New Insights on the Gospels

March for Life 2012

Evil triumphs when good men do nothing - Edmund Burke

Saturday, October 25, 2008

St Edmund Campion - 25th October 2008

Edmund Campion was born on January 25, 1540 in England. Protestantism had usurped the Catholic Church as the spiritual authority; the dissolution of monasteries and the suppression of Catholic beliefs and believers intensified as land-hungry nobles and men of power continued, in the name of the young, sickly Edward VI, the transformation begun by Henry VIII.

Campion was 13 and the most promising scholar at Christ's Hospital school in London when he was chosen to read an address to Mary Tudor upon her arrival in London as queen in 1553. Campion received a scholarship to Oxford at age 15, and, by the time Elizabeth rose to power ("restoring" Protestantism as the national religion) upon Mary's death in 1558, he was already a junior fellow.

At Oxford Campion's erudition, charisma, and charm gained him noteriety; his students even imitated his mannerisms and style of dress. Queen Elizabeth visited in 1566 and for her entertainment was treated to academic displays. Campion, the star of the show, single-handedly debated four other scholars and so impressed the queen that she promised the patronage of her advisor (and one of the principal architects of the Reformation in England) William Cecil, who referred to Campion as the "diamond of England."

It was the hope of the crown that Campion would become a defender of the new faith (protestanism) which, though favored by the temporal power, lacked learned apologists. Yet even as he was ordained to the Anglican diaconate, he was being swayed toward Rome, influenced in great part by older friends with Catholic sympathies. In 1569 he journeyed to Dublin, where he composed his 'History of Ireland'. At this point Campion was at the summit of his powers. He could have risen to the highest levels of fame had he stayed his course. But this was not to be. By the time Campion left Ireland, he knew he could not remain a Protestant.

Campion's Catholic leanings were well-publicized, and he found the atmosphere hostile upon his return to England in 1571. He went abroad to Douay in France, where he was reconciled with the Church and decided to enter the Society of Jesus. He made a pilgrimmage to Rome and journeyed to Prague, where he lived and taught for six years and in 1578 was ordained a Jesuit priest.

In 1580 he was called by superiors to join fellow Jesuit Robert Parsons in leading a mission to England. He accepted the assignment joyfully, but everyone was aware of the dangers. The night before his departure from Prague, one of the Jesuit fathers wrote over Campion's door, ""

Campion crossed the English Channel as "Mr. Edmunds," a jewel dealer. His mission was nearly a short one: At Dover a search was underway for Gabriel Allen, another English Catholic expatriate who was rumored to be returning to England to visit family. Apparently Allen's description fit Campion also, and he was detained by the mayor of Dover, who planned to send Campion to London. Inexplicably, while waiting for horses for the journey, the mayor changed his mind, and sent "Mr. Edmunds" on his way.

Upon reaching London, Campion composed his "Challenge to the Privy Council," a statement of his mission and an invitation to engage in theological debate. Copies spread quickly, and several replies to the "Challenge" were published by Protestant writers, who attached to it a derogatory title, "Campion's Brag," by which it is best known today.

The power and sincerity of the "Brag" is accompanied by a degree of naivete: Campion's statement of purpose was of no value during his later trial for treason, and the challenge to debate, repeated later in his apologetic work 'Decem Rationes', was as much an invitation to capture. And his capture seemed almost inevitable: Elizabeth had spies everywhere searching for priests, the most sought after of whom being her former "diamond of England."

Campion and his companions traveled stealthily through the English countryside in the early summer of 1581, relying on old, landed Catholic families as hosts. They said Mass, heard confession, performed baptisms and marriages, and preached words of encouragement to a people who represented the last generation to confess the faith of a Catholic England.

There were close calls. Many homes had hiding places for priests—some even had secret chapels and confessionals—and the Jesuits had to rely on these more than once. Campion took extraordinary risks, never able to turn down a request to preach or administer the sacraments, and more than once he escaped detection while in a public setting.

His fortune changed while visiting the home of Francis Yate in Lyford Grange, which was west of London. Yate was a Catholic imprisoned for his faith who had repeatedly asked for one of the Jesuit fathers to tend to the spiritual needs of his household. Though it was out of the way and the queen's searchers were reportedly in hot pursuit, Campion was unable to resist the request.

