Saturday, September 25, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Month of the Rosary, Month of Professions

Next month is a big month for the Third Order Dominicans, Bl. Margaret of Castello Chapter, Boise, Idaho.  We will be admitting several new postulants; several members will  renew  or make first temporary professions; and two of us -- including yours truly -- will be admitted to perpetual profession.  Best of all, we have the Promoter of the Laity for the Western Province, Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P., coming up to preside over professions.  (Yes, that Fr. Serpa, chaplain for Catholic Answers.)  Fr. Serpa's attendance is due to the efforts of The Redoubtable Marcus Magnus, who was irresistible as usual.  Professions will be held on the evening of Saturday, October 16th at St. John's Cathedral in Boise.  On Sunday the 17th, Fr. Serpa will celebrate Mass at Chapter House in Homedale, and the new chapter council  officers -- again including yours truly -- will be sworn in and begin their three-year terms.

So the little chapter, under the patronage of Little Margaret, is growing, even though we have not a single Dominican friar in the diocese (that is to say, in the entire state of Idaho), and only one religious sister.  

Which is not to say we couldn't use some good members of the First and Second Orders (i.e., friars and nuns) around this place.  I am currently reading a biography of St. Vincent Ferrer, O.P., the Angel of the Apocalypse, who was willing to travel into the most God-forsaken territories to spread the Gospel and fish for souls.  Who will come to Idaho on a permanent basis and follow his example?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bully for Sheen!

From the "Bishops Who Bish" files: an eyewitness tells the story of Bishop Fulton J. Sheen versus a denizen of the Age of Aquarius.  It won't spoil the story if I tell you the outcome, because it is self-evident; Sheen - 1; Aquarius - 0.  Something to think about for those who, forgetting that the gifts of the Spirit are many, can't bear a forceful presentation, even in the face of an assault on the Faith.
This program is from

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 13, 1917: Toward the Climax

The three children of Fatima had taken very much to heart the Lady's exhortations to do penance and make sacrifices for sinners.  They offered up their persecutions at the hands of the government, and Lucia's trials at home, but these were not enough.  The children soon got into the habit of giving away their lunches and picking acorns and bitter plants to eat instead; they would deny themselves water on hot days; Jacinta even wanted to drink from the same dirty water that the cows trampled in and muddied.  Sometimes, the children would refrain from hiding from curiosity-seekers (at which they happened to be quite adept) in order to be able to make a sacrifice of submitting to importunities.  One day, Lucia found a length of scratchy, stinging rope; cutting it into three pieces, the children wore it around their waists under their clothes as a sort of hair shirt.  Such was their zeal that they even wore the ropes to bed.  All to drag sinners back from the brink of hell. 

On September 13th, the children were free to keep their appointment with the Lady in the Cova da Iria, hindered only by the immense crowds that gathered in eager anticipation -- thirty thousand souls, according to Fr. de Marchi.  Lucia records in her Fourth Memoir:
As the hour approached, I set out with Jacinta and Francisco, but owing to the crowds around us we could only advance with difficulty.  The roads were packed with people, and everyone wanted to see us and speak to us.  There was no human respect whatsoever.  Simple folk, and even ladies and gentlemen, struggled to break through the crowd that pressed around us.  No sooner had they reached us than they threw themselves on their knees before us, begging us to place their petitions before Our Lady.  Others who could not get close to us shouted from a distance:
"For the love of God, ask Our Lady to cure my son who is a cripple!"  Yet another cried out: "And to cure mine who is blind!"...To cure mine who is deaf!...To bring back my husband, my son, who has gone to the war!...To convert a sinner!...To give me back my health as I have tuberculosis!" and so on.

All the afflictions of poor humanity were assembled there.  Some climbed up to the tops of trees and walls to see us go by, and shouted down to us.  Saying yes to some, giving a hand to others and helping them up from the dusty ground, we managed to move forward, thanks to some gentlemen who went ahead and opened a passage for us through the multitude.
Now, when I read in the New Testament about those enchanting scenes of Our Lord's passing through Palestine, I think of those which Our Lord allowed me to witness, while yet a child, on the poor roads and lanes from Aljustrel to Fatima and on to the Cova da Iria!  I give thanks to God, offering Him the faith of our good Portuguese people, and I think: "If these people so humbled themselves before three poor children, just because they were mercifully granted the grace to speak to the Mother of God, what would they not do if they saw Our Lord Himself in person before them?"
Among the tens of thousands of witnesses on September 13th was Msgr. John Quaresma, Vicar General of the Diocese of Leiria.  Father de Marchi gives us an excerpt of a letter Msgr. Quaresma wrote about the events in 1932:
So on a beautiful September morning we left Leiria in a rickety carriage drawn by an old horse, for the spot where the much-discussed apparitions were said to take place. Father Gois found the dominating point of the vast amphitheatre from which we could observe events, without approaching too nearly the place where the children were awaiting the apparition.

