Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Insouciant About Orthodoxy

R. R. Reno is the editor of "First Things" magazine, teaches theology at Creighton University and is the author of In the Ruins of the Church: Sustaining Faith in an Age of Diminished Christianity (Brazos). Rusty converted to the Catholic Church from the Episcopal tradition in the fall of 2004. This reflection was written in the winter of 2005.

Read a portion of his story below

I put myself up for reception into the Catholic Church as one might put oneself up for adoption. A man can no more guide his spiritual life by his own ideas than a child can raise himself on the strength of his native potential. Stories of conversion to the Catholic Church can be rather tediously joyous. One might wish for some variety in such stories, perhaps something along the lines of Winston Churchill's observation that "democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time." But such variety as there is in conversion stories would seem to rest on the different ways in which converts describe a newly found bounty. For me, the gain was fairly simple. 
The Catholic Church did not deliver me from apostasy and false teaching. I teach at a Jesuit University, so I am not naïve about just how insouciant about orthodoxy priests can be. Nor did Catholicism provide me with a neat, efficient, and trouble-free church. I do read newspapers. 
What my reception into the Catholic Church provided was deliverance from the temptation to navigate by the compass of a theory. The Catholic Church has countless failures, but of this I am certain: Catholic Christianity does not need to be underwritten by an idea. A Pentecostal friend came to the Mass of reception at the Jesuit Martyrs' Chapel. He is a close friend and a man whose faith I admire. After the Mass we talked for a while. He asked me, "So, what did it feel like to become a Catholic?" I told him, "It felt like being submerged into the ocean." He reacted with a look of thinly disguised horror. That look reminded me that, while I sometimes suffer from an attraction to Emersonian fantasies of self-reliance and disdain for hierarchy, I have never wanted to be alone with God. It has always seemed to me that such a desire too easily turns into a longing to be alone with one's idea of God, and that is the same as being alone with oneself.
Link (here) to R. R. Reno's conversion story at Why I am a Catholic

Monday, January 30, 2012

Zags Learning About Business, Ethics, And Life From Billionaire Warren Buffett

Warren Buffet with President Obama
Twenty Gonzaga University entrepreneurship students will spend a day this fall in Omaha learning about business, ethics, and life from billionaire Warren Buffett, the “Oracle of Omaha," one of the most innovative and influential business leaders in the world. Buffett is chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, an Omaha-based conglomerate of more than 70 companies with nearly a quarter-million employees that also invests in numerous companies and investment vehicles. Buffett invites a select number of universities to Omaha every year. Todd FinkleGonzaga’s Pigott Professor of Entrepreneurship, initiated the visit with the assistance of Paul Buller, the School of Business Administration’s Kinsey-Robinson Professor of Business Management. Finkle wrote an in-depth case study on Buffett and Berkshire before coming to Gonzaga. Buffett read the case and invited Finkle and 27 students from University of Akron, where Finkle taught before coming to Gonzaga. They spent a day in Omaha at Berkshire Hathaway’s world headquarters and two of his subsidiaries.
Link (here) to Jesuitbusinessschools.net
Read about Warren Buffets Support of Planned Parenthood and Catholics for Choice (here)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Jesuit On Mitt Romney's 2012 Campaign

It appears then that Mr. Romney's re-branding of himself is well underway. Yet the former governor Mitt Romney appears to be in a constant state of becoming. As I have previously noted in this space, in the 2008 G.O.P primaries, Mitt Romney changed his message not once, but four times. There was Romney 1.0, the Massachusetts liberal Republican who had previously supported gay rights and abortion rights. Then Rudy Giuliani entered the 2008 race and it seemed that there was only room for one liberal Republican, so Romney's campaign launched Romney 2.0, the social conservative. 
Link (here) to read the full editorial by Matt Malone, S.J.

A Democrat Jesuit On A Catholic Republican Presidential Canidate

I don’t know where Rick Santorum was in 1960, but he was two years old. I was surrounded by Jesuit scholastics in philosophy studies. We knew the speech had been written with the advise of Catholic theologians and that Kennedy knew the proper role of conscience, as well as religion, in making public decisions. Meanwhile the issues which challenge Catholic conscience have grown, particularly in social justice, since the 1960s; and many, if not most, Catholics see the relationship between life issues as both more intimate and complex than those Kennedy faced. A study by Catholic Democrats shows that Santorum has among the worst voting records in the U.S. Congress on social justice and the family, though Santorum describes himself as “pro family.” In November 2011 he questioned the value of lower income children qualifying for Medicaid, food stamps, and housing assistance. “Why do these kids feel they are entitled to so much?...Suffering, if you’re a Christian, is part of life and it’s not a bad thing.” He favors massive tax cuts for the wealthy, wants to abolish public service unions, and denies humans are responsible for climate change. While the bishops have condemned torture in all its forms, in the televised debate Santorum endorsed water-boarding and “enhanced interrogation techniques.” He has long been pro-death penalty, but now says he’s thinking it over.
Link (here) to the full piece by Fr. Raymond A. Schroth, S.J. America Magazine

