… But he answered and said to them: When it is evening, you say, It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.
And in the morning: Today there will be a storm, for the sky is red and lowering. You know then how to discern the face of the sky: and can you not know the signs of the times? (Mt:16:2-3)
Originally broadcast in 1954
Meaning of The Ceremonies At Mass:
1. The priest going to the altar represents Christ going to Mount Olivet.
2. The priest commencing mass represents Christ beginning to pray.
3. The priest saying the Confiteor represents Christ falling down and sweating blood.
4. The priest going up and kissing the altar represents Christ being betrayed by Judas with
5. The priest going to the Epistle side represents Christ being captured^ bound and taken to
6. The priest reading the Introit represents Christ being falsely accused by Annas and
7. The priest going to the middle of the altar and saying the Kyrie Eleison represents Christ
being brought to Caiphas and there three times denied by Peter.
8. The priest saying the Dominus Vobiscum represents Christ looking at Peter and converting him.
9. The priest reading the Epistle represents Christ being brought to Pilate.
10. The priest saying the Munda cor meum represents Christ being taken to -Herod and mocked.
11. The priest reading the Gospel represents Christ being taken to Pilate and again mocked.
12. The priest uncovering the chalice represents Christ being shamefully exposed.
13. The priest offering bread and wine represents Christ being cruelly scourged.
14. The priest covering the chalice represents Christ being crowned with thorns.
15. The priest washing his hands represents Christ being declared innocent by Pilate.
16. The priest saying the Orate Fratres represents Christ being shown by Pilate to the people
with the words Ecce Homo.
17. The priest praying in a low voice represents Christ being mocked and spit upon.
18. The priest saying the Preface and the Sanctus represents Christ being preferred instead of
Barabbas and condemned to crucifixion.
19. The priest making the memento for the living represents Christ carrying the cross to
20. The priest continuing to pray in a low voice represents Christ meeting his mother.
21. The priest blessing the bread and wine represents Christ being nailed to the cross.
22. The priest elevating the host represents Christ being raised on the cross.
23. The priest elevating the chalice represents Christ shedding blood from the five wounds.
24. The priest praying in a low voice represents Christ seeing his afflicted mother at the cross.
25. The priest saying aloud Nobis quoquo peccatoribus represents Christ praying on the cross
26. The priest saying aloud the Pater Noster represents Christ saying the seven words on the
27. The priest breaking and separating the host represents Christ giving up his spirit.
28. The priest letting a portion of the host fall into the chalice represents his soul going to
Read More from “The Catholic Church Alone: The One True Church of Christ” by the Catholic Education Company, New York, page 551. The book has been out of print for many decades, but can be read freely on Internet Archive.
Video Credit – The Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson
Taken from Calvary and the Mass by Fulton J. Sheen
Too many of us end our lives, but few of us see them finished. A sinful life may end, but a sinful life is never a finished life.
Our Lord finished His work, but we have not finished ours. He pointed the way we must follow. He laid down the Cross at the finish, but we must take it up. He finished Redemption in His physical Body, but we have not finished it in His Mystical Body.
He has finished the Sacrifice of Calvary;
we must finish the Mass.
Christ conquers, Christ reigns, Christ commands
The more the devil labors to destroy souls,
The more we will be inflamed with desire to save them,
O Heart of Jesus, zealous lover of souls!
The Pope, The Franciscan Friars (And Sisters) Of The Immaculate And Vatican II
by Fr. Peter Carota
The pope and the Vatican are unfairly suppressing the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Immaculate because they have rediscovered traditional Catholicism, the Latin Mass and find obvious problems with Vatican II.
Almost every Catholic bishop, priest, religious and laity today disagree with some part of what is contained in the documents of Vatican II. What I am referring to, is that they would not go along with the conservative aspects of Vatican II’s teachings. Most would say they have moved beyond Vatican II to be in sync with the “modern world”.
This is well know by most of us traditional Catholics. One simple example would be that Latin is to be retained as the official language of the Catholic Church and that the Novus Ordo Mass was to be said in Latin, except where it was “pastorally” prudent to say it in the vernacular. In the document “Sacrosanctum Concilium” # 36. 1, it states. Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites. How many Catholics are in agreement with this? Maybe 3 % at the most.
When I was interviewed by Channel 12 News about Fr. Walker’s murder, I tried to help them understand that the Fraternity of St. Peter came out of the Society of St. Pius X and that Fr. Walker only offered the Latin Mass. I did this because my vocation is to spread love and respect for the Latin mass. In an article they wrote, they tried to explain what happened after Vatican II. One thing they said was that “The council also emphasized relationships with other religious groups and played down the teaching that the Catholic Church is the only means toward salvation, according to the Catholic Church.” az central, channel 12 news, The Arizona Republic.
I am explaining this so as to be able to understand what has happened with the Franciscan Friars (and now Sisters) of the Immaculate.
Anyone who loves God, Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, the Bible, the saints, prayer, morals and the Catholic Church, instinctively knows that something went wrong in our church after Vatican II. Almost everyday, we see liturgical abuse and hear about sexual abuse. Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi, Lex Vivendi. How you pray will effect how you believe, and that will effect how you live.
So the Franciscan Friars couldn’t help but see problems all over the Catholic world and began to seek answers and solutions. They had a traditional beginning with Fr. Stefano Manelli’s association with the traditional Padre Pio. And out of their love of God, Mary, the Catholic Church and truth, they arrived at the point of questioning some of what is covered in the documents of Vatican II.
Again, I want to emphasize that almost every Catholic living today challenges some aspect of Vatican II, (especially in that it is not progressive enough). All of these Catholics are accepted and many are in high places. But if you are on the other side of the “pew”, a traditional Catholic, you are condemned for not going along with Vatican II.
