devoted to a perishable world, from the fleeting shadow of earthly beauty, the result will be, that you will not venture, enticed by empty hope, to trust the frail enjoyments of fickle fortune, and to place your hope in the fleeting years of life.
But, truly, if you thus regard this perishable world, and through your love of a better country deprive yourself of earthly riches and the enjoyment of present things, the prayers of the pious will bring you up in sacred habits, and in the hope of a happy life, amidst severe punishments, will cherish you with heavenly dew, and feed you with the sweetness of the promised good. Until the great favour of God shall recall your happy" soul to the heavenly regions, your body being left after the fates of death. Then freed from all labour, then joyfully beholding the angelic choirs, and the blessed companies of saints in perpetual bliss, it shall reign with me in the happy abode of perpetual peace.
From Fish Eaters

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Restoration in Progress: Building Catholic Communities

Tenebrae- Matins and Lauds of Good Friday

Holy Week Customs- Maundy Thursday

As to customs, many families have a practice of visiting the tabernacles of three or seven nearby churches after the Mass on this day as a sort of "mini-pilgrimage" (any nearby Catholic churches will do). Some families visit the churches directly after the evening Mass; others go home and wake up in the middle of the night to make the visits (though since churches are rarely open all night these days, this would be hard to do). The spirit of the visits to the churches is keeping vigil in the Garden of Gethsemani while Jesus prayed before His arrest. Matthew 26:36 "Then Jesus came with them into a country place which is called Gethsemani; and he said to his disciples: Sit you here, till I go yonder and pray."
In Germany, Maundy Thursday is known as "Green Thursday" (Grundonnerstag), and the traditional foods are green vegetables and green salad, especially a spinach salad. In Latin countries, Jordan almonds ("confetti") are eaten today and also throughout Eastertide.

Back when Kings and Queens of England were Catholic, they, too, would wash the feet of 12 subjects, seeing the footwashing rite also as an example of service and humility. They would also give money to the poor on this day, a practice is said to have begun with St. Augustine of Canterbury in A.D. 597, and performed by Kings since Edward II. Now the footwashing isn't done (it was given up in the 18th c.), but a special coin called "Maundy Money" is minted and given to the selected elderly of a representative town.

On this day, one may gain a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions, by reciting the Tantum Ergo (Down in Adoration Falling).
From Fish Eaters

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Maundy Thursday- Stationed at St. John Lateran

Nos autem gloriari oportet in cruce Domini nostri Jesu Christi: in quo est salus, vita, et resurrectio nostra, per quem salvati, et liberati sumus.
Deus miseraeatur nostri, et benedicat nobis; illuminet vultum suum super nos, et misereatur nostri.

Tenebrae- Matins and Lauds of Maundy Thursday

Holy Week Customs- Spy Wednesday

Today and during the Sacred Triduum, the Matins and Lauds of the Divine Office are often sung in a haunting service known as the Tenebrae service ("tenebrae" meaning "shadows"), which is basically a funeral service for Jesus. During the Matins on Good Friday, one by one, the candles are extinguished in the Church, leaving the congregation in total darkness, and in a silence that is punctuated by the strepitus meant to evoke the convulsion of nature at the death of Christ. It has also been described as the sound of the tomb door closing. During the Triduum, the Matins and Lauds readings come from the following day's readings each night because the hours of Matins and Lauds were pushed back so that the public might better participate during these special three days (i.e., the Matins and Lauds readings heard at Spy Wednesday's tenebrae service are those for Maundy Thursday, the readings for Maundy Thursday's tenebrae service are from Good Friday, and Good Friday's readings are from Holy Saturday's Divine Office).
Legend says that the tree upon which Judas hanged himself was the Cercis siliquastrum -- a tree that is now known as the "Judas Tree." It is a beautiful tree, native to the Mediterranean region, with brilliant deep pink flowers in the spring -- flowers that are said to have blushed in shame after Judas's suicide.
From Fish Eaters