He traveled to Lyford, heard confessions, preached well into the night, and departed without difficulty after saying Mass at dawn. Some nuns visiting the home shortly thereafter were upset to hear they had just missed Campion, and so riders were dispatched to pursuade him to return, which he did. Word of his return reached George Eliot, born and regarded as Catholic but in fact a turncoat in the pay of the queen; he had a general commission to hunt down and arrest priests. Eliot arrived at Lyford with David Jenkins, another searcher, and attended a Mass. He was greatly outnumbered by the Catholics, and, fearing resistance, made no move to arrest Campion. He departed abruptly to fetch the local magistrate and a small militia and returned to the Yate property during dinner. News of the approaching party reached the house, and Campion and his two priestly companions were safely squirreled away in a narrow cell prepared especially for that purpose, with food and drink for three days.

Later Eliot and Jenkins both claimed to have discovered the priests, offering the same story: A strip of light breaking through a gap in the wall leading to the hiding place was the giveaway—both men took credit for noticing it, and each reported being the one to break through the wall. No doubt each sought the credit for capturing the infamous Campion, for no priest was more beloved by the Catholics nor more despised by the crown.

Campion was taken to the Tower and tortured. Several times he was forced to engage in debates, without benefit of notes or references and still weak and disoriented from his rackings and beatings. He acquited himself admirably, all things considered: a testament to his unparalled rhetorical skills.

His trial was a farce. Witnesses were bribed, false evidence produced; in truth, the outcome had been determined since his arrival. Campion was eloquent and persuasive to the last, dominating the entire procedure with the force of his logic and his knowledge of the Scripture and law, but in vain. He and his priestly and lay companions were convicted of treason on November 14 and were sentenced to death. His address to the court upon sentencing invoked the Catholic England for which he had fought, the Catholic England which was about to die: "In condemning us, you condemn all your own ancestors—all the ancient priests, bishops and kings—all that was once the glory of England."

On December 1,1581 the prophecy hanging over his door in Prague was fulfilled: Campion was hanged, drawn, and quartered. The poet Henry Walpole was there, and during the quartering some blood from Campion's entrails splashed on his coat. Walpole was profoundly changed. He went overseas, took orders, and 13 years later met his own martyrdom on English soil. Campion was beatified by Leo XIII in 1886.

The Ottaviani Intervention

I love the holy sacrifice of the mass both ins the Usus Aquitior format as well as the Novus ordo format. Today let us read a letter sent from Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci to His Holiness Pope Paul VI September 25th, 1969 regarding the change in the mass format to the Novus Ordo format.

Letter from Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci to His Holiness Pope Paul VI
September 25th, 1969

Most Holy Father, Having carefully examined, and presented for the scrutiny of others, the Novus Ordo Missae prepared by the experts of the Consilium ad exequendam Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia, and after lengthy prayer and reflection, we feel it to be our bounden duty in the sight of God and towards Your Holiness, to put before you the following considerations:

1. The accompanying critical study of the Novus Ordo Missae, the work of a group of theologians, liturgists and pastors of souls, shows quite clearly in spite of its brevity that if we consider the innovations implied or taken for granted which may of course be evaluated in different ways, the Novus Ordo represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent. The "canons" of the rite definitively fixed at that time provided an insurmountable barrier to any heresy directed against the integrity of the Mystery.

2. The pastoral reasons adduced to support such a grave break with tradition, even if such reasons could be regarded as holding good in the face of doctrinal considerations, do not seem to us sufficient. The innovations in the Novus Ordo and the fact that all that is of perennial value finds only a minor place, if it subsists at all, could well turn into a certainty the suspicions already prevalent, alas, in many circles, that truths which have always been believed by the Christian people, can be changed or ignored without infidelity to that sacred deposit of doctrine to which the Catholic faith is bound for ever. Recent reforms have amply demonstrated that fresh changes in the liturgy could lead to nothing but complete bewilderment on the part of the faithful who are already showing signs of restiveness and of an indubitable lessening of faith.

Amongst the best of the clergy the practical result is an agonising crisis of conscience of which innumerable instances come tour notice daily.

3. We are certain that these considerations, which can only reach Your Holiness by the living voice of both shepherds and flock, cannot but find an echo in Your paternal heart, always so profoundly solicitous for the spiritual needs of the children of the Church. It has always been the case that when a law meant for the good of subjects proves to be on the contrary harmful, those subjects have the right, nay the duty of asking with filial trust for the abrogation of that law.

