30 April 2008

Vigil of the Ascension (Rogation Wednesday)

The Vigil of the Ascension is a II Class feast in its own right, and therefore outranks the III Class feast of St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and now Doctor of the Church, which falls on 30 April. The good St. Catherine is one of the patronesses of all Europe.

St. Catherine, of the Order of St. Dominic, led a life of great penance. She received the stigmata, but at her urgent prayer they did not show externally. She died in 1380.

29 April 2008

St. Peter of Verona, Martyr (Rogation Tuesday)

Earthquakes and other calamities afflicted the diocese of Vienne in Dauphiny (France) in the fifth century, and St. Mamertus, who was bishop of that diocese, instituted a penitential procession with public supplications on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Day. In 816, Pope Leo III introduced it into Rome, and soon after it became a general observance throughout the Church.

The Litany of the Saints, the Psalms, and the Prayers sung during the procession on these days are supplications: hence the name of Rogation Days (rogare, to ask) applied to them. The object of these rogation supplications is to appease the anger of God and avert the scourges of His justice, and to pray for the harvest.

A similar function is observed on April 25, on the feast of St. Mark, but this is of Roman origin. It is called the Greater Litanies in contrast to the Lesser Litanies of the Rogation Days; but in practice there is no difference between them...

St. Peter of Verona was a famous preacher of the Dominican Order. From childhood he was conspicuous for his refutation of heretics and his singular innocence. He longed to die for the faith, and his prayer was heard in 1252.

The Treasury of Latin Prayers contains the full Litany of the Saints, together with Psalm 69 [70], in English and in Latin - most appropiate for these days.

Incredible news! Just this past Saturday I mentioned a Peruvian Cardinal who has banned the practice of receiving Communion in the hand, and now it comes to my attention (thanks to the New Liturgical Movement) that a certain Bishop Athanasius Schneider has published an article in L'Osservatore Romano, which article is a summary of his soon to be published book Dominus Est.

Topic: a return to receiving Communion on the tongue rather than in the hand.

Publisher: the official Vatican Press, Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

Preface written by: Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, the second in command (behind Arinze) of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Disciple of the Sacraments. Ranjith fully agrees that Communion in the hand should probably be suppressed!

This is a book to look forward to! In the meantime, the good bishop's article summarizing his book is made available by Musica Sacra here: Historical-Liturgical Notes on the Rite of the Eucharist by the Most Reverend Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of Karaganda, Kazakhstan. Viva Bishop Schneider! Deo Gratias!

28 April 2008

St. Paul of the Cross (Rogation Monday)

St. Paul all his life had a burning love for Jesus. He founded the Congregation of Passionists. He and his brethren were preachers of "the mystery of the cross and of devotion to the Passion." He died in 1775.

Sorry for not posting yesterday. We were exhausted when we returned home from the zoo and went straight to sleep. Here is a summary of the day:

We arrived in Vienna at 10:00, and Mass was at 10:30. We took the subway to the neighborhood in which the Traditional Latin Mass is said every Sunday by the FSSP, and would have arrived well before Mass started, except that we couldn't find the Church! After wandering down the street much farther than we expected it to be, we finally spotted a steeple, and outside the church a man in a suit. Perfect, we thought, only a couple minutes late. However, it was a Lutheran church, and the man had no idea that there even was a Catholic church in the neighborhood. So, we decided that it was a lost cause, and headed back to the subway station hoping we could make it to Stephansdom in time for noon Mass there. Fortunately, as we passed by a beat-up looking building, John happened to look on the wall, on which was a plaque with the name of the Church, pointing inside the builiding. So we followed the sign, and the church (more like a chapel) was inside the courtyard of the building. We were a little late, but not too much. The more times we hear Mass in Europe (outside of Gaming), the more we notice the emptiness of the churches, and the complete lack of children. Whether we attend a Traditional Latin Mass, or a Novus Ordo, it's always the same. A few older adults, a few young adults. Yesterday, in fact, there were two children besides Maria, and that was out of the ordinary. Europe needs our prayers!

