Tuesday, 13 November 2018

We Need a New Elite | Intellectual Takeout

https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/article/we-need-new-elite

Why Cultural Marxism Seeks to Control Culture | Intellectual Takeout

https://www.intellectualtakeout.org/article/why-cultural-marxism-seeks-control-culture

Monday, 29 October 2018

RORATE CÆLI: De Mattei - To the youth: there is only one way to be happy: be holy!

RORATE CÆLI: De Mattei - To the youth: there is only one way to be happy: be holy!

De Mattei - To the youth: there is only one way to be happy: be holy!

On October 20, 2018, the Voice of the Family held a conference in Rome entitled Created for heaven: the mission of Catholic young adults in today's world. This  inspiring talk published below was delivered by Professor Roberto de Mattei.

Partcipants at the Voice of the Family October 2018 Conference in Rome.


What to say to the young of today? I can say nothing other than what I tell myself each day: be holy. This isn't an abstract question; it's a concrete question that concerns each one of us, man or woman, young or old, nobody excluded. I need to be convinced of this: I might attain all the fortunes of life: health, wealth, pleasure, honors and power, but if I don't become holy, my life will have been a failure.


On the other hand, I might experience trials and tribulations of all sorts, I might appear a failure in the eyes of the world, but if I become holy I will have attained the true and only purpose of my life. Man was created to be happy. There is only one way to be happy: be holy. Holiness makes for man's happiness and the glory of God.

But how to be holy? By following my vocation. The vocation which God is calling me to. Following one's vocation means doing the will of God. Whatever the vocation, it's all about God's will for us.

Each person has their own specific vocation. What God asks of each soul, represents its vocation, which is the special form Providence wants each person to work and grow in. Every man has a special vocation since each has been wanted and loved by God in a different way. There are no two creatures alike, nor, in the course of history, have there been vocations absolutely alike, seeing as the will of God is different for every creature and every creature that has entered time, from nothingness, is unique. Father Faber dedicates one of his spiritual conferences to this theme: "All men have a special vocation" (Spiritual Conferences, Burn & Oates, London 1906, pp. 375-396). Each man has a specific vocation, different from that of any other man, since God loves every one of us with a special love.

What does this special love of God for me consist of? First of all, God created me, giving  my body and soul the characteristics and qualities that pleased Him. God did not only create me, He keeps me alive, providing me with the being in which I live. If God ceased even for a second to imbue my being, I'd fall into that nothingness from which He brought me forth. God, after creating us, has not left us to the mercy of chance. Each hair on our head has been counted (Mat. 19, 30), and not one hair falls without the Lord's permission. (Luke, 21,18). And if the number and fall of my hair are all calculated – what then, is not going to be calculated in our lives?

"God does not look at us merely in the mass and multitude", writes Father Faber.  "From all eternity God determined to create me not simply a fresh man, not simply the son of my parents, a new inhabitant of my native country, but he resolved to create me such as I am, the me by which I am myself, the me by which other people know me, a different me from any that has ever been created hitherto, and from any that will be created hereafter". "It was just me, with my individual peculiarities, the size, shape, fashion and way of my particular single, unmated soul, which in the calmness of His eternal predilection drew Him to create me" (Spiritual Conferences, p. 375).

In short, God has traced the laws of my physical, moral and intellectual development along with the laws of my supernatural growth.

How did He do this?  Through instruments. What instruments? These instruments are the creatures I meet in my life. The Carthusian, Dom Pollien, invites us to calculate the number of creatures that have been part of the reality of our existence (Cristianesimo vissuto, Edizioni Fiducia, Roma 2017). The physical influences of time, seasons and climate, the moral influences of relatives, teachers, friends and [even the] enemies we have met along the way; all the books we have read, the words we have heard, the things we have seen, the situations in which we have found ourselves – nothing is by chance, given that there is no such thing as chance – everything has a significance.  

These influences, these movements are the work that God performs in us. All these creatures, explains Dom Pollien, are placed in motion by Him and they do nothing other than what God wants them to do in us. Everything occurs at a given time; it acts on the right point, it produces the movement necessary to exercise a physical, moral or intellectual influence on us. This influence is actual grace. Actual grace is the supernatural action that God exercises on us at every moment, through creatures. Creatures are instruments that bring grace. They are the instruments of God for one purpose only: the forming of saints.  Everything that happens, all that one does, St. Paul says, everything without exception, contributes to the same work and this work is the good of those that the will of God calls to holiness (Rom, 8,28). Nothing fails towards this purpose, everything converges towards this outcome. Actual grace is everywhere and intimately connects the natural and the supernatural. And God proportions the quality of His graces to the needs of our life, according to the designs of His mercy towards us and according to the response we lend to His action.

How do we respond to this uninterrupted action of grace on our souls? We let God act on our souls, without ever worrying about tomorrow, since, as the Gospel says 'sufficient for the day is the evil thereof' (Mathew, 6, 34). "Let God act", said Cardinal Merry del Val: "Remember that circumstances which you yourself have not occasioned are God's messengers. They come a thousand times a day to tell you the different ways in which you may show Him your love". Val (Let God Act, Talacre Abbey, 1974, p. 2).

A religious who lived very closely with St. John Bosco was asked whether the Saint was ever worried in the midst of his countless works, in his sometimes tumultuous life. The religious replied in this manner: "Don Bosco never, not even a minute before, thought about what he was about to do a minute later." Don Bosco, who understood the action of grace, always sought to do the will of God in the present moment. And following this path he fulfilled his vocation. 