Therefore we most earnestly beseech Your Holiness, at a time of such painful divisions and ever-increasing perils for the purity of the Faith and the unity of the church, lamented by You our common Father, not to deprive us of the possibility of continuing to have recourse to the fruitful integrity of that Missale Romanum of St. Pius V, so highly praised by Your Holiness and so deeply loved and venerated by the whole Catholic world.

A. Card. Ottaviani
A. Card. Bacci

For the rest of the article please refer to this link

Friday, October 24, 2008

St Anthony Mary Claret - 24th October 2008

Today we celebrate the feast of St. Anthony Mary Claret. Let us contemplate what Dr. Plinio Correa has to say about this saint.

Biographical selection:

Anthony Mary Claret (1807-1870), Bishop and Confessor. From 1850 to 1857, he was Archbishop of Cuba and he predicted its chastisement. He returned to the court of Queen Isabella II as confessor, and went into exile with her in 1868.

He was a champion of papal infallibility and the fight against Freemasonry. A great devotee of Our Lady, he founded the Missionary Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, known today as the Claretians. In 1869 and 1870, St. Anthony Mary Claret participated in the First Vatican Council. He died in the Cistercian monastery of Fontfroide in southern France on October 24, 1870.

Comments of Prof. Plinio:

A long time ago the Claretian Priests of the city of Rio Claro [in the State of Sao Paulo, Brazil] invited me to give a talk on their founder. I bought a small biography of him and read it on the trip. Many things can be said about this great Saint. He was one of these men who, aside from having founded a religious congregation, dominated his epoch by the mere fact of his existence.

He was a short, energetic Spaniard, a peppery Catalonian. At age 17 he traveled to the lively trade center of Barcelona to further himself in the weaving profession of his father. He became so involved in the technology and business that he could think of almost nothing else.

During this period of his life, he was a mediocre Catholic even though he maintained a devotion to Our Lady. One hot day in the summer of 1826, Anthony was wading in the sea when a huge wave engulfed him and carried him out into the deep. He could not swim, but called out to the Blessed Virgin for help, and found himself carried back to the shore, half drowned and semi-conscious. When he came to himself he realized how close he had come to dying. He began to consider the mediocrity of his life and he converted.

He was ordained a priest and became a missionary. He revealed himself an orator with eminent qualities who appealed to the simple people. He had a very powerful voice that could be heard in the far corners of the public squares where he used to preach to the multitudes that gathered to hear him. The churches could not contain all those people, and at times even the squares overflowed. He used to go from city to city preaching, and many times the inhabitants of one city followed him along the road to the halfway point, where he was met by inhabitants of the next city who had come to welcome him and accompany him to their city.

The preaching of St. Anthony Mary Claret attracted and held the people. His words were zealous, rich with learning and natural eloquence, and filled with extraordinary charismas. Very often he would move his audience to tears. At times he would prophesize, interrupting a sermon, for example, to tell a lady: “You think that you still have a long time to live, but you are mistaken. You will die in six months.” At other times he would exorcise demons, saying, for instance, “I will expel the Devil that hovers over this audience.” As he pronounced the words of the exorcism, strange noises, lightning, and other phenomena were heard and seen by the multitude. Of course, these charismas impressed and attracted the people.

He realized that he was called to preach the truths of the Faith to the simple people. Doing this, he gave an edifying example to other religious Orders that were influenced by Liberalism and rejecting the Church’s traditional preaching methods in order to adapt themselves to the modern world. St. Anthony Mary Claret achieved a fabulous result using the traditional methods. His implicit reply to those who attacked the traditional methods was simple: the people don’t come to you because of the old methods, but because you are liberals.

He also understood that he was called to increase the zeal of the people, not to organize or direct it. He would pass through the provinces planting the seed of the love of God, leaving the job of watering that seed and making it grow to others.

Only weeks after founding his missionary congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, notice arrived from Rome that he had been nominated to become Archbishop of Santiago, the primatial see of Cuba. He was consecrated Bishop, made an Archbishop, and sent to Cuba. As soon as he arrived, he started to correct the bad customs and indifferent morals of the people and began a real conversion of the Island.

