Thursday, October 20, 2016

"Do not murder a child by abortion..." -- the ancient teaching of the Church

"Do not murder a child by abortion or kill a newborn infant." 

Thus says The Didache: The Teaching of the 12 Apostles, which was written down in the 1st century AD, not long after the death and resurrection of Jesus. The Didache (which means, literally "The Teaching") is one of the most ancient early Church documents outside of canon of Sacred Scripture and constitutes the earliest catechism of the Christian Church. In the 4th century AD, St. Athanasius specifically called out this most ancient work as one that should be "read by those who newly join us, and who wish for instruction in the word of godliness."

Here is the above quote placed in greater context:
"And the second commandment of the Teaching is: 
Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not corrupt boys; thou shalt not commit fornication. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not use witchcraft; thou shalt not practice sorcery. Thou shalt not procure abortion, nor shalt thou kill the new-born child. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's goods. 
Thou shalt not forswear thyself (swear falsely). Thou shalt not bear false witness. Thou shalt not speak evil; thou shalt not bear malice. 
Thou shalt not be double-minded nor double-tongued; for duplicity of tongue is a snare of death. 
Thy speech shall not be false, nor vain, but fulfilled by deed. 
Thou shalt not be covetous, nor rapacious, nor a hypocrite, nor malignant, nor haughty. Thou shalt not take evil counsel against thy neighbor. 
Thou shalt not hate any one, but some thou shalt rebuke and for some thou shalt pray, and some thou shalt love above thine own soul (or, life)."
Read the entire text here:

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Abp Chaput calls for Clinton to repudiate Podesta's anti-Catholic statements

Further to the recent leak of internal documents from Hillary Clinton's campaign chair, John Podesta, containing information about the attempts of the political left in the US to infiltrate and influence the Catholic Church, Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia has issued a memo entitled, About Those Unthinking Backwards Catholics. It is a solid rebuke of the Podesta emails, as well as a call-to-action to his flock to be aware of this grotesquely Machiavellian attempt to hijack Church teaching for purely political gain. God bless him for taking a swift and strong stand on this emerging scandal.

In his essay, the archbishop recounts an anecdote of how, as Archbishop of Denver, he was solicited by Democrat activists in 2008 who attempted to convince him to shift the Church's focus away from pro-life issues toward other "social justice" questions. Though he was able to sniff out their intentions, it seems many American bishops fell for the sophistry and became tools of the Democrat machine. Chaput recounts the grim results of such activism:
"...These two young men not only equaled but surpassed their Republican cousins in the talents of servile partisan hustling. Thanks to their work, and activists like them, American Catholics helped to elect an administration that has been the most stubbornly unfriendly to religious believers, institutions, concerns and liberty in generations."
Now, it has been revealed that such efforts were not simply appeals to conscience, but nakedly partisan efforts generated from central planning where an amazingly bigoted view of Catholics prevails. Archbishop Chaput closed with the following mildly snarky demand:
"Of course it would be wonderful for the Clinton campaign to repudiate the content of these ugly WikiLeaks emails. All of us backward-thinking Catholics who actually believe what Scripture and the Church teach would be so very grateful."
Given that the news media has issued a virtual black-out on this story, it is necessary for all American bishops to take a strong stand here and force coverage. Will they? I guess we're about to find out how successful the infiltration has been.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Contact named by Podesta in leaked email is on the board at NCR

Further to the previous post, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend who was called out by John Podesta in the leaked "revolution in the Church" email is a member of the Kennedy family, former Democratic lieutenant governor of Maryland, and is on the board at the dissident newspaper, The National Catholic Reporter.

The connections here are fascinating. One wonders how many other names will shake out here before all is said and done.

