30 January 2009

Thomas Joseph

Born at 19:55; 3.77 kg; 53 cm. We are all doing very well, and are very happy.

29 January 2009

Awaiting a Baby

The policy around here is to induce labor when 10 days overdue. So, we're heading to the hospital tomorrow morning at 8:00, and some hours later hope to welcome our new baby. I thank you kindly for your prayers for Lisa and the baby.

Happy Birthday, Will!

The snow, by the way, has now climbed to 30 cm, i.e. just shy of a foot.

28 January 2009

Snow, and Lots of It

Last night it started snowing, and it hasn't stopped yet. So far, it's up to 21 cm (8.25 inches) on the roof of the Spar behind us. This is easily the biggest snowfall that we've had yet this year.

25 January 2009

Cute Pictures

Lisa made brownies this afternoon, and topped them with peanut butter. Maria seemed to enjoy them thoroughly.

The Conversion of St. Paul

I know Whom I have believed, and I am certain that He is able to keep that which I have committed to Him, against that day; being a just judge. (Psalm) Lord, Thou hast proved me and known me: Thou hast known my sitting down, and my rising up.

Today closes the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity, begun on the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter in Rome. Yesterday, I offered a (surely incomplete) list of magisterial documents on the subject of ecumenism, but figuring that if one who is a full time student of theology doesn't have time to read them all, others also might not be able to, I'll offer here a few of my personal favorite quotes (not intended to be fully representative of the contents).

~From Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Letter to the Bishops of Italy Quanto conficiamur moerore (On Promotion of False Doctrines), 10 August 1863.

God forbid that the children of the Catholic Church should even in any way be unfriendly to those who are not at all united to us by the same bonds of faith and love. On the contrary, let them be eager always to attend to their needs with all the kind services of Christian charity, whether they are poor or sick or suffering any other kind of visitation. First of all, let them rescue them from the darkness of the errors into which they have unhappily fallen and strive to guide them back to Catholic truth and to their most loving Mother who is ever holding out her maternal arms to receive them lovingly back into her fold.

~From Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Letter Mortalium animos (On Religious Unity), 6 January 1928.

So, Venerable Brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics: for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ of those who are separated from it, for in the past they have unhappily left it. To the one true Church of Christ, we say, which is visible to all, and which is to remain, according to the will of its Author, exactly the same as He instituted it. During the lapse of centuries, the mystical Spouse of Christ has never been contaminated, nor can she ever in the future be contaminated… 

Let, therefore, the separated children draw nigh to the Apostolic See, set up in the City which Peter and Paul, the Princes of the Apostles, consecrated by their blood; to that See, We repeat, which is "the root and womb whence the Church of God springs," not with the intention and the hope that "the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" will cast aside the integrity of the faith and tolerate their errors, but, on the contrary, that they themselves submit to its teaching and government. Would that it were Our happy lot to do that which so many of Our predecessors could not, to embrace with fatherly affection those children, whose unhappy separation from Us We now bewail. Would that God our Savior, "Who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth," would hear us when We humbly beg that He would deign to recall all who stray to the unity of the Church!

~From The Holy Office, Instruction On the Ecumenical Movement, 20 December 1949.

Therefore the [whole] and [entire] Catholic doctrine is to be presented and explained: by no means is it permitted to pass over in silence or to veil in ambiguous terms the Catholic truth regarding the nature and way of justification, the constitution of the Church, the primacy of jurisdiction of the Roman Pontiff, and the only true union by the return of the dissidents to the one true Church of Christ. It should be made clear to them that, in returning to the Church, they will lose nothing of that good which by the grace of God has hitherto been implanted in them, but that it will rather be supplemented and completed by their return. However, one should not speak of this in such a way that they will imagine that in returning to the Church they are bringing to it something substantial which it has hitherto lacked. It will be necessary to say these things clearly and openly, first because it is the truth that they themselves are seeking, and moreover because outside the truth no true union can ever be attained.

~From the Council of Vatican II, Session V, Decree Unitatis redintegratio (On Ecumenism), 21 November 1964.

[W]hen the obstacles to perfect ecclesiastical communion have been gradually overcome, all Christians will at last, in a common celebration of the Eucharist, be gathered into the one and only Church in that unity which Christ bestowed on His Church from the beginning. We believe that this unity subsists in the Catholic Church as something she can never lose, and we hope that it will continue to increase until the end of time. (4)

It is, of course, essential that the doctrine should be clearly presented in its entirety. Nothing is so foreign to the spirit of ecumenism as a false irenicism, in which the purity of Catholic doctrine suffers loss and its genuine and certain meaning is clouded. (11)

~From Pope John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Ut unum sint (On Commitment to Ecumenism), 25 May 1995.

