Thursday, August 31, 2023

My latest column: “Synod Preoccupations and Vocations Dearth Killing Parishes”

August 31, 2023


The victims of the Maui fire jumped into the water to flee the hellish conflagration all around them. Souls are abandoning the Barque of Peter as heresy and lack of priests threaten parish viability. The synods welcome a priest shortage so that they “fix” it by further multiplying the already ubiquitous lay “ministers.” The Church teaches officially that there are only three ministries in the Church: bishop, priest, and deacon.

Lay attendance at Mass is commonly acknowledged to be in freefall. Join lack of priestly vocations to that and you have a looming disaster.
“The Episcopal Conference of France has published their figures for priestly Ordinations: There are 88 new priests in 2023, as compared with 130 in 2021. The press release from the French bishops easily recognizes a fall which is part of a continuous trend of falling vocations within the Church, which we have been observing for 20 years, and which many sociologists of religions have documented” (Bishops’ Conference of France).

The context: “There were about a hundred diocesan priests per year between 2000 and 2010. There are only 52 this year, to which are added 36 religious. But despite this contribution, the total figure of 88 new priests is indeed an unprecedented drop.

“For the record, in 1961, the quarterly review of the National Vocations Center had already titled one of its issues: ‘The most serious crisis in 150 years!’ Indeed, from 1951 to 1960, the number of ordinations of diocesan priests had dropped dramatically. The Church in France had gone from 1,028 to 595 ordinations per year.

“In Le Figaro of June 22, Jean-Marie Guénois comments on the particularly worrying figures for this year: ‘If this trend is confirmed, the number of ordinations of diocesan priests would have fallen by 50 percent in two decades. Unheard of, even if we have to wait for confirmation of the sustainability of such a projection. However, it is probable, the entries being more and more rare’.”

“Important seminaries were recently closed in Lille and Bordeaux. It takes seven years of training to mature a vocation, with a loss rate of one out of two candidates. The [Archdiocese] of Paris is even beginning to tremble: In September 2022, only four candidates presented themselves for the first year of seminary. And only five priests will be ordained this June 24 in the Saint-Sulpice church in Paris. There were 10 in 2022, 12 in 2021.”

And to specify: ‘This crisis of vocations is not only French, but European. It is also very notable in Poland but also in Italy, which is beginning to worry the Vatican. North America is not being spared, nor is South America.’

“In Switzerland, the Institute of Pastoral Sociology (IPS), relayed by on June 24, also notes: ‘Since 1950, the number of diocesan priests domiciled in Switzerland has been reduced by half, it has decreased by one quarter since the turn of the century alone, but the differences between dioceses are notable.’

“The decline was particularly marked in the Dioceses of St. Gall, Basel, Sion, and Lausanne-Geneva-Fribourg, while it was less marked in the Dioceses of Chur and Lugano, especially during the last two decades. In 1950, the Swiss dioceses had 2,986 priests. They had 1,294 in 2022.

“According to an estimate by the IPS, ‘the number of diocesan priests will decline further in all dioceses, but with significant disparities. In 2029, barely more than 900 priests should still belong to a Swiss diocese, i.e., one-third less than today. The two Dioceses of Basel and St. Gall will suffer a greater than average decline, as has already been the case over the past decades, due to the significant aging of priests and the scarcity of priestly ordinations.”

For years, dioceses hired radical lay-garbed women religious to sit on vocations admissions boards and to interview and accuse candidates of “rigidity” and other false charges in order to eliminate them and artificially reduce the numbers of seminary candidates. It looks now as though they did their job so well they are no longer needed.

“This vertiginous drop in the number of ecclesiastics leads to abuses that the next synod on synodality is very likely not to sanction, and perhaps even to condone. To compensate for the lack of priests in Switzerland, they will not hesitate to call on lay people. In La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana on June 16, 2023, Luisella Scrosati notes that in the canton of Basel, it is now usual for lay people to exercise priestly functions: they preach; they preside over a liturgy of the Word which completely replaces the Mass; and they baptize and celebrate marriages.”

