Friday, January 26, 2018

Bishop Schneider on Archbishop Lefebvre

Bp. Schneider of Kazakhstan on Archbp. Lefebvre of the SSPX


 
The best English language vaticanista today is Edward Pentin.  He has an interview with Bp. Athanasius Schneider today at the National Catholic Register (that’s the good one that begins with “National”).  HERE
 
The whole thing is worth reading. However, I want to emphasize one part which caught my eye for two reasons.
 
First, it is Patristic.  Bp. Schneider is a student of the Fathers of the Church, as am I.  We need to return to the Fathers.  It is amazing how many things they treated in their day which apply to our own.
 
Next, because it concerns a figure I’ve long been interested in, the late Archbp. Marcel Lefebvre.  He was a great churchman and missionary in Africa who went on to found the SSPX.  Since I once worked for the PCED I remain interested – and hopeful – for a wonderful result.
 
Here is Schneider on Lefebvre:
PENTIN:
What are your views on the Society of St. Pius X? Do you have sympathy for their position? 
SCHNEIDER:
Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis on various occasions spoke with understanding towards the SSPX. It was particularly at his time, as Cardinal of Buenos Aires, that Pope Francis helped the SSPX in some administrative issues. Pope Benedict XVI once said about Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre: “He was a great bishop of the Catholic Church.” Pope Francis considers the SSPX as Catholic, and has expressed this publicly several times. Therefore, he seeks a pastoral solution, and he made the generous pastoral provisions of granting to the priests of the SSPX the ordinary faculty to hear confessions and conditional faculties to celebrate canonically marriage. The more the doctrinal, moral and liturgical confusion grows in the life of the Church, the more one will understand the prophetic mission of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in an extraordinary dark time of a generalized crisis of the Church. 
Maybe one day History will apply the following words of Saint Augustine to him: 
“Often, too, divine providence permits even good men to be driven from the congregation of Christ by the turbulent seditions of carnal men. When for the sake of the peace of the Church they patiently endure that insult or injury, and attempt no novelties in the way of heresy or schism, they will teach men how God is to be served with a true disposition and with great and sincere charity. The intention of such men is to return when the tumult has subsided. But if that is not permitted because the storm continues or because a fiercer one might be stirred up by their return, they hold fast to their purpose to look to the good even of those responsible for the tumults and commotions that drove them out. They form no separate conventicles of their own, but defend to the death and assist by their testimony the faith which they know is preached in the Catholic Church” (De vera religione 6, 11).
Thus, St. Augustine.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Carthusian Horse

The Carthusian Horse: Horse of Kings, Thief of Hearts
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They have such a heart and they are so generous. They will give you even what they don’t have, they will try give to you.” – Mercedes Gonzalez Cort
 
“When a man mounts a Carthusian Horse, he imagines himself in heaven, without leaving earth.”  – Juan Llamas Perdigo
 
From ancient times, the important role of horses in cultures has been demonstrated through numerous pictorial testimonies. In the Iberian Peninsula in particular, it is known that horses already formed part of the everyday life activities in the earliest civilizations.  These activities were to gain importance in parallel to the rise of the large cities that spread across the land and whose main writers were to praise the magnificence of the horse.
 
The Arabs organized their armies to include a light cavalry, which was almost exclusively formed by Andalusian horses. From their first contact with the breed, the invaders admired the virtues of the Andalusian horse and their great triumph lay in conserving and strengthening the characteristics of the Spanish race itself.  This led to the creation of several important breeding centres and horses were even sent as gifts to Constantinople, Baghdad and other major cities throughout the Islamic Empire.
 
The importance that Arabs gave to horses during their reign in Spain can be reflected in the Spanish words "caballero" (gentleman/knight/horseman) and "caballerosidad" (gentlemanliness/chivalry), which originated in the Middle Ages to classify with honor the owners of these prized animals and their virtues, respectively.
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The internal struggles of the Muslim rulers and the long years of reconquest decimated the horse population. The considerable increase in agriculture and farming activities from the end of the reconquest, in addition to the low demand for the use of horses for purposes of war, saw horses being replaced by mules, which were much more practical for hard work.  Horses had to be protected from undesirable crossbreeding through various government decrees, along with the intervention of Religious Orders, which protected horses within their monasteries, as was the case of the Carthusian monasteries.
 
