Saturday, September 04, 2004

Encouraging Poll News For the GOP

According to a Time Magazine poll of likely voters, the President has an 11-point lead over Kerry.


I hope this is true, but I don't place much reliance on Time polls (Portrait of America and Battleground, and Zogby, yes, but not Gallup, Time, etc.).

It looks as if the Republicans timed the convention to get something of a bounce, which Kerry did not get. If these numbers are reflected in a more reliable poll, I will concede that I was wrong about the President not getting any bounce from the convention.

I wouldn't stick a fork in Kerry yet, as a commenter over at Patrick Sweeney's Extreme Catholic suggested.

First of all, I would like to see how the poll numbers break down state by state. The President may be toting up huge majorities in all the small states, but trailing in the electoral vote prizes.

Second, I expect the Democrat machine in states like Florida, Michigan, Missouri, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Wisconsin to put up a formidible GOTV drive.

In 3 weeks, I expect the poll numbers to tighten. Kerry is an appealing candidate (wait for gender gap stories). The debates probably will help Kerry.

And the Democrat Party has been the home of dirty tricks and last-minute surprises since its inception (remember the drunk-driving story that was deliberately held until the Thursday before the election in 2000). I expect some sort of revelation/scandal concerning the Administration to break soon. After all the resources of the major media are at the beck and call of liberalism.

And then there is al Qaeda, which will certainly try to cast its vote, as it did in Spain, with a terrorist attack close to the election. If that happens, then we will really see what the American people are made of. Are they tough enough to stick with the war effort in the face of another disaster, or will they fold like the Spanish and Filipinos?

No Blogging Tomorrow Or Monday

September 5th is the Memorial for Bl. Mother Theresa of Calcutta. The front page image of Recta Ratio: The Yahoo Group is a photo of this soon-to-be-saint.

Have a great weekend!

A Great Sermon by a Great Priest

The ever-invaluable Father Rutler.

Thanks to Dom Bettinelli for the tip.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Good Stuff On Processions and Ceremonial

By Matthew over at The Shrine of the Holy Whapping.

Check Out Today's B.C.

Johnny Hart has it nailed.

Father Elijah Is Back Blogging At Fides et Ratio

After a six-week hiatus.

For those unfamiliar, Fides et Ratio is a cool blog by one of our priests of the Archdiocese of Boston.

Summer Is Sputtering

The forecast for Sunday and Monday indicates that temperatures will not get out of the 60s. Summer is exiting andFall is coming in right on cue, for the Labor Day weekend.

Fresh cider in a couple of weeks!!!!

The Russians Stormed the School

Reports of 7 dead and 400 injured, including 180 of the children.

I can't see what else could have been done.

You can't negotiate with this lot.

On Its First Day On Sale

The Passion of the Christ sold over 4 million DVDs.

Not the record, but very, very good.

My Imitation of Christ, Book IV, Part 18

The conclusion to my serialization of this important section from My Imitation of Christ dealing with the Holy Eucharist.

Chapter XVIII
That a Man Should Not Be a Curious Searcher of the Sacrament, But a Humble Imitator of Christ, Submitting His Sense to Holy Faith

The Voice of the Beloved
Thou must take heed of curious and useless searching into this most profound Sacrament, if thou wilt not be plunged into the abyss of doubt. He that is a searcher of Majesty shall be oppressed by the glory thereof.God is able to do more than man can understand. A pious and humble search after truth is to be allowed, when it is always ready to be taught, and striving to walk after the wholesome opinions of the fathers.

Blessed is the simplicity which leaveth alone the difficult paths of questionings, and followeth the plain and firm steps of God's commandments. Many have lost devotion whilst they sought to search into deeper things. Faith is required of thee, and a sincere life, not loftiness of intellect, nor deepness in the mysteries of God. If thou understandest not nor comprehendest the things which are beneath thee, how shalt thou comprehend those which are above thee? Submit thyself to God, and humble thy sense to faith, and the light of knowledge shall be given to thee, as shall be profitable and necessary unto thee.

