Monday, March 28, 2011

You Are Too Stupid to Understand the New Mass Translation!

The Association of Catholic Priests seems to think that Catholics are just too stupid to understand the new translation of the Mass. Everyone knows my personal opinion on the matter, lets go back the Latin Mass and be done with this. But since this better translation is being introduced to improve the Novus Ordo, we should all be thankful for that. Yet many priests are rebelling. Who would have though this would happen? Below is their statement in regards to the new translation as it is being promulgated in Ireland. They should have just written, "All of you are too stupid to understand plain English." There are also many other foolish arguments presented. For instance they say that the change will damage the "fabric" of worship in their parishes? What fabric, the peace banner hanging from the rafters of their churches? Anyways, this kind of nonsense really gets under my skin. Enjoy!

Press statement from the Association of Catholic Priests responding to our meeting with a Commission of the Episcopal Conference and their response to our submission, on the subject of the proposed new Liturgical Texts
The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) regrets the recent decision of the Irish Catholic Bishops, in response to a submission from the ACP, to press ahead with the implementation of the introduction of the new Mass texts as planned next November.
At a meeting in Maynooth on Monday, February 28th  a delegation from the ACP met the Episcopal Commission of Worship, Pastoral Renewal and Faith Development.  There were five members of the Bishop’s Conference and a number of others, including three women, present. The delegation from the ACP voiced the following concerns:
    1. That the proposed texts are unsuitable and unacceptable in a number of respects:
         (i) we believe that, as literal translations of the Latin, they are too complex and too cumbersome. The guidelines state that they should be ‘comprehensible even to the faithful who have received no special intellectual formation”. This is clearly not the case.
        (ii) we have reservations as to their theological veracity, for example at the very heart of the Eucharistic prayers, the new text states that Christ died ‘for many’ rather than ’for all.’
        (iii) we fear that their introduction will damage the present fabric of worship in our parishes, dissuade people from active participation and introduce annoyance, discontent, resentment and possibly anger into the unifying ritual of the Mass
       (iv)we fear that the continued use of sexist language with its use of ‘man’, men’ and ‘brothers’ as generic terms will alienate some women and men, and is a very unfortunate reversal in an area where some progress had been made.
    2.  We believe that the process by which the texts have been drawn up is seriously flawed.  There was no consultation with either priests or people and this is contrary to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council on the Church. An instructive lesson the Church has learned in recent times is that decisions made by small groups and then visited on the Church as a whole without adequate consultation tend not to serve the good of the Church.
 While the Association of Catholic Priests recognises the need for a new and improved translation of the liturgical texts, we believe that the proposed new texts are unsuitable and inadequate. Many priests will struggle with them and many people will regard them as unnecessary and unusable.  Consequently we believe it is unwise to proceed with them.
While the bishops listened to our concerns, we regret to say that, judging by their response, they failed to take on board what we said and did not furnish any reasons for not accepting the concerns that we raised with them. We do not regard this as an appropriate form of listening or dialogue.
We remain convinced that introducing the new texts next November will have serious repercussions for parishes. While some priests may welcome them, it is clear that others will resist them, while many, maybe the majority, will accept them with a sense of resignation and without enthusiasm. In such circumstances it is, we believe, unwise to introduce them.
We will convene a meeting of our members on Thursday, June 2nd , at 2.30pm,  in the parish centre in Portlaoise to consider our response.  In the meantime we encourage our members to continue to discuss this matter with their pastoral councils, and indeed their parishioners generally.
Brendan Hoban  086  6065055                        Leadership Team
Sean McDonagh   087 2367612
P.J. Madden   087 2208882
Tony Flannery   087 6814699

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Podcast Sermon on the Transfiguration

Here is a recent sermon given by Fr. James Fryar FSSP, on the Transfiguration. Listen here or download it free in iTunes. Search the store for Catholic Champion.

Check Your Sources

With the amount of information today floating around on the internet it is easy to find conflicting opinions about Church teaching and Church history. The modernists have done a good job of recreating history to deny definitive teachings of the Catholic Church. Unfortunately the Church hierarchy has been rather lax in formally condemning individual theologians who have dissenting opinions, who then publish them all over the internet to be consumed by those seeking information on a particular theological subject. The Church has given us here teachings in her documents and in her daily exercise of those teachings. Yet this does not stop people from accepting modernist opinions who contradict her at every turn.