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Clinton cronies plot to foment a "Catholic spring"

Click the image at right to see a newly released leaked email wherein Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign chair, John Podesta, entertains a conversation on how to "plant the seeds of revolution", create a "Catholic Spring" to end the "middle ages dictatorship." His interlocutor is Sandy Newman, President of Voices for Progress who says, to wit:
"There needs to be a Catholic Spring, in which Catholics themselves demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship and the beginning of a little democracy and respect for gender equality in the Catholic church....I don’t qualify to be involved and I have not thought at all about how one would 'plant the seeds of the revolution,' or who would plant them."
Podesta's response is also telling:
"We created Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good to organize for a moment like this. But I think it lacks the leadership to do so now."
For those Catholics who have thought about supporting Mrs. Clinton to this point, here is what you are voting for--a cadre of radicals who plot to foment revolution within the Catholic Church for their own political gains.

Where are the US Catholic bishops on this? Will they be MIA as usual?

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Tuesday, October 04, 2016

The tough love of St. Francis of Assisi

"Those who refuse to do penance and receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ are blind....They indulge their vices and sins and follow their evil longings and desires, without a thought for the promises they made."
~Saint Francis of Assisi in his Letter to All the Faithful

In our day, Saint Francis of Assisi is commonly portrayed as a nice, happy-go-lucky friar who traveled around Italy preaching about being helpful, friendly and blessing animals. The real Saint Francis was very far from this distorted caricature. He was a loyal follower of even the hardest teachings of Jesus Christ and a true son and soldier of the Catholic Church. He was not averse to preaching directly to the faithful in terms that would grate the soft sensibilities of many modern religious leaders. Considering the easy road preached by many today, it is well to reflect upon the words written by St. Francis in his Letter to All the Faithful. Here is the above quote in context:
“Every creature in heaven and on earth and in the depths of the sea should give God praise and glory and honour and blessing (cf. Ap. 5: 13); he has borne so much for us and has done and will do so much good to us; he is our power and our strength, and he alone is good (cf. Lk. 18:19), he alone most high, he alone all-powerful, wonderful, and glorious; he alone is holy and worthy of all praise and blessing for endless ages and ages. Amen.
All those who refuse to do penance and receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ are blind, because they cannot see the light, our Lord Jesus Christ. They indulge their vices and sins and follow their evil longings and desires, without a thought for the promises they made. In body they are slaves of the world and of the desires of their lower nature, with all the cares and anxieties of this life; in spirit they are slaves of the devil. They have been led astray by him and have made themselves his children, dedicated to doing his work. They lack spiritual insight because the Son of God does not dwell in them, and it is he who is the true wisdom of the Father. It is of such men as these that Scripture says, their skill was swallowed up (Ps. 106: 27). They can see clearly and are well aware what they are doing; they are fully conscious of the fact that they are doing evil, and knowingly lose their souls.”
See, then you who are blind, deceived by your enemies, the world, the flesh, and the devil, our fallen nature loves to commit sin and hates to serve God; this is because vice and sin come from the heart of man, as the Gospel says. You have no good in this world and nothing to look forward to in the next. You imagine that you will enjoy the worthless pleasures of this life indefinitely, but you are wrong. The day and the hour will come, the day and the hour for which you have no thought and of which you have no knowledge whatever. First sickness, then death, draws near; friends and relatives come and advise the dying man, "Put your affairs in order". Wife and children, friends and relatives, all pretend to mourn. Looking about, he sees them weeping. An evil inspiration comes to him. Thinking to himself, he says, "Look, I am putting my body and soul and all that I have in your hands". Certainly a man who would do a thing like that is under a curse, trusting and leaving his body and his soul and all that he has defenseless in such hands. God tells us by his Prophet, Cursed shall he be that puts his trust in man (Jer. 17:5). There and then, they call a priest; he says to the sick man, "Do you want to be absolved from all your sins?" 
And the dying man replies, "I do". "Are you ready then to make restitution as best you can out of your property for all that you have done, all the fraud and deceit you practiced towards your fellow men?" the priest asks him. "No", he replies. And the priest asks, "Why not?" "Because I have left everything in the hands of my relatives and friends", is the answer. Then his speech begins to fail and so the unfortunate man dies an unhappy death."
The complete "Letter to All the Faithful" may be found here.

The image accompanying this post shows Saint Francis pointing to death, taken from a fresco painted in 1320 by Giotto which appears on the North transept, Lower Church, San Francesco in Assisi, Italy.