Is Economic Justice Possible in this World? Part II

By Thomas Storck
There is moreover a special reason for regarding the social doctrine of the Church as something we should actually seek to implement. A specific condemnation has been reserved for those who belittle it, including those who merely give it lip service. Pius XI wrote in his first encyclical, Ubi Arcano (December 23, 1922), about the great number of those:
who profess Catholic teaching...concerning the rights and duties of laborers on land or in industry...and yet by their spoken and written word, and the whole tenor of their lives, act as if the teaching and oft-repeated precepts of the Sovereign Pontiffs...had lost their efficacy or were completely out of date. In all this we recognize a kind of moral, judicial, and social Modernism, and We condemn it as strongly as We do dogmatic Modernism.
Orthodox Catholics rightly hate dogmatic modernism, and are rightly dismayed at its resurgence following the Second Vatican Council. But ought we not equally to hate "moral, judicial, and social Modernism," and "condemn it as strongly as" the other? If our orthodoxy and loyalty to Catholic doctrine and to the Magisterium are genuine, then it should be evident in every area, not just where we find it convenient or where it fits in with our political opinions.
In some cases I fear that Catholics who deny the importance of this social teaching hold opinions more akin to those of some Lutheran thinkers - that this world is so utterly corrupted that it is not in any sense redeemable. Since according to this view, man himself is radically corrupted, his institutions are also. Thus the most we can hope for is that individuals are saved; the social order had best be left to the Devil. But such a notion is entirely opposed to any Catholic conception of things. These words of Pius XI, from his encyclical Quas Primas (December 1925), give a striking picture of what the Church holds out as her ideal:
If princes and magistrates duly elected are filled with the persuasion that they rule, not by their own right, but by the mandate and in place of the Divine King, they will exercise their authority piously and wisely, and they will make laws and administer them while having in view the common good and also the human dignity of their subjects. The result will be a stable peace and tranquillity, for there will be no longer any cause for discontent. Men will see in their kings or in their rulers men like themselves, perhaps unworthy or open to criticism, but they will not on that account refuse obedience if they see reflected in them the authority of Christ, God and Man. Peace and harmony, too, will result, for with the spread and the universal extent of the Kingdom of Christ men will become more and more conscious of the link that binds them together, and thus many conflicts will be either prevented entirely, or at least their bitterness will be diminished.
Pius XI sees here a social and political order which is permeated with the spirit of Jesus Christ. Far from being necessarily alienated from Him, those who hold political power are expected to rule "in place of the Divine King.
The serious difficulties that exist, then, are not good reasons for Catholics to fail to embrace the social teachings. But there is one reason which does make an attempt to do something about the Church's social teachings so especially difficult that it might almost seem to justify the hostility and lack of interest I have spoken of. This is the need for an organized and coordinated approach to social questions. In the case of chastity, generally all that is required is an individual exercise of will, strengthened by divine grace. We are not dependent on others' decisions as to whether we will be chaste or not. But this is not true with regard to social justice. As I said above, all aspects of the economy are inter-related. If a person has savings, what is he to do with them? Even if he simply places them in a savings account, how is he to know what the financial institution does with the money? Is it loaned out for a good or an evil purpose? Individual businessmen are involved in a complicated system of prices, to a great extent beyond their control. And although much more could be done, especially by large corporations, to pay just wages right now, still the entire system of wages is larger than one company or entrepreneur. Each economic actor is not entirely his own master. Amintore Fanfani, in his Catholicism, Protestantism and Capitalism, relates the following anecdote:
I remember that in a little village in Tuscany there were only two bakeries. The owner of the one wished to close on Sunday, but was unable to do so because his rival kept open, and had he himself failed to follow suit he would have lost his customers who, being restaurant-keepers, wanted fresh bread on Sundays as well as week-days.
The more complicated the economy, the more does such interdependence exist. In short, in social morality we often depend upon the decisions of other people, our individual responsibility is often less clear, and many times there are questions that involve that murky and less precise area of moral theology known as cooperation.
As a result of this, since barely one nation could bring about economic justice for itself, it is hardly possible for one firm or one individual to do so. What is needed, then, is some kind of cooperation among economic actors. In 1931, in his encyclical Quadragesimo Anno, Pius XI had already called for such cooperation to solve the grave problems of society, cooperation between different employers, between employers and employees, and among the various nations. Now one would have to be a fool not to realize that to secure such cooperation would undoubtedly be extremely hard. But there is one thing which tends to make it even harder than it need be. And unfortunately we are at present doing this one thing. What is that? It is to do nothing, not even to request such cooperation, not even to present it as an ideal. There are many problems in the world and in the Church today. And those that we recognize we generally work toward solving. We hold meetings, international conferences, write articles, sign treaties, pass laws. But to secure economic justice next to nothing is done. Of course it would be difficult. But all the problems of the world and the Church are difficult. If we do nothing we cannot expect even to begin to solve them. So to say that the problems of creating a just economy are impossible to solve, when we really do not even seriously desire one, seems to me more than a bit hypocritical.
Moreover, when we think about working toward a just social order, we should keep in mind the limitations of living in a fallen world. As Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in A Turning Point for Europe?, speaking of mishpat, the Hebrew word for justice:
Reason and will must attempt to make concrete and to put into practice the criterion of God's mishpat, set up by faith, in changing historical situations, always in the essential imperfectibility of man's action within history. It is not permitted to man to set up the "Kingdom", but he is charged to go toward the Kingdom through justice and love. The necessary mediation contained in the concept of mishpat indicates at the same time the precisely theological and methodological locus of Catholic (Christian) social doctrine. Faith's hope always goes infinitely farther than all our realizations, reaching into the realm of the eternal; but precisely the fact that this hope is given to us gives us the courage to take up again and again, despite all inadequacy, the struggle for a just order that is the form of freedom and builds up a dam against the tyranny of injustice.
Original version of article published in New Oxford Review, October 1997.

