To close this Year of Faith, we thought we should hearken back to the last Year of Faith and talk a little about creeds. We presume everyone reading this knows the Apostle’s Creed and the Nicene Creed. There is also the so-called Athanasian Creed. At the close of the Council of Trent, a new creed was published, ditto at the close of Vatican I. New creeds tend to deal with “the problem du jour” — the Nicene Creed dealt with the procession of the Holy Spirit; the Athanasian Creed, deals (again) with Trinitarian Theology (especially contra Arius), and the necessity of the Church for salvation. The Trent Creed dealt with claims of the Protestants. After the close of Vatican II, Pope Paul VI published what can be fairly called The Creed of Paul VI or maybe The Pauline Creed, published for the first Year of Faith in 1968. Although it is mainly an expansion on the Nicene creed, true to form it deals with problems of the day: Modernism and other theological speculations, and the balance between concern for the world, and concern for the Kingdom. Read more “Faith and Creeds”
The public is most cordially invited to the celebration of Vespers, even though you may not be a member of the Latin Liturgy Association. This event is open to the public. Read more “Latin Liturgy Association Sung Vespers in Springfield Illinois”
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. Read more “Prudential Judgment and the Death Penalty”
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?
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 (sorry, no longer available) 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”. Read more “Archbishop Carlson’s Sermon”
Archbishop 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. Read more “Go and Announce the Gospel of the Lord Archbishop Robert J Carlson”
The 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. Read more “Peter Kreeft Lecture on Blaise Pascal and the New Evangelization”
Working 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.
It strikes me that we have in Saint Thomas More a model for our time. The question we face is similar: shall religion be supreme or shall temporal opinion? What is the extent of the accommodation that may be reached? Has truth itself a claim on our very lives? And have we the courage of Saint Thomas More to act entirely without support? Read this talk given by Hilaire Belloc in July of 1929, before Thomas More was raised to the altars, at the More Memorial Exhibition, and then let us in these days invoke the patronage of Saint Thomas More, earning it, so to speak, by our own actions, and lending him a support in posterity he has not found in England, France, or elsewhere in the ruin of Christendom.
This was delivered as a speech and has the quality of spoken word. Further, it had sentence structures more complex than we are used to and was given by an Englishman, not an American. My advice to you is to read it aloud in full voice so you will slow down and pay attention to how it sounds. At the very least, imagine you are reading aloud, moving your lips. I found it in a book compiled by Patrick Cahill titled Hilaire Belloc One Thing and Another A Miscellany from His Uncollected Essays, Hollis & Carter, 1955. In turn Cahill found it in The Fame of Blessed Thomas More, Sheed & Ward, 1929.
The Witness to Abstract Truth
by Hilaire Belloc
I come to speak to you to-day upon the Blessed Thomas More, and I come to speak of him under one aspect alone; for what one man can say in the few brief moments of a public address should not, upon such a subject, touch more than one aspect, lest his audience be confused. But that aspect is surely the chief one in connection with such a name. Read more “Saint Thomas More a Model for Our Time”
The St. Louis Art Museum has an exhibit up Federico Barocci: Renaissance Master through this coming Sunday, January 20th, that is well-worth seeing. This particular preview image here is better than many you will find online — the colors and tone-scale are pretty true, but nothing compared to seeing the real thing in person. The idea that “religious art” is dark and somber is wrong, wrong, wrong. These paintings are stunning and huge — most of them are of architectural scale, not paintings for a suburban living room.
Barocci had a truly Catholic eye — he could capture a supernatural vision within mundane (even funny) ordinary life. An example is here in the painting called La Madonna del Gatto, or roughly Our Lady of the Cat. She is holding St. John and our Lord in a domestic setting where the last prophet of the Old Testament is playing with (teasing?) a cat. The message here is that Salvation History isn’t a mere abstraction — it happened and looked at least at the time pretty ordinary (and conventionally nuts). This is what “incarnation” means and Barocci got it on canvas. Read more “Federico Barocci Renaissance Master”