Monday, September 29, 2014

Two Tales of Tradition

Following the pedagogical principles of our Lord Himself, it is at times better to use parables and stories in order to make a point. Thus, I present to you two true tales from two villages - one in Austria, one in France - about the importance and power of Tradition.

The Austrian Wall

In Austria, there was a certain village which had an old wall running around the length of the place. The wall was very old, dating at least to the late medieval period and possible earlier. It had become quite scenic over the years; in many places it was overgrown with beautiful ivy and people often visited the village just to take a stroll along the scenic wall - the sort of place where men would take their girls to propose to them. What's more, from time immemorial a certain spot on the wall had been associated with 'good luck.' When walking past this particular section of the wall, it was custom to reach out and touch it. People would leave flowers at this section of the wall, and sometimes candles. Nobody knew why. It was just the custom practiced by people from as long as anybody could remember.

Eventually the wall became dilapidated in many places and needed to be repaired. The village undertook and extensive restoration project on the wall. This entailed clearing away much if the ivy, scraping away old plaster, and replacing the old, crumbling mortar with new. In the process of this restoration, it was discovered that the "lucky spot" on the wall actually hid a glorious mosaic of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The mosaic was very old, presumably from the Byzantine Ravenna period (mid-6th century), when the conquests of Justinian had momentarily reunited Italy and parts of Austria with the Eastern Roman Empire. The mosaic was apparently an object of great veneration. Over the generations, accumulation of ivy, grime from offertory candles, and just dirt from being outdoors obscured the mosaic. Eventually the whole thing was simply plastered over. But the people of the region continued to venerate the spot, though having long forgotten the reason why. Hence the association of "luck" with the location, the offerings of candles, flowers, etc.

The French Cave

Our second story takes us to France, where at the beginning of the twentieth century there was a small village at the base of a mountain. This mountain featured a series of caves, which would frequently get cluttered by mudslides, brambles, and other debris. Since time immemorial, the village had a custom of hiring a small contingent of men to go up into the caves on the mountain once a year and clean them all out in exchange for a small stipend. By the 20th century the action was seen as honorary, a quirky custom that the villagers enjoyed but which served no practical purpose.

In the years of the Depression after World War I, however, with the economy in trouble and local governments watching their purses, it was decided that the village would no longer expend public money for the annual cleaning of the caves. It had been a fun tradition, but really the expense could no longer be justified, especially since the clearing of the caves above the town provided no practical benefit to the villagers. Thus, the cleaning was omitted and the caves began to get clogged up with debris and brambles.

Well, it was not long after that - perhaps a year, perhaps more - that the town was suddenly hit with a series of mudslides and floods. The village had never suffered from anything like this in living memory, and a prompt investigation was made into the source of these disasters. It was quickly determined that the calamities had come from the mountain, and the villagers made a surprising discovery. As it turns out, the clearing of the caves was not pointless. Every year, when the snows melted, the waters flowed down into the mountain caves and off into various rivulets here and there. However, when the villagers ceased clearing the caves of debris, the passages the water ran through became clogged, and the melt off was diverted, causing a flood of water and mud to rush down upon the village. The annual clearing of the caves was necessary to prevent these sorts of natural disasters. Local historians did some research and found that the annual clearing of the caves had been going on since Roman times. The Romans, consummate engineers, understood the relationship between the caves and the floods and made sure they were kept clear, and at public expense. The Romans disappeared, but the villagers continued to clear the caves, though they had long forgotten the rationale behind the practice. As they learned, the thoughtless jettisoning of so ancient a custom proved to be disastrous in a way they had not foreseen.

And what lessons do we derive from these two tales? Both stories strongly suggest to us the power and importance of tradition. In the story of the Austrian wall and the mosaic of Our Lady, we see how the tradition preserved a valuable core of piety even despite the people who had forgotten the rationale for it. Tradition is the best preservative available to humans. Catholic Tradition preserves important elements to our faith and hands them on, and it is capable of doing this even if people forget the reasons. A great example of traditional ecclesiastical architecture, which hands on a certain core of spiritual and liturgical principles, even if the average pewsitter is ignorant of them. When tradition is junked, we lose the ability to preserve elements of our religion and culture and wind up drifting loose.