I noticed that a self proclaimed enemy of the Catholic Church, the ex-Catholic, John Bugay over at Beggars All, is continuing to seek the advice any known dissenter of the Catholic Church that he can get his hands on, to justify his move into heresy outside the Church. Bugay and his comical buddy "pastor" King, regularly use modernists to push their anti-Catholic, anti-Christ agenda. For them, any means justifies the end they seek, which is to get people to doubt their Catholic faith. For example in Bugay's latest post, he tries to pit a post Vatican II theologian against the Council of Trent concerning apostolic Holy Orders of ordination. Bugay has chosen to quote a theologian, Edward J Kilmartin, S.J, who has also said that there should be women priests in Catholic Church. Some of the theologian's work is posted with permission on the "Women Priests" website. He writes, "The current theological arguments raised against the ordination of women to the ministerial priesthood in official Catholic circles are rather weak. Moreover the practice of awarding permanent pastoral assignments to women in certain parts of the Catholic Church does not harmonize well with the exclusion of women from the ordained pastoral office. In this situation a definitive decision to rule out ordination of women would clash the "majesty of the facts,..." Further down in the article Kilmartin also attacks the scholastic definition given by the Church at Trent concerning Transubstantiation. Need I say more?

It does not take long to uncover these dissenters and the modernist tools they use to justify their rejection of Christ's Church, or her teachings. Yet Bugay uses these types of theologians concerning early Church history, which are erroneous of course, to justify his personal rejection of Christ and His Church. This is of course the true sign of the modernist historian. They rewrite history to justify rejecting the Catholic Church's apostolic teaching. Here he uses a well known dissenter to attack the institution of Holy Orders, yet he only shoots himself in the foot by doing so, because Kilmartin regularly argues for women to be involved in every level of the Church's ministry. As far as I know, the traditional "Reformed" sects have never approved of women "pastors." If Bugay is to be consistent with Kilmartin's historical observations in the development of Holy Orders, which he falsely claims did not exist from the beginning of the Church, he must also accept Kilmartin's observation using the same historical criticism to accept the fact that women should also be pastors. Bugay however is not honest enough to be consistent in his use of historical sources. He just picked up a book that seems to corroborate his personal views against Catholicism, and then he posted it up as a way to attack the Church. Always try and check the sources you use for consistency, and do not believe everything you read on the internet. Check the authors you are going to read prior to buying their work. Otherwise you end up like the pitiful Bugay and his pernicious buddy who calls himself "pastor" King, who are regularly making fools out of themselves by using these quack historians and theologians that contradict themselves at every turn.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

We All Must Go

Today the great actress/movie star Elizabeth Taylor has passed away. Considered to be one of the most beautiful actresses to grace the silver screen, not even she could outrun the sands of time. She had it all, money, fame, beauty, success, and yet will she have eternal life? This is the critical question. We all strive for great things in this life, but do we strive for our eternal happiness? Beauty at some point gives way to time, and youth to old age. We spend much of our lives trying to forget about our inevitable end with all kinds of distractions. It is a fact, we all must go.

Scandals, the Brilliant Work of Satan

    Any Catholic who doesn’t live under a rock knows well the scandals that have rocked the Church over the last decade. Many bishops covered up abuse cases under their jurisdiction and failed to stop corrupt priests from harming their prey in a myriad of ways. Heresy, schism, immorality, irreverence and the list goes on have been allowed in many places to go unchecked. As a result of this dereliction of duty we now have a serious problem on our hands. Satan has worked this plan out to perfection by first weakening the Catholic faith in the Church with modernism, and he knew that immorality would soon follow. Many priests and bishops fell into heresy in the Church, and as a result allowed corruption to run rampant in many forms, including sexual abuse. Many priests left the priesthood after Vatican II, many laymen also left, and many who stayed behind sought to corrupt the Church rather than leave it. So as these corrupt bishops began to retire, or got close to retiring, the abuse cases were conveniently brought back up. I have often wondered why it has taken so long for some of these cases to come out. Aside from the practical reasons, after some thought, it seems like a perfect contingency plan for Satan’s latest assault on the Catholic Church. He knew that eventually the bad clergy would be weeded out.