The Freemasonry that was deeply entrenched in Cuba could not tolerate this, and intensely attacked St. Anthony Mary Claret. He suffered all kinds of persecutions, including several attempts on his life. The opposition of the enemies of the Church was so strong that finally the Queen of Spain decided it would be more prudent to remove him from the Island and return him to Spain. At her request, he was offered the appointment of Patriarch of India, which would make him confessor and spiritual director of the Royal Court of Madrid.

As his ship left the shore of Cuba, St. Anthony Mary Claret cursed the Island whose inhabitants had refused God. It was not long before this curse took effect. With its independence, Cuba rejected the life-giving spiritual sap it had received from Spain, and quickly became a center of corruption and immorality, a tourist site for Americans seeking dissolute vacations. This was the case until Communism took over the Cuban government and implanted its regime. You can see that the curse launched by St. Anthony Mary Claret was realized quite impressively.

The chaplain of the Spanish Court had the title of Patriarch of India, but it was just an honorific title with nothing to do with India. Queen Isabella II was supporting the liberal side of the Spanish Royal House that was fighting against the good Carlist movement. As so often happens with liberals, they play the game of Freemasonry, and if they stop, Masonry takes them out of the game. Even though she was liberal, the Queen began to be influenced by St. Anthony Claret and gradually took a different position. When her policies started to become anti-liberal, the Masons removed her from power and sent her out of Spain in exile. It was St. Anthony Claret who provoked this political earthquake.

It was also during that time in Spain he exercised a very successful missionary apostolate and more firmly established the Congregation of the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The deposing of Isabella II was in part a victory for the good cause. The Masonry knew that Spain was not yet ready to accept a Republic, and wanted to establish a Constitutional Monarchy first in order to prepare the way for a stable Republic. Because it was forced to depose the Queen, it was obliged to make the Republic prematurely. This caused a deep crystallization in public opinion against the Republic, which led to the restoration of the Monarchy some time later. The Republic would have triumphed earlier in Spain without the action of St. Anthony Mary Claret.

Even as he grew old and suffered sicknesses, his incredible energy and gifts to move the people with his words continued. He was also granted many special graces, in particular, the grace of conserving the Sacramental Species within his heart. From one Communion to another, the Eucharistic Species were preserved incorrupt in his body so that he always had the Blessed Sacrament in his heart.

In his last days, he participated in Vatican Council I, which the Pope had convened at the Vatican in December of 1869. Seeing many liberal Bishops opposing the matter of Papal Infallibility that was being discussed, he became indignant and strongly censured them in a speech. Hearing the errors being spoken on this topic, he was so overcome with indignation that the blood rushed to his head and he suffered a stroke from which he never recovered. He died some months later.

St. Anthony Mary Claret is our patron Saint under many different titles:
• the patron of those who are leading mediocre lives and need to convert to serve the Catholic cause;
• the patron of the faithful who promote devotion to Our Lady;
• the patron of counter-revolutionaries because of his action in Cuba and Spain;
•the patron of the those who follow the traditional methods of Catholic apostolate with the simple people and spurn the liberal novelties;
• the patron of those who fight for the Papacy against liberal Bishops.

Since it was this same current of Bishops that endured and took power in the Catholic Church at Vatican Council II, St. Anthony Mary Claret is also a great protector and intercessor of those who are called to fight the errors of Vatican II and its consequences.

We should call on St. Anthony Mary Claret for his help under these different titles.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Saint Louis Martin and Marie-Zélie Guérin

An exciting day for us married folks, we have a new beatified couple to look up to, none other than the parents of St Theresa of Lisieux.

Here are some excerpts from the article on Zenit to contemplate.

"The first married couple to be beatified together -- Italians Luigi and Maria Beltrame Quattrocchi, who died in 1951 and 1965, respectively -- were beatified in 2001 by Pope John Paul II.

Martin (1823-1894) and Guérin (1831-1877) were the parents of nine children, four of whom died as children. After concluding the beatification rite, Cardinal Saraiva Martins gave "thanks to God for this exemplary testimony of conjugal love."

Their example, the prelate assured, can "motivate Christian families in the integral practice of Christian virtues, just as it stimulated in Thérèse the desire for sanctity."

Cardinal Saraiva Martins said that in the moment of the beatification, "I thought of my father and my mother, and in this moment, I would like you to also think in your fathers and mothers, and that together, we give thanks to God for having created us and made us Christians, thanks to the conjugal love of our parents."