There are some who are grievously tempted concerning faith and the Sacrament; but this is not to be imputed to themselves but rather to the enemy. Care not then for this, dispute not with thine own thoughts, nor make answer to the doubts which are cast into thee by the devil; but believe the words of God, believe His Saints and Prophets, and the wicked enemy shall flee from thee. Often it profiteth much, that the servant of God endureth such things. For the enemy tempteth not unbelievers and sinners, because he already hath secure possession of them; but he tempteth and harasseth the faithful and devout by various means.

Go forward therefore with simple and undoubting faith, and draw nigh unto the Sacrament with supplicating reverence. And whatsoever thou art not enabled to understand, that commit without anxiety to Almighty God. God deceiveth thee not; he is deceived who believeth too much in himself. God walketh with the simple, revealeth Himself to the humble, giveth understanding to babes, openeth the sense to pure minds, and hideth grace from the curious and proud. Human reason is weak and may be deceived; but true faith cannot be deceived.

All reason and natural investigation ought to follow faith, not to precede, nor to break it. For faith and love do here especially take the highest place, and work in hidden ways in this most holy and exceeding excellent Sacrament. God who is eternal and incomprehensible, and of infinite power, doth great and inscrutable things in heaven and in earth, and His wonderful works are past finding out. If the works of God were of such sort that they might easily be comprehended by human reason, they should no longer be called wonderful or unspeakable.

My Imitation of Christ, Book IV, Part 17

Chapter XVII
Of Fervent Love and Vehement Desire of Receiving Christ

The Voice of the Disciple
With the deepest devotion and fervent love, with all affection and fervour of heart I long to receive Thee, O Lord, even as many Saints and devout persons have desired Thee in communicating, who were altogether well pleasing to Thee by their sanctity of life, and dwelt in all ardent devotion. O my God, Eternal Love, my whole Good, Happiness without measure, I long to receive Thee with the most vehement desire and becoming reverence which any Saint ever had or could have.

And although I be unworthy to have all those feelings of devotion, yet do I offer Thee the whole affection of my heart, even as though I alone had all those most grateful inflamed desires. Yea, also, whatsoever things a pious mind is able to conceive and long for, all these with the deepest veneration and inward fervour do I offer and present unto Thee. I desire to reserve nothing unto myself, but freely and entirely to offer myself and all that I have unto Thee for a sacrifice. O Lord my God, my Creator and Redeemer! with such affection, reverence, praise, and honour, with such gratitude, worthiness, and love, with such faith, hope, and purity do I desire to receive Thee this day, as Thy most blessed Mother, the glorious Virgin Mary, received and desired Thee, when she humbly and devoutly answered the Angel who brought unto her the glad tidings of the mystery of the Incarnation. Behold the handmaid of the Lord; let it be unto me according to thy word.

And as Thy blessed forerunner, the most excellent of Saints, John Baptist, being full of joy in Thy presence, leapt while yet in the womb of his mother, for joy in the Holy Ghost; and afterwards discerning Jesus walking amongst men, humbled himself exceedingly, and said, with devout affection, The friend of the bridegroom, who standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice; even so I wish to be inflamed with great and holy desires, and to present myself unto Thee with my whole heart. Whence also, on behalf of myself and of all commended to me in prayer, I offer and present unto Thee the jubilation of all devout hearts, their ardent affection, their mental ecstasies, and supernatural illuminations and heavenly visions, with all the virtues and praises celebrated and to be celebrated by every creature in heaven and earth; to the end that by all Thou mayest worthily be praised and glorified for ever.

Receive my prayers, O Lord my God, and my desires of giving Thee infinite praise and unbounded benediction, which, according to the multitude of Thine unspeakable greatness, are most justly due unto Thee. These do I give Thee, and desire to give every day and every moment; and with beseechings and affectionate desires I call upon all celestial spirits and all Thy faithful people to join with me in rendering Thee thanks and praises.