American Pot Shot

Newt and Calista Gingrich
Does a politician’s personal life prohibit him or her from holding office? I don’t think so, but one quote from Marianne Gingrich, if true, speaks volumes about Newt Gingrich. At the time when Marianne discovered her ex-husband had been carrying on a years-long affair with another woman, he was giving morality laden speeches to the American public. Upset, she confronted him about the talks, and he replied: “It doesn’t matter what I do. People need to hear what I have to say. There’s no one else who can say what I can say. It doesn’t matter what I live.”
It’s one thing to preach morality and then fail to live up to your own lofty ideal; it’s human and we’re all guilty of it now and then. It’s another to build a career destroying others, moralizing day in and day out, and to lead a life that doesn’t come close to the ideal that you impose on others. That’s called being a hypocrite. Leaders, even good leaders, can be lots of things—ambitious, narcissistic, and perhaps even philandering (such as John Kennedy, Bill Clinton, John Edwards, Gary Hart or Ted Kennedy)—but they can’t be hypocrites. Hypocrites cannot lead, and Newt Gingrich is a hypocrite. Let’s hope the American people see this come November 2012.
Link (here) to read the full blog post entitled, Newt Gingrich, Hypocrite by Micheal O'Loughlin at the Jesuit published America's In All Things 
The unoriginal idea for the O'Loughlin piece can found (here)
Ron Paul's 2008 Georgetown Speech 
watch it (here)

Fr. William "Bix" Bischel, S.J. Put In Solitary Confinment At SeaTac Federal Prison

Fr William "Bix" Bischel, S.J. was very happy to see and hear all who came to visit and wanted either to invite everyone in or go out and be with them. He had a strong sense they were angels, which gave him intense joy. He went onto comment that “it was so right they should be there.” His captors on the other hand had a slightly different experience. First reprimanding him for being out of compliance (whatever that meant), he was told he was going to be “written up” and what happened was to be “reported.” The rest is history –
in early morning he was suddenly awakened, grabbed out of bed, shackled, and returned to SeaTac by the marshals. 
Their actions and manner of treatment made it known to him how he would proceed. Upon his arrival at SeaTac he made it clear he intended to be in complete non compliance with their demands; their recourse, which was to be expected, would be to place him in “protective custody or the special housing unit (SHU)”“the hole”!
Link (here) to Solitary Watch

Friday, January 27, 2012

These Callous And Murderous Times.

I am always amused—just before becoming infuriated—by animal rights activists who argue against fur or leather coats screaming, “How would you like to have your skin ripped from you?” Question?   
How does it feel to have a needle puncture the base of the skull and suck out the brain without anesthesia?  How does it feel to have one’s head crushed?   
 The Gospel calls us to be disciples whose belief leads to action, even when that action is unpopular.  Today we are called to be like the prophet Jonah, who is described in The Jewish Study Bible as “the most successful prophet in the Bible.”  We are called to make our voices heard in these callous and murderous times.
Link (here) to read the full piece by Fr. Jack SJ MD

Neither Amused Nor Shocked

On Monday evening in Hamburg, the controversial play "Golgotha Picnic" was performed in Germany. The SSPX has previously called for protests yesterday evening and had also called for a vigil outside the theater. According to the CBA the protest was attended by about 20 people, according to the "Star" magazine, there were 60 participants. Following the play there was a panel discussion at which the ministers who attended, a Catholic school rector, Jesuit, Father Hermann Breulmann
He was "neither amused nor shocked, but thoughtful," said the degreed philosopher of religion. "It was strong stuff, but I have found points where I can say, this piece has something." It raises questions and has an >>intensely deep grammar<<. If you have read Nietzsche, not all of its alienation from God is strange, said Breulmann. Actually it poses a question about all freedom of art, if the aesthetic of the piece has crossed any borders. I would not, however, characterize the play as blasphemous. 
"I would have thought that the Good Lord would have let things be cool," said the elderly Jesuit. Even Jesus said with his last words, "My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" since in the core that would not have been blasphemous, he did not agree with the criticisms leveled by the protesters.
Link to (here) Tancred and The Eponymous Flower

Joe Paterno Graduated From Brooklyn Preparatory High School

Joe Paterno in his Brooklyn Prep Uniform
Joe Paterno was not only a legend at Penn State but also at a place called Brooklyn Preparatory High School, a Jesuit institution of rigid learning that opened its doors in 1908, at 1150 Carroll St. between Rogers and Nostrand Aves. in Crown Heights, and closed in 1972. Paterno graduated in 1945
Link (here) to the NY Daily News

Fr. Lawrence Abello, S.J. "Rest In Peace"

Fr. Lawrence Abello,S.J.
Fr Lawrence Abello SJ, renowned professor, inventor and a devout companion of Mother Teresa passed away on January 22, 2012 at St Xavier's College, Kolkata. Born in Leuven, Saskatchewan, Fr Abello joined the Jesuits in 1956; he volunteered for the Darjeeling Mission, and took his final vows in 1974. He taught philosophy in India, earned a PhD in physics from Wayne State University, Detroit and held two patents for his inventions. Fr Abello was a champion of the unborn, immersed himself in the service of the poor and guided many who chose to work with the poor in Kolkata. He is survived by brothers Fr Louis and Tony Abello and sister Ms Giacinta Auser. He will be sadly missed by many. Fr Abello will be laid to rest in the Jesuit cemetery at Kolkata.
Link to (here) Tancred and The Eponymous Flower

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Multimillion Dollar Jesuit Real Estate Purchase

The Cardinal's Residence
While the adjacent St Joseph’s University has sought for decades to expand across Cardinal Avenue by acquiring the Archdiocesan' "Cardinal's Residence" parcel -- even placing a standing offer for the property in the mid-2000s -- an open bidding process is expected to be held. Despite having spent $92.5 million in 2005 to buy and adapt a 38-acre parcel across the street, the Jesuit-run school is still considered the most likely party to make the winning offer for its neighboring diocesan plot. That result would echo the most prominent house-sale by an American hierarch in recent years: Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s $172 million, three-part deal with Boston College for the famed Brighton Chancery compound, whose 65 acres served as the nerve center of the New England archdiocese for over a century.

