Monday, April 30, 2007

Catholic Marriage

I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life
(John 14:6)
By Sister Emmanuel - Forgotten Truths

In our Croatian town of 13,000, there has never been a divorce. How can it be? With communism surrounding us, people suffer cruelly as they face daily persecution. When a Catholic couple is married, they are told, “You have found your cross. It is a cross to be loved, to be carried, a cross not to be thrown away, but to be cherished.”

In Herzegovina, the cross represents the greatest love; and the crucifix is the treasure of every home. During the marriage ceremony, the bride and groom place their hands holding the crucifix; then kiss, not each other, but the cross.

If one should abandon the other, they cannot do so without abandoning Jesus Crucified. The Crucifix is the local point of the home.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

The Human Conscience

Pope Pius XII once said: “The great sin of our century is the loss of the conscience of sin;” an eclipse of the moral conscience. People in our times do not believe in sin anymore. They minimize immoral acts to mere choices that according to them, just because they choose them and like them, are O.K…. and should be accepted by everyone else.

There are sane and evil conducts. Our own consciences tell us when we do something that is not right, that hurts us or others, that is not natural, that goes beyond the limits of our rights and freedom.

In the eclipse, or darkening, of the moral conscience, there are three phases:

1) In the first phase, there is sin and there are sinners. In this phase, sin and sinners and their guilt are recognized. The sinner is held accountable for his crime, sin, and/or fault, and is punished accordingly by the law, after being accused by his own actions and conscience.

2) In the second phase, there is sin, but there is no sinner. All crimes, sins, social and moral misdeeds are attributed to the system, the environment, circumstances, needs, weakness, etc., but there is no mention of guilty persons, no sinners, no punishments.

3) In the third phase, there is no sin… and LONG LIVE the sinner! People believe that no one has the right to tell them what to do and how to do it. In the name of distorted freedom, sinners are rewarded for all the time that they were seen and treated as sinners.

Morals are thrown out the window and are replaced by laws that are really usurpers of Divine Truth and true liberty. What was considered sinful becomes a virtue; virtues are belittled, mocked, repudiated. Public sinners are considered heroes, role models of society, and become the idols of the youth.

All of this is a process of a moral involution in which the human conscience is silenced, obscured, and disfigured. According to Pius XII, “the human conscience is the tabernacle of man,” which protects and defends the voice of God in and for man…. so that we may know what we do right and what we do wrong.

In human beings, there are two consciences: the psychological conscience and the moral conscience. The psychological conscience is the indicative perception of what we actually do and feel. For example, when we are hurt, hungry, tired, thanks to our psychological conscience, we feel pain, hunger, and the desire to relax.

The moral conscience is the imperative appreciation of what we should do and feel. Our moral conscience tells us how we should behave in certain situations, how we should respond to certain events, and when we do something that is right or wrong, good or evil. This moral conscience is what makes us, humans, different and even superior to irrational animals because it is superior to the psychological conscience.

For example, during Lent we usually fast. Even though our psychological conscience tells us that we are hungry, after hours without eating or drinking anything, our moral conscience tells us that we should not eat or drink anything so as not to break the fast. This is due to the fact that our consciences are witnesses of our actions; it is the herald or messenger that announces the decrees of the King (according to St. Bonaventure). We are all born with it (moral conscience), and it guides our steps when it comes to deciphering whether what it tells us comes from God (King) or not.

In order to find out, anytime we want, whether what our conscience commands us to do, or not do, comes from God, there are three things that we should always do:

1) To pray sincerely, to immerse ourselves in the depths of God.
2) To apply the holy virtue of Prudence: to use reason, to act with logic, to ask when we do not know or need advice, to anticipate future dangers or obstacles, to be cautious, to analyze circumstances and situations, and to use our intuitions wisely.
3) To exercise ourselves in the virtue of Charity in order to form and reform our moral conscience. We can achieve this by:
a) Doing good and to opposing and resisting all evil.
b) Making the resolution: “I will NEVER do evil under the pretext of getting something good.”
c) Never doing to another person what we would never consent anyone to do to us.
d) Never cooperating voluntarily in evil against another person.
e) Accepting the dictum that there is no liberty of conscience without TRUTH, but only within TRUTH. This last point concerns politicians more than others because they are the ones in charge of making, abolishing or distorting laws that might, and usually do, fall under the turf of morality such as abortion, contraception, capital punishment, stem cell research, etc.

~Fr. Hasbún

Friday, April 20, 2007

Romanism!

Hello!

There are great pcitures over at hallowedground. Ken is really good at "explaining," in pictures, the kind of Romanism that we should all be proud of!

Romanism Part V

Enjoy!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Sign of the Cross II

† The Sign of the Cross †
BUT that’s not all! Take a look at what the Church does through the person of the priest at the Altar. Armed with the Omnipotence that was given to Her, She commands not only creatures, but the Creator Himself; not man, but God Himself. At Her voice the Heavens are opened, the Word incarnates and renews all the mysteries of His life, death, and resurrection! Also, in the course of the Action par excellance, that is the Mass, what does the Church do? More than ever, She multiplies the Sign of the Cross; She surrounds Herself with the Sign of the Cross; She walks by means of the Sign of the Cross; She repeats It so frequently that the number could even seem an exaggeration, if it were not deeply mysterious!!! Do you know how many times the priest makes the Sign of the Cross during the Mass? Forty-eight (48) times! I’m wrong, forty-nine (49) times because as long as the Holy Sacrifice is taking place, the priest himself is a living Sign of the Cross. Would the Catholic Church, the great Instructor of nations, the great Teacher of Truth, would She be amused at repeating so frequently in Her most solemn act a useless, superstitious and unimportant sign? If you or your friends think so, then you are guilty of incredulity.

A fourth motive for making the Sign of the Cross as the first Christians did is those people who do not make the Sign of the Cross.
1) The Pagans: Chinese, Indians, Tibetans, savages, adorers of idols, people completely degraded and unhappy. These do not make the Sign of the Cross.
2) Muslims: pigs for sensualism, tigers for cruelty; these do not make the Sign of the Cross.
3) Jews: deeply encrusted in a dense stratum of ridiculous superstitions, living petrification of a decayed race. These do not make the Sign of the Cross.
4) Heretics: (Protestants) - impertinent sect followers, who in their pride and protests, have lost all trace of Truth. Protestants do not make the Sign of the Cross.
5) Bad Catholics: renegades of their baptisms, slaves of human respect, ignorants and arrogants who speak of everything and know nothing, adorers of their bellies, of pleasure, of materials. These do not make the Sign of the Cross.
6) Beasts: Bipeds and quadrupeds of every species; dogs, cats, donkeys, mules, camels, crocodiles, ostriches, hippopotamus. These do not make the Sign of the Cross.

A fifth reason for making the Sign of the Cross is that we are creatures of dust and the Sign of the Cross ennobles us. We are worms of the earth on the cradle, and food of worms in the grave. We are weak, nothing, shamefully confused as any other animal when we are born. However, we are the image of God; we are the crown of creation! God touches our foreheads and imprints the divine sign that ennobles us! It ennobles us because it comes from Heaven! We know that It comes from Heaven because the earth confesses not to have invented It. Go through every country and every century, nowhere will you find a man who claims to have invented the Sign of the Cross, or a Saint who claims to have taught It, or a council that claims to have imposed It! Tertullian says: “Tradition teaches It, practice confirms It, and the Faith observes It.”

A sixth reason to make the Sign of the Cross is that It is a book that instructs our ignorance. Creation, Redemption, Glorification. These three words are necessary to man more than the bread that nourishes him, more than the air he breathes. What doctor will be charged with teaching the indispensable Truth? St. Paul, St. Augustine, St. Thomas, or another great genius of the East or the West? No! These doctors die; here, there’s need of one that will not die. There’s need of a doctor that is everywhere, that speaks a language intelligible to all, to the savage as well as to the civilized man. Who will be this doctor? You have already said it: The Sign of the Cross! This and only this sign fulfills all the required conditions. It does not die; It is everywhere; Its language is universal. An instant is enough for It to teach us Its lesson! An instant is enough for everyone to understand Its lesson. Behold the Sign of the Cross! Behold the duly established catechist of the human race!!!