From its foundation towards the end of the XV century, the Monastery of La Cartuja has been converted into the cornerstone of the Jerezano thoroughbred horses. In the mid 1400’s, the production of armor for horse and rider was mastered. This meant the addition of 350lbs to the weight carried into battle.  A decree was issued by the Spanish military authority, directing the Spanish breeders to blend their pure Andalusian mares with Neopolitan drafts. A small group of family breeders refused to do so, and selected their best horses and hid them away in the Carthusian monastery, donated by a wealthy patron, Don Alvaro Obertos de Valeto.
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For almost 400 years, which coincided with the centuries of greatest splendor of the kingdom of Spain, the Carthusian monks established a breeding stock (and kept detailed breeding records) which, through time, would be converted into one of the most celebrated and appreciated stocks in the world. Around the year 1835, the government dissolved the church’s ownership of lands, which led to horses being carefully passed on and treasured by a small handful of families beginning with Pedro José Zapata, who diligently preserved the original lines. He used the brand of the bit, called “Bocado.” Today we still refer to the horses as ‘Bocado’ or Cartujano. The Carthusian horse originated in Spain; it is also known as the Carthusian-Andalusian or Cartujano.
 
The Zamora brothers, who had mares of this breeding, purchased an old horse named El Soldado. They bred him to two mares. The resultant offspring were a colt and a filly; the former was Esclavo, the foundation sire of the Carthusian strain. Esclavo was dark gray, considered to be a perfect horse. He produced many outstanding offsprings, which were purchased by the breeders of Jerez. Esclavo produced a group of mares that about the year 1736 were sold to Don Pedro Picado, who gave some excellent specimens to the Carthusian monks to settle a debt he had incurred. The rest of the stock belonging to Don Pedro Picado went to Antonio Abad Romero and were eventually absorbed into the Andalusian breed. The Esclavo stock at the monastery was integrated into a special line and came to be known as Zamoranos.
 
The stallion Esclavo is said to have had warts under his tail, and his characteristics were passed on to his offspring. Some breeders felt that without the warts, a horse could not be of the Esclavo bloodline. Another characteristic sometimes seen in the Carthusian horse is the evidence of “horns”, actually frontal bosses thought to be inherited from Asian ancestors. Unlike the warts beneath the tail, the horns were not considered proof of Esclavo descent.
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Throughout the centuries that followed, the Carthusian monks guarded their bloodlines with fervor, even defying a royal order to introduce Neapolitan and central European blood into their stock.
 
Don Pedro and Juan Jose Zapata bought a good number of mares from the Carthusians. In 1854, Don Vincent Romero y Garcia, a Jerez landlord, purchased what he could of the excellent group of horses. Don Vincent lived to be ninety-two years old and because of his knowledge of breeding, greatly improved the quality of the horses without using any outside blood.

Without the dedication of the Carthusian monks, the Zapata family, and a few other breeders who refused to cross their horses with other breeds, the purest line of Andalusian blood would have been lost to the world.
 
Today Carthusian horses are raised in state-owned studs around Cordoba, Jerez de la Frontera, and Badajoz. The predominant color is gray, attributed to the important influence of two stallions of this color early in the twentieth century. Some Carthusian horses are chestnut or black. Nearly all of the modern Carthusian horses are descended from the stallion Esclavo.
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The Carthusian horse’s head is light and elegant with a slightly convex profile, broad forehead, small ears, and large, lively eyes. The neck is well proportioned and arched; the chest is broad and deep; the shoulder sloping; the back short and broad; the croup sloped; and the legs are sturdy with broad, clean joints.
 
What horse has such proud and lofty action? A showy and rhythmical walk? Or a high stepping trot full of impulsion? Where can you find a horse with a smooth rocking canter, natural balance, agility, and fire? Combine theses spectacular paces with a docile temperament and you have a breed of horse well suited for any horse owner.
 
The Carthusian horse is not a separate breed from the Andalusian, but rather a distinct side branch that is usually considered the purest remaining strain with one of the oldest studbooks in the world. Roughly 82% of the Pura Raza Espanola (PRE = Pure Spanish Breed) population in Spain contains Cartujano blood, but there are less than 3% pure Cartujano horses within the PRE population and only 500 pure Cartujanos in existence in Spain today.
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The French invasion and the subsequent War of Independence nearly devastated the breed as the monks were expelled more than once from their monastary. In 1810, the horses were saved when “Zapata, founder of the Hospital de Arcos de la Frontera, bought 60 mares and 3 stallions of the best calibre and hid them in ‘Breña del Agua,’ sending the Carthusian monks in Cluny the amount for the established price. From these horses was formed what is at present known as the Yeguada de la Cartuja - Hierro del Bocado.

