Funny video: Mr. Bean and the Nativity scene

What could go wrong? Mr. Bean and the Nativity scene

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Must read of the day: Communion in the hand is an abominable practice

Ever wonder how this despicable manner of receiving Communion became the default mode in the Catholic Church? Read this article by Fr. Heilman.

I pray that priests abandon this practice, just as I pray that Vatican II will be dumped (hopefully in my lifetime).

I suck at evangelising: adventures in trying to explain the Trinity and the BVM

How is it possible that someone who grew up Catholic, went to Catholic school all her life, was educated by strict nuns, read the Catechism of Pope Pius X last year after returning to the Church, and has been doing a LOT of spiritual reading in order to deepen her faith, has on at least two occasions totally blew it when it came to trying to convert (gently) her non-Catholic husband? It would be utterly tragic if it weren’t so funny.

In my defense, the chances I’ve had of evangelising and converting came in the form of a series of ambushes (accompanied by heavy artillery) from the my significant  other.

(1) ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) with nuclear warhead: the Trinity

This query about the Trinity came in the form of an ICBM, least appropriately, over a lunch of ramen noodles in tiny, hot noodle bar. The question posed to me by Dear Husband (DH) was about the Trinity.

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“What’s the deal with the Trinity? If the Son came from the Father, why didn’t the Father just speak as if he were the Son? Why did the Son talk about His Father when HE is HE, that is, they are the same?” DH asked.

I explained that indeed they are one essence although they are not one person, but three persons – not like three human persons, although one of them has a human nature. I explained further: the Holy Ghost hovered like a dove over Our Lord at his baptism and came to the Apostles, the Virgin Mary and the disciples at Pentecost.

Second ICBM lobbed at me by DH: “Why if he is the Son of God, or God himself did He get baptised by a mere human, St. John the Baptist?” My answer: “Ehhhh . . . ” followed by loud slurping of noodles . . . “Ehhh because He well . . . wanted to set an example.”) Disaster. Floundering on the sea of ignorance, me, cradle Catholic. Very embarrassed. Our Lord has a right to expect better from me and I just failed.

Result: When I got home, I opened “The Catechism Explained by Fr. Spirago” and read about the Trinity, and I’m better informed, but I still cannot explain it in a way that will satisfy DH or anyone who is deeply skeptical about the existence of God in the first place, as is DH.

(2) Short range missile: did the Blessed Virgin Mary ever get baptised?

Oh dear, that’s a good one. I never even thought of that. This short-range missile was fired by DH from the other side of a table at a French restaurant as we were enjoying a main course of beef cheek simmered in red wine. We had already gone through half a bottle of very good Burgundy. I’m a lightweight when it comes to alcohol, so I was tipsy when I was attempting to plumb the depths of my memory about the BVM’s baptism: no, I don’t recall there ever having been any mention of the BVM’s baptism, but I do know why she didn’t have to be baptised. Let me see . . . why exactly is that? My memory fails me. I just know. Clock is ticking. DH is staring at me, smiling, “Gotcha!”is going through his head.

So this is what I said: “Well, there is a Baptism of Desire . . . ” I knew the second after these words came out of my mouth that it was a big FAIL. DH laughed heartily. I could see from his expression and discern from his laughter that he thinks Catholicism is totally wacky.

I’m suddenly plunged into a deep sorrow, while savouring the beef cheek stewed in red wine. My glass is starting to empty and DH fills it with more wine. There won’t be any more discussions about the BVM (or indeed the Trinity) tonight!

Only later (once the alcohol has worn off) did I remember that the BVM was born without original sin, hence, no need for baptism. Hey, why didn’t the fine bottle of Burgundy insert that answer into my head at the moment the short range missile was fired at me?

On both occasions, my Jewish husband got terrible answers from me and as a result, I don’t think he is any closer to converting to Catholicism. However, he does love the old beautiful churches of Rome, the works of Michelangelo and Fra Angelico and Massacio, Gregorian chant, Baroque music, especially the cantatas of Bach, Matthaeus Passion, Weihnachtsoratorium, . . . there is hope!

I do pray for his conversion everyday, and I try to live my life as an example of a good Catholic. Hopefully, he will convert.

Book Review: Celebrating a Merry Catholic Christmas

If you are curious about the customs and feast days of Advent and Christmas, and you want to prepare yourself and your family for a truly fruitful (and fun) Advent and Christmas, this book by Father William Saunders is exactly what you need. It isn’t a long book. I finished it in a couple of days.

