Meanwhile the Islamic State advances…

While presidents and prime ministers dither in Washington, London, Baghdad, Paris name your capital the Islamic State staged another advance and captured twenty one Kurdish villages in northern Syria along the Turkish border during the last forty eight hours.  The low casualty count among the Kurdish forces protecting the area, seven reported killed, is a likely indicator that whoever was supposed to be defending these villages simply ran away.

The rather confused Western response since June to the menace of the Islamic State is strange since the group/state (whatever they are) could easily have been defeated then and probably still could be now by a fraction of the power that the United States military is capable of bringing to bear.  But instead worry and doubt and confusion cloud the eyes of American and European leaders and their publics.  If one looks at history, especially Biblical history, one finds that at moments of great historical change a certain blindness overtakes those who are accounted powerful.  All of the sudden they just are not capable of doing what on paper they should be able to do with great ease.  It just isn’t in them anymore.  Strange, isn’t it?  Are we at one of those historical moments?  Time will tell.

Pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary on Monday for the See of Constantinople, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday for the See of Antioch, the Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday for the See of Jerusalem, the Luminous Mysteries on Thursday for the See of Alexandria, and the Sorrowful Mysteries on Friday for the See of Carthage; for their liberty and their salvation and the restoration of their ancient position as pillars of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church in communion with the See of Peter in Rome; for the conversion of the Jewish people and the conversion of the Muslim peoples.  And join the Rosary Confraternity!

The Great Unraveling

The Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows

Roger Cohen wrote an Op-ed piece in the New York Times that describes quite well what the world is going through right now.  Wars, rumors of war, the rumbles of far away conflicts that we could hear in our own backyards if only we were listening.  But most of us really aren’t listening are we?  Too many of us can’t seem to lift our eyes from our iPhones or Androids or Samsung Galaxies long enough to notice the ripples in the air.  But things are changing; the world is changing and we want desperately to sleep and not to be bothered by such things.

But of course, since he is writing in the New York Times, Mr. Cohen does not go into the root cause of the decay that we are living through.  Why does the sand shift under our feet so? Why does the earth itself quake under our feet?  One could make an argument, a well founded argument, about the tides of history and history’s Lord and how these things happen.  But doesn’t the answer really lie in a deeper and darker place in our heart?  We have completely rejected the law of God, the law that God gave us in his wisdom and his charity to teach us how to be his sons.  Our ancestors rejected the Church because they could no longer bear anyone having authority over them, they wanted to follow their own designs.  The generations following them rejected Jesus Christ: declaring Him to be a good guy, a wise philosopher, or a clever teacher of morals who employed witty sayings to bring in the people.  But to those generations, or at least to a large part of those generations in their inmost heart, He was not divine.  No He could never be divine.  Such things just didn’t happen, God was too distant for that and besides, these things just didn’t happen.  In the twentieth century what was once the Catholic world rejected God entirely; flocking to the atheistic ideologies of communism, capitalism, and fascism that all promised to make this world a wonderful and prosperous place because, after all there is nothing beyond this, right?  And in the twenty-first century we reject even the natural law: men marry men and women marry women because it makes everybody feel good and nobody is offended, nobody in this world at least.  We see men in black masks sawing off the heads of young men in orange jumpsuits and call them barbarians, safely ensconced behind the walls of a civilizations where mothers murder their own children in their own wombs while the fathers act as accessories to the crime because of their own indifference and a desire to remain adolescents for the whole scope of their lives.  Tell me who are the real barbarians?  Yes the world is failing and we all need to repent.  While this may not be the end of the world and the Son of Man may not be coming on the clouds anytime soon (though who can say?) we are definitely at the end of something.  We need to repent and we need to be converted and we need to pray.

Pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary on Monday for the See of Constantinople, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday for the See of Antioch, the Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday for the See of Jerusalem, the Luminous Mysteries on Thursday for the See of Alexandria, and the Sorrowful Mysteries on Friday for the See of Carthage; for their liberty and their salvation and the restoration of their ancient position as pillars of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church in communion with the See of Peter in Rome; for the conversion of the Jewish people and the conversion of the Muslim peoples.  And join the Rosary Confraternity!

The Pope and the Patriarch in Constantinople on the Feast of Saint Andrew

The Feast of Saint John Chrysostom

Pope Francis is now scheduled to visit Turkey at the end of November at the invitation of both the Turkish government and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew.  According to the Turkish ambassador to the Vatican the Holy Father will be present at a special liturgy in Istanbul on November 30, the Feast of Saint Andrew the apostolic founder of the See of Constantinople.