Quite a while ago, I purchased from the Friar’s publishing company, Casa Mariana Editrice, the book by Mons. Brunero Gherardini; “The Ecumenical Vatican Council II, A Much Needed Discussion.” It is a very hard book to read, but worth every effort. Gherardini simply asked Pope Benedict XVI for a deep theological and hermeneutic explanations for what clearly seems to be contradictions between Catholic tradition and the Vatican II documents. There are even many contradictions right in the documents themselves.
Then, once Pope Benedict allowed every priest to say the Latin Mass with the Motu Proprio “Summorum Pontificum”, thousands and thousands of Catholics, including priests, rediscovered the “treasure” of the Latin Mass. And as you all already know, and especially you priests, once you offer or assist at the Holy Latin Mass while at the same time offer or assist at the Novus Ordo Mass, the scales fall from you eyes and your spiritual blindness is healed.
The Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Immaculate are a clear example of how the Holy Spirit is working in the Church today. Their fruits of the Holy Spirit in their community are 1) a deep love for God and 2) Devotion to Mary, 3) a clear love of Catholic biblical morals, 4) love for the 2000 years of Catholic tradition, 5) many young vocations, 6) living poverty and 7) serving the poor.
The pope, the Vatican can suppress them. But they cannot and will not suppress the working of the Holy Spirit. Love for God, Mary, biblical morals and sacred liturgical rites can be suppressed, but never every destroyed. The spirit of the Franciscan Friars and Sisters comes from the life bursting out of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. Once and for all, Jesus died, but can be killed no more and He now lives forever. We are so blessed to be traditional Catholics.
And my people, upon whom my name is called, being converted, shall make supplication to me, and seek out my face, and do penance for their most wicked ways: then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sins and will heal their land. 2Chr:7:14
Wherever they are in the world on Sept. 8, the members of the Congregation of the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word sing an old French hymn, “Queen of the Waves.”
Whether in their ministry in rural Kenya, East Africa or one of the hospitals of the Sisters of Charity Health Care System, which they sponsor, the Sisters of Charity sing the same hymn that has been sung on that date every year since 1900.The song provides the sisters and all those who co-minister with them an opportunity to pause and remember all who lost their lives in a devastating hurricane more than a century ago.
Striking Galveston on Sept. 8, 1900, the Great Storm is considered the worst natural disaster in the nation’s history. More than 6,000 men, women and children lost their lives. Among the dead were 10 sisters and 90 children from the St. Mary’s Orphans Asylum, operated by the Sisters of Charity. The sisters also operated St. Mary’s Infirmary in Galveston. It was the first Catholic hospital in the state, established in 1867.
The sisters were called to Galveston by Catholic Bishop Claude M. Dubuis in 1866 to care for the many sick and infirm in what was the major port of entry for Texas. They were also charged with caring for orphaned children, most of whom had lost parents during yellow fever epidemics. At first the Sisters of Charity opened an orphanage within the hospital, but later moved it three miles to the west on beach-front property on the former estate of Captain Farnifalia Green.
The location seemed ideal as it was far from town and the threat of yellow fever. As Galveston entered the new millennium, it was one of the wealthiest cities per capita in the United States and one of the largest in the state. It was a prosperous community with a bustling port. With a population of 36,000, Galveston appeared to be poised for greatness.
And then one weekend in September in 1900, the same proximity to the sea that had made the community grow and prosper as a port city, was to change Galveston Island forever. On Sept. 8, Galveston became the victim of a powerful hurricane of such destructive force that whole blocks of homes were completely swept away and one sixth of population was killed. Beginning early on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 8, 1900, the winds began coming in strongly from the north. Despite the opposing winds, the tides of the southern gulf waters also rose sending large crashing waves upon the beach front.
Sister Elizabeth Ryan, one of 10 sisters at St. Mary’s Orphanage, had come into town that morning to collect food. Despite pleas from Mother Gabriel, the assistant superior at St. Mary’s Infirmary, for her to stay at the hospital until the storm passed, Sister Elizabeth said she had to return to the orphanage. Sister Elizabeth said that she had the provisions in the wagon and if she did not return the children would have no supper. She didn’t know that whether she returned or not there would be no more suppers at the orphanage.
During the afternoon the winds and rain continued to increase. The tides of the gulf rose higher and higher with fierce waves crashing on the beach sending flood waters into the residential areas. St. Mary’s Orphanage consisted of two large two-story dormitories just off the beach behind a row of tall sand dunes that were supported by salt cedar trees. The buildings had balconies facing the gulf.
According to one of the boys at the orphanage, the rising tides began eroding the sand dunes “as though they were made of flour.” Soon the waters of the gulf reached the dormitories. The Sisters at the orphanage brought all of the children into the girls’ dormitory because it was the newer and stronger of the two. In the first floor chapel, they tried to calm the children by having them sing “Queen of the Waves.” The waters continued to rise.
Taking the children to the second story of the dormitory, the Sisters had Henry Esquior, a worker, collect clothesline rope. Again they had the boys and girls sing “Queen of the Waves.” One of the boys later said that the children were very frightened and the Sisters were very brave.
By 6 p.m. the wind was gusting past 100 miles per hour and the waters of the gulf and bay had met, completely flooding the city. Residents climbed to the second stories, attics and even roofs of their homes. Flying debris struck many who dared venture outside their homes.
Around 7:30 p.m. the main tidal surge struck the south shore.
Houses along the beach front were lifted from their foundations and sent like battering rams into other houses. Houses fell upon houses. At St. Mary’s Infirmary the flood waters filled the first floor. From the second story balcony, the sisters pulled refugees in as they floated by and brought them into the over-crowded hospital. Almost every window in the facility was broken out sending the wind and rain whipping through the building.
At the orphanage, the children and sisters heard the crash of the boys dormitory as it collapsed and was carried away by the flood waters. The sisters cut the clothesline rope into sections and used it to tie the children to the cinctures which they wore around their waists. Each Sister tied to herself between six to eight children. It was a valiant, yet sacrificial effort to save the children. Some of the older children climbed onto the roof of the orphanage.
