Feb 142014
 

Replica guillotine from the French Revolution. By Guillotinemodels.jpg: Model builder and photographer: Michael (last name withheld at person's request). Photos edited and resized by uploader (Wikipedia user Kauko) derivative work: NuclearWarfare (Guillotinemodels.jpg) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons

Frodo: I am frightened; and I do not feel any pity for Gollum. … he is as bad as an Orc, and just an enemy. He deserves death.

Gandalf: Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. I have not much hope that Gollum can be cured before he dies, but there is a chance of it.
— J.R.R. Tolkein. The Lord of the Rings. The Fellowship of the Ring. Book One. II. The Shadow of the Past

The Great State of Missouri executed three men since November and that prompted me to get down to work on this essay again. It had been cooking in my mind since this past summer. I don’t recall the circumstances, but a conversation had turned to the topic of capital punishment. I’d cited the Catechism on the point, and asserted that in Missouri in 2013 capital punishment isn’t licit. I heard something like this in reply:

The Church is not against the death penalty – she leaves it as a matter prudential judgment by Catholics, and that means the plain, everyday Catholics. The Church does not tell them they have to take college courses in theology, or do advanced research before making prudential judgments; she trusts them to make these prudential decisions for themselves. My prudential judgment is for capital punishment. Continue reading »

Jan 232014
 

When we say, “preaching to the choir,” we mean “preaching to the converted.” It suggests that a lot of energy is being squandered trying to convince people of something about which they are already convinced, which is why preaching to the choir, whom we assume to be among the converted, is considered a waste of time.

So why do it? Chesterton and Dale Ahlquist tell us in this article from the Bellarmine Foundation Forum.

 Posted by at 5:01 pm
Nov 142013
 

The current controversy over same sex “marriage” and the increasing level of social acceptance of a variety of other socially destructive behaviors and entertainments should be alarming to all of us, especially in view of the fact that the past has been prologue , and is likely to be so in the future. Each of us is a sinner, of course, no exceptions; the problem is acceptance of our destructive behaviors as harmless when, in reality, they’re sins precisely because they’re destructive.

Here’s a telling observation by a nineteenth century French economist, Frederic Bastiat: “When misguided public opinion honors what is despicable and despises what is honorable, punishes virtue and rewards vice, encourages what is harmful and discourages what is useful, applauds falsehood and smothers truth under indifference or insult, a nation turns its back on progress, and can be restored only by the terrible lessons of catastrophe.”

Wouldn’t it benefit everyone to take note, and maybe take action, even if politically incorrect, to avoid the “terrible lessons of catastrophe”?

R. E. Hurley, M.D.

Jul 262013
 

One advantage I suppose to the condition of never quite having grown up is I spend time with young adults. This is becoming more and more difficult as I am less and less young myself — before my hair turned entirely grey I could fit in a little easier. Still, one thing I hear from time to time is a cry in the wilderness about what young Catholics truly want.  Maybe I get to hear it because I’m 1) not their parents, and 2) not a priest. But especially from the better educated or more sensitive, some variation on this is common

The problem is all these pastors, youth pastors and music directors keep telling us young folk what bores us, what we really like, what we find interesting. And guess what, THEY’RE WRONG!

There’s a young woman with a blog who calls herself Rachel and wrote an essay What Young Catholics Truly Want. I recommend it. Some of the comments are evidently from priests who seem to know what Young Catholics Truly Want and want (evidently) to give it to them, but they’re afraid of alienating Catholics my age on up. I don’t quite know what to tell them about that particularly, but it sure looks to me like the concept of Youth Ministry should be revisited. Any Young Catholics reading this? What do you think?

Jul 052013
 

In case you missed it, here is a transcription of Archbishop Carlson’s Sermon given at the closing Mass of the Fortnight For Freedom, July 3rd, 2013. For the time being at least, you can click here to hear and see the St. Louis Review’s video made at the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica, with about 1,500 in attendance. It may go behind the paywall, we don’t know. The transcript was made from the video by a Credo Board member, and he added some footnotes and hyperlinks. The opening greetings have been omitted. Without further ado, the Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis:

… As I welcome you to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, as we gather to pray this day for the protection of Religious Freedom, we do so on the Feast of St. Thomas the Apostle. St. Thomas is probably best remembered for the passage in today’s Gospel that speaks about his doubt of the resurrection of our Lord. But through God’s great mercy and love, he was able to encounter in a personal way as each of must Jesus Christ. And through God’s good Grace, his heart was opened. And he said to the Lord as we read in today’s Gospel making his great act of faith “my Lord and my God1”. Continue reading »

May 092013
 

Full Length Portrait of Archbishop Robert J Carlson, circa 2012Archbishop J. Carlson has written a pastoral letter for the Year of Faith titled Go and Announce the Gospel of the Lord  wherein he gives a forthright recitation of what Credo Co-Founder Ken Jones called Leading Catholic Indicators, asks what it means for the future, and moves on to examine what caused it and what can be done about it.