It is heartening to see the relationship grow between these two men who play such important roles in Christendom.  It is of course too early still to speak of a reunion, but this is another major step in the right direction.  The Holy Father acknowledged this morning how dark the world is becoming with rumors of war in far off places gathering together.  The world should listen to his warning, but I doubt they will.  Maybe recent events and growing conflict in the world are spurring the Pope and the Patriarch to do what needs to be done here.  Maybe be they will do it and maybe they won’t.  It is for the Lord of history to decide such matters but we can pray.  We must pray.

Pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary on Monday for the See of Constantinople, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday for the See of Antioch, the Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday for the See of Jerusalem, the Luminous Mysteries on Thursday for the See of Alexandria, and the Sorrowful Mysteries on Friday for the See of Carthage; for their liberty and their salvation and the restoration of their ancient position as pillars of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church in communion with the See of Peter in Rome; for the conversion of the Jewish people and the conversion of the Muslim peoples.  And join the Rosary Confraternity!

Now is the time: Call another Council

September 11, 2014

It is time for another ecumenical Council.  The Catholic Church has been rocked by heresy and confusion and has been largely absent from its role in a deteriorating world since the close of the Second Vatican Council forty nine years ago.  It is time for another.  And we do not need a three year lead time and a whole host of planning commissions loaded with ‘experts’ working behind the scenes as there were prior to the last Council.  It can be convened as soon as all of the bishops can be convened in whatever place the Holy Father decides to hold this Council.  The world is changing fast Pope Francis and the Church needs to regain her footing in it.

The Church in the Western world has been compromising with that world for my entire life and it needs to stop.  Clear declarations need to be put forth about what is Catholic practice and what is not, whether in the Liturgy or in the moral life, and consequences need to fall on those who continue to flout these standards whether openly or in dark corners.  We cannot have the continuation of a situation where a Timothy Cardinal Dolan can prance around in the robes of Cardinal whose color proclaims publicly that he is willing to die for the Faith while marching up in the front of a parade that advocates that a number of its participants continue in lives of mortal sin.  Enough.

The Church since World War II, and particular since 1965 has heavily identified itself with the United States.  It is likely because the United States in 1945 was the great power who had defeated Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan and was the bulwark against Soviet Communism.  And in 1945 the United States of America also seemed to be an upholder of Christian morality and virtue in a world that had been on the edge of catastrophe since 1914.  But those days are long over.  The United States long ago now abandoned any of the Christian moral principles it once upheld, and  while it has had complete military and economic supremacy over the entire planet since the fall of the USSR in 1991, those days are now over.  The days of Saint John Paul II and Ronald Reagan working together to topple the Berlin Wall are now dead and gone and they are not coming back.  The hierarchy of the Catholic Church in the United States can no longer play the game of compromising with the insane and depraved (and dying) American culture while the Vatican looks the other way.  It must stop.  And if there be schism then let it come and let it be done with.

Call another Council Holy Father.  The Church needs to set herself aright again after the calamities she endured during the twentieth century.  We must pray for this and we must pray that issues can be settled with the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople and the ancient Oriental Orthodox churches of the East so that the special mission of the Bishop of Rome can be preserved in a situation where we all sit together at one table.  Since only the Holy Spirit can bring forth events such as these through the instrument of the Holy Father I think that this is the prayer for us to pray, first in Latin and then in English:

Veni, Sancte Spiritus reple tuorum corda fidelium: et tui amoris in eis ignem accende.

V. Emitte Spiritum tuum, et creabuntur.

R. Et renovabis faciem terrae.

Oremus – Deus, qui corda fidelium Sancti Spiritus illustratione docuisti, da nobis in eodem Spiritu recta sapere, et de eius semper consolatione gaudere.  Per Christum Dominum nostrum.  Amen.

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and kindle in them the fire of Thy love.

V. Send forth Thy spirit, and they shall be created.

R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray – O God, who hast taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that by the gift of the same Spirit we may be always truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Come Holy Spirit!  And renew the face of the earth!

Pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary on Monday for the See of Constantinople, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday for the See of Antioch, the Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday for the See of Jerusalem, the Luminous Mysteries on Thursday for the See of Alexandria, and the Sorrowful Mysteries on Friday for the See of Carthage; for their liberty and their salvation and the restoration of their ancient position as pillars of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church in communion with the See of Peter in Rome; for the conversion of the Jewish people and the conversion of the Muslim peoples.  And join the Rosary Confraternity!

 

 

Cardinal Timothy Dolan and the fate of the American Church

September 6, 2014

I can’t help writing about the Church in the United States today.  My focus is generally on the lost Sees and the changing world so I guess this particular bit of episcopal insanity falls under the latter heading.  Timothy Dolan is the Cardinal Archbishop of New York.  The Church in the United States of America does not have an official primate, as the Church in Poland does at Krakow and the Church in Italy does in Rome.  But the unofficial position of primate generally resides either with the Cardinal Archbishop of New York or the Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago depending on the personality, visibility, or influence of whoever happens to be occupying that particular See at whatever particular time one is living in.

At this time the most prominent bishop in the United States is unarguably Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York.  Which is why the good Cardinal’s decision to preside as grand marshal over the Saint Patrick’s Day parade next year that will for the first time include homosexual activists marching under their own banner is so deeply, deeply troubling.  Why the good Cardinal, whose primary responsibility is the salvation of the souls of his flock, would seek to endorse a lifestyle that is 100% opposed to Church teaching and whose militant adherents seek the destruction of the Catholic Church and/or its influence in the world is beyond me I do not know.  I can neither judge the man’s mind nor his heart, but this action and its consequences are a disaster and it has all the earmarks at least of an inward apostasy.  Those who view the specter of the Cardinal Archbishop of New York, a successor of the apostles, marching at the head of a parade with all of those rainbow banners will not have their souls enlightened by the Truth of Jesus Christ taught by his Church.  They most likely will be sent on the road to perdition.

We must love homosexuals as Jesus Christ Himself loves them.  We must tell them what He Himself tells them.  They must repent.  For their own good and their own salvation.  There is nothing more we can do for them and no greater love we can show them.  They are no different than many of us in this society and culture who have been trapped in mortal sin for a good portion of our lives.  And, given the rotten state of the clergy and the episcopacy in the United States for my entire lifetime, we have likely been given no help at all and most often probably sent in the wrong direction by those who are supposed to be helping us.  To endorse homosexuality and to coddle that behavior, especially when one is the Cardinal Archbishop of a great Diocese (but the same holds true for all of us), is a greater evil that it is for the homosexual themself to practice that behavior.  Why doesn’t the good Cardinal seek their salvation and seek to release these lost and confused souls from the prison of their sin?  Why do his brother bishops generally follow this same pattern in most if not all of the dioceses of the United States?  Why?  For more information on the disasters the American episcopacy has inflicted on the faithful in this country visit ChurchMilitant.TV where they have several programs related to this topic.  Michael Voris and his mates over there are the only ones with the courage to confront this issue and its disastrous consequences head on.  Other Catholic websites and television programs fail abysmally in this regard.  Why O shepherds are you devouring your flocks?

And I would remind both the bishops and anyone who reads this.  These things will not go on forever.  Your hour will come to an end, not only for yourselves individually at the moment of your death but collectively as well; what you have will be taken from you and given to others.  You have sought to embrace modern American culture in all its perversity and put that culture ahead of the Teaching passed down to you from the apostles.  But this culture that you are so devoted to is not immortal.  It rests solely on the unchallenged military and economic supremacy of the United States over the entire planet.  That is beginning to fade O bishops and priests, and the depraved culture you are so enamored with will one day soon reach its expiration date.  Then what will you be left with?

I had to force myself back into the Confessional after many decades (with the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary after countless Rosaries said and sacrifices offered on my behalf by those who loved me I am sure) and now I would never go back to the way I was before.  So I give you this advice O bishops and priests who fell too much in love with America: REPENT.  And bring your misguided flocks along with you.

Pray for Cardinal Timothy Dolan, pray for your local bishop, pray for the bishops in the United States and across the formerly Christian world, and pray for the Holy Father Pope Francis.

Pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary on Monday for the See of Constantinople, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday for the See of Antioch, the Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday for the See of Jerusalem, the Luminous Mysteries on Thursday for the See of Alexandria, and the Sorrowful Mysteries on Friday for the See of Carthage; for their liberty and their salvation and the restoration of their ancient position as pillars of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church in communion with the See of Peter in Rome; for the conversion of the Jewish people and the conversion of the Muslim peoples.  And join the Rosary Confraternity!