In the second story, we see the other side of tradition - not as something that preserves a valuable core, but as something that defends us from evil, even an evil that we might not be aware of. The clearing of the caves was to keep the village safe, even though the villagers themselves did not understand the nature of the evil. Similarly, ecclesiastical traditions are in place for the purpose of protecting us from certain deadly errors, even if modern man thinks the tradition serves no "practical" purpose. Or, to put it another way, "Do not take down a fence if you don't know why it was put up."

Sources: I heard the story of the Austrian wall from a priest in a homily, while the tale of the French cave was related to me by my co-blogger Anselm during my last visit with him on a cold snowy night back in February.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Request Sunday

You would think that after seven years of blogging, I would be running out of material. In fact, the opposite is true; the longer I blog, the more my ideas branch out into seeds for new articles. As of recently, every day two or more ideas has been coming to me and I have so many concepts for articles that I cannot keep them straight or prioritize them.

I also get a lot of requests; the above picture is from the inbox of this blog and website, where I have a backlog of requests for articles going back almost a year.

What do you think I should post on? I guess I'm taking requests; of course, sometimes it takes weeks or months until I get to something, but as long as the request is reasonable, I will put it in the hopper and get to it when I can.

Below you will find a list of subjects that are already in the works to a greater or lesser degree for the next six months; what else would you like to see me post on? 

  • More Heresies of Balthasar: Balthasar insists that Christ possesses the virtue of faith.
  • Modernist thought in the writing of C.S. Lewis [UPDATE: Complete; see here]
  • Catholic Women: Why you can't find a man
  • Comparisons of Old Testament Israelite monarchy to current Church hierarchy
  • Philippians 1 and the Communion of Saints (contra Protestantism)
  • Follow up to this Nephilim article [UPDATE: Complete; see here]
  • Follow up to this article on the theology of the State
  • Hesychasm
  • Satis Cognitum and Sedevacantism
  • Critiquing the "brick by brick" approach to Tradition [UPDATE: Complete; see here]
  • The orientation of early Roman churches [UPDATE: Complete: see here]
  • More stuff on evolution
  • More biblical archaeology stuff [UPDATE: See our Biblical Archaeology articles here]
  • 2 Pet. 2:24 (contra Protestantism)
  • Catholic approach to tithing [UPDATE: Complete: see here]
  • More stuff about Bayside
  • Joachim of Fiore
  • Medieval penances
  • More videos (remember to subscribe to our Unam Sanctam Catholicam channel on Youtube)

Any other ideas? Follow this blog and conversation on Facebook

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Medjugorje: Thanks from a Priest

It's been a long while since we've talked about Medjogorje here. Over the years I've done a lot of posts on the subject, and though none are very recent, they remain some of the most viewed articles on this blog.

We recently received a very kind letter from a Franciscan priest laboring in Canada about how this blog and website helped him see the truth about Medjugorje. Below is the letter, edited only slightly to remove references to other individuals:

Dearest Boniface,

I would like to commend you for particular work you've presented here concerning the events taking place in Medjugorje. I am a Franciscan priest currently stationed in Canada. 

Boniface, if there was anyone who had hoped the alleged apparitions there were true, it would be me. I am convinced however, now, that after doing further reading up on the subject, I was wrong and imprudent in not only being in favour of the apparitions, but also preaching things about the scientific evidence (which now I see is not evidence of the supernatural; in fact an even greater witness against anything supernatural is occurring there) as I had seen presented, as a motive of credibility for the existence of God. I should have been more prudent. In any case, things have changed with me and in my alarm and concern for the well-being of people entrusted to me, I am now simply relating to them what the Church has thus far indicated concerning anyone's planned involvement in pilgrimages, conferences, etc. 

One of the articles which really helped me see the history as it evolved to the build up of the allegations in 1981 was the "Understanding the Herzegovina Question." I want to really thank you for that...

If you have any info that may be useful to me in my pastoral concern for these sincere people, would you please send it my way or let me know if you post an article concerning this on your website/blog? I would really appreciate it...