On to Schloss Schönbrunn... Before entering the Zoo, we took advantage of the beautiful weather to wander through the gardens of the palace (open free to the public). Remember, Schönbrunn is Versaille's only rival in all of Europe. Although it's too early for many flowers, the trees are just beginning to blossom, and it was gorgeous. We will go again, when we have all day with nothing to do but wander (and hopefully we can leave Maria with someone else).

The zoo was fantastic! Maria was sleeping when we first went in (we tried and tried to get her to fall asleep on our way to the palace, as well as in the gardens, but she stubbornly refused, until immediately after we entered the zoo). So John and I looked at lots of the animals, and there were many we had never seen before. There are also "houses" that imitate different climates, for instance, the rain-forest. However, it was a crowded, one-way only path through a hot and humid house that ended by forcing us through a dark room where bats flew freely around our heads. After that, we decided that we never wanted to visit either the rainforest, or another one of the "houses." We were just thankful Maria was still sleeping! She woke up as we were looking at the big cats, and I'm afraid they really scared her. For awhile she was quite afraid of all the big animals (the elephant, giraffe, hippo, etc...), but she warmed up to them after awhile, as long as they didn't come too close (I don't think she understands glass or fences completely yet). Even so, without a doubt her favorite animals were the penguins and monkeys. We could have looked at them and nothing else all day, and she would have been happy.

You can see all our pictures from yesterday here, or on the sidebar as usual. Here's a preview:

Maria looking at the giraffes, or as she calls them, "Raffes."

This little guy really was quite impressive!


27 April 2008

Fifth Sunday of Easter

The Church continues to exalt the risen Christ and exhorts us to unite with her in prayer.

Our trip to the zoo finally materializes! Details and pictures coming...

26 April 2008

Ss. Cletus and Marcellinus, Popes, Martyrs

St. Cletus, the third pope, was martyred under Domitian in 91. St. Marcellinus was beheaded under Diocletian in 304.

Well, no pictures of the Schonbrunn Tiergarten yet. We awoke this morning to a steady downpour and decided to wait for more clement weather. The forecast for tomorrow in Vienna though is sunny skies with a high of 66. So, the plan now is to head for the Muttergotteskirche in Vienna for the 10:30 TLM, and then make for the zoo afterwards. We've been trying to get there for weeks it seems like, but hopefully tomorrow will really be the day it works.

The New Liturgical Movement
reports: Peruvian Cardinal Bans Practice of Communion in the Hand. Deo Gratias! Viva il Cardinal!

25 April 2008

St. Mark the Evangelist (The Greater Litanies)

St. Mark was a disciple of St. Peter and the author of the Second Gospel under the inspiration of the latter. He was martyred in Alexandria in 80.

The Procession of the Greater Litanies, followed by the Rogation Mass, has no connection with the Feast of St. Mark as such. The Litany of the Saints, the Psalms, and the Prayers sung during the procession on this day are supplications. The object of these supplications is to appease the anger of God and avert the scourges of his justice, and to pray for the harvest.

Various items of interest: I completed my first exam this afternoon (German); the Tigers scored an average of 12.33 runs per game against the Rangers in their latest series; and, most exciting of all, we are taking Maria to the oldest zoo in Europe, the "Tiergarten" at Schloss Schoenbrunn - summer residence of the Habsburgs and only rival of Versailles amongst European palaces!

24 April 2008

St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen, Martyr

St. Fidelis was at first "the Advocate of the poor." He then entered the order of Friar Minors, preached the Word of God, and was stabbed to death by Protestant soldiers in 1622.

23 April 2008

Commemoration of St. George, Martyr

St. George, of an illustrious family, having reproached Diocletian for his cruelty, was subjected therefore to atrocious torments and was finally beheaded in 304. He is venerated as the patron of Christian soldiers, and is the Patron of England.