In Rome, next to the central station, stands the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, built by Don Bosco just before his death, at the cost of immense sacrifices. The Basilica was solemnly consecrated on May 14th 1887 by the Cardinal Vicar in the presence of numerous civil and religious authorities. On May 16th 1887, Don Bosco himself offered Mass at the altar of Mary, Help of Christians: it was his only celebration in the Church of the Sacred heart and, as a plaque appended on the centenary of the event commemorates, the Mass was interrupted fifteen times by the sobs of the old priest, who understood the significance of his famous "dream of 9 years".  God showed him the vast panorama of his life and revealed to him how, from his childhood, he had been prepared and led by God to fulfill his earthly mission.        

Every soul has its vocation, because it has its different function in the Body of the Church. He who has the vocation of marriage, doesn't have it for himself, but for the Church. He who has a religious vocation, doesn't have it for himself, but for the Church. This vocation, writes Father Faber, flows directly from our eternal predestination, but is entrusted to the hands of our free will and depends on it: "I clearly belong to a plan, and have a place to fill  and a work to do  which are all special; and only my speciality, my particular me, can fill this place or do this work".  This means that I have a tremendous responsibility. "Responsibility is the definition of life. It is the inseparable characteristic of my position as a creature" "From this point of view life looks very serious" (Spiritual Conferences, p. 377).

There is no other path that leads man to the holiness which everyone is called to, in order to be happy. Let us go along this path with the help of Our Lady and the Angels. God has placed us near an Angel to guard our vocation. Our Guardian Angel is our vocation perfected; our vocation fulfilled. He is the model for our vocation. For this we need to pray to him and listen to the words he whispers.

There are vocations for single people; there are vocations for families, which are not only natural ones, but also those spiritual families, with their charisms; there are vocations for the peoples of nations, which Plinio Correa de Oliveira spoke of frequently. Each nation has a specific vocation, which is the role that Providence has entrusted to it in history. But we were not only born into a family and a nation. We live inside a historical age. And since history is also a creature of God, in every historical age God asks for something different. Every historical age has its vocation.  The predominant vocation in the first centuries of the Church was the predisposition for martyrdom. Is there a vocation in the 21st century, in which one can find one's individual vocation?

The vocation for our age is to correspond to the desire of Heaven which  Our Lady Herself showed us at Fatima: In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.  This is the vocation of those in the cloisters, in the public squares, who, with prayer, penitence, words and action, battle for the fulfillment of this promise.

The triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is also the triumph of the Church, since the Immaculate Heart of Mary is the very Heart of the Church Itself. This triumph suggests a great battle preceding  it. And since this triumph will be social, public and solemn, this battle will also be social, public and solemn. Today, being saints means fighting this battle, which is fought, first and foremost, holding the sword of truth. It is only upon the truth that the lives of men and nations can be built, and without the truth, a society breaks down and dies. Today, Christian society has to be remade; and to remake it, the prime necessity which is called for, is that of professing and living the truth. When a Christian, with the help of  Grace, conforms his own life to the principles of the Gospel and fights in defense of the truth, he cannot be hindered by any obstacle.

In his discourse of January 21st 1945 to the Marian Congregations of Rome, Pius XII states: "The present time calls for fearless Catholics, for whom it is the most natural thing [in the world] to profess their faith openly, through their words and actions, whenever the law of God and the sentiment of Christian honour require it. Real men, upright men, resolute and intrepid! Those who are such merely halfway, the world itself discards, rejects and crushes."

"God and the Church – writes Dom Pollien in Cristianesimo vissutoask for defenders, but real defenders; those who never shrink back one step; those who know how to be faithful to orders until death; those who are formed in the rigours of discipline, in order to be ready for all the heroisms of the fight." (p. 162).

The French writer Paul Claudel, enunciated this great truth: "Youth was not made for pleasure but for heroism". The young of the 21st century cannot be attracted by the invitation of compromise with the world, but are asking the Church for a call to heroism.  Cristianesimo vissuto means militant Christianity. In the Middle Ages, at the building of a cathedral, architects, stone-masons, blacksmiths, carpenters, bishops, princes, illustrious and unknown personalities all participated,  united in the same desire to render glory to God through the stones they raised to Heaven. We are also participating in a great project. Each one of us today is called to build the immense cathedral dedicated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on the ruins of the modern world - which is nothing other than Her Reign in souls and society.  Our hearts are the stones and our voices proclaim to the world a dream that will come true. 


Translation: Contributor Francesca Romana 

           













































































































































































Tuesday, 2 October 2018

New Liturgical Movement: A Reader’s Home Oratory (Updated)

New Liturgical Movement: A Reader's Home Oratory (Updated)

A Reader's Home Oratory (Updated)

Reader Richard Seto sent us these photos of a small oratory space which he set up in his home, along with a description of how he made it. The decorations seen here are an example of the classic Lenten array which was commonly used in the Middle Ages, a more or less simple pattern of crosses on undyed cloth. As Mr Seto notes below, one could certainly make frontals and dossals for such an arrangement, with various colors depending on the liturgical season. Our thanks to him for sharing this with us.

UPDATE: Mr Seto sent in some photos of his oratory decorated in different ways for other seasons,w which I have added below.

"This easy project began by creating a niche between two tall bookcases. The set up involves:
- a corner-leg table
- a curtain rod
- a pair of curtain panels for the Lenten array
- dark red/navy fringe and/or matching fabric paint or embroidery thread
- strip of linen for the fair linen
- a pair of candlesticks
- a Crucifix

I spaced the bookcases so that there are a few inches on either side to fit the table between.


A corner-leg table where the legs come right to the edge serves best to create block works. The Lenten array is made from a pair of curtain panels. One entire panel forms the dossal, which can be painted, embroidered, or left plain.