Let all peoples, nations and tongues praise Thee, and magnify Thy holy and sweet-sounding Name, with highest jubilations and ardent devotion. And let all who reverently and devoutly celebrate Thy most high Sacrament, and receive it with full assurance of faith, be accounted worthy to find grace and mercy with Thee, and intercede with all supplication for me a sinner; and when they shall have attained unto their wished-for devotion and joyous union with Thee, and shall depart full of comfort and wondrously refreshed from Thy holy, heavenly table, let them vouchsafe to be mindful of me, for I am poor and needy.

My Imitation of Christ, Book IV, Part 16

Chapter XVI
That We Ought to Lay Open Our Necessities to Christ and to Require His Grace

The Voice of the Disciple
O most sweet and loving Lord, whom now I devoutly desire to receive, Thou knowest my infirmity and the necessity which I suffer, in what evils and vices I lie; how often I am weighed down, tempted, disturbed, and defiled. I come unto Thee for remedy, I beseech of Thee consolation and support. I speak unto Thee who knowest all things, to whom all my secrets are open, and who alone art able perfectly to comfort and help me. Thou knowest what good thing I most stand in need of, and how poor I am in virtues.

Behold, I stand poor and naked before Thee, requiring grace, and imploring mercy. Refresh the hungry suppliant, kindle my coldness with the fire of Thy love, illuminate my blindness with the brightness of Thy presence. Turn thou all earthly things into bitterness for me, all grievous and contrary things into patience, all things worthless and created into contempt and oblivion. Lift up my heart unto Thee in Heaven, and suffer me not to wander over the earth. Be Thou alone sweet unto me from this day forward for ever, because Thou alone art my meat and drink, my love and joy, my sweetness and my whole good.

Oh that Thou wouldest altogether by Thy presence, kindle, consume, and transform me into Thyself; that I may be made one spirit with Thee, by the grace of inward union, and the melting of earnest love! Suffer me not to go away from Thee hungry and dry; but deal mercifully with me, as oftentimes Thou hast dealt wondrously with Thy saints. What marvel if I should be wholly kindled from Thee, and in myself should utterly fail, since Thou art fire always burning and never failing, love purifying the heart and enlightening the understanding.

My Imitation of Christ, Book IV, Part 15

Chapter XV
That the Grace of Devotion Is Acquired by Humility and Self-Denial

The Voice of the Beloved
Thou oughtest to seek earnestly the grace of devotion, to ask it fervently, to wait for it patiently and faithfully, to receive it gratefully, to preserve it humbly, to work with it diligently, and to leave to God the time and manner of heavenly visitation until it come. Chiefly oughtest thou to humble thyself when thou feelest inwardly little or no devotion, yet not to be too much cast down, nor to grieve out of measure. God ofttimes giveth in one short moment what He hath long time denied; He sometimes giveth at the end what at the beginning of prayer He hath deferred to give.

If grace were always given immediately, and were at hand at the wish, it would be hardly bearable to weak man. Wherefore the grace of devotion is to be waited for with a good hope and with humble patience. Yet impute it to thyself and to thy sins when it is not given, or when it is mysteriously taken away. It is sometimes a small thing which hindereth and hideth grace; (if indeed that ought to be called small and not rather great, which hindereth so great a good); but if thou remove this, be it small or great, and perfectly overcome it, thou wilt have what thou hast asked.

For immediately that thou hast given thyself unto God with all thine heart, and hast sought neither this not that according to thine own will and pleasure, but hast altogether settled thyself in Him, thou shalt find thyself united and at peace; because nothing shall give thee so sweet relish and delight, as the good pleasure of the Divine will. Whosoever therefore shall have lifted up his will unto God with singleness of heart, and shall have delivered himself from every inordinate love or dislike of any created thing, he will be the most fit for receiving grace, and worthy of the gift of devotion. For where the Lord findeth empty vessels, there giveth He His blessing. And the more perfectly a man forsaketh things which cannot profit, and the more he dieth to himself, the more quickly doth grace come, the more plentifully doth it enter in, and the higher doth it lift up the free heart.

Then shall he see, and flow together, and wonder, and his heart shall be enlarged within him,because the hand of the Lord is with him, and he hath put himself wholly in His hand, even for ever. Lo, thus shall the man be blessed, that seeketh God with all his heart, and receiveth not his soul in vain. This man in receiving the Holy Eucharist obtaineth the great grace of Divine Union; because he hath not regard to his own devotion and comfort, but, above all devotion and comfort, to the glory and honour of God.

