Saturday, February 28, 2015

Smearing Cardinal Pell with... Frugality

In the race to tarnish the image of His Eminence Cardinal George Pell, a staunch defender of Catholic orthopraxy at last year's Synod on the Family, malcontents have illegally leaked confidential information regarding the costs hitherto incurred by the Secretariat for the Economy in the ongoing efforts to bring the Vatican's finances in line with international standards and eliminate rumors of corruption.

Leaving no expense unscrutinized, the leaked information revealed that Cardinal Pell spent a whopping €2,508 ($2,813) on clerical clothing. At which you, gentle reader, are supposed to gasp in shock and dismay.

If you look like this, you're doing it right.
(Photo: Getty)

Let's put things in perspective.

In an article published at Vatican Insider in 2012, Andrea Tornielli put together an itemized list of all the garments and items required for each Cardinal to be considered properly dressed. As you can't simply saunter down to your local Wal-Mart and pick up a triple-pack of fascia on sale, it's natural that you would have to turn to a tailor specializing in clerical garb. If you're in Rome, that would be the renowned Gammarelli's, which also services the Pope. Here's the list:
  • red mozzetta: €200
  • red cassock: €800
  • black cassock with red piping: €200
  • red biretta: €120
  • red and golden pectoral cord: €80
  • red fascia: €200
  • red zucchetto: €40
  • red socks: €15 per pair

As you can see, things add up pretty quickly. Tornielli notes:
Given that cardinals usually purchase two sets of each of these outfits, they can expect to spend around four to five thousand Euro to complete their wardrobe.
And that's for just four complete suits, which must be worn by a Cardinal whenever he is fulfilling his official duties.

I'd say Cardinal Pell got out of Gammarelli's on the cheap.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cardinal Marx: We Won't Wait For Rome

His Eminence Reinhard Cardinal Marx
(Photo: Erzbistum München)
In a meeting reported in the German press yesterday, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, President of the German Bishop's Conference, made a rather unambiguous statement regarding how he and his fellow bishops see the upcoming 2015 Synod in relation to their plans for the Catholic Church in Germany:
We are not subsidiaries of Rome. Each Bishop's Conference is responsible for the pastoral care in its own cultural sphere and has its unique mission to preach the Gospel. We can't wait for a Synod to tell us how we here have to go about the pastoral care of families and married persons.
It was Cardinal Marx who made headlines during the 2014 Synod by speaking out in favor of applying the so-called "pastoral law of graduality" to the question of admittance of public adulterers to Holy Communion, telling reporters:
I think it is very important to see that we have ways or that there is a graduality also in the way to the sacrament.
Readers will recall that several Cardinals present at the 2014 Synod, most notably His Eminence Cardinal Raymond Burke, rejected such an approach as it requires the introduction of a hitherto unheard-of separation of pastoral practice from doctrine - a separation both Cardinal Gerhard Müller of Germany, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, have described as smacking of heresy. 

Decidedly unfazed by the clear warning contained in such declarations, Cardinal Marx and the other members of the German Bishop's Conference appear determined to charge ahead, regardless of the actual results of the Synod scheduled to take place in Rome this Fall.

The Eucharist: Proof of Christ's Love

Ninth in a Series on the Reasons of the Eucharist

Fr. Albert Tesnière, S.S.S.

Dominus Est!


The Eucharist is the Permanent Proof of the Love of Jesus Christ for each one of us.


Adore Our Lord Jesus Christ, present before your eyes in the Blessed Sacrament, and behold with gratitude, with astonishment and adoration, behold if it be not true that the Eucharist gives Him to you wholly and for you alone.

It is the prodigy and supreme extent of His love here below. It is only in heaven that His love will permit us to possess Him in a greater and better degree. And it is the property, the end and the aim of the Eucharist to render Christ capable of being given to each one of us, in truth, and in entirety.

Therefore it is the "effusion" of His love, according to the words of the Council of Trent; in other words, the gift which God had made us of Himself in the Incarnation has increased, has multiplied, and has been shed like an abundant stream issuing from a lofty rock, which spreads its deep waters throughout the whole valley.

Saint Thomas pronounced these beautiful words:
All that the Word brought to the world by making Himself man, He brings to each man in particular by the Eucharist.
It is this Sacrament which enables us to understand the energetic words of Saint Paul:
He loved me, and has given Himself for me.
On Calvary, He died once for all; in the reception of the Sacrament, the fruits of His death are communicated to each one of us. When we have received Him, we cannot any longer doubt but that He is ours, and very certainly ours; we possess Him, we hold Him, we have seen Him come, we have enclosed Him in our breast; He is our dear captive!

The personal meeting of God and man therefore takes place at the table of Communion, and as nothing obliges Him to make this gift of Himself, it must be acknowledged that He makes it from love, because He loves us personally, as though each one of us were the only object and the whole end of His infinite love!

Oh, adore Jesus Christ in this supreme manifestation of His love! See Him, the Infinite, the Most High, the Supreme Majesty, coming towards you, offering Himself to you, descending in you, annihilating Himself for you, for you and your nothingness, for your past faults and your present miseries! It might be said, at the hour of Communion, so entirely is He yours, that there are only you and He in the world!

Does not this fact, this union, constitute that which is most admirable and most incredible in the Eucharistic mystery? And yet it is so; believe, adore, love!


Render thanks to the infinite goodness of the heart of Jesus, for the admirable condescension which has led Him to specialize, to individualize, to render personally and make intimately to each one of us the gift of Himself in the Eucharist.

Ah! His Heart knew our hearts; He knew that the supreme requirement of love is intimate union, a total and direct gift. He knew that it would not have sufficed for us to be loved with the most generous devotedness, if this love had not been carried as far as the personal proof of union, of the individual gift. And the kind Saviour, who had already done so much for us by being born and by dying for us, added to it this consummation of giving Himself up in person to those for whom He had been born and had died.

He desires thereby to make us also understand that His intention is to be personally useful to us, by devoting Himself to the service of each one of us, bringing to each the particular graces which are personally necessary to him, on account of his nature, his character, of his position, his vocation, his needs, his difficulties, his temptations and his trials. It is above all amongst souls that there are not two to be found which are exactly alike. The triumph of love ought therefore to be to bend, to adapt itself to these thousands and thousands of forms, to the needs of souls. This is what the Saviour has done by multiplying His Sacrament that He may make it the nourishment of each one of us.

Give thanks, then, bless and understand how great is the abundance of His goodness, which, better than manna, adapts itself to the needs and the taste not of some hundreds of thousands of Israelites only, but of innumerable multitudes who will traverse, from the Last Supper to the judgment, the desert of this life.


Is it not true that gratitude ought to be modelled upon and be measured by the benefit bestowed? If, then, Jesus loves us individually; if He makes of each one of us the object and the end of His love, is it not strictly necessary that we should repay Him in an equal degree by loving Him with an entire love, a special love, a love of predilection, by choosing Him for the supreme object of our love and of our devotedness; by loving Him where He loves us, in His Sacrament; and by making our love, our thoughts, our homage, our labors, our sufferings, our joys, our successes, as well as our pains and our defects, centre around the Tabernacle, as a continually renewed proof?

To love and to serve God in a vague manner as a God more or less unknown, without ever feeling of His adorable Person in the Sacrament any of the sentiments which we experience for the persons whom we love, without ever showing Him the tenderness of which we are prodigal towards the creature; to love Him only from interest, or from fear, and not as children and friends is this a response to make to the love which gives itself so generously and so intimately to us?