Eventually the dormitory building that had been the sanctuary for the children and sisters was lifted from its foundation. The bottom fell out and the roof came crashing down trapping those inside. Only three boys from the orphanage survived: William Murney, Frank Madera and Albert Campbell. Miraculously all three ended up together in a tree in the water. After floating for more than a day, they were eventually able to make their way into town where they told the sisters what had happened at the orphanage.
One of the boys remembered a sister tightly holding two small children in her arms, promising not to let go. The sisters were buried wherever they were found, with the children still attached to them. Two of the sisters were found together across the bay on the Mainland. One of them was tightly holding two small children in her arms. Even in death she had kept her promise not to let go.
The death and destruction in Galveston was unbelievable. More than 6,000 were dead and their bodies were littered throughout the city. It would be months before some would be uncovered. A complete list of the dead was never made.It is estimated that the winds reached 150 mph or maybe even 200. The tidal surge has been estimated at from 15 to 20 feet. Whole blocks of homes had been completely destroyed leaving little more than a brick or two. In all more than 3,600 homes had been destroyed.
A great wall of debris wrapped itself around St. Mary’s Infirmary on the eastern end of the city and then zigzagged through the city to the beach. At places the wall was two stories tall. Inside this great wall were destroyed houses, pieces of furniture, pots, pans, cats, dogs and people. Those who were dead and those who were dying. At St. Mary’s Infirmary, there was no food or water. While the main hospital building was still standing, the adjacent structures, had been destroyed.
The hospital was packed with those who were injured and those who had no where else to go. Two of the Sisters walked about the area until they found crackers and cookies that had been soaked in the water. They brought them back to the hospital and over a fire they built in the street they dried the food and served it to those in need at the infirmary. Firmly committed to the ministry of Jesus Christ, the Sisters repaired St. Mary’s Infirmary and, one year later, opened a new orphanage. Today the sisters have extended their ministry to other states and foreign countries.
On Sept. 8, 1994, a Texas Historical Marker was placed at 69th Street and Seawall Boulevard, marking the site of the former orphanage. The descendants of two of the survivors, Will Murny and Frank Madera, returned to participate in the marker dedication. As part of the ceremony, “Queen of the Waves” was again sung at the same time and place as it was during the Great 1900 Storm. And, as it continues to be each Sept. 8 by the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word.
Queen of the Waves
from a Latin French hymn, author unknown
Queen of the Waves, look forth across the ocean
From north to south, from east to stormy west,
See how the waters with tumultuous motion
Rise up and foam without a pause or rest.
But fear we not, tho’ storm clouds round us gather,
Thou art our Mother and thy little Child
Is the All Merciful, our loving Brother
God of the sea and of the tempest wild.
Help, then sweet Queen, in our exceeding danger,
By thy seven griefs, in pity Lady save;
Think of the Babe that slept within the manger
And help us now, dear Lady of the Wave.
Up to the shrine we look and see the glimmer
Thy votive lamp sheds down on us afar;
Light of our eyes, oh let it ne’er grow dimmer,
Till in the sky we hail the morning star.
Then joyful hearts shall kneel around thine altar
And grateful psalms reecho down the nave;
Never our faith in thy sweet power can falter,
Mother of God, our Lady of the Wave.
In our time more than ever before, the chief strength of the wicked lies in the cowardice and weakness of good men… All the strength of Satan’s reign is due to the easy-going weakness of Catholics. Oh! If I might ask the Divine Redeemer, as the prophet Zachary did in spirit: What are those wounds in the midst of Thy hands? The answer would not be doubtful: With these was I wounded in the house of them that loved Me. I was wounded by My friends, who did nothing to defend Me, and who, on every occasion, made themselves the accomplices of My adversaries. And this reproach can be leveled at the weak and timid Catholics of all countries. ~Pope St. Pius X, Discourse at the Beatification of St. Joan of Arc, Dec. 13, 1908
Pope St. Pius X,
POOR AND HUMBLE OF HEART
UNDAUNTED CHAMPION OF THE CATHOLIC FAITH
ZEALOUS TO RESTORE ALL THINGS IN CHRIST
St. Pius X, pray for us.
And for raiment why are you solicitous?
Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they labour not, neither do they spin.
But I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. – Mt:6:28-29
More beautiful flowers:
Fyodor Dostoevsky, the great Russian writer of the 19th century, warned that the denial of sin and hell in education and religion would end in a world Socialism where men would surrender freedom for a false security. He pictured anti-Christ returning to the world and speaking to Christ, thus:
“Dost thou know that the ages will pass, and humanity will proclaim by the lips of their sages that there is no crime, and therefore no sin; there is only hunger? And men will come crawling to our feet, saying to us: ‘Give us bread! Take our freedom.” – The Grand Inquisitor
In this sobering talk, Archbishop Fulton Sheen examines our death-oriented society, from the advent of abortion to the midnight of our headlong rush to self-extinction.
Every American high school student knows, or should know, that President Ronald Reagan went to the Brandenburg Gate in West Berlin on this date in 1987. The president said: “If you seek liberalization, open this gate … Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.”
American journalists were enchanted by Mikhail Gorbachev in those days. The young and charismatic Kremlin boss was “the human face of Communism” that they’d been seeking. The leader of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, this dynamic man spoke of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (re-structuring). His words were all the rage.
But when the Brandenburg Gate did finally open, in 1989, and when the Berlin Wall was re-structured, as in, torn down, the people in the Communist East German puppet state ran only one way. They ran as far and as fast from Gorbachev and his “workers’ paradise” as they could. When Gorby ran for president of Russia in an open election, he won just 12% of the vote.
As important as Reagan’s dramatic call to “tear down this wall” was, we should not forget what else he said that memorable day 25 years ago. His speech contained the most eloquent paean to religious freedom we have heard.