My Imitation of Christ, Book IV, Part 14

Chapter XIV
Of the Fervent Desire of Certain Devout Persons to Receive the Body and Blood of Christ

The Voice of the Disciple
O how great is the abundance of Thy sweetness, O Lord, which Thou hast laid up for them that fear Thee. When I call to mind some devout persons who draw nigh to Thy Sacrament, O Lord, with the deepest devotion and affection, then very often I am confounded in myself and blush for shame, that I approach Thine altar and table of Holy Communion so carelessly and coldly, that I remain so dry and without affection, that I am not wholly kindled with love before Thee, my God, nor so vehemently drawn and affected as many devout persons have been, who out of the very earnest desire of the Communion, and tender affection of heart, could not refrain from weeping, but as it were with mouth of heart and body alike panted inwardly after Thee, O God, O Fountain of Life, having no power to appease or satiate their hunger, save by receiving Thy Body with all joyfulness and spiritual eagerness.

O truly ardent faith of those, becoming a very proof of Thy Sacred Presence! For they verily know their Lord in the breaking of the bread, whose heart so ardently burneth within them when Jesus walketh with them by the way. Ah me! far from me for the most part is such love and devotion as this, such vehement love and ardour. Be merciful unto me, O Jesus, good, sweet, and kind, and grant unto Thy poor suppliant to feel sometimes, in Holy Communion, though it be but a little, the cordial affection of Thy love, that my faith may grow stronger, my hope in Thy goodness increase, and my charity, once kindled within me by the tasting of the heavenly manna, may never fail.

But Thy mercy is able even to grant me the grace which I long for, and to visit me most tenderly with the spirit of fervour when the day of Thy good pleasure shall come. For, although I burn not with desire so vehement as theirs who are specially devout towards Thee, yet, through Thy grace, I have a desire after that greatly inflamed desire, praying and desiring to be made partaker with all those who so fervently love Thee, and to be numbered among their holy company.

My Imitation of Christ, Book IV, Part 13

Chapter XIII
That the Devout Soul Ought with the Whole Heart to Yearn After Union with Christ in the Sacrament
The Voice of the Disciple
Who shall grant unto me, O Lord, that I may find Thee alone, and open all my heart unto Thee, and enjoy Thee as much as my soul desireth; and that no man may henceforth look upon me, nor any creature move me or have respect unto me, but Thou alone speak unto me and I unto Thee, even as beloved is wont to speak unto beloved, and friend to feast with friend? For this do I pray, this do I long for, that I may be wholly united unto Thee, and may withdraw my heart from all created things, and by means of Holy Communion and frequent celebration may learn more and more to relish heavenly and eternal things. Ah, Lord God, when shall I be entirely united and lost in Thee, and altogether forgetful of myself? Thou in me, and I in Thee; even so grant that we may in like manner continue together in one.

Verily Thou art my Beloved, the choicest among ten thousand, in whom my soul delighteth to dwell all the days of her life. Verily Thou art my Peacemaker, in Whom is perfect peace and true rest, apart from Whom is labour and sorrow and infinite misery. Verily Thou art a God that hidest Thyself, and Thy counsel is not with the wicked, but Thy Word is with the humble and simple. O how sweet, O Lord is Thy spirit, who that Thou mightest manifest Thy sweetness towards Thy children, dost vouchsafe to refresh them with the bread which is full of sweetness, which cometh down from heaven. Verily there is no other nation so great, which hath its gods drawing nigh to them, as Thou, our God art present unto all Thy faithful ones, unto whom for their daily solace, and for lifting up their heart unto heaven, Thou givest Thyself for their food and delight.