Anyways, Boniface, thanks for your courage in speaking the truth... let me just say it has helped me and I am one who is entrusted with helping others in the same way to be patient, and obedient to our rightful pastors, who need our prayer, loyalty and help in spreading the Truth... the good news. Blessings and peace.

And bless you, Father! The article referred to above is "Understanding the Herzegovina Question" on the USC website, which is mandatory reading for anybody serious about understanding the background of what has been going on in Medjugorje since 1981.

Another interesting post on Medjugorje that I did several years ago on Ryan Grant's old blog was on the question of John Paul II's alleged "approval" of the apparitions, as related in various second and third hand accounts. Ryan's blog went defunct, but before it did I copied the article and reposted it here, though I think it went under the radar at the time. If you have never read about John Paul II and his alleged support for Medjugorje, please check out this link. As with much else about this phenomenon, the truth is pretty far from what the Medjugorje proponents assert.

You can also view all our older posts that discuss Medjugorje here , though a lot of these come from 2007-2008 when my writing was a little less refined and are sometimes more rants than anything else.

Please pray for this Franciscan father and his mission. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Cohabitation: Maintaining Sanity

With the announcement that Pope Francis intends to marry couples who are publicly living in sin by cohabiting, some Catholics have sunk to a depth of denial and contradiction that I did not think possible. The scandal took place today, according to sources (here and here).

This is not some kind of hype pushed by the secular media. The fact that cohabiting couples will be among those receiving the sacrament comes straight from the press release issued by the Vicariate of Rome, which stated that among those being married by Francis "there are those who are already cohabiting", as reported by CNS. The ceremony will also include couples with children born out of wedlock.

The marriage of people cohabiting is a destructive scandal and offensive to those brave parish priests who over the years have steadfastly refused to marry couples who are living together outside of marriage. These faithful priests - who are usually in the minority and receive very little support from their bishops - understand that a couple cohabiting prior to marriage have no real understanding of the Catholic Church's moral teachings and even less knowledge of the purpose of the sacrament. They also know that marriages where couples cohabit first are much more likely to fail, inasmuch cohabiting couples demonstrate a lack of willingness to sacrifice and engender a disposition towards selfish behavior. Many of us traditional Catholics, or even just conservative Catholics who uphold Christian morality, have applauded these heroic pastors who have the guts to buck the trend and refuse matrimony to cohabiting couples.

But now that Pope Francis is doing this very thing, many of these folks don't know what to do. As is usually the case when this pope scandalizes the faithful, they have generally responded with "I don't see a problem here", "what's the big deal?", "this is really nothing new", and the like. Typical Franciscan-pontificate spin.

"Boniface, the Church has always married people who have previously been living in sin. This is nothing new."

The Church has always married people who had previously been living in sin; she has no custom of marrying people who are currently living in sin. And some of these couples are currently living in unrepentant sin, as the press release says they are "already cohabiting"; i.e., they are living together right now. Obviously, nobody has a problem with the Church offering sacraments to single mothers living chastely or people who were once notorious sinners but have repented; to offer them the sacrament while they are persisting in unrepentant sin is another matter entirely.

"But Boniface, you are being judgmental. How do you know they are unrepentant? You don't know their hearts."

In the Catholic Faith, what we do is extremely important. When the people came to St. John the Baptist asking how they could be saved, he told them "Bear fruits that befit repentance" (Luke 3:8). We demonstrate our repentance by our actions. A true conversion, a metanoia, means actively turning away from a sinful lifestyle and embracing holiness. Hence St. John Vianney withheld absolution from a man who had refused to stop dancing in the local saloon and St. Cyprian withheld distribution of alms from certain people unless they gave up attending the Roman spectacles. Can you imagine the scandal today if a priest refused to absolve somebody unless they stopped going to the bar on Fridays or if he refused to feed the poor if they didn't stop going to see R-rated movies? How Pharisaic! Yet these saints knew that a sincere change of heart would invariably be coupled with a change of lifestyle, and if they did not see the "fruits that befit repentance", they presumed there was no repentance and withheld their ministrations. A person who persists in their sin is not repentant; rather, they are like a fool, according to Proverbs: "A dog that returns to its vomit is like a fool who reverts to his folly" (Prov. 26:11).