We are everything to Him; why is He not everything to us? Seek; be ashamed, blush! How little heart we must have to love Him so little and so ill who has so loved us!


Earnestly ask for the grace and the virtue of a personal love of Jesus: to love Him personally is to love Him for Himself, at the price of the whole of yourself.

Let Him be the rule of your thoughts, the most cherished of your affections, the last end of your works; do everything for Him, for His love, His satisfaction, His glory.

Then, above all, come to Him, give Him your time, much of it, as much as is possible, always more and more of it. Be not merely His slaves nor His mercenaries, when by His Sacrament He desires that you should be henceforth His friends. His delights are to be with us; let our delights be to be with Him!


Make frequent interior recollections of Christ's love. Think regularly, visit frequently, and pray continuously to Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Miracle at the Beautiful Gate

Reading N°4 in the History of the Catholic Church

Fr. Fernand Mourret, S.S.

The Apostles preached with extraordinary success. A few days after the baptism of the three thousand Pentecostal converts, two thousand persons joined the Church following a miracle which is related in the Acts of the Apostles.

Saints Peter and John Healing the Lame Man
Nicholas Poussin (1594-1665)
It was about three o'clock in the afternoon. Peter and John had gone up to the Temple to pray:
A certain man who was lame from his mother's womb, was carried: whom they laid every day at the gate of the Temple, which is called Beautiful, that he might ask alms of them that went into the Temple. He, when he had seen Peter and John about to go into the Temple, asked to receive an alms. But Peter with John, fastening his eyes upon him, said: "Look upon us." But he looked earnestly upon them, hoping that he should receive something of them. But Peter said: "Silver and gold I have none; but what I have, I give thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, arise and walk." And taking him by the right hand, he lifted him up, and forthwith his feet and soles received strength. And he leaping up stood and walked and went in with them into the Temple, walking and praising God. And they knew him, that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened to him. And as he held Peter and John, all the people ran to them to the porch which is called Solomon's, greatly wondering. 
But Peter seeing, made answer to the people: "Ye men of Israel, why wonder you at this? or why look you upon us, as if by our strength or power we had made this man to walk? The God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified His Son Jesus, whom you indeed delivered up and denied before the face of Pilate, when he judged He should be released. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you. But the author of life you killed, whotm God hath raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And in the faith of His name, this man whom you have seen and known, hath His name strengthened; and the faith which is by Him hath given this perfect soundness in the sight of you all. And now, brethren, I know that you did it through ignorance, as did also your rulers. But those things which God before had showed by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled. Be penitent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. That when the times of refreshment shall come from the presence of the Lord, and He shall send Him who hath been preached unto you, Jesus Christ, whom heaven indeed must receive, until the times of the restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of His holy prophets, from the beginning of the world. [...] To you first God, raising up His Son, hath sent Him to bless you; that everyone may convert himself from his wickedness."[1]
The Apostle was still speaking when the priests who were on duty in the Temple arrived. They were accompanied by a group of Sadducees. The disciples of Christ had no more bitter enemies than these sectaries, one of whose principal tenets was the denial of the resurrection of the dead. Upon hearing the doctrine of survival being preached, not merely as a hope, but as a truth established by the Resurrection of Christ, they became furiously angry. They remarked to the priests that addressing the people in the porch of the house of God without commission from the hierarchical authority was an act of culpable boldness. To seize the two Apostles and hurry them off to prison was the work of a moment. It was evening, too late for a trial, and hence further proceedings were postponed to the next day. But many who heard Peter's discourse believed in Christ. The infant Church of Jerusalem was now made up of five thousand men.

On the following day, the leaders of the people, the ancients and the scribes, met together. In this gathering were to be seen the High Priest Annas,[2] Caiphas, John, and Alexander.[3] In full numbers, the court assembled which had but recently condemned the Master; it would now try the disciples.

The judges, placing Peter and John in their midst, asked: "By what power or by what name have you done this?"[4] The scene, despite its simplicity, was one of unparalleled importance. For the first time, the lowly disciples of Christ, "illiterate and ignorant men,"[5] stood in the presence of those hostile powers of which their Master had given them a glimpse. But the heavenly aid which had been promised did not fail them. The presiding officer of the Sanhedrin did not dare say "miracle" or "cure." He called the prodigy "this."

Saints Peter and John before the Sanhedrin
The Acts tell us that Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, turned a simple and direct look upon his judges, and said to them:
Ye princes of the people and ancients, hear! If we this day are examined concerning the good deed done to the infirm man, by what means he hath been made whole, be it known to you all and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God hath raised from the dead, even by Him this man standeth here before you whole. This is the stone which was rejected by you the builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved."[6]
Seeing the constancy of Peter and of John, understanding that they were illiterate and ignorant men, they wondered. And they knew then that they had been with Jesus. Seeing the man also who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But they commanded them to go aside out of the council; and they conferred among themselves. [...] And calling them, they charged them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.[7]
To impose silence on the two Apostles, to hinder the divulging of a fact which glorified the name of Jesus - such was the only penalty which the persecuting despots found.

But Peter, aided by the Holy Ghost, did not yield. He replied: "If it be just in the sight of God, to hear you rather than God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard." The Non possumus, so often repeated by Peter's successors before the powers of this world, was heard for the first time in the precincts of a court. The religious chiefs of Jerusalem might well, on that day, have convinced themselves that a new power had arisen on earth. The Master had said: "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God, the things that are God's."

The members of the Sanhedrin did not know what to do with the Apostles. "They, threatening, sent them away, not finding how they might punish them, because of the people; for all men glorified what had been done, in that which had come to pass."[8]


[1] Acts 3:1-26.
[2] A long time before, the Romans had removed Annas from the office of High Priest and had bestowed it upon Caiphas. But the Jews considered this office inalienable; and no real Jew would concede that any foreign power had a right to remove the High Priest. Annas, therefore, retained the title of High Priest, although he no longer performed the duties of the office.
[3] Acts 4:5 f.
[4] Acts 4:7.
[5] Acts 4:13.
[6] Acts 4:8-12.
[7] Acts 4:13-18.
[8] Acts 4:21.


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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fr. Timothy Scott Removed as Basilian Spokesperson

Fr. Timothy Scott, C.S.B.
According to information delivered to The Radical Catholic by a loyal reader (Gordon D.), Fr. Timothy Scott, C.S.B., Executive Director of the Canadian Religious Conference, has been removed from his position as spokesman for the Basilian Fathers. The letter, received earlier today and signed by one Fr. David Katulski, reads as follows:
Thank you for your concern about the misconduct of Fr. Scott. I assure you that he is no longer spokesperson for the Basilian Fathers.
The dismissal comes swiftly on the heels of the faithful Catholic outcry after it became known that Fr. Scott tweeted an obscene acronym to His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke, reported here as well as across the Catholic internet yesterday. While it remains uncertain what role, if any, the response of the faithful played in the decision to remove Fr. Scott - the offence was clearly great enough in and of itself to warrant such punitive action - we can hope that this signals a turn for the better for the Congregation of St. Basil.