Dope Dealer

Bob Dylan
This current semester, I have been teaching a seminar on the “Poetics of Bob Dylan” at a nearby Jesuit university.  Okay, go ahead and laugh, but I did an informal tally of how many universities currently offer courses on Bob Dylan, and it’s over 300.  
He’s an important literary and cultural figure even if you do just think most of his songs are about his dope dealer. My students and I usually do a quick cultural-historical overview of a time period or theme, and then I give them the lyrics to a Dylan song, and we listen and I point out some of what I think are the important themes. 
The students in this course are bright and are by and large good writers, but they’re also college students, so they spend a lot of time staring at me blankly or texting in a manner they think is discreet.
Link (here) to read the lengthy piece by James T. Keane, S.J. entitled Varieties of Religious Experience found at The Jesuit Post

A Creature Might Exist Who Is Directly Intended By God For Himself

No human being is simply a product of chance. Each person has origins in the vast creative potential within the Godhead. This fact does not mean that no element of chance is found in our individual lives. But chance itself is the result of the crossing of voluntary or necessary acts. From our viewpoint, what looks like chance looks like purpose within a providential order. 
The most significant entities in creation are not stars, planets, comets, black holes, or other sidereal phenomena. They exist from the ages in order that within the universe a creature might exist who is directly intended by God for Himself. The order of cosmic development is anthropic in character. Once the cosmos itself exists, with the sundry orders of living and sentient beings within it, we only begin the drama of what the universe is about. 
The human being is the one being in the physical cosmos who belongs both to the world and to what transcends the world. All levels of being are found within each human person – mineral, vegetable, animal, spirit. They exist there in a coherent whole. Every human being, however, finds that he does not just live in a physical world. He lives in a world of pleasures and pains, of opinions, thought, willings, and searchings. His own good is not simply himself. He exists “for himself” in order that he may act, know, and choose. To be what he is, it is not enough simply to be. 
Link (here) the full piece by Fr. James Schall, S.J. The Catholic Thing

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Optional Activities

Patrick Deneen
Patrick Deneen, Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University,  had some stinging criticismhttp://www.boomerinthepew.com/images/2008/11/29/deneen.jpg of the Jesuit university, saying that Georgetown “increasingly and inevitably remakes itself in the image of its secular peers, ones that have no internal standard of what a university is for other than the aspiration of prestige for the sake of prestige, its ranking rather than its commitment to Truth.”


Deneen wrote that the school’s  Catholic identity “has increasingly been cordoned off to optional activities of Campus Ministry.” He writes of his experience:
In the seven years since I joined the faculty at Georgetown, I have found myself often at odds with the trajectory and many decisions of the university. In 2006 I founded The Tocqueville Forum as a campus organization that would offer a different perspective, one centered on the moral underpinnings of liberal learning that are a precondition for the continued existence of liberal democracy, and one that would draw upon the deep wisdom contained in the Catholic humanistic tradition. I have been heartened and overjoyed to witness the great enthusiasm among a myriad of students for the programming and activities of the Forum. However, the program was not supported or recognized by the institution, and that seemed unlikely to change. While I did not seek that approval, I had hoped over the years that the program would be attractive to colleagues across disciplines on the faculty, and would be a rallying-point for those interested in reviving and defending classical liberal learning on campus. The Tocqueville Forum fostered a strong community of inquiry among a sizeable number of students, but I did not find that there was any such community formed around its mission, nor the likely prospect of one, among the more permanent members of the university. I have felt isolated and often lonely at the institution where I have devoted so many of my hours and my passion.
Link (here) to read the full story at the Cardinal Newman Society

Tragedy Of The Day

Bikram Choudhury the founder of Bikram Yoga
The one holy catholic and fairly apostolic church of Bikram Yoga. It is a place where people enter into suffering to attain a new kind of purification. 
We do yoga in this ridiculous heat chamber and sweat out toxins and dark thoughts and the tragedies of the day. We enter into poses and postures we once thought unimaginable. 
Poses that, by our sheer wills and some vital Spirit moving through the heat and spandex and foam mats, we manage to pull off grandly.

Link (here) to the full post by Joe Hoover, S.J. at The Jesuit Post 
A critique of yoga (here)
Fr. Mitch Pacwa, S.J. on Yoga (here)
Fr. John Hardon, S.J. on Yoga (here)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Jesuit And The Hurons

A Jesuit Missionary's Strange Adventures.
The labors and sacrifices of the French Jesuits in North America, during the seventeenth century, have never failed to awaken admiration and interest. Among these heroic men was a certain Father Adrian Grelon. He was appointed to the mission among the Hurons, a great and superior tribe living between Lake Erie and Lake Huron. In time the Hurons were almost exterminated by the Five Iroquois Nations of New York, who had obtained firearms from the Dutch. The surviving missionaries accompanied a band who went down to Quebec. Father Grelon was sent back to France. There he solicited the Chinese mission and set out for the far East. It is probable that he crossed Spain to take passage at some Spanish or Portuguese port, and on the way, to his astonishment, discovered in a Spanish convent an Iroquois, who had been sent to Spain, educated and ordained as a priest. On reaching China Father Grelon was stationed at different missions and labored with zeal. He wrote a book on China which is a curious addition to the Jesuit Relations of Canada, being by an old Canadian missioner. In time he penetrated Chinese Tartary, and there to his astonishment found in one of the camps a Huron woman whom he had known in America. She had been sold as a slave from tribe to tribe till she reached that place. Father Grelon reported the strange circumstance to his superiors and to the learned in Europe, and was the first man to afford any proof that America and Asia at the north, approached very closely, as was afterwards found by navigators to be the fact.
Link (here)