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Friday, September 30, 2016

The scars of others should teach us caution

“The scars of others should teach us caution.” from St. Jerome’s Letter to Furia, AD 394

September 30 is the feast day of Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus, otherwise known as Saint Jerome.

Furia was a young widow who had written to St. Jerome for advice on how to live after the death of her husband. In response, the saint wrote her a long missive full of advice. Here is the quote above in its original context:

"Avoid the company of young men. Let long baited youths dandified and wanton never be seen under your roof. Repel a singer as you would some bane. Hurry from your housewomen who live by playing and singing, the devil's choir whose songs are the fatal ones of sirens. Do not arrogate to yourself a widow's license and appear in public preceded by a host of eunuchs. It is a most mischievous thing for those who are weak owing to their sex and youth to misuse their own discretion and to suppose that things are lawful because they are pleasant. All things are lawful, but all things are not expedient. No frizzled steward nor shapely foster brother nor fair and ruddy footman must dangle at your heels. Sometimes the tone of the mistress is inferred from the dress of the maid.

Seek the society of holy virgins and widows; and, if need arises for holding converse with men, do not shun having witnesses, and let your conversation be marked with such confidence that the entry of a third person shall neither startle you nor make you blush. The face is the mirror of the mind and a woman's eyes without a word betray the secrets of her heart. I have lately seen a most miserable scandal traverse the entire East. The lady's age and style, her dress and mien, the indiscriminate company she kept, her dainty table and her regal appointments bespoke her the bride of a Nero or of a Sardanapallus. The scars of others should teach us caution. 'When he that causes trouble is scourged the fool will be wiser.' A holy love knows no impatience. A false rumor is quickly crushed and the after life passes judgment on that which has gone before. It is not indeed possible that any one should come to the end of life's race without suffering from calumny; the wicked find it a consolation to carp at the good, supposing the guilt of sin to be less, in proportion as the number of those who commit it is greater. Still a fire of straw quickly dies out and a spreading flame soon expires if fuel to it be wanting. Whether the report which prevailed a year ago was true or false, when once the sin ceases, the scandal also will cease.

I do not say this because I fear anything wrong in your case but because, owing to my deep affection for you, there is no safety that I do not fear. Oh! That you could see your sister and that it might be yours to hear the eloquence of her holy lips and to behold the mighty spirit which animates her diminutive frame. You might hear the whole contents of the old and new testaments come bubbling up out of her heart. Fasting is her sport, and prayer she makes her pastime. Like Miriam after the drowning Pharaoh she takes up her timbrel and sings to the virgin choir, Let us sing to the Lord for He has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider has he thrown into the sea. She teaches her companions to be music girls but music girls for Christ, to be luteplayers but luteplayers for the Saviour. In this occupation she passes both day and night and with oil ready to put in the lamps she waits the coming of the Bridegroom. Do you therefore imitate your kinswoman. Let Rome have in you what a grander city than Rome, I mean Bethlehem, has in her."
Read the entire letter here:

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Saint Isaac Jogues and the sign of the cross

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"The sign of the cross is adorable and could not do anything but good to those who should use it. I have no intention of giving it up." ~Saint Isaac Jogues

This quote is taken from an account in the Jesuit Relations. Following their capture and torture by the Mohawks, Jogues's companion, René Goupil, was murdered by his captors. Jogues did not know why Goupil had been murdered, nor had he been allowed to collect the remains. Here is the rest of the story, as recorded in the Relations:

"The following Spring, some children reporting that they had seen the Frenchman in a brook, the Father betakes himself thither without saying a word, withdraws those sacred remains, kisses them with respect, and hides them in the hollow of a tree, in order to remove them with himself, if it so happen that they would set him at liberty. He did not yet know the cause of his companion's death; but the old man who had caused him to be slain having invited him, some days later, to his cabin, and giving him food, when the Father came to offer the blessing and express the sign of the Cross, that Barbarian said to him: "Do not do that; the Dutch tell us that that act is of no account. Know that I have had thy companion killed for having made it upon my grandson; the like shall be done to thee, if thou continue.'' The Father answered him that this sign was adorable; that it could not do anything but good to those who should use it; that he had no intention of giving it up. That man dissimulated, for the time, and the Father employed no reserve in this devotion—asking nothing better than to die for having expressed the mark and sign of the Christian."