Some of the topics covered:

  • Origins of Advent
  • Symbolism of the Advent wreath (holly, ivy, and the four candles)
  • Suggestions for a good Advent preparation
  • Special Role of St. Joseph
  • Christmas greenery and plants
  • Octave before Christmas (the O Antiphons, Vespers)
  • Origins of the Christmas creche
  • Christmas tree
  • St. Nicholas (Santa Claus)

If you have children, I think it would be great to read parts of the book to them. Many of our traditions go back several centuries and the stories behind them are fascinating. Father Saunders also offers spiritual reflections that will make this Advent and Christmas more meaningful. Moreover, he doesn’t stop at the Nativity, but also devotes several chapters to the Feast of the Holy Family, The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, The Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, The Epiphany, the Baptism of Our Lord and Candlemas Day (the feast of the Presentation).

Get the book now:

celebrating a merry catholic christmas

Celebrating a Merry Catholic Christmas: A Guide to the Customs and Feast Days of Advent and Christmas by Father William Saunders

Anthony Esolen marooned on Planet Novus Ordo

Poor Anthony Esolen! I sympathise with the horror he felt while attending a Novus Ordo “Mass” in a hotel, and because it was so awful, he turned it into one of the funniest pieces I have read about the bastardisation of the Roman Rite:

A church lady stood at the lectern and began to Announce Things, including the name of the priest. She also instructed us that at Our Lady of Perpetual Motion, we do not kneel after Communion—lest we show undue honor to the Lord? We were to remain standing until Father was seated, in order to show our unity with others whose order-numbers were still to be called at the In-and-Out . . .

The Second Vatican Council’s document on the liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, says that Latin is the language of the Church. There was no Latin. It says that the pipe organ is best fitted for worship, for its grandeur. There was no music on the organ. There was a woman playing the piano, in that style befitting a hotel lounge or a posh funeral parlor, tinklety-tinkly ninths and elevenths and swoon. SC says that the people in charge of the music should avail themselves of the vast treasury of Christian hymns. There was one true hymn, the opening, while the other three were show tunes, slovenly, effeminate, unfit for the liturgy, and impossible for a congregation of both sexes; but that was all right, since Beverly Sills was at the microphone, drowning out every other voice, and holding the whole notes at the ends of verses just as long, long, long as her breath held out, or until the consummation of the world, whichever would come first.

Read the entire piece:

50 Years of Effect and Infertile Liturgical Culture is Enough

My own experience one Easter Sunday:

Please no more guitar masses!

 

Life without Facebook

I deleted my Facebook account yesterday. I didn’t even notice it was gone until I remembered to write a post about it today. To be honest, I have not been using Facebook much in the last 12 months. I decided last year to unfriend dozens of people whom I barely know and to unfollow just about everyone, except one or two people. I was down to 30 relatives and friends. Then, I used the strictest privacy controls so no one could tag me or post on my wall. After doing this, there was no reason to remain on Facebook, but I delayed my decision for another 11 months.

What made me delete my Facebook account? The latest shenanigans involving Zuckerberg and Mizz Lean In – Sheryl Sandberg, who hired a PR firm to link Facebook critics to George Soros. The purpose is to discredit the social network’s critics by making it look like Soros funded them.

Read: Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through the Crisis

Read: Moral and Ethical Rot at Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg’s Facebook

I am alarmed by the anti-semitic George Soros conspiracy theories circulating around the Internet. That two Jewish persons, Zuckerberg and Sandberg, don’t care at all about fueling further anti-semitic frenzy is a testimony to their total amorality – all they care about is money and the world can go to hell. I should have left Facebook a long time ago after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, but I was lazy.

Why won’t I miss Facebook?

  • Because most of my relatives and close friends have ceased posting for over a year and a number of them have deleted their accounts;
  • Because most of the posts I see are from female acquaintances in their 50s who prance around in revealing clothing, pretending they are still 20 years old, fishing for compliments from other friends, who, of course, give them. It is pathetic and embarrassing. Grow up ladies!
  • Because people who live through their children – boasting shamelessly about their athletic achievements (it’s not even the Olympics, oy!) – are boring. They don’t need Facebook, they need an examination of conscience.
  • Because I’m in touch with my relatives and true friends via WhatsApp and Line. I don’t need Facebook.

So go ahead. Delete your Facebook account.

Here’s an article showing you how to do it:

How to delete your Facebook account once and for all

 

New Roman Missal by F.X. Lasance: a detailed review

This is a review of The New Roman Missal in Latin and English by Rev. Francis Xavier Lasance and Rev. Francis Augustine Walsh, O.S.B. (with an illustrated study plan “Read Mass with the Priest” by the Very Rev. Msgr. William R. Kelly, Ph.D.) reprinted by the Christian Book Club of America. Imprimatur: Francis J. Spellman, D.D. – 1945. Softcover; 1800 pages with gold coloured page edges. Original 1945 reprint without revisions; additions were made according to Papal decrees dating from 1945 to the end of Pope Pius XII’s reign.