Spy Wednesday-Stationed at St. Mary Major

In nomine Jesu omne genu flectatur, coelestium, terrestrium et infernorum: quia Dominus factus est obediens usque ad mortem, mortem autem crucis: ideo Dominus Jesus Christus in gloria est Dei Patris.
Domine exaudi orationem meam: et clamor meus ad te veniat.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Practical Distributism: Family Food Security 101

1. Grow some of your own food.Plant fruit and nut trees, herbs, berry bushes, and other perennial food crops. Preserve heirloom varieties of plants and animals. Encourage schools and churches to start gardens. Grow greens and vegetables by your back door where they can be easily picked and brought inside the house.
2. Eat with the season.Don't eat the same boring foods every day, 365 days a year. Experience the varied and changing tastes of the seasonal foods available here in Oklahoma. Fresh produce imported to Oklahoma from Texas, California, Mexico, Chile and etc during our winter is grown with environmentally damaging practices, consumes massive amounts of fossil fuel, and involves the exploitation of migrant workers. These are grave human and environmental costs which must eventually be paid by somebody, even if it doesn't show up in the cheap globalized supermarket price. If you buy seasonal produce in the winter, make sure it was grown in Oklahoma. Buying only local fresh produce in the winter helps stop social injustice and environmental degradation.
3. Buy directly from farmers.Join the Oklahoma Food Cooperative and participate regularly. Look for farmers markets & roadside stands and stores that sell Oklahoma food. Don't buy any meats, eggs, or poultry from the Confined Animal Feeding Operation system. CAFOs cause grave environmental harm and involve production practices that are unnatural and unnecessarily cruel. If you can't find local animal products produced with sustainable and humane practices, become a vegetarian - but thanks to the Oklahoma Food Coop, this won't be necessary in these parts. Do your part to help develop a local food system.
4. Learn to process foods.Here there are many choices: freezing, dehydrating, pressure and boiling water canning, brining, pickling, salting, candying. Buy larger amounts of produce when it is in season and preserve it for when its not in season. Freezing is very easy. The best jelly is the jar you make yourself. And your homemade pickles will be the best. Brew your own beer, wine, and soft drinks too. Invest in some equipment, such as a grain mill, pressure cooker, dehydrator (check thrift stores and garage sales for good deals). For about $210, you could get everything you need to grain wheat and corn into flour and meal, make noodles, dehydrate foods, and make your own jams, jellies, and tomato sauce.
5. Learn many things. Practice many skills. Teach others.Be ready to adapt to major changes that may come your way. Accept responsibility for your own life, but understand your interdependence with others and the importance of community. Be aware of your environment and how your lifestyle impacts the community and world you live in and other people. "What I do doesn't matter" is a lie we tell ourselves to make ourselves feel better about doing wrong. Watch out for dangers and disasters that may be ahead, and act in advance to mitigate the impact of such events. The Bible says, "Remember the time of hunger in the day of plenty." The time to build the cellar is before the tornado hits. Pay attention to the details. Stick to your decisions. Don't get distracted. And don't procrastinate.
6. Make your own snacks.Start by saving money in the over-priced junk food section. If you want comfort food, try chocolate pancakes with whipped cream and chocolate sauce that you make yourself. Junk food is really trash food, make your own treats and you will not only save money, you will have better tasting and much more nutritious treats!
7. Help the Oklahoma Food Coop reach even more people.Tell your friends and family about this new way to do food. A journey of a thousand miles begins with only one step, but there are also second, third, fourth and many more steps. We are a grassroots organization, we believe we start small or we don't start at all. Do your part to help build a local food system.
8. Work together with neighbors and friends.Many things are easier to do with a group. Neighbors, friends, families, or even churches could share the cost & use, of processing equipment. For about $1,000, a church or neighborhood association could get an electric grain mill, large pressure canner, large boiling water canner, noodle maker, oat roller, food mill and other "infrastructure items" useful for neighborhood food production and preservation activities. Promote solidarity and cooperation. Don't leave the poor behind for the wolves to devour.
9. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.Nurture blessings and hope in your own life and in the life of your community. Don't let the perfect become the enemy of the good. Make a small amount of progress each month and you can build a secure and safe future for your family.
From The ChesterBelloc Mandate and the Oklahoma Food Cooperative