Reagan was not afraid to point to what he called “the most fundamental distinction of all between East and West”:
The totalitarian world produces backwardness because it does such violence to the spirit, thwarting the human impulse to create, to enjoy, to worship. The totalitarian world finds even symbols of love and of worship an affront. Years ago, before the East Germans began rebuilding their churches, they erected a secular structure: the television tower at Alexander Platz. Virtually ever since, the authorities have been working to correct what they view as the tower’s one major flaw, treating the glass sphere at the top with paints and chemicals of every kind. Yet even today when the sun strikes that sphere — that sphere that towers over all Berlin — the light makes the sign of the cross. There in Berlin, like the city itself, symbols of love, symbols of worship, cannot be suppressed.
Reagan’s speech that day is known — if it is taught at all — as his “Tear Down This Wall Speech.” But it could as well be known as his “Sign of the Cross Speech.” That’s because Reagan was the first president of the United States to invoke the Sign of the Cross in a public address.
Reagan knew how strong those words would echo in the captive nations, especially in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary, with their large Catholic populations. That Reagan, an Evangelical Christian, would be so attuned to the religious vocabulary of millions of Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians is itself a tribute to his open mind.
Winston Churchill was certainly no churchgoer. But he, too, recognized evil when he saw it. He knew that Nazi Germany was evil because it sought to murder the Jews. Churchill had the courage to stand up against the Nazis and their Judenhass (Jew hatred.) “Fear God,” he said, “and dread nought.”
President Reagan carried to every summit meeting with Gorbachev a list of Jewish refuseniks unjustly imprisoned in the Evil Empire. He pressed Gorbachev to free those Jews from the Gulag and let them immigrate to Israel.
Today, the Obama administration works with regimes that threaten Jews with extinction and that persecute their Christian minorities. This administration makes little effort to protect religious freedom.
We have seen Coptic churches in Egypt torched and Christian cemeteries in Libya desecrated. Assyrian, Chaldean, and Maronite Christians are huddling in Syria, awaiting Assad’s fall.
We should remember this day. Twenty-five years ago, Ronald Reagan had the courage to overrule his own State Department, his own Pentagon, his own advisers. None of them wanted him to “provoke” the Soviets with blunt talk about good and evil. No one wanted him to threaten what they took to be stability. These advocates of realpolitik, however, were proven to be politically unrealistic.
Ronald Reagan had a strong grasp of history and power. What’s the good of having power if you don’t wield power for good? Like Churchill, he would fear God and dread nought. Under the Sign of the Cross that day a quarter century ago, Ronald Reagan took a bold stand for freedom.
“After I got in the boat, which was the last one to leave, and we were slowly going further away from the ship, I could hear distinctly the voice of the priest (Byles) and the responses to his prayers. Then they became fainter and fainter, until I could only hear the strains of ‘Nearer My God, to Thee’ and the screams of the people left behind.” – Ellen Mary Mockler
Amidst all the tales of chivalry from the Titanic disaster there is one that’s not often told.
It is that of Fr. Thomas Byles, the Catholic priest who gave up two spots on a lifeboat in favor of offering spiritual aid to the other victims as they all went down with the “unsinkable” vessel.
A 42-year-old English convert, Fr. Byles was on his way to New York to offer the wedding Mass for his brother William. Reports suggest that he was reciting his breviary on the upper deck when the Titanic struck the iceberg in the twilight hours of Sunday, April 14th, 1912.
According to witnesses, as the ship went down the priest helped women and children get into the lifeboats, then heard confessions, gave absolution, and led passengers in reciting the Rosary.
Agnes McCoy, one of the survivors, says that as the great ship sank, Fr. Byles “stood on the deck with Catholics, Protestants and Jews kneeling around him.”
“Father Byles was saying the rosary and praying for the repose of the souls of those about to perish,” she told the New York Telegram on April 22, 1912, according to the website devoted to his memory, FatherByles.com.
In the words of the priest’s friend Fr. Patrick McKenna, “He twice refused the offer of a place in a boat, saying his duty was to stay on the ship while one soul wanted his ministrations.”
Father Thomas Roussel Davids Byles was lost in the sinking of the Titanic, and his body, if recovered, was never identified.
Nearly two weeks after the disaster, The Church Progress in St. Louis, Missouri wrote this moving tribute to the heroic priest:
In almost every line that has been written, and in every sentence that has been spoken, there stands boldly out above every other expression a picture of sublime heroism that will be copied into the pages of history. And well it may, for it is deserving of that honor.
But when it is, mention should be made of one whom pens and tongues have almost forgotten in their accounts of this awful sea tragedy. Among those who safely reached the land again no one seems to have been aware of his presence on the ship, but we may hope that many who meet him in a blissful eternity will praise God that Father Thomas Byles was there to administer absolution unto them.
Aldous Huxley, social critic and author of Brave New World, talks to Wallace about threats to freedom in the United States, overpopulation, bureaucracy, propaganda, drugs, advertising, and television.
WALLACE: This is Aldous Huxley, a man haunted by a vision of hell on earth. A searing social critic, Mr. Huxley 27 years ago, wrote Brave New World, a novel that predicted that some day the entire world would live under a frightful dictatorship. Today Mr. Huxley says that his fictional world of horror is probably just around the corner for all of us. We’ll find out why, in a moment.
WALLACE: Good evening, I’m Mike Wallace. Tonight’s guest, Aldous Huxley, is a man of letters, as disturbing as he is distinguished. Born in England, now a resident of California, Mr. Huxley has written some of the most electric novels and social criticism of this century.
He’s just finished a series of essays called “Enemies of Freedom,” in which he outlines and defines some of the threats to our freedom in the United States; and Mr. Huxley, right of the bat, let me ask you this: as you see it, who and what are the enemies of freedom here in the United States?