    Now that Satan’s infiltration of bad theology is beginning to be challenged by good bishops and priests, he already has a contingency plan built in so that he can disarm the orthodox clergy. With so little effort made earlier by the bishops to stop the heresy and abuse, now the Church may have gone completely overboard in the other direction. It is a natural reaction of course. The Church now has to do anything she can to appease the secular society at large, as well as those who have been hurt within the Church. I as well want something done, but exactly how it is to be done most effectively for the progress of the Church, I do not claim to know. What I do know is that now every accusation made against a priest, no matter how crazy it may be, must be taken seriously. As a result, as soon as a priest is accused of anything, he is going to be taken out of commission, period. This has given Satan a great new weapon he did not have before. This was a indeed a brilliant design by the prince of darkness.

    Since some of the clergy that were in high places over the last 40 years did little or nothing to maintain orthodoxy and morality in the Church, now those following them are going to have hell to pay. Any accusation made against them is going to destroy their reputation whether they are guilty or not. I will not get into any details over recent accusations against priests, that is not my purpose here. My point is that many in the hierarchy of the Church over the last 40 years have been played like a golden fiddle by Satan and his minions. They chose to do nothing when heresy was being taught in their midst, and chose to do nothing when immorality was in their midst. Now those who want to do something about it are going to reap the consequences of their predecessors, because Satan is not going to let an opportunity like this pass him by. How the Church handles the upcoming accusations made against priests is going to be a crucial factor in deciding how long it will take to get this ship back on course. I don’t pretend to have the answer to this situation the Church finds herself in. I am just observing how I think Satan’s plan is unfolding, and I think we all need to pray for our bishops and priests, because they are going to have a huge battle in front of them.

Matthew J. Bellisario

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Importance of Scholastic Theology

A friend sent over a link to a book review written by the Dominican theologian, Thomas Joseph White, of a book I am currently reading titled, "Introduction to Scholastic Theology" by Ulrich G. Leinsle. Fr. White has some interesting thoughts on the book as well as some interesting thoughts on scholasticism in general. "...Scholastic thinking, however varied in its particulars, must surely play a central role in the future of Catholic theology."

"We are accustomed to thinking of Scholasticism as simply “another perspective,” a tradition to be placed alongside other modes of theology. This is a mistaken assumption about theological history. In a certain sense, the rich and varied tradition of Scholasticism plays a central, inevitable role in the trajectory of Christian faith in the West, for it was an inevitable upshot of the desire to take the truths of Christ seriously in a thoroughly intellectual way. Scholasticism expressed the great genius of Western Christianity: its willingness to confront problems internal to the faith and to place this ongoing quest for understanding in continual dialogue with other forms of knowledge. It sought (to paraphrase George Lindbeck) to “untie intellectual knots by intellectual means” and in so doing to see the whole of things in relation to God. In other words, Scholasticism, or more precisely Scholasticisms of various sorts, sought to discern and convey—within the unique light of Christ—the truth that was truly universal, truly “catholic.”...

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Corrupt the Youth, Corrupt the Mass

Over at the "Pray Tell" blog we have yet another example of how the Catholic faith is being undermined by bad catechists. Their third installment on teaching the liturgy now focuses on how the Mass is taught to the youth. One catechist says, "For example, we begin the year by introducing a model altar, “the table for the family of God”, and showing the children how to prepare it with the altar cloth, chalice, paten, crucifix and candles for the Eucharist. One boy repeated this exercise for a year. Then one day he completed his preparation and turned to the rest of the class and announced, “Dinnertime!” With this word he acknowledges that Eucharist is essentially a meal, his classmates are his Eucharistic family, and that all should be invited. (Is it not ironic that this four-year-old Catholic child announces his own invitation to the meal he and his peers cannot yet receive?) Each sign introduced has a limitless depth of meaning, rooted in nature, life, Biblical history and liturgy. We gently set the children on the path of searching for this meaning for themselves and their community." Notice how nothing here, or in any of the three catechist's explanations have anything to do with Jesus or His sacrifice. Its all about community and having dinner. This is where in my opinion some of the worst damage is being done to the Church. These catechists are getting these kids at a young age and they are distorting their views on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This is a battle that we cannot afford to lose. Let us make strides to get into these types of programs in the Church and teach the youth what the Mass is really about.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Angelic Warfare Confraternity