Read the account in context here

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

September 18, AD 324 -- Constantine defeats Licinius at the Battle of Chrysopolis

Today is the 1692nd anniversary of the Battle of Chrysopolis in Asia Minor. This was the last major battle between Constantine and Licinius for supremacy within the Roman Empire. With nearly 300,000 combined troops participating in the battle, it was one of the largest and bloodiest battles of the ancient world.

Here is a brief account of the battle given by the 5th century pagan historian, Zosimus, in his Historia Nova:
While Licinius was thus occupied, Constantine, who had a great number of transports as well as warlike vessels, and was desirous to make use of them in crossing over and possessing himself of the opposite shore, fearing that the Bithynian coast might be inaccessible to ships of burden, immediately constructed some small vessels, with which he sailed to the sacred promontory, which lies at the entrance of the Pontus, two hundred stadia from Chalcedon. He there landed his army, which, having done, he drew them up upon some adjacent hills. Licinius, though he then saw that Bithynia was already in the hands of his enemy, was rendered so desperate by danger, that he sent for Martinianus from Lampsacus, and in order to encourage his men to fight, told them that he himself would lead them. Having said what he thought necessary to encourage them, he drew them up in order of battle, and marching out of the city, met the enemy, who were prepared for him. A sharp engagement taking place between Chalcedon and the sacred promontory, Constantine had the superiority; for he fell on the enemy with such resolution, that of a hundred and thirty thousand men, scarcely thirty thousand escaped. When the Byzantines heard of this, they immediately threw open their gates to Constantine, as did the Chalcedonians also. Licinius after this defeat went to Nicomedia with what horse were left him, and a few thousands of foot. [Read more here.]
And here is another account given by Eusebius in his Life of the Blessed Emperor Constantine.
And inasmuch as he who had lately fled before him now dissembled his real sentiments, and again petitioned for a renewal of friendship and alliance, the emperor [Constantine] thought fit, on certain conditions, to grant his request, in the hope that such a measure might be expedient, and generally advantageous to the community. Licinius, however, while he pretended a ready submission to the terms prescribed, and attested his sincerity by oaths, at this very time was secretly engaged in collecting a military force, and again meditated war and strife, inviting even the barbarians to join his standard, and he began also to look about him for other gods, having been deceived by those in whom he had hitherto trusted. And, without bestowing a thought on what he had himself publicly spoken on the subject of false deities, or choosing to acknowledge that God who had fought on the side of Constantine, he made himself ridiculous by seeking for a multitude of new gods. Having now learned by experience the Divine and mysterious power which resided in the salutary trophy, by means of which Constantine’s army had become habituated to victory, he admonished his soldiers never to direct their attack against this standard, nor even incautiously to allow their eyes to rest upon it; assuring them that it possessed a terrible power, and was especially hostile to him; so that they would do well carefully to avoid any collision with it. And now, having given these directions, he prepared for a decisive conflict with him whose humanity prompted him still to hesitate, and to postpone the fate which he foresaw awaited his adversary. The enemy, however, confident in the aid of a multitude of gods, advanced to the attack with a powerful array of military force, preceded by certain images of the dead, and lifeless statues, as their defense. On the other side, the emperor, secure in the armor of godliness, opposed to the numbers of the enemy the salutary and life-giving sign, as at once a terror to the foe, and a protection from every harm. And for a while he paused, and preserved at first the attitude of forbearance, from respect to the treaty of peace to which he had given his sanction, that he might not be the first to commence the contest. But as soon as he perceived that his adversaries persisted in their resolution, and were already drawing their swords, he gave free scope to his indignation, and by a single charge3177 overthrew in a moment the entire body of the enemy, thus triumphing at once over them and their gods. [Read more here.]

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