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Few Jesuits On "The Food Stamp President"

As Catholic leaders who recognize that the moral scandals of racism and poverty remain a blemish on the American soul, we challenge our fellow Catholics Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum to stop perpetuating ugly racial stereotypes on the campaign trail. Mr. Gingrich has frequently attacked President Obama as a “food stamp president” and claimed that African Americans are content to collect welfare benefits rather than pursue employment. Campaigning in Iowa, Mr. Santorum remarked: “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money.” Labeling our nation’s first African-American president with a title that evokes the past myth of “welfare queens” and inflaming other racist caricatures is irresponsible, immoral and unworthy of political leaders................
Read the full statement signed by the following Jesuits (here)

Rev. David Hollenbach, S.J.
University Chair in Human Rights and International Justice
Boston College
Rev. John F. Kavanaugh S.J.
Professor of Philosophy
St. Louis University
Rev. Jim Keenan, S.J.
Founders Professor in Theology
Boston College
Rev. Thomas J. Reese, S.J.
Senior Fellow
Woodstock Theological Center
Georgetown University
Rev. James E. Hug, S.J.
Center of Concern

Sunday, January 22, 2012

“Why Are There No Hittites In New York?”

Walker Percy
In a large class of undergraduate students, I recalled the quip of Walker Percy which I thought was both amusing and pertinent to a discussion of the Old Testament and political philosophy: 
“Why are there no Hittites in New York?” Percy wondered. I expected some laughter, but, as far as I could tell, no one understood the point. Since obviously we find many Jews in New York but no Hittites, what can explain that survival over the millennia of Jews but not of the Hittites
In a sense, David Goldman’s book, It’s Not the End of the World; It’s Just the End of You, sets out to answer this question that has much more intellectual substance than we might at first suspect from the book’s somewhat flippant but accurate title. Goldman will indeed say that it is not the Jews of New York, who have very low birth rates, who will survive, but those in Israel, who are the “happiest nation on earth,” with the highest birth rate among industrialized peoples. The relation of birth and economics, happiness and enterprise, dying and living nations is at the heart of this book.
Link (here) to the full article by Fr. James Schall, S.J. entitled, On the Promises of God to Mankind at The Homiletic and Pastoral Review. 
Read David P. Goldman's reflection on Father Schall's piece (here)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

George Fox To The Jesuit, "Ye Are The Filthy Dreamers"

George Fox
An excerpt from the autobiography of George Fox the founder of the Protestant sect The Quakers.

About this time many Papists and Jesuits began to fawn upon Friends, and talked up and down where they came, that of all the sects the Quakers were the best and most self-denying people; and they said it was great pity that they did not return to the Holy Mother Church. Thus they made a buzz among the people, and said they would willingly discourse with Friends. 
But Friends were loth to meddle with them, because they were Jesuits, looking upon it to be both dangerous and scandalous. But when I understood it, I said to Friends, "Let us discourse with them, be they what they will." So a time being appointed at Gerrard Roberts's, there came two of them like courtiers. They asked our names, which we told them; but we did not ask their names, for we understood they were called Papists, and they knew we were called Quakers.
I asked them the same question that I had formerly asked a Jesuit, namely, whether the Church of Rome was not degenerated from the Church in the primitive times, from the Spirit, power, and practice that they were in in the Apostles' times? He to whom I put this question, being subtle, said he would not answer it. I asked him why. But he would show no reason. His companion said he would answer me; and said that they were not degenerated from the Church in the primitive times. I asked the other whether he was of the same mind. He said, "Yes."
    Then I replied that, for the better understanding one of another, and that there might be no mistake, I would repeat my question over again after this manner: "Is the Church of Rome now in the same purity, practice, power, and Spirit that the Church in the Apostles' time was in?" When they saw we would be exact with them, they flew off and denied that, saying it was presumption in any to say they had the same power and Spirit which the Apostles had. 
I told them it was presumption in them to meddle with the words of Christ and His Apostles, and make people believe they succeeded the Apostles, yet be forced to confess they were not in the same power and Spirit that the Apostles were in. "This," said I, "is a spirit of presumption, and rebuked by the Apostles' spirit."

I showed them how different their fruits and practices were from the fruits and practices of the Apostles.

Then got up one of them, and said,  
"Ye are a company of dreamers." "Nay," said I, "ye are the filthy dreamers, who dream ye are the Apostles' successors, and yet confess ye have not the same power and Spirit which the Apostles were in. And are not they defilers of the flesh who say it is presumption for any to say they have the same power and Spirit which the Apostles had? Now,
said I, "if ye have not the same power and Spirit which the Apostles had, then it is manifest that ye are led by another power and spirit than that by which the Apostles and Church in the primitive times were led." Then I began to tell them how that evil spirit by which they were led had led them to pray by beads and to images, and to set up nunneries, friaries, and monasteries, and to put people to death for religion; which practices I showed them were below the law, and far short of the gospel, in which is liberty. They were soon weary of this discourse, and went their way, and gave a charge, as we heard, to the Papists, that they should not dispute with us, nor read any of our books.
Link (here) to that autobiography.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I Quickly Switched From Johns Hopkins To Fordham

