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September 2020 Contents
Barron and Voris Agree: Vatican II Is Not the Problem, “Rad Trads” Are (Matt Gaspers)
Last week Monday (Aug. 3, 2020), the National Catholic Reporter informed the world that “Bishop Robert Barron hosted an invite-only meeting of Catholic media professionals last week to discuss ‘disturbing trends in the online Catholic world,’ including the rise of ‘radical Traditionalist’ movements that are often marked by personal attacks and vitriolic commentary.”
“The private meeting,” reports NCR’s Christopher White, “took place July 29 via Zoom and was confirmed to NCR by Brandon Vogt, content director for Word on Fire Catholic Ministries.” According to White, “Vogt said the meeting of Catholic media professionals discussed the online behavior of traditionalists who ‘ruthlessly criticize the pope and bishops, and question the authority of the Second Vatican Council, often to the point of repudiation.’”
Although White states that “neither Barron nor Vogt specifically identified individuals or organizations responsible for targeted online attacks,” he opines that “much of the criticism directed at Barron has been fueled by fringe right-wing sites such as LifeSiteNews and Church Militant.”
And herein lies the irony—that NCR chose to list Church Militant, a decidedly non-Traditionalist outlet led by Michael Voris, as representative of “the rise of ‘radical Traditionalist’ movements” (Voris himself refers to Traditionalist apostolates like CFN, The Remnant, and Angelus Press as “Reactionary Catholic Media” – see here and here for John Vennari’s excellent rebuttals).
To be clear, Voris’ commentary regularly contains personal attacks and vitriol, especially against Catholic bishops; but ultimately, Voris is in substantial agreement with those same bishops, including Bishop Barron, that the Second Vatican Council (i.e., its actual documents) has nothing to do with the doctrinal, liturgical, spiritual, and moral crisis that has ensued in its wake.
Voris himself makes this clear in two editions of his “Vortex” show released last week following NCR’s report. What he fails to make clear for his viewers, however, is that his position necessarily involves an implicit accusation of infidelity against two of the Church’s most faithful prelates alive today: Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò and Bishop Athanasius Schneider. Click here to continue reading
New Book Encourages Catholics to Reclaim Their Birthright (Brian M. McCall)
Catholic Family News contributor Dr. Peter Kwasniewski has long been recognized as an important authority on the traditional liturgy of the Church. Both as a trained theologian and Thomist and a world-class musician and composer, he has written and spoken about the grandeur of the Mass of All Ages. Recently, he has collected his wisdom on this topic into a book published by Angelico Press: Reclaiming Our Roman Catholic Birthright (2020). The book is very versatile and can benefit both new converts to Tradition as well as longtime Traditional Mass-goers.
Following a brief introduction, the book is divided into three parts. In Part I, Dr. Kwasniewski beautifully describes the essence and superiority of the Traditional Roman Rite in contrast to the fabricated rite of Paul VI. He beautifully explains the importance of the key distinguishing features of the Traditional Rite, including the use of Latin, offering the Mass ad orientem, and the true interior nature of participation at Mass. One chapter in this opening section is dedicated to explaining ten reasons to attend the Traditional Mass. This chapter can serve as an excellent source for an apologetical conversation with someone interested in the Old Rite. Although drafted as a compendium of positive reasons for attending the Traditional Mass, the chapter also serves to dispel false claims often made about aspects of the New Rite alleged to be improvements on the Traditional Mass. For example, Kwasniewski deftly dispels the claim that the New Rite improved the calendar and widened access to Sacred Scripture. Unlike some defenders of the Traditional Rite, he not only focuses on the superiority of the ordinary parts of the Traditional Rite (the aspects of Mass that never change) but also on the propers or variable parts, particularly the calendar and readings.’
Genius of the Traditional Rite
In explaining and defending the overall superiority of the Traditional Rite, Kwasniewski beautifully argues that the genius of the Traditional Rite is that by creating a certain separation between the action of the Mass and the faithful it promotes a deeper connection. Whereas the Eastern Rites and earlier centuries in the West relied on a physical iconostasis to achieve these goals, the Roman Rite uses the Latin language, Gregorian chant, and silence. His explanation of these three elements of the Roman Rite and their salutary effects are the best I have read. Kwasniewski skillfully explains how the rich density and complexity of the Traditional Rite more effectively makes the worship of God centered on God. He explains:
“Because of the Latin, the chant, the silence, and the eastward orientation, the traditional Mass transmits a strong sense of worship being theocentric (directed to God) and always beyond our complete grasp. The impression is reinforced by its multiple layers of text and ceremonial. Faced with this density, complexity, and simultaneity, man easily intuits that this liturgy cannot possibly be primarily for him; he is finite and he cannot take it all in.”