March 2008 Newsletter from the Institute of Christ the King

The Restoration in Progress: Ordination Pictures from the Institute of Christ the King's Seminary in Gricigliano

BBC To Air Series Exonerating Judas, Pilate and Caiaphas

Editor' Note:
This is by far one of the most ridiculous things I have read this week. Does our political correctness know no bounds? What's next, a movie exonerating Jack the Ripper, or a cartoon teaching our children the joys of belonging to the Manson family? Besides being completely opposed to every historical fact that we know of concerning the crucifixion of our Lord and the individuals who sought His death, the BBC's attempt to exonerate Judas, Pilate and Caiaphas does these men a disservice as well. It is simply a case, yet again, of modern man's inability to take responsiblity for his own actions and his inability to make the men of the past accountable for their actions as well. If the makers were as intellecutally "honest" as they claim to be, if they really wanted to "know the motives" of Judas, Pilate and Caiaphas, they should have read the Gospel accounts first. If they had done this, they would have seen that far from feeling badly about crucifying Christ, the aforementioned individuals knew exactly what they were doing; otherwise, our Lord would never have been crucified. It would be absured to think otherwise.
London, Mar 17, 2008 / 01:21 pm (CNA).- The BBC of London is set to air a mini-series on the last week of the life of Christ which will exonerate Judas, Pontius Pilate and Caiaphas of responsibility for the death of Jesus.
The series presents a Judas who anguishes over his loyalties to Jesus and to Caiaphas and a Pilate who struggles to manage his wife’s social aspirations and his career while trying to keep a lid on tensions in Jerusalem.
The creators of “The Passion,” which will be aired in four installments, said they wanted to “understand the motives of characters.”
Frank Deasy, the series writer, said he wanted to discover the motives behind Judas’ betrayal “I’ve always had a problem with Judas in ‘Passion’ stories in that he suddenly and inexplicably betrays Jesus,” he said. “I was keen to develop a psychological reality to Judas’s portrayal.”
Nigel Stafford-Clark, who produced the BBC series, said he wanted to put the characters’ actions in context “so you can see it from their point of view and realize that what they did felt legitimate”.
In an interview with the Radio Times, Stafford-Clark said, "By such accounts as there are from the time, Caiaphas was reckoned to be a fair man and a good high priest. [He was] a man doing a very difficult job and doing it well." A BBC spokesman said, "We are not seeking to subvert or rewrite the Gospel narrative – we are just retelling it to bring it alive for a contemporary audience."
The series will conclude on Easter Sunday and stars Paul Mawle as Jesus, Paul Nicholls as Judas, and James Nesbitt as Pilate.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Tuesday in Holy Week-Stationed at St. Prisca