I bought The New Roman Missal by Father Lasance because I was looking for a pre-Vatican II missal with Latin and English side-by-side. I purchased this book from Daughters of Mary press for US$65. It arrived in excellent condition.

The New Roman Missal contains the Tridentine Mass with complete Latin and English  text for the Ordinary and Propers of the Mass plus:

  • Liturgical calendar
  • General devotions (a vast number of traditional prayers)
  • Notes on the Ecclesiastical Year and the Sacred Liturgy
  • Accounts of feasts and lives of the saints

Pros:

  • Douay-Rheims versions of the Epistles and Gospels
  • Many prayers for every occasion and purpose (I often say the Morning prayers from the missal)
  • Very clear pictures of the priest’s movements during the Mass
  • Explanations of the requisites and prayers of holy mass, furniture and articles on the altar and in the sanctuary; sacred vestments
  • Accounts of the lives of the saints

Cons:

  • Because the missal fits in the palm of your hand, the text had to be made very small, so it is difficult to read in low lighting. If your eyes are not good, either get reading glasses or don’t buy this missal.
  • Pages are very thin (to reduce the weight of the missal) so they can tear easily and you need to be very careful when moving the coloured ribbons.

Here are photos to give you an idea of what it looks like:

roman_missal_lasance1

roman_missal1

roman_missal_lasance3

 

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IMG_1373roman_missal_lasance7roman_missal_lasance9roman_missal_lasance8

Here is the PDF version of The New Roman Missal (handy for when you are traveling only with carry-on bags to a place without a Catholic mass).

Further reading:

Comparing Catholic Missals

Must read of the day: Catholic critique of the Charismatic movement

It has always mystified me how Catholics can attend charismatic prayer meetings. Maybe it’s the emotional frenzy, the noise, and the frightening fervour of the crowd that turn me off. It’s like a rock concert without good music. But the reason why Catholics should stay away from them is this: the premises of the Charismatic movement go against the teachings of the Catholic Church. 

Today’s required reading is a post by Peter Kwasniewski entitled Confusion about Graces: A Catholic Critique of the Charismatic Movement. In the post, he includes the full homily preached by a traditional Catholic priest on the Catholic understanding of charisms or special spiritual gifts and a list of articles about the theological, spiritual and liturgical problems of the Charismatic movement.

Excerpts:

“The Church’s teaching on the charismatic gifts, supported by St. Thomas Aquinas and the writings of the great saints, theologians, and mystics, is that these gifts belong to what is classified as “extraordinary graces,” that is, graces that are freely given by God to a person for the specific purpose of the sanctification of another soul, not the sanctification of the person who has the gift. These gifts are distinct from sanctifying grace. As we know, sanctifying grace (or charity) renders our souls pleasing to God: it is a reflection of God’s very life in the soul and remains there as long as there is no mortal sin to drive it out. In other words, sanctifying grace is ordinary and extended to all souls for the purpose of their own personal sanctification and salvation. We need it in order to go to heaven and it can increase in us with the performance of penance and good works. This is the key distinction and of extreme importance in understanding the matter: sanctifying grace is for our own holiness, the charismatic gifts are for the sanctification of another . . .”

“Therefore, speaking in tongues, if it is authentic, is never under the form of unintelligible gibberish claimed as adoration or praise of God, which is what usually happens at charismatic revivals. The gift of tongues deals with intelligible languages, meaning the language possesses an order by which it can be known and understood. Aside, then, from the fact that gibberish draws attention to the person who is speaking, we must look first of all to the fact that God gives us intellect and will because Hedesires from His rational creation intelligent and volitional worship. Unintelligible gibberish completely fails in this regard. Secondly, there is no purpose to it, no instruction is being given to another; nor is there any place for the gift of interpretation of the tongue because that gift is to make sure what is being taught is understood in the correct way (in other words, the gift of interpretation is a protection from the Spirit of Truth against heresy). And furthermore, we must beware that demons can influence a person to speak a language he or she does not know, and this can easily happen to people who desire to possess these gifts. That is why this gift must always be connected with the expounding of the Faith, and if conditions are otherwise, the gift is not from God nor is it authentic. It should be obvious, then, why the Church’s scrutiny and judgment in these matters is of great importance, and why a silence by Church authority concerning the proliferation of so-called “charisms,” or worse, an endorsement of them, can lead many souls astray.”

 

An autumn poem by Thomas Hood

Curl up under a wool blanket with your favourite drink (red wine, hot chocolate, or tea) and read this poem by Thomas Hood (1798-1845).

autumn leaves

Autumn

I Saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand shadowless like Silence, listening
To silence, for no lonely bird would sing
Into his hollow ear from woods forlorn,
Nor lowly hedge nor solitary thorn;—
Shaking his languid locks all dewy bright
With tangled gossamer that fell by night,
Pearling his coronet of golden corn.

