Category Archives: Uncategorized

What the pope said on Ash Wednesday: Creation care, Salvation by works, Ideological faith, Curing sin-suffocation

Blithe Spirit

1. Pope: learn from indigenous peoples how to care for creation – Vatican Radio
A Munduruku on the Tapajos river in Parà State, Brazil - ANSA

It is necessary, he said, to learn from these peoples how to relate to nature in the quest for a sustainable model “that can be a valid alternative to the race for profit that exhausts natural resources and damages the dignity of peoples”.

2.The Pope on salvation by works


Catholics, Protestants often say, believe in salvation by good works.  This engenders the reply from thoughtful Catholics, no we don’t!  You have to have grace.  In fact, we even believe in justification by faith, just like you Lutherans do, as proven by the accord we signed with liberal Lutherans.  Since there is now no real disagreement, there is no need for the Reformation divisions.  You can come back to Rome and enjoy being under Pope Francis.

But Pope Francis keeps preaching that salvation is, in fact…

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Pope Says Using Paper & Plastic A Sin — William M. Briggs

If you’re a Christian, what do you suppose is the most pressing problem in the world today? The rapid fading of Christianity in the West? The dramatic increase in, and official approval of, sexual licentiousness and perversity? The wholesale slaughter of the unborn? The martyrdom and suffering of Christians in the Mid-East? That it seems…

via Pope Says Using Paper & Plastic A Sin — William M. Briggs

Catholic Mass-goer inquires . . .

Why does the priest look at the people when he’s praying to God? Why wouldn’t he look up (to heaven) or down (in meditative mode)?

via Catholic Mass-goer here . . . — Blithe Spirit

Dirge for deaths of Latin, God, and mystery

Blithe Spirit

Before I do one more thing in this late-starting Tuesday morning, a word from Mr. Hickey of Leo Catholic HS:

In my lifetime, I witnessed the euthanizing of Latin and the Death of God by academics and churchmen.  Latin was deemed irrelevant, the vernacular ascended to Parnassus and the Vatican dome.  That is too bad.  The mystery of learning has gone the way of sacred liturgy -no mystery and no beauty.  Education means punching one’s ticket for entry to something else.

Such a mournful mouthfull. Congratulations, Hickey.

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Spelling bee drama in Pennsylvania

Blithe Spirit

Johnny on the spot:

He came in third. His friend is rooting for him on the far right. Got caught on “exoneration.”

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A modern-day Christopher

This fellow prefers to light a candle rather than curse the darkness.  It’s from the ever-interesting New Oxford Review.

To Be a Faithful Catholic at Any Mass: A Pledge
September 2001By Larry A. Carstens

Larry A. Carstens teaches English in a public high school and a community college, and has attended Masses across the nation. He was born during the Second Vatican Council and therefore never knew the pre-Vatican II Church.

0901-carstens.jpg When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

popular saying

If you find that the world hates you, know that it hated Me before you.

John 15:18

I wrote the following as a response to the wide number of common abuses currently in vogue at many Catholic Masses, many of which have been mentioned frequently in recent issues of the NOR, both in articles and letters to the editor. It is written in the form of a pledge between the individual Catholic and God, and is intended to be kept as a reference.

Before Mass

I prepare myself for the most important encounter of my life: a banquet with Our Lord.

I try to get to Confession the day before Mass, and if I dont, I spend time meditating on my sins and begging Gods mercy.

I honor the fast which, contrary to widespread belief, has never been eliminated from Church teaching. I do not eat for at least one hour before the Mass. If I have the strength, I honor God by fasting from midnight before.

When I dress, I remember that I am going to meet Someone more important than any king, queen, or president. So I do not dress as if I am going to the beach or a picnic; if others do, I do not follow them. I wear clothes that reflect my belief that Mass is important and deserving of respect. If Im male, this might include a tie; if Im female, this might include a modest, tasteful dress.

I try to leave early, so as to arrive early, and spend at least a few minutes before Mass praying before the Blessed Sacrament.

When I enter the church, I bless myself with Holy Water, and before entering the pew, genuflect toward the Tabernacle. If I pass in front of the Tabernacle, I genuflect again, or at least bow, and say, Jesus, I love You and adore You, my Lord and my God or similar words of love and respect.

Before I sit down in my pew, I kneel and pray to greet Our Lord in His bodily presence, as well as Our Lady, the angels, and the saints. If someone wants to talk with me, I respond briefly, if at all.

If I am visiting another parish, and the priest wants visitors to stand so as to welcome them, I dont, for now the attention should be on God, not me.

During Mass

I try to keep my focus on God. If I find the music loud, unpleasant, or distracting, I offer it up as a sacrifice to Our Lord.