Nos autem gloriari oportet in cruce Domini nostri Jesus Christi: in quo est salus, vita, et resurrectio nostra, per quem salvati, et liberati sumus.
Deus misereatur nostri, et benedicat nobis; illuminet vultum suum super nos, et misereatur nostri.
"Today, again, our Saviour sets out in the morning for Jerusalem. His intention is to repair to the temple, and continue His yesterday's teachings. It is evident that His mission on eart is fast drawing to its close. He says to His disciples: 'You know that after two days shall be the Pasch, and the Son of Man shall be delivered up to be crucified...' Having entered the city, Jesus directs His steps toward the temple. No sooner has he entered, than the chief priests, the scribes, and the ancients of the people, accost Him with these words: 'By what authority dost Thous these things? and who has given Thee this authority, that Thou shouldst do these things?' We shall find our Lord's answer given in the Gospel... As on the two proceeding days, Jesus leaves the city toward evening: He passes over Mount Olivet, and returns to Bethania, where He finds His blessed Mother and His devoted friends."
From The Liturgical Year- Abbot Gueranger, O.S.B (St. Bonaventure Publications, 2000)

Geert Wilder's Speech to Holland's Parliament

Editor's Note:
Everyone, including this Editor, could learn alot from the following speech. It is extraordinary to see that not everyone in Holland has bowed down to the Islamification of the West... If only the rest of Europe would take notice...
"Madam Speaker, allow me, first, to express my sincere thanks to you personally for having planned a debate on Islam on the very day of my birthday. I could not have wished for a nicer present! Madam Speaker, approximately 1400 years ago war was declared on us by an ideology of hate and violence which arose at the time and was proclaimed by a barbarian who called himself the Prophet Mohammed.I am referring to Islam.
Madam Speaker, let me start with the foundation of the Islamic faith, the Koran. The Koran's core theme is about the duty of all Muslims to fight non-Muslims; an Islamic Mein Kampf, in which fight means war, jihad. The Koran is above all a book of war, a call to butcher non-Muslims (2:191, 3:141, 4:91, 5:3), to roast them (4:56, 69:30-69:32), and to cause bloodbaths amongst them (47:4). Jews are compared to monkeys and pigs (2:65, 5:60, 7:166), while people who believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God must according to the Koran be fought (9:30).
Madam Speaker, the West has no problems with Jews or Christians, but it does have problems with Islam. It is still possible, even today, for Muslims to view the Koran, which they regard as valid for all time, as a licence to kill. And that is exactly what happens. The Koran is worded in such a way that its instructions are addressed to Muslims for eternity, which includes today's Muslims. This in contrast to texts in the Bible, which is formulated as a number of historical narratives, placing events in a distant past. Let us remind ourselves that it was Muslims, not Jews or Christians, who committed the catastrophic terrorist attacks in New York, Madrid and London; and that it was no coincidence that Theo van Gogh was brutally murdered by a Muslim, Mohammed Bouyeri.
Madam Speaker, I acknowledge that there are people who call themselves Muslims and who respect our laws. My party, the Freedom Party, has nothing against such people, of course. However, the Koran does have something against them. For it is stated in the Koran in Sura 2, verse 85, that those believers who do not believe in everything the Koran states will be humiliated and receive the severest punishment; which means that they will roast in Hell. In other words, people who call themselves Muslims but who do not believe, for example, in Sura 9, verse 30, which states that Jews and Christians must be fought, or, for example, in Sura 5, verse 38, which states that the hand of a thief must be cut off, such people will be humiliated and roast in Hell. Note that it is not me who is making this up. All this can be found in the Koran. The Koran also states that Muslims who believe in only part of the Koran are in fact apostates, and we know what has to happen to apostates. They have to be killed.
Madam Speaker, the Koran is a book that incites to violence. I remind the House that the distribution of such texts is unlawful according to Article 132 of our Penal Code. In addition, the Koran incites to hatred and calls for murder and mayhem. The distribution of such texts is made punishable by Article 137(e). The Koran is therefore a highly dangerous book; a book which is completely against our legal order and our democratic institutions. In this light, it is an absolute necessity that the Koran be banned for the defence and reinforcement of our civilisation and our constitutional state. I shall propose a second-reading motion to that effect.