UPDATE: In an interesting turn of events... oh, I'll let Michael Voris explain:

Monday, February 23, 2015

Fr. Timothy Scott Tweets His Way to a Sabbatical

What's going on with the Catholic media relations in Canada? Or does the problem reside with the Canadian branch of the Congregation of St. Basil? First, Fr. Rosica, C.S.B., Chief Executive of Salt and Light Television and assistant to the Holy See Press Office, scores an own goal by threatening Catholic blogger Vox Cantoris with a lawsuit for defamation, and now this:

Fr. Timothy Scott, C.S.B., Executive Director of the Canadian Religious Conference and spokesman for the Basilian Fathers, tweets an obscene acronym directed at His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke. The nasty bit (no, I'm not going to explain what the acronym means; Google will tell you all you need to know):

To his credit, Fr. Scott, after experiencing terrific backlash from faithful Catholics, apologized, also via twitter, with the following text:
I apologize unreservedly for my rudeness. Thank you to all who have chastened me. Time for penance and a twitter timeout.
I'm not going to castigate the man for using foul language. Nor am I going to give him a verbal thrashing for giving juvenile, passive-aggressive vent to his obvious frustration towards that good and saintly Prince of the Church, Cardinal Burke. He's apologized - hopefully he's confessed and received absolution - and he's taking a time out for some well-deserved penance. Good for him.

I do, however, question the sagaciousness of keeping this man employed as spokesman of the Basilian Fathers. I mean, is this guy really the best they could find? Granted, that sounds like a rhetorical question, but given Fr. Rosica's latest display of media-savvy brilliance, I'm thinking the question deserves an honest answer.


UPDATEFr. Timothy Scott Removed as Basilian Spokesperson

The Reformation in Ireland, France and the Netherlands

Twelfth and Last in a series on the Protestant Reformation

Fr. Charles Coppens, S.J.

We have so far sketched in rapid outlines the establishment of the Reformation in most of those European lands in which it obtained permanent dominion. The situation about A.D. 1560 is thus described by Prescott in his History of Philip II:
Scarcely forty years had elapsed since Luther had thrown down the gauntlet to the Vatican by publicly burning the Papal bull at Wittenberg. Since that time, his doctrines had been received in Denmark and Sweden. In England, after a vacillation of three reigns, Protestantism, in the peculiar form which it still wears, had become the established religion of the state. The fiery cross had gone over the hills and valleys of Scotland, and thousands and ten of thousands had gathered to hear the word of life from the lips of Knox. The doctrines of Luther were spread over the northern parts of Germany, and freedom of worship was finally guaranteed there by the treaty of Passau. The Low Countries were the 'debatable land' on which the various sects of Reformers, the Lutheran, the Calvinist, the English Protestant, contended for mastery with the established Church. Calvinism was embraced by some of the cantons of Switzerland, and at Geneva its apostle had fixed his headquarters. His doctrines were widely circulated through France till the divided nation was prepared to plunge into that worst of all wars, in which the hand of brother is raised against brother. The cry of reform had passed even over the Alps, and was heard at the walls of the Vatican. It had crossed the Pyrenees; the King of Navarre declared himself a Protestant, and the spirit of the Reformation had insinuated itself secretly into Spain, and had taken hold, as we have seen, of the middle and southern provinces of the kingdom.
Contemporary depiction of the iconoclasm of the Reformers
Zurich, Switzerland (1584)
The more carefully one studies the Reformation, especially in its early stages, the more clearly he understands that "religious liberty" in the mind of those secretaries meant the liberty to tear down what they called the idolatrous worship of the Catholic Church, the Holy Mass, the altars, the sacred images, the monasteries of the monks, the convents of the nuns, driving out and murdering the faithful bishops and priests, and vesting the spiritual power in temporal princes, who at once proceeded to plunder whatever riches the piety of centuries had dedicated to the Divine service. This was the Reformation in a nutshell.

It was absolutely necessary for every Catholic nation to refuse and forcibly put down that species of religious liberty, and to use for the purpose inquisitions, imprisonments, banishments, executions of the leaders in heresy, etc. All this was at times carried to excess, as is always the case in civil wars as well as in foreign wars. Catholics waged war on rebellious citizens; for, in those days, heresy meant war upon the old religion, and nowhere, in no single country, did Protestantism prevail except by war. The Protestant Bishop Stubbs writes:
Where Protestantism was an idea only, as in France and Italy, it was crushed out by the Inquisition; where, in conjunction with political power, and sustained by ecclesiastical confiscation, it became a physical force, there it was lasting. It is not a pleasant view to take of the doctrinal changes, to see that where the movements toward it were pure and unworldly, it failed; where it was seconded by territorial greed and political animosity, it succeeded.
And again:
The instruments by which it [i.e. the Reformation] was accomplished were despotic monarchs, unprincipled ministers, a rapacious aristocracy, and venal, slavish parliaments. It sprung from brutal passion, was nurtured in selfish and corrupt policy, and was consummated in bloodshed and horrid crime.

The Reformation in Ireland

Ireland is a striking example of all this. If ever any land was made desolate by the burning zeal of fanatics who strove to force their own novel notions upon an unwilling population, it was the fair isle of Erin; and the crushing process was continued during three long centuries. I would not attempt to write the history of that bloody business; for to write history, a man must be cool and unperturbed by passion, and I do not see how I could keep cool while handling such a theme. I am no Irishman, nor of Irish descent; but I feel my pen warming in my hand, and my cheeks glowing, and my heart throbbing with indignation and compassion at the thought of such wrongs, such cruel and persistent violence used for generations to stamp their religion out of a faithful, heroic people.

Let a bigoted Protestant, the poet Spencer, speak in my place. He was in Ireland at the close of the Desmond rebellion, and he got three thousand acres of the confiscated Irish land as his share of the booty. He wrote:
Out of every corner of the woods and glens they [i.e. the Catholic people] came creeping forth on their hands, for their legs could not bear them; they spake like ghosts crying out of their graves; they did eat dead carrion; happy were they who could find it. In a short space, there was none almost left; and a most populous and plentiful country was suddenly void of man and beast.
This is but one scene in a tragedy of woes, more pathetic than Shakespeare's tragedy of King Lear. But all this is deeply written in the mind and the heart of the entire Irish race, and need not be recounted to prove that God has heroic servants in every age, and that He will not allow the gates of hell to prevail against His own faithful friends. Here are a few more scenes of this sad tragedy. I will give the words of D'Arcy McGee:
While the war against the Desmonds was raging in the south, under pretense of suppressing rebellion, no one could help seeing that, in reality, it was directed against the Catholic religion. If any had doubted the real objects, events which quickly followed Elizabeth's victory soon convinced them. Dermot O'Hurley, archbishop of Cashel, being taken by the victors, was brought to Dublin in 1552. Here, the Protestant primate Loftus besieged him in vain for nearly a year to deny the Pope's supremacy, and acknowledge the Queen's. Finding him of unshaken faith, he was brought out for martyrdom on Stephen's Green, adjoining the city; and there he was tied to a tree, his boots filled with combustibles, and his limbs stripped and smeared with oil and alcohol. Alternately they lighted and quenched the flames which enveloped him, prolonging his tortures through four successive days. Still remaining firm, before dawn of the fifth day, they finally consumed his last remains of life, and left his calcined bones among the ashes at the foot of his stake.* The relics gathered by some pious friends were hidden away in the half-ruined church of St. Kevin, near that outlet of Dublin called Kevinsport. In Desmond's tour of Kilmallock were then taken Patrick O'Haley, bishop of Mayo; Fr. Cornelius, a Franciscan, and some others. To extort from them confessions of the new faith, their thighs were broken with hammers, and their arms crushed by levers. They died without yielding, and the instruments of their torture were buried with them in the Franciscan convent of Askeaton. The Most Rev. Richard Creigh, primate of all Ireland, was the next victim.
Catholicity in Ireland has outlived the storm of three centuries of persecution, and has become the seed of salvation to as many millions in our age all over the earth as there were thousands of victims in the age of Queen Elizabeth and after.