The cardinal presented the Martins as "a gift for spouses of all ages because of the esteem, respect and harmony with which they loved each other for 19 years."

He said the couple is also "a gift for parents" and "for all those who have lost their husband or wife."

"Widowhood is always a difficult condition to accept," the cardinal said. "Louis lived the loss of his wife with faith and generosity, preferring the good of his children over his personal preferences."

And, Cardinal Saraiva Martins said, this couples is "a gift for those who face sickness and death. In our world, which tries to hide death, they teach us to look at it face to face, abandoning ourselves in God."

The Pontiff also approved the beatification of four Servants of God:

* Vincenza Poloni Mary - virgin and founder of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy, on Sunday, September 21 in Verona Italy.
* Miguel Sopocko – priest and founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of Merciful Jesus, on Sunday, Septmber 20, in Bialystok, Poland.
* Francesco Pianzola, - priest and founder of the Missionary Sister of the Immaculate Queen of Peace, on Saturday, October 4, in Vigevano, Italy.
* Giovanni Francesco Bonifacio - priest and martyr, also on Saturday, October 4 in Trieste, Italy.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Love and Fear and Christian Piety

These days it is hard to find a biography for the saints of the day. In addition to this making plans to travel out for Christmas so South America is taking up a fair amount of my time. This being the case, I am posting an article by Dr. Plinio Correa called 'Love and Fear and Christian Piety'

According to Church teaching, love and fear of God are virtues. Since neither antagonism nor contradiction can exist among the virtues, love does not exclude fear and fear does not exclude love.

Furthermore, both of these virtues are essential for salvation. If we cannot envision a saint without love of God, like wise we cannot envision a saint without fear.

One could affirm that love is the higher virtue and that these virtues influence each soul in different degrees, according to its individuality and the economies of grace. But, disregarding one virtue under the pretext of stimulating another-that is, maintaining silence regarding fear to develop love, or vice versa-usually inflicts irremediable damage on souls.

Now, there was a time when the profoundly balanced piety of the faithful held love and fear in proper perspective, whence both virtues were proportionately reflected in sermons, art, and religious literature. Later, however, Jansenism stressed the role of fear to the point of exaggeration and delirium. In reaction, saints, theologians and preachers pertinaciously stressed the role of love. As a result, many treasures of grace, of theological and pastoral wisdom, and of artistic beauty blossomed in the Holy Church because of Her most characteristic and best elements which we need not mention.

In this way, a wise and strategic maxim was applied: whenever one side of something is exaggerated, one must accentuate the other side.

Let us bring this principle into focus and see how to apply it today. Which one is being exaggerated? Love or fear? It seems modern man sins neither by excessive love nor fear. Much to the contrary, having forgotten God and having been impregnated with secularism, naturalism and indifferentism, he takes no account of God, neither loving Him nor fearing Him.

Consequently, the solution to this complete lack of love and fear is to call men to God by attracting them to one and the other virtue. For fear also brings men to God: the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

In this regard, religious art can be of much help. It is a marvelous means of demonstrating how Our Lord Jesus Christ should be loved and feared.

In the famous Arena Chapel at Padua, the immortal brush of Giotto left us this mocked Christ, an admirable representation of the patience of the Divine Master. His adorable face is barbarously wounded; sacrilegious hands pull His hair and beard; a crown of thorns, a derisive symbol of His royalty, is set upon His venerable forehead. But Jesus, with eyes lowered, seems neither to see His enemies nor to feel the enormity of the outrage, but rather feels a fathomless sadness. This is truly the gentle Savior Who suffers everything for our redemption with a meek and humble Heart.

"Judas, dost thou betray the Son of Man with a kiss?" Both faces were close to each other at the memorable moment of this infamous kiss and terrifying question. Giotto depicts this scene in another painting in the same chapel. With his low forehead, flabby flesh, grim look, vulgar nose, loathsomely soft and drooping lips, Judas reveals an inexpressible infamy in his whole being. Jesus-noble, infinitely superior, and possessing an ineffable moral loftiness-looks upon him with a gaze wherein a sparkle of love, rebuke, severity, and total repulsion can be found. Poor, miserable Judas, who did not want to open his soul to the love or fear which this gaze elicited and to which this doleful and pungent question invited him.

And, because his soul resisted every invitation to love and to fear, it sank from theft to deicide and from deicide to despair.