Read the rest:

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Sunday Sermon: “Tarry not to turn thee to the Lord, yea, defer not thy repentance from day to day for thou knowest not what the morrow may bring …”

Tarry not to turn thee to the Lord, yea, defer not thy repentance from day to day for thou knowest not what the morrow may bring forth. In delay there is danger and terror, but where there is no delay, there health is safe and secure. Live well then, and, then, however young thou diest, thou wilt die safely; and if thou come to old age thou wilt depart without vexation or trouble; and thou wilt have a double happiness, in that thou wilt be leaving all the evils of life, and in that thou hast lived well. Say not: There will be a time meet for repentance for such words as these do greatly rouse the anger of God.

He hath promised thee eternal ages, and thou willest not to work in this present life, which is so short and so fleeting. Dost thou so idly and loosely carry thyself, as though the life for which thou seekest were a shorter life than this Do not daily feastings, daily gluttonies, daily uncleanness, shows, and riches bear witness to the undying nature of sinful cravings Think it well over, that as often as thou dost commit uncleanness, thou dost damn thyself for this is the nature of sin, as soon as it is committed, the Judge's sentence is uttered.

Hast thou been drunken? Hast thou over-eaten thyself? Hast thou stolen? Stop, and turn back thank the goodness of God, that He hath not taken thee away in the midst of thy sins seek not more time wherein to commit iniquity. Many have they been who have perished suddenly, in the midst of bad and vicious lives, and have gone away to manifest damnation have a fear lest the same thing befall thee. But, thou sayest, they have been many to whom God hath given time, and they have been to confession in their old age. What then Is that a proof that it will be given to thee Perchance, sayest thou. Why sayest thou, Perchance It befalleth sometimes. Bethink thee that it is of thy soul thou art considering. Look at it the other way, and say What if it be not given But, sayest thou, and what if it be May it be so it is true it is among His gifts but nevertheless, this is the safer and the better way.

From the Sermons of St. John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople. 

Saturday, August 26, 2023

A successor of the Apostles speaks: “Pastoral Letter from Bishop Strickland, August 2023”

From the letter:

“Regrettably, it may be that some will label as schismatics those who disagree with the changes being proposed.  Be assured, however, that no one who remains firmly upon the plumb line of our Catholic faith is a schismatic.  We must remain unabashedly and truly Catholic, regardless of what may be brought forth.  We must be aware also that it is not leaving the Church to stand firm against these proposed changes. As St. Peter said, “Lord to whom shall we go?  You have the words of eternal life.” (Jn 6:68)   Therefore, standing firm does not mean we are seeking to leave the Church.  Instead, those who would propose changes to that which cannot be changed seek to commandeer Christ’s Church, and they are indeed the true schismatics.  

“I urge you, my sons and daughters in Christ, that now is the time to make sure you stand firmly upon the Catholic faith of the ages.  We were all created to seek the Way, the Truth and the Life, and in this modern age of confusion, the true path is the one that is illuminated by the light of Jesus Christ, for Truth has a face and indeed it is His face.  Be assured that He will not abandon His Bride. 

I remain your humble father and servant, 

Most Reverend Joseph E. Strickland 

Bishop of Tyler   

The full text:

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Thought for the day

“The elect are called a little flock, perchance because the reprobate are far more in number than they, but, more probably, because they love to be lowly, since it is God's will that however much His Church should grow in numbers, she should grow with lowliness even unto the end of the world, and should enter lowly into that kingdom which is hers by His promise. That kingdom He promiseth to her here, when He biddeth her to seek only the kingdom of God, and, to comfort her in her travail, He doth so sweetly and so graciously say that her Father will give it to her.”

(Homily by the Venerable Bede, Priest at Jarrow, and Doctor of the Church. Bk. iv. Ch. 54 on Luke xii.)

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

"Logic that tells us that if the Church has always known great schisms and heresies, in the age of liquid apostasy in which we are immersed, the explosion of a myriad of schisms and conflicts within it is to be expected..."