The Reformation in France

The Reformation failed in Ireland because it drowned in the blood of it's victims; it also failed in France, but there it was drowned in the blood of Catholics and Huguenots alike. Spalding's History of the Reformation briefly sums up the story as follows:
The whole history of the Reformation in France may be related in two sentences: The Calvinists sought by intrigue and by force of arms to gain the ascendancy and to establish the new religion on the ruins of the old; but after a long struggle, they signally failed, and France was preserved to the Church. Long and terrible was the contest between the turbulent Protestant minority and the determined Catholic majority, to settle the momentous questions which should finally control the destinies of France; for nearly a hundred years, civil war, rendered still fiercer by the infusion of the element of religious zeal and fanaticism, waged with but brief intervals of pacification throughout the country, which it distracted and rendered desolate. Finally, the Catholics, meeting intrigue with intrigue, and repelling force by force, remained in the ascendant, and the Protestant party, once so aspiring, dwindled down into an insignificant fraction of the population.
The expression "meeting intrigue with intrigue" refers to the massacre of St. Bartholomew. The Protestants everywhere, and all along their lines of conquest, used intrigue and deceit, as we have shown in these essays; for once they were outdone in the use of that vile weapon in France, not by the Catholic Church, nor by Catholic bishops or priests, but by an unprincipled Queen dowager, Catherine de Medicis, an infidel at heart, though happening to belong to the Catholic party. We detest her wicked plot, even though without it France might have been lost to the Church, for no evil may ever be done that good may come of it. Yet, let Protestants remember, they have no right to complain that they were that time outwitted in wickedness.

The Reformation in the Netherlands

The Netherlands we will consider last. This region comprised the present kingdoms of Holland and Belgium, with some minor provinces, part of which are now in France. The country was very prosperous when the Reformation began, but it was subject to the dominion of the Spanish crown. It became restless of the foreign yoke, when the Calvinists from France, Protestant immigrants from England, the intrigue and subsidies of Elizabeth, and the Lutheran notions which the youths of Flanders brought home on their return from the German universities, made that region a hotbed of rebellion against Philip II and his Catholic governors. Civil independence was the boon in sight, the union of all the malcontents were chiefly heretics. The result was there, as in every land to which the new gospel came, a period of war, which in the Netherlands lasted about half a century. It finished in the establishment of the Dutch republic. As soon as this was established, it proceeded to stamp out Catholicity within its boundaries. The Protestant historian Menzel puts the matter thus:
The Calvinistic tenets and forms of worship were established to the exclusion of those of the Catholics and Lutherans. The cruelties practiced by the Catholics were equaled by those inflicted on the opposing party by the Reformers. The most horrid cruelties were perpetrated by Sonoi, by whom the few Catholics remaining in Holland were exterminated, A.D. 1577.
So says Menzel. But how can we believe that the remaining Catholics were few, since the first Protestant service had been held only three years before, as he informs us? Either there must have been very many, or there must have been a vast exodus of the faithful. The extent to which the Reformation had taken possession of Europe by 1570 is thus stated by Macaulay in his Criticism of Ranke's History of the Popes:
In fifty years from the day in which Luther publicly renounced communion with the Church of Rome and burned the bull of Leo before the gates of Wittenberg, Protestantism attained its highest ascendancy - an ascendancy which it soon lost, and which it has never regained. In England, Scotland, Denmark, Sweden, Livonia, Prussia, Saxony, Hesse, Wurtemburg, the Palatinate, in several cantons of Switzerland, in the northern Netherlands, the Reformation had completely triumphed, and in all other countries on this side of the Alps and the Pyrenees, it seemed on the point of triumphing.


Conclusion to the Series

We had undertaken, in this series of essays, to explain the origin of the Reformation, so as to show that it was not the work of the Holy Ghost, and of the calm, prayerful co-operation of holy men, full of that charity by which the true Church is animated; and we have finished that task, in a brief but truthful account. While many minor points, here and there occurring in our statements, will, no doubt, be controverted, our main line of thought is unassailable.

We will conclude this brief sketch of the first origin of Protestantism with some remarks of Macaulay on what we may call the second stage of the Reformation. He writes:
At first, the chances seemed to be decidedly in favor of Protestantism, but the victory remained with the Church of Rome. On every point it was successful. If we proceed another half-century, we find her victorious and dominant in France, Belgium, Bavaria, Bohemia, Austria and Hungary. Nor has Protestantism, in the course of two hundred years, been able to reconquer any portion of what it then lost. It is, moreover, not to be dissembled that this wonderful triumph of the Papacy is to be chiefly attributed, not to force of arms, but to a great reflux in public opinion.

*  D'Arcy McGee's depiction of the martyrdom of Archbishop Dermot O'Hurley is not entirely correct: while the archbishop did, indeed, suffer barbarous torture, including having his legs boiled over a roaring fire, he was finally executed outside of Dublin, at Hoggen Green, by hanging.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sarahque adversus Haereticos

His Eminence Robert Cardinal Sarah
(Photo: CNS/Paul Haring)
Readers may recall an article published here on December 4, 2014 entitled Müller adversus Haereticos in which it was reported that Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stated the following:
Any separation of the theory and the practice of the faith would, in its formulation, represent a subtle christological heresy.
It was the strongest, most unambiguous statement made to date by any high-ranking prelate on the matter.

The Radical Catholic is pleased to report that Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, has come forward in defense of the integral relationship of doctrine to practice using exactly the same terms. As reported by Rorate Caeli, the good Cardinal's new book, Either God or Nothing (Original: Dieu ou rien), contains the following equally unambiguous statement:
The idea that would consist in placing the Magisterium in a nice box by detaching it from pastoral practice - which could evolve according to the circumstances, fads, and passions - is a form of heresy, a dangerous schizophrenic pathology. I affirm solemnly that the Church of Africa will firmly oppose every rebellion against the teaching of Christ and the Magisterium.
Some in the Catholic blogging community had wondered aloud as to whether Cardinal Sarah's appointment to the position of Prefect was made in an attempt to bind him more closely to the Curia and, thus, make him more reluctant to openly criticize members of the same. Regardless as to the motives behind the appointment, it seems that Cardinal Sarah is not about to bow down to those who are suggesting to divorce doctrine from praxis. On the contrary, he's coming out with the some of the strongest language in the Church's vocabulary: it's heresy.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Fox News and the Devil

Browsing through the headlines today, I came across the following gem:


My interest piqued, I clicked the link. I was greeted by the following lead:
(San Diego) A local Roman Catholic bishop is using Pope Francis as an example and creating an all-inclusive Catholic parish that will serve everyone, including divorced people and the LGBTQ community. San Diego Bishop Dermot Rodgers lives by the saying, "Judge none, love all."
As it's Lent, I've been working on the virtue of charity. Really hard. Part of my Lenten practice has been to incorporate meditations on the Sorrowful Passion of Our Lord (from Fr. Lasance's Blessed Sacrament Prayerbook). Yesterday's exterior exercise was "To explain everything in favor of our neighbor." 