Dr. Rhonda Chevrin
The guests were Dietrich Von Hildebrand and Alice Jourdain, soon to become Von Hildebrand. They were talking about truth and love. Spontaneously I wrote a letter to them c/o of the station telling them of my unsuccessful search for truth. It turned out they both live on the West Side of NYC: Alice 2 blocks from me and Dietrich 10 blocks from me. Alice invited me for a visit. Her roommate, Madeleine (later to become the wife of Lyman Stebbins founder of Catholics United for the Faith) met me at the door and ushered me into a small room. There was this very European looking woman (she came from Belgium during World War II) who looked at me with such intense interest I was immediately drawn into her heart. She suggested I sit in on classes of Dietrich Von Hildebrand and Balduin Schwarz, his disciple, at Fordham University. Balduin's son, Stephen, a philosophy graduate student, now a philosophy professor and pro-life apologist, could bring me up to the Bronx and show me around. I sat in on a few classes. What impressed me most was not the ideas of these Catholic philosophers which I didn't understand very well, but their personal vitality and joy. The skepticism, relativism, and historicism, that characterized most secular universities at that time left many of the professors sad and dessicated. Drawn to this joy, as well as the loving friendliness with which everyone in this circle of Catholics moved out to greet a newcomer, I quickly switched from Johns Hopkins to Fordham to continue my studies. That the wife of Balduin Schwarz was a Jewish woman converted from an atheistic background certainly also made my entry into this new phase of my life easier. After a few months at Fordham, I could not help but wonder how come the brilliant lay Catholics and the brilliant Jesuits in the philosophy department could believe those ideas such as the existence of God, the divinity of Christ, the reality of objective truth, moral absolutes, and the need for Church-going. Obviously it was not only stupid and weak people who thought this way. What is more they could prove that the mind could know truth and that there were universal ethical truths in a few sentences.
Link (here) to Why I'am a Catholic, the article is entitled, Atheist Convert: Dr. Ronda Chervin

The Great Biblical Scholar Cornelius a Lapide, S.J. On The Wedding Feast At Cana

Cornelius a Lapide records that the marriage festival at which Christ turned water into wine at the request of the Blessed Virgin Mary was that of Saint Simon the Apostle. Here's the quote:
With more probability, Baronius, following Nicephorus (Hist. l. 8. c. 30), thinks that the bridegroom at this marriage was the Apostle Simon, who was surnamed the Cananite from Cana. And Baronius adds from the same Nicephorus that the place where the marriage was celebrated was adorned by a famous church built there by S. Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great. As soon as Simon had seen this miracle of Christ at his wedding, he bade farewell to his bride and the world, and followed Him, and was chosen to be one of His twelve Apostles. This was the reason why Christ came to this wedding; and by coming, indeed, honoured marriage; but by calling him to Himself, He showed that celibacy and the apostolate were better than marriage.
An interesting tradition, to say the least. By the way, Saint Simon the Cananite was the son of Cleophas who was the brother of Saint Joseph.

Link (here) to  the full post at Canterbury Tales

"Cut Your Cloak According To Your Cloth"

......the mind of Ignatius was most express, and became more fixed from day to day. "Cut your cloak according to your cloth," he said to Oliver Manare, when the latter, on going to establish a college at Loretto, asked how he should distribute his men. Ignatius preferred to refuse Princes and Bishops their requests, excusing himself on the score of limited resources, than compromise the reputation of the Society, by an ill-advised assent. And he said, as Juan de Polanco his secretary tells us, that "if anything ought to make him wish to live a longer time, it was that he might be severe in admitting men into the Order." He did not want to have many members in the Society; still less, too many engagements. Having stated thus briefly the material conditions required by Ignatius, and the animating principles or motives which determined him, we are in a position to discern more distinctly the central object of his attention, that for which the material conditions were provided, that by which the ultimate objects were to be attained.
Link (here)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Climb To The Highest Degree Of Christian Perfection

The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius, are something more than a collection of meditations, and christian considerations: if they were that, and no more, there would be nothing in them particular and new. Ignatius is not the first who has taught us the way of raising our minds to God, and of looking into our souls, by the means of prayer and contemplation. Before him, were known the several heads of meditation, as concerning the end for which we were created, the enormity of sin, the pains of hell, the life and death of our Saviour; but this much may be said, that before him, there was not a certain and prefixed method for the reformation of manners : to him enlightened by God, we owe this method, and he it was who, in a systematic way, after a manner altogether new, 
reduced (as it were) into a holy art the conversion of a sinner Knowing, on the one hand, the perverse inclinations of the heart of man; and on the other hand, the power and virtue of the particular truths of Christianity, when rightly applied, to rectify those corruptions, he had set down a process or way, by which man with the succour of grace may recover himself out of his sin and degradation, and climb to the highest degree of Christian perfection. 
In effect, if we look narrowly into the matter, there is as much difference between the ordinary meditations of religious books and these exercises, as between the knowledge only of simples and the entire science of medicine ; which has its principles and aphorisms, (the result of accumulated experience,) for the cure of diseases, according to the constitution of bodies, the nature of distempers, and the quality of remedies. But that the reality of what is above stated may be apparent, we shall here set down the whole order and Scheme Of Ignatius's Spiritual Exercises ; which are adapted for a Four Week's Retreat, for such as desire to Enter Upon A Christian Life.
Link (here) 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Brother Thomas Pounde, S.J.