When we make the Sign of the Cross we say In the Name not in the names, which teaches us that there is an indivisible unity of the Divine Essence. Through these words a boy or a girl knows more than the philosophers of the old paganism ever knew! Pronouncing the word of the Father a new and immense ray of light shines in our intelligence. This Sign of the Cross tells us that there’s a Being, Father of all fathers, Eternal Beginning of the Being from which creatures take their origin. As we continue saying: And of the Son, the Sign of the Cross continues giving Its lesson. It tells us that the Father of all fathers has a Son similar to Himself; It teaches us that This Eternal Son once made Himself Son of Man in the Womb of a Virgin to rescue man. Man was lost. Then we end by saying: And of the Holy Ghost. This word completes the teaching of the Sign of the Cross; thanks to It we know that there is in God Unity of Essence and Trinity of Persons.

Based on all this, what does the modern world knows then? This century of intellect, which does not know how to make the Sign of the Cross, knows not more and not less than the pagans knew! This world adores the god-me, the god-commence, the god-vapor, the god-cotton, the god-belly! As means of satisfaction for its concupiscence, it adores the science of matter, of chemistry, of physics, of mechanics, of dynamics, salt, etc. Behold its gods, its cults, its theology, its philosophies, its morals, its life!!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Pius XII visits St. John Lateran

Hello!

Here is another video clip of Pius XII visiting St. John Lateran (Sacrosancta Lateranensis ecclesia omnium urbis et orbis ecclesiarum mater et caput).

Almost at the end of the clip, you can see Pius XII standing on the Sedia (on the loggia) and giving the Papal Blessing!

Pio XII visita San Giovanni in Laterano

Enjoy!

Monday, April 16, 2007

THE EUCHARIST

THE HOLY EUCHARIST
BELIEF IN THE REAL PRESENCE

I believe, Lord, with a firm and gratifying faith that even when the words of Consecration may have sprung from unworthy lips, like lilies from the mire, in obedience to them Thou wert really and substantially present beneath the forms and appereances of bread and wine. I believe it because Thou, the Absolute Truth; Thou, the Essential and Unfailing Light didst never deceive, art not one to deceive, much less the immense flock of little ones who adore Thee, seek Thee and receive Thee as being truly present; because Thou hast said it. Lord, I believe in Thy creative word.

Why do I believe? Because Christ, the sole Author of the Sacraments, is All-powerful:

He summons the bodies of the dead, and they return to life from the corruption of the grave. He utters a word of command to the most rebellious diseases, either in the sick person’s presence or several miles away, and those diseases leave not a trace behind. He reproves the boisterous winds and waves, and they sing down calm and silent, like a class of prankish schoolboys at the shout of a feared master. He treads the sea, and it sustains Him with rock-like solidity. Over a few loaves and fish, He bestows a single word of blessing, and they multiply indefinitely.

Not once did Christ give a command –and He gave many- to any element of the material world, that He was not obeyed without the slightest resistance or hesitation. In other words, He ever showed Himself an Absolute –we might even say Tyrannycal- Master over matter, doing with it and in it whatever He willed; for the simple reason that it was He Who had brought it into existance out of nothing, endowing it with the capacities He pleased. Will He not, therefore, be able to do with it more, infinitely more, than anything my blunt mind can possibly cope with?

Lord, I believe. For Thou canst annihilate the whole world, if it should please Thee; Thou canst transform it to Thy liking; Thou canst change the substance of bread and wine into Thy own Body and Blood, and thus multiply Thy Presence beyond all human scope and measure. What was possible for Thee became an actual fact, for Thou didst say but the word, and never was it necessary for Thee to voice Thy commands to inert matter twice over. “Ipse dixit et facta sunt” (Ps. 32:9).

Again, why do I believe? Because the whole Church believes. No, I am not alone; I share this belief with millions and millions of human beings from every nation, race, and climate; with all the centuries of Christian history, with people of every age and condition and temperament, with souls joyful and sorrowful, with souls raised aloft in the auroral splendors of grace, or sunk in the night of sin; with the little children who seal the first dawning of reason with an act of faith in Christ’s Eucharistic Presence and their first Holy Communion, as with a morning star; with all those who close their length of days with the heavenly clasp of Holy Viaticum.

I believe with the Church, whose Faith in the Eucharist is Her very life. Wrench from Her this belief, and you will have destroyed Her entire Liturgy, demolished Her Cathedrals and churches, killed Her priesthood, effaced from Her history the most brilliant and holy pages written with Her blood and tears. It was for Thee, O Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, that She allowed Herself to be persecuted and bled, and allowed remnants of Her vesture and entrails to cleave to the claws of tyrants! Today, the same as in the Catacombs, the same as in the Middle Ages, and in the century that witnessed the institution of the Feast of Corpus Christi; today, as truly as then, and perhaps even more so, this belief in the Eucharist urges the faithful on to the sublimest acts of adoration ever recorded in history.

Resolutions:
I will make more frequent acts of faith in the Real Presence of Jesus Christ upon our altars. This I will also teach others time and time again, until they, of their own accord, go eagerly in quest of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, loving Him and adoring Him in this Sacrament before everything and everyone else, preferring His Presence to every picture or statue or shrine, however devotional or miraculous; giving Him precedence over every popular Saint, over the Most Holy Mother of God Herself, over His most cherished and venerated images.
~ Fr. Eugenio Escribano

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Pains of Hell

T H E P A I N S O F H E L L
From the Writings of St. Anthony Mary Claret

The sensation of pain in hell is essentially very dreadful. Picture yourself, my soul, on a dark night on the summit of a high mountain. Beneath you is a deep valley, and the earth opens so that with your gaze you can see hell in the cavity of it. Picture it as a prison situated in the center of the earth, many leagues down, all full of fire, hemmed in so impenetrably that for all eternity not even the smoke can escape. In this prison the damned are packed so tightly one on the other like bricks in a kiln.... Consider the quality of the fire in which they burn.

First, the fire is all-extensive and tortures the whole body and the whole soul. A damned person lies in hell forever in the same spot which he was assigned by divine justice, without being able to move, as a prisoner in stocks. The fire in which he is totally enveloped, as a fish in water, burns around him, on his left, his right, above and below. His head, his breast, his shoulders, his arms, his hands, and his feet are all penetrated with fire, so that he completely resembles a glowing hot piece of iron which has just been withdrawn from an oven. The roof beneath which the damned person dwells is fire; the food he takes is fire; the drink he tastes is fire; the air he breathes is fire; whatever he sees and touches is all fire....

But this fire is not merely outside him; it also passes within the condemned person. It penetrates his brain, his teeth, his tongue, his throat, his liver, his lungs, his bowels, his belly his heart, his veins, his nerves, his bones, even to the marrow, and even his blood. "In hell," according to St. Gregory the Great, "there will be a fire that cannot be put out, a worm which cannot die, a stench one cannot bear, a darkness one can feel, a scourging by savage hands, with those present despairing of anything good."

A most dreadful fact is that by the divine power this fire goes so far as to work on the very faculties of the soul, burning them and tormenting them. Suppose I were to find myself placed at the oven of a smith so that my whole body was in the open air but for one arm placed in the fire, and that God were to preserve my life for a thousand years in this position. Would this not be an unbearable torture? What, then, would it be like to be completely penetrated and surrounded by fire, which would affect not just an arm, but even all the faculties of the soul?

More Dreadful than Man Can Imagine

Secondly, this fire is far more dreadful than man can imagine. The natural fire that we see during this life has great power to burn and torment. Yet this is not even a shadow of the fire of hell. There are two reasons why the fire of hell is more dreadful beyond all comparison than the fire of this life.