OK. Maybe this is a Bishop who upholds Church teaching and just wants to create an atmosphere where people living in sin can feel supported in their attempt to change their sinful behavior and get back into a state of grace. That's at least within the realm of the possible, right?

My penitentially empty stomach began to dance a tango with my spleen (a liturgically approved tango, mind you) as I continued reading:
"One of the earliest statements the Holy Father made about equality and about gays and lesbians in the world is, 'Who am I to judge?'" Rodgers said. "And a whole theology is being formed from that very statement, so not only to affect the LGBTQ community, but also divorced and remarried people and other people who feel excluded from the traditional Catholic Church."
OK. Take a deep breath. Assume the best.

I press on. 

Then, the other shoe drops. Fox 5 apparently contacted the offices of the San Diego Diocese, and received the following response:
Bishop Dermot Rodgers and the group associated with him are not affiliated with the Catholic Diocese of San Diego, and therefore we have no comment.
Wait a minute. What? Just who is 'Bishop' Dermot Rodgers, then? A quick search pulls up the following:
The Most Reverend Dermot Rodgers is currently in the process of completing his transition for Episcopal Incardination into [wait for it...] the Evangelical Catholic Church.
Evangeli... what? Did not the title of the article say "Roman Catholic"? Did not this 'bishop' refer to Pope Francis as "Holy Father"? What's going on here?

And then I realized that, in my effort to assume the best on the part of my neighbor, I fell headlong into the trap of forgetting that the secular media hates the Catholic Church, and will lie through its teeth to get more click revenue.

Well played, Fox News, Agent of Diabolical Disorientation. Well played.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Of Tending Sheep

Tend My sheep.

It's an important passage from the Gospel of St. John, and one which has been given a new meaning under the exegesis of Pope Francis and the 'Age of Mercy' which, with the assistance of the modern Mystics of Mercy such as Cardinal Walter Kasper, he appears intent to let dawn upon the Catholic Church. The sheep, we are told, are those 'on the peripheries,' who have been cast out of society - particularly Catholic society - and it is the duty of every good shepherd to go out to them, to care for them, and bring them back to the fold.

Why sheep? Well, sheep are herding animals. They generally feel safe in herds, and are easy enough to handle in large groups. But when one gets separated from the flock, the lamentable and sometimes positively shocking stupidity of sheephood comes to the fore, and they become very frightened and utterly incapable of helping themselves. I say this as one who spent a season herding sheep in southern Ireland. Though they are lovable, their reputation for stupidity is well-deserved.

Our Lord is, of course, drawing a parallel between sheep and people, and it is a comparison He makes in several places in the Gospel. Not particularly flattering, but nonetheless accurate as far as analogies go. One need only think, for example, of the many thickets of heresy in which our Protestant friends have caught themselves, with little chance of getting free without assistance from above, to see the point being made here.

But notice again the words of Our Lord:

Tend My Sheep.

Notice that He didn't say, "Tend Jehosaphat's sheep," or "Tend thy neighbor's sheep," or even simply "Tend the sheep," but rather: Tend My sheep.

The assumption here is that, like actual sheep, those who belong to the fold of Christ and find themselves, for whatever reason, separated from it want very much to return to it and the safety it provides. Generally speaking, real sheep, after calling out in distress, will allow their shepherd to calm them, to remove the thorny vines into which they have tangled themselves, and to guide them back to the flock. Somewhere in their tiny sheep brains, they understand that they need the help offered to them by the shepherd. They are, after all, his sheep.

I would love to say that this is also the case with humans, that all people, deep down, are calling out to the Good Shepherd to save them from the thicket of sin and self-deception. Alas, this is where the parable breaks down.

The fact is that, in the herd of humanity, there are rogue sheep.

Quite a few of them, actually.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Fr. Thomas Rosica Threatens Catholic Blogger

Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B.
Fr. Thomas Rosica, C.S.B., has threatened Catholic layman David Domet of the blog Vox Cantoris with legal action on charges of defamation.

Mr. Domet received a "notice of action" letter on February 17, 2015 from the law office of Fogler, Rubinoff LLP, informing him that Fr. Thomas Rosica has retained their services in relation to entries made on the blog Vox Cantoris which, in the opinion of Fr. Rosica, are "false, defamatory, or both," and that, unless Mr. Domet removes from the blog all statements regarding Fr. Rosica and issues a public apology to the same, legal action would be taken against him under the Libel and Slander Act, R.S.O. 1990, Ch. L 12. The letter can be read here.

Is the Vatican, through the person of Fr. Rosica, attempting to intimidate independent Catholic bloggers into silence in advance of the 2015 Synod? Michael Voris of Church Militant TV has asked the question, and I think it's a valid one.

Long-time readers of this blog might recall that Fr. Rosica has been mentioned on these pages as well, particularly in regard to his apparent endorsement of the view that the Holy Family (orate pro nobis) represented an "irregular" union. I wrote:
There's been a bit of chatter regarding a tweet made by Salt and Light's Fr. Thomas Rosica regarding a particularly nasty bit of writing. In Fr. Thomas Rosica's defense, it has to be said that he is not the originator of the nastiness; he's actually paraphrasing the last line of the article to which he linked: What Is a Catholic Family? by Peter Maneau, which appeared a few days ago in the Opinion Pages of the New York Times. At the same time, however, it's hard not to see the paraphrase as an open endorsement of the comparison itself. Which, with all the charity I can muster, is positively horrid.
Protecting oneself from malicious detraction is one thing. Wanting to silence faithful Catholics for openly questioning the fidelity of clerics whose words and actions betray serious deficiencies is something else entirely. And, given the vocal support lay Catholic bloggers have received from prelates such as Cardinal Raymond Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider for their defense of orthodoxy in the face of the "radical neo-Pagan ideology" currently threatening the moral teachings of the Church, one has to wonder whether this is little more than an attempt to do exactly that: silence the opposition to the now well-known agenda of the 2015 Synod.

Keep both Mr. Doment and Fr. Rosica in your prayers, gentle reader, even if for very different intentions.

The Eucharist: The Bread of Life

Eighth in a Series on the Reasons of the Eucharist

Fr. Albert Tesnière, S.S.S.

Dominus Est!


The Eucharist is the Aliment of Divine Life in Souls


Adore, before your eyes, behind the veil of the sacramental species, really present and living, God and man both together, who in the days of His earthly life pronounced these words:
I am the Bread of Life; he that cometh to Me shall not hunger. I am the Living Bread which came down from heaven; if any man eat of this Bread he shall live forever; and the Bread which I will give is My Flesh for the life of the world. He that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood abideth in Me and I in him. He that eateth Me the same also shall live by Me.
Listen with the joy of life restored, of life assured, to these words which promise you, with so much certitude, the most beautiful and enviable of lives - Divine Life itself.

All life is in God as in its only source, and when from this universal source issue floods of sentient and rational life, there remains still in God a personal life of His own, a life of holiness, of light, of love, and of infinite happiness. Nothing obliges our Creator to add the gift of this better life to the gift of natural life. Nevertheless, our soul is radically capable of it; and as the first created human soul, that of our first father, was gifted and enriched by the gratuitous goodness of the Creator, our own soul joins to its radical aptitude to possess the Divine Life the imperishable remembrance of the lost possession, an immense desire to recover it, profound sorrow, and an incurable feeling of exhaustion at being deprived of it.