In the course of this discussion, Dr. Kwasniewski provides the best explanation of what St. Pius X and Pius XII meant by encouraging the actual participation of the laity in the sacred rites as opposed to the shallow, external busywork of the New Mass. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
*The Popes Speak* Excerpts from St. Pius X’s Letter Notre Charge Apostolique
Editor’s Note: In the fall of 1910, Pope St. Pius X issued arguably one of the most significant (albeit lesser known) documents of his glorious pontificate: Notre Charge Apostolique (French, “Our Apostolic Mandate”), a letter addressed to the French bishops concerning Le Sillon (“The Furrow”), a once-Catholic social movement in France that had degenerated into a dangerous vehicle for Modernism among the working class.
This sainted Pontiff understood and took seriously his duty to “protect the faithful from evil and error,” and more specifically, from “dynamic language…concealing vague notions and ambiguous expressions with emotional and high-sounding words” that express “ideals which, while attractive, are nonetheless nefarious.” Such language is particularly prevalent during election seasons, which makes Notre Charge Apostolique a timely document to review, now that the U.S. general election season is in full swing.
The problem with Le Sillon, as St. Pius X observed, was that its leaders “were not adequately equipped with historical knowledge, sound philosophy, and solid theology to tackle without danger the difficult social problems in which their work and their inclinations were involving them.” As a result, they departed from the sound Catholic social teaching of Pope Leo XIII and set their sights on building a “New City…on hazy notions,” rather than simply fortifying “the Catholic City.” In short, this once-promising movement became, in the words of Pius X, “a miserable affluent of the great movement of apostasy being organized in every country for the establishment of a One-World Church which shall have neither dogmas, nor hierarchy, neither discipline for the mind, nor curb for the passions….”
Since the Second Vatican Council, and especially during the current pontificate, another “great movement of apostasy” has arisen which seeks to establish “a One-World Church” at the service of a Freemasonic one-world government. To combat this diabolical movement, let us redouble our prayers and sacrifices, vote for candidates who will oppose it, and boldly proclaim with St. Pius X: “Indeed, the true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries, nor innovators: they are traditionalists.” Click here to read St. Pius X’s Notre Charge Apostolique in full
May His Kingdom Come – Catholic Social Teaching, Part VI: Conversion of Culture
Religion and the Public Square
In this series for Catholic Family News, I have had occasion more than once to speak of the dominant contemporary conception—traceable to the so-called Enlightenment—that religion is a purely private affair, about which we should studiously avoid making waves in the public square. Religion is like a hat or a coat you take it off and hang at the entrance before going into the offices of government or business.
The Christian’s vocation cannot be confined or clipped off in that manner. This is not because it is political first and foremost, but rather because it is a total vision of life in all its dimensions, natural and supernatural, and therefore has implications for the whole of the world in which man lives.
When the Gospel entrusted to the Church first entered the world, there was no program or plan for “taking over the State.” Because Christ had died for the salvation of sinners, and baptism into His death was the only way to receive the blessing of eternal life, Christians sought not only to follow Christ zealously but also to persuade as many of their fellow citizens to follow “the Way” (Acts 9:2; 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22) as they possibly could. It was love (Greek, agapē; Latin, caritas) that compelled the Christians to Christianize the world around them—soul by soul, family by family, city by city, people by people. The Middle Ages was not a “Five-Century Plan” that someone implemented; it was the organic result of many generations of clergy, religious, and laity who lived their faith with gusto. Christian citizens transformed the world by the energetic exercise of moral and theological virtues.
The avowed goal of the Christian is to win souls for Christ; the goal of the Catholic is to make the world Catholic. Impelled by the Spirit of truth and of love, believers must be restless and pained as long as the world around them is not Christian in its attitudes and appearance, its desires and deeds—and all the more pained to the degree that it is opposed to the mind which is in Christ Jesus (cf. Phil. 2:5). So obviously is it the duty of believers to “re-establish all things in Christ, things in heaven and things on earth” (Eph 1:10)—the motto and program of Pope St. Pius X, Instaurare omnia in Christo (cf. Encyclical E Supremi, n. 8)—that even the Second Vatican Council could not avoid reiterating it several times, in language that bears the stamp of Leo XIII.