HUXLEY: Well, I don’t think you can say who in the United States, I don’t think there are any sinister persons deliberately trying to rob people of their freedom, but I do think, first of all, that there are a number of impersonal forces which are pushing in the direction of less and less freedom, and I also think that there are a number of technological devices which anybody who wishes to use can use to accelerate this process of going away from freedom, of imposing control…
¶ And the word of the Lord came to me, saying: Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee…
Everyone knows that the Church is against abortion. But how completely do we always understand why, for Catholics, this is such a major issue? I begin with a story from the National Catholic Register:
“NEW YORK — Dr. Bernard N. Nathanson, an obstetrician who oversaw the performance of about 75,000 abortions before becoming a leading pro-life advocate and a convert to the Catholic faith, died at his home in New York Feb. 21 after a prolonged battle with cancer. He was 84.
…In his 1996 autobiography The Hand of God, he told the story of his journey from pro-abortion to pro-life, saying that viewing images from the new ultrasound technology in the 1970s convinced him of the humanity of the unborn baby…
He noted, regretfully, “I am one of those who helped usher in this barbaric age”.
That phrase of Dr Nathanson’s, “the humanity of the unborn baby”, is obviously enough the first part of what we need to understand. But that’s not enough. Being pro-life isn’t just a matter of being against abortion; it’s a positive, not negative, set of beliefs: it’s about knowing with certainty (which not everyone does) that all life is a priceless gift. And we begin with ourselves: with gratitude for our own life.
This gratitude is a distinguishing mark of all holy men and women. I think (as some of my readers may have noticed) that G K Chesterton is one of them, and that there is a strong case for his beatification and ultimate canonisation. His was one of the great prophetic voices of the 20th century: prophetic in both senses of the word, that is; he foresaw many things then still in the future and he also had a deep insight into what was wrong with the world in which he lived. This in turn had its origins in a profound sense of what human life ought to be.
And that all began with his gratitude for the gift of life. “I hung onto religion,” he wrote in his autobiography, “by one thin thread of thanks. I thanked whatever gods might be, not like Swinburne, because no life lived for ever, but because any life lived at all”. Seventy years before the pro-life movement Chesterton wrote this early poem, entitled “By the Babe Unborn”, about the wonder of life: in it, he imagines a child in the womb longing for birth:
If trees were tall and grasses short,
As in some crazy tale,
If here and there a sea were blue
Beyond the breaking pale,
If a fixed fire hung in the air
To warm me one day through,
If deep green hair grew on great hills,
I know what I should do.
In dark I lie; dreaming that there
Are great eyes cold or kind,
And twisted streets and silent doors,
And living men behind.
Let storm clouds come: better an hour,
And leave to weep and fight,
Than all the ages I have ruled
The empires of the night.
I think that if they gave me leave
Within the world to stand,
I would be good through all the day
I spent in fairyland.
They should not hear a word from me
Of selfishness or scorn,
If only I could find the door,
If only I were born.
A few years later, he attacked the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, one of whose key essays was entitled “The emptiness of existence”, and whose deep and systematic pessimism was to have such a massive influence on the literature and thought of the 20th century, by evoking once more his own key image of “the babe unborn”. Schopenhauer, wrote Chesterton, “had not that highest order of imagination which can see the things which surround us on every side with purified and primitive eyes. Had he possessed this he would have felt as we all dimly feel that a child unborn, offered the chance and risk of so vivid and magical an experience as existence, could no more resist taking it than a living child could resist opening a cupboard in which, he was told, were toys of which he could not even dream. He did not realise that the question of whether life contains a preponderance of joy or sorrow is entirely secondary to the fact that life is an experience of a unique and miraculous character, the idea of missing which would be intolerable if it were for one moment conceivable.”
Nobody has ever better summed up why Catholics don’t speak of their beliefs as being merely anti-abortion, but as being “pro-life”, an infinitely vaster conception. When Chesterton died, in the 1930s, abortion was still thought of, certainly by Christians of whatever persuasion, as unthinkably wicked. This was also generally true of secular public opinion, though there were, of course, exceptions: the Nazis believed in it, so did Adolf Hitler’s gushing English admirer, Marie Stopes.
By the 1960s, after the horrors of the Second World War and the Holocaust, and then of Stalinism and other human monstrosities, there had been a great movement towards Schopenhauer’s vision of the futility of human life, towards believing in his words that “in a world like this … it is impossible to imagine happiness”: and one result was the comparative ease with which ordinary men and women were more and more persuaded that the taking of life in the womb was a matter of very much less consequence than their parents and grandparents had supposed.
That’s what’s at stake here. That’s why the Church is so insistently (the secular world thinks obsessively and unreasonably) hostile to the taking of unborn life: because Catholics believe – more fundamentally than in anything else – in God’s Creation of this world and in the fact that, in Chesterton’s words, life in it “is an experience of a unique and miraculous character, the idea of missing which would be intolerable if it were for one moment conceivable”. The deepest tragedy of the 20th century is that for so many men and women, this dreadful notion became not merely “conceivable” (was ever a word used with a more poignant irony?) but normal.
Margaret Higgins Sanger was a radical feminist, eugenicist, Marxist, and the founder of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. She talks to Mike Wallace about why she became an advocate for birth control, over-population, and against the Catholic Church and morality.
Margaret Higgins Sanger was a radical feminist, eugenicist, Marxist, and the founder of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
Sanger was born Margaret Higgins in 1879 in Corning, New York. Her parents, Michael Hennessy Higgins and Anne Purcell Higgins, were socialists and early activists in the women’s suffrage movement.
In 1902 Miss Higgins (i.e., Margaret Sanger) earned a degree as a registered nurse and married architect William Sanger; the following year she gave birth to her first child. Later acknowledging that she had neglected her children (one of whom died of pneumonia at age four), Sanger declared that she was not a “fit person for love or home or children or anything which needs attention or consideration.”