For a horse to be considered “pure Cartujano” he must be validated by the Association of Cartujano Breeders in cooperation with the University of Cordoba. Horses receive a certificate such as the one pictured here which acknowledges their genetic purity.
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The Carthusian horse “is the most appropriate one for a king on his day of victory. … It is the aristocracy of horses of pure Spanish blood. … It is the noblest animal in the world.”
 
[The Carthusian horse] is a beautiful and loyal animal with a big heart … eyes that did not blink when the arrow grazed his neck and caught the ancient meaning in a fleeting, burning glance … ears that heard the cannons’ roar, the whispered words of love ... skin of shot silk that knew the summer’s heat, the winder’s frost … hooves that traced new paths to lands unknown to man … a heart whose beat would quicken keeping pace with the wishes of his master … tireless vigor, proving no demand for him so great … his spirit showed the cheers and hopes of Old Spain’s men of iron, while at his proud feet the conquered nations lay … he’ll forgive like no other your omissions, errors, thoughtless handling … his back, a throne of feathers, will bear you smoothly with the trot and gallop … he’ll go where others dare not … he’ll stand firm where others flee in terror … And at the last, you’ll understand why [the Carthusian horse] was the chosen one of kings.”

Catholic Integralism & The Social Kingship of Christ

Catholic Integralism & the Social Kingship of Christ
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Catholic integralism (sometimes referred to as “integrism”) is today dismissed as a relic of a bygone era which received its final chance at life through a number of ostensibly misguided socio-political movements during the early decades of the last century. Though the term “integralism” would be appropriated and reworked by several prominent 20th Century theologians, it is largely associated with hyper-traditionalist reactionaries who refuse to recognize the ideological realignment of the Catholic Church following the Second Vatican Council. Whether or not this ideological realignment has been either prudent or wise remains a vexing question. Serious inquiry into this matter is too often taken as a sign of flagrant disobedience, and there remain forces within the Church which wish to uphold that the ideological realignment toward liberalism is the direct result of, or coeval with, authentic doctrinal development. That thesis has come under significant and sustained scrutiny in recent years, as evidenced by Pater Edmund Waldstein’s four-part article, “Religious Liberty and Tradition” (available here, here, here, and here) and theologian John Lamont’s paper, “Catholic Teaching on Religion and the State.” Some, naturally, remain unconvinced, including those who believe that Vatican II’s document on religious liberty, Dignitatis Humanae, not only conflicts with pre-conciliar magisterial statements, but has had the practical effect of obscuring the social rights of Christ the King. That the Kingship of Christ has become, for many Catholics now living, a “lost doctrine” is almost beyond dispute. Nevertheless, as the Dominican theologian Fr. Aidan Nichols recently opined, “[P]ublicly recognising divine revelation is an entailment of the Kingship of Christ on which, despite its difficulties in a post-Enlightenment society, we must not renege.” It is for the restoration of this public recognition that Catholic integralism continues to strive.
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Contrary to popular belief, Catholic integralism—or what I shall refer to simply as “integralism” for the duration of this essay—is not first and foremost a political program. For the integral understanding of Christianity begins first with the supernatural society established by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, namely the Corpus Mysticum, the Holy Catholic Church, which transcends the temporal sphere and has for its end the salvation of souls. By carrying out its mission in the world, the Catholic Church possesses indirect power over the temporal sphere which is exercised for the good of souls. This indirect power in no way sullies the Church’s divine mission nor dilutes it by way of overextension since the civil authority retains at all times direct power over temporal matters.
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Sitting at the head of both the ecclesiastical and civil authorities is Christ the King. Contrary to distortions which entered the Church’s liturgy nearly a half-century ago, the Kingship of Christ is not exclusively spiritual. Although Christ’s spiritual rule in this world began 2,000 years ago and can in no way be abrogated, the temporal acceptance of this rule, that is, the recognition of Christ’s reign in its full integrity and truth only came about after the course of centuries whereby the civil rulers, whose authority was never their own and always from God, accepted the divine mission of the Church and her supernatural constitution. While the nations of this world have drifted far from accepting this reality, their denial cannot with any true effect “uncrown” or “dethrone” Christ. His social reign may, through ignorance or sin, be unrecognized and unimplemented by the present civil authorities, but they possess no right to do so. As Pope Pius XI made clear in his great encyclical Quas Primas, “It would be a grave error, on the other hand, to say that Christ has no authority whatever in civil affairs, since, by virtue of the absolute empire over all creatures committed to him by the Father, all things are in his power.”
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Integralism follows this reminder of Pius XI with the utmost degree of seriousness. Even in the absence of states and more localized political communities which are fully permeated with the teachings of the Catholic Church, integralists live out their public lives, be it in the workplace or the voting booth, under the reign of Christ. That is, there is no separation between private “religious life” and public “citizen life”; the obligations in justice which should bind all nations at all times continues to bind all Catholics, regardless of what the civil authority recommends. While prudential considerations will affect application, no Catholic businessman, for instance, holds the right to pay his workers unjust wages simply because liberal economic ideology equates “justness” with the prevailing market wage. Similarly, no Catholic politician, regardless of which level of office he holds (municipal, state, or national), has the right to support immoral laws legalization, inter alia, abortion, same-sex unions, narcotics, prostitution, and pornography. Integralism recognizes no right to abscond from moral duty in the name of temporal convenience.