The frontal is made by matching one edge of the remaining panel to the table and measuring the width so that the panel will cover the front with a seam allowance. I ironed the seam and sewed the entire piece the length of the panel. A frontlet can be made by measuring the height from floor to table top, adding about 4-6 inches, and cutting the panel horizontally into two pieces. If any sort of embellishment is desired, it can be either painted or embroidered onto the body of the frontal. It can be very helpful to make paper cutouts and pin them to the cloth to get a sense of scale and the effect of the final design. The fringe is sewn on the bottom of the frontal and the bottom edge of the remaining piece.

To mark the placement of the frontlet required a little trial and error, so I laid the remaining piece over the top of the frontal to get the overlap and pin the pieces together, then draped them over the table to see if the proportions looked right. Once the correct placement of the frontlet was fixed, I sewed the two pieces together. Rather than trimming off the excess at the top, I let the remaining fabric fall behind the back of the table; this makes it much easier to adjust and gives the fair linen a surface to grip.

If small children or pets are a consideration, shoe laces can be sewn to the top corner of the fabric and used to tie the fabric to the table's back legs. Hint; purchase the fringe and match the paint / embroidery thread to it.


I prefer a simple candlesticks; the pair shown are made of wrought iron ($1.99 each). I would avoid church candlesticks that can be found in antique shops since they tend to be overly ornate and draw too much attention. The focus should be the Crucifix not the candlesticks.

This entire project was executed by someone with zero sewing experience; basically it required sewing a series of straight lines. If one wishes to make this a permanent fixture, different sets of frontals can be made with damask fabrics, braid and fringe. The dossal need not match although it should harmonize with the frontal."



Sunday, 19 August 2018

The Defendant by Gilbert Keith Chesterton: Ch. 9: A Defence of Heraldry

The Defendant by Gilbert Keith Chesterton: Ch. 9: A Defence of Heraldry

Ch. 9: A Defence of Heraldry

The modern view of heraldry is pretty accurately represented by the words of the famous barrister who, after cross-examining for some time a venerable dignitary of Heralds' College, summed up his results in the remark that 'the silly old man didn't even understand his own silly old trade.'

Heraldry properly so called was, of course, a wholly limited and aristocratic thing, but the remark needs a kind of qualification not commonly realized. In a sense there was a plebeian heraldry, since every shop was, like every castle, distinguished not by a name, but a sign. The whole system dates from a time when picture-writing still really ruled the world. In those days few could read or write; they signed their names with a pictorial symbol, a cross--and a cross is a great improvement on most men's names.

Now, there is something to be said for the peculiar influence of pictorial symbols on men's minds. All letters, we learn, were originally pictorial and heraldic: thus the letter A is the portrait of an ox, but the portrait is now reproduced in so impressionist a manner that but little of the rural atmosphere can be absorbed by contemplating it. But as long as some pictorial and poetic quality remains in the symbol, the constant use of it must do something for the aesthetic education of those employing it. Public-houses are now almost the only shops that use the ancient signs, and the mysterious attraction which they exercise may be (by the optimistic) explained in this manner. There are taverns with names so dreamlike and exquisite that even Sir Wilfrid Lawson might waver on the threshold for a moment, suffering the poet to struggle with the moralist. So it was with the heraldic images. It is impossible to believe that the red lion of Scotland acted upon those employing it merely as a naked convenience like a number or a letter; it is impossible to believe that the Kings of Scotland would have cheerfully accepted the substitute of a pig or a frog. There are, as we say, certain real advantages in pictorial symbols, and one of them is that everything that is pictorial suggests, without naming or defining. There is a road from the eye to the heart that does not go through the intellect. Men do not quarrel about the meaning of sunsets; they never dispute that the hawthorn says the best and wittiest thing about the spring.

Thus in the old aristocratic days there existed this vast pictorial symbolism of all the colours and degrees of aristocracy. When the great trumpet of equality was blown, almost immediately afterwards was made one of the greatest blunders in the history of mankind. For all this pride and vivacity, all these towering symbols and flamboyant colours, should have been extended to mankind. The tobacconist should have had a crest, and the cheesemonger a war-cry. The grocer who sold margarine as butter should have felt that there was a stain on the escutcheon of the Higginses. Instead of doing this, the democrats made the appalling mistake--a mistake at the root of the whole modern malady--of decreasing the human magnificence of the past instead of increasing it. They did not say, as they should have done, to the common citizen, 'You are as good as the Duke of Norfolk,' but used that meaner democratic formula, 'The Duke of Norfolk is no better than you are.'

For it cannot be denied that the world lost something finally and most unfortunately about the beginning of the nineteenth century. In former times the mass of the people was conceived as mean and commonplace, but only as comparatively mean and commonplace; they were dwarfed and eclipsed by certain high stations and splendid callings. But with the Victorian era came a principle which conceived men not as comparatively, but as positively, mean and commonplace. A man of any station was represented as being by nature a dingy and trivial person--a person born, as it were, in a black hat. It began to be thought that it was ridiculous for a man to wear beautiful garments, instead of it being--as, of course, it is--ridiculous for him to deliberately wear ugly ones. It was considered affected for a man to speak bold and heroic words, whereas, of course, it is emotional speech which is natural, and ordinary civil speech which is affected. The whole relations of beauty and ugliness, of dignity and ignominy were turned upside down. Beauty became an extravagance, as if top-hats and umbrellas were not the real extravagance--a landscape from the land of the goblins. Dignity became a form of foolery and shamelessness, as if the very essence of a fool were not a lack of dignity. And the consequence is that it is practically most difficult to propose any decoration or public dignity for modern men without making them laugh. They laugh at the idea of carrying crests and coats-of-arms instead of laughing at their own boots and neckties. We are forbidden to say that tradesmen should have a poetry of their own, although there is nothing so poetical as trade. A grocer should have a coat-of-arms worthy of his strange merchandise gathered from distant and fantastic lands; a postman should have a coat-of-arms capable of expressing the strange honour and responsibility of the man who carries men's souls in a bag; the chemist should have a coat-of-arms symbolizing something of the mysteries of the house of healing, the cavern of a merciful witchcraft.