In 1912 Sanger and her family settled in New York City. She became a member of both the Women’s Committee and the Marxist Committee of the New York Socialist Party. “Our living-room,” she would write in her 1938 autobiography, “became a gathering place where liberals, anarchists, Socialists and I.W.W.’s [Industrial Workers of the World members] could meet.”
Also in 1912, Sanger began writing a women’s-rights column for the New York Call entitled, “What Every Girl Should Know.” In addition, she wrote and distributed a pamphlet titled Family Limitation, which provided details about contraception methods and devices. By publishing this pamphlet, Sanger ran afoul of the Comstock Law of 1873, which classified such material as obscene and barred its dissemination via the U.S. mail.
After separating from her husband in 1913, Sanger began writing an eight-page monthly feminist-socialist newsletter called The Woman Rebel, which often promoted contraceptive use and sex education. Using the slogan “No Gods and No Masters,” The Woman Rebel was distributed through the mail, and once again Sanger came under fire for violation of the Comstock Law. In 1914 she was indicted on criminal charges but promptly fled to England.
Sanger returned to the U.S. in October 1915, and the following year she opened a women’s “birth-control” (a phrase she coined) clinic in Brooklyn, the first of its kind in the United States. The government deemed the clinic illegal, however, and shut it down nine days later; Sanger spent a month in jail for her transgression.
In 1917 Sanger founded the Birth Control Review, a publication favoring contraception as a means of limiting society’s birth rate.
In 1921 she created the American Birth Control League, which eventually would evolve into the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the largest abortion provider in the United States.
Also in 1921, Sanger established both the Clinical Research Bureau (which was the first legal birth-control clinic in the U.S.) and the National Committee on Federal Legislation for Birth Control.
In 1930 Sanger was elected President of the Birth Control International Information Center; from 1939 to 1942 she was an honorary delegate of the Birth Control Federation of America; and from 1952 to 1959 she served as President of the International Planned Parenthood Federation.
Sanger’s reasons for advocating birth control stemmed, in part, from her views on race and heredity. She was a devoted eugenicist who advocated forced sterilization — of the poor and the mentally deficient, in particular, who she believed were likely to produce “subnormal” offspring — for the purpose of improving society’s overall gene pool. Examples of her ideas on selective breeding are found throughout her columns and newsletters. For instance, she wrote:
“It is a vicious cycle; ignorance breeds poverty and poverty breeds ignorance. There is only one cure for both, and that is to stop breeding these things. Stop bringing to birth children whose inheritance cannot be one of health or intelligence. Stop bringing into the world children whose parents cannot provide for them. Herein lies the key of civilization. For upon the foundation of an enlightened and voluntary motherhood shall a future civilization emerge.”
“The undeniably feeble-minded should, indeed, not only be discouraged but prevented from propagating their kind,” Sanger elaborated.
The eugenic theme figured prominently in Sanger’s Birth Control Review, wherein she published such articles as “Some Moral Aspects of Eugenics” (June 1920); “The Eugenic Conscience” (February 1921); “The Purpose of Eugenics” (December 1924); “Birth Control and Positive Eugenics” (July 1925); “Birth Control: The True Eugenics” (August 1928); and many others.
At a March 1925 international birth-control event in New York City, Sanger advocated — for the “salvation of American civilization” — the sterilization of those “unfit” to procreate. In addition, she condemned the “irresponsible and reckless” rates of procreation among those “whose religious scruples prevent their exercising control over their numbers.” She was referring specifically to Catholics who rejected the use of contraception. “There is no doubt in the minds of all thinking people,” she added, “that the procreation of this group should be stopped.”
In her quest to engineer a civilization devoid of “subnormal children,” Sanger often worked jointly with groups and individuals whose goals vis a vis eugenics overlapped with her own, even if their larger agendas differed from hers. In 1926, for instance, she presented a lecture on birth control to the women’s auxiliary of the Ku Klux Klan in Silver Lake, New Jersey. In September 1930 she invited Nazi anthropologist Eugen Fischer (whose ideas were cited by the Nazis to legitimize the extermination of Jews) to meet with her at her home.
Sanger’s commitment to eugenic “sexual science” dovetailed seamlessly with her Marxist vision. While she had been heartened by the success of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution in Russia, she doubted that a revolution for a new communist order in the U.S. could be carried out by a proletariat class of limited intellectual capacity. Thus she sought to elevate the quality of the overall gene pool by means of eugenics. “In pointing out the limitations and fallacies of the orthodox Marxian opinion,” Sanger wrote in The Pivot of Civilization, “my purpose is not to depreciate the efforts of Socialists aiming to create a new society, but rather to emphasize what seems to me to be the greatest and most neglected truth of our day: unless sexual science is incorporated … and the pivotal importance of birth control is recognized in any program of reconstruction, all efforts to create a new world and a new civilization are foredoomed to failure.”
In January 1939 two of Sanger’s organizations, the Clinical Research Bureau and the American Birth Control League (ABCL), merged to form the Birth Control Federation of America (BCFA).
At this point, Sanger turned her attention specifically to the reproductive practices of black Americans. She selected former ABCL director Clarence J. Gamble (of the Procter and Gamble company) to become BCFA’s southern regional director. That November, Gamble drew up a memorandum titled “Suggestion for Negro Project,” whose ultimate aim was to decrease the black birth rate significantly. Anticipating that black leaders would be suspicious of anyone exhorting African Americans to have fewer children, Gamble suggested that BCFA place black leaders in high positions within the organization, so as to give the appearance that they were in charge of the group’s agendas. BCFA presented birth control as a vehicle for the upward economic mobility of blacks.
Sanger authored several books during her lifetime, including: What Every Mother Should Know (1917); Woman and the New Race (1920); Happiness in Marriage (1926); Motherhood in Bondage (1928); My Fight For Birth Control (1931); and Autobiography (1938). Another book, The Pivot of Civilization, was published posthumously in 2006.
