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A theologian who does not love art, poetry, music and nature can be dangerous. Blindness and deafness toward the beautiful are not incidental; they necessarily are reflected in his theology.—Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, The Ratzinger Report (p. 130).
Beauty, then, is not mere decoration, but rather an essential element of the liturgical action, since it is an attribute of God himself and his revelation. These considerations should make us realize the care which is needed, if the liturgical action is to reflect its innate splendour.― Pope Benedict XVI
Friday, March 7, 2014
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Pope Saint Hormisdas (c. 450 – August 6, 523) was pope from July 20, 514 to 523.He was born at Frosinone, Campagna di Roma, Italy. Saint Hormisdas was a widower and a Roman deacon at the time of his accession to the papal throne. His son became pope under the name of Silverius.One of the new pope's first cares was to remove the last vestiges of the Laurentian schism in Rome, receiving back into the Church those adherents who had not already been reconciled.
Most of his papacy was concerned with healing the schism that had existed since 484 between East and West brought about by the Acacian schism. The schism was the result of Acacius of Constantinople's attempt to placate the Monophysites. The church of Constantinople was reunited with Rome in 519 by means of the confession of faith that is called The Formula of Hormisdas.
After Silverius had become pope the Empress Theodora sought to win him for the Monophysites. She desired especially to have him [More likely, given her way of doing things, she threatened him with exile or worse if he didn't...] enter into communion with the Monophysite Patriarch of Constantinople, Anthimus, who had been excommunicated and deposed by Agapetus, and with Severus of Antioch. However, the pope committed himself to nothing and Theodora now resolved to overthrow him and to gain the papal see for Vigilius. Troublous times befell Rome during the struggle that broke out in Italy between the Ostrogoths and the Byzantines after the death of Amalasuntha, daughter of Theodoric the Great. The Ostrogothic king, Vitiges, who ascended the throne in August, 536, besieged the city. The churches over the catacombs outside of the city were devastated, the graves of the martyrs in the catacombs themselves were broken open and desecrated.In December, 536, the Byzantine general Belisarius garrisoned Rome and was received by the pope in a friendly and courteous manner. Theodora sought to use Belisarius for the carrying out of her plan to depose Silverius and to put in his place the Roman deacon Vigilius, formerly apocrisary at Constantinople, who had now gone to Italy. Antonina, wife of Belisarius, influenced her husband to act as Theodora desired. By means of a forged letter the pope was accused of a treasonable agreement with the Gothic king who was besieging Rome. It was asserted that Silverius had offered the king to leave one of the city gates secretly open so as to permit the Goths to enter. Silverius was consequently arrested in March, 537, roughly stripped of his episcopal dress, given the clothing of a monk and carried off to exile in the East. [Nasty heretics!] Vigilius was consecrated Bishop of Rome in his stead.
Silverius was taken to Lycia where he was went to reside at Patara. The Bishop of Patara very soon discovered that the exiled pope was innocent. He journeyed to Constantinople and was able to lay before the Emperor Justinian such proofs of the innocence of the exile that the emperor wrote to Belisarius commanding a new investigation of the matter. Should it turn out that the letter concerning the alleged plot in favour of the Goths was forged, Silverius should be placed once more in possession of the papal see. At the same time the emperor allowed Silverius to return to Italy, and the latter soon entered the country, apparently at Naples. However, Vigilius arranged to take charge of his unlawfully deposed predecessor. He evidently acted in agreement with the Empress Theodora and was aided by Antonina, the wife of Belisarius. [Here it should be noted that, even though Vigilius' actions were completely unjustifiable, especially with regards to his careerism, conspiracy with the corrupt Byzantine court and the irregular acquisition of the Petrine office, and the mistreatment of Silverius, once Vigilius became pope he never wavered in his defence of the orthodox Faith. (Christ has always remained true to His promise to protect His Church from error!) The Empress Theodora did not take kindly to Vigilius' defence of the Catholic Faith. See below: A Note on Pope Vigilius.]
Silverius was taken to the Island of Palmaria in the Tyrrhenian Sea and kept their in close confinement. Here he died in consequence of the privations and harsh treatment he endured. The year of his death is unknown, but he probably did not live long after reaching Palmaria. He was buried on the island, according to the testimony of the "Liber pontificalis" on 20 June; his remains were never taken from Palmaria. According to the same witness he was invoked after death by the believers who visited his grave. In later times he was venerated as a saint. The earliest proof of this is given by a list of saints of the eleventh century (Mélanges d'archéologie et d'histoire, 1893, 169). The "Martyrologium" of Peterde Natalibus of the fourteenth century also contains his feast, which is recorded in the present Roman Martyrology on 20 June.