There were in the French Revolution a class of people at whom everybody laughed, and at whom it was probably difficult, as a practical matter, to refrain from laughing. They attempted to erect, by means of huge wooden statues and brand-new festivals, the most extraordinary new religions. They adored the Goddess of Reason, who would appear, even when the fullest allowance has been made for their many virtues, to be the deity who had least smiled upon them. But these capering maniacs, disowned alike by the old world and the new, were men who had seen a great truth unknown alike to the new world and the old. They had seen the thing that was hidden from the wise and understanding, from the whole modern democratic civilization down to the present time. They realized that democracy must have a heraldry, that it must have a proud and high-coloured pageantry, if it is to keep always before its own mind its own sublime mission. Unfortunately for this ideal, the world has in this matter followed English democracy rather than French; and those who look back to the nineteenth century will assuredly look back to it as we look back to the reign of the Puritans, as the time of black coats and black tempers. From the strange life the men of that time led, they might be assisting at the funeral of liberty instead of at its christening. The moment we really believe in democracy, it will begin to blossom, as aristocracy blossomed, into symbolic colours and shapes. We shall never make anything of democracy until we make fools of ourselves. For if a man really cannot make a fool of himself, we may be quite certain that the effort is superfluous.

Literature Network » Gilbert Keith Chesterton » The Defendant » Ch. 9: A Defence of Heraldry

New Liturgical Movement: Chesterton's "A Defense of Heraldry," and the Knack of Thinking Symbolically

New Liturgical Movement: Chesterton's "A Defense of Heraldry," and the Knack of Thinking Symbolically

Chesterton's "A Defense of Heraldry," and the Knack of Thinking Symbolically

Shawn's very fine post on Ecclesiastical Heraldry touches on a subject that is very near and dear to myself, and has been since my childhood, when I wiled away hours pouring over an oversized edition of the color plates from Foxe-Davies. A study of heraldry--and particularly ecclesiastical heraldry, with all its rules and curiosities--would itself provide grist for many fascinating articles for this site, and perhaps I may put pen to virtual paper in the future, in so much as the topic relates to sacred art and architecture, and the ceremonial rights and responsibilities of the episcopate.

Heraldry in general, though, calls to my mind two interrelated ideas whose abandonment is one of the reasons we are in the liturgical and cultural mess we are in at present. I speak of both the strange idea that the dignity of the common man excludes any sort of magnificence or splendor--has no-one heard of the historic pomp of the extinct republics of Italy?-- and the larger problem that has bedeviled us in the English-speaking world, since the outbreak of iconoclasm at the time of the Reformation, that of the inability of modern man to think in symbolic terms. This is why both religious art is largely moribund, and also accounts for much of today's amazing lack of intellectual curiosity.

This essay, "A Defense of Heraldry," by G.K. Chesterton, brought to my attention by a reader, discusses both problems with considerable aplomb:

Now, there is something to be said for the peculiar influence of pictorial symbols on men's minds. All letters, we learn, were originally pictorial and heraldic: thus the letter A is the portrait of an ox, but the portrait is now reproduced in so impressionist a manner that but little of the rural atmosphere can be absorbed by contemplating it. But as long as some pictorial and poetic quality remains in the symbol, the constant use of it must do something for the aesthetic education of those employing it. Public-houses are now almost the only shops that use the ancient signs, and the mysterious attraction which they exercise may be (by the optimistic) explained in this manner. There are taverns with names so dreamlike and exquisite that even Sir Wilfrid Lawson might waver on the threshold for a moment, suffering the poet to struggle with the moralist. So it was with the heraldic images. It is impossible to believe that the red lion of Scotland acted upon those employing it merely as a naked convenience like a number or a letter; it is impossible to believe that the Kings of Scotland would have cheerfully accepted the substitute of a pig or a frog. There are, as we say, certain real advantages in pictorial symbols, and one of them is that everything that is pictorial suggests, without naming or defining. There is a road from the eye to the heart that does not go through the intellect. Men do not quarrel about the meaning of sunsets; they never dispute that the hawthorn says the best and wittiest thing about the spring.

Thus in the old aristocratic days there existed this vast pictorial symbolism of all the colours and degrees of aristocracy. When the great trumpet of equality was blown, almost immediately afterwards was made one of the greatest blunders in the history of mankind. For all this pride and vivacity, all these towering symbols and flamboyant colours, should have been extended to mankind. The tobacconist should have had a crest, and the cheesemonger a war-cry. The grocer who sold margarine as butter should have felt that there was a stain on the escutcheon of the Higginses. Instead of doing this, the democrats made the appalling mistake--a mistake at the root of the whole modern malady--of decreasing the human magnificence of the past instead of increasing it. They did not say, as they should have done, to the common citizen, 'You are as good as the Duke of Norfolk,' but used that meaner democratic formula, 'The Duke of Norfolk is no better than you are.'
We live in one of the most prosperous ages of mankind, if not the most prosperous. We have more comfort and ease than we know what to do with. Why can we not have a bit of magnificence, too?

Read the rest here. It's great fun if you keep an open mind.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

The 'missing girls' never born in Victoria

The 'missing girls' never born in Victoria

The 'missing girls' never born in Victoria

A phenomenon of "missing girls" could be afflicting Victoria, as a study of more than a million births suggests some parents could be aborting unborn female babies or undergoing embryo selection overseas in order to have a son.