The strange fate of Ukraine

The Feast of Saint Augustine

Today’s Gospel (Mt. 24: 42-51) in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite comes at the time of year when we in the northern hemisphere are drunk and sleepy with summer.  The air has been warm and the trees have been green for a long time now; the fields are ripe for the harvest and the fruit is being plucked from the tree.  The days are growing shorter but no one really notices yet because the gloom of winter is long forgotten.  And the Liturgical calendar is roughly at the midpoint of the long march of the second section of Ordinary Time between the glory of Pentecost and the end of the year and the Advent renewal, so the Church gives us this warning:

Jesus said to his disciples: “Stay awake!  For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.  Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into.  So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect the Son of Man will come.

Who then is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so.  Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property.  But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards, the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.

The Son of Man comes to us in many ways.  He will come in glory at the end of time to judge the living and the dead, He will come for each of us individually when our time on this earth runs out, and as the Lord of history He comes to judge cities, nations, and civilizations.  Sometimes these decay at a slow rate and just peter out but more often the Lord comes as a thief in the night when people are sleepy and/or drunk on their own prosperity.

Witness the strange fate of Ukraine.  A year ago the citizens of Donetsk, Luhansk, Mariupol, and the surrounding towns and villages would all probably go out drinking together on a Saturday night and not think a thing of it.  Today they are slaughtering each other.  These once prosperous European cities are now under siege, being shelled, and being emptied out.  They have become the pawn of world powers seeking to expand their influence in the brutal game of international politics.

As our Lord told Peter, James, and John before He entered Garden of Olives at Gethsemane: Vigilate, et orate!  Keep watch and pray, and above all stay awake because the world can change in a minute!  None of us know the hour or the day for us or for the world we live in.

Pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary on Monday for the See of Constantinople, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday for the See of Antioch, the Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday for the See of Jerusalem, the Luminous Mysteries on Thursday for the See of Alexandria, and the Sorrowful Mysteries on Friday for the See of Carthage; for their liberty and their salvation and the restoration of their ancient position as pillars of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church in communion with the See of Peter in Rome; for the conversion of the Jewish people and the conversion of the Muslim peoples.  And join the Rosary Confraternity!

Quneitra

The Feast of Saint Monica

Syrian rebels reportedly seized control of the Quneitra crossing today between Syria and Israel today.  Quneitra is the only open land link between Syria and Israel and its use is strictly limited to the United Nations forces patrolling the demilitarized zone between Syria and Israel in place since the end of the Yom Kippur War forty years ago.  The term ‘Syrian rebels’ is as always a very nebulous appellation and the composition of the forces who seized the crossing is unclear.  The New York Times (link above) is reporting that al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusra is part of the force who took over the crossing while this report from a Syrian state television reporter indicates  that the force included Islamic State fighters

If this is true, and I confess this might be nothing more than Syrian government propaganda, then it is a significant development.  The presence of forces linked to the caliphate a few hundred meters from Israel would add a devastating new dimension to the conflict that could easily spiral out of control.

To give you an idea of the distances involved here is a photo that I took of Quneitra from a hill called Mount Bental on the eastern edge of the Israeli Golan this spring:

 

The town of Quneitra.  The hedges in the foreground are in Israel and the town of Quneitra amongst the scattered trees are behind it.  (taken by me April 25, 2014)

The town of Quneitra. The hedges in the foreground are in Israel and the town of Quneitra amongst the scattered trees that are behind is in Syria (taken by me April 25, 2014).

 

It should be noted that if these are Islamic State fighters then they are far away from their main theater of operations in the north and east of Syria and western Iraq.  But we shall see what comes of this.  It should also be noted that the last time a rebel forced seized the Quneitra crossing in 2013 the Syrian government took in back relatively quickly.  But we shall see.

Pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary on Monday for the See of Constantinople, the Sorrowful Mysteries on Tuesday for the See of Antioch, the Glorious Mysteries on Wednesday for the See of Jerusalem, the Luminous Mysteries on Thursday for the See of Alexandria, and the Sorrowful Mysteries on Friday for the See of Carthage; for their liberty and their salvation and the restoration of their ancient position as pillars of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church in communion with the See of Peter in Rome; for the conversion of the Jewish people and the conversion of the Muslim peoples.  And join the Rosary Confraternity!