The first reason is the justice of God, which the fire serves as an instrument in order to punish the infinite wrong done to His supreme majesty, which has been despised by a creature. Therefore justice supplies this element with a burning power which almost reaches the infinite....

The second reason is the malice of sin. As God knows that the fire of this world is not enough to punish sin as it deserves, He has given the fire of hell a power so strong that it can never be comprehended by any human mind. -- Now, how powerfully does this fire burn?

It burns so powerfully, O my soul, that, according to the ascetical masters, if a mere spark of it fell on a millstone, it would reduce it in a moment to powder. If it fell on a ball of bronze, it would melt it in an instant as if it were wax. If it landed on a frozen lake, it would make it boil in an instant. Pause here briefly, my soul, and answer a few questions I will put. First, I ask you: If a special furnace were fired up as was customarily done to torment the holy martyrs, and then men placed before you all kinds of good things that the human heart might want, and added the offer of a prosperous kingdom -- if all this were promised you on condition that for just a half-hour you enclose yourself within the furnace, what would you choose?

A Hundred Kingdoms

"Ah!," you would say, "If you offered me a hundred kingdoms I would never be so foolish as to accept your brutal terms, regardless of how grand your offer might be, even if I were sure that God would preserve my life during those moments of suffering."

Second, I ask you: If you already had possession of a great kingdom and were swimming in a sea of wealth so that nothing was wanting to you, and then you were attacked by an enemy, were imprisoned and put in chains and obliged to either renounce your kingdom or else spend a half-hour in a hot furnace, what would you choose? "Ah!," you would say, "I would prefer to spend my whole life in extreme poverty and submit to any other hardship and misfortune, than suffer such a great torment!"

A Prison of Eternal Fire

Now turn your thoughts from the temporal to the eternal. To avoid the torment of a hot furnace, which would last but a half-hour, you would forgo all your property, even things you are most fond of, you would suffer any other temporal loss, however burdensome. Then why do you not think the same way when you are dealing of eternal torments? God threatens you not just with a half-hour in a furnace, but with a prison of eternal fire. To escape it, should you not forgo whatever He has forbidden, not matter how pleasant it can be for you, and gladly embrace whatever He commands, even if it be extremely unpleasant?

A most terrible thing about hell is its duration. The condemned person loses God and loses Him for all eternity. Now, what is eternity? O my soul, up to now there has not been any angel who has been able to comprehend what eternity is. So how can you comprehend it? Yet, to form some idea of it, consider the following truths: Eternity never ends. This is the truth that has made even the great Saints tremble. The final judgment will come, the world will be destroyed, the earth will swallow up those who are damned, and they will be cast into hell. Then, with His almighty hand, God will shut them up in that most unhappy prison.

From then on, as many years will pass as there are leaves on the trees and plants on all the earth, as many thousands of years as there are drops of water in all seas and rivers, as many thousands of years as there are atoms in the air, as there are grains of sand on all the shores of all seas. Then, after the passage of this countless number of years, what will eternity be? Up to then there will not even have been a hundredth part of it, nor a thousandth -- nothing. It then begins again and will last as long again, even after this has been repeated a thousand times, and a thousand million times again. And then, after so long a period, not even a half will have passed, not even a hundredth part nor a thousandth, not even any part of eternity. For all this time there is no interruption in the burnings of those who are damned, and it begins all over again.

Oh, a deep mystery indeed! A terror above all terrors! O eternity! Who can comprehend thee?

The Tear of Cain

Suppose that, in the case of unhappy Cain, weeping in hell, he shed in every thousand years just one tear. Now, O my soul, recollect your thoughts and suppose this case: For six thousand years at least Cain has been in hell and shed only six tears, which God miraculously preserves. How many years would pass for his tears to fill all the valleys of the earth and flood all the cities and towns and villages and cover all the mountains so as to flood the whole earth? We understand the distance from the earth to the sun is thirty-four million leagues. How many years would be necessary for Cain's tears to fill that immense space? From the earth to the firmament is, let us suppose, a distance of a hundred and sixty million leagues.

O God! What number of years might one imagine to be sufficient to fill with these tears this immense space? And yet -- O truth so incomprehensible -- be sure of it as that God cannot lie -- a time will arrive in which these tears of Cain would be sufficient to flood the world, to reach even the sun, to touch the firmament, and fill all the space between earth and the highest heaven. But that is not all.

If God dried up all these tears to the last drop and Cain began again to weep, he would again fill the same entire space with them and fill it a thousands times and a million times in succession, and after all those countless years, not even half of eternity would have passed, not even a fraction. After all that time burning in hell, Cain's sufferings will be just beginning. This eternity is also without relief. It would indeed be a small consolation and of little benefit for the condemned persons to be able to receive a brief respite once every thousand years.

No Relief

Picture in hell a place where there are three reprobates. The first is plunged in a lake of sulphuric fire, the second is chained to a large rock and is being tormented by two devils, one of whom continually pours molten lead down his throat while the other spills it all over his body, covering him from head to foot. The third reprobate is being tortured by two serpents, one of which wraps around the man's body and cruelly gnaws on it, while the other enters within the body and attacks the heart. Suppose God is moved to pity and grants a short respite. The first man, after the passage of a thousand years is drawn from the lake and receives the relief of a drink of cool water, and at the end of an hour is cast again into the lake. The second, after a thousand years, is released from his place and allowed to rest; but after an hour is again returned to the same torment. The third, after a thousand years, is delivered from the serpents; but after an hour of relief, is again abused and tormented by them. Ah, how little this consolation would be -- to suffer a thousand years and to rest only one hour.

However, hell does not even have that much relief. One burns always in those dreadful flames and never receives any relief for all eternity. He is forever gnawed and stricken with remorse, and will never have a rest for all eternity. He will suffer always a very ardent thirst and never receive the refreshment of a sip of water for all eternity. He will see himself always abhorred by God and will never enjoy a single tender glance from Him for all eternity. He will find himself forever cursed by heaven and hell, and will never receive a single gesture of friendship. It is an essential misfortune of hell that everything will be without relief, without remedy, without interruption, without end; eternal.

The Kindness of His Mercy

Now I understand in part, O my God, what hell is. It is a place of extreme pain, of extreme despair. It is where I deserve to be for my sins, where I would have been confined for some years already if Thy immense mercy had not delivered me. I will keep repeating a thousand times: The Heart of Jesus has loved me, or else I would now be in hell! The mercy of Jesus has pitied me; for otherwise I would be in hell! The Blood of Jesus has reconciled me with the heavenly Father, or my dwelling place would be hell. This shall be the hymn that I want to sing to Thee, my God, for all eternity. Yes, from now on my intention is to repeat these words as many times as there are moments that have passed since that unhappy hour in which I first offended Thee.

What has been my gratitude to God for His kind mercy that He showed me? He delivered me from hell. O immense charity! O infinite goodness! After a benefit so great, should I not have given Him my whole heart and loved Him with the love of the most ardent Seraphim? Should I not have directed all my actions to Him, and in everything sought only His divine pleasure, accepting all contradictions with joy, in order to return to Him my love? Could I do less than that after a kindness that was so great? And yet, what is it that I have done? Oh ingratitude worthy of another hell! I cast Thee aside O my God! I reacted to Thy mercy by committing new sins and offenses. I know that I have done evil, my God, and I repent with my whole heart. Ah, would that I could shed a sea of tears for such an outrageous ingratitude! O Jesus, have mercy on me; for I now resolve to rather suffer a thousand deaths than offend Thee again.