If there is a Confraternity worth joining this is it, its "The Angelic Warfare Confraternity." Satan and today's secular culture are trying to destroy the image of God in man, and this is a weapon that all Catholics can use to combat these insidious enemies. This Dominican Confraternity began in the 1400s and was established in an official capacity in 1727 by Pope Benedict XII. Her members take Saint Thomas Aquinas as their patron and focus their prayers on the virtue of chastity, both for themselves and for others. The official site reads, "The Angelic Warfare Confraternity is supernatural brotherhood or fellowship of men and women bound to one another in love and dedicated to pursuing and promoting chastity together under the powerful patronage St. Thomas Aquinas and the Blessed Virgin Mary." As you may already know, Saint Thomas is the Angelic Doctor of the Church and theologians, but what you many not know is that he went through an immense trial to retain his purity, so he is a great example to follow in this respect as well. You can read about his trial on the website linked above. The requirements make it possible for anyone to join and receive the graces that are made manifest through the Confraternity. Normally you need a Dominican priest to enroll you, but arrangements can be made if necessary, to be enrolled by your parish priest if there is no other option. If you are into having your enrollment prayers in Latin, that can be arranged as well! 

The three essential practices are:

i. Enrollment and Registration. In the enrollment ceremony, a Dominican priest confers the blessing upon the cord and medal of St. Thomas Aquinas and the person who will wear it. The name of the person enrolled and place of the enrollment ceremony goes into the official Register.

ii. Wearing either the blessed cord of St. Thomas or blessed medal of St. Thomas (or both) as continuously as one reasonably can for the rest of one's life.

iii. Daily prayers for purity for oneself and all the members of the Confraternity. The daily prayers consist of two special prayers for chastity and fifteen Hail Mary's. 
The Prayer to St. Thomas for Purity
Chosen lily of innocence, pure St. Thomas,
who kept chaste the robe of baptism
and became an angel in the flesh after being girded by two angels,
I implore you to commend me to Jesus, the Spotless Lamb,
and to Mary, the Queen of Virgins.
Gentle protector of my purity, ask them that I,
who wear the holy sign of your victory over the flesh,
may also share your purity,
and after imitating you on earth
may at last come to be crowned with you among the angels. Amen.

The Prayer of St. Thomas for Purity
Dear Jesus,
I know that every perfect gift,
and especially that of chastity,
depends on the power of Your providence.
Without You a mere creature can do nothing.
Therefore, I beg You to defend by Your grace
the chastity and purity of my body and soul.
And if I have ever sensed or imagined anything
that could stain my chastity and purity,
blot it out, Supreme Lord of my powers,
that I may advance with a pure heart in Your love and service,
offering myself on the most pure altar of Your divinity
all the days of my life. Amen. 

There are also indulgences granted to members as well. 

The Popes have heaped many indulgences upon the Confraternity as a sign that they want people to join. All the members are eligible to receive a plenary indulgence:

▪ Once on the day of enrollment
▪ Every year on the feasts of Christmas, Easter, St. Thomas (Jan. 28), the Annunciation (March 25), the Assumption of the B.V.M. (Aug. 15), and All Saints Day (Nov. 1)

Members gain a plenary indulgence on these days given the following four conditions:

i. Receive Holy Communion on that day with the intention of gaining the indulgence

ii. Go to the Sacrament of Penance within eight days before or after that day

iii. Pray one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Apostle's Creed for the intentions of the Holy Father

iv. Renew privately the intention to live according to the practices and Statute of the Confraternity. 

Many Catholics over the centuries have received numerous blessings from joining the Confraternity. There is also some great reading material available at New Hope Publishing, which prints their books and pamphlets. To order enrollment kits visit their store.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

1 Timothy 4:1-3 In Context

Every year about this time the pretended "Reformers" make it a point to attack the Catholic Church on Lenten fasting, etc. The folks at the blog, "Beggars All" who have made it a daily affair to attack the Catholic Church with false accusations, regularly take Scripture out of context. For instance, a couple of their blogger visitors have taken 1 Timothy 4:1-3 out of context thinking that it condemns, or at least gives them an out from obeying the Church on fasting,  as well as condemning celibate priests. The passage reads...

1 Now the Spirit manifestly saith, that in the last times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to spirits of error, and doctrines of devils, 2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy, and having their conscience seared, 3 Forbidding to marry, to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving by the faithful, and by them that have known the truth. (1 Tim:4:1-3)

Here is how two pretended "Reformers" over at the blog "Beggars All" use the Biblical passage.

Zipper778 writes before quoting the above passage, "But to be clear, it is not sinful to not fast on Ash Wednesday or to refrain yourself from eating meat on fridays during Lent. The Scriptures are clear about that..."