I mention this not because I do not share the severe misgivings about that Council entertained by Archbishop Viganò and Bishop Schneider (among others), but simply to point out that even here, in the very midst of a progressive coup, strong echoes of the traditional doctrine still resounded, showing that it can never be repudiated without rejecting the essence of Christianity itself. I am reminded of the fact that even the Thomists and Molinists, who fought bitterly for centuries about grace and predestination, were of utterly one mind about the impossibility of a separation of Church and State. It is that basic a conclusion from the givens of the Deposit of Faith. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
Vatican II and the Calvary of the Church (Fr. Serafino M. Lanzetta)
Recently, the debate about the correct interpretation of the Second Vatican Council has been rekindled. It is true that every council has interpretative problems and very often opens new ones rather than resolving the ones that preceded it. Mystery always carries with it a tension between what is said and what is unspeakable. It is enough to recall that the consubstantiality of the Son with the Father that was declared against Arius by the Council of Nicaea (325) was only firmly established sixty years later with the Council of Constantinople (381), when the divinity of the Holy Spirit was also defined. In our own time, about sixty years after the Second Vatican Council, we have not seen the clarification of a doctrine of the Faith but a further obscuring of it. The Abu Dhabi Declaration (4 February 2019) pretends to establish with total certainty that God wills the plurality of religions just as He wills the diversity of colors, sexes, races, and languages. In the words of Pope Francis on the return flight after the signing of the document: “From the Catholic point of view the document did not go one millimeter beyond the Second Vatican Council.” It is certainly more a “symbolic” link with the “spirit of the Council” that echoes in the text of the “Declaration on Human Fraternity.” And yet, a link is there, and it is certainly not the only one between Vatican II and the Church of today. This is a sign that there is a difference between the Council of Nicaea and Vatican II that needs to be taken into consideration.
The hermeneutic of continuity and reform gave us the hope of being able to read the new teaching of Vatican II in continuity with the preceding magisterium, in the name of the principle which maintains that any council, if celebrated following the necessary canonical requirements, is assisted by the Holy Spirit. Thus if orthodoxy is not readily apparent, one looks for it. In the meantime, however, already here there is a problem that is by no means secondary. Relying on hermeneutics to solve the problem of continuity is already a problem in itself. In claris non fit interpretatio, says a well-known adage: if continuity did not need to be demonstrated with interpretation there would be no need for a hermeneutic as such. As it is, the continuity [of Vatican II with the Tradition] is not readily apparent but must be demonstrated or rather interpreted. From the moment that one has recourse to a hermeneutic, we enter an ever-growing process of interpretation in continuity, a process that, once begun, does not stop. As long as there are interpretations, there will be an unending interpretative process, and thus there will be the possibility that any interpretation can be confirmed or denied because it is either adequate or prejudicial in the eyes of the next interpreter.
The hermeneutic is a process; it is the process of modernity that posits man as existing and captures him within the radius of being here and now. An echo of this is the problem of the Council that tries to dialogue with modernity, which in turn is itself an existential process not easily solved in hermeneutic circles. If we rely only on hermeneutics to resolve the problem of continuity, we run the risk of enveloping ourselves in a system that posits continuity as existing (or, on the other hand, rupture) but in fact does not reach it. And it does not seem that we have reached it at all today, almost sixty years since Vatican II. There is a need not for a hermeneutic that gives us the guarantee of continuity, but of a first principle that tells us whether the hermeneutic utilized is valid or not: this principle is the Faith of the Church. It is no wonder that at such a distance from Vatican II we are still arguing about the hermeneutic of continuity of a council with respect to preceding councils and with respect to the Faith of the Church, when the Faith itself has left us for many years now and shows no sign of returning. Click here to continue reading
At Home or School, Catholic Education is Vital (Amanda Evinger)
A Parent’s Primary Goal, Highest Hope
Those of us who are parents know what it is like to hold our newborn child in our arms, their body fragrant with innocence; their eyes, so helpless they cannot even see us gazing at them; and their soul, just waiting to be brought the grace of Holy Baptism. They are entirely dependent on us to provide for them, in all things. In a way, their eternal destiny is “in our hands.” Our worldview will likely form theirs, and our sentiments become their own. Most hopefully, the seeds of our piety will take root firmly in them; and with divine assistance, blossom and flourish over time, carrying them to the heights of sanctity.