I know a thief is unrepentant if he keeps stealing; I know a cohabiting couple is unrepentant if they keep cohabiting. Simple as that.

"There you go judging again. How can you have any knowledge of whether or not the cohabiting couples are still sinning? You don't know what goes on in the bedroom. They could be cohabiting but living chastely. We ought to presume the best."

Let me say this as plainly as possible; in fact, let me be so blunt that I am actually going to resort to using all caps, which I seldom do: COHABITING ITSELF IS SINFUL, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER SEXUAL ACTIVITY GOES ON.

The spin-doctors are essentially saying that while a couple may be living together outside of wedlock, they may be living chastely in that situation, and therefore we cannot and should not presume they are fornicating just because they are living under the same roof. We ought to "assume the best."

This position misses several things.

First, how many people do you know who cohabit but do not have sexual relations? In my twelve years as a Catholic, I can think of one. Now, how many people do you know in the world, in your family, in your workplace, in your parish - wherever - how many people do you know who cohabit and do have sexual relations? Yeah. So this mythical "chaste cohabiting couple" is in the same category as the "extraordinary minister", where the adjective is there to make us feel better but in practice has no meaning.

"Boniface, you are talking about non-believers cohabiting - worldly people. The pope is marrying Catholics."

Catholics who cohabit before marriage are being worldly and are, in some sense, non-believers, at least as regards the Church's moral teaching, which they evidently do not believe or they would not cohabit.

Furthermore, regarding "presuming the best about people", we must recall that when people are living together, we actually do not presume chastity; we presume they are sexually active, and the Church always has. This is because an adult man and woman living a common life together is a state proper only to marriage; hence, when we see a man and a woman living together and don't know differently, we default to assuming they are married - which obviously means we assume the relations proper to marriage. If a man and a woman share a house, it is presumed they share a bed; and if they share a bed, well, heh know.

In fact, it is natural for people to assume sexual relations whenever they see any male and female in any close relationship. When I was watching the winter Olympics figure-skating with my extended family this year, my 15 year old nephew remarked, "So, do you think they do it?" Given the great amounts of time the skaters spend rehearsing in each other's company, as well as the skin-tight suits, intimate poses, and emotional intensity of the profession, it was natural for him - as well as for many - to assume sexual relations between figure-skating pairs.

The Church has always presumed a cohabiting couple were having sexual relations. This is why living together outside of marriage has been referred to as "living in sin." It was never engaging in the act of fornication that was primarily known as "living in sin"; rather, it was extramarital cohabitation that constituted "living in sin". Fornication was merely - and quite rationally - assumed. We, also, are not wrong in assuming that cohabiting couples are fornicating.

Third, given that cohabitation is referred to as "living in sin", we need to recall that cohabitation itself is sinful, as I exclaimed in all caps above. There are several reasons for this; as mentioned above, because people presume you are fornicating, it becomes a scandal. This is true even in the unlikely event that no fornication happens. A blind man who walks into an adult bookstore still commits the sin of scandal by merely going in, even if his blindness means he doesn't look at pornography while he is in there. This is because anyone who sees him go in and doesn't know the particulars about his blindness will naturally assume he is looking at porn while in the store.

Besides being scandalous, cohabitation also puts couples in a near occasion of sin on a daily basis, almost perpetually, in fact. This is why we keep our teenage daughters and sons away from compromising situations with members of the opposite sex. Duh. When did this become so complicated? You take a male and a female, let them share a home, and chances are very good that they will share a bed - and if that happens, forget about it.

So, because cohabitation sends a message that sex is happening, and because there is a tremendous likelihood that sex will in fact happen, it is scandalous and sinful. Can you think of any other activity that is scandalous and a near occasion of sin but which apologists would be hesitant condemning?

"Fair enough, Boniface, but this is a pastoral call that the pope has the right to make. He has the jurisdiction to marry whom he chooses and it is not our place to call that judgment into question."