Another ignorant blogger named Kim responds to him with this gem on the passage,

"Interesting Scripture quote, Zipper. It's interesting in that Paul equates "things taught by demons" with "forbid[ing] people to marry and order[ing] them to abstain from certain foods".
So what does that make of the Catholic priesthood and church-wide fasting from "certain foods"?

If forbidding people to marry and requiring them to abstain from certain foods is considered to have come from demons, well, hmmmmm."
What is interesting is how these two resemble the heretics who were attacking the Church back in the early centuries of the Church, because they too also were fasting and had celibate clergy. It seems that the Saints of the early Church had to deal with similar distortions of the Scriptures. It is quite amazing that over 1600 years ago Saint Chrysostom and Saint Augustine were addressing people who were taking the same passage out of context. Now for the real interpretation as given by the Church Fathers and the Catholic Church.

Ver. 3. Forbidding to marry, to abstain from meats, &c. Here says St. Chrysostom[1] are foretold and denoted the heretics called Encratites, the Marcionites, Manicheans, &c. who condemned all marriages as evil, as may be seen in St. Irenæus, Epiphanius, St. Augustine, Theodoret, &c. These heretics held a god who was the author of good things, and another god who was the author or cause of all evils; among the latter they reckoned, marriages, fleshmeats, wine, &c. The doctrine of Catholics is quite different, when they condemn the marriages of priests and of such as have made a vow to God to lead always a single life; or when the Church forbids persons to eat flesh in Lent, or on fasting-days, unless their health require it. We hold that marriage in itself is not only honourable, but a sacrament of divine institution. We believe and profess that the same only true God is the author of all creatures which are good of themselves; that all eatables are to be eaten with thanksgiving, and none of them to be rejected, as coming from the author of evil. When we condemn priests for marrying, it is for breaking their vows and promises made to God of living unmarried, and of leading a more perfect life; we condemn them with the Scripture, which teaches us that vows made are to be kept; with St. Paul, who in the next chap. (ver. 12) teaches us, that they who break such vows incur their damnation. When the Church, which we are commanded to obey, enjoins abstinence from flesh, or puts a restraint as to the times of eating on days of humiliation and fasting, it is by way of self-denial and mortification: so that it is not the meats, but the transgression of the precept, that on such occasions defiles the consciences of the transgressors. "You will object, (says St. Chrysostom) that we hinder persons from marrying; God forbid," &c. St. Augustine, (lib. 30. contra Faustum. chap. vi.) "You see (says he) the great difference in abstaining from meats for mortification sake, and as if God was not the author of them." We may observe that God, in the law of Moses, prohibited swine's flesh and many other eatables; and that even the apostles, in the Council of Jerusalem, forbad the Christians, (at least about Antioch) to eat at that time blood and things strangled; not that they were bad of themselves, as the Manicheans pretended. (Witham) --- St. Paul here speaks of the Gnostics and other ancient heretics, who absolutely condemned marriage and the use of all kind of meat, because they pretended that all flesh was from an evil principle: whereas the Church of God so far from condemning marriage, holds it to be a holy sacrament, and forbids it to none but such as by vow have chosen the better part: and prohibits not the use of any meats whatsoever, in proper times and seasons, though she does not judge all kinds of diet proper for days of fasting and penance. (Challoner) --- We may see in the earliest ages[centuries] of Christianity, that some of the most infamous and impure heretics that ever went out of the Church, condemned all marriage as unlawful, at the same time allowing the most unheard of abominations: men without religion, without faith, without modesty, without honour. See St. Clement of Alexandria, lib. 3. Strom. (Haydock Bible Commentary

There, now you have the Christian interpretation of this passage, not the heretical one.

The Dominican Vocation- Rewind

Check out this Dominican vocational video from the 60s. There is some great footage of the old Dominican Rite Mass in it as well.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Going Back to the Woodshed

Going Back to the Woodshed

    There is an old musicians phrase that we used to use when I was in my band days many years ago, which articulated a need to get your chops up playing your instrument. The phrase is, “ Go back to the wood shed.” So we as a band would rent out a small rehearsal space on the industrial side of town and spend several hours a week practicing our set making sure we were all in perfect time with one another, practicing so that we would have the “chops” to deliver a solid live musical performance. We would play one song over and over until we could all play it with our eyes closed. Although the spiritual life is a bit different than playing music, there are some principles that can be carried over. The main one is spending time doing what you love, so you can perfect yourself. The spiritual life is very much the same in this respect. If you love God, you spend more time with Him by learning from Him, and reading others who have learned from Him. Reading Scripture, the lives of the Saints, and various solid orthodox theologians can increase our faith, and prepare us to preach the Gospel more effectively.