For what other nation is there so renowned as the Christian people? Or what creature is so beloved under heaven as the devout soul to which God entereth in, that he may feed it with His glorious flesh? O unspeakable grace! O wonderful condescension! O immeasurable love specially bestowed upon men! But what reward shall I give unto the Lord for this grace, for charity so mighty? There is nothing which I am able to present more acceptable than to give my heart altogether unto God, and to join it inwardly to Him. Then all my inward parts shall rejoice, when my soul shall be perfectly united unto God. Then shall He say unto me, "If thou wilt be with Me, I will be with thee." And I will answer Him, "Vouchsafe, O Lord, to abide with me, I will gladly be with Thee; this is my whole desire, even that my heart be united unto Thee."

My Imitation of Christ, Book IV, Part 12

Chapter XII
That He Who Is about to Communicate with Christ Ought to Prepare Himself with Great Diligence

The Voice of the Beloved
I am the Lover of purity, and Giver of sanctity. I seek a pure heart, and there is the place of My rest. Prepare for Me the larger upper room furnished, and I will keep the Passover at thy house with my disciples. If thou wilt that I come unto thee and abide with thee, purge out the old leaven, and cleanse the habitation of thy heart. Shut out the whole world, and all the throng of sins; sit as a sparrow alone upon the house-top,(3) and think upon thy transgressions with bitterness of thy soul. For everyone that loveth prepareth the best and fairest place for his beloved, because hereby the affection of him that entertaineth his beloved is known.

Yet know thou that thou canst not make sufficient preparation out of the merit of any action of thine, even though thou shouldest prepare thyself for a whole year, and hadst nothing else in thy mind. But out of My tenderness and grace alone art thou permitted to draw night unto My table; as though a beggar were called to a rich man's dinner, and had no other recompense to offer him for the benefits done unto him, but to humble himself and to give him thanks. Do therefore as much as lieth in thee, and do it diligently, not of custom, nor of necessity, but with fear, reverence, and affection, receive the Body of thy beloved Lord God, who vouchsafeth to come unto thee. I am He who hath called thee; I command it to be done; I will supply what is lacking to thee; come and receive Me.

When I give the grace of devotion, give thanks unto thy God; it is not because thou art worthy, but because I had mercy on thee. If thou hast not devotion, but rather feelest thyself dry, be instant in prayer, cease not to groan and knock; cease not until thou prevail to obtain some crumb or drop of saving grace. Thou hast need of Me, I have no need of thee. Nor dost thou come to sanctify Me, but I come to sanctify thee and make thee better. Thou comest that thou mayest be sanctified by Me, and be united to Me; that thou mayest receive fresh grace, and be kindled anew to amendment of life. See that thou neglect not this grace, but prepare thy heart with all diligence, and receive thy Beloved unto thee.

But thou oughtest not only to prepare thyself for devotion before Communion, thou must also keep thyself with all diligence therein after receiving the Sacrament; nor is less watchfulness needed afterwards, than devout preparation beforehand: for good watchfulness afterwards becometh in turn the best preparation for the gaining more grace. For hereby is a man made entirely indisposed to good, if he immediately return from Communion to give himself up to outward consolations. Beware of much speaking; remain in a secret place, and hold communion with thy God; for thou hast Him whom the whole world cannot take away from thee. I am He to whom thou oughtest wholly to give thyself; so that now thou mayest live not wholly in thyself, but in Me, free from all anxiety.

The Seven Prayers of Saint Gregory

To further honor this great saint, I am including here the devotion to the Crucified Lord that is attributed to him, the Seven Prayers of Saint Gregory, which was a staple in medieval books of hours.

Translation by Michael Martin of Theasaurus Precem Latinarum (it is also available at Recta Ratio: The Yahoo Group, under Files, Catholic Prayers, Prayers For Specific Purposes.