Very well. I will not judge Francis. I appeal to the words of St. John Paul II, who wrote about those who "presume that the true and proper marriage will take place only after a period of cohabitation" in Familiaris Consortio. After summarizing the variety of reasons people cohabit - ranging from economic distress to custom to mere pleasure seeking - the pope stated that each of these situations of cohabitation

presents the Church with arduous pastoral problems, by reason of the serious consequences deriving from them, both religious and moral (the loss of the religious sense of marriage seen in the light of the Covenant of God with His people; deprivation of the grace of the sacrament; grave scandal), and also social consequences (the destruction of the concept of the family; the weakening of the sense of fidelity, also towards society; possible psychological damage to the children; the strengthening of selfishness) [Familiaris Consortio, 81]

By the way, for those who are no longer accustomed to traditional theological vocabulary, the use of the adjective "grave" generally means "mortally sinful."

Also, did you notice that St. John Paul II applies all these consequences to cohabitation as such? He does not seem to envision nor give much credence to the possibility of chaste cohabitation, nor do any of the reasons for extramarital common life negate the consequences he enumerates.

So, the question becomes: If this holy, wise and sainted-pontiff states that cohabitation has serious moral, social and religious consequences, including psychological damage to children, destruction of the family, establishment in selfishness - as well as the guilt of mortally sinful scandal for those engaged in it and the deprivation of the grace of the sacrament of marriage - are these people properly disposed to be married?

If according to St. John Paul II cohabitation before marriage results in the deprivation of the grace of the sacrament, how on earth can one say that cohabiting couples can possibly be properly disposed or in any sense fit for matrimony? Let St. John Paul II judge Francis.

"Well Boniface, you make a good case, but ultimately these marriages are all valid, so this is just your opinion."

Uh...I didn't suggest they weren't valid. Is this really relevant? Dr. Peters has an interesting article looking at the validity of marriages conferred on cohabiting couples. Of course, he states that they are perfectly valid but kind of punks out by sidestepping the question of the pastoral implications of such marriages, only stating that the pastoral problems "might be a bigger deal."

That's an understatement!

I really hope we don't have to go over the whole discussion about validity and propriety again. A Eucharist consecrated on a card table at a poker game is valid if correct matter, form, minister and intent are used. That does not make it proper. It can be valid and still seriously scandalous; in fact, in the case of the Eucharist, such a consecration would be sacrilegious and scandalous precisely because the consecration would be valid.

Similarly, hiding behind the mere validity of a marriage conferred upon a cohabiting couple is no way to get around the huge pastoral implications such a practice would have. Has the world turned upside down that I am now concerned with pastoral implications?!

I would also like to opine, however, that Dr. Peters errs in one point. He says in his article quoted above:

"Canonically, this is a non-issue. No divine, natural, or canon law impedes a wedding between cohabiting persons (cc. 1083-1094) and therefore the fundamental right of the faithful to the sacraments in general (cc. 213, 843) and to marriage particular (c. 1058) should prevail in such cases. Unquestionably, these couples can, and must be allowed to wed."

Dr. Peters suggests that, unless impeded by some canonical impediment, there is absolutely no reason any Catholic couple can ever be legitimately denied access to the sacrament of matrimony. I dispute this point. It is very true that, regarding matrimony, there are no natural, divine, or canonical impediments based on cohabitation. But there is grounds for denial of the sacrament in the canons regarding administration of sacraments in general.

First, canon 843§1 states that "Sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who opportunely ask for them, are properly disposed and are not prohibited by law from receiving them." Dr. Peters cites this canon in support of his argument that cohabiting couples "can, and must be allowed to wed."

However, he does not delve into what it means for a couple to be "properly disposed." Since being "properly disposed" is a condition for reception of any sacrament, it is understood by implication and practice that any sacrament may be denied to any Catholic who is not properly disposed. This is why pastors do First Communion interviews, Confirmation interviews, etc.

Who decides whether a couple is properly disposed for marriage? Canon 843§2 says, "According to their respective offices in the Church, both pastors of souls and all other members of Christ's faithful have a duty to ensure that those who ask for the sacraments are prepared for their reception. This should be done through proper evangelization and catechetical instruction, in accordance with the norms laid down by the competent authority."