In Educating a Child: The Art of Arts (Te Deum Press, 2019; originally published in 1963), Fr. Joseph Duhr, S.J., writes: “We can, therefore, define education as the science (set of theoretical principals) and the art (set of practical techniques) which grant the child not only the possibility, but the facility of ‘becoming himself,’ by developing his entire being from its current embryonic state in such a way that, having reached adulthood, he may live his life to the full and in all its beauty in the splendid blossoming of his personality for the happiness of others and the glory of God, his Master and Creator.”
As loving, Catholic parents, our primary goal and highest hope is to help our children gain the happiness of Heaven. This is what we suffer for day after day in raising and educating our precious children. This is what we bear cross after cross for, praying that our children will one day spend the Beatific Vision adoring their Eternal Father. As Fr. Duhr reminds us, “A great and noble task, indeed! In fact, there is no more important or more essential one. ‘What can be greater,’ exclaims St. John Chrysostom (+407), ‘than directing souls and forming children in virtue? Molding souls (fingere animos) is the art of arts, more excellent than that of the painter or the sculptor.’”
The reality is, according to Holy Mother the Church, education is far more profound than mere academics, vocational preparation, or even routine memorization of Baltimore Catechism responses. The primary purpose of our married vocation is two-fold: it is not just to generously take upon the glorious role of being co-creators with Almighty God, but it is also to educate the children with which He has crowned our families. This is our privilege and our duty, and to give it justice takes magnanimous, docile hearts. To educate our children well, we must be endowed with Eternal Wisdom and strength from on high. God’s grace is always there, but for the asking. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
Living the Faith in the Public Domain During COVID-19: Interview with Fr. Marc Vernoy, Part I (Sean Romer)
St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Sanford, Florida is one of the few places in the world where daily Mass continued to be publicly offered without any interruption during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The May issue of Catholic Family News described the efforts of the priests and faithful of St. Thomas More, a chapel of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), to prepare for the worthy observance of Holy Week and Easter. Complaining about the virus outbreak or the way in which unscrupulous politicians and public figures misuse it for nefarious ends is insufficient. We must do what we can within our sphere of influence to combat the evil designs of the enemy.
With the story of one small church in Florida that kept the liturgy publicly alive as backdrop, this writer engaged Fr. Marc Vernoy, prior of St. Thomas Moore, on behalf of Catholic Family News in a deeper conversation about the role of the Catholic Faith and the duties of the clergy and faithful in the public domain, especially in these challenging times. We thank Fr. Vernoy for agreeing to be interviewed on this topic.
Catholic Family News (CFN): Father, you worked with local and state authorities to establish clear rules for the public ceremonies at the chapel that were in keeping with civil guidelines, which often changed and at times were even contradictory. Can you describe what that experience was like?
Fr. Marc Vernoy (Fr. MV): Seminole county’s chief emergency manager made everything stricter than the governor of Florida required. We must always respect the point of view of other people, but we try our best to work with it. When you have a mountain in front of you, then you just deal with it. We proposed five possible alternatives to the county’s requirements, and they agreed to two of them.
CFN: What were your five proposals?
Fr. MV: The proposals were:
- Limiting attendance in our church in Seminole County to 30% of its capacity with the full respect of social distancing between individuals / households.
- Limiting attendance in our church in Seminole County to 50 persons with the full respect of social distances between individuals / households.
- Performing religious services outdoors with strict observance of distancing without limit of attendees.
- Performing religious services outdoors with non-limited attendees remaining in their vehicles during the service.
- Limiting attendance to 10 per room without counting ministers.
The county accepted proposals 4 and 5. I finished by saying that we hope the other three propositions will be implemented quickly. In fact, by the beginning of summer we were able to return to all ceremonies being performed within the church building in a manner that accommodated all who wished to be present.
CFN: What are your thoughts about the executive order from Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis that identified religious worship as an essential activity?