Owing to the pressure exerted by the Byzantine commander, Vigilius was elected pope in place of Silverius and consecrated and enthroned on 29 March, 537. Vigilius brought it about that the unjustly deposed Silverius was put into his keeping where the late pope soon died from the harsh treatment he received. After the death of this predecessor, Vigilius was recognized as pope by all the Roman clergy. Much in these accusations against Vigilius appears to be exaggerated, but the manner of his elevation to the See of Rome was not regular. Empress Theodora, however, saw that she had been deceived. For after the latter had attained the object of his ambition and been made pope he maintained the same position as his predecessor against the Monophysites and the deposed Anthimus. It is true that there is an alleged letter from the pope to the deposed Monophysite patriarchs, Anthimus, Severus, and Theodosius, in which the pope agrees with the views of the Monophysites. This letter, however, is not regarded as genuine by most investigators and bears all the marks of forgery (cf. Duchesne in Revue des quest. histor. (1884), II, 373; Chamard, ibid., I (1885), 557; Grisar in Analecta romana, I, 55 sqq.; Savio in Civilta Catt., II (1910), 413-422]. The pope did not restore Anthimus to his office.It was not until the year 540 that Vigilius felt himself obliged to take a stand in regard to Monophysitism which he did in two letters sent to Constantinople. One of the letters is addressed to Emperor Justinian, the other to the Patriarch Menas. In both letters the pope supports positively the Synods of Ephesus and Chalcedon, also the decisions of his predecessor Leo I, and throughout approves of the deposition of the Patriarch Anthimus. Several other letters written by the pope in the first years of his pontificate, that have been preserved, give information respecting his interposition in the ecclesiastical affairs of various countries.
A Torturous Lent • Middle East Christians suffer continuous persecution at the hands of muslim aggressors
A nine year old Christian girl in Jordan was captured by Muslims who brutally raped her for 19 days. She was from Iraq and lived in Jordan as a refugee. After 19 days of sexual torture, she was rescued by Sister Hatune Dogan, an Eastern Orthodox nun, who payed 33,000 US dollars to ransom the tormented girl.—Theodore Shoebat: CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION—***WARNING***—GRAPHIC IMAGES OF VICTIMS KILLED BY TERRORISTS.
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Body and Soul
We Catholics pray with our whole being, or we are supposed to because we are so designed. We are people of the Incarnation. We understand that the Incarnation of Jesus Christ is made present by the Holy Spirit, especially after Jesus' baptism in the Jordan and after Jesus' death and resurrection. The Presence of Jesus extends throughout creation, redeeming those who accept His gift, the gift of Himself.
We Catholics understand that prayer seven times a day, as with the Divine Office or the daily recitation of the Holy Rosary or the Morning Prayer/Evening Prayer dyad commonly prayed, are ways to foster constant or unceasing prayer, or perhaps more accurately, a participation in the Holy Spirit Who, proceeding from the Father and the Son, prays in us and makes worthy our prayer to the Father through the Son. The Love of the Father and the Son, the Holy Spirit, permeates the conjugal sharing of a man and woman united in Holy Matrimony who, with Christ at the centre of their marriage, love into being a new life who is an answer to that body-soul prayer. The marital union of a man and woman becomes a sacred dance, a liturgy that participates in the one Liturgy of Heaven.
Jesus' Baptism, Sacrifice and Resurrection fills and is transforming creation. Death is undone. For those united to Christ, we participate in the prayer of the Church which is perfected by the Holy Spirit and rises to the Father in Jesus' Name. Every true marriage act of love, said to mirror the very life of the Holy Trinity, is a sign of Christ's love for his Church. Surely a beautiful sign pointing to Christ's Real Presence is the new life of a child generated through a couple's most intimate sharing. Surely this understanding of couples participating in the Liturgy and life of Christ is something that more couples could enjoy, so deprived as people are of authentic love and an experience of authentic human sexuality.Another Dance of Love
By ignoring the tradition of the Church, those who promote "liturgical dance" without acknowledging that there is already liturgical movement in the Liturgy, i.e., theological relationships united to practical liturgical movements (Mary united to Martha in the Liturgy), distort the true relationship between worshipper and the One Who is worshipped: Chris the Lord. Like each of the official Creeds of the Church, liturgical movement should embody theological truths. Movement, therefore, requires rubrical precision in order that theological truths and principles are preserved.
Speaking of Martha without Mary, liturgical tinkerers of the last 50 years have apparently forgotten that Mary chose the better part. The same liturgists have reduced the Mass to mere utility by 1) sidelining the legitimate theological movement and gestures (constituents of the ars celebrandi) of the Mass and 2) by replacing the rich liturgical tradition of the Church with customs that are alien and at times injurious to the Roman Rite.May I have this dance?