At midday there was complete silence. One only heard the murmur of prayers. Suddenly there were sounds of jubilation and voices praising the Blessed Virgin. Arms were raised pointing to something in the sky. "Look, don’t you see?"

"Yes, yes, I do...!" Much satisfaction on the part of those who do. There had not been a cloud in the deep blue of the sky and I, too, raised my eyes and scrutinised it in case I should be able to distinguish what the others, more fortunate than I, had already claimed to have seen.

With great astonishment I saw, clearly and distinctly, a luminous globe, which moved from the east to the west, gliding slowly and majestically through space. My friend also looked, and had the good fortune to enjoy the same unexpected and delightful vision. Suddenly the globe, with its extraordinary light, disappeared.

Near us was a little girl dressed like Lucia, and more or less the same age. She continued to cry out happily: "I still see it! I still see it! Now it's coming down...!"
Father de Marchi gives the following account of this shortest of the Fatima apparitions:
Now, while the beads were being told, the crowd could see the children rise from their knees and face to the east, and see the wonder come alive upon their faces. A moment while the children waited, watching, watching, their eyes on the oak tree now, their joy like a flame. They had fallen to their knees again, and people, close to Lucia, heard her say:

"What do you want of me?"

But for Lucia and her cousins there were no people. Their senses could not wholly accommodate the Queen of Heaven standing in gentle courtesy above them. There was room for nothing more. Neither smiling nor grave, the Lady gave her simple, direct, and unadorned instructions:

"Continue the Rosary, my children. Say it every day that the war may end."

"Is that all?"

No, there was more, because the Lady repeated all she had told them the month before, reminding them that in October they would see St. Joseph with the Holy Child. God Himself would be seen and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and Our Lady of Dolors would appear.

The Lady paused. Her triumphant beauty softened, her voice became more tenderly maternal.

“God is pleased with your sacrifices,” she said, “but He does not want you to wear the cords to bed. Keep them on only in the day.”

Lucia, whose eyes had been lowered during the Lady's statement of God's approval of their sacrifices, dared now to raise her glance.

"I have the petitions of many for your help," she said. "Will you assist a little girl who is deaf and dumb?"

"She will improve within the year," the Lady said.

"And the conversions that some have asked to have brought about? The cures of the sick ones?"

"Some I will cure," the Lady said, "and some I will not. Our Lord does not trust them all."

Lucia, obedient and satisfied, accepted this decision. She then remembered the desires of Maria da Capelinha and other pious women who had believed in the apparitions from the beginning.

"Would you like a small chapel to be built here with the money the people have left?" she asked.

"Yes; I would like a small chapel built in honour of Our Lady of the Rosary. But tell them to use only half the money for this. The other half is to be for the andors [litters] that you already know about."

Lucia’s thoughts turned inward to personal problems.

"So many believe that I am an impostor and a cheat," she said, "that they say I deserve to be hanged and burned. Will you please perform a miracle so that all of them can believe?"

"In October," the Lady said, repeating her earlier promise, "I will perform a miracle that will permit everyone to believe."
After this, the Lady rose and departed.

In the letter quoted above, Msgr. Quaresma noted that not everyone present received the privilege of witnessing anything out of the ordinary.  Did Lucia's own mother, Maria Rosa, fall into this category?  In her Second Memoir, Lucia records the following:
Since it seems Our Lord had, a month before, wished to give some visible sign out of the ordinary, my mother eagerly hoped that, on this day, such signs would be still more clear and evident.  The good Lord, however, perhaps to give us the opportunity to offer Him yet another sacrifice, permitted that no ray of His glory should appear on this day.  My mother lost heart once more, and the persecution at home began all over again.

But Lucia entertained no bitterness toward the family that laid such heavy crosses on her little shoulders:
[My mother] had indeed many reasons for being so upset.  The Cova da Iria was now a total loss, not only as a fine pasture for our flock, but even as regards the eatables we had grown there.  Added to this was my mother's almost certain conviction, as she expressed it, that the events themselves were nothing but foolish fancies and mere childish imaginings.  One of my sisters did scarcely anything else but go and call me, and take my place with the flock, while I went to speak to the people who were asking to see me and talk to me.