O Lord Jesus, I adore Thee hanging on the Cross, wearing a crown of thorns upon Thy head. I beg Thee that Thy Cross may free me from the deceiving Angel.
1 Pater and 1 Ave

O Lord Jesus, I adore Thee hanging wounded on the Cross, given vinegar and gall to drink. I beg Thee that Thy wounds may be the remedy of my soul.
1 Pater, 1 Ave

O Lord Jesus, I ask by the bitterness of Thy Passion, which Thou didst undergo in the hour of Thy death, so much so when Thy most holy soul left Thy blessed body. Have mercy upon my soul when it leaves my body, and lead it to eternal life.
1 Pater, 1 Ave

O Lord Jesus, I adore Thee placed in Thy tomb, anointed with myrrh and aromatic spices. I beg Thee that Thy death may be my life.
1 Pater, 1 Ave

O Lord Jesus, I adore Thee descending into hell and freeing the captives from there. I beg Thee, that Thou mayest never permit me to enter there.
1 Pater, 1 Ave

O Lord Jesus, I adore Thee rising from the dead, ascending into heaven, and sitting at the right hand of the Father. I beg Thee that I may be worthy to follow Thee and be with Thee. Amen.
1 Pater, 1 Ave

O Lord Jesus, O good Shepherd, preserver of the just, justifier of sinners, have mercy upon all the faithful and be gracious to me, a wretched and unworthy sinner.
1 Pater, 1 Ave

I beseech Thee, Lord Jesus Christ, that Thy Passion may be a strength to me by which I may be strengthened, protected and defended. May Thy wounds be to me food and drink by which I may be nourished, inebriated, and delighted. May the sprinkling of Thy Blood be to me an ablution for all my sins. May Thy death be eternal glory to me. In these may my refreshment, joy, health, zeal, delight, and desire of my body and soul, now and forever.

Another Prayer:
O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, place Thy Passion, Cross, and Death between Thy judgment and my soul, now and in the hour of my death.

Deign to grant me grace and mercy, pardon to the living, eternal rest to the dead, peace to Thy Church, and life and eternal glory to all sinners. Thou who livest and reignest forever and ever. Amen

Saint Pope Gregory the Great

September 3rd is his feast day.

One story that I like about this great pontiff is the one about the Mass of St. Gregory. As he was saying Mass once, He and his deacons beheld the true Body of the Crucified Lord on the altar where he was about to elevate the Host at the consecration. This is the basis for many medieval paintings and prints, one of which will be on the front page of Recta Ratio the Yahoo Group today.

Now the Campaign Begins In Earnest

President Bush is now the official candidate of the Republican Party.

The text of his acceptance speech is here.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

While Pro-Life Democrats Need Not Bother Showing Up At A Democrat Convention, Republicans Even Let Democrats Speak

And last night at the GOP Convention Senator Zell Miller (D-Georgia) lit into John Kerry in grand fashion.

And Vice President Cheney also lambasted the flip-flopping liberal Massachusetts pol.

Maybe you don't need to have "great hair" to be an effective candidate.

Coming Soon:

The Bank of America Center?

The Shawmut Center was good, if we needed to call the place anything other than Boston Garden II (or "The New Boston Garden"). After all, Shawmut was the Indian name for the peninsula that became Boston.

The Fleet Center was tolerable since it evoked memories of the maritime and naval activity in Boston Harbor (now almost entirely a thing of the past, with Portland surpassing Boston as the port of New England).

But Bank of America Center, or whatever permutation they come up with, means nothing: just another corporate name on a gathering place. The only connection I can come up with (and its mighty remote) is The Vault, the network of highly compensated individuals and highly endowed institutions that used to control most of the charitible activity of the Hub of the Universe.


It won't stick.

But then, I still call the shopping center at the corner of Russell and Lowell Streets in West Peabody, The Russell Plaza, still call the big mall off 128 in Peabody the North Shore Shopping Center (more than a decade after it became the North Shore Mall), and still call one of the stores in Downtown Boston (and its branch at the North Shore Shopping Center) Jordan Marsh, even though it became a Macy's almost a decade ago.

Blessed Martyrs of September

Almost two hundred Catholics imprisoned in a Carmelite house during the French Revolution and butchered by a mob of the lowest sort on September 2, and 3, 1792.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Looks Like Perfect Weather Through Sunday

Sunny, 70s, and low humidity, at least according to the long range forecast.

Why The Blessed Sacrament Has To Be Wheat Bread

St. Thomas Aquinas, who is the authority on the Eucharist, from Catholic Exchange courtesy of Father Sistare at Not So Quiet Catholic Corner.