The Goal of Newgate
While before his judges, Thomas Pounde, S.J. felt his fortitude increase, and he defended the faith of the Church with a vehemence and courage which irritated them, and for which they determined he should fully atone. Pound was high-born, therefore should he be humbled. He was condemned to traverse the streets of London in irons, and was led from place to place like a common felon, being pointed out to the people as an object of curiosity and derision. But his courage never failed him. He bowed to the mob who derided and insulted him, and his calm and benign countenance bore the impress of the purity and peace of his soul. After being thus paraded, he was conveyed to the prison of Newgate, and handed over to the executioners, who awaited him. He was then submitted to the torture designated by the Protestants "the widow's alms." Thomas steadfastly declared his attachment to the Church of Rome, in the bosom of which he was determined to live and die; and such was his patience, under the horrible tortures to which he was subjected, that he tired out the cruelty of his inhuman tormentors. In the event of punishment failing, Queen Elizabeth had commanded that kindness and promises should be employed, for she wished to subdue the quondam courtier whom she had treated with so much disdain. But the courtier had become a Jesuit. He was supported by the prayers and the merits of the Society of Jesus, and, by those prayers and those merits, he obtained a superabundance of grace, which made him triumph as easily over allurements and promises as he had done over the most cruel tortures. He was next shut up in a dungeon, and his captivity appeared to be unendurable; but, so far from repining, he thanked God for this martyrdom. He prayed for his persecutors, and put his trust in Heaven. The proud Elizabeth, chagrined by this heroic constancy, had him again interrogated, but without any better result, when he was removed to another prison, from which he was soon taken to a third, until, finally, he was conveyed back to the Tower.
Link (here) to read the full account of Fr. Thomas Pound, S.J. 

Hug And Money

Fr. James Hug, S.J.
The Center of Concern’s president, Jesuit Fr. Jim Hug, calls the Rethinking Bretton Woods project the “most sophisticated” of his agency’s four priority programs. The others are Ecology and Development, Education for Justice, and the Global Women’s Project. Rethinking Bretton Woods is working to reform the national and global financial institutions and policies created at an international conference in 1944 in Bretton Woods, N.H., so that they better serve human rights and community well-being, Hug said. The project is in the capable hands of Argentine scholar and international lawyer Aldo Caliari. But Caliari is frequently away from his desk holding workshops with academicians, nongovernmental organizations, government officials and intergovernmental organization staff around the world.
Link (here) to NCR

Saturday, January 14, 2012

"He Burneth"

No one can conceive, much less express, the infinite duration of Eternity. Between a living man and a statue,— between real and painted fire, there is an immense difference; yet, even these are said to be like each other. 
But, between our fire and the fire of hell,— between our sorrows and the pains of the damned, there is not the slightest comparison; because the former are measured by Time, the latter by Eternity. 
Christ has elegantly expressed this truth in the parable of the vine: "If any man abide not in me, he shall be cast forth as a branch, and shall wither, and they shall gather him up, and cast him into the fire, and he burneth." Here Eternity is very appropriately and very briefly described in one word,—"he burneth." All the other words of our Redeemer have a future signification: "He shall be cast forth, and wither; and they shall gather him up,"  But it is not said, "and he shall burn;" no: simply "he burneth." 
This will be the unchangeable state of the reprobate, an undiminishing and ever-enduring present. A thousand years will pass away, and it will still be said, "he burneth;" another thousand, and still "he burneth," the very same as at the commencement. Thousands of years will succeed to thousands, and millions of ages to millions, until words will fail for the utterance of the tongue, and ideas for the conception of the mind, and still the same exclamation will arise from the bottom of hell, "he burneth.'" 
And if, after this incalculable lapse of centuries, we should inquire, What such a damned soul is doing? What is he suffering? The very same answer would be returned: "he burneth" in unquenchable, indescribable, and eternal fire. And thus it will be from year to year, and age to age, for ever I for ever! On this passage of Holy Scripture St. Augustine has beautifully observed: "The branch is subject to one of these alternatives; it must either abide in the vine, or in the fire; if it grow not in the vine, it will burn in the fire. That it may not be cast into the fire, let it, therefore, abide in the vine."
Link (here) to read passage in the 17th century Jesuit classic by Fr. Jerome Drexelius, S.J. his book is entitled, Nine Considerations on Eternity.
The gazillionth piece on sodomy by Fr. James Martin, S.J. (here)

Bento de Góis, S.J. "Seeking Cathay He Found Heaven,"

Bento de Góis, S.J.
When the leaders of the Mission at the Court of Akbar heard from Musulman travellers of a great and rich empire called Khitai, to be reached by a long and devious course through the heart of Inner Asia, the idea seized their imaginations that here was an ample and yet untouched field awaiting the labours of the Society, if the way could but be found open; and this way they determined to explore. The person selected for this venturesome exploration was Bento de Góis. Before he started on his journey doubts had been suggested whether this Cathay were not indeed the very China in which Ricci and his companions were already labouring with some promise of success; but these doubts were overruled, or at least the leader of the Agra Mission was not convinced by them, and he prevailed on his superiors still to sanction the exploration that had been proposed. 
The gallant soldier of the Society, one not unworthy to bear the Name on which others of that Company's deeds and modes of action have brought such obloquy, carried through his arduous task; ascertained that the mysterious empire he had sought through rare hardships and perils was China indeed; and died just within its borders. "Seeking Cathay he found heaven," as one of his brethren has pronounced his epitaph. 
And thus it is that we have thought his journey a fitting close to this collection; for with its termination Cathay may be considered finally to disappear from view, leaving China only in the mouths and minds of men. Not but that Cathay will be found for some time longer to retain its place as a distinct region in some maps
Link (here) to read this and more

Particularly Demoralizing

Bishop Joseph Bambera
The University of Scranton is part of a national network of institutions offering the Ready to Run Program, which is a bi-partisan program sponsored by the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. The Program at the University of Scranton is being hosted by its Department of Political Science and is scheduled for January 28, 2012.