He identifies three causes: 1) Confusion following Second Vatican; 2) Secularization, and 3) Personal Sin, which his Excellency called “Personal Choices”. But he wrote unequivocally about sin. He hints at solutions in this section: leadership, education, engagement and personal holiness. Continue reading »

May 092013
 

Christianity for Modern Pagans by Peter KreeftThe first annual John Cardinal Glennon Lecture in Philosophy was a Peter Kreeft Lecture on Blaise Pascal and the New Evangelization. This assigned topic turned out a lively recap of his 2003 book Christianity for Modern Pagans, which is a commentary on (some of) Pascal’s Pensées (thoughts), which in turn was a posthumously published collection of little notes he’d made and didn’t live long enough to ruin by turning them into a book. If you’re wondering what Pascal might have to offer “apostate Christendom” besides his famous Wager, Kreeft said he thinks Pascal is the single most effective apologist he knows of for moderns. What follows here is only one example from the lecture and is very much abbreviated, so by all means order a copy of the lecture by calling St. Joseph Radio at (636)447-6000. $10, tax & postage included. If you can send a little extra, it will help pay the rent and carry on with an important (if grossly underutilized) service. We recommend buying several copies and giving them to any modern pagans you may know. Maybe it’ll whet their appetites for the book. Continue reading »

Apr 242013
 

Book Cover Religious Freedom: Did Vatican II Contradict Traditional Catholic Doctrine?Can Dignitatis Humanae be reconciled with traditional Catholic doctrine? A new book-length debate on this question between Credo Spiritual Adviser Fr. Brian Harrison O.S. and Arnold T. Guminski has just come off the press and is available for order from St. Augustine’s Press by clicking here.

One of the gravest and most divisive issues confronting the Catholic Church in recent decades—a major factor in an ongoing institutionalized rupture between Rome and at least half a million traditionalist Catholics – is the question of whether Vatican II’s Declaration Dignitatis Humanae (DH) can be reconciled with traditional Church doctrine on religious liberty. Although the book is not a primer on the Church’s traditional teaching and is not an exhaustive treatment of DH, it does provide a tour and “a sound albeit select introduction to the history of Church teaching on religious liberty.” Continue reading »

 Posted by at 9:31 am
Apr 202013
 

Doctor Anthony Esolen, professor of English at Providence College in Rhode Island, presented “Fatherhood and Freedom” as 2013 Frederick Philip Kenkel Memorial Lecture for the Feast of St. Joseph, co-sponsored by Credo of the Catholic Laity and the Catholic Union of Missouri. With over 130 in attendance, Professor Esolen explained the necessity of fathers and fatherhood, not only in the family, but also in society.

Line drawing of Telemachus and Penelope in front of a tapestry-making framrTouching on works by Milton and even ancient classics such as by Dante, the members of Credo were given illustrations of the largely unchanging role of fathers from times long past up to the present, in societies stretching from east to west.  Far from being only a western, or Christian, or relatively recent institution in the history of man, the role and identity of fatherhood is universal and has always been an important, even necessary component for the preservation of freedom and law. Continue reading »

 Posted by at 11:42 am
Mar 142013
 

Pope Francis Bowing towards the PeopleWorking away on the next issue of Evangelium with EWTN in the background, I heard “I announce to you a great joy: We have a pope! The most eminent and most reverend lord, Lord Jorge Mario, Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, Bergoglio, who has taken for himself the name Francis.” It was of course in Latin, but because of many influences including Credo, I was able to catch most of it.

So Cardinal Bergoglio has decided to call himself Francis. We have not yet learnt which Francis he means to name himself for — Francis of Assisi, Francis Xavier, or even Francis de Sales. But he is a Pope of firsts: the first Francis, the first from the New World, the first Jesuit Pope, very likely the first Pope to ask the people to pray for God to bless him before he blessed them. Probably the first Bishop of Rome to greet his new diocese with “good evening, everybody” and to close with “go get some sleep”. And the first pope properly called a son of Second Vatican.

Continue reading »