Now, only He who gave this Divine Life the first time can restore it to us; God the Father bestowed the first gift, God the Son restores it. We derive the germ of it when we are by baptism washed in His blood; but in order to preserve so precious a life, to develop it, to render it actual, valiant, and fruitful in holy works, to appreciate all the joys which it contains, there must be an aliment, a regular growth: it is the Bread of Life, the Bread of the Eucharist.

Oh! adore then the Divine Life, the Holy Life, the Happy Life, the Eternal Life which comes to you, which is promised you, given and assured by the Bread of the Eucharist. Adore Jesus Christ, made the living Bread and the Sacrament of divine life in our souls.


If we understand both the horror of death and the benefit of Divine Life for the soul, how shall we be able to refrain from continually blessing, with feelings of the most profound gratitude, the thought which conceived the Eucharist, the heart which gave it to us, the love which preserves it for us?

God is the life of the soul, even as the soul is the life of the body. To be born to natural life without arriving at supernatural life, after God had destined us for it, is to remain uncrowned, it is to give a stalk without a flower, a flower without fruit. More than this, to remain as we were, destitute of life on account of original sin and the sins which we fatally add to it, is to be condemned to degradation, to chastisement, to the privation of all happiness, to estrangement from God, and to be exposed to His anger. Is not this to be dead, and to have incurred death, which means eternal, horrible death?

Well, then! Let us breathe, let us hope, let us rejoice! Behold the Bread which gives growth to life, which repairs its waste, which shapes its course, which facilitates its exercise, which preserves and keeps forever the treasure of it. It is the Bread of Life, the Bread of the Eucharist! He who eats of it faithfully will never die; if he fall for a moment beneath the blows of sin, he will revive through the virtue of this Bread.

Oh Bread of Life, communicating to my weakness all the energy, all the virtues of the life of God Himself! Oh Aliment of Immortality, which fixes my perishable life upon the immutable rock of eternity! Oh Bread of Honor and of Glory, which raises me up from the abyss of nothingness and of the most profound abjection of sin, to give me access with the princes of the heavenly court to the table of the King of kings! Oh Bread of Peace, of Consolation, of Light and of Love, which gives to me a foretaste of the happiness which I shall attain if I allow myself faithfully to be led by Thy influence and Thy power! Be Thou loved, blessed, praised forever by grateful humanity!


Has the world given this cordial welcome to the gift of life? And how do we ourselves receive it? Does it produce in us these fruits of a holy and divine life?

Alas! Some, and they are very numerous, do not allow themselves to believe or to understand these benevolent advances of the Saviour; they keep aloof from His table; they lead an animal life, full of accidents, a rational life mingled with sorrow and with faults; but they leave their soul in death; they close their ears through pride, they refuse the Bread of Purity, through perversity they repel the best gift of God, in which He gives Himself!

Others, more guilty perhaps, and at any rate more base, desire to unite the Divine Life with a guilty life, to eat at the table of God and at that of demons, receiving, without the faith which enlightens, without the love which purifies, the Living Bread into their soul dead from sin. They only receive from it a greater measure of the divine anger, which buries them still more lamentably in death!

And I? Do I have the life of God? Do my thoughts find in His thoughts their rule of faith? Is He my supreme love, loved only for Himself and regulating all my other loves? And if I do not live by the life of God, is it because I do not nourish myself sufficiently with the Bread of the Divine Life, or that I do not partake aright, not bringing the dispositions requisite for receiving it, and not corresponding faithfully enough with its vital influences?

It is a sorrowful subject for examination, which, however, must be frequently approached and thoroughly discussed, for it is a question of living by the Eucharist or dying spite of the Bread of Life.


Repeat to yourself the words of the ardent desires of those who listened to the promise of the marvellous Bread of Life: "Lord, give us always of this bread." The Divine Master has introduced them into the formula of the most excellent of all prayers, "Give us this day our daily bread." Then from pity for all languishing souls, for all the hungry, the sick, and the dead which surround you, deprived of the Bread of Life through their own fault or from ignorance, repeat to Jesus in union with His apostles:

"Lord, behold in the midst of this desert of life the crowd which has nothing to eat that can really nourish it. Have pity on it!"


Practice assiduity in receiving the Bread of Life with diligent preparation and faithful correspondence to its divine influences.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Jews, Jerusalem and the Early Church

Reading N° 3 in the History of the Catholic Church

Fr. Fernand Mourret, S.S.

Our Lord, in His sermons and parables, repeatedly announced that the kingdom of God, rejected by the Jews, would be accepted by the Gentiles. But the Israelites, nonetheless, remained the chosen people, the nation "of the promise." It was at Jerusalem, in a group belonging to the Jewish race, that the Church had its cradle. The earliest disciples of Christ religiously followed most of the Jewish observances, and withdrew from them only gradually and with utmost respect. The Synagogue, after the defections of its children, was buried with honor.

How great had been the destinies of the children of Abraham and Jacob before God and man! The Lord, by His covenant with them, by the prophets He raised up in the midst of their nation, by the numerous wonders He performed for them during the ages, had done for them what He had done for no other people. On their part, scattered as they were throughout the nations, they had remained faithful to the two great doctrines which the Lord had entrusted to their safekeeping: belief in one God and the hope of a Messias. Athens might lay claim to the glory of unparalleled art; Rome, to that of incomparable political science; but Jerusalem was the center of the purest worship that had been offered to the Divinity.

Israel, a house divided against itself
The Roman domination, established in Judea in 63 B.C., did not result in depriving the Jewish people entirely of their independence. Under the rule of the Herods, the children of Israel had kept a partial autonomy, which enabled them to remain faithful to the religion revealed to their fathers, and to celebrate, in the Temple at Jerusalem, the great ceremonies handed down by their ancestors. Baleful domestic divisions, however, had imbroiled the nation. The party that was preponderant in numbers as well as in the prestige of its members, was always that of the Pharisees.[1] Of these meticulous observers of the Law, some were hypocrites, like those on whom Christ heaped maledictions; others were pure and upright, like those who braved all human respect to follow Him. There were, besides, the pleasure-loving Sadducees and the ambitious Herodians, fond of an easy life, who gladly accepted the customs and practices of Greece and Rome.[2] At the opposite extreme were the Essenes. These visionary fanatics haughtily looked down on the other sects and considered themselves as the sole heirs of the heavenly promises. They endeavored to realize a superhuman purity.[3] The strictest of the Essenes made a point of not going to the Temple, for they held it to be stained by their degenerate fellow-Jews; but in this they were not followed by the body of the nation. For the people of Israel, the Temple remained the sacred place where the Jewish nation offered its traditional sacrifices, aware of its great supernatural mission. They were proud of this noble edifice; its rebuilding, begun by Herod the Great, was not completed until the year 64, by Agrippa II. When a son of Israel, standing at the top of Mount Olivet, surveyed the gigantic wall which made the Temple look like an enormous fortress, the whole series of intercommunicating terraces, and at the summit the sanctuary itself, and its roof, covered with gold plates, reflecting the sun,[4] his national pride was exalted; a grim irritation stirred in his soul against the foreign usurper; the memory of the heroic Maccabees who, a century earlier, had won back the Temple and religious liberty in Palestine, enkindled in his breast both patriotism and religion.