Fr. MV: The governor’s executive order is very good because it is in keeping with the full Catholic principle of the Social Kingship of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, it talks about religious liberty, but regarding the Catholic religion, it puts first your primary duty and activity in terms of a right relationship with God, especially in the Church, the liturgy, and the sacraments. This truth is recognized by the governor as a primary human activity. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
The Canonization of Joan of Arc, Her Last Trial – Part IV (Henry Ansgar Kelly, Ph.D.)
Third Devil’s Advocate: Alexander Verde (Cont.)
The Promotor [Alexander Verde] goes on to say that her [Joan’s] victory at Orleans need not be regarded as divinely assisted, and he balks at comparing her cause to those of Old Testament heroines; for they had the divine mission of preparing for the Messiah, whereas Joan of Arc’s purpose was merely to liberate France – the country that would later produce Charles VIII, who brought such evils upon Italy! It was also the country from which Francis I emerged, and from which have issued the sophistical and seditious destroyers of all disciplines and good arts, who disturb the peace of almost the entire world. Nothing, therefore, that came before or followed upon her intervention shows her to have been sent from God. This is the closest that any of the opponents of Joan of Arc’s sainthood come to protesting against her cause on nationalistic grounds.
“But if we should wish to grant that her mission was divine,” Verde continues, “it is nevertheless clear how difficult it is to find virtue in a young female warrior.” One of the Consultors is impressed by Benedict XIV’s characterization of Joan of Arc, cited by Promotor Caprara (and also, as we have seen, by Promotor Lugari), which neither Defender Alibrandi nor the present Defender could refute. In fact, the pope seems to have been gently rebuking those who put Joan of Arc’s name into private martyrologies. Another Consultor considers her not heretical, indeed, but still not proved a saint. Still another Consultor judges her pious but also with some faults of frailty, and yet another finds her sometimes timid, proud, or angry. The Defenders contend that not all eminent virtues need be sought in Joan of Arc but only those most appropriate to her life as a Servant of God. It follows, therefore, that she should be outstanding in chastity and employ all means to preserve it. But, as one Consultor says, there are some things in her life not consonant with modesty and insufficiently cautious; another finds it not congruous for her to boast of her virginity and to offer to prove it. Similarly, what should be more proper to a female warrior than fortitude, in which the Maid often failed? One Consultor sees weakness in her, especially in her leap from the tower of Beaurevoir. Another finds the Defense unconvincing: her hardships, which were predicted by her voices, were not only not borne joyfully, but not even patiently. He thinks that her constant desire to escape, against the counsel of her voices, completely removes her from the praise of heroic fortitude. She received her sentence of death with great complaining, which takes away from the perfection of her virtue. Add that she frequently made threats against her judges. It will not do to find her of lesser merit than those heroes who think it dulce et decorum pro patria mori (as Horace puts it). Still another Consultor finds her strong, not heroic; upright, but not a saint. She suffered, but only because she was forced to, and received word of her condemnation with great lamentation, invoking the divine Judge against her human judge. That such human emotions are altogether foreign to the fortitude of saints is passed over in silence by her Defenders.
In his response to this gibe, the Defender deviates from his usual practice and identifies it as coming from one of the Consultors rather than from the Promotor: “But if you listen to the ‘other Distinguished Father’ telling about the death of the Venerable Maid, you would not know whether he was speaking of a Christian Virgin beloved of God or the Vergilian Sybil” (he cites the mad ravings described in the Aeneid). He wonders where the “noble Man” (Vir egregius) finds his evidence that the Venerable Maid acted thus. Certainly, the first Promotor (Augustine Caprara) did not see it this way, since he said that even her executioner and bitter enemies were moved to wonder at her fortitude and piety in her last struggles. To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
Our Lady of Fatima, Mother and Teacher: Part VIII – September, More Mystical Signs (Marianna Bartold)
In September, the month before the promised and highly anticipated Miracle, the crowds at Fatima were larger than ever, estimated at 25,000 to 30,000 souls. In the previous month, and despite the children’s absence, the people assembled under a clear and sunny sky, there to witness many signs—from the cloud that always appeared over the holmoak on which the Lady stood to atmospheric changes of color and the appearance of flowers replacing all of the trees’ leaves. To teach and console those present and those who later would hear of what transpired, during the September apparition Heaven deigned to grant even more signs.