The unity willed by God can be attained only by the adherence of all to the content of revealed faith in its entirety. In matters of faith, compromise is in contradiction with God who is Truth. In the Body of Christ, "the way, and the truth, and the life" (Jn 14:6), who could consider legitimate a reconciliation brought about at the expense of the truth? (18)

Love for the truth is the deepest dimension of any authentic quest for full communion between Christians. (36)

Full communion of course will have to come about through the acceptance of the whole truth into which the Holy Spirit guides Christ's disciples. Hence all forms of reductionism or facile "agreement" must be absolutely avoided. Serious questions must be resolved, for if not, they will reappear at another time, either in the same terms or in a different guise. (36)

~From the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Doctrinal Note On Some Aspects of Evangelization, 3 December 2007.

There is today, however, a growing confusion which leads many to leave the missionary command of the Lord unheard and ineffective (cf. Mt 28:19). Often it is maintained that any attempt to convince others on religious matters is a limitation of their freedom. From this perspective, it would only be legitimate to present one's own ideas and to invite people to act according to their consciences, without aiming at their conversion to Christ and to the Catholic faith. It is enough, so they say, to help people to become more human or more faithful to their own religion; it is enough to build communities which strive for justice, freedom, peace and solidarity. Furthermore, some maintain that Christ should not be proclaimed to those who do not know him, nor should joining the Church be promoted, since it would also be possible to be saved without explicit knowledge of Christ and without formal incorporation in the Church. (3)

Everywhere and always, each Catholic has the right and the duty to give the witness and the full proclamation of his faith. With non-Catholic Christians, Catholics must enter into a respectful dialogue of charity and truth, a dialogue which is not only an exchange of ideas, but also of gifts, in order that the fullness of the means of salvation can be offered to one's partners in dialogue. In this way, they are led to an ever deeper conversion to Christ. (12)

24 January 2009

A Great Day for the Church (and for the SSPX)

Today, by a Decree of the Congregation for Bishops, the excommunications incurred latae sententiae by the bishops of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X have been remitted! Rorate Caeli, the New Liturgical Movement, and Fr. Z all have plenty of coverage.

I second the hope expressed in the decree: 

"It is hoped that this step is followed by the prompt accomplishment of full communion with the Church of the entire Fraternity of St. Pius X, thereby demonstrating true fidelity and true recognition of the Magisterium and the authority of the Pope by the proof of visible unity."

Thank you, Holy Father!

What an excellent way to conclude the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity (Jan 18 to 25). Speaking of this Octave of Prayer, the dates chosen by the Church themselves admirably express the Church's understanding of what ecumenism is all about. Jan 18. is the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, while Jan. 25 is the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. Thus the Christian Unity for which we pray is unity with the Church of Rome (the Church of the holy apostles Peter and Paul), which entails both submission to the authority of the Holy Father (symbolized by the chair, the cathedra), and conversion to the true faith (as exemplified by St. Paul).

Mandatory reading for an appreciation of the Catholic Church's magisterial teaching on ecumenism, by the way, must include: 

Pope Leo XIII, Encyclical Letter Satis cognitum (On the Unity of the Church), 1896.

Pope Pius XI, Encyclical Letter Mortalium animus (On Religious Unity), 1928.

Council of Vatican II, Session V, Decree Unitatis redintegratio (On Ecumenism), 1964.

Pope John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Ut unum sint (On Commitment to Ecumenism), 1995.

For further reading, one might add these (certainly not a complete list):

Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Letter to the Bishops of Italy Quanto conficiamur moerore (On Promotion of False Doctrines), 1863.

Pope Pius IX, Apostolic Letter to all Protestants and other non-Catholics at the convocation of the Vatican Council Iam vos omnes, 1868.

Pope St. Pius X, Apostolic Letter to the French Bishops Notre Charge Apostolique (Our Apostolic Mandate), 1910. [A great line from this one: "Indeed, the true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries, nor innovators: they are traditionalists."]

Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Letter Mystici Corporis Christi (On the Mystical Body of Christ), 1943.

The Holy Office, Instruction On the Ecumenical Movement, 1949.