    Being careful not to disregard the grace that is absolutely necessary to be perfected, we must realize that at times we must “go back to the woodshed” theologically and spiritually. It is necessary to make personal retreats or spend periods of time in which we focus on certain elements of our relationship with God. As the old saying goes, you cannot give what you do not have, so we go to the woodshed to obtain what we can then later give. I find a particular need at this point in my life to make another trip back to the “woodshed.” Before becoming Catholic I spent about a period of two years reading everything I could get my hands on that covered the basics of the Catholic faith. After I converted I continued to read plenty of material, but I had no focal point of study. So I would read one author who may be rooted in the Augustinian school, another from the Jesuit camp, and another from the Franciscan school of thought and so on. This was good for getting a good overview of the Catholic faith. Over the past year and a half however, I have narrowed my focus of study. This “narrowing,” in reality is actually broadening my understanding of the Catholic faith. I have discovered the wonder of Dominican spirituality and the depths of Thomistic theology and philosophy. It is here that everything has begun to come together as a cohesive unit for me.  There is so much good stuff to get your hands on that I think this will be a long visit to the “woodshed.” Reading several biographies of St. Thomas as well as introductions to his voluminous work has kept me busy for quite awhile now. I also have enjoyed works by the great Fr. Lagrange as well. But recently I have discovered a whole new world of solid Thomistic scholars who are actually alive! This in itself is a breath of fresh air.

    With the state of the Church being what it is, it is easy to get discouraged. Most of the theologians in the Church today have inherited a modernist mentality which severely impairs their ability to understand and communicate the Catholic faith effectively. At times it appears that the only theologians that are safe to read are the ones who lived before the mid 19th century. As a result you almost get the impression that you are living a faith that only exists in the minds of dead authors. This of course is not the case, I am exaggerating a bit. It is however a pleasant surprise to discover an entire wellspring of solid Thomistic theologians that are alive and well in the Church. There are several Dominican and lay Thomistic scholars like Fr. Cessario, Fr. Dewan, Fr. White, Dr. Hutter, Dr. Long, Dr. Hittinger, etc, that are well worth devoting your time to reading. I have chosen several books to take with me to the “woodshed” to get my “chops” up, and I want to share a few of them with you.

1. The History of St. Dominic-Augusta Theodosia Drane.
This book is available from TAN, but you can also download it for free as an Ebook, so that is what I did. I downloaded it to my Nook and I read a bit each day to meditate on the life of Saint Dominic. It is always good to read the lives of the Saints.

2. A Short History of Thomism- Romanus Cessario.
Although I have read several introductions to Saint Thomas, this little book is always a good one to keep around to keep things fresh in your mind regarding the different ways people have interpreted and applied the works of St. Thomas.

3. The Writings of Charles De Konink- Charles De Konink.
This two volume set is full of great essays by this phenomenal Thomistic philosopher/theologian from Laval. Subjects covered include his excellent explanation of the common good and his essay on the wisdom of Mary.

4. Dante and the Blessed Virgin- Ralph McInerny.
I received this book a couple of days ago and I am finished with it. It is a great read guiding you through Dante’s Commedia, but focusing on Dante’s theological focus on the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is more than just a mere explanation of the Comedia however, and Dr. McInerny also explains the Thomstic principles of morality as you wind through Dante’s work. It walks a nice line between a theological theme and a spiritual theme. In other words you not only learn about your faith, you learn how to apply it. It was McInerny’s final book and it I must say it is a great read. 

5. Ressourcement Thomism- Hutter and Levering.
This book contains 14 essays by  todays best Thomistic theologians, compiled in honor of Fr. Romanus Cessario. Scholars include, Matthew Levering, Romanus Cassario OP, Thomas Joseph White OP, Lawrence Dewane OP, Stephen Brock, Matthew Lamb and Dr. Steven Long among others.

6. Introduction to Scholastic Theology- Ulrich G. Leinsle.
If you want to get a good overview of the scholastic theology of the middle ages then this book is for you. It starts at the foundations of scholastic theology and follows up to the period of Baroque scholasticism.