The Face of the Enemy

Chechen rebels have taken some 200 Russian schoolchildren hostage on the fist day of school.

It is the same enemy the forces of civilization face everywhere, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Chechnya, in Israel, in Pakistan and Kashmir, in the Philippines, in Indonesia, even in the West, in fact, every place where civilization comes into contact with the virus known as Islam: Moslem terrorism.

And this latest outrage should show all the more clearly that this enemy must be detroyed in its own lairs, rather than allowed to infect and harm the civilized world. We need a Lepanto on a grand scale, not just arrests, but decisive battle.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Not Much Going On

Other than the GOP convention, there is not much going on this week. And frankly, the convention is not likely to make real news.

Everyone who counts in the country is on vacation this week, as Labor Day is looming.

You might notice that I've updated the The Daily Saint: The Traditional Calendar (from the Latin Mass Society: England & Wales) link to reflect the fact that tomorrow is September 1st. A record for me, getting that updated before the new month is already upon us.

Where did the summer go? Fortunately, we have been spared most of the heat and humidity that we typically get during the summer. It has been genuinely nice, with temperatures averaging in the 70s and low humidity. For the last two weeks, though, the breezes and low humidity have meant a bad time for me with my hayfever. There seems to be an abundance of ragweed around this year.

It never hurts to plug Recta Ratio: The Yahoo Group, the other half of my project. Think of it as the visual aspect of this blog. The photo albums are crammed with links to images of sacred art in the grand Catholic tradition, and more is being added every week.

And I'm working on a chapter on special devotions in my book (which is past the 300 page point on the first draft: not bad for a book I started writing 6 weeks ago).

No blogging Sunday or Monday, as I concentrate on trying to get to the meat and potatoes of the book.

And while I'm mentioning things, please keep my friend Chris of Maine Catholic and Beyond in your prayers. We haven't heard from him since April, and that after warning of some dire circumstance in his life. No clue what is going on, but a disappearance that complete cannot be good, and is certainly worth a prayer.

Monday, August 30, 2004

St. Fiacre

An Irish saint.

Gearing Up For the Election

The election season truly starts today with the opening of the Republican National Convention in New York.

Toward that end, I have added a link to an interactive electoral college map on the right (between two of my favorite blogs, Inn At the End of the World and Irish Elk).

Unlike most pundits, I don't expect the President to get a big bounce out of the convention. In fact, I expect this convention to have even lower TV ratings than the Democrat convention had, since it falls in probably the largest vacation week of the year (but it had to because of the Olympics). Kerry got no bounce out of his convention. I expect the President to do no better than 1-2% of a bounce. Certainly not the 6-10% pundits are thinking about. I'd like to be proven wrong here, of course.

The latest polls indicate that the President has pulled ahead for the first time this summer. His campaign, so long somnolent, inarticulate, and plagued by bad luck, will come alive this week, and should have the momentum to propel him to victory in November.

The unhappy reception the Kerry daughters got on MTV (see Matt Drudge) is an indication that the youth vote (to the extent youth votes at all) is most certainly not sewn up for the Democrats.

I will stand by my predictions of earlier this year. The President will be re-elected with a substantial majority in the Electoral College (though much closer in the popular vote). The GOP will gain 2 US Senate seats, and no more than 5 US House seats. Not sure about the balance of governorships or state legislatures. The electorate will not be swayed on the war, though it is a little unnerved by the daily trickling of casualties. The price of gasoline is probably the biggest single problem facing the Bush Administration, short of a catastrophic terrorist attack in the US or overseas on American forces between now and Election Day. If gasoline prices were as low as they were during the early Clinton Administration, President Bush would be ahead by 5-10 percent, and have a lock on the election.

I expect President Bush to stick with Vice President Cheney: no surprise. Electorally, Cheney does nothing for the ticket (and his health is always an issue) , but he is a comfortable and competent figure who could be relied upon to carry on the war effectively should anything happen to President Bush. Neither Kerry nor Edwards is such a person. Kerry has been all over the map with Clintonian triangulation on every issue for 20 years. Edwards is utterly unproven.