Madam Speaker, there is no such thing as "moderate Islam".... As Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan said the other day, and I quote, "There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that's it".... Islam is in pursuit of dominance. It wishes to exact its imperialist agenda by force on a worldwide scale (8:39). This is clear from European history. Fortunately, the first Islamic invasion of Europe was stopped at Poitiers in 732; the second in Vienna in 1683. Madam Speaker, let us ensure that the third Islamic invasion, which is currently in full spate, will be stopped too in spite of its insidious nature and notwithstanding the fact that, in contrast to the 8th and 17th centuries, it has no need for an Islamic army because the scared "dhimmis" in the West, also those in Dutch politics, have left their doors wide open to Islam and Muslims.
Apart from conquest, Madam Speaker, Islam is also bent on installing a totally different form of law and order, namely Sharia law. This makes Islam, apart from a religion for hundreds of millions of Muslims also, and in particular, a political ideology (with political/constitutional/Islamic basic values, etc). Islam is an ideology without any respect for others; not for Christians, not for Jews, not for non-believers and not for apostates. Islam aims to dominate, subject, kill and wage war.
Madam Speaker, the Islamic incursion must be stopped. Islam is the Trojan Horse in Europe. If we do not stop Islamification now, Eurabia and Netherabia will just be a matter of time. One century ago, there were approximately 50 Muslims in the Netherlands. Today, there are about 1 million Muslims in this country. Where will it end? We are heading for the end of European and Dutch civilisation as we know it. Where is our Prime Minister in all this? In reply to my questions in the House he said, without batting an eyelid, that there is no question of our country being Islamified. Now, this reply constituted a historical error as soon as it was uttered. Very many Dutch citizens, Madam Speaker, experience the presence of Islam around them. And I can report that they have had enough of burkas, headscarves, the ritual slaughter of animals, so-called honour revenge, blaring minarets, female circumcision, hymen restoration operations, abuse of homosexuals, Turkish and Arabic on the buses and trains as well as on town hall leaflets, halal meat at grocery shops and department stores, Sharia exams, the Finance Minister's Sharia mortgages, and the enormous over representation of Muslims in the area of crime, including Moroccan street terrorists.In spite of all this, Madam Speaker, there is hope. Fortunately. The majority of Dutch citizens have become fully aware of the danger, and regard Islam as a threat to our culture. My party, the Freedom Party, takes those citizens seriously and comes to their defence.Many Dutch citizens are fed up to the back teeth and yearn for action. However, their representatives in The Hague are doing precisely nothing. They are held back by fear, political correctness or simply electoral motives. This is particularly clear in the case of PvdA, the Dutch Labour Party, which is afraid of losing Muslim voters. The Prime Minister said in Indonesia the other day that Islam does not pose any danger. Minister Donner believes that Sharia law should be capable of being introduced in the Netherlands if the majority want it. Minister Vogelaar babbles about the future Netherlands as a country with a Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition, and that she aims to help Islam take root in Dutch society. In saying this, the Minister shows that she has obviously gone stark raving mad. She is betraying Dutch culture and insulting Dutch citizens.
Madam Speaker, my party, the Freedom Party, demands that Minister Vogelaar retract her statement. If the Minister fails to do so, the Freedom Party parliamentary group will withdraw its support for her. No Islamic tradition must ever be established in the Netherlands: not now and also not in a few centuries' time.
Madam Speaker, let me briefly touch on the government's response to the WRR [Netherlands Scientific Council for Government Policy] report. On page 12 of its response, the government states that Islam is not contrary to democracy or human rights. All I can say to that is that things can't get much more idiotic than this.
Madam Speaker, it is a few minutes to twelve. If we go on like this, Islam will herald the end of our Western civilisation as well as Dutch culture.
I would like to round off my first-reading contribution with a personal appeal to the Prime Minister on behalf of a great many Dutch citizens: stop the Islamification of the Netherlands!
Mr Balkenende, a historic task rests on your shoulders. Be courageous. Do what many Dutch citizens are screaming out for. Do what the country needs. Stop all immigration from Muslim countries, ban all building of new mosques, close all Islamic schools, ban burkas and the Koran. Expel all criminal Muslims from the country, including those Moroccan street terrorists that drive people mad. Accept your responsibility! Stop Islamification!Enough is enough, Mr Balkenende. Enough is enough."
From Michael