Sanger today is considered an icon of the feminist Left. Former Planned Parenthood President Gloria Feldt once said, “I stand by Margaret Sanger’s side,” leading “the organization that carries on Sanger’s legacy.” Planned Parenthood’s first African American President, Faye Wattleton, stated that she too was “proud” to be “walking in the footsteps of Margaret Sanger.”
Planned Parenthood actively celebrates Sanger’s legacy each year by presenting its “highest honor,” the “argaret Sanger Award, to an individual who best promotes the organization’s values and ideals. Past recipients of this award include: actress Kathleen Turner; Robin Chandler Duke, former President of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (and President Bill Clinton‘s ambassador to Norway); Justice Harry A. Blackmun, who wrote the 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion; and Hillary Clinton (who won the award in 2009).
Sanger died in 1966 in Tucson, Arizona of arteriosclerosis. According to her New York Times obituary, she sought to encourage birth control and/or abortion among “subnormal children.”
Read more: “The Negro Project- Margaret Sanger’s Eugenic Plan for Black Americans
They were letters to God, written by schoolchildren more than a century ago.
As the south tower was removed last August some long time parishioners mentioned an old urban legend that stated the school children, here at Corpus Christ, wrote letters, which were then encased in the cross on top of the church. It was true!! Well, the letters are now back on Terra Firma. Unfortunately, all those decades of being heaven bound, have exposed them to the elements. Their condition is very, very poor and the prospect of reconstruction is non-existent. Also accompanying the letters on their long wait for retrieval were trinkets and small Holy Images. Those too are in poor condition.
The weather wore away the copper and small fissures allowed water to seep onto those precious articles, then heat, cold and time took their toll. They arrived like a wet sponge. (And almost looked like that.) These items will be available for viewing at a later time. First they have to dry, and a protective cover has to be made so they can be moved safely.
Now, please say a prayer for the good Franciscan Sisters of Saint Joseph, and the individuals who wrote those letters. They were the founders of this parish and their hard work and dedication should never be forgotten.
An explanation of why the Founders chose to design America as a republic, not a democracy and the compelling reasons why a republic must be maintained if individual liberty is to be preserved.
A documentary on the Catholic Church following the Second Vatican Council.
45 Years Ago Today
It was the most important event in the history of Christianity since the Reformation and the Council of Trent.
Forty-five years ago today, on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Paul VI closed the Second Vatican Council in St. Peter’s Basilica along with 2,300 bishops gathered from the entire world.
They had approved and signed Gaudium et Spes, the last of the major conciliar documents, the day before. The same day, the Pope had signed a decree making the year 1966 a special jubilee year, and he had joined the Orthodox Patriarch Athenagoras I in formally expressing together for the first time their regret for the mutual excommunications pronounced by their predecessors, Pope Leo IX and Patriarch Cerularius, in 1054.
But the Council Fathers saved December 8, the day on which they wanted to place everything in Mary’s hands, for something even more special.
And so Paul VI, together with all the bishops assembled, solemnly invoked Mary under a new title: Mother of the Church. That had been one of the most surprising features of Lumen Gentium’s teaching on the Church: the concluding chapter discussed Mary as “Mother of God in the Mystery of Christ and the Church.” It had always seemed a little out of place theologically. Until now.
As he concluded his homily, the Pope drew out a little bit of the meaning of that:
While we close the ecumenical council, we are honoring Mary Most Holy, the mother of Christ, and consequently, as we declared on another occasion, the mother of God and our spiritual mother. We are honoring Mary Most Holy, the Immaculate One, therefore innocent, stupendous, perfect. She is the woman, the true woman who is both ideal and real, the creature in whom the image of God is reflected with absolute clarity, without any disturbance, as happens in every other human creature.
Is it not perhaps in directing our gaze on this woman who is our humble sister and at the same time our heavenly mother and queen, the spotless and sacred mirror of infinite beauty, that we can terminate the spiritual ascent of the council and our final greeting? Is it not here that our post-conciliar work can begin? Does not the beauty of Mary Immaculate become for us an inspiring model, a comforting hope?
Pope John Paul II had this icon of Mary, Mother of the Church, installed overlooking St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City.
Just as Mary’s Immaculate Conception marked a new beginning for humanity, Paul and the assembled bishops hoped that the Council would be a new beginning for the Church’s engagement of culture.
Everyone knew that the story of the council’s work was really only beginning. To get a bit of the flavor of the time and its expectations, read this fascinating contemporary take on the Council’s closing from Life in 1965.
How prescient were the historians quoted who “ask 30 or 50 years before Vatican II can be evaluated, since its chief product was words. The effect of these words on mankind will depend largely on post-council decisions, especially by the Pope.”
And so Pope Benedict is now in a position to look back at all that has transpired and all that has been accomplished, and see the work of Mary’s hand:
“Presiding at a solemn Eucharistic celebration in the Vatican Basilica this morning, I wanted to give thanks to God for the gift of the Second Vatican Council. Furthermore, I wished to pay homage to Mary Most Holy for having accompanied these 40 years of the Church’s richly eventful life. In a special maternal way, Mary has kept watch over the Pontificates of my venerable Predecessors, each one of whom, with great pastoral wisdom, steered the boat of Peter on the course of authentic conciliar renewal, ceaselessly working for the faithful interpretation and implementation of Vatican Council II.” — December 8, 2005 (before reciting the Angelus)
Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for us!
On October 22, 1962, President John F. Kennedy announced the quarantine, or blockade, of Cuba and warned that U.S. forces would seize “offensive weapons and associated matériel” that Soviet vessels might attempt to deliver to Cuba.