If nature was left to take its course, it is expected that for every 100 girls born, about 105 boys will be brought into the world.

But in findings researchers say indicate "systematic discrimination against females starts in the womb", mothers within some key migrant communities are recording sons at rates of 122 and 125 for every 100 daughters in later pregnancies.

Lead researcher Dr Kristina Edvardsson from Melbourne's La Trobe University said it showed gender bias persisted in Victoria, despite laws banning people from choosing the sex of their child, other than for medical reasons.

"We believe that some women may be terminating pregnancies after discovering they are expecting a girl and in other cases are travelling overseas to access non-medical sex selection services through assisted reproduction," she said.

Analysing almost 1.2 million births between 1999 and 2015, the study found while the overall ratio of male and female babies born across Victoria was as expected (at close to 105 to 100), there were notable exceptions.

During 2011 to 2015, mothers born in China had about 108 boys to every 100 girls. The bias towards boys was much higher if they already had two or more children, with boys born at a rate of almost 125 to every 100 girls.

Similarly, mothers from India had boys at a rate of about 104 to 100 for their first child. But after their second child, this blew out to almost 122 boys to every 100 girls.

The rate of males born to mothers from some South-east Asian countries was also more than expected.

Melbourne GP and president of the Australia India Society of Victoria, Dr Gurdip Aurora, said he had recently encountered one likely case of gender selection involving a couple who had migrated from India.

Dr Gurdip Aurora.

Dr Gurdip Aurora.

Photo: Luis Enrique Ascui

The pair already had three daughters, and the woman was pregnant again.

"They wanted to have an ultrasound done and [then] decide whether they would have the child or not, if it happened to be a female," Dr Aurora said.

The GP refused to help them.

There is now widespread global access to ultrasound technology to determine the sex of a baby, and Australian parents can find out their baby's gender from within 10 weeks with a newly-available blood test.

In India, Dr Aurora blames the entrenched preference for males on the country's illegal dowry system, where people are often compelled to hand over large amounts of cash, goods or property when their daughters marry.

The Indian government has estimated that two million girls go "missing" from its population each year due to sex selective abortion and other forms of discrimination that lead to premature death.

Yet this bias was not felt by all migrants, Dr Aurora said, and he believes that gender selection does not appear to be a major issue in the Australian-born Indian community.

Dr Edvardsson said after some migrants arrived in Australia they had smaller families, which could mean they were more likely to turn to sex selection to have a son, as simply continuing to have children until a male was born was not a feasible option.

Gender selection through IVF is banned in Australia, except in cases where a child's gender may help avoid the transmission of a genetic abnormality or disease. In Victoria, such cases are assessed through the patient review panel, which considered 69 applications for sex selection between 2010 and 2016.

There are, however, companies that provide gender selection through IVF to Australian parents who travel overseas, while abortion providers may have no way of knowing if a woman is seeking a termination due to a preference for a son.

Dr Cameron Loy, chair of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners in Victoria, said he would strongly advise parents not to put their health at risk by travelling overseas to countries where prenatal sex selection is legal for IVF.

A strong desire to have a child of a certain gender is not necessarily confined to select ethnic groups and many fertility service providers have called for governments to allow sex selection in Australia for the purposes of family balancing.

Dr Jim Tsaltas, a clinical director of Melbourne IVF, said there was support for the use of technology in cases where parents already had two of more children of the same gender.

Researchers will now embark on a bigger project investigating the causes and prevalence of prenatal sex selection across the country. Dr Edvardsson said it had been shown in other countries that law changes had limited effect, instead she believed there needed to be a change to the value people placed on sons and daughters.

Friday, 10 August 2018

Tradition is about to be totally cleared 'cleared through customs' | Fr. Z's Blog

Tradition is about to be totally cleared 'cleared through customs' | Fr. Z's Blog

Tradition is about to be totally cleared 'cleared through customs'

I read this at Messa in Latino in Italian which I share in my translation:

"… I went to the parish to go to confession.

The confessor, in his sixties, asked me, "I've been here for almost five years but I don't think I've ever seen you".

I replied, "It is true, Father, you haven't seen me because I go to the Shrine of … where every Sunday Mass is celebrated in ancient rite …."

"I expected the usual rebuke, as happened when I spoke with the Rector of a very famous Marian Shrine.  The confessor told me with great gentleness: "Keep going just like that, my son: that is the true future of the Church! The liturgy of our fathers will save the Church! Keep going and do not give up!"

"Father,I replied, why don't you celebrate the old Mass as well, since you think so highly of it?"
The confessor: "After my first public celebration, I would be marginalized by my order … but above all I worry that they would will send in a Protestant pastor….  Have patience a little while longer: Tradition is about to be totally 'cleared through customs' (sdoganata – legitimized) and the pestiferous confusion that reigns uncontested now will be annihilated. Have faith: Our Lady will help us!"

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

A Gatherum Omnium: Fr. Z comments on lots of today's stories | Fr. Z's Blog

A Gatherum Omnium: Fr. Z comments on lots of today's stories | Fr. Z's Blog

A Gatherum Omnium: Fr. Z comments on lots of today's stories

There is so much going on today, allow me to signal to you some things that I found interesting, but have not the time to comment upon comprehensively individual posts.

Here is a Gatherium Omnium with my pointed comments.  I want to have a little of the day off today without posting these separately, so here goes.  This is an experiment.  The combox moderation is, as I write, OFF (though some of you are on permanent moderation for one reason or another).