In her Memoirs, Sister Lucia related that on September 13, 1917, “owing to the crowd around us, we could only advance with difficulty. The roads were packed with people, and everyone wanted to see and speak to us. There was no human respect whatsoever. Simple folk, and even ladies and gentlemen, struggled to break through the crowd that pressed around us. No sooner had they reached us than they threw themselves on their knees before us, begging us to place their petitions before Our Lady. Others who could not get close to us shouted from a distance: ‘For love of God, ask Our Lady to cure my son who is a cripple!’ Yet another cried out: ‘And to cure mine who is blind!’…‘To cure mine who is deaf!’…To bring back my husband, my son, who has gone to the war!’…‘To convert a sinner!’…‘To give me back my health as I have tuberculosis!’ and so on.
“…Now, when I read in the New Testament about those enchanting scenes of Our Lord’s passing through Palestine, I think of those which Our Lord allowed me to witness, while yet a child, on the poor roads and lanes from Aljustrel to Fatima and on the Cova da Iria! I give thanks to God, offering Him the faith of our good Portuguese people, and I think: ‘If these people so humbled themselves before three poor children, just because they were mercifully granted the grace to speak to the Mother of God, what would they not do if they saw Our Lord Himself in Person before them?’”
When the children reached the holmoak tree, they began to pray the Rosary, and the great throng of people joined them. Other than the fervent prayers, the Cova da Iria was silent.
The Signs of September
As I wrote in my book, Fatima: The Signs and Secrets, “a new sign − a luminous globe − was seen, gliding from east to west. It descended to the holmoak tree, over which the Lady always appeared to the three children. The time was high noon and, according to a letter written by witness Fr. John Quaresma, who later became the Vicar General of Leiria, Portugal, there was not ‘a cloud in the deep blue sky.’ Then, writes Fatima historian Frère Michel of the Holy Trinity, ‘the sun’s brightness diminished, the atmosphere became golden yellow, like the other times. Some people even reported being able to distinguish the stars in the sky.’
“During the apparition, a shower of small white objects − described either as petals, snowflakes, dove-shaped forms, stars, or roses − all of which gently fell from the sky and disappeared before touching the ground.” To continue reading, subscribe to the Catholic Family News E-Edition
*Roman Catechism Series* On the Sacrament of Extreme Unction (Matthew Plese)
In the Traditional Rite of Extreme Unction, before the priest anoints a person’s eyes, ears, nose, mouth, hands, and feet, he prays: “In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; may any power the devil has over you be destroyed by the laying on of our hands and by calling on the glorious and blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, her illustrious spouse, St. Joseph, and all holy angels, archangels, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, confessors, virgins, and all the saints.”
This Sacrament, most often the last Sacrament a person receives before death, is intended to bring spiritual and sometimes physical help to a dying person. Yet, it is very often misunderstood. Extreme Unction, “also called by our predecessors in the faith, the Sacrament of the anointing of the sick, and also the Sacrament of the dying” (Roman Catechism), is a Sacrament which was instituted by Christ Himself and which confers actual graces. It is not a mere blessing, as some have come to erroneously believe; it is a true Sacrament, the same as Baptism, Confirmation, Confession, the Holy Eucharist, etc.
The Importance of the Sacrament
In its introductory remarks on the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, the Roman Catechism highlights its connection with death and its importance for our journey into eternity:
“The Sacrament of Extreme Unction, because inseparably associated with recollection of the day of death, should, it is obvious, form a subject of frequent instruction, not only because it is right to explain the mysteries of salvation, but also because death, the inevitable doom of all men, when recalled to the minds of the faithful, represses depraved passion. Thus shall they be less disturbed by the approach of death, and will pour forth their gratitude in endless praises to God, who has not only opened to us the way to true life in the Sacrament of Baptism, but has also instituted that of Extreme Unction, to afford us, when departing this mortal life, an easier way to heaven.”
Extreme Unction is A Real Sacrament Instituted by Christ
Scripture and Tradition clearly demonstrate that there are seven Sacraments, which are outward signs instituted by Christ to give grace. The Council of Trent unequivocally affirmed that Extreme Unction is one of the seven Sacraments instituted by our Redeemer:
“If anyone says that the sacraments of the New Law were not all instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord; or that they are more or fewer than seven, that is: Baptism, Confirmation, the Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Order, and Matrimony; or that any one of these seven is not truly and properly a sacrament, let him be anathema.”