(Raphael c. 1504, Louvre, Paris)

The Priority of Actuality to Potency

A Textual Analysis of Aristotle's Metaphysics, Bk. IX, Ch. 8

The above link will take any interested parties to my latest piece of work, which is, as indicated, a textual analysis of one chapter of Aristotle's Metaphysics. As such, it's not a very profound work by any stretch of the imagination, but a simple overview and analysis of the main concepts found in said chapter, together with its situation in the whole of the Metaphysics, and some indications of its importance and fruitfulness in the metaphysical inquiry as a whole.

22 April 2008

Ss. Soter and Caius, Popes, Martyres

St. Soter was martyred under Marcus Aurelius in 174, and St. Caius was put to death in 296.

21 April 2008

St. Anselm, Bishop, Confessor, Doctor of the Church

St. Anselm, the famous Archbishop of Canterbury, was a Benedictine monk, who fought intrepidly for the faith and liberty of the Church. He is one of the greatest philosophers and mystics of the eleventh century. He died in 1109.

99 years ago today, on the 8th centenary of St. Anselm's death, Pope St. Pius X issued the Encyclical Letter Communium Rerum (On St. Anselm of Aosta).

In this Letter, the pope praises St. Anselm especially for his tireless defense of the liberty of the Church (in the era of the investiture controversy), and for his intellectual defense of the true doctrines of the Church. He is thus a salutary example in an age in which the rights of the Church are so often set at naught, and in which the pernicious heresies of modernism have spread to so many members of the Church.

I have chosen the good saint as something of a personal theological patron especially for his speculative doctrine of the atonement, found especially in Cur Deus Homo (Why God [became] Man), and usually known as the "satisfaction theory" of the atonement.

In my history classes at Ave Maria College, the prof. used to say that St. Anselm (d. 1109) was the first really brilliant thinker since St. Augustine (d. 430)! High praise indeed considering the intellectual merits of such luminaries as Leo the Great and Gregory the Great.

St. Anselm is often called the Father of Scholasticism: "Anselm laid the foundations of the true principles of philosophical and theological studies which other most learned men, the princes of scholasticism, and chief among them the Doctor of Aquin, followed, developed, illustrated and perfected to the great honor and protection of the Church." (CR, 55)

St. Anselm, ora pro nobis!

20 April 2008

Fourth Sunday after Easter

Our Lord Jesus Christ is risen from the dead; the power of God is made manifest and is exalted.


Today it was gorgeous outside - mid 60s, clear blue sky. We took a walk up to the Kirchsteinkreuz, which is a rock jutting out from an arm of the Dreiecksberg (triangle mountain). There are some new pictures, some from today and some from the past week or so, in the April 2008 photo album. Below are a couple from this afternoon's walk.

18 April 2008

The Merit of a Mass

The Latin Mass: A Journal of Catholic Culture has graciously granted permission to reproduce the text of the following article from vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 20-31.

The Merit of a Mass

by Father Chad Ripperger, F.S.S.P.

Among the traditional faithful there appears to be a kind of intuitive sense that the old rite of Mass is more efficacious than the new rite. Many believe that they derive more spiritual gain from the old rite of Mass than from the new. However, to give a more precise expression to the intuitive sense of which is more efficacious, the new or the old rite, it is necessary to make several distinctions. Since the purpose of this article is very specific, i.e. to ascertain which ritual is more meritorious or efficacious, certain issues regarding the value or efficacy of the Mass will be avoided.

Yet, to answer the question of whether the old rite of Mass is more efficacious than the new is of paramount importance. It is the point of departure between priests of the respective rites, since each holds that he is saying the Mass that is best for the faithful. Nevertheless, the question is a key one since, in the end, whichever ritual is more meritorious ought to be the one that the Roman authorities encourage. Since one of the primary obligations of those in authority in the Church is the glory of God through the salvation of souls, they have the obligation to encourage and, in some cases, require the ritual of the Mass which is most efficacious.

Read the rest of this article here: The Merit of a Mass

17 April 2008

Commemoration of St. Anicetus, Pope, Martyr

This pope governed the Church under Marcus Aurelius from 155 to 166. He suffered so much for the faith that, although he did not shed his blood, he was given the title of martyr.