The Cuban missile crisis had been precipitated on October 14, when American U-2 spy planes spotted a ballistic missile on a launching site. As Britannica’s entry on international relations reports, what followed was a tense standoff of brinksmanship for 13 days, beginning on October 16:
[On October 16] Kennedy convened a secret crisis-management committee that leaned at first toward a surgical air strike to destroy the sites. The President, however, opted for a less risky response: a naval quarantine to prevent Soviet freighters from reaching Cuba and an ultimatum demanding that the bases be dismantled and the missiles removed. On October 18, Soviet Ambassador Andrey Gromyko met with Kennedy and denied that the U.S.S.R. had any offensive intentions with respect to Cuba. On October 22 the President informed the nation of the crisis and called on Khrushchev to pull back from “this clandestine, reckless, and provocative threat to world peace.” [For a video of the speech, click here.] For two days the world waited anxiously, and on the 24th Soviet ships in transit abruptly changed course away from Cuba. On the 26th Khrushchev sent Kennedy a message offering to withdraw the missiles in exchange for a U.S. pledge never to invade Cuba. The next day a harsher message arrived with a new demand that the United States withdraw its own missiles from Turkey. Those antiquated Jupiters, deployed in the early post-Sputnik scare, were already due for removal, but Kennedy would not do so under Soviet threat. Hence Attorney General Robert Kennedy suggested a ploy: simply reply to Khrushchev’s first note as if the second had never been sent. On the 28th the Soviets agreed to dismantle the Cuban bases in return for a no-invasion pledge. Several months later the United States quietly removed its missiles from Turkey.
The Cuban missile crisis seemed at the time a clear victory for Kennedy and the United States and was widely attributed to American superiority in nuclear weapons. In fact, neither side showed the slightest willingness even to bluff a nuclear strike, and it was probably the overwhelming U.S. superiority in conventional naval and air power in its home waters that left the U.S.S.R. no option but retreat. Nor was the crisis an unmitigated American victory. Kennedy’s pledge never to overthrow Castro by force meant that the United States would have to tolerate whatever mischief he, backed by $300,000,000 a year in Soviet aid, might contrive in the future.
The Cuban missile crisis is said to be the closest the world has come to nuclear war. It was the impetus, six years later, for the United States, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and 59 other states to sign the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, under which the three main signatories agreed not to assist other countries in obtaining nuclear weapons, while the non-nuclear countries that signed agreed not to seek weapons.
That milestone treaty, however, had some flaws, as not every country signed up (and some that have have also later withdrawn), and nuclear weapon technology has spread. Today, the Federation of American Scientists identifies at least 8 nuclear powers (United States, Russia, United Kingdom, France, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea). North Korea’s program causes the most pause, as does the budding nuclear power of Iran. We also fear potential nuclear conflict between India and Pakistan and whether or not loose nukes might fall into the hands of al-Qaeda or some other organization that might seek to employ the ultimate weapon for terrorist purposes.
On this anniversary of the Cuban missile crisis, it is important to look back at how close the world was to a nuclear holocaust and to take stock of the current state of nuclear politics in the world to make sure that such a conflict never occurs.
The ad called “Chinese Professor,” is set in “Beijing, China 2030 AD.” It shows a lecture hall with a professor speaking in Chinese. The students carry futuristic tablets that make the iPad look clunky. The ad contains subtitles and starts with the professor asking, in Chinese, “Why do great nations fail? The Ancient Greeks…the Roman Empire…the British Empire…and the United States of America.” Students gaze up at a holographic screen that shows images of the four superpowers. “They all make the same mistakes, turning their back on the principles that made them great,” continues the professor. He goes on to say that America tried to “tax and spend” its way out of a recession, including a health-care overhaul — all of which led to massive debt. “Of course, we owned most of their debt,” he says with a laugh, “so now they work for us.” Cue audience laughter.
Charlton Heston – Earth Will Survive Us
The documentary opens on Hiroshima 1945. 8 Jesuit priests living just 8 blocks from the blast site miraculously survived the atomic blast. Everyone else within a radius of roughly 1.5 Kilometres was reportedly killed instantly, and those outside the range died of radiation within days. However, the only physical harm to Fr. Shiffer was that he could feel a few pieces of glass in the back of his neck.
The priests have been examined over 200 times by scientists. Each time the priests repeated the same explanation for their survival:
“We believe that we survived because we were living the message of Fatima.”.
In 1917, while a generation of men were being sacrificed on the killing fields of World War 1 and the seeds of a bloody revolution were being sown in Russia, just outside a small town called Fatima in Portugal, three young Shepherd children made an extraordinary claim that they had been visited by a lady from heaven, a lady “brighter than the sun”.
The series of events that followed, would resonate around the world, and culminated in what has been described by many, as the greatest miracle of the 20th century, an event witnessed by over 70,000 people.
‘Finding Fatima’ is the new feature length documentary from the creative team behind the independent feature film, ‘The 13th Day’. Directed by Ian and Dominic Higgins and filmed over two years, the documentary presents the complete story of Fatima with innovative and dramatic reconstructions of the events, interviews with many leading experts on Fatima and rarely seen archival material.
‘Finding Fatima’ is a beautiful depiction of an event that is as relevant today as it was almost a hundred years ago.
In a world torn apart by persecution, war and oppression, three children were chosen to offer a message of hope. Based on the memoirs of Sister Lucia Santos and independent eye-witness accounts, The 13th Day dramatizes the incredible true story of three shepherd children from the village of Fatima in Portugal who experienced six apparitions with a Lady from Heaven between May and October 1917, which culminated in the final prophesied miracle. The lady, who later revealed herself to be the Blessed Virgin Mary, gave a secret to the children told in three parts, from a harrowing vision of hell, to prophetic warnings of future events including the advent and timing of the Second World War, the spread of communism, and the attempted assassination of the Pope. Stylistically beautiful and technically innovative, writer-directors Ian and Dominic Higgins use state-of-the-art digital effects to create stunning images of the visions and the final miracle that have never before been fully realized on screen. This film was shot on location in Portugal and in England. For more information on The 13th Day visit http://www.The13thDayMovie.com