St. Catherine of Siena: Mystic, Stigmatist, and Admonisher of Popes (Mark Fellows)
While it is said that all saints enjoy the Beatific Vision, it may also be said that there are saints, and then there are saints – those so accustomed to visions, prophecies, raptures and ecstasies that such continual encounters with the divine are normal experiences of their everyday life. These special souls experience so many extraordinary manifestations of grace, even for a saint, that they may truly be called the elect among the elect. Catherine Benincasa, more commonly known as St. Catherine of Siena (1347-1380), was one such saint.
She was the 24th and next-to-last child born to Jacopo and Lapa Benincasa. Perhaps the special bond between mother and daughter resulted from Catherine being the only baby Lapa was able to breast feed, but Catherine’s unique personality may have had something to do with it too. Whatever the reason, Lapa’s ties to Catherine made her fierce when Catherine didn’t do what Lapa thought she ought to. This happened frequently.
Jacopo was a just man with a good reputation in Siena. His wages as a wool dyer allowed him to provide for his large family. Like Lapa, Jacopo formed a special bond with Catherine, but the tie between them was a well of deep water compared to the white-water frenzy Lapa tended to whip up with her youngest daughter. Lapa held the common belief that it was her Christian duty as a mother to see that her children married and had large families of their own. But by age seven, Catherine had already taken a vow of virginity that, despite Lapa’s efforts, would prove unbreakable.
The vow was young Catherine’s response to a vision she had. She saw the sky open up above her, revealing Our Lord and His holy Apostles Peter, Paul, and John. Jesus looked down at Catherine, smiled, and blessed her with the Sign of the Cross.
Some months later, after much prayer and mortification, Catherine felt led to invoke the Blessed Virgin Mary, “the first among women to consecrate for ever by a vow your virginity to the Lord,” to promise that “to no other spouse will I ever give myself, but in my own humble measure I too will keep my virginity forever spotless for Him.”
Her vow was tested by her sisters and mother, who were relentless in their attempts to marry Catherine. When Catherine cut her hair off to make herself less attractive to suitors, she was punished by being made the family maid. She performed her numerous duties, and the torrent of abuse that accompanied them, in obedience and with good cheer. Nevertheless, it was a sore trial and to persevere Catherine prayed constantly, often praying the prayer of St. Cecilia, who used the words of David: “May my heart be stainless, and my body too.” To continue reading, subscribe to Catholic Family News E-Edition
Mask Mania: Emblem of Loyalty to the Party of COVID (Christopher A. Ferrara)
By every objective measure, the COVID-19 pandemic is over. In fact, it has been over since late May, although the lying media and their Blue State governor accomplices have been laboring mightily to convince the gullible masses that the “pandemic” is worse than ever, conducting what is easily the biggest Psyop in the history of disinformation.
But there is only so long the Fake News-Blue State alliance (FN-BS) can prevent the public mind from becoming aware of the bell curves that demonstrate Farr’s Law: once peak deaths are reached, an epidemic rapidly wanes toward zero. Every time.
Thus, as to New York and New Jersey, two Blue States with the highest per capita COVID death rates per 100,000 in America – accompanied by the tightest Blue State lockdowns in the country – we see that peak deaths were reached in mid-April. By late May the death toll, even with inflated reporting, had reached statistical zero, where it has remained ever since in both states (see graph below).
What’s a Blue State Governor to do when the lockdown he hoped would destroy the Trump economy no longer seems justified by a “pandemic” that pooped out three months ago? Where is the “health emergency” when almost no one is dying or even being hospitalized on account of COVID-19, or even “with” COVID-19? What can be done to keep fear, and thus the lockdowns, alive?
From “Pandemic” to “Casedemic”
The first move was to switch from the “pandemic” to what has aptly been termed the “casedemic,” which is brilliantly explained in a short video available online. With deaths and hospitalizations having reached statistical zero, the FN-BS began harping on “cases” of the virus. Not “cases” in the usual sense of someone actually suffering from an illness, but rather “cases” redefined to mean simply positive test results among the general population, uncovered by a maniacal testing regime that detects what are nothing more than remnants of the virus in people who have recovered from COVID-19, never knew they had it because they were asymptomatic, or were only mildly symptomatic and never even required a visit to the doctor’s office.
The pandemic having ended, we are now besieged by 24/7 coverage of the casedemic: millions of cases are out there, people. Be afraid! The disappointing bell curve of deaths and hospitalizations can now be replaced by a rising curve of “cases” – like the scary little number from the website of WHO (see graph on page 28).