7. Introduction to Moral Theology- Romanus Cessario.
Cessario here uses the encyclical Veritatis splendor to navigate moral ethics from a Thomistic Catholic perspective. He never wavers on presenting moral theology from a classical Thomistic perspective.

8. Wisdom, Law and Virtue- Lawrence Dewan, OP.
This book is a treasure trove of Thomistic philosophy. It is about 600 pages of essays compiled by Fr. Lawrence Dewan which he has either written or taken from conferences over the last 30 years.

9. You Shall Worship One God-Fr. Marie-Dominique Philippe,OP.
This book is more of a spiritual read focusing on true worship, starting in the Old Testament and working up to the New, with the summit of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

10. The Natural Desire to See God- Lawrence Feingold.
Supposedly this is one of the best works concerning man’s desire and ability to see God as his final end. I have yet to crack this one open.

11. The Godly Image- Romanus Cessario.
This work is hailed as being one of the best Thomistic works on the image of God in man. It begins with a brief introduction to St. Thomas’s works and then proceeds to cover the incarnation, satisfaction, justice, salvation, worship, divine nature and the sacraments.

12. The Human Soul- Abbot Vonier.
I just started this book and it looks to be a great spiritual read. It covers the basics of the spiritual life from the perspective of the human soul. It is about 200 pages and consists of small concise chapters on various truths of the faith such as what the soul is, how it obtains perfection, how the soul separates from the body after death, how the soul and body are meant for one another, etc.

13. Meeting Christ in the Sacraments- Colman E. O’Neill.
According to Fr. Cessario, this is one of the best books on sacramental theology you can get your hands on. So it is on my list.

14. Wisdom in the Face of Modernity- Thomas Joesph White, OP.
This is a study in natural theology that addresses controversial figures dealing with this topic such as Maritain, Rahner and Gilson. I have yet to start on this one.

There are a few more books in the arsenal, but for now these works will be my primary focus. This looks like quite an ambitious task, no? For a time I will not be doing too much personal essay writing. I will however be sharing with you some of the things that I take away from this massive undertaking. Hopefully this trip to the “woodshed” will be a fruitful one. If you have read any of these works I would be interested in your take on them.

It seems that Eric Clapton has spent plenty of time at the woodshed.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Learn About The Latin Mass with Father Justin Nolan, FSSP

Check out this video series by Father Justin Nolan, FSSP on the Latin Mass. I hope that he does more of these types of videos. How about an EWTN show? All he needs is a cape. :) At any rate, it is good to see him, we miss him down here in Sarasota!

Dante and the Blessed Virgin

I received my copy of Ralph McInerny's final book, "Dante and the Blessed Virgin" and few days ago. I just finished it tonight and I must say it was a great read. Once I started reading it I could not put it down. Dr. McInerny takes you on a brief tour through Dante Alighieri's "La Divina Commedia", focusing on the figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which Dante brilliantly weaves throughout his classic work. Even those who have not read the Divine Comedy will find the book intriguing and a good read. It is not over technical, yet solid Thomistic principles are applied and taught throughout the book. The book falls nicely between the spiritual and theological realms, which means that not only will you gain book knowledge about the Catholic faith, but it also helps you to put that faith into action. The topics of faith, reason, grace and free choice are covered among many others. The primary focus of course is that you come to understand how brilliant and creative Dante was in weaving the Blessed Virgin throughout the Comedy. You also gain a better understanding of the Blessed Mother's role in salvation. Dante was no slouch as theologian, and the way in which he presented the Catholic faith in his work is quite astounding. There are many hidden gems in the Divine Comedy pertaining to the Blessed Mother, and Dr. McInerny helps to uncover and explain them. For instance the following passage from the Paradiso, 25.127-129 reads,
127  Only those two lights that ascended wear
128  their double garment in this blessed cloister.
129  And carry this report back to your world.             