The keynote speaker for the University of Scranton Program is Marjorie Margolies, who is a former member of the United States House of Representatives. During her two years in office (1993-1995), Ms. Margolies focused on issues affecting women, from abortion to health care. She co-sponsored the Abortion Clinic Access Bill, which sought to make it a federal crime to impede access to abortion clinics; voted in support of an Abortion Counseling Bill, which would have required federal recipients of funds for family planning to provide patients with information about obtaining an abortion; and opposed the “Hyde Amendment”, which prohibited federal funding of abortions.

After leaving Congress, Ms. Margolies served as executive director of the Women’s Campaign Fund, a group dedicated to increasing the number of women in office who support reproductive choices and options from all parties and at all levels of government.

Recognizing that the University of Scranton planned to host a keynote speaker who clearly supports a pro-abortion agenda, the Most Reverend Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, engaged in a dialogue with the University. The Bishop specifically requested that the invitation extended be withdrawn; however, his request was denied.

In response to the University of Scranton’s decision to refuse his personal request, Bishop Bambera expressed his disappointment and concern by offering the following:

“The gravity of this issue speaks to the heart and substance of who we are as Christians. Because of the incarnation of Christ, every human life has value and worth. As Christians, we must be committed to defending human life at every age and every stage from conception to natural death.”
“Although a forum such as this, designed to support and encourage women to engage in public service, is by its nature good and noble, for a Catholic institution in the Diocese of Scranton to invite a pro-abortion advocate to speak at a University sponsored event is dismaying and personally disheartening to me. And to do so within days of the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., is particularly demoralizing.”

The University’s unwillingness to work with Bishop Bambera in an effort to reach an acceptable resolution to this unfortunate situation is an unsettling turn in the relationship that the Bishop has been pleased to maintain with University officials during his tenure as Bishop of Scranton. In Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the apostolic constitution issued by Blessed Pope John Paul II regarding Catholic colleges and universities, it is noted that: “Bishops have a particular responsibility to promote Catholic Universities, and especially to promote and assist in the preservation and strengthening of their Catholic identity. A Catholic University, as Catholic, informs and carries out its research, teaching and all other activities with Catholic ideals, principles and attitudes.” In attempting to achieve a resolution, University officials noted that their invitation to Ms. Margolies was not an endorsement of her personal views. Despite the University’s lack of endorsement of the personal views of the keynote speaker, as a Jesuit and Catholic university, the inclusion of Ms. Margolies in a University sponsored program has created concern and confusion among members of the Christian faithful. Thereby, in this instance, the University’s charge as a Catholic institution of higher learning to permeate “all university activities” with “Catholic teaching and discipline” has been compromised.

To this point, Bishop Bambera commented further, “The University of Scranton has left me with no other choice but to publicly express my disapproval of the invitation of this speaker and my concern regarding the University’s evolving relationship with me as Bishop of the Diocese of Scranton. Despite this unfortunate situation, I continue to be open to working with University officials to promote, preserve and strengthen the Catholic character of the University of Scranton.”
Link (here) to he Cardinal Newman Society

Friday, January 13, 2012

Somes Notes From The 1974 General Congregation Of The Society Of Jesus

On liturgical abuses
Cardinal Paolo Dezza, S.J.
Fr. Paolo Dezza, S.J. particularly has liturgical laws in mind - e.g. tampering with liturgical forms and language ("in not a few places the lack of observance of these norms is frequent".)

On dissension
If the pilgrim Church stands in need of purification "the best way to improve it is not public criticism and controversy" but "suitable ways to bring correction and remedy without a great deal of noise and provoking scandals." Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J. is called upon as a witness to the fact that in St. Ignatius' voluminous correspondence which contributed so effectively to Church reform "there is not a word of criticism against ecclesiastical superiors. "

On Jesuit Formation
Young Jesuit aspirants should be formed for "a deep and solid faith" strong enough to resist modern temptations and life's difficulties. The young should participate responsibly in their formation but we should not permit students to cancel the action of the educator. A young religious is not mature at the beginning of the process nor does he have experience. He must be solidly formed in philosophy and theology as required by Sapientia Christiana. Philosophy is especially important as a gateway for theological training and, respecting all theological specialties, there should be no neglect of training in a systematic theology so that "our scholastics receive that complete and organic knowledge of the fundamental points of Catholic doctrine"

The Greater Glory Of God And The Salvation Of Souls

Superior General Pieter Jan Beckx, S.J.
If the old saying holds: "Quails rex, tolis grex," and vice versa, then we must conclude that the teachers themselves cannot be devoid of patriotism. Fortunately, we are not confined to this a priori argument. Numerous instances are on record that Jesuits, especially at the time of war. sacrificed themselves in the service of the sick and wounded and on the battlefields. Not to say a word of the many cases recorded of former centuries, we mention one of more recent date. In the Franco-German war of 1870-71, the Maltese Society of Rhineland and Westphalia sent, besides the 1567 Sisters, 342 male religious to tbe service of the sick and wounded. Among these 342 were 159 Jesuits. Of the 81 volunteer army chaplains sent by the same organization, 33 were Jesuits. 1 No less than 80 Jesuits received decorations, and two of them were honored with the "Iron Cross," the highest distinction for heroic conduct on the battlefield. The patriotism of the French Jesuits is not less conspicuous. In every war which was waged by France, a number of Jesuits accompanied the army as chaplains. In 1870-71 several were wounded on the battlefield, and one died at Laon.
The attitude of the Society towards national and political questions has been clearly stated by Father Beckx, General of the Society: "The public and the press busy themselves much about the Society's attitude towards the various forms of government. . . . Now the Society, as a religious Order, has nothing to do with any political party. In all countries and under all forms of government, she confines herself to the exercise of her ministry, having in view only her end — the greater glory of God and the salvation of 'souls, — an end superior to the interests of human politics. Always and everywhere the religious of the Society fulfils loyally the duties of a good citizen and a faithful subject of the power which rules his country. Always and everywhere she tells all by her instructions."
Link (here) to book entitled Jesuit Education