The Urgency of Hell

It is of faith that Heaven exists for the good and Hell for the wicked. Faith teaches that the pains of Hell are eternal, and it also warns us that one single mortal sin suffices to condemn a soul forever because of the infinite malice by which it offends an infinite God. With these most positive principles in mind, how can I remain indifferent when I see the ease with which sins are committed, sins that occur as frequently as one takes a glass of water, sins and offenses that are perpetrated out of levity or diversion? How can I rest when so many are to be seen living continually in mortal sin and rushing in this blind manner to their eternal destruction? No indeed, I cannot rest, but must run and shout a warning to them. If I saw anyone about to fall into a pit or a fire, would I not run up to him and warn him, and do all in my power to help him from falling in? Why should I not do this much to keep sinners from falling into the pit and fires of Hell?

Neither can I understand why other priests who believe the selfsame truths as I do, as we all must do, do not preach or exhort their flock so that they might avoid this unbearable eternity of Hell. It is still a source of wonder to me how the laity - those men and women blessed with the Faith - do not give warning to those who need it. If a house were to catch fire in the middle of the night, and if the inhabitants of the same house and the other townsfolk were asleep and did not see the danger, would not the one who first noticed it shout and run along the streets, exclaiming: "Fire! Fire! In that house over there!" Then why should there not be a warning of eternal fire to waken those who are drifting in the sleep of sin in such a way that when they open their eyes they will find themselves burning in the eternal flames of Hell?

St. Mary Magdalen

Found over at youngfogeys:


"Our Lord attended a banquet in Bethany, given by Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. The 12 apostles were there. In the course of the dinner, Mary Magdalene - if she be Magdalene - took perhaps what was the fruit of an evil life, namely some precious perfume, to give it to the Lord. In those days, women often carried precious nard in a bottle about the neck. If one of their beloved ones died, they would break the bottle over the corpse and then sprinkle the corpse with perfume and throw the remains of the bottle on the corpse. Mary Magdalene came to the feet of our Lord, for in those days they reclined at table. She did not do what you and I would do. She did not pour out the precious perfume drop by drop as if to indicate by the slowness of the giving the generosity of the gift. She broke the vessel and gave everything, for love knows no limits. Immediately the house was filled with perfume. It was almost as if, after the death of that perfume and the breaking of the bottle, there was a resurrection. Broken things are precious. We eat broken bread because we share in the death of our Lord and his broken life. Broken flowers give perfume. Broken incense is used in adoration. A broken ship saved Paul and many other passengers on the way to Rome. Sometimes the only way the good Lord can get into some hearts is to break them." ~Bishop Sheen

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Resurrection pictures/icons

Hello!

I have seen many pictures/icons of the resurrection/holy week in many blogs and one question comes to mind: Why do these people put icons in their blogs when they are (supposed to be) Roman Catholics. Icons do not really express much: they are not that clear and few peole ever get their real meaning (and are able to explain it). They are not as instructive as the paintings and images in the Roman Catholic world. We have enough pictures of everything that actually portray what the Church teaches and in a very clear and beautiful sense. In addition, most icons are not that beautiful. It's not that they cannot be beautiful, it's that whoever makes just does not try to make them beautiful. And of course, the worse thing regarding icons is that the exclusive use of icons are (to a great extent) a remnant of the Iconolastic heresy. Take a look at these ones for example:


Now, compare those to the ones we use in the West (for the most part). There is a huge difference! Any comments, explanations, clarifications that any of you might want to offer?
The only thing I do like about Eastern paintings/icons is their use of colors (most of the time).

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Burial of Pius XII

Hello!

Here is another video clip: 7 mins long. It is a video of the burial of Pius XII. There is no sound, but you should be able to see a lot - which will compensate for the lack of audio.

Sepoltura di Pio XII

Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

An Outrageous Affront against God

ABORTION: An outrageous conspiracy against God and Human Dignity

Children are the most eloquent sign of life and hope. Nevertheless, with support, acceptance, and encouragement from the government their existence is now threatened in the most terrible manner and by the most horrible crime: ABORTION. Abortion is the most unnatural, the most immoral, and the most unjust act against God, and against the unborn children themselves.

To interrupt the process of life from its very first beginning in the womb, with the sole aim to destroy it, is the vilest, the most vicious, and the most brutal crime that a human being can commit. Every child should enjoy the right to be born regardless of how destructively creative science (medicine) has become. It is not only shameful, but a direct affront against God to put an abrupt and sacrilegious end to the life that He alone created and which He alone should decide when to take away. It is not even necessary to believe in God to have the common sense and be able to discern that it is
NOT possible, that it is an affront to human INTELLIGENCE and to the human CONSCIENCE to pretend that on the size of a creature depends its right to life.

Even without using the definition of morality, and instead we use that of ethics, in which scientists and psychologists take much pride – at least when it is a matter of plagiarism – ABORTION is wrong. According to Manuel Velasquez, Claire Andre, Thomas Shanks S.J., and Michael Meyer from the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics (Santa Clara University), ethics is the criteria of what is good, what is right, and what we should do – which is, in its basic form, the definition of morality. Therefore, morality (or ethics) concerns everyone including atheists, parents, doctors, scientists, psychologists, law-makers, and every being that exists and claims to have the use of reason, and of course, a human soul.

According to the Church and morals (ethics), abortion is a repugnant and abominable act because it transgresses basic human respect for life and mocks human dignity. The State, scientists (doctors), and parents have the responsibility to provide these children, not only the protection they need to be born healthy, but also their other inherent needs, in particular their human dignity and their moral rights. However, just the opposite is being put into practice. As affirmed by Fr. Hasbún, in these days there is a SINISTER CONSPIRACY between three of the most important institutions: Motherhood, Medicine, and the State. Mothers who practice, promote, and defend abortion BETRAY their natural vocation by becoming the assassins, sepulcher, and grave of their very own children.

Doctors opting to perform abortions commit a crime by staining their true mission and the very oath they claim to hold dear: “I will neither prescribe nor administer a lethal dose of medicine... [I will show] utmost respect for every human life from fertilization to natural death and reject abortion that deliberately takes a unique human life.” Scientists and doctors who endorse and perform abortion become negligent and indifferent transgressors of morals, or in their own scientific language, of ethics.

The State that legalizes abortion commits an act of supreme injustice and violates its essential reason to exist (to defend and protect human life) by encouraging, financing, and protecting the crime of abortion and its perpetrators. Fr. Hasbún is right when he says, “Legalized abortion is an act of insane TERRORISM; brutal aggression against a creature that is defenseless, weak, innocent, who does not have any responsibility or fault, yet is still chosen as a victim condemned to pay for the fault of OTHERS...” just as it is the case with terrorism – where innocent civilians end up paying for something for which they are not directly responsible. The only difference is that with abortion these terrorist attacks take place “in the interior sanctuary of the mother's womb.”

There is no little truth in the words of Fr. Hasbún when he says, “A society based in the brutality of abortion is a society that has already opted for violence based in terrorism... a volcano ready to erupt at any moment.” Afterwards, no one should complain about VIOLENCE in the streets, at home, national or international, etc. Mother Teresa once said, "How can you expect your children to be safe in the streets, if they cannot even be safe in their mother's womb?”

A person who complains about violence in the streets and in the schools (such as that perpetrated at Columbine High School), but yet supports abortion has lost all common sense. How can you expect your children to believe you when you tell them that what happened at Columbine is wrong, when you teach them that abortion is right? People who support abortion do not deserve to have the right to become, and much less be called, procreators (parents), doctors (scientists), and judges (makers of justice). Expressions such as “equality, it’s my right, it’s a woman’s right… ” SHOULD NOT be an excuse to let feminists absorb the children’s right to life.

On the contrary, once they were willing to have sexual intercourse and became candidates to become parents, instead of getting an extra right, parents obtained a new responsibility that they should not forget: to bring to completion the pregnancy that resulted from their actions. Unborn children’s rights should not be the object of tyrannical abuse nor of stupid negligence on the part of feminists who seek blind “equality” without worrying to establish a moral and just equilibrium, thereby destroying or sacrificing the rights of the innocent, the voiceless, and the defenseless.