 
Here it is important to stress that integralism is neither romantic nor utopian. On the charge of romanticism or the accusation that integralists simply want to “turn back the clock” on human history, it must be said that while there may be some integralists who believe that something like that should occur, such a fantastical belief is not intrinsic to integralism. Indeed, a brief glance back over the last several centuries of papal teachings on religion and society reveals, at least up until 50 years ago, a desire to maintain an integral approach to political and economic affairs in the modern world. Given the rapid pace of change that occurred between the 19th and 20th centuries, the great popes of the past sometimes felt compelled to address the same topic in a relatively short time span. For example, it only took 40 years since the promulgation of Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum for Pius XI to issue Quadragesimo Anno which both deepened the former’s economic prescriptions while extending them to a world reeling from the effects of unbridled capitalism and economic depression. Neither Leo XIII nor Pius XI called for dismantling the modern industrial machine, intentionally retarding scientific and technological progress, nor restoring the older system of social safeguards, such as guilds, in isolation from the economic revolution which had occurred over the course of the previous two centuries. Integralism embraces timeless principles, but not without two eyes fixed firmly on the concrete situation which the world finds itself in. 
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As for the claim that integralists are utopians, nothing could be further from the truth. While an integral relationship between Church and State reached its high point during the Middle Ages, integralists acknowledge that this relationship was never perfect and that the sinfulness and shortcomings of man often undermined the ability of the Church to fully furnish the world with her treasures. At the same time, integralists recognize that plethora of non-Catholic forces which continue to conspire against the Church and the social rights of Christ the King. While these forces have changed over the centuries, taking on new platforms upheld with fresh lies, they remain a grave challenge to the restoration of a truly Catholic culture and a society which radiates with the splendor of truth. It must also be stressed that a disturbing number of modern errors have made their way into Corpus Mysticum, infecting both clerics and laity with the virus of liberalism which leads to the disastrous syndromes of indifferentism and relativism. Integralism is dedicated to combatting these errors, first for the good of the Church and her divine mission and, second, for the common good of society which can never be divorced rightly from man’s intended supernatural end.
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The future of integralism as a significant force within the life of the Church and the nations of the world is unwritten, but the principles of integralism, which are bound to the truth of Christ’s rightful rule in the spiritual and temporal spheres, will survive with the Church until the Second Coming. The defeatist mindset which holds that the days of integralism have passed and that a “new order” or “new relationship” must be established between the Church and the world remains a prevalent temptation; and like all temptations, which are from the devil, must be resisted. Equally tempting to integralists is despair. Have the affairs of the Church and society not become so corrupted with error and moral rot that there is no longer any hope or, if there is hope, it is in trying to escape the world and pray for the eschaton? Ah, but no Catholic has any right to despair. None! The integral Catholic must remain fortified by the messages of light which God, in His love and compassion for his frail, fallen, and fearful creatures has delivered through the Church. And above all the integralist repairs to the words of their savior and king: “These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you shall have distress: but have confidence, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

Thursday, January 18, 2018


THE MERCY OF CHRIST
The All-Merciful Christ

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How will our Divine Lord welcome a heart returning to Him contrite for past disorders and humbled at the prospects of His Justice? With a Compassion befitting the great and merciful God that He is. When the Son of God came down to earth –tanquam sponsus procédens de thálamo suo– from the brightness of His Glory to the obscurity of the Virgin’s Womb, His Divine Immensity “dwindled to human infancy,” He seems to be in a hurry to divest Himself before our eyes of the mantle of His Sovereign Majesty. He speeds to earth, not with thunder and lightnings, not to open the sluices of the ocean—for Sinai and the Deluge were not so effective!... He comes to earth in search, not of the pure and noble remnant of our race, not to a hidden Noe or a persecuted Elias; He comes in search of sinners: “I came not to call the just, but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:32); “Christ came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15).
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John the Baptist, the last of the prophets of the Old Covenant, was a second Elias filled with the idea that the Messiah was to come to avenge; One whose axe was put to the root of the tree, Whose winnowing-fan was ready to purge the threshing-floor clean in order to gather the wheat and consume the chaff in unquenchable fire. But no sooner does he set eyes on Jesus than his mind seems to undergo an abrupt change. Who would have imagined that those very lips, which had been preaching punishment and austere penance, would suddenly break out into an expression of the utmost tenderness?
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“Behold the Lamb of God! Behold Him Who taketh away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) – From the rock flowed honey …  
 
