Friday, June 23, 2006

The Sacred Hearts

Today is the feast of the Sacred Heart Of Our Lord Jesus Christ. And tomorrow, in one of the calendar changes that actually makes sense, is the new date for the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Our Blessed Lady.

In English, we are careful to distinguish between Jesus' "Sacred" Heart, and Mary's "Immaculate" Heart. And though the devotions are closely related,and have been since the time of Saint John Eudes, we tend to think of them as seperate. But in other languages,it os common to speak of the "Sacred Hearts." And there is a growing movement,with lay groups and even what appears to be an order, honoring The Two Hearts. There is the Oblate Apostles of the Two Hearts, and the Two Hearts Alliance Apostolate. Both Hearts are holy and both are ablaze with love for not just mankind, but each of us.

Images of the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts have been in my home since I was a child. But I was never taught anything about these quintessentially Catholic devotions in parochial school, Catholic prep school, or Boston College.

I have felt like little Frank McCourt in Angela's Ashes.

"Why is that man's heart on fire?

Why doesn't this child know about the Sacred Heart?

It's different in America, Ma'am.

The Sacred Heart is everywhere."

And no one answered little Frank's question.

Indeed the Sacred Heart is everywhere. From the breasts of guillotined martyers and Vendean Catholic monarchists during the French Revolution, to those of Carlist militia fighting the Communists in Spain in the 1930s (it is the counter-revolutionary Catholic symbol par excellence), the Sacred Heart was there.

In new urban American parishes in the 19th century, in the Philippines, in France especially after the Franco-Prussian War, the Sacred Heart was there.

In encyclicals by three Popes, in a book by John Paul II, in the teachings of Benedict XVI, the Sacred Heart is there.

It is just not in our classrooms,or parochial religious curricula, or in the homilies of our parish priests. But it should be. And it is past time to bring the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart back to the forefront of Catholic life.

And to that end, I am proud to present a new blog devoted to the spirituality of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. I have teamed up with Ginny, The Inspired Traditionalist who shares this devotion and has taught me a great deal about it. This new blog is a learning experience for me, as there is a fairly vast field of written materials on the devotion, from such able pens as those of Saints John Eudes and Alphonsus Liguori. And art based on the Sacred Hearts is likewise extensive. I have created a database with over 200 images of the Sacred Hearts. We will be featuring excerpts from these spiritual writings, many of these images, and other reflections on the blazing love of the Two Hearts. We try to link to any source that fosters devotion to Our Lord's Sacred Heart, Our Blessed Lady's Immaculate Heart, or the Two Hearts together. We hope this new blog will lead even one soul to greater devotion to the Sacred Hearts. If that happens, we will be satisfied.

V. Most Sacred Heart of Jesus
R. Have mercy on us.

V. Immaculate Heart of Mary
R. Pray for us.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Today's Traditional Catholic Image

Benediction at San Trinita dei Pellegrini, courtesy of the Institute of Saint Philipp Neri.

Just because I can, and we are still within the octave of Corpus Christi.

Pennant Fever Grips Hub

The Red sox have opened up an "oh-so-comfortable" 2 game lead over the Yankees in the American League East. The two teams have been within 3 games of each other since mid-April, and the lead has changed hands several times already. A pennant race that started on Opening Day and just continued? Could be.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Another School Closing In the Archdiocese

But this one has some emotional resonance for me.

Immaculate Conception School in Malden, with enrollment down under 150 children, is closing. Enrollment is not adequate to support the school. Until now, all these school closings had just been names to me, names of places I had mostly never heard of, and certainly had never been to.

Immaculate Conception was the parish my grandmother and uncle moved to in the mid-1970s. My uncle taught CCD at Immaculate for a few years. Many friends are affiliated with that parish and its school. I myself have many bittersweet memories of it, having spent many an hour there waiting for a then-family member to finish work.

And now it is gone. Not because the Archdiocese zapped it as it has some others, but because the parish itself decided it could not continue to prop it up, despite the parish's affluence (one of the twenty healthiest in the Archdiocese).