Lecture night (last week)

It was already a week ago and I've neglected to make any mention of a rather interesting lecture that took place here last Thursday (10 April). The guest lecturer was the retired president of the constitutional court of Austria, and present professor of constitutional law at the University of Vienna. The topic: Religion and the State in Austria.

The situation of the Church in Austria is one of separation from the state, but not as strict a separation as is the case in France (his example - I suspect the USA is similar to France in this regard). For example, religion classes are still part of the public school curriculum, and catholic theological faculties at public universities are required to have the approval of the Church. Austria, also unlike France (and the USA) has a concordat (treaty) with the Holy See.

Speaking of lectures at the ITI

A certain Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was invited to give a lecture here some 5 years ago or so. Unfortunately he had to graciously decline the invitation because the pope (John Paul II) happened to have plans already to be out of Rome that same weekend. Why did this prevent the good Cardinal from coming to the ITI? It seems that it was a point of policy that these two would not both leave Rome at the same time. Something about when the cats are away...

Turns out that this is in point of fact the way that legislation permitting female altar boys was slipped through: the Shepherd and his German sheepdog were both out of town and there was no undoing the damage afterwords (forgive the change of metaphor).

16 April 2008

The Glory of the Cross

Revelation of God's Love and Source of Life
by John P. Joy (16 April 2008)

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.
~ John 1:14

At the heart of the Gospel according to John is inscribed a remarkable paradox: the Passion of Jesus Christ, seemingly so inglorious, is the very hour of his glory. Although full comprehension of the mirabile mysterium salutis must always elude us in this life, some light may be shed on the paradoxical glory of the Cross through a consideration of the work of atonement that Christ accomplished thereupon. In narrating the Passion and death of our Lord, the Evangelist draws attention to an especially illuminating Old Testament text: the Day of Atonement ritual described in Leviticus (ch. 16). By viewing the Cross through the lens of this text, the propitiatory power of Christ's blood comes into sharp focus, and the glory of the Cross shines out in the work of atonement like so many streams of light flowing forth from the sacred wounds of Christ: for in his death Christ glorifies the Father by revealing the depths of his love, and is glorified by the Father in being made the source of life for men.

To read the rest of this paper, click here: On Glory in the Gospel according to John

15 April 2008

The Promised Pictures

Here are some pictures I took yesterday of Maria and her friend Clarka. They are the same age, both are very peaceful and sweet girls, and they play very well together. Here they are playing peek-a-boo.

14 April 2008

St. Justin, Martyr

St. Justin was converted from pagan philosophy to Christianity. He became the most illustrious opponent of pagan philosophers. He addressed two Apologies to the persecuting emperors. He died in 165.

Please forgive the paucity/brevity of recent posts. An April 16 deadline for a paper is consuming much of my time. Brief news items: the weather has been gorgeous here the past week or so, mostly in the 60s with clear skies; we're planning a trip to Vienna to take Maria to the enormous zoo in the Schoenbrunn Palace gardens for this Saturday, weather permitting; Lisa has begun to tutor a local Austrian girl in English, which sounds like some fun for her; Maria had her little friend Clarka over this morning - hopefully Lisa will post some of the pictures tomorrow, they were pretty cute.

13 April 2008

Third Sunday after Easter

"Let us shout with joy to God; let us sing a psalm to His name," because our Lord Jesus Christ is risen again and has given His life for us.

Our flight plans have changed. We have booked a flight with Aer Lingus departing from Dublin on May 18 at 2:30 and arriving in Chicago on May 18 at 4:30.

Anyone interested in reasonable plane ticket prices between the USA and Ireland, by the way, should look into this Aer Lingus.

12 April 2008

At least they broke up the no-hitter

Another day game finally rolls around, which means that we can listen to it without staying up all night, and the Tigers almost get no hit (broken up in the 8th by Renteria), but still manage to get shut out for the 3rd time this year... 7-0 score makes the Tig's 2-9 which is still the worst record in the game... At least Maria is cute... Ah, well, back to paper writing...