The idea launched by the Precursor was well confirmed by Jesus in His actions, His sayings, and His parables. Why not search for them by reading the Gospel? What repentant sinner ever went to Him and was not welcomed with a thrill of fatherly emotion?
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Now it is a woman caught in the act of adultery whom His Mercy shields from the shower of stones prescribed by the implacable Law, and on whom He imposes no other penalty than to allow her penitential future to be steeped in the ineffable sweetness of His parting words: “Neither will I condemn thee; go, and now sin no more” (John 8:2). Now it is the woman notorious for her light conduct, who in anxious fear takes refuge under the shadow of His compassion, and finds herself rehabilitation, and is defended from her accusers by the irresistible eloquence of the Divine Word. Now it is the publican, a public swindler, whom Jesus goes out of His way to meet and welcome an invitation from; the man who receives Jesus with the fragrant kiss of fourfold restitution for any ill-gotten gains.
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Now it is the good thief, who with three words from a cross next to Thine, O Jesus, steals away Thy very Heart, Thy Forgiveness, and Thy Father’s Kingdom… closed until then even to the Just! Prodigious Mercy Thine that would be accompanied, on Thy entry into the Kingdom, by a criminal executed on the public gallows, as if he were Thy knight-companion!
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“I say to you that even so there shall be joy in heaven upon one sinner that doth penance” (Luke 15:7).
 
The sweetness of these words could melt a heart of stone. They are, dear Lord, the refrain closing those three magnificent stanzas of Chapter 15 of Saint Luke –the sinner’s chapter– wherein, O Sovereign Troubadour of Heaven, Thou hast sung the praises of Thy Eternal Pity!
 
How could I so much as dream that my poor soul’s return to Thee had power to move Thee so deeply, to produce in Thee such intense delight, as to rally all Heaven together to join with Thee in festive thrill and cheer?
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How shall I, who have given Thee so much displeasure throughout my long sinful life, refuse Thee at least this moment of delight? My sincere conversion will be a festive occasion not only for Thee, but for all Thy Angels and Saints as well!  
 
Have words ever sprung from Christ’s lips so revealing of His Love for us? Do I not grasp their meaning? Or do I fail to understand what it is to love?
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Taken from The Priest at Prayer by Fr. Eugenio Escribano (1954)


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Obligation of Ceremonies

Obligation of the Ceremonies


The word ceremonies… signify the laws to be observed in public worship… contained in the Rubrics. Theologians it is true distinguish between preceptive and merely directive Rubrics. But it must be admitted that even the latter impose some kind of obligation. For, undoubtedly, everyone who has a share in public worship is bound by the very nature and end of worship to perform his part, not only with recollection of mind, but with grace and composure of manner.
 

The rites with which God was worshipped under the Mosaic Dispensation were, in the words of St. Paul, but “weak and beggarly elements,” compared with those with which he is now worshipped;… nevertheless God was pleased to command the exact observance of those ceremonies, and to threaten with maledictions all who would neglect them, “But if thou will not hear the voice of the Lord thy God to keep and to do all His commandments and ceremonies … all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee…” etc.

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From this solemn command and threat, and from the infinite superiority of our worship over that of the Jews, we are justified in inferring that to neglect the ceremonies in discharging any sacred function, or to make light of them, would be a great insult to God. We should never regard anything pertaining to the worship of the Almighty as of little moment, or beneath our notice. … Even Pagan priests would lose their lives rather than omit or hurry over any part of the ceremonies which regulate their superstitious and degrading cult.

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 The Old Papal Mass
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Surely the Christian priest or cleric [server], whose high privilege it is to worship the true God in the truest and most perfect manner, will not consider himself less bound to the exact observance of everything which the solemnity and decorum of his sacred functions demand than did those priests, who either worshipped mere idols, or offered but a very imperfect worship [the mere blood of an animal] to the true God, consider themselves bound not to omit one jot or tittle of all that they were commanded to observe in the discharge of their office.

 
Taken from:
THE IRISH ECCLESIASTICAL RECORD. Third series. VOLUME X. – 1889