 St. Pius X and the Imponderable of what lies ahead: A Lesson for Our Time

(by Roberto de Mattei) On the morning of Sunday, August 2, 1903, the third ballot to elect Pope Leo XIII's successor began in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel. Cardinal Mariano Rampolla del Tindaro, the late pontiff's former secretary of state, could count on a majority of the votes and was about to be elected, when Cardinal Ian Puzyna, archbishop of Krakow, asked for the floor and, on behalf of His Apostolic Majesty Franz Joseph, Emperor of Austria and King of Hungary, declared an exclusionary veto against his candidacy. The exclusion veto, which was abolished after this conclave, was an ancient privilege granted not only to the Austrian Empire but also to the Catholic kingdoms of France and Spain. Rampolla's election foundered, and on the evening of Monday, August 3, on the seventh ballot, Patriarch Giuseppe Sarto of Venice was elected Pope with the name Pius X. The new pontiff begged the conclave's secretary Msgr. Rafael Merry del Val to remain at his side as secretary of state. Under their leadership, for eleven years, the Catholic Church experienced one of the most fruitful eras in its history, interrupted by another unpredictable event: the assassination of the Archduke of Austria Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914.

On that Sunday morning, the archduke and his wife arrived in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia, and boarded an open car, taking the Appel Quay to reach the city hall in the center of the city. A first bomber went into action along the crowded route, but the bomb missed its target and exploded under the next car, injuring several of the officers in it. Instead of leaving the danger zone immediately, the archduke stayed to attend the treatment given to the wounded and ordered the motorcade to continue to the town hall to perform the ceremony. Then the line of cars left the palace and crossed the city again, but the driver took a wrong turn and found himself in front of the tavern in which one of the bombers, Gavrilo Princip was getting drunk. The conspirator unexpectedly found himself only a few meters from his victim, and two revolver shots triggered World War I. Cannons began to thunder across Europe and St. Pius X, his heart crushed with grief at the catastrophe, passed away on August 20, 1914.

Cardinal Puzyna's veto, like the assassination of the heir to the Austrian throne, were unpredictable events that changed the course of human affairs. The imponderable is part of human life, as each of us can also testify with our own personal experience. The imponderable, the unpredictable, is what cannot be foreseen and planned by humans. It exists, it is part of our life, but it is not chance. Chance, which is the meaninglessness of events, does not exist. Everything that happens, in fact, in our life and in the life of the whole universe, has meaning. Only God knows the meaning of everything, and only He gives everything its meaning, but history as St. Bonaventure states, hides within itself spiritual lights and intelligences.

It may happen that seemingly unpredictable events are not really unforeseen, because they are organized by occult forces that seek to direct history -- but often even these events have unforeseen consequences, because only God is the master of history, and no matter how hard man struggles to govern it, he never succeeds.

One hundred and twenty years after the election of St. Pius X, the chaos in which we are immersed is the ultimate outcome of a revolutionary process that has remote origins and its own centuries-long dynamism. Bishop Jean-Joseph Gaume (1802-1879) identified the soul of this process in nihilism. "If, tearing off the Revolution's mask, you ask it, Who are you? it will say to you, I am hatred for every religious and social order that man has not established and in which he is not king and God together. I am the philosophy of revolt, the politics of revolt, the religion of revolt: I am armed negation (nihil armatum); I am the foundation of the religious and social state on the will of man instead of the will of God! In a word I am anarchy, because I am God dethroned and man in his place. That is why I am called Revolution, that is, overthrow."

Planetary anarchy is wanted by revolutionary forces to destroy the natural and Christian order at its roots. This disorder is not limited to the political and social level, but today extends to the way of being and thinking of individuals, causing contradictions, irrationalism and imbalance in thinking and behavior. Those with the highest responsibilities of government, on the political or ecclesiastical fields, do not escape this process of psychological destabilization that multiplies the imponderability of events.

Revolutionary forces today try to master the process they have generated by relying on artificial intelligence algorithms, but any such attempt is doomed to failure. Mathematics can, on the basis of calculations, construct conventional representations of the world, but it is incapable of understanding the metaphysical nature of reality. The science of algorithms does not serve to understand the world and does not erase the imponderability of the future.

Our prediction of an imminent conflagration of war is not based on mathematical science, but on logic, which tells us that public and systematic violation of the moral law brings with it global destruction. However, no one can predict where and how the conflict will break out. Similarly, it is logic that tells us that if the Church has always known great schisms and heresies, in the age of liquid apostasy in which we are immersed, the explosion of a myriad of schisms and conflicts within it is to be expected, even if one cannot predict what event will detonate them visibly.