In a true democracy, as Fr. Hasbún affirms, all lives must have the same value and should receive the same protection. The State that legalizes abortion has renounced its right to exercise justice or even to be called a state at all, not to mention a democratic one.... because without life, what do we need the other rights for? Parents, doctors, and the State... institutions that accept and promote abortion, have betrayed the deposit of trust given to them to save, protect, defend and preserve all life by perpetrating an act of absolute injustice: willful murder! All life is sacred, free, untouchable, and intangible from the moment of conception to natural death because in IT we recognize God.

~ Based on a sermon by Fr. Hasbún

Monday, April 9, 2007

Some Reactions to the Traditional Order of the Mass

Hello!

Here are some reactions to the Traditional Liturgy by some footballers who had never been to one before. Their first time was on Holy Thursday at Sacred Heart, New Haven. I have a friend who was there (in the Sanctuary - serving) who told me about this group of guys from Yale. These guys have some interesting things to say - although we have heard them before because... well, beautiful Liturgy gets the same words out of people who are (or want to be) truly devout... or from those who are not (or want to be) blind!

We can, of course, omit Bugnini's and Marini's idea of beautiful Liturgy! O.K. To read these guys' comments and reactions, go here:

IvyCatholic

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Dogma of the Assumption II

I have found a longer version of the clip where Pius XII is declaring the Dogma of the Assumption. This longer version includes a prayer that Pius XII says after the declaration, and the quality is a little better.

Dogma of the Assumption

Enjoy!

Holy Doors

O.K. guys, you are in luck!
Some time ago, I saw a picture of Pius X opening the Holy Doors over at hallowedground. It was a beautiful picture! I'm talking about this picture:


Now, I have found a video (8 mins long!) of Pius XII opening the Holy Doors! It can't get better than this! The video is a little too dark, but you can still see what is going on. AND you get to see Pius XII opening the Doors (kneeling holding the Cross, etc.).

Holy Doors

Enjoy!

Papal Blessing: Easter

O.K. guys, here is another one!

This is a video clip of Pius XII giving the Papal Blessing during Easter (Pasqua Romana). This is great! You can see and hear everything! Pius XII really knew how to do things! Just take a look at the video and you'll see!

Pasqua Romana

Enjoy!

Holy Year

Hello again!

Here is another short clip of Puis XII reading the Bull in which he declares the Holy Year. There is no audio, but you can still see some things.

Holy Year

Enjoy!

Innocent XI

Hello everyone!

Here is another short clip that some of you might not have seen before. If you have, though, well... here it is again.

Canonization of Innocent XI:

This video is a video of the Canonization of Innocent XI by Pius XII. Very good quality!

Monday, April 2, 2007

The Institution of the Mass

Why the Mass was Instituted

Why do I believe? In considering the purposes Our Lord had in mind when instituting this wonderful Sacramental Sacrifice, I shall discover a further motive of credibility, and not the least of them:

1st purpose: To convert every square foot of earth and sea into a Calvary purpled with the steaming Blood of the Lamb. O Lover of this our earthly dwelling, it did not satisfy Thee to shed Thy Blood on one Golgotha, it was Thy desire to turn the whole earth into a Golgotha and an Altar of Thy Sacrifice

2nd purpose: To establish the New Covenant: Novum Testaméntum. The Old Covenant was made for the observance of the Law; the New Covenant was made for the sake of pardoning sins, in virtue of the Redeeming Blood: in remissiónem peccatórum.

3rd purpose: To erect a monument to the greatest of all achievements: Christ’s Passion and Death, the divine work of the Redemption: Hoc fácite in mean commemoratiónem.

For as often as you shall eat this bread and drink this chalice, you shall shew the death of the Lord, until he comes (1 Cor. 11:26).

A monument that will last as long as the human race. It is so natural for the human heart to want to erect lasting monuments! What are those monoliths, menhirs, mausoleums, pyramids, obelisks, and statues in such materials like granite, marble, and iron, erected in every age to kings, travelers, pioneers, and inventors, but the unquenchable human longing to eternalize an achievement, to perpetuate a name? And what monument will the King of Kings erect to His enterprise, the world’s Redemption? Bronze from the old Colossi? Stones from the eternal wonders of Egypt? ... No, Christ’s monument will be unique: His porphyry, His diamonds, His bronze, will be but a tiny consecrated Host – the meager appearances of bread and wine… And the pyramids will crumble, and the colossi will be thrown to the ground, and the marble statues will turn into dust, and the monoliths will be buried by the sands of the centuries; and even if the cataclysm should fail to consume them, there will be the implacable beat of the weather eroding and pulverizing them all. BUT the Monument to the Death of Christ, with all its fragile appearances, remains; with the passing of the years and after every hour It becomes still more gigantic; each Consecration and Communion is a new ashlar that nothing will move.

4th purpose: To infuse into my being the germ of a New Life, the life of grace, eternal life, the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost.

St. John, the Priest Model in his Dealings with the Holy Eucharist:

Let us read St. John’s Gospel and his other writings:

So steeped was he in the profound mysteries of his Divine Master’s Heart that, when he takes up the pen to relate the Life-story of Christ, the very first thing that comes to his mind is Christ’s Divinity: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Blessed are the clean of heart, for they shall see God! How truly this is fulfilled in the beloved Disciple!

We should learn from St. John how to deal with Jesus Christ hidden under the Sacramental Species: The essential purpose of the priest is to offer Sacrifice. There is no priesthood without sacrifice. So the more perfectly [the priest] perform[s] this essential duty the better priests [they] are, and the better priests [they] are the nearer [their] approach to the Holiness and Greatness of the Victim [they] offer and of the Father to Whom It is offered. For the victims and oblations of old have vanished like shadows before the Light of the New Covenant, which, in abrogating them, substituted in their place the One Clean Oblation prophesied by Malachias (1:2), Christ our God, the Holy One born of the Virgin Mary, the Divine Victim of our altars.

Taken from The Priest at Prayer by Fr. Eugenio Escribano

The Sign of the Cross (first part)

The Sign of the Cross

The modern world, that world that calls itself Christian and to which without a doubt belong all your friends, could be compared to a ship that has suffered shipwreck, many damages, and is about to perish. The Church, compared also to a Ship, has always been battered by strong tempests, which have opened huge gaps through which anti-Christian doctrines, uses, practices and tendencies have long been introduced. I give an urgent warning then, not to the Ship, which is imperishable, but to Its passengers, who are not. What has happened? I do not speak of the world that is openly pagan for its shipwreck is already accomplished. I speak about the world that still pretends to be Christian. This world has thrown into the sea everything, or almost everything!

Where’s common prayer in families? Sunk in the sea –Pious readings, meditation? Sunk in the sea –Graces and blessings during meals? Sunk in the sea –Habitual attendance at Holy Mass, the scapular, the Rosary? Sunk in the sea –Where’s the regular worthy reception of the Sacraments, the laws of fasting and abstinence? Sunk in the sea –The spirit of simplicity and mortification in dress and eating? Sunk in the sea –The Crucifix, holy images, holy water in our bedrooms? Sunk in the sea, sunk in the sea. Meanwhile, the ship continues to sink. The Christian spirit decreases; the opposing spirit gains ground very quickly. We go to Low Mass on Sunday, and God knows with what devotion! We go to Sung Mass 3 or 4 times a year; to Vespers, we do not go anymore! We go to spectacles and to dances; we read everything that we get our hands on; we do not share anything except that which we should not even have!!! Behold the fragile ships into which we trust our own salvation! No wonder there are so many shipwrecks! Poor passengers, separated from the Great Ship, how much you have to cry!

Among all the Catholic practices that have been abandoned so imprudently by the modern world, there is ONE, worthy of respect among them all, that I would like to save from shipwreck at any cost! It is that which your peers openly reject without knowing what they are doing: The Sign of the Cross. It is the time to see to its preservation. Go to a church one day and examine the crowd that comes to the House of God. Many do not make the Sign of the Cross: others make It badly, or just pretend to make It. It is a disconcerting fact: Today’s Christians do not make the Sign of the Cross, make It rarely, or make It badly. On this point, as in many others, we do the opposite of what our ancestors, the Christians of the primitive Church did. They made the Sign of the Cross: they made It well, and they made It frequently.