Is Economic Justice Possible in this World? Part I

By Thomas Storck
I first became aware of the existence of Catholic social teaching when I was in high school and read Richard Tawney's Religion and the Rise of Capitalism. Later I discovered the papal social encyclicals and the voluminous secondary literature of commentaries and studies. And later still I became sufficiently acquainted with it so that I began to talk to others and eventually to write about it. In the course of this I have noticed again and again the same reactions among that minority of Catholics who have even heard of the Church's social doctrine. Confining myself to Catholics who manifest a desire to be orthodox and conform their beliefs to the teaching of the Magisterium, there are, of course, some who wholeheartedly accept Catholic social teaching. But I am afraid that the larger number does not. Of these, one encounters, in the first place, libertarians, or near libertarians, those who attribute to the free market some quasi-divine ability to sort out the rights and wrongs of human behavior and who oppose any, or almost any, interference with its workings. A few of this group make no bones about their contempt for and rejection of Catholic social teaching. Because it does not accord with their own ideas about wealth creation or competition or assorted other economic ideas, they regard the papal teaching - especially before Centesimus Annus - with open derision. Despite this, they manage to retain a reputation for orthodoxy.
The other and larger part is less forthright. Though equally addicted to the same or similar propositions about wealth creation and competition as the first group, they are not so bold about their rejection of the Church's social teaching. Sometimes, by selective quotation or silence, they even attempt to make it seem as if the popes agreed with them. This group also maintains a reputation for orthodoxy.
Then, lastly, there is a group that claims to respect this teaching and to reject its contrary, but nevertheless its attitude toward the teaching is rather strange. For while professing a regard for it, these people maintain, sometimes openly, sometimes by implication, that Catholic social teaching is too unworldly, impractical, altogether impossible to implement in this life. It is with this last group that I am chiefly concerned in this article. And although I do not agree with this group, I will concede one point to them, namely, that it is very difficult to bring about any kind of just social order.
Reasons for doubt as to the feasibility of really implementing Catholic social teaching are easy to understand. Aside from the initial problem of persuading the majority, especially those in positions of power, that social justice according to the Church's vision is something to be striven for, the logistical problem of making a transition from what we have now to what we desire is overwhelming. The economy is not something that exists just on paper. The decisions that have been made in the past have created an entire network of economic and legal relationships and an infrastructure of factories, means of transportation, centers of population, and so on. Gigantic sums of money have been invested in certain ways, and the owners of those sums are not likely to meekly accept any diminution of their profits. And, for example, if we decided that one of the things we wanted to do was to foster the family farm, we would have to deal with the fact that such farms are declining in number, their owners are aging, and there are fewer younger people trained and interested in farming. Moreover, because of the complexity and interrelatedness of the economy, as soon as you begin to deal with one sector another sector becomes involved. Banking, for example, and credit touch all the other sectors intimately. Production involves transportation and questions of tariffs and free trade agreements. And since worldwide free trade agreements have been negotiated and signed, one country could only with difficulty institute policies radically at variance with the rest of the world. Altogether it seems like an impossible task.
But I would like to compare the difficulty of the task with the difficulties involved in another area of Catholic morality: Chastity. Is it feasible to expect the world to become chaste? Here the problems seem at least as daunting. In our own country and in most of the West, we have not just indifference to chastity, but outright hostility. Many are convinced that chastity is not just impossible, but psychologically unhealthy, an example of cultural repression, the unfortunate legacy of the "pale Galilean," from whose breath "the world has grown gray." Governments and international organizations are actively working against chastity; it is only pregnancy they disapprove of, not sexual activity, no matter how unchaste or bizarre. Added to this, of course, is the fact that even for those of the human race ardently committed to the preservation of chastity, it is a constant struggle simply to keep oneself and one's children chaste. Without doubt it is a difficult virtue.
All this and more is true, yet you rarely or never find those who are full of doubts about the feasibility of doing anything about Catholic social teaching taking the same view on chastity. Suggest to them that perhaps we should accommodate ourselves to the frailties of human nature, and we are immediately and loudly denounced as modernists, traitors to the Faith, worldlings. Nor do I disagree with that diagnosis. I am as committed as anyone to preaching chastity and doing everything possible to uphold it. All I ask is that we extend the same courtesy to this other and equally important area of Christian morals, the social doctrine of the Church. It would seem to me that, whatever obstacles there are to implementing Catholic social teaching, the obstacles to achieving worldwide chastity are just as great. But in neither case are these obstacles a sufficient cause for us to abandon the struggle.
From The ChesterBelloc Mandate. Original version of article published in the New Oxford Review , October 1997.