At Italian Sismografo, we read that the Vatican City State only abolished the death penalty in 2001, only 17 years ago, and the the Papal States applied capital punishment on 527 people in a period of 74 years between 1796 and 1870.   There was an official executioner Giovanni Battista Bugatti (aka "Mastro Titta" and "er boia di Roma").   He started work at 17 and continued for the next 68 years.  He was succeeded by Vincenzo Balducci, to whom Pius IX gave a pension of 30 scudi. The concordat with Italy in 1926 read: "Considering that the person of the Supreme Pontiff is sacred and inviolable, Italy declares that whatsoever attempt on his person or whatsoever incitement to commit such an attempt shall be punished with the same penalty forseen for all similar attempts or incitements conducted against the person of the King."

At WaPo we read the claim from AP and Nichole that Catholic orders of religious in these USA favor the ordination of women as deaconettes.   Well… of course they do!  Water is still wet and the sun still rises in the East.  CARA did a survey of men and women: 72% think it should be done.  Of course we know the state of religious orders these days, don't we.  And we know why groups such as the FFIs and the Canons of St. John Cantius, et. al. are given special treatment.

A priest friend sent an excerpt from a piece by the late and lamented Justice Antonin Scalia about capital punishment penned in First Things in 2002:

It is a matter of great consequence to me, therefore, whether the death penalty is morally acceptable. As a Roman Catholic—and being unable to jump out of my skin—I cannot discuss that issue without reference to Christian tradition and the Church's Magisterium.
The death penalty is undoubtedly wrong unless one accords to the state a scope of moral action that goes beyond what is permitted to the individual. In my view, the major impetus behind modern aversion to the death penalty is the equation of private morality with governmental morality. This is a predictable (though I believe erroneous and regrettable) reaction to modern, democratic self-government.
Few doubted the morality of the death penalty in the age that believed in the divine right of kings. Or even in earlier times. St. Paul had this to say (I am quoting, as you might expect, the King James version):
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. (Romans 13:1-5)
This is not the Old Testament, I emphasize, but St. Paul. One can understand his words as referring only to lawfully constituted authority, or even only to lawfully constituted authority that rules justly. But the core of his message is that government—however you want to limit that concept—derives its moral authority from God. It is the "minister of God" with powers to "revenge," to "execute wrath," including even wrath by the sword (which is unmistakably a reference to the death penalty). Paul of course did not believe that the individual possessed any such powers. Only a few lines before this passage, he wrote, "Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." And in this world the Lord repaid—did justice—through His minister, the state.
These passages from Romans represent the consensus of Western thought until very recent times. Not just of Christian or religious thought, but of secular thought regarding the powers of the state. That consensus has been upset, I think, by the emergence of democracy. It is easy to see the hand of the Almighty behind rulers whose forebears, in the dim mists of history, were supposedly anointed by God, or who at least obtained their thrones in awful and unpredictable battles whose outcome was determined by the Lord of Hosts, that is, the Lord of Armies. It is much more difficult to see the hand of God—or any higher moral authority—behind the fools and rogues (as the losers would have it) whom we ourselves elect to do our own will. How can their power to avenge—to vindicate the "public order"—be any greater than our own?
So it is no accident, I think, that the modern view that the death penalty is immoral is centered in the West. That has little to do with the fact that the West has a Christian tradition, and everything to do with the fact that the West is the home of democracy. Indeed, it seems to me that the more Christian a country is the less likely it is to regard the death penalty as immoral. Abolition has taken its firmest hold in post-Christian Europe, and has least support in the church-going United States. I attribute that to the fact that, for the believing Christian, death is no big deal. Intentionally killing an innocent person is a big deal: it is a grave sin, which causes one to lose his soul. But losing this life, in exchange for the next? The Christian attitude is reflected in the words Robert Bolt's play has Thomas More saying to the headsman: "Friend, be not afraid of your office. You send me to God." And when Cranmer asks whether he is sure of that, More replies, "He will not refuse one who is so blithe to go to Him." For the nonbeliever, on the other hand, to deprive a man of his life is to end his existence. What a horrible act!
Besides being less likely to regard death as an utterly cataclysmic punishment, the Christian is also more likely to regard punishment in general as deserved. The doctrine of free will—the ability of man to resist temptations to evil, which God will not permit beyond man's capacity to resist—is central to the Christian doctrine of salvation and damnation, heaven and hell. The post-Freudian secularist, on the other hand, is more inclined to think that people are what their history and circumstances have made them, and there is little sense in assigning blame.

Speaking of capital punishment, my friends Fr. Gerry Murray and Dr. Robert Royal were on Raymond Arroyo's EWTN show last night. They commented on L'Affarie McCarrick and about Francis' change to the CCC. This is "must watch TV".

They think that what Pope Francis did is, frankly, ultra vires.

Meanwhile, back in Rome, the Pope meet with a bunch of Jesuits.  He spoke to them, of course.  Here is how he greeted them in my translation:

Good day!  I am happy to welcome you.  Thanks a lot for this visit, which does me well.  When I was a student, when you had to go to the General and when with the General we had to go to the Pope, you wore the cassock and cape.  I see that this fashion is gone, thank God.

I would respond to the Holy Father – who was wearing a cassock with a little cape – that sometimes clothes do make the man.  There is a relationship between outward habit and inward habit.  Formality is a good thing.  It promotes respect and maintains roles.  Without such, with informality, comes priests saying, for example, "Call me 'uncle'!"

On that same note, Austin Ruse, of the esteemed C-FAM (Center for Family & Human Rights),  wrote something that will be controversial at the ever more valuable Crisis:

The Fetid Sea in Which They Swim

The gaying of the Church is perhaps the most diabolical attack the Devil has ever launched against the Catholic Faith.

[…]

The rest is pretty rough, so I'll leave it there. But he is *expletive" right.