There can be no doubt that President Bush's proven leadership, and the competence of his team is far superior to what the other side has to offer this year. After all, under this commander-in-chief, we conquered a country with one of the largest, most battle-hardened militaries in the Third World at the cost of a re-inforced company (and have held it for more than a year with the cost of less than a battalion). Yes, the losses are sad. But that young men die horrendously in foreign places is the price of making sure American civilians do not die in our own cities.

Four more years! From my keyboard to God's ears.

WOW!!! Talk About Dissenting From Basic Catholic Teaching!

Kelly Clark, aka: The Pew Lady, has a new post up concerning a conversation with Father Ron Coyne of the soon-to-be-closed St. Albert the Great parish in Weymouth.

How did this guy get through seminary? Who were his professors and formation staff? Are they stil in any way involved in the formation process? Why is he a priest? More importantly, why is he a priest of the Roman Catholic Church? Shouldn't he be an, um, Unitarian?

Doesn't believe in Hell, mortal sin, confession, etc.

No wonder this parish is being closed down. The Church (defined as her Supreme Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ on Earth, his Curia, the local bishops and heads of orders in union with the Holy Father) has the ultimate say on what is, and what is not authentically Roman Catholic teaching. What Father Coyne is peddling, and his parishioners seem to be only too happy to lap up, is most definately not authentic Roman Catholic teaching.

The popularity of this brand of Catholic Lite (always Easter and never Good Friday, always Christmas, but never Lent, always the Resurrection, but never repentence) seems to me to indicate that a parting of the ways is coming soon. There is indeed a market for this sort of pap among several generations of badly catechized Catholics. It appeals to the basic human desire for the easy way, for the soft message, for the idea that we are all pretty much OK and will make it to Heaven and don't need to worry about Hell).

The number of people who know better is very limited, a remnant who cared enough or were driven by circumstances to learn more. The day may soon come when a large majority of American Catholics (and Canadian, and Australian, and EuropeanCatholics, too) break away and form an American Catholic Church with a theology not all that dissimilar to Father Coyne's, and with a governing structure straight out the VOTF manual.

Of course, the Church has dealt with heresy and schism before. But in an age when the Church has no secular power at all at her command, and has forsworn the most effective remedy against those who lead others into heresy: excommunication with sure eternal damnation, how can it stop something like this from growing?

And is closing down Father Coyne's apparently demographically healthy parish the best way to deal with the growing schism of his parishioners? Would it not be better to send Father Coyne off to some place where his views can do no harm, or have him re-examine his priestly status via a long retreat, and appoint a vigorously orthodox and dynamic pastor in his place. There are said to be many reliably orthodox priests in formation or fresh out of the seminary. There are many older reliable priests who may yet have the conversion of a parish like this within their power. They may not be popular with Father Coyne's people, but they could attract to the parish whole new congregations of people who have been dissatisfied with Father Coyne's non-message and have been staying away.

To be fair, I have never favored the closing of parishes, which I see as a retreat and an acknowledgment of the triumph of the world over the Church. I favor a vigorous orthodoxy offered in every parish, and the near certainty, based on experience elsewhere, that in 10 years time, that vigor will translate into many more people in the pews, many more priestly and religious vocations recognized and acted upon, and more money flowing into parish and Archdiocesan coffers. But that means doing more than praying for vocations as Cardinal Law did so much for so many years. Prayers without actions to support them go nowhere, to paraphase Shakespeare. If you want the number of workers for the harvest to be abundant, make sure that the atmosphere in which they will work, and which must support them, is a healthy and orthodox one.

If you build it, they will come. Supply creates its own demand. Cut taxes and accept a deficit in the short term, so that the economy can grow in the long term, revenues can rise, and the deficit then disappear. Supply-side Church governance? Why not? Maybe even the people at St. Albert the Great, served so badly in regard to fidelity to the teaching of Holy Mother the Church, can still be recalled to full Communion.

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Beheading of St. John the Baptist

Traditionally observed August 29th.

The front page image at Recta Ratio: The Yahoo Group now reflects this memorial.

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