In the case of marriage, pastors are to ensure proper disposition through "personal preparation for entering marriage, so that the spouses are disposed to the holiness and the obligations of their new state" (1062§2), while traditionally the laity participate by making pastors aware of any impediments to marriage; hence the traditional publishing of the banns.

Thus, there does exist a canonical rationale for a pastor to deny the sacrament of matrimony to two Catholics; that is, he can always deny it on the grounds that they are not properly disposed. Does cohabitation before marriage prove a proper disposition is lacking? The purpose of any sacrament is to communicate the grace proper to it. Given that Pope St. John Paul II stated that cohabitation before marriage results in a deprivation of sacramental grace and is a grave scandal, a pastor who refuses to confer marriage on a cohabiting couple would be justified based on Canon 843§2 and Familiaris Consortio 81, which would suggest that such a couple would not be properly disposed.

As a side note, a priest may also refuse to officiate at the marriage of "a person who has notoriously rejected the catholic faith" (1073§4). Traditionally this has been interpreted to refer to outright apostasy, though a person who rejects a certain portion of the Church's teaching could be said to have rejected the faith, insofar as the faith must be kept "whole and undefiled" (Quicumque Vult) and that "whoever breaks one commandment is guilty of breaking them all" (cf. James 2:10).

Furthermore, canon 1092§2 lists among persons "incapable of contracting marriage...those who suffer from a grave lack of discretionary judgement concerning the essential matrimonial rights and obligations to be mutually given and accepted. I believe this canon is meant to apply to persons who suffer from developmental disabilities. However, since the canon does not explicitly say that, if a person of sound mind is so dense as to either not understand or reject the Church's teaching on the exclusivity of intercourse to within the marital bond itself, one could make a case that they "suffer from a grace lack of discretionary judgment": concerning the nature of matrimony and hence should not be married. These latter two arguments from canons 1073 and 1092 are only speculative; the argument from Canon 843§2 and Familiaris Consortio 81 is much stronger, in my opinion.

So, yes, I take issue with the opinion that cohabiting couples "can, and must be allowed to wed" if they ask for it. Many pastors have presumed such couples are not properly disposed and have denied them on those grounds, as they have every right and duty to based on canon law and tradition.

"Boniface, marriage offers a way for them to regularize their situation. Do you want them to remain in sin?"

Of course not. I want them to turn their union into a sacramental, grace-filled union. To do so, they must be properly disposed to receive the sacrament. Part of that disposition is abstaining from intercourse prior to marriage, which among other things, you do by not living together. If a cohabiting couple is serious about wanting to regularize their situation, let them cease cohabitation at once and make a sacramental confession. Then let them maintain purity for the remainder of the preparatory process, which is a sign that they are serious about "bearing fruit that befits repentance." It's as simple as that.

I want every Catholic to receive communion weekly. That doesn't mean I want to dispense with the regulations surrounding who and when communion can be received; it means I want all Catholics to observe those regulations. Two Catholics certainly have a right to marry - but not on any terms they choose. Everyone understands this principle when it comes to the other sacraments. Why some Catholics are now hemming and hawing when it comes to matrimony is beyond me.

One last thought: It rubs me the wrong way that this is being done for political purposes. Do you think the pope goes out to marry twenty couples and it is a coincidence that they are all either living in sin or come from irregular situations? Of course that is not a coincidence. These people were chosen to send a message, and the fact that this is occurring so close to the opening of the Synod on the Family is very meaningful. It saddens me that these people were chosen not based on their suitability for reception of the sacrament, but in order to send a message about the pope's agenda. It is as if Francis went out and said, "Go dig up some cohabiting people for me to marry so I can make a point", just like when he went to Korea he requested whatever "the smallest car possible" was in order to make sure he looked sufficiently humble. The administration of the sacrament is being co-opted to push the envelope for the progressive attempts to loosen all the disciplines surrounding marriage.

Yes, this is a scandal. Many in the Church hierarchy may have lost their minds on this matter, but at least let us maintain sanity on this issue. Cohabiting before marriage is sinful and those who present themselves for marriage while cohabiting are not properly disposed and should not receive the sacrament until the "bear fruit that befits repentance."