11 April 2008

St. Leo the Great, Pope, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church

St. Leo the Great saved Rome from the invasion of Attila. He defended the rights of the Holy See, and he condemned Nestorianism at the Council of Ephesus and the Monophysites at the Council of Chalcedon. He died in 461.

Pope St. Leo the Great's altar piece in St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, depicting the saintly pontiff turning Attila away from the city in that justly famous episode of 452.

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Lisa added more pictures of Maria to our April 2008 photo album.

* * *

Just last month, Pope Benedict XVI spoke on Leo the Great, "One of the Greatest Pontiffs Ever." The complete translated text is available on Zenit. The following is an excerpt:

Leo the Great, constantly aware of his believers and of the people of Rome, but also of the communion between the various Churches and their needs, was a supporter and an untiring promoter of the Roman primacy, offering himself as the authentic heir of Peter the Apostle: the numerous bishops attending the Council of Chalcedon - mostly oriental - were fully aware of this.

Taking place in the year 451, with 350 bishops, this council was the most important assembly ever to be celebrated in the history of the Church. Chalcedon represented the end goal of the Christology of the previous three ecumenical councils: Nicea in 325, Constantinople in 381 and Ephesus in 431. Already in the 6th century, these four councils, which synthesized the faith of the early Church, were compared to the four Gospels, as Gregory the Great affirmed in a famous letter (I, 24), in which he declared we should "to accept and venerate, like the four books of the Holy Gospel, the four Councils" because, he explains further, on them "the structure of the holy faith arises as on a keystone."

By rejecting the heresy of Eutiche, which denied the true human nature of God's Son, the Council of Chalcedon affirmed the union in the one Person, without confusion and without separation, of the two natures, human and divine.

The Pope affirmed the faith in true God and true man Jesus Christ in an important doctrinal text directed to the bishop of Constantinople, the so-called "Tome to Flavianus," which was read in Chalcedon and was acclaimed by the attending bishops, registered in the, recorded in the acts of the Council in these words: "Peter has spoken through the mouth of Leo," the fathers of the council exclaimed together.

From this intervention, and from others made during the Christological controversy of those years, it is evident that the Pope felt the urgent responsibility of Peter's Successor, whose role is unique in the Church, because "only to one Apostle was entrusted what was communicated to all the apostles," as Leo affirms in one of his sermons on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul (83, 2).

The Pontiff managed to exercise such responsibilities, in the West like in the East, by intervening in various circumstances with prudence, determination and lucidity through his texts and his bound manuscripts. In so doing he demonstrated the importance of the Roman primacy then, as much as today, in order to effectively serve the communion that is a feature of the one and only Church of Christ.

10 April 2008

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Pop/Grandpa!

We love you and miss you and can't wait to see you soon!

mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa

One of the cardinal sins of beer management...

09 April 2008

08 April 2008

'Glory' in the Gospel of John

That is the assignment. Write about 'glory' in the Gospel of John. 1o pages due next Wednesday. So here I am listening to the Tigers losing (again!) to the Red Sox, and I'm having trouble even formulating a thesis sentence... miserere me.

Well hey, the Tig's have managed to load the bases! Let's see what Guillen can do here with 2 outs... he's worked it to a 3-2 count... poop.

07 April 2008

Happy Birthday, Daddy

Happy Birthday, Daddy (or Papou to some)! Hope it's a good one!

Just for you (and those who haven't seen our newest album), here is another installment of "Cute pictures of Maria."

06 April 2008

Second Sunday after Easter

This Sunday is often called Good Shepherd Sunday: the Gospel tells us of the Good Shepherd. Jesus is indeed the Good Shepherd of our souls. He came to give His Life for us.

Here comes Maria dancing into the living room in her new outfit from the flohmarkt (well, the hat is from Christmas).

She was quite distraught this afternoon upon waking from her nap. What a pathetic face :(

05 April 2008

St. Vincent Ferrer, Confessor

A famous Dominican who gave luster to the Church by his preaching and miracles. He converted thousands of sinners and heretics. He died in 1419.