This waste of time would have meant nothing to a wealthy family, but for ourselves, who had to live by our work, it meant a great deal.  After some time, my mother found herself obliged to sell our flock, and this made no small difference to the support of the family.  I was blamed for the whole thing, and at critical moments, it was all flung in my face.  I hope our dear Lord has accepted it all from me, for I offered it to Him, always happy to be able to sacrifice myself for Him and for sinners.  On her part, my mother endured everything with heroic patience and resignation; and if she reprimanded me and punished me, it was because she really thought that I was lying.  She was completely resigned to the crosses which Our Lord was sending her, and at times she would say, "Could it be that all this is God's work, in punishment for my sins?  If so, then blessed be God!"

So the children, and especially Lucia, continued their way up the royal road to Calvary, carrying their crosses without complaint, and even looking for more ways to suffer for the sake of poor sinners.  As for Maria Rosa, it remained to be seen whether her disappointment over not seeing any extraordinary signs would continue.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 11, 2001: Must They Win?

If we don't wake up and straighten up, they will.

Islam Center's Eerie Echo of Ancient Terror

by Amir Taheri, New York Post
Last updated: 8:35 a.m., September 10, 2010

In Islam, every structure linked to the faith and its rituals has a precise function and character. A mosque is a one-story gallery built around an atrium with a mihrab (a niche pointing to Mecca) and one, or in the case of Shiites two, minarets.

Other Islamic structures, such as harams, zawiyyahs, husseinyiahs and takiyahs, also obey strict architectural rules. Yet the building used for spreading the faith is known as Dar al-Tabligh, or House of Proselytizing.

This 13-story multifunctional structure couldn't be any of the above.

The groups fighting for the project know this; this is why they sometimes call it an Islamic cultural center. But there is no such thing as an Islamic culture.

Islam is a religion, not a culture. Each of the 57 Muslim-majority nations has its own distinct culture -- and the Bengali culture has little in common with the Nigerian. Then, too, most of those countries have their own cultural offices in the US, especially in New York.

Islam is an ingredient in dozens of cultures, not a culture on its own.

In theory, at least, the culture of American Muslims should be American. Of course, this being America, each ethnic community has its distinct cultural memories -- the Iranians in Los Angeles are different from the Arabs in Dearborn.

In fact, the proposed structure is known in Islamic history as a rabat -- literally a connector. The first rabat appeared at the time of the Prophet.

The Prophet imposed his rule on parts of Arabia through a series of ghazvas, or razzias (the origin of the English word "raid"). The ghazva was designed to terrorize the infidels, convince them that their civilization was doomed and force them to submit to Islamic rule. Those who participated in the ghazva were known as the ghazis, or raiders.

After each ghazva, the Prophet ordered the creation of a rabat -- or a point of contact at the heart of the infidel territory raided. The rabat consisted of an area for prayer, a section for the raiders to eat and rest and facilities to train and prepare for future razzias. Later Muslim rulers used the tactic of ghazva to conquer territory in the Persian and Byzantine empires. After each raid, they built a rabat to prepare for the next razzia.

It is no coincidence that Islamists routinely use the term ghazva to describe the 9/11 attacks against New York and Washington. The terrorists who carried out the attack are referred to as ghazis or shahids (martyrs).

Thus, building a rabat close to Ground Zero would be in accordance with a tradition started by the Prophet. To all those who believe and hope that the 9/11 ghazva would lead to the destruction of the American "Great Satan," this would be of great symbolic value.

Faced with the anger of New Yorkers, the promoters of the project have started calling it the Cordoba House, echoing President Obama's assertion that it would be used to propagate "moderate" Islam.

The argument is that Cordoba, in southern Spain, was a city where followers of Islam, Christianity and Judaism lived together in peace and produced literature and philosophy.

In fact, Cordoba's history is full of stories of oppression and massacre, prompted by religious fanaticism. It is true that the Muslim rulers of Cordoba didn't force their Christian and Jewish subjects to accept Islam. However, non-Muslims could keep their faith and enjoy state protection only as dhimmis (bonded ones) by paying a poll tax in a system of religious apartheid.

If whatever peace and harmony that is supposed to have existed in Cordoba were the fruit of "Muslim rule," the subtext is that the United States would enjoy similar peace and harmony under Islamic rule.

A rabat in the heart of Manhattan would be of great symbolic value to those who want a high-profile, "in your face" projection of Islam in the infidel West.

This thirst for visibility is translated into increasingly provocative forms of hijab, notably the niqab (mask) and the burqa. The same quest mobilized hundreds of Muslims in Paris the other day to close a whole street so that they could have a Ramadan prayer in the middle of the rush hour.

One of those taking part in the demonstration told French radio that the aim was to "show we are here." "You used to be in our capitals for centuries," he said. "Now, it is our turn to be in the heart of your cities."