The Prudent Man

Fr. John R. Connery, S.J.
PRUDENCE to the modern mind suggests caution. The prudent man is the man who takes no risks. He is a conservative who will neither raise his head above the crowd nor stand out from it. If such prudence is associated with morality at all, it is with a kind of moral mediocrity. The prudent man never does anything very bad; neither does he do anything very good. Prudence of this stamp hinders rather than promotes perfection. If everybody practiced it, there would be no heroes because there would be no such thing as heroic virtue. In fact, a premium would be put on inactivity. 
The less a person did or said, the fewer mistakes he would make, and hence the more prudent he would be considered. To some the word may suggest something more positive, but at most it connotes nothing more than a kind of secular virtue. It is the virtue of the "children of this world." The prudent man is the worldly-wise man. He knows how to make his way around this world; he is the successful business man.
At its best, such prudence is indifferent to morality; at its worst, it is directly opposed to it. Moral t heologians themselves may have unwittingly cooperated in this secularization of the virtue of prudence. A glance through modern manuals of moral theology leaves the impression that it has little moral significance. If it is treated at all, it is dealt with only in passing, or at most as a kind of isolated virtue. 
Since the time of St. Alphonsus Ligouri moral theology has been built around the commandments rather than around the virtues, and while this is a more convenient approach in a subject of interest chiefly to confessors, it is concerned more with vice than with virtue. 
Justice and temperance, it is true, have survived this approach in moral text books, but prudence has lost the key position which it held in Scholastic moral treatises.
Link (here) to read the full article

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fordham Theology Department "Under Fire"

Terrence Tilley is the theology department chair at Fordham University and past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America.  He has been a critic of Ex corde Ecclesiae and in 2009 drew some criticism of his own from Fr. Thomas Weinandy, executive director of the U.S. bishops’ Secretariat of Doctrine, who said Tilley had been guilty of “doctrinal ambiguity and error”:
“If the bishops continue along this path of censuring or making statements without engaging in dialogue with the theologians,” Terrence Tilley said, “theology may be laughed out of the university as mere propaganda.”
Last year, the U.S. bishops’ doctrine committee released a statement condemning the 2007 book by Fordham University theologian Sr. Elizabeth Johnson for “misrepresentations, ambiguities and errors” that do “not accord with authentic Catholic teaching on essential points.” The U.S. bishops wrote that Quest for the Living God “completely undermines the Gospel and the faith of those who believe in the Gospel” when it addresses doctrine of the Trinity.  They criticized the book for “misrepresentations, ambiguities and errors” that do “not accord with authentic Catholic teaching on essential points.”
Link (here) to the Cardinal Newman Society

St. Francis de Sales Jesuit Educated

An Introduction to the Devout Life is a book to be read with pencil in hand. It is a book to be read again and again. It is a book to make your guide for the rest of your life. It goes to the heart of becoming good. Its aim is to help you be rid of sin and even the inclinations to sin. Alone, its 10 brief meditations in Part I will orient you toward God for the rest of your life. No one will come away without being profoundly impressed and without being motivated to enter upon the devout life . . . which leads ultimately to God and to Heaven. This is the original TAN edition now with updated typesetting, fresh new cover, new size and quality binding, and the same trusted content. St. Francis de Sales was born in 1567 in Savoy, became a doctor of law at the age of 24 at the Jesuit College of Clermont, Paris, and was ordained a priest and stationed in Geneva in 1593. He became bishop of Geneva in 1602. Though known for his great intellect and theological wisdom, he spoke with simplicity and earnestness, so that all could understand.
Link (here) to Patrick Madrid

The Shamanic Mass Was Celebrated On Sunday, August 14, 2011

Some excerpts of an article by Fr. Joseph "JoJo" Fung, S.J. and his liturgical practices.

The shamanic mass was celebrated on Sunday, August 14, 2011 at the Tulana Research Center for Encounter and Dialogue, Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. The celebration was divided into the Liturgy of the Word, conducted in the open, under the canopy of the coconut trees and liturgy of the Eucharist which was held in the chapel.(1) The aim of this creative liturgy was to share with fellow Jesuits an experience of indigenous religiosity and how this dialogue shaped the way the liturgy is conducted. 
"The penitential rite was the breathing exercise which allows Ruah Elohim to cleanse and purify us"
"All were seated in the chapel for a powerpoint sharing of a story of a sojourner at the margin, dancing with the spirit on the water of shamanic religiosity."
"After communion prayer, the elder of the community, the beloved guru and master Aloyisius Pieris was requested to offer a chant in Pali as a final blessing to send us forth."
The Eucharistic celebration is the locus for the liturgical realization of an emergent Eucharistic theology of sacred sustainability aimed at bringing about “an attitudinal as well as a structural transformation… by ritually enacting in the liturgy the new paradigm of the church, worship and priesthood” 
(Pieris 2010:186-7)
"At the liturgical re-enactment of the Good Friday event at the moment of consecration, Jesus continues to configure the church to himself (Craffer2008).(7) As Jesus typifies the Galilean Shamanic figure of Nazareth, the reenactment further configures the assembly to be a type of Jesus the shamanic figure of early Palestine."
"A re-envisioned liturgy of sacred sustainability, in short a shamanic mass, becomes a way to bring about a shamanic way of being church that is sensitive to the sacred spirits operative in the deepest depth of indigenous cultures and religiosity."
Link (here)