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Appeal for an Oblate of the ICRSS

In the interest of furthering the advance of Catholic Tradition and supporting, I am happy to present the profile and appeal of a wonderful young man who has just been accepted into the oblatehood of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest in Wausau, Wisconsin. As you probably know, members of traditional priestly fraternities are required to pay the full cost of their tuition. Please read about Kevin Koski - a young man I met last year at the Catholic Identity Conference - and consider supporting his vocation financially. Here is a message from Kevin:

Salvete! My name is Kevin Koski and I am a new candidate for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. I am 27 years of age and was born and raised in Central Maine. A cradle Catholic, I attended a Catholic elementary school in Augusta. In 2010 I graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. in Kinesiology: Exercise Science. I went on to perform missionary work in Denver and study theology for a year at Franciscan University of Steubenville. At Franciscan, I aided implementation of the Traditional Mass on campus. It was in September 2012 that I began discerning a religious vocation. I am now entering formation due to a fervor to help build the Church back to Her former glory. Moreover, by being formed in the Institute’s charism and spirituality, I hope to be an integral part of the restoration of authentic Catholic culture by promoting the classical Roman Liturgy and the superior beauty and euphony of the compositions found in sacred music.

Checks can be made out to Kevin Koski and sent to 6 Townsend Street,Augusta, ME 04330. If you do choose to donate, please mention that you did so as a result of seeing this post. If he gets a good response, maybe we can feature more seminarian and oblate appeals in the future, as does Rorate and other traditional blogs.

Just to make sure everything is on the up and up, here is a copy of Kevin's letter of acceptance from the Institute:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Then and Now

I have recently been immersed in a book on the history of the Cistercians called Compendium of the History of the Cistercian Order. The book was written in 1944 by an anonymous priest of that Order, who either out of obedience or humility did not reveal his identity.

I know this is kind of apples and oranges here, but when I reflected on the humility of this priest who consented to undertake this massive tome anonymously - thinking what he said more important than who was saying it - my mind could not help leaping to a contrast with something more modern.

In the anonymous Father's book, it's all about what is being said. In our latter production, it's all about MEEEEEEE!

I know things are different for a religious than a lay person...I know a television show is different than a book...I know there could be evangelical benefits to such a show, and I know this woman probably has the best of intentions.


Thursday, September 04, 2014

Summer Articles on USC Website

Summer was a very busy time for us here at Unam Sanctam Catholicam; with some of us swamped with professional responsibilities and others welcoming children into the world (congratulations, Maximus!) it is a miracle anyone posted anything at all. Still, it has been a great summer moving into our seventh year of blogging. Please check out the summer articles from the USC website and follow us on Facebook.

Truth About Celibacy and Priestly Continence - Lengthy article examining the history of continence in the priesthood and demonstrating that, while the priesthood was not always celibate, it was always continent.

Archbishop Cordileone Bulletin Insert - PDF bulletin insert summarizing Archbishop Cordileone's arguments against homosexual marriage.

Proselytism and Conversion - Step one: get everyone to agree that proselytism is bad. Step two: redefine proselytism to mean seeking to get people to enter the Church. Result: destroy the Church's efforts at evangelization.

Comparing Roman and Medieval Technology - Repost of one of Ryan Grant's old articles articulating why medieval technology is actually superior to that of the classical world.

Deconstructing the Documentary Hypothesis - Exposing the Hegelian origin of the JEDP theory of the Old Testament and debunking its historical claims.

"It's all about God" -The power the traditional liturgy can have even on the poor and uneducated.

Profit as a Just Recompense - Comparing traditional and modern concepts of "profit".

Gezer Calendar - What a school boy's exercise from 950 B.C. tells us about the Kingdom of Solomon.

Is Liturgy Really a Big Deal? - If liturgy is really not that important, why did God strike so many people dead for liturgical infractions?

The Shrines of Khirbet Qeiyafa - Little shrines found at the 11th century Israelite fortress of Khirbet Qeiyafa attest to an ancient Israelite ban on images.

Defense of the Divine Mercy Devotion: Part 3 in an ongoing series by Kasey Moerbeek defending the devotion against the objections raised by the SSPX.

Movie Reviews

Turbo (2013)
Soul Surfer (2011)
The Help (2011)