Before deciding whether to support or oppose the "Cordoba" project, New Yorkers should consider what it is that they would be buying.

H/T Fr. Z. for the New York Post article.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Patrick Mulcahey: Renaissance Leatherman

Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in San Francisco, California is a 109-year-old parish, whose founders surely could not have anticipated the direction it would ultimately take.  It is notorious for having allowed itself to become a homosexualist playground.  It was at a Mass at Most Holy Redeemer, three years ago, that Archbishop Niederauer  (who turns 75 next June) gave Holy Communion to two fully-camped-up members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, an anti-Catholic drag queen association.  According to the pastor's welcome message on the parish website, "Today [Most Holy Redeemer] is more vibrant than ever: a church for the twenty-first century....You will find the good people of our parish old, young, married, gay, lesbian, transgender, affluent, homeless, blue-collar, converts, cradle Catholics, radical, traditional, [!] questioning, fervent."  Two adjectives you will see over and over again on the parish website  to describe the Most Holy Redeemer community are "vibrant" and "inclusive." 

So probably it should come as no surprise to find that among the vibrant things this church for the twenty-first century includes, even in positions of leadership, is active practitioners of sado-masochistic slavery.  Meet Patrick Mulcahey, who, as California Catholic Daily reports, is a scheduled presenter at the Master/slave Conference in Silver Springs, Maryland this weekend.  The conference -- to whose website I refuse to link -- is all about "education and support through a variety of methods concerning the Master/slave lifestyle."  That "Master/slave" thing, by the way, is not a typo: "slave" is deliberately in lower-case, presumably to enhance the degradation.  On the same weekend that the Order of Preachers' general chapter convenes in Rome to select a new Master General, Patrick Mulcahey, pillar of Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, will give talks on "Monogamy in M/s" and "Building Your Collaring Ceremony," which is apparently the M/s's parody on the exchange of wedding rings.  California Catholic Daily notes that "[t]he description of Mr. Mulcahey’s workshop seems a satanic inversion of marriage and baptism: 'Common elements of a collaring ceremony, and adapting them to your own commitments and religious/spiritual beliefs, with favored readings, including Scriptural ones. The role and obligations of those witnessing.'"  Mulcahey's bio on the Conference site reads as follows:
Patrick has been tying men up and doing unspeakable things to them for 35 years – and charging headlong into D/s disasters for the last ten of those. He has presented on M/s, leather and BDSM topics in the Bay Area and currently serves as Vice Chairman and Special Events Chair of The 15 Association, a men's leather/BDSM club celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. He lives in San Francisco with his slave patrick [sic] where he earns his living as a writer. Elsewhere, to FetLife  [don't ask: probably better not to know] members, he may be better known by his screen name, "MrEasy."
During the period from 2000 to 2008, when he could spare time from tying guys up and giving talks at national conventions on how to collar your slave, Mulcahey served as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion and as Vice-President of the parish council.  I guess when they name you "vice" president at Most Holy Redeemer...they ain't kidding.

Is it possible that the parish authorities are unaware of the sicko in their midst?  According to California Catholic Daily, the parish played host to various S/M groups until 2008, when the diocese finally put the kibosh on these festivities.  C.C.D. also notes that Mulcahey, Most Holy Redeemer and various members of the parish council are interconnected on Facebook.  Plus, Most Holy Redeemer's website and Facebook pages are unmistakeably pro-gay.  The idea that authorities at either the parish or diocesan levels are in the dark about this guy is, frankly, preposterous.

The favorite Gospel story of unrepentant public sinners is the episode of Jesus and the woman who is about to be stoned because she was caught in adultery.  They like the fact that Jesus was compassionate and had mercy on her and caused her life to be spared.  But in the retelling of this story, they always stop short of the part where Jesus told her to sin no more.  This admonition has never been lost on true Catholic shepherds, who realize that true Christian charity does not mean indulging the illegitimate appetites of their flock.  When the gentle and compassionate St. Alphonsus Liguori was made bishop of the diocese of St. Agatha of the Goths, for instance, he always appealed personally to public sinners to give up their evil ways.  But if he saw that they persisted in giving scandal in spite of his exhortations, he would not hesitate to have them thrown in jail.

Yet surely, the vices that St. Alphonsus worked diligently to root out of his diocese almost resemble virtues compared to the putrescence that continues to fester unabated at Most Holy Redeemer.  Is there a solution to the problem of a Catholic parish that raises a degenerate like Patrick Mulcahey to positions of prominence, short of razing the church to the ground and sowing the site with salt?  What is to become of a shepherd who allows such unspeakable filth to exist within his fold?

"Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture!" says the LORD.

Jeremiah 23:1

H/T Cavey