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Doctrinal Note On Some Aspects of Evangelization, 2007.

23 January 2009

Still no Baby...

What more can I say? He'll have to come out eventually, though...

22 January 2009

Lecture: Isocrates of Athens

Tonight there was presented the first lecture of the semester. The topic: Isocrates of Athens: Rhetoric, Ethics, and Education. I'll let you try to guess the connections between those three topics. Apparently he was the main rival of Plato in their day, and was one of the most widely read of the ancient Greeks right up until the 20th century, when his ideas about the twofold basis of society (religion and tradition) became really unpopular.

21 January 2009

Farewell to Nana and Grandpa

This morning we waved a sad good-bye to my parents as they boarded the train for Vienna. Poor little Maria, it was one of the saddest things I've seen. After they boarded, and while we were waving to them, Maria looked round at me with a panicked look and said, "I need to get on the train!" When it pulled away without her she burst into tears, and was quite inconsolable for awhile. Still this afternoon she's asked us a couple of times, "Where are Nana and Grandpa? Are they at the Kartause?"

The week with them went by far too quickly, but it was really lovely, and I'll long remember especially the sight of my father in full sprint down the steps of the subway station in Vienna when we first met back on Jan. 12. He almost knocked us over, I think :)

Safe travels back to the USA!

20 January 2009

First Day of Classes

Greek at 8:00 and Virtue & Vice at 9:15 went quite well, but then it just got ridiculous. There were three of us signed up for the Patrology course, which was to meet at 10:30. It turns out that the priest who was originally intended to teach the course did not get permission from his bishop to leave his diocese to come and teach for us. So, one of the priests here was asked to teach the course, and he accepted on the basis of the assumption that no one would register for the class because it was an elective. So, there we are sitting in the classroom listening to our prof. explain why he is not going to teach the class at all.

So, they have one more prof. they are going to ask to take over the course at the last moment (actually, the last moment passed awhile ago), or else the course will simply be cancelled (although why they didn't just cancel it and take it off the schedule before registration is beyond me).

Just in case then, I'm looking at other options for a class to replace this one with. My first choice, a short intensive course on the Eucharist, is already full, which means that my only real remaining choice is theological anthropology.

19 January 2009

Registration Day

Katie and I have our new class schedules for the semester.

Intro. to Greek II
Mystery of the Triune God II
Moral Theology III: Virtue and Vice
The One God II: Creator and Creation
Patrology II: Christology
Mystery of the Incarnate Word I

Intro. to Latin II
Natural Philosophy II: Motion and Order
Intro. to Scripture II
Mysterium Salutis II: Catechism of the Catholic Church
Ethics I: Ancient Moral Theory
Intro. to Theology: Man before God

18 January 2009

Second Sunday after Epiphany

After Divine Liturgy today, Grandpa and Nana took Maria to the local Cafe-Konditorei for some pastries. It's not quite Dunkin Donuts, but it's a pretty good place nonetheless. The rest of us had brunch at home, and then later on we all took a walk up behind the old Turkish wall behind the Kartause in order to take advantage of the continuing good weather. I hope you'll excuse the lack of pictures, but I think it'll be more than made up for once Grandpa and Nana make their pictures of their whole trip available.

The only real news around here is that there is no news. Lisa is hoping every minute to go into labor, but so far has not.

It seems that my parish back home is making big news lately: Fr. Z. at What Does the Prayer Really Say? has picked up Old St. Patrick's bulletin article that discusses the recent change to offering Mass ad orientem (facing the altar, not the people) every Sunday at the 10:30 Mass as well as at all the weekday Masses.

17 January 2009


Nana and Grandpa are spending the day today in the lovely city of Mozart and "The Sound of Music" fame. I dropped them off at the train station this morning at 8:30 and I'll pick them up again this evening at 8:30. I'm sure they'll add to their growing total of over 700 pictures :)

16 January 2009

Our Afternoon Walk

We had some very fine weather today. So much so that we took a lengthy walk through and around Gaming. The sky was clear, the sun was bright, and the temperature was quite mild. Below you can see Maria taking her grandparents to see the cows that she likes so much. Then, as we were walking back home, we encountered a very nice view of the Kartause in its little valley with the sun just going down behind the mountains.

15 January 2009


This afternoon Grandpa and I hiked up an arm of the Dreiecksberg (triangle mountain) to the Kirchsteinkreuz (church-rock-cross). It's a great little hike with a magnificent view of Gaming from the top.