Wow! That’s almost 12 million “cases” of COVID-19 in the United States alone. With millions more “cases” to come as the drive to test all 330 million Americans, fueled by the FN-BS, continues with the relentless ferocity of which only health establishment bureaucrats are capable. And the more “cases” uncovered by testing, the longer the “health emergency” can continue because there will be a continual “spike” in “cases.” As one wag put it: If you conducted widespread I.Q. testing you would also have a spike in the number of morons. To continue reading, subscribe to Catholic Family News E-Edition
“Vatican II Is An Act of Apostasy” and Must Be Resisted: Interview with Traditional Carmelite Priest (Brian M. McCall)
Editor’s Note: The following interview was conducted by CFN editor-in-chief Brian McCall with Fr. Tiago of St. Joseph, a traditional Carmelite priest from South America who currently resides in France with his small community. In describing his vocation and attachment to Tradition, Fr. Tiago explains that “it has been a very hard life, for 20 years since we made our commitment to live according to the true Catholic Tradition.” Despite the hardships, however, Father and his confreres remain firm in their commitment, recognizing that “[a] true Carmelite is someone who fights to defend the true God,” according to the spirit of their patron, the Old Testament prophet Elijah; and further, that “God allowed these things,” referring to the ecclesial crisis of the past several decades, “to prove and purify His Church. He wants to see our love and fidelity.”
Catholic Family News (CFN): Father, thank you for taking the time to share your story with us. Could you begin by telling us if you were raised Catholic and a bit about your ordination?
Fr. Tiago of St. Joseph, OCarm.: Thank you. It’s a pleasure for me to share our experience. Indeed, I was born in a Catholic family in a very liberal “Novus Ordo” way. By the grace of God, I discovered my vocation at the age of 19 by studying St. Thomas Aquinas. I was ordained by Cardinal Aloísio Lorscheider [Archbishop of Aparecida, 1995-2004] in 2000 in Brazil.
CFN: Can you tell us a little bit about your early years as a priest and how you worked to offer the Vetus Ordo, or Traditional Latin Mass?
Fr. Tiago: I was willing to celebrate the Traditional Mass. I had the permission of the Archbishop [Lorscheider] to try my vocation in institutes of consecrated life abroad who were dedicated to the Vetus Ordo. I was received for a few months in Florence by the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. They had asked about me to the Archbishop, and the Cardinal replied with positive information. However, having not fully identified with the charism of the Institute, I returned to Brazil and joined the Santo Elias Hermitage, a Carmelite foundation in Atibaia, São Paulo. In August of 2002, I took the habit of a postulant. Dom Bruno Gamberini, Bishop of Bragança Paulista, with the consent of the Cardinal Lorscheider, gave me full use of orders and I began to celebrate Masses in the parish there. I continued the formation period until July 2005, when I professed the vows in the hands of the superior, Fr. Marco Aurélio of Jesus. In 2007, Fr. Marco left our community, deciding to live alone as a hermit in his hometown of São Carlos. On that occasion, Bishop Pinheiro was the Bishop of Bragança. He greatly favored our community and gave us all the encouragement and support, including allowing us to celebrate under the Vetus Ordo and approve of our constitutions, according to the Primitive Rule of the Order of Carmel.
CFN: After these two years of living the primitive rule of the Carmelites, what happened?
Fr. Tiago: In 2009, Bishop Pinheiro resigned and was replaced by Bishop Sérgio Colombo (a man very linked with the “gay lobby”). This new bishop, from the beginning, began to ask me to stop celebrating Mass in the old rite and to use the rite of Paul VI. However, since 2010 we had chosen to celebrate exclusively the traditional rite, so we refused. And at the end of 2012, he informed us that we must leave the land (which was owned by the Diocese). On July 31, 2013, we left the property, according to the deadline given to us, and we lost ten years of work and money we invested. Then, we started our foundation in the Diocese of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, where we had been received by Bishop Livieres, despite the strong opposition of Bishop Colombo, Bishop of Bragança Paulista. Msgr. Livieres welcomed us with a great paternity and gave us all the support to keep living according to our purpose. Unfortunately, in 2015 he was removed from the diocese by Pope Francis without any explanation, even though he was an excellent bishop. To continue reading, subscribe to Catholic Family News E-Edition