Also at Crisis from Michael P. Foley:

The Jim Foley Option to End Clergy Sexual Abuse

In the wake of the "Uncle Ted" McCarrick scandal have come a series of recommendations about where the Church should go from here and what the laity can do to help. Answers range from Anthony Esolen's urging the resignation of every bishop who knew of the Cardinal's vile actions to Christopher Tollefsen's invitation to suspend all donations to diocesan coffers until the American bishops clean up their act. I also recall that when the clerical abuse scandal first broke twenty years ago, Alice von Hildebrand called for priests to follow the example of Pope St. John Paul II and use "the discipline" (self-flagellation) to mortify the flesh. Not a bad idea, that.

To this promising list I would like to add one more: the Jim Foley Option. Jim Foley was my dad (1930-2009), a relatively short but solidly-built Korean War vet who grew up on the streets of eastern Los Angeles. Jim was a devout Catholic and fiercely proud of his Irish heritage, but he differed from his fellow Irishmen in one crucial respect. As Wilfrid Sheed, son of the great Catholic apologist Frank Sheed, once explained, while the English respected the priestly office and took the man as they found him and while the Australians were cynical about their ordained ministers, the Irish were prone to an undue reverence of the clergy. [A gift that keeps on giving, it seems.]

Jim did not have this tendency. He was enormously respectful of and helpful to the priests in our life even when, which was often the case in California's San Bernadino diocese in the 1970s and '80s, those priests were broken men (usually because of alcoholism) or dishonest (especially where our parochial school's finances were concerned).

But Jim knew where to draw the line. When I was about twelve or thirteen, our parish received a new associate pastor.

[…]

He goes on to describe how the priest wanted to "fraternize" with the boys. Continuing….

[…]

My father had no proof, but the rumor made sense. Jim did not make a federal case out of it by writing to the pastor or the bishop; instead he went straight to the potential troublemaker and told him not to spend time with me. And if the priest "had any problem with this," Jim added as he thrust a finger at the priest and then a thumb over his shoulder, "I'm going ask you to take off your collar and we are going to step outside."

[…]

I anticipate all kinds of backlash from the Jim Foley Option. I don't care. Our culture has moved away from fist fights (which do note, is all that I am suggesting) to ridiculous lawsuits and hysterical shaming on social media, and I don't think it is the better for it. We have forgotten the quick and easy art of conflict resolution through threat of bloody nose.

I do not recommend the Jim Foley Option as the only solution because it clearly is not. But while reforming clerical culture and eliminating the hierarchy's Lavender Mafia will take time, the Jim Foley Option can be instituted without a moment's delay. Just think for a moment how much different the last few decades would have been if every homosexual or pedophile clergyman had lived in fear of getting the stuffing kicked out of him for preying on the innocent. Just think how different the lives of so many victims would be if they had had a Jim Foley like I did. If fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, perhaps a fear of pugilistic dads could become the beginning of clerical chastity.

[…]

A couple things about this.  First, "do it yourself gallows" or "the guillotine" this is not.  Not by a long shot.  Next, I have long been of the mind that when priests hear about other other priests doing stupid or wicked things they should get a group of the guys together and find their confrere, perhaps in the parking lot, and "explain the situation". I've never had any takers. We live in troubled times.  For my part, a long time ago in a galaxy far far away I once told a guy from another continent with a different view of women than we tend to have in these USA that, if he ever grabbed Mrs. X and shook her again or even looked at her cross-eyed, I'd introduce fractures to his ulnae and radii.  My language may have been a little more pointed and I may have said it with one hand on his office chair and the other on his desk.  He seemed to get my point despite our cultural differences and he was quite considerate toward women parishioners thereafter.  Yes, I also told the pastor.  The situation was handled.

To be honest, I really do get the urge of some for "DIY gallows", I really do.   But it's one thing to talk about fraternal correction and another thing to talk about lynching and guillotining.

But I do get it.  What normal man, seeing kids threatened or harmed, won't be enraged? For example, when I am with a family who have little kids or grandchildren around – mind you, give the present circumstances I as a rule avoid children as if they were plague bearing ship rats – something wells up in me.  I think I would probably do grievous harm to anyone who tried to hurt them: and I am not even their natural father.  Protective instincts are just plain human.  Urges to harm are of Hell. I can indeed imagine the protective instincts of a father for his sons.  Hence, what Austin wrote, above, makes a lot of sense.  He writes, of course, about the fall out to this approach:

Sure, the Jim Foley who carries out his threats could get arrested, but how many predator priests and bishops or their colluding chanceries would wish to press charges and have their own foul deeds brought into the light of day? Besides, my father would have gladly gone to jail to save me from being molested.

*sigh*  We have been put into a seriously EVIL situation.

His note about self-mortification is apposite. I think I must make a plan along these lines.

An article at Catholic World Report reminds us that Pope St. John Paul II's important encyclical Veritatis splendor will be 25 years old on 6 August, Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.  You will recall that certain elements of VS were key to the Five Dubia of the Four Dubia Cardinals about Amoris laetitia, which to all appearances contradicts VS. My friend Sam Gregg of ACTON Institute wrote:

Veritatis Splendor was certainly that rarity: a post-1960s text which forcibly challenged the moral subjectivism and sentimentalism which had permeated most Western culture-shaping institutions. But the encyclical wasn't just about reaffirming basic Catholic moral teaching. It sought to present to a church and world increasingly settling for moral mediocrity a compelling narrative about what freedom and the good life are really about.

Isn't that a key?  Note the "sentimentalism" point.  If you go back and watch that video I posted, above, you will hear Robert Royal say that he thinks that a certain sentimentalism could lie behind the change to the CCC.