The neighborhood had changed, becoming increasingly Asian, so that Italian Catholics no longer dominated it. As the Italian families moved, they sent their kids to other schools closer to home.

Two other parochial schools nearby competed for the Catholic school-going population. And a public charter school opened some years ago nearby.

There had been fierce internecine strife (mostly just personality conflict) between faculty and principal and pastor some years ago that never completely healed.

And the physical plant of the building was not in good shape. It was an old gloomy building one step away from being disreputable. Water fountains did not work, none of them. The after-school day care room could have doubled as a musty dungeon.

And the curriculum was anything but aggressively Catholic. Actually, the place was rife with teachers who knew nothing about the Faith, but had to teach it. And they got their jobs because no one else could be found. And talk about Cafeteria Catholicism! Combine that with a weak "butterfly" religion curriculum, and it is a wonder that any of the kids who have graduated from there in the last 30 years know anything about the Faith (and precious few do, I'll bet!).

But the kids there were taught the basics well, and had somewhat more discipline than public school kids.

But now that school is gone the way of the School Sisters of Notre Dame, who used to live, 30 strong, in the convent attached to the parish, and used to staff the school.

My regrets for the many friends who hae lost this treasured link to the Catholic past. But the reality for some years had not been a healthy carrying on of that tradition.

SDI Finally Operational

More than 20 years after President Reagan launched the Strategic Defense Initiative, the US has an operational missile defense system, though it is probably a thin one in its early stages.

Why now? Because of concern over North Korea's nuclear capacity (combined with its tests of the missile that can reach at least the West Coast of the US). North Korea is not like the old Soviet Union. Its leader is erratic, and quite likely clinically insane. Not for him the measured calculus of mutual assured destruction. If the US thwarts any of his insane projects, like invasion of South Korea, expect him to launch. And we have to have something to shoot down whatevr he launches.

SDI has been a long time in development. It is a great technological challenge. And let us not forget, now that Hilary is vying for the presidency in 2008, that the entire 8 years of her useless husband's administration was a complete waste of time from a national security standpoint (and every other standpoint as well). Virtually nothing was done about SDI then. Only with the return of a Republican to the White House has any real prgress been made on missile defense.

And we still have a long way to go before we have a system capable of dealing with a mass launch from say, China, which likes to rattle the saber, threatening nuclear annihilation if we oppose a Chinese invasion of Taiwan.

Let's hope we never have to find out how good the system we have in place now is!

Sounds Like A Good Appointment

From A Penitent Blogger
The Holy Father has accepted the retirement of Archbishop Francis P. Carroll as Archbishop of Canberra (Australia's national capital).

The Holy Father has appointed as the new Archbishop Mark Benedict Coleridge, 57, up to now Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne. Archbishop-elect Coleridge was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Melbourne in 1974 and worked in several parishes before being sent for studies in Rome in 1980. He studied at the Pontifical Biblical Institute until 1984 and obtained a License in Sacred Scripture. He then taught Scripture at Melbourne's Catholic Theological College (CTC) until 1988 when he returned to the Biblicum in Rome to earn his Doctorate degree. With that degree in hand, he returned to the CTC before being summoned back again to Rome in 1998 to work in the General Affairs section of the Secretariat of State. In 2002, he was named and consecrated Auxiliary Bishop for Melbourne. In 2004 he was appointed Chairman of the Roman Missal Editorial Committee of the International Commission for English in the Liturgy (ICEL).

An Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne, which means Archbishop-Designate Coleridge has worked closely with the excellent George Cardinal Pell. And he was chairman of the effort to get a decent translation of the Mass, which was just approved by the US bishops (though I'd still like to see exactly how they changed what the ICEL came up with). Other that that, I know nothing of Bishop Coleridge. But it sounds like a sound appointment. Cardinal Pell had a private audience with the Holy Father back when the universal indult rumors were running high. Good bet that this came up then.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Polish Salt Mine Chapels

From The Lion and the Cardinal.

Very impressive. And almost all salt!

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