We were invited to a common dinner this evening in honor of the recent ordination to the diaconate of Br. Benedict, one of the Benedictine monks studying here at the ITI. It was quite enjoyable as such dinners always are.

This morning, while Lisa was off in Wieselburg at a flohmarkt, Maria and I went for a walk around Gaming. There are lots of pictures in our new April '08 photo album.

04 April 2008

St. Isidore, Bishop, Confessor, and Doctor of the Church

St. Isidore succeeded his brother as Archbishop of Seville. He was a master of ecclesiastical learning in Spain and a great Doctor of the Church. He died in 636.

Last night a British priest, Fr Michael Cullinan, gave a lecture entitled, Why St Paul is Important to Catholic Moral Theology Today. I have to say, the British sense of humour and way of speaking is quite entertaining. What is the basis of morality? Law? Or, virtue? The answer that one gives to this question takes concrete shape in the way in which one organizes moral teaching. St Thomas's Summa Theologiae, for example, divides moral theology according to the virtues, while most Catholic moral teaching since has arranged it according to the 10 Commandments (e.g. the new Catechism). Of couse, St Thomas includes the commandments and the new Catechism includes a discussion of virtues, the question is the basis of Christian morality.

The best line of the evening, in my own humble opinion, was in the Q&A portion of the lecture. The speaker said that he abhored legalism entirely in the realm of ethics, but this doesn't mean that there is no place at all for legalism - it should simply be kept where is belongs, such as in liturgical matters.

I'd continue, but the Tigers are playing the White Sox in just a few minutes. So, after an ignominious opening series in which they were swept by the Royals, we'll see if the Tigers can finally get into the win column. One of Lisa's Tigers is on the mound today - Nate Robertson. She's also picking Marcus Thames to have a big night (assuming that he's starting in place of Sheffield whom we've heard was injured yesterday). Guillen's my guy over all while Grandy's hurt, but I also think that Ordonez will get finally get things going tonight. Go get 'em Tig's! [Update] mutter, mutter, spit...

03 April 2008

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Happy Birthday Mom (or Grandma)!
Hope it's a good one! We love you!

Maria drank a birthday toast to you, prost!

Paper for Natural Philosophy

I finished today a short paper (6 pages) for my natural philosophy class on the topic of Motion in Aristotle's Physics and Its Relation to the Infinite, to Place, and to Time. Follow the link here or on the sidebar if you are interested in reading it. For those who don't want to bother reading the whole paper, I'll give you the short version: motion is the actuality of the potential as potential. The infinite exists only in potency. Place is the first immobile limit of the containing body. Time is the number of motion. Go ahead, see if you can come up with better definitions.

02 April 2008

St. Francis of Paula, Confessor

He founded the Order of Minims, whose name shows that they wished to be accounted the least in the household of God. Summoned to France, he died there in 1508.

And now for another cute picture of Maria, to please her Papou (and the rest of her relations, but he's the one who yells the loudest for them ;-)

Who's your tiger? Obviously, for me Placido Polanco, and for John, Carlos Guillen. As for outstanding performance of the evening, I'm going for Brandon Inge again (who doesn't want to see him do well?), and John thinks Miguel Cabrera will have a good game.

[Update - by John] Argh! Not only did my prof. schedule a class for this evening at 7:15 (7:05 gametime!), but the Tigers stunk it up! Rogers pitched well through 5, just like Verlander, but their entire offensive production was three singles by E. Renteria! Two games into the season and I'm going nuts!

01 April 2008

April: Dedicated to the Blessed Sacrament

O God, Who under a wonderful Sacrament hast left us a memorial of Thy Passion: grant us, we beseech Thee, so to venerate the sacred mysteries of Thy Body and Blood that we may ever feel within us the fruit of Thy Redemption. Who livest and reignest... (Collect for the Feast of Corpus Christi)

The other day we caught Maria trying on a pair of her mother's sandals. She is growing up too soon!