The Restoration in Progress: Palm Sunday in Rome

Letter from the Seminarians of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereing Priest

Monday in Holy Week-Stationed at the Church of St. Praxedes

Judica, Domine, nocentes me, expugna impugnantes me: apprehende arma et scutum, et exsurge in adjutorium meum, Domine virtus salutis meae.
Effunde frameam, et conclude adversus eos qui persequuntur me: dic animae meae: Salus tua ego sum. Judica, Domine.
"At length, Jesus leaves the temple, and takes the road that leads to Bethania. Having come as fare as Mount Olivet, which commands a view of Jerusalem, He sits down and rests awhile. The disciples take this opportunity of asking Him how soon the chastisements He has been speaking of in the temple will come upon the city. His answer comprises tow events: the destruction of Jerusalem, and the final destruction of the world. He thus teaches them that the first is the figure of the second. The time when each is to happen, is to be when the measure of iniquity is filled up. But with regard to the chastisement that is to befall Jerusalem, he gives this more definite answer: 'Amen I say to you: this generation shall not pass till all these things be done.' History tells us how this prophecy of Jesus was fulfilled: forty years had scarcely elapsed after His Ascension, when the Roman army encamped on this very place where He is now speaking to His disciples, and laid siege to the ungrateful and wicked city. After giving a prophetic description of that last judgment, which is to rectify all the unjust judgments of men, He leaves Mount Olivet, returns to Bethania, and consoles the anxious heart of His most holy Mother."
From The Liturgical Year- Abbot Gueranger, O.S.B. (St. Bonaventure Publications, 2000)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Palm Sunday-Stationed at the Bascilica of St. John Lateran

Domine, ne longe facias auxilium tuum a me, ad defensionem meam adspice; libera me de ore leonis, et a cornibus unicormum humilitatem meam.
Deus, Deus meus, respice in me, quare me dereliquisti? longe a salute mea verba delictorum meorum.
"Let us now go over in our minds the other events which happened to our divine Lord on this day of His solemn entry into Jerusalem. St. Luke tells us that it was on His approach to the city, that Jesus wept over it, and spoke these touching words: 'If thou also hadst known, and that in this thy day, the things that are to thy peace! But now they are hidden from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, and thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round and straiten thee on every side, and beat thee flat to the ground, and thy children who are in thee; and they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone; because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation.'"
"The sacred historian tells us that Jesus, immediately upon His entrance into the city, went to the temple and cast out all them that sold and bought there. This was the second time that He had shown His authority in His Father's house, and no one had dared to resist Him. The chief priests and pharisees found fault with Him, and accused Him to His face, of causing confusion by His entry into the city; but our Lord confounded them by the reply He made. It is thus that in after ages, when it has pleased God to glorify His Son and the Church of His Son, the enemies of both have given vent to their rage; they protested against the triumph, but they could not stop it. But when God, in the unsearchable ways of His wisdom, allowed persecution and trial to follow these periods of triumph, then did these bitter enemies redouble their efforts to induce the very people, that had cried Hosanna to the Son of David, to clamour for His being delivered up and crucified. They succeeded in fomenting persecution, but not in destroying the kingdom of Christ, and His Church. The kingdom seemed at times, to be interrupted in its progress; but the time for another triumph came. Thus will it be to the end; and then after all these changes from glory to humiliation, and from humiliation to glory, the kingdom of Jesus and of His bride will gain the last and eternal triumph over this world, which would not know the time of its visitation."
From The Liturgical Year- Abbot Gueranger, O.S.B (St. Bonaventure Publications, 2000)