Who are the two lights, and what is their double garment? What dogma of the Catholic faith does this passage teach? Everyone passes on into eternity at some point. I am glad that Dr. McInerny was able to give us this little gem of a book before he passed on.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ressourcement Thomism

My book collection keeps growing, and growing! The good news is I have been spending more time reading. My Catholic University order just came in and I just finished reading the first essay in a fantastic book titled "Ressourcement Thomism." The book is composed of 14 essays by Thomistic scholars celebrating the life work of Father Romanus Cessario, OP. Reinhard Hutter is the author of the first essay titled, "Transubstantiation Revisited: Sacra Doctrina, Dogma, and Metaphysics. It is a superb essay on the metaphysics of St. Thomas and how it applies to the definition of transubstantiation as it was defined by the Catholic Church. Dr. Hutter discusses the consequences of denying the core metaphysical principles St. Thomas uses, and the Council of Trent I might add used them as well, to arrive at the definition of transubstantiation. The language employed by later theologians was influenced heavily by modern philosophy, which no longer recognized these core metaphysical principles, hence language and definitions of terms and words many times no longer expresses the same belief defined by the Church at Trent. Hutter addresses the problems of Ockham, and Scotus' views along with the later Cartesian theologians of Italy and France. In short this essay is packed with a wealth of knowledge pertaining to the subject. I look forward to reading the rest of the essays contained in the book. Other scholars include, Matthew Levering, Romanus Cassario OP, Thomas Joseph White OP, Lawrence Dewan OP, Stephen Brock, Matthew Lamb and Dr. Steven Long among others. This is a book that you will go back to again and again.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Grace and Our Dependence on God

I ran across a great article on actual grace written by a Dominican priest, Father Paul A. Duffner. It explains the nature of actual grace, God's predestination and man's freewill within a traditional Thomistic theological pedagogy. He also gets into the primary and secondary causes which explain man's relationship to God, and he addresses the human intellect and will. "In a word, God not only Enlightens the Intellect and Strengthens the Will; it is God Who sets these Two Faculties within us into Activity without taking away our Freedom." The article is not very long and I think it is worth taking a few minutes to read.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Why Theology of the Liturgy Matters

Over at the liberal 'Pray Tell' blog, we see more examples of where education on the liturgy has gone wrong. It seems that the folks of 'Pray Tell' look to three professors they quoted in this post, who are from various universities, as being authorities in teaching liturgy. One of them teaches at Yale, another at various Catholic universities, and another who appears to be an Anglican. 'Pray Tell' shares some of these professor's thoughts with their readers hoping that those reading will share in their infinite "wisdom" on how they should go about teaching liturgy. Unfortunately, this is where teaching on liturgy goes seriously wrong, and this is why we do not use heretical liturgical theology to teach the Mass. Notice that not one phrase or word by any of the three even hints at sacrifice. One of them likes to use this video of a wedding dance to introduce liturgy to her students. One has to wonder why. Maybe it is to show people how bad liturgical theology has broken down? I doubt it. One of the visitors on the blog wrote, "Thanks, Rita….the YouTube video is wonderful….would love to hear Ms. Berger’s class on that. You three professors have a huge challenge ahead of you given today’s world." It seems that the real challenge is for us to be rid of such bad scholarship and these shenanigans. It is truly one of the most ridiculous spectacles I have ever seen, and it makes the sacrament of marriage look like a joke. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The title of the blog post is, "Teaching Liturgy: Where Do I Begin."  It should read, "Teaching Liturgy: Where It All Falls Apart." If this is what passes for liturgical scholarship these days, it is no wonder most Catholics have no clue about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What Exorcisms Can Teach Us

What Exorcisms Can Teach Us
Matthew J. Bellisario 2011

    I have had the rare opportunity to assist in several exorcism sessions. One thing I can tell you is that it can teach you many things about your Catholic faith. God has many ways of getting through to His human creatures, and an experience with preternatural can definitely help to put things into their proper perspective. As I sit back and reflect on my experiences assisting at exorcisms, I realize that they were indeed meant to teach me several lessons that I should take more seriously. As I grind through my daily life I seem to get bogged down in every day affairs. Many times I do not think about the things I say or how I treat people. It seems I am always in a hurry trying to go someplace or accomplish a task I need to get done at work. When cars are in my way I tend to assign an evil motive to the poor guy in front of me who is also probably aggravated to be stuck at the 10 second light that just turned red before he could get across the intersection, because the car in front of him didn’t go fast enough. Throughout the day these and many other things can pull my attention away from God. I am sure many can relate to these types of day to day situations. I am often asked about the things I have experienced during these rituals, so I thought I would share a couple with you in a way that would be constructive.   I asked myself the question, how can experiencing an exorcism, or even sharing my experience of an exorcism help someone? So I came up with four lessons that we can all learn from an exorcism.