In the East as in the West, in Jerusalem, in Athens, in Rome, men and women, young and old, rich and poor, priests and faithful observed religiously this Tradition. Tertullian says: “At every moment and for everything, on entering and on going out, when bathing, when dressing, when eating, when going to bed, when we do all other things, we make the Sign of the Cross on our foreheads.” They made the Sign of the Cross, not only on their foreheads, but on their eyes, on their mouths, on their breasts. So, if our Christian ancestors made the Sign of the Cross at every moment, we are obliged to conclude that they were obeying an Apostolic recommendation; they lived around the time of the Apostles, who conversed with the Incarnate Word in Person. This closeness in time to the Apostles is one of the reasons to imitate them and make the Sign of the Cross.

A second reason to imitate the early Christians in making the Sign of the Cross is their sanctity. The first Christians were not only better instructed on the doctrine of the Apostles, but they were most faithful in practicing it. The proof is their holy persons. There is no better established fact than the fact that sanctity was the general character of the first Christians. They loved to lose everything, their goods and their lives in the midst of afflictions rather than offend God. Their heroism lasted as long as the persecutions, that is THREE centuries. They were charitable! Heaven and Earth united to make their love for each other a unique praise in the annals of the world. “See how they love each other and how they are always ready to die for each other” exclaimed the pagans. The Fathers of the Church, actual eye-witnesses, have also continued to render the most splendid testimony of their holiness. Tertullian, addressing the judges, praetorians and consuls of the empire, made this solemn challenge: “I appeal to your processes, O you who are in charge of administering justice. Among that multitude of accused people that is brought daily before your tribunals, which is the assassin, the sacrilegious, the corrupt, the thief who is a Christian? Prisons are overcrowded only with your own people.”

In the world, the traditional use of the Redemptive Sign comes down to us in a parallel line. All the great men, those incomparable geniuses of East and West, whom we call the Fathers of the Church: Tertullian, Cyprian, Athanasius, Ambrose, Gregory, Basil, Augustine, John Chrysostom, Jerome, and so many others, all these respectable beings made the Sign of the Cross, and recommended with ardor to all the Christians to make It at every occasion.

A third motive to make the Sign of the Cross is that the Church uses It. As centuries go by, men change with the times, Laws, habits, fashions, languages, ways of thinking, seeing and judging. The Church alone does not change. Immutable as truth itself, of which She is the Teacher, that which She taught and did yesterday, teaches and does today, will teach and will do tomorrow and always. What are Her thoughts, Her conduct regarding the Sign of the Cross? There is no point on which Her divine immutability is more splendidly visible! For 21 centuries up to today, it could be said that the Church lives with the Sign of the Cross; there’s no instant in which She stops using It. She starts, continues, and undertakes everything with this Sign ().

Among all Her practices, the Sign of the Cross is the principal one, the most common, the most familiar. It is the soul of Her exorcisms, of Her prayers, of Her blessings. That which we see Her do before our own eyes in our churches, She did in the catacombs before the eyes of our forefathers in the Faith. She takes possession of everything through the Sign of the Cross. Everything She uses: water, salt, bread, wine, fire, rocks, wood, oils, balsam, bronze, precious metals, houses, camps, everything is blessed with the Sign of the Cross. Observe above all the conduct of the Church with respect to man who is a living temple of the Trinity. The first thing She does over him, as he comes out of his mother’s womb, is the Sign of the Cross. The last thing, when he re-enters the womb of the earth, is still the Sign of the Cross. This is Her first salutation and also Her last good-bye towards Her dear children.

In the interval between the cradle and the grave how many Signs of the Cross are made over man! At baptism, through which we become children of God, the Sign of the Cross; at Confirmation, through which we are made soldiers of virtue, the Sign of the Cross; in receiving the Eucharist, when we are nourished with the Bread of Angels, the Sign of the Cross; in Confession, through which we recover divine life, the Sign of the Cross; when we receive Extreme Unction, through which we are fortified for the last battle, the Sign of the Cross; at Ordination and Holy Matrimony, through which we become associated to the paternity of God Himself, the Sign of the Cross. Always and everywhere, today as in other times, in the East as in the West, the Sign of the Cross is made over men.

Taken from Il Segno della Croce by Msgr Gaume

Dogma of the Assumption

Hello!

Here is something I found that many, many of you will just enjoy! It is a short (4 mins) clip of when Pius XII is declaring the dogma of the Assumption. The quality of the video is not the best, but you can see some things AND you can hear everything, especially the last paragraph of the declaration of the dogma IN LATIN!!! Enjoy!

Assumption

At the beginning, the image of our Lady under the title of Salus Pópuli Románi is carried in procession. About 250,000 pilgrims show up for this unique event and about 600 bishops/archbishops. Cardinal Tisserant is the one who solemnely (and officially) asks the Pope (during the ceremonies) to proclaim the Dogma of the Assumption.

If only we had a video clip of the declarati0n of the Immaculate Conception......

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Prayer for a Happy Death

Composed by St. Charles Borromeo

St. Bernadette

IN THE NAME of the Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I, a poor, unhappy sinner, make this solemn declaration before thee, O beloved Angel, who has been given me as a protector by the Divine Majesty:

1. I desire to die in the Faith which the Holy, Roman and Apostolic Church adheres to and defends, in which all the Saints of the New Testament have died. I pray thee provide that I may not depart out of this life before the Holy Sacraments of that Church have been administered to me.

2. I pray that I may depart from this life under thy holy protection and guidance, and I beseech thee, therefore, to assist me at the hour of my death and to propitiate the Eternal judge, whose Sacred Heart was inflamed with most ardent love for sinners upon the Cross.

3. With my whole heart I long to be made a partaker of the merits of Jesus Christ and His holy Mother Mary, thine exalted Queen, and I pray thee, through the sufferings of Jesus on the Cross, to mitigate the agonies of my death and to move the Queen of Heaven to cast her loving glance upon me, a poor sinner, in that dreadful hour, for my sweetest consolation.

O my dearest Guardian Angel! Let my soul be placed in thy charge, and when it has gone forth from the prison of this body, do thou deliver it into the hands of its Creator and Redeemer, that with thee and all the Saints, it may gaze upon Him in the bliss of Heaven, love Him perfectly and find its blessedness in Him throughout eternity. Amen.

Divine Mercy

FOR MERCY IN THE LAST HOUR

O Lord, my God, I now, at this moment, readily and willingly accept at Thy hand whatever kind of death it may please Thee to send me, with all its pains, penalties, and sorrows.

O Lord Jesus, God of goodness and Father of mercies, I approach Thee with a contrite and humble heart; to Thee I recommend my last hour, and that which then awaits me.