The mind and heart tend to go where the body goes, and the body goes where the mind and heart, properly oriented to God, go. If the mind is properly disposed, the body will conform and unite with it in worship of Almighty God:
- submission and dignity (deep bow/genuflection);
- surrender and respect (bow); hands held palms together at the heart, elevated at an angle pointing "heavenward" to indicate the heart is centred on Christ;
- small crosses traced on the forehead, lips/mouth and heart (right orientation or disposition and request for blessing); and so forth.
The Mass is the intersection of time and eternity. We enter into worship, we do not produce worship as if authentic worship was initiated by man alone. God initiates or invites us into His sanctuary, a sanctuary found in every human heart. He draws us out of ourselves, our narrow confines, to encounter Him in the Holy Eucharist. If our liturgical movement is static due to a removal of any assistance which aids cooperation with God's grace, then we end up worshipping ourselves. Sanctuaries that are round are certainly symmetrical, though the movement and intersection of time and eternity is lost. Worship in circular environments tends to be static and oriented to the worshipper rather than the One worshipped.
A true and constant orientation of heart and mind and body to God can be a difficult enterprise that requires a realistic appreciation of the obstacles that every person, from time to time, places in opposition to grace. If we are tempted to think we can save ourselves, let us not forget about the real spiritual battle which rages on in the heart of man and the folly of ignoring sin.
CCC405 Although it is proper to each individual, original sin does not have the character of a personal fault in any of Adam's descendants. It is a deprivation of original holiness and justice, but human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin - an inclination to evil that is called "concupiscence". Baptism, by imparting the life of Christ's grace, erases original sin and turns a man back towards God, but the consequences for nature, weakened and inclined to evil, persist in man and summon him to spiritual battle.
St. Paul's Letter to the Colossians 1:24Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
UPDATED: March 4, 2014 Late.
Bishop Bans Fisher More College from offering Traditional Latin Mass to students.
In fact, many long-time faculty have left Fisher-More. This is not solely related to their financial woes. In fact, it has to do with really severe problems with the college’s administration, and in particular, the college president Michael King referenced.—A Blog For Dallas Area Catholics
Mr. King (has been) taking an increasingly severe stand regarding the Council and the changes that have occurred in the Church in the past 50 years. I am not privy to all the details – perhaps some of those who are could chime in – but the level of excoriation for the Church and Her leaders has reached a state that even many good, traditional Catholics are scandalized by the rhetoric. And, from what I have been told by many, no dissent from Mr. King’s “direction” is tolerated. Those that voice doubts or express concerns are dismissed, virtually on the spot. This applies to both faculty and staff. As such, the college has lost many longtime faculty and administrators and even the college’s founder has been sidelined.In other words, the Bishop's actions to rein in a "faithful Catholic college" may not be as off base as imagined.
Let us pray for all concerned, especially the students!
UPDATE: On Bishop Olson and FM College—insight from And Sometimes Tea blog
Catholic World Report: featuring an authoritative account by Dr. Taylor Marshall.
The Crimean War (October 1853 – February 1856) was a conflict in which Russia lost to an alliance of France, Britain, the Ottoman Empire, and Sardinia (and America? Canada?...). While neutral, Austria played a role in stopping the Russians.According to Shepard Clough, professor of history at Columbia University, the war:
"was not the result of a calculated plan, nor even of hasty last-minute decisions made under stress. It was the consequence of more than two years of fatal blundering in slow-motion by inept statesmen who had months to reflect upon the actions they took. It arose from Napoleon's search for prestige; Nicholas’s quest for control over the Strait of Kerch; his naïve miscalculation of the probable reactions of the European powers; the failure of those powers to make their positions clear; and the pressure of public opinion in Britain and Constantinople at crucial moments."Russia and the Ottoman Empire went to war in October 1853 over Russia's rights to protect
Orthodox Christians(it's national interests). Russia gained the upper hand after destroying the Ottoman fleet at the Black Sea port of Sinope; to stop Russia's conquest, France and Britain (the USA? Canada?) entered in March 1854 (March 2014?). Most of the fighting took place for control of the Black Sea, with land battles on the Crimean peninsula in southern Russia (Let's hope and pray that this history does not repeat itself!). The Russians held their great fortress at Sevastopol for over a year. After it fell, peace was arranged at Paris in March 1856.The Crimean War is notorious for logistical, medical and tactical failure on both sides (Nations take heed!). The naval side saw both a successful Allied campaign which eliminated most of the ships of the Russian Navy in the Black Sea, and a successful blockade by the Royal Navy in the Baltic. It was one of the first "modern" wars because it saw the first use of railways and telegraphs (i.e., electronic warfare—computers, the internet...). It is also famous for the work of Florence Nightingale and Mary Seacole, who pioneered contrasting modern medical practices while treating the wounded.
|St. Paul Center Images|