The use of logic, however, is not enough without the exercise of faith. For God, as Father Calmel observes, manifests Himself in historical events, but on the condition that we carry in our hearts that supernatural light that transcends and judges them.

One hundred and twenty years after the election of St. Pius X, his first encyclical E supremi apostolato, dated Oct. 4, 1903, casts on our confused age the supernatural light needed to understand contemporary events. Aiming at the most funereal conditions in which mankind found itself, Pius X stated,

"For who can fail to see that society is at the present time, more than in any past age, suffering from a terrible and deeprooted malady which, developing every day and eating into its inmost being, is dragging it to destruction? You understand, Venerable Brethren, what this disease is - apostasy from God, than which in truth nothing is more allied with ruin, according to the word of the Prophet: 'For behold they that go far from Thee shall perish.' (Ps. 1xxii., 17)."

"Verily no one of sound mind," added St. Pius X,  "can doubt the issue of this contest between man and the Most High. Man, abusing his liberty, can violate the right and the majesty of the Creator of the Universe; but the victory will ever be with God - nay, defeat is at hand at the moment when man, under the delusion of his triumph, rises up with most audacity."

With this trust in Divine Providence and through the intercession of St. Pius X, on the anniversary of his death, let us try to discern and face with courage the imponderable that awaits us. (Roberto de Mattei)


Thursday, August 17, 2023

My latest column: “The Wheels Are Coming Off”

Scandalizing against faith and morals through careless words and deeds, and toxic appointments and documents renders current experience of the Church a death trap for incredulous souls much like a car without proper mobility is a danger for its occupants.

August 17, 2023


Prophets are a pain. They bother us incessantly with the same somber warnings of doom. We don’t like prophets because we fear they will take away all the fun and pleasure of life.

If you think that sin is fun, you would be right. But, because what we see is not all there is, because time flies and eternity await, because the way of all flesh is death and corruption, this world and the flesh must be submitted to other and higher, eternal considerations.
The role of the prophet is to stand before others who have forgotten they are more than flesh and bone, more than appetites and wants, and to confront them with their own deeds and words which deny, and war against, the soul and eternal life. Against God.

Prophets in fact do us a favor: They give us the means to judge and condemn ourselves now and turn our lives back to God before we face His divine and final eternal judgment. Prophets, it turns out, are all about love and second chances. By forcing us to hear and consider matters we find disagreeable, by confronting us with the unsavory truth of our repulsive sinfulness, they do us a favor of eternal proportions.

All priests to some degree as preachers and teachers share in the office of prophet, a charism or munus of the high priesthood through, with, and in, Christ the Priest, Prophet, and King. They teach, sanctify, and govern, anointed as sacerdos, to bring Christ by means of truth and grace, to mankind. Priests, to be faithful to their priesthood must serve as prophets, often bringing the truth to bear on those who have lost their way.

Pope Francis has called for parrhesia, truth telling, and speaking out to one and all about our concerns. Prophets also speak up to Popes and bishops as did St. Catherine of Siena. She called on the Pope to return to Rome and to lead the universal Church from her center in the Eternal City of the Vatican, from the seat of the Pope and Bishop of Rome at the Lateran Basilica.

Today the Pope is not separated physically from the Apostolic See. Through his episcopal and Vatican appointments, his documents, his words and actions, however, he is distanced spiritually from the charism of Peter and the office of Pope, “saying and doing things a Pope should never say or do,” according to Fr. Gerald Murray, author, speaker, and canon lawyer.

Read the rest:

Saturday, August 12, 2023

Try to guess who here wants to sell books

Padre Guilherme is the priest who was DJ ing pulsating inappropriate music early in the morning prior to holy Mass that was so obnoxious at least one priest couldn’t pray his breviary prayers.

Surely with 1.5 million Catholics on site a priest could find something more essential to offer than a poor imitation of a faithless worldly musical entertainer.

