Saturday, November 28, 2020
Monday, November 23, 2020
I woke up the other morning in the wee hours thinking about all the stories I have read and heard about medical professionals isolating patients from the Sacraments, even going so far as to prevent priests from visiting the dying, ostensibly because of the coronavirus. These stories include a first-hand account from a friend who had to baptize a dying relative himself when the staff of the “Catholic” hospital refused to allow a priest up to the room. Fortunately, he accomplished the baptism before being himself chased out of the room.
First-hand, second-hand, fifth-hand or twentieth-hand, I am inclined to believe these stories. Two and a half years ago, long before the current moral panic, my lapsed Catholic father lay in the hospital in a coma from which he would never emerge. I had to fight with the staff of this allegedly Catholic hospital about getting a priest in to give him Extreme Unction. Their excuses for fighting me on this were, number one, I did not count as next of kin, and therefore could be brushed off; and number two, the nurse in charge of his care actually could see no reason why I would want to have a priest see my father when he had lapsed from the faith.
Here was a nurse in a Catholic hospital, dealing with patients in the grips of life-threatening maladies, who had to be educated on the reality of eternal damnation and the need to take it seriously. The nurse passed me off to the chaplaincy office, where, amazingly, I had to have a similar argument with the staff there. Ultimately, a priest was found who, seeing a basis to give my father the benefit of the doubt, came in and gave him the Sacrament.
The lack of supernatural faith in the medical profession, including its members who staff “Catholic” hospitals, is clearly a problem that predates the present coronapanic, and in fact has prepared the way for this situation where the sick and the dying are openly and unashamedly being denied the ministrations of a priest. Why has this happened?
Maybe the cause lies in our quest as a society to do whatever we want without suffering any consequences, a quest to which it was necessary to recruit the medical profession. To be able to divorce sex from procreation, we needed people with the expertise to provide us with contraceptives, sterilization procedures, and abortion. Since old people and the disabled also interfere with our freedom to do whatever we want, we also needed the medical profession to provide us with the means of dealing with those problems. And my own profession, by the way, is not off the hook in all this. Contraceptives, abortion and euthanasia all used to be illegal, so lawyers were needed to clear away those roadblocks to what we are pleased to think of as “freedom.” Thus we enshrined revolution into law.
But, as history demonstrates, revolutionaries are short-sighted, and fail to notice that, by overthrowing the social order, they are only preparing their own doom. It’s unfortunate that so many of us no longer know history. Many of the prime movers in the revolutions in France and Russia and Germany, for example, ended up suffering the same fates to which they had consigned those who opposed them. And what of the religious revolutionaries? One thinks of the accounts of the death of Martin Luther, who, at the end of his life, was surrounded by people who saw to it that he died reaffirming his errors. Or the eyewitness accounts of the last days of Queen Elizabeth I, who, having driven all the Catholic priests into hiding or exile, realized she had no one left to give her absolution, and was plagued by visions of herself in hell.
The inevitable result of decades of indoctrination in the culture of death, and decades of court cases overturning laws that once held the culture of death at bay, is that doctors and nurses in this brave new world are expected to serve the cause of extinction. Not all have bought into this ideology, but many of them have. How many? We are finding that out right now. And how can we expect medical professionals who have bought into the culture of death to have any concern for eternal life, either for themselves or for their patients? That is another thing we are finding out right now: they can’t, and don’t. How terrible is the judgment that we bring upon ourselves, when, having revolted against the social order, we find ourselves, near to death, in the hands of those who have bought into our revolution.
Now, more than ever, we need to pray for protection against sudden and unprovided death.
Friday, November 13, 2020
Most of all, this book has touched my beady-black heart. St. Therese of Lisieux, recounting the dream that made real to her the Communion of Saints, said that those in heaven love us and look after us as their own children, even when we never pray to them, even when we do not know who they are. I feel that through this book, Bl. Charles has reached out to me, introducing himself to me and offering to help me as I work out my salvation in fear and trembling. Probably he has been helping me all my life without my knowing it.
As I read the account of Bl. Charles’ prayers for divine aid in ruling, his sacrifices for his subjects, his strivings on their behalf, and his attempts to regain his throne, not because he was hungry for power but in fulfillment of his kingly oaths, I pondered the question why God seemed to allow his prayers and his efforts to be so often thwarted. Perhaps the answer is that the failures were God’s judgment, not on Bl. Charles, whom He ultimately rescued from this vale of tears, but on his ungrateful and undeserving subjects, and on a world that had given itself over to godlessness. What a terrible thing to have God leave us to our own devices. Through the intercession of Bl. Charles, may He soon rescue us from the troubles we have created for ourselves.
Saturday, November 07, 2020
For decades, we have been subjected to endless drivel about the need to make the Catholic faith, and the Mass, "relevant" to the needs of modern man. What's stupid about this is that, first of all, truth is always relevant, and attempts to spice it up and repackage it only manage to obscure its substance. Secondly, if we pay attention, we find that both the faith and its expression in the Mass -- particularly the traditional Mass -- are relevant even to the details of our peculiar circumstances at any given time.
I think it's a good practice to prepare for Mass by reading the propers beforehand. Sunday after Sunday, I am struck by how the propers for that day seem to be speaking directly to current events and circumstances. Sunday after Sunday, (a) we get something we need to hear in our particular situation, and (b) the Church is praying for the very things we need to be praying for in our particular circumstances.
The Lord saith: I think thoughts of peace, and not of affliction: you shall call upon Me, and I will hear you; and I will bring back your captivity from all places.