Where are the songs of Summer?—With the sun,
Oping the dusky eyelids of the south,
Till shade and silence waken up as one,
And Morning sings with a warm odorous mouth.
Where are the merry birds?—Away, away,
On panting wings through the inclement skies,
Lest owls should prey
Undazzled at noonday,
And tear with horny beak their lustrous eyes.

Where are the blooms of Summer?—In the west,
Blushing their last to the last sunny hours,
When the mild Eve by sudden Night is prest
Like tearful Proserpine, snatch’d from her flow’rs
To a most gloomy breast.
Where is the pride of Summer,—the green prime,—
The many, many leaves all twinkling?—Three
On the moss’d elm; three on the naked lime
Trembling,—and one upon the old oak-tree!
Where is the Dryad’s immortality?—
Gone into mournful cypress and dark yew,
Or wearing the long gloomy Winter through
In the smooth holly’s green eternity.

The squirrel gloats on his accomplish’d hoard,
The ants have brimm’d their garners with ripe grain,
And honey bees have stored
The sweets of Summer in their luscious cells;
The swallows all have wing’d across the main;
But here the Autumn melancholy dwells,
And sighs her tearful spells
Amongst the sunless shadows of the plain.
Alone, alone,
Upon a mossy stone,
She sits and reckons up the dead and gone
With the last leaves for a love-rosary,
Whilst all the wither’d world looks drearily,
Like a dim picture of the drownèd past
In the hush’d mind’s mysterious far away,
Doubtful what ghostly thing will steal the last
Into that distance, gray upon the gray.

O go and sit with her, and be o’ershaded
Under the languid downfall of her hair:
She wears a coronal of flowers faded
Upon her forehead, and a face of care;—
There is enough of wither’d everywhere
To make her bower,—and enough of gloom;
There is enough of sadness to invite,
If only for the rose that died, whose doom
Is Beauty’s,—she that with the living bloom
Of conscious cheeks most beautifies the light:
There is enough of sorrowing, and quite
Enough of bitter fruits the earth doth bear,—
Enough of chilly droppings for her bowl;
Enough of fear and shadowy despair,
To frame her cloudy prison for the soul!

— Thomas Hood (1798-1845)

All Saints, All Souls, the Four Last Things and why don’t people go to confession

When was the last time your parish priest talked about the Four Last Things? If you, like me, go to Mass at a Novus Ordo parish in a very large diocese that has exactly ZERO Latin masses, you will hear about the last judgement, heaven and hell so rarely that you may be tempted to believe that they do not exist. After all, the man whom the cardinals elected to be Pope, and the cardinals themselves, seem to be too busy dealing with worldly matters.

Many priests don’t want frighten Catholics with what they consider to be medieval folk tales. It’s harder to ignore Heaven and Hell when you assist at Mass in one of Europe’s cathedrals, say, Saint Cecilia in Albi, where you have no choice but to gaze at a gigantic mural of the Last Judgement while Father is drifting off into another sermon about migrants and the environment. Indeed, sermons about the lives of saints are exceedingly rare, too, because veneration of saints is so  . . . pre-Vatican II. Never mind that the saints have always been held up by the Church of the ages as models for us to emulate, whose assistance we are urged to seek for the sake of our souls.

So the priests prattle on about worldly things and  the New Age version of mercy, which is twisted and grotesque, because it is never balanced by justice. If you end up thinking that God will have mercy on you no matter what you do, you are in very big trouble.

I wonder often if this is reason there is hardly anyone else going to Confession on Sunday at my parish church. I go about every 2 weeks and I’m the only one waiting outside the Confessional (twice I saw one other person – not the same one). There are two possibilities: (1) I belong to a parish filled with saintly people who never commit sins; or (2) the people who go to Church every Sunday and take Communion (most of them do, by the way) do not believe that it’s necessary to go to Confession. I am afraid for their souls and I pray that they take the Four Last Things more seriously and go to Confession. Now, if most of them are saints anyway and never commit sins, well, what a fortunate woman I am to be assisting at a Mass filled with living saints!

By contrast, every time I go to the traditional Latin Mass (in America, Europe or Asia), the queues for Confession are long! Oh, those “rigid” trads (in the words of PF). I always make it a point to arrive well ahead of time because I like to spend at least 20 minutes before Mass praying the Rosary.

This brings me to some posts I wrote last November which still apply today. Please read them:

Autumn, All Souls, the Four Last Things

Why doesn’t anyone talk about the Last Judgement anymore?

Autumn is here