I say the prayers. I listen to the readings. I listen to the homily if it is not edifying, I pray for the homilist.

I bow during the Creed at the words, By the power of the Holy Spirit, He was born of the Virgin Mary and became Man.

Even if the priest tells the congregation to stand during the Eucharistic Prayer, I refuse. I kneel before God, as He becomes physically (though invisibly) present, in obedience to the Magisterium and the bishops, which supersedes obedience to a priest who rebels against Church teaching.

At the elevation of the Host, I bow even if no one else does to honor the moment of Transubstantiation.

I politely refuse to join hands during the Our Father, even if the priest invites people to join hands. I am addressing my prayer to God, and my attention is on Him alone, not on those around me.

I greet those near me with warmth and enthusiasm during the Sign of Peace, which is the only appropriate time for neighborly gestures.

I strike my breast during the Lamb of God prayer, at the words have mercy on us, because I recognize my unworthiness before Christ, and am in dire need of His mercy. Once again, it does not matter if no one else does so.

The moment before I receive Communion, I bow in respect before Our Lord, a practice which all Catholics were instructed to perform (when the custom of kneeling was changed to standing), but almost none actually carries out.

After the final blessing, I remain until the conclusion of the Recessional Hymn, whether or not it is to my taste, remembering that it, too, is meant to be a prayer.

After Mass

I invite my family to join me in praying after Mass, both to give thanks to God, and in reparation for those who disrespect His Supper by leaving before the Mass is finished. Unless I have an urgent matter to attend to (the Super Bowl does not qualify), I say the prayer to St. Michael, which used to be said after all Masses by both priests and people: St. Michael the archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and the snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray, and do thou O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the Divine power of God, cast into Hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.

If I see friends, I may wave or smile to acknowledge their presence, but I make it clear that I do not wish to enter into extended conversation within the church building; if others are doing so, I do not follow their example.

If, outside of church, anyone should say I am pre-Vatican II, I respond that Our Lord, the Bible, and the vast majority of saints and martyrs are all pre-Vatican II. If anyone should say I am stuck in the 1950s, I might respond as charitably as I possibly can that at least I am not stuck in the 1960s.

A Jesuit high school in Nigeria

Pay special attention to “What We Want to Impart to our Students” below:

Loyola Jesuit College is part of the worldwide family of schools run by the Society of Jesus. With them, it shares a common vision and philosophy derived from the writings of the founder of the Jesuits, St. Ignatius of Loyola. . . . .

The Mission Statement and other contents of this website which flow from it are our attempt to be both authentically Jesuit and relevant to the Nigerian society that we serve. [Italics added] Loyola Jesuit College is a coeducational secondary school in the classical tradition. . . .

What We Want to Impart to our Students

Ethical standards and moral courage
Respect and empathy for all fellow human beings
Self-reliance, discipline and healthy ambition
Desire to be competent “men and women for others”

Intellectual curiosity: the ability to think critically, creatively and independently
Ability to communicate effectively
Sensitivity to and appreciation of the broad range of intellectual fields
Desire to pursue higher education

Personal Attributes and Attitudes
Reverence for God and a sense of the sacred
Sense of purpose; desire to develop personal potential
Leadership, cooperation, responsibility, accountability
Loyalty to family, friends and school and homeland
Sensitivity to the differences and needs of others
Good manners
Good sportsmanship in all forms of competition
Respect for the natural world
Respect for school and home community
Understanding of the democratic system

Loyola Jesuit College Honour Code:

I will not lie, cheat or steal;I will respect my own physical and spiritual integrity as well as that of each person in the College, and that of the College itself.

Somehow this seems adapted also to the American society which Jesuits serve.

This guy’s no turkey

Who’s this talking, president of your local pro-life league?

I see abortion as murder I am asking you: whats the difference between killing a baby inside a mothers womb and killing a baby after birth?

Nope, the “pronatalist” prime minister of Turkey.

Blithe Spirit


Legislation moving right along to forbid trying to help people change who want to change. If Orwell did not foretell this, he might have.

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Blithe Spirit


Approached by a young woman at a reception and told she had bet she could get three words out of him, President Coolidge replied, “You lose.”

As mayor of Northampton MA, he bucked the trends and went out of his way for the Irish.

And how’s this for wisdom that lasts?

There is no right to strike against the public safety by anybody, anywhere, any time.


I favor the policy of economy, not because I wish to save money, but because I wish to save people. The men and women of this country who toil are the ones who bear the cost of the Government. Every dollar that we carelessly waste means that their life will be so much the more meager. Every dollar that we prudently save means that their life will be so much the more abundant. Economy is idealism in its most practical form.

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