If we call on Him with a repentant heart, He will hear us, and, when the time is right, even deliver us from the troubles we have brought upon ourselves. Remember His promise in Psalm 106:
Such as sat in darkness and in the shadow of death: bound in want and in iron. Because they had exasperated the words of God: and provoked the counsel of the Most High: and their heart was humbled with labors: they were weakened, and there was none to help them. Then they cried to the Lord in their affliction: and He delivered them out of their distresses. And He brought them out of darkness, and the shadow of death; and broke their bonds in sunder....He took them out of the way of their iniquity: for they were brought low for their injustices.
In tomorrow's Collect, the Church prays:
O Lord, we beseech Thee, absolve Thy people from their offenses, that through Thy bountiful goodness, we may be freed from the bonds of those sins, which by frailty we have committed.
And in the Postcommunion, she prays:
O God almighty, we beseech Thee, do not leave to succumb to human dangers those who from Thee have been the happiness of being partakers of the divine nature.
The propers of the Mass are not decided upon on an ad hoc basis: every 23d Sunday after Pentecost, year after year, they are the same. Yet they always have particular meaning for us year after year, and in them, the Church prays for precisely what we need at that given moment.
Many of the prayers of the traditional Mass do not survive intact in the new Mass. Thank God that, when revolution struck the Church, there were churchmen who took care, even at great personal cost, to insure that the traditional Mass survived, so that, at least in some churches, prayers were being raised for those particular things we most need in our times.
Thursday, November 05, 2020
Observations concerning the election, which is entirely consistent with the whole ethos of 2020:
- The ludicrously long, absurdly drawn-out presidential election of 2000 — can it really be that we already have a generation of adults too young to remember this? — was just a dress rehearsal for what’s going on right now. What’s going on right now is an authentic coup, and it’s going to make 2000 look like a cake walk.
- In 2016, Hillary Clinton ran a very limp campaign, with few appearances, because she and everyone around her thought she had it in the bag. It was a huge shock to the Democrats when she lost the election. This year, Biden did very, very little campaigning, and, when he did surface, promised to do outrageous things like impose more lockdowns and national mask mandates and destroy the oil, coal and gas industries. Was this because the Democrats had simply failed to learn any lessons from 2016, or was it because they instead devoted all their resources to pulling the present coup?
- The psy-ops is really obvious, from the censorship of dissenting voices on social media to the news purveyors — including Fox News — calling states for Biden before their polls had even closed or before the return of more than .007% of precincts.
- If Biden was really winning in all those swing states, why was there the need to suspend counting in those states?
- The time is coming — maybe sooner than we think — when our Elders and Betters will decide they are done going to all the trouble of lying and cheating and stealing elections, and will just dispense with elections altogether. After all, Trump has proven that the electorate is capable of making wrong decisions. Just as we need to be protected from a virus with a less than 1% fatality rate, so we will also need to be protected from our propensity to disagree with Those Who Know Better.
- Deus ex machina rescues from disasters are a staple of popular entertainment, but rare in real life. That said, Donald Trump is not the wet-noodle, capitulating milquetoast that is the usual GOP political fare.
- Maybe the time really has come, as the monarchists hold, to reassess our whole system of governance. Is our present system, which is currently failing spectacularly, really the one that best accommodates our human nature, and that best accounts for and safeguards against our human weaknesses?
- This is absolutely the time to pray, fast, do penance, repent and convert. In case you think this is beyond your abilities, read St. Therese of Lisieux’s Story of a Soul for the details on how much spiritual value even the smallest sacrifices contain. We need to pray for the assistance to get to the point where we deserve worthy leaders.
- This is also the time to remember that the Lord of History is not Bill and Melinda Gates, George Soros, Gavin Newsom, Gretchen Whitmer, Jeffrey Sachs, Pope Francis or even Donald Trump. From our point of view, everything is in free fall, but from the point of view of the true Lord of History and His unfathomable counsels, everything is going according to plan.
Tuesday, November 03, 2020
Well...no. Besides being annoying, this world view is misguided, unjust, and just plain wrong. To not take a stand IS to take a stand. And it’s a cop-out.
To not take a stand is an overreaction to the anxiety of these turbulent times. But it doesn’t make either the turbulence or the anxiety go away. It is just running away, not pulling your weight, and leaving the fight, which cannot be avoided, to others.
To not take a stand saves you the trouble of examining the merits of each case, as if somehow they are not worth examining. It is true that neither side is perfect, as each is made up of imperfect human beings. But nevertheless, they are not morally equivalent, and it is outrageous to assume that they are. One side does in fact conduce to the common good, and the other side does not. It is important to know which is which. You do an injustice to those who really are on the side of the common good by dismissing them as being no different from the other guys, and you harm the cause of the common good by not taking seriously enough those who are opposed to it.
To not take a stand is to succumb to human respect. What is the point of making sure you are perceived as being above it all, if not to seem wiser and smarter than the average bear? But in fact, you don’t seem wiser and smarter. What you seem is smug and self-satisfied. You only end up irritating the very people you are trying to impress.
Bottom line: you need to take a stand. And you have a duty to make sure you’re taking the right stand.
These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, Who is the beginning of the creation of God: I know thy works, that thou art neither cold, nor hot. I would thou wert cold, or hot. But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth. Apocalypse 3:14-16.
Sunday, November 01, 2020
When Vladimir returned to Kieff he took upon himself the conversion of his subjects. He ordered the statues of the gods to be thrown down, chopped to pieces, and some of them burned; the chief god, Perun, was dragged through the mud and thrown into the River Dnieper. These acts impressed the people with the helplessness of their gods, and when they were told that they should follow Vladimir's example and become Christians they were willingly baptized, even wading into the river that they might the sooner be reached by the priest for baptism. Zubrycki thinks this readiness shows that the doctrines of Christianity had already been secretly spread in Kieff and that the people only waited for an opportunity to publicly acknowledge them.