Gregg's whole article is really good.  Spend the time to read it.  Perhaps I should PODCAzT it?

BTW… I was at the presser for the presentation of Veritatis splendor (yes, I am getting old).  I remember reading the Latin, which was customarily distributed to journalists before these pressers.  Then I saw it in Latin in L'Osservatore Romano the next day, back when L'OR was mostly useless and harmless instead of positively ridiculous and weird.  Then, months later, I remember sitting in the office of the PCED and checking the Latin of VS in the newly delivered copy of the AAS.  I pulled out the original release in Latin and started to compare it with the official, final version in the AAS.  I found change after change after change.

When They Who Are High Atop The Thing stopped writing their documents in Latin, they got longer and murkier.  With the introduction of word processors the length and murkiness increased.  Now, documents have to be reverted into Latin, which to this days remains the official version.

This to students and scholars: When a document is released these days, it comes out in various languages, none of which are Latin.  However, the Latin that will appear in the AAS is the official version.  However, the Latin version is hardly ever looked and and it can have changes.  So, most of the time, when people cite modern papal documents, they are not referring to the true, official version.  Nor are they double checking the vernacular they are working from against the finalized text in the AAS.  Is this a problem?

At The Catholic Thing, David Warren writes about the change about capital punishment. He opines:

At a time when the Catholic Church endures spiritual catastrophe, he has decisively re-focused from the interior and sacred, to the exterior and profane – in effect from religion to politics, of an unmistakably left-liberal stamp, changing the demeanor of his office by his dress and gestures, his appointments, and so forth.

My impression – that he is systematically undermining the integrity of Catholic teaching, and politicizing what was once apolitical – may be discounted. It is only my opinion. In the realm of fact, I simply notice that the Church is at war within herself, with rival factions, "traditionalist" and "modernist." One would have to be obtuse not to notice.

Hard to argue with that.  If anything has advanced in the last few years in the Church it is disunity.

Church Militant, a few days ago posted a story about how the Diocese of Orlando barred a parish from ad orientem worship.  It seems that the priest started this quite a while ago, but now the diocese has crushed it out… with raw power, not with law or reason.  There is a local petition to the diocese.  However, there is also a separate petition for the reversal of this oppression intended for people who are not in the diocese.  I have no idea if any of you are interested in such things, but that petition can be found HERE.

The faithful have a right to be heard.   Let's put it this way: In the present environment, I would not want to be a bishop known as blowing off the legitimate aspirations of the faithful.

That's it for now.  I may add later.

For now I will NOT turn on moderation.  However, some of you are assigned to permanent moderation because some of you do not think before posting or engage your reason filters, or whatever.

I don't really need the fruits of your chattering Id in my combox.  Also, I know some of you reeeeeally want to vent you frustrations, but let's have more decorum than the libs provide.

If you have any charity towards me, please don't act like a dope in my combox.  Your unfiltered, unconsidered comments can hurt me.  Get it?

UPDATE:

Edward Feser, who write The Book about this topic has penned a piece for First Things

I wonder if anyone in Rome asked Feser for his thoughts before this change to the CCC was announced.

Feser writes:

It was clearly and consistently taught by the popes up to and including Pope Benedict XVI. That Christians can in principle legitimately resort to the death penalty is taught by the Roman Catechism promulgated by Pope St. Pius V, the Catechism of Christian Doctrine promulgated by Pope St. Pius X, and the 1992 and 1997 versions of the most recent Catechism promulgated by Pope St. John Paul II — this last despite the fact that John Paul was famously opposed to applying capital punishment in practice. Pope St. Innocent I and Pope Innocent III taught that acceptance of the legitimacy in principle of capital punishment is a requirement of Catholic orthodoxy. Pope Pius XII explicitly endorsed the death penalty on several occasions. This is why Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as John Paul's chief doctrinal officer, explicitly affirmed in a 2004 memorandum:

If a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment … he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities … to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible … to have recourse to capital punishment.

Interesting, no?  About Catechisms?

Feser has a razor sharp mind.  He says that what Pope Francis has done contradicts past teaching.

Nor does the letter from the CDF explain how the new teaching can be made consistent with the teaching of scripture, the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and previous popes. Merely asserting that the new language "develops" rather than "contradicts" past teaching does not make it so. The CDF is not Orwell's Ministry of Truth, and a pope is not Humpty Dumpty, able by fiat to make words mean whatever he wants them to. Slapping the label "development" onto a contradiction doesn't transform it into a non-contradiction.

He goes on to make the point I made yesterday.  If this new idea of how development is applied to other questions, what results is a circus clown car of results for moral questions.  That's my image, not Feser's.  Feser, as I did, mentions implications for contraception, marriage, divorce, Holy Communion, etc.

More… if this doesn't sober people up, I don't know what will:

If capital punishment is wrong in principle, then the Church has for two millennia consistently taught grave moral error and badly misinterpreted scripture. And if the Church has been so wrong for so long about something so serious, then there is no teaching that might not be reversed, with the reversal justified by the stipulation that it be called a "development" rather than a contradiction. A reversal on capital punishment is the thin end of a wedge that, if pushed through, could sunder Catholic doctrine from its past—and thus give the lie to the claim that the Church has preserved the Deposit of Faith whole and undefiled.

Not only does this reversal undermine the credibility of every previous pope, it undermines the credibility of Pope Francis himself. For if Pope St. Innocent I, Pope Innocent III, Pope St. Pius V, Pope St. Pius X, Pope Pius XII, Pope St. John Paul II, and many other popes could all get things so badly wrong, why should we believe that Pope Francis has somehow finally gotten things right?

That, my friends, is a question to be asked.