When my feet, now motionless, shall admonish me that my mortal course is drawing to and end;

R. Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my hands, trembling and benumbed, no longer able to hold Thy crucified Image, shall let It fall from their feeble grasp upon my bed of pain;

R. Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my eyes, dim and troubled at the horror of approaching death, shall fix on Thee their languish and expiring looks;

R. Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my cheeks, pale and vivid, shall inspire the beholders with pity and dismay; and my hair, bathed in the sweat of death, and stiffening on my head, shall forbode my approaching end;

R. Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my ears, soon to be for ever shut to the discourse of men, shall open to hear Thy voice pronounce the irrevocable decree, which shall decide my lot for eternity;

R. Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my imagination, agitated by horrid and terrifying phantoms, shall be sunk in mortal anguish; when my soul, affrighted at the sight of my iniquities and the terrors of Thy judgment, shall have to fight against the angel of darkness, who will endeavor to conceal Thy mercies from my eyes, and plunge me into despair;

R. Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my poor heart, oppressed with the pains of sickness, and exhausted by its struggles against the enemies of its salvation, shall be seized with the pangs of death;

R. Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When the last tears, forerunners of my dissolution, shall drop from my eyes, receive them as a sacrifice of expiation for my sins, that I may die the victim of penance, and in that dreadful moment;

R. Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my friends and relations, encircling my bed, shall shed the tear of pity over me, and invoke Thy clemency in my behalf;

R. Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When I shall have lost the use of my senses, and the world shall have vanished from my sight; when I shall groan with anguish in my last agony and in the sorrows of death;

R. Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my last sighs shall summon my soul to go forth from my body, receive them as the effects of a holy impatienceto fly to Thee; and in that moment;

R. Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When my soul, trembling on my lips, shall bid adieu to the world, and leave my body lifeless, pale, and cold, receive this separation as a homage, which I willingly pay to the Divine Majesty; and in that last moment of my mortal life;

R. Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

When at length my soul, admitted to Thy presence, shall first behold first behold with terror Thy awful Majesty, reject me not, but receive me into Thy bosom, where I may for ever sing Thy praises, and in that moment when eternity shall begin for me;

R. Merciful Jesus, have mercy on me.

Communism and Woman

By MSGR. FULTON J. SHEEN

The proudest boast of Communism is that it has finally emancipated the woman. Marx writes: "Differences of age and sex have no longer any distinctive social validity. All are instruments of labor." The key word here is instrument which reduces a human being to the dignity of a monkey wrench. The assumption was that woman was free as soon as she became available for production. One of the paradoxes of our irrational world is that woman today is glorified when she produces an Atomic Bomb, but not when she can produce life. It is like praising violinists for producing sewer pipes instead of melodies.

At the very beginning of the Communist Revolution in Russia a decree was passed declaring that all women between the ages of seventeen and thirty-two became the property of the State, and that the rights of husbands were abolished (Novaia Zhizn, No. 54, 1918 p. 2). In keeping with the idea that liberation means working in a factory rather than in a home, we read in a Soviet book published in 1935: "Women's labor has become one of the main sources from which industry could draw fresh supplies of workers. During the earlier years of the first Five Year Plan [in Russia], there were about six million housewives in the towns (Shaburova, Woman is a Great Power, 1935 edition, p. 32)." The women refused to accept what the Communists called "the emancipation for women from depressing domestic atmosphere" but they were ultimately forced into "emancipation" and began working in mines, sewers, and in the manipulation of pneumatic drills.

This idea of the emancipation of women through industrialization is not altogether a Communist idea, but like many others has been derived from Western bourgeois capitalistic civilization which thought of the liberation of woman in terms of equality with men. The only difference is that the Communist merely carried the idea to its logical extreme, and if it scandalizes us now it is because our bourgeois world never understood the full implication of its error. The two basic errors of both Communism and a capitalistic liberal civilization on this subject were: 1) Women were never emancipated until modern times. Religion particularly kept them in servitude; 2) Equality means the right of a woman to do a man's work.

First, it is not true that women began to be emancipated in modern times and in direct proportion to the decline of religion. The fact is that woman's subjection began in the seventeenth century with the break-up of Christendom and took on a positive form at the time of the Industrial Revolution. Under the Christian civilization women enjoyed rights, privileges, honors and dignities which have since been swallowed up by the machine age. In eighty-five Guilds in England during the Middle Ages, seventy-two had women members on an equal basis with men in such professions as barbers and sailors. They were probably just as outspoken as men because one of the rules of the Guilds was that "the sister as well as the brethren" may not engage in disorderly or contumacious debates. In Paris there were fifteen guilds reserved exclusively for women, while eighty of the Parisian guilds were mixed. Nothing is more erroneous historically than the belief that it was our modern age which recognized women in the professions.

The records of these Christian times reveal the names of thousands upon thousands of women who influenced society and whose names are now enrolled in the catalogue of saints, Catherine of Sienna [a woman] alone leaving eleven large volumes of her writings. Up until the seventeenth century in England, women functioned in business perhaps even more than today. In fact, so many were in business that it was provided by law that the husband should not be responsible for her debts. Between 1553 and 1640 ten percent of the publishing in England was done by women. Because the homes did their own weaving, cooking and laundry it has been estimated that women in pre-industrial days were producing half the goods required by society. In the Middle Ages women were as well educated as men and it was not until the seventeenth century that women were barred from education. Then at the time of the Industrial Revolution all the activities and freedom of women were curtailed as the machine took over the business of production and men moved into the factory. As these disabilities continued woman felt the loss of her freedom, and rightly so, because she felt she had been hurt by man who robbed her of her legal rights, and she fell into the error of believing that she ought to proclaim herself the equal of man, forgetful that a certain superiority was already hers because of her functional difference from man. Equality then came to mean negatively, the destruction of all privileges enjoyed by specific persons or classes, and positively, as absolute and unconditioned sex equality with all men.

This brings us to the second error in the bourgeois-capitalistic theory of women, namely, the failure to make distinction between mathematical and proportional equality. Mathematical equality implies exactness of remuneration; for example, two men who work at the same job at the same factory should receive equal pay. Proportional equality means that each should receive his pay according to his function. In a family, for example, all children should be cared for by the parents, but it does not mean that because sixteen year old Mary gets an evening gown with an organdy trim the parents should give seventeen year old Johnnie the same thing. Women in seeking to regain some of the rights and privileges they had in Christian civilization thought of equality in mathematical terms or in terms of sex. Feeling themselves overcome by a monster called "man" they identified freedom and equality with the right to do a man's job. All the psychological, social and other advantages which were peculiar to women were ignored until the inanities of the bourgeois world reached their climax in Communism where a woman was emancipated the moment she went to work in a mine. The result has been that woman's imitation of man and her flight from motherhood has developed neuroses and psychoses which have reached alarming proportions.

The Christian civilization never stressed equality in a mathematical sense, but only in the proportional sense, for equality is wrong when it makes the woman a poor imitation of man. Once she became man's mathematical equal, he no longer stood when she came into a room, no longer gave her a seat in a bus, and no longer took off his hat in an elevator. The other day in a New York subway a man gave a woman his seat and she fainted. When she was revived she thanked him, and he fainted.

Modern woman has been made equal with man, but she has not been made happy. She has been emancipated from a clock and thereby no longer free to swing, or as a flower has been emancipated from its roots, only to wither and die. She has been cheapened in her search for mathematical equality in two ways: by becoming a victim to man by becoming only the instrument of his pleasure, ministering to his needs in a sterile exchange of egotism. A victim to the machine by subordinating the creative principle of life to the production of non-living things, which is the essence of Communism. This is not a condemnation of a professional woman, because the important question is not whether a woman finds favor in the eyes of a man, but whether she can satisfy the basic instincts of womanhood. If it were the man that made a difference to a woman and all that wifehood and motherhood entail, then the least womanly of all women would be found in convents.

The fact is, however, that nowhere else are more normal and certainly happier women to be found on this earth. One might add also, that nowhere else are there so many young women, for a peculiar quality about the spiritual life is that it keeps a woman young. Cosmetics, mud baths, sneezeless soaps are lacking, but they manage to keep young and unwrinkled because they are at peace. What makes the difference in woman is not therefore a man, but whether a certain God-given qualities which are specifically hers are given adequate and full expression. These qualities are principally, devotion, sacrifice and love. They need not necessarily be expressed in a family, or even in a convent. They can find an outlet in the social world, in the care of the sick, the poor, the ignorant —in a word— in the seven corporal works of mercy. It is sometimes said that the professional woman is hard. This may in a few instances be true, but it is not because she is in a profession, but because she has alienated her profession from contact with human beings in a way to satisfy the deeper cravings of her heart. It may very well be that the revolt against morality, and the exaltation of sensuous pleasure as the purpose of life, are due to the loss of the spiritual fulfillment of existence. Having been frustrated and disillusioned, such souls first become bored, then cynical, and finally, suicidal. Wherein lies the solution? In a return to the Christian concept wherein stress is placed not on equality but equity.