The Temple complex at Jerusalem (model) prior to its destruction in A.D. 70

The faithful disciples who had been won from the ranks of the Jewish people by Christ's preaching and the prodigies of Pentecost, shared in these noble feelings. Following the example of their Divine Master,[5] they regularly went up to the Temple and mingled in the crowd of the worshippers. "For them, the new religion was not the foe of the old, but its fruit. They rightly judged that the holy souls of both Testaments - the Old and the New - really formed one and the same Church about one and the same Messias, misunderstood by some, acclaimed by others, but the sole object of Israel's hopes. [...] To God, the Author of the Old Covenant, it pertained to signify to all, by permitting the destruction of the Temple and the nationality of Israel, that the legal end of Mosaism had come."[6]


[1] Beurlier, Le Monde juif au temps de ]ésus-Christ, I, 44-47. Cf. Stapfer, Palestine in the Time of Christ, pp. 265-284; Dollinger, The Gentile and the Jew, II, 304 ff.
[2] Beurlier, op. cit., p. 43.
[3] Idem, p. 48.
[4] On the Temple at Jerusalem, see art. "Temple" in the Dict. de la Bible. Cf. Vogué, Le Temple de ]érusalem; Perrot and Chipiez, Histoire de l'art dans l'antiquité, IV, 205-211; Stapfer, op. cit., pp. 403-453.
[5] St. Thomas, Summa theol., III, q. 37; q. 40, 4, 0; q.47, 2 ad 1. 
[6] Le Camus, L'Œuvre des apôtres, I, 46.


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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ash Wednesday

Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

My God, my God, have mercy on my sin,
For it is great; and if I should begin
To tell it all, the day would be too small
To tell it in.

My God, Thou wilt have mercy on my sin
For Thy Love's sake: yea, if I should begin
To tell This all, the day would be too small
To tell it in.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Reformation in Denmark, Norway and Iceland

Eleventh in a Series on the Protestant Reformation

Fr. Charles Coppens, S.J.

[Note: As the countries of Denmark, Norway and Iceland were closely linked together through the person of Christian II, the advance of Protestantism in all three countries is here treated together. - RC]

The Reformation in Denmark

Christian II of Denmark (1481-1559)
Christian, or Christiern, II ruled over Denmark from 1513 to 1523. Being exceedingly fond of autocratic power, he undertook to break down the influence of the nobility and the clergy in all portions of his dominions. We have seen how he attempted to do so in Sweden by the massacre of the Bloody Bath; and how utterly he was foiled by the insurrection of Gustav Vasa, who achieved the independence of his native country.

In Denmark, Christiern chiefly attacked the clergy, who were very powerful there. The means he chose for this purpose was the introduction into the country of Lutheranism, and its ordinary accompaniment, the confiscation of all Church property. It is the same story, only diversified in its details.

Christiern was not as wily as Vasa; he went straight to the point, not doubting that he could crush all opposition. He invited to Copenhagen a disciple of Luther, Martin by name, and he installed him a bishop in his capital city. The indignant nation protested with a common voice; but he heeded not. On the contrary, the deposed archbishop was put to death, and laws oppressive of the clergy were proclaimed. Then all parties combined to dethrone Christiern; he fled, and, after various vicissitudes, he was cast into a frightful prison, from which he did not come forth alive.

The throne of Denmark was next offered to Christiern's uncle, Frederick I of Holstein. He too, unfortunately, believed in reformation and confiscation, which was the great temptation of the times. Yet when accepting the kingly crown, he took a solemn oath to maintain the Catholic religion. He soon began a secret, and next an open persecution of the clergy; and he defended his conduct, in 1527, before the diet of Odessa, on the plea that he had pledged himself to maintain the Catholic religion, but not to tolerate its abuses. Among these alleged abuses he counted the primacy of the Apostolic See. He arrogated to himself the confirmation of all elections to bishoprics. He granted to the Lutherans all the rights which had been enjoyed so far by Catholics alone; a measure which, as the result proved, practically meant the protecting of heresy and the oppression of the ancient Church.

At the death of Frederick I in 1533, his son Christian III, though a Protestant, was made King, on the explicit condition that he would not be an enemy to Catholicity. How far he violated this promise, and forced the country into apostasy, can be clearly understood from the following account taken word for word from a Protestant writer in the Edinburgh Encyclopedia:
As soon as Christian III was firmly seated on the throne, he turned his attention to the state of religion, and resolved to carry into execution a plan which had been communicated to him by Gustavus (Vasa) for reducing the power of the clergy. He accordingly assembled the senate with great secrecy, and they immediately came to the resolution to annex all the Church lands, towns, fortresses and villages to the crown, and to abolish forever the temporal power of the clergy. All the bishops in the different parts of the kingdom were arrested about the same time; and, that the nation might not be alarmed by this extraordinary measure, the King convoked the states at Copenhagen; the nobility were ordered to be there in person, the commons by their deputies, but the clergy were not summoned to attend. After a strong speech from the King against the rapacity of the clergy, the senate confirmed the decree of the diet; and the power and privileges of the clergy were declared to be annihilated forever. The senate next settled the succession in the Duke Frederick, the King's eldest son. In return for these concessions, the King confirmed the nobility in all their rights, particularly in what they called the right of life and death over their vassals, and of punishing them in what manner they thought proper. Thus was the power of the clergy destroyed in Denmark; but the conclusion which the nobles drew from this, i.e. that their own authority and power would be so much the more augmented, was soon proved to be erroneous. For, as a great part of the crown lands had fallen into the hands of the clergy, these lands being again annexed to the crown, the royal authority was considerably increased. The oppression of the farmers still continued, and the nobles displayed a restless and increasing desire to prevent them from ever rising in the state; for the senate passed a law forbidding any person, either ecclesiastic or secular, who was not noble, to buy any freehold lands in the kingdom, or to endeavor to acquire such lands by any other title.
The existence of the Catholic Church in Denmark and the liberty of the people thus fell together at one blow. It should here be remarked that in all other lands, too, in which the Reformation was established by main force, tyranny at the same time began to rule supreme and popular rights were greatly impaired. And yet, such has been the falsification of modern history, especially in English speaking countries, that the impression generally prevails that the Reformation meant the end of tyranny and the dawn of popular liberty. With the exception of the Netherlands, whose story is peculiar, the direct contrary is everywhere in evidence.

The diet of Copenhagen had taken place in 1536. The bishops cast into prison at the time could not regain their liberty except on condition of resigning their sees. All did so, except the heroic bishop Roennow, who remained in prison till death, eight years later, came to make his a glorious martyr for the faith. To complete the work of the Reformation in Denmark, a Lutheran preacher, Bugenhagen, was imported from Wittenberg. By his advice, the King appointed seven "superintendents" to replace the deposed bishops. In 1546, a new diet, held at Copenhagen, abolished all the civil and political rights of the Catholics, who could thenceforth hold no civil office, or even inherit any possessions; while death was decreed against all priests and again those who should harbor them.

The Reformation in Norway

Norway remained subject to Denmark after Sweden had thrown off the yoke. The bishop of Drontheim was unfortunately a great friend of Christiern II, and promoted the introduction of the novel doctrines. But the Norwegians were attached to the ancient faith; nothing but violence could conquer them.