When you see name-recognize-able Catholics currying  favor with big-tent church by approving of any behavior at World Youth Day ask yourself if said “Pollyanna” sells books.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Ringside seat: Steve Skojec pummels Mike Lewis


I gave up shallow and angry traditionalism. You are still fighting on its behalf. If you want to cast me as something that has nothing to do with me, that's your business, but you seem just as belligerent as ever. That was probably your main problem from the beginning.

I hate mediocrity, Mike. I hate this bourgeois, bubblegum-chewing religion of suburban good cheer, with its obnoxiously entitled laity traipsing around the altar and its off-off-off-broadway showtunes, sung poorly by people in middle age. I don't give a flying f*** about angry, shallow traditionalism, or traditionalism as an ideology. But I was born in '77, and I've never in my life seen anything but felt banners and Lord of the Dance and glad tambourines and communion in the hand and polyester-albed EMHCs (when they're not women in skintight pants) and homilies that are straight out of Chicken Soup for the Low-IQ and all the not-very-ambiguously-gay pastors and the pastors who reprimand people for wanting to genuflect or receive communion kneeling or kneel during the concecration or the parishes that put up transparencies of their shit music on the back wall of the sanctuary with someone moving a pen tip like a bouncing ball to indicate the words. I'm sick of "presiders" not "priests," of ad-libbed liturgies, of questionable absolutions in the confessional (when you're not being told that your sins aren't sins), of dramatic preachers who have to run out into the congregation to give their lame homilies that are theologically heterodox but can scarcely elevate the host at the consecration for half a second. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, about post-conciliar Catholicism is deserving of respect or inspiring enough to bring about significant conversions. Hell, most people who do convert are Protestants for whom the Novus Ordo is more or less just like the serviced they're used to, except the Eucharist is real. I don't think it's possible for a red-blooded man who cares about meaning or purpose or is inspired to worship only (and by nothing less than) by awe and wonder and transcendence to ever set foot in a modern Catholic Church and think, "this seems authentic." Historical Catholicism produced martyrs. Modern Catholicism produces lapsed Catholics and atheists. What I loved about traditionalism was the fact that everything about it signaled a seriousness that seemed befitting of an interface between the human and the divine. It was indisputable that something special was going on up there. And you had to work a little bit not to feel alienated, which was even better when you realized you weren't important to the liturgy at all, so there was no reason to include you in everything. It was serious, noble, regal, symbolic, and conducive to prayer, contemplation, and worship. And the older sacraments were just better. They said more words that demonstrated an understanding of and intent to effect what they signified. What I didn't like about tradition was a certain non-negligible segment of other traditionalists. I don't like infernalism. I don't like EENS. I despise Massa Damnata. I never bought into the need to be in constant penance. I don't like apparitionism (or the rosary, if I'm being honest) even though I can appreciate both. I can criticize tradistan because I ruled it for a time. But I'll still defend trads all day from a bully like you, who gaslights them and tells them they deserved TC because of a few loud mouths, at least some of whom are too stupid to even believe that we landed on the moon. There are a lot of good, decent, quiet, prayerful, salt-of-the earth trads. Men and women who love God and are trying to raise good families while offering both God and their children the best worship they know how to do. Taking that from them is evil, Mike. It's hideously, horrifically, inexcusably EVIL. And you defend it and shill for it while kissing the ass of the most corrupt pope since the Borgias, a man who repeatedly protects sexual predators and pedophiles, who sold out Chinese Catholics to a brutally suppressive regime despite their fervent pleas, and who hates his own spiritual children so much that he abuses and insults them and takes away their best and most beloved means of worshiping the God he seems not to even believe in -- except maybe as an adversary -- and you do it with a straight face and an entire act where you pretend you have no idea why people have a problem with it. I have contempt for you, Mike. You are the most contemptible, dishonest, willfully blind, disgustingly obsequious, surreptitiously nasty individual I think I have ever encountered. And that's saying a lot. I blocked you in the past because I can't resist arguing with your incomprehensibly shitty and needling takes. You are an occasion of sin. Or whatever the agnostic equivalent is. The irony is that I don't think anyone would know who you are if not for me. WPI is basically the Anti-1P5. You're welcome for giving you the best gig of your life.

Thank you for visiting.


Kamsahamnida, Dziekuje, Terima kasih, Doh je, Grazie, Tesekur, Gracias, Dank u, Shukran

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