Equity is love, mercy, understanding, sympathy — consideration of details, appeals, and departures from the fixed rules of courts which law has not yet embraced. Applying this to women, we are saying that equity rather than equality should be the basis of all the claims of women. It goes beyond equality by claiming superiority in certain aspects of life. Equity is the perfection of equality, not a substitute. It has the advantages of recognizing the specific difference between man and woman, which equality does not have. As a matter of fact, they are not equal in sex; they are quite unequal, and it is only because they are unequal that they complement [complete] one another. The violin and the bow are not equal. Each has a superiority of function. Man and woman are equal inasmuch as they have the same rights and liberties, the same final goal of life and both have been redeemed by the Blood of Our Divine Savior -- but they are different in function. It is that truth which solves the problem.

One of the greatest of the Old Testament stories reveals this difference. While the Jews were under Persian captivity, Aman, the prime minister of King Assuerus, asked his master to slay the Jews because they obeyed the law of God rather than the Persian law. When the order went out that the Jews were to be massacred, Esther was asked to approach the wicked King and plead for her people. There was a law that no one should enter the King's presence under the penalty of death, unless the King extended his scepter as a permission to approach the throne. That was the law. But Esther said: "I will go in to the King, against the law, not being called, and expose myself to death and to danger (Esther 4: 6)." Esther fasted an prayed and then approached the throne. Would the scepter be lowered? The King held tout the golden scepter, and Esther drew near and kissed the top of it, and the King said to her: "What wilt thou, Queen Esther? What is thy request? (Esther 5:3)."

This story has been interpreted through the Christian ages as meaning that God will reserve to Himself the reign of justice and law, but to Mary, His Mother will be given the reign of mercy. During the Christian ages, Our Blessed Mother bore a title which has been forgotten, but it is revived in two modern non-Catholic writers, Henry Adams and Mary R. Beard. Adams described the Lady of Equity in the Cathedral of Chartres. Over the main altar sits the Virgin Mary, the Lady of Equity, with the Holy Child on her knees, presiding over the courts, listening serenely to pleas for mercy in behalf of their sins. As Mary Beard beautifully put it: "The Virgin signified to the people moral, human or humane power, as against the stern mandates of God's law." And we might add, this is the woman's special glory — mercy, pity, understanding, intuition of human needs, call it anything you please. When women step down from the role of the Lady of Equity and her prototype Esther, and insist only on equality, they lose their greatest opportunity to change the world. Law has broken down today. Jurists no longer believe in a Divine Judge behind Law. Obligations are no longer sacred. Even peace is based upon the power of Three Nations rather than on the Justice of God.

Shall women, in this day of the collapse of justice equate themselves with men in rigid exactness, or shall they rally to Equity, to mercy and love and give to a cruel and lawless world something that equality cannot give? Whence shall come a devotion to causes, if women who are capable of greater devotion than men, insist on a cold equality? How shall wars be stopped and the taking of young life, if women, like men, trust only in law? If women recognized the truth hidden in the Lady of Equity, love might be restored to homes and families. The reason there is little love now is because in the human order there is never any love between equals. There may be justice, but no affection. If man is the equal of woman, then she has rights, but, what heart ever lived on rights? All love demands inequality or superiority. The lover is always on his knees, the beloved must always be on a pedestal. Whether it be man or woman, the one must always consider himself or herself as undeserving of the other. Even God humbled Himself in His Love to win man, saying He came not to be ministered unto, but to minister. And man, in his turn approaches that loving Savior in Communion with the words: "Lord, I am not worthy." Not then because women enter professions do some harden and become frustrated. Professional careers do not of themselves defeminize women; otherwise the Church would not have raised political women to sainthood, as was the case with St. Elizabeth and St. Clotilde.

The cause of tragedy in woman today is that by stressing equality, they have lost those specifically feminine qualities which have given her superiority of function. These qualities are devotedness and creativeness. No woman is happy unless she has someone for whom she can sacrifice herself, not in a servile way but in the way of love. Added to the devotedness is her love of creativeness. A man is afraid of dying, but a woman is afraid of not living. Life to a man is personal; life to a woman is otherness. She thinks less in terms of perpetuation of self and more in terms of perpetuation of others — so much so that in devotedness she is willing to sacrifice herself for others. To the extent that a career gives no opportunity for either she becomes de-feminized. If these qualities cannot be given an outlet in a home and a family, they can nevertheless find other substitutions in works of charity, in the defense of virtuous living, in the defense of right as other Claudias when their political husbands as Pilates rely only on expediency, then her work as a money earner becomes a prelude and a condition for the display of equity which is her greatest glory.

The level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood. This is because there is a basic difference between knowing and loving. In knowing something you bring it down to the level of your understanding. But in loving we always go up to meet the demand of the one loved. If you love music you have to submit to its laws and disciplines. When man loves woman, it follows the nobler the woman the nobler the love; the higher the demands by the woman, the more worthy a man must be. That is why a woman is the measure of the level of our civilization. It is for our age to decide whether woman shall claim equality in sex and the right to work at the same lathe, or whether she will claim equity and give to the world that which no man can give. In these pagan [irreligious] days when women want to be only equal with men, they have lost respect.

In Christian days when men were strongest, woman was respected. As the author of Mont. St. Michel puts it: "The twelfth and thirteenth centuries were a period when men were at their strongest; never before or since have they shown equal energy in such varied directions, or such intelligence in the direction of their energy; yet these marvels of history — these Plantagenets; these Scholastic philosophers; these architects of Rheims and Amiens; these Innocents, and Robin Hoods, and Marco Polos; these crusaders who planted their enormous fortresses all over the Levant; these monks who made the wastes and barrens yield harvests — all, without apparent exception, bowed down before the woman. Explain it how you will! Men rushed like sheep to escape the butcher, and were driven to Mary; only too happy in finding protection and hope in a being who could understand the language they talked, and the excuses they had to offer . . ." As Abelard said of her: "After the Trinity you are our only hope . . . you are placed there as our advocate; all of us who fear the wrath of the Judge, fly to the Judge's mother who is logically compelled to intercede for us and stands in the place of a mother to the guilty." To the Lady of Equity once again modern women must look, as even those who have the Faith must see fulfilled in her those spiritual functions which no priest can perform; queen, mother and woman.

If woman wants to be ever a revolutionist , then the Lady is her guide for she sang the most revolutionary song ever written — The Magnificat, the burden of which was the abolition of principalities and powers, and the exaltation of the humble. She breaks the shell of woman's isolation from the world and puts woman back into the wide ocean of humanity as she who is the Cosmopolitan Woman gives the Cosmopolitan Man, for which giving all generations shall call her blessed. But she was the inspiration to womanhood, not because She claimed there was equality in sex, for peculiarly enough this was the one equality she ignored, but because of a transcendence in function which made her superior to a man inasmuch as she could encompass a man, as Isaias foretold.

Great men we need like Saint Paul with a two-edged sword to cut away the bonds that tie down the energies of the world, and men like Saint Peter who will let the broad stroke of their challenge ring out on the shield of the world's hypocrisy, and great men like Saint John who with a loud voice will arouse men from the sleek dream of unheroic repose. But we need woman still more; women like Mary of Cleophas who will raise sons to lift up white hosts to a Heavenly Father; women like Saint Magdalene who will take hold of the tangled skeins of a seemingly wrecked and ruined life and weave out of them the beautiful tapestry of saintliness and holiness; and women, above all, like Mary, the Lady of Equity, who will leave the lights and glamours of the world for the shades and shadows of the Cross where saints are made. When women of this kind return to save a world with equity, then we shall toast them, we shall salute them not as the modern woman, once our superior now our equal, but as the Christian woman — closest to the Cross on Good Friday, and first at the tomb on Easter Morning. God loves you!