When Christiern II was expelled from Denmark, the bishop of Drontheim was forced to fly from Norway. Later on, in 1536, the Norwegians refused to accept Christiern III as their King; they rebelled and slew or expelled his supporters. He sent an army into Norway and completely conquered it. Then he totally deprived it of its autonomy, and placed his own creatures in all the leading offices. As for religion, stringent laws were passed by which all the inferior clergy were compelled either to embrace Lutheranism or to fly the country. Many, chiefly monks, preferred exile to apostasy. here again, as in so many other lands, civil liberty and Catholicity perished together.

The Reformation in Iceland

Iceland had been converted to Christianity about 1,000 A.D. From the ninth to the thirteenth century, it was the center of Northern enterprise. Its government was a species of republic; its laws were wise; it was in the golden age of its civilization. But in 1380, it was annexed to the Danish crown; in 1482, it lost by a plague one-half of its population. Yet the land was beginning to regain something of its former prosperity when the Reformation came to inflict on its people a sadder and more permanent injury than the plague had done.

The history of this catastrophe is simple enough, and can be told in a few lines. Christiern III of Denmark attempted to Protestanize Iceland. Clergy and people rose in rebellion against his tyranny. The King sent over a numerous and well-equipped body of foreign troops, which ultimately overpowered the brave but ill-organized citizens. Their leading bishop, John Areson, was seized and put to death. The same violent and arbitrary laws were imposed upon the conquered land which had destroyed the Church in Denmark and Norway. Once more, the Reformation was forced upon an unwilling nation by means of foreign bayonets.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Eucharist: The Solace of the Bride of Christ

Seventh in a Series on the Reasons of the Eucharist

Fr. Albert Tesnière, S.S.S.

Dominus Est!


The Eucharist is the Protection, the Consolation, and the Sanctification of Holy Church


Adore, like a true child of the Catholic Church, in her name and in her faith, Our Lord Jesus Christ, residing in the Sacrament since the foundation of the Church and until the end of the world, therein to give the Church, which He loves so dearly, all the succor of which she stands in need.

Salute Him by the beautiful name of Spouse of the Church; for He is so in very truth, and He has chosen her in His love, and washed her in His blood, that He might render her wholly pure and beautiful in holiness. He is in the Sacrament to follow her, to sustain her, to console her, and to give her the divine Bread which her children claim from this mother of souls. His presence is the joy, the life, the honor, the glory, and the reason of the inexhaustible fecundity of the Catholic Church. A royal Spouse, and crowned King of the earth and of the skies, He makes her partake in His regal honors and share His empire; she is a glorious queen reigning with Him and by Him. What are the Christian sects, deprived of the Eucharist, in comparison with her? Where is their glory, where their holiness, where their fecundity, their apostolate?

Adore the Eucharistic Christ as the sacred Head of the Church; that is to say, as the head and the principle of that mystic and supernatural body, the members of which are everywhere, and who everywhere participate in the same life, believe the same truths, and bear the same eternal hopes. It is from the Sacrament, from the Eucharist, the heart of the Church, that all the channels of grace branch forth, bearing life throughout the whole Church, even as the arteries in the human body diffuse heat and movement.

Adore, behind the veils of the Sacrament, the Holy of Holies of the New Law, the supreme but invisible Pontiff of the Church. He wills to operate the exterior functions of His pontificate by means of visible pontiffs. He speaks, governs, and sanctifies by the Pope, by Bishops and by Priests; but in the sanctuary of His Sacrament He exercises in an excellent manner the function of prayer and of sacrifice, which is the principal function of the Priest, offering it night and day, with infinite perfection. In the powerlessness of His Host, He in reality rules the Church; in His silence, it is He who teaches, by inspiring pastors with the teaching to which they must make the Church listen, by keeping away error from their lips, and by rendering souls docile to their voice.

Oh, Sacrament of the Catholic Church, its honor and its glory, be adored, known, and loved by all the children of this mother of redeemed humanity!


Consider how good, how advantageous for the Church is this assiduous presence of her Spouse with her here below.

See how He follows her everywhere, on all shores, under all climates; everywhere where she sets her foot, He is there, it is even He Himself who has led her there.

See how He shares in her condition: glorified with her when she is received and honored by a faithful people; flying with her when she is persecuted; descending with her into the catacombs during three hundred years, driven away with her from apostate countries.

See with what fidelity He has remained with her since He espoused her with His blood, nineteen centuries ago, without having even ceased for a single day to be present with her for her protection and consolation.

See, lastly, how patiently He bears with the faults and even with the crimes which forgetful and ungrateful children of the Church commit so often against Him; He bears it all, from His ministers as well as from simple laymen, and nothing can weary His heroic perseverance because nothing can conquer His incredible love for the Church His Spouse.

Appreciate these touching proofs of the love of Jesus for the Church, and you will render Him thanks for it by being a right-minded child of this good mother.


If the Saviour Christ loved the Church to such a degree that, having died in order to redeem her from the captivity of Satan, He wills to remain with her always, and at the price of all kinds of sacrifices to make Himself the food of her children and the victim of their sins, voluntarily offered and perpetually immolated, what unutterable, intense, and poignant pain does He not experience from the trials of the Church? It is necessary to understand it in order that we may offer Him the homage and the consolations of which He stands in need in the cruel afflictions inflicted on His heart as a spouse and father.

These trials are, first of all, the heresies and schisms which rise up against the doctrine and authority of the Church, striving to tarnish the one and to destroy the other; and what vast provinces have not heresy and schism snatched from the beneficent empire of the Church!

Then there are mortal sins, apostasy, indifference with regard to religion, the mortal lethargy in which so many souls lie, and which by rendering them paralyzed members of the Church here below, threaten to separate them from her forever.

There are, in addition, the notorious defections, the scandalous apostasies, the blows directed against the august face of the most amiable of mothers, which Jesus keenly feels, for He has said, "Who heareth you heareth Me, he who despiseth you despiseth Me."

Lastly, there are violent persecutions inflicted by a deceived and infuriated populace, or the perfidious and more dangerous persecutions of governments which strive to oppress, to humble, or at least to trammel the Church. Jesus feels them deeply and He exclaims, "Why persecutest thou Me?"

Let us think, and think often, of the divine Head of the Church, and let us remember that no one of the members of His mystic body is attacked without His being Himself grievously hurt. In these days of universal war against holy Church, it is a subject which imposes itself on the love and on the reparatory zeal of faithful souls.


If there be a prayer which cannot but be pleasing to Our Lord, and which He cannot but be ready to answer, it is certainly that which the children of the Church offer to Him for their afflicted mother, humiliated and persecuted. It makes its way straight to His heart; He considers it a sacred duty, promulgated in the precept which commands us to love our parents: and the Church is the true mother of souls.

He who does not habitually pray for the Church fails to fulfil this most sacred of all obligations. Jesus has set us the example of it, and the altars on which He prays and immolates Himself for the needs of the Church are numberless.

Let us, therefore, place prayer for the interests of Holy Church, the Supreme Pontiff, Bishops, Priests, Monks and Nuns in the first place of all our intentions; let us pray united with the divine invisible Priest for the reign, the peace, the extension of the Church, so that all, Jews and pagans, infidels and sinners, may be given back to the Church and may come and adore, and with her celebrate her adorable Spouse and her King in the Sacrament of His merciful presence.


Engage yourself in the apostolate of zeal in prayer and devotedness to the interests of Holy Church.