After Divine Liturgy we ate dinner at the Kartausenkeller, the restaurant in the Kartause. Mom and Pop both tried the schnitzel as well as the excellent Kartausebräu dunkel bier. After dinner they trounced us all in a few rounds of Yahtzee.

14 January 2009

Season After Epiphany

This period, which begins the day after the Octave of Epiphany, is an extension of Christmastide. Jesus asserts His Divinity, not by the appearance of angels or the star of the Magi, but speaking Himself as God. He subjects our hearts to His teachings, explaining His Divine doctrine with parables and manifesting the truth of His words and works by many miracles.

Nana and Grandpa have been wearing little Maria right out! As we were eating lunch this afternoon she ducked out of sight, and before long we realized that she had actually fallen right asleep on her chair.

13 January 2009

The Baptism of Our Lord

As well as being the Octave day of the Epiphany, today was a nice quiet day at home for all of us. Nana and Grandpa seemed happy to be finally off their feet for a day. Lisa made an Austrian dinner for us: pork steaks, sauerkraut, knoedel, and beer, with apple strudel and whipped cream for dessert, topped off by Salzburg's renowned Mozart chocolate liqueur.

12 January 2009

They're Here!

Nana and Grandpa are here, and Maria (and the rest of us) couldn't be happier! We met them at the Stephansdom in Vienna this morning, and spent a few hours walking through the city before riding the train into Gaming.

11 January 2009

Feast of the Holy Family

The father of the just rejoiceth greatly, let Thy father and Thy mother be joyful, and let her rejoice that bore Thee. (Psalm) How lovely are Thy tabernacles, O Lord of Hosts! my soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord.

The Holy Family by Michelangelo, c. 1506, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence.

Speaking of Michelangelo, The New Liturgical Movement has beautiful pictures (here) of Pope Benedict offering Mass ad orientem today in the Sistine Chapel. Pictured below: the veneration of the altar.

10 January 2009

Katie's Back!

Well, Katie is safely back from her trip to Italy (Venice, Padua, Florence, Pisa, Siena, Norcia, and Rome!) Thanks be to God for her safe return. I'm sure she'll put up some pictures eventually, either here or on her facebook page.

09 January 2009

News from Italy

We received phone calls this evening both from Katie from Rome and from my parents from Florence. Katie's flight was supposed to have left Rome for Bratislava this afternoon at 3:00, but when she called us at 8:45 they still hadn't left. Take-off was pushed back to 10:00 (at least), which means that she'll make it into Bratislava too late tonight to make it home. She and her friend will spend the night somewhere, and we'll see them tomorrow. My parents seem to be having quite a lovely time. They loved Rome, loved Assisi, loved Florence, and tomorrow they're heading for the coast near Genoa (the area where my mother's family is from). We're ridiculously excited to see them soon, and to hear all the stories of their adventures in Ireland and Italy!

08 January 2009

O Happy Day!

Berg König's zwickl beer is back! Or, at least, something pretty close. Some of you may recall the tragic events reported here on the 1st of December in the year of our Lord 2008. Our favorite beer disappeared from the shelves of Hofer with nary an explanation. As you can see to the left, however, there has returned a beer by the same makers and of the same name, albeit with a different label. In fact, there is a new twist: it is now labeled as "bio" beer, which is the Austrian version of our "organic". This means, of course, an elevated price (grrr), as well as, surprisingly, a slightly altered taste (still good, though). Despite the fact that I hate the liberal obsession with organic foods, I can't say that I disagree with the idea of all-natural things, in fact quite the opposite (especially when it tastes this good). Ah, happiness!

07 January 2009


If I remember aright, my parents should be heading for Assisi at some point today. They arrived in Rome Monday afternoon, and that evening the plan was to meet Katie for dinner at Dino and Tony's (the best restaurant in the world). I know they planned on hearing Epiphany Mass yesterday at Santa Maria Maggiore, and then I imagine that they used the afternoon to visit a few of the papal basilicas.

Today, I think they are attending a papal audience, and maybe also visiting the Vatican Museum (specifically, the Sistine Chapel), before heading for the home and final resting place of St. Francis of Assisi.

Update: We also happily received a postcard from Katie featuring an impressive picture of the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua, where she and her friend were fortunate to visit the remains of that most beloved saint. It seems that they are having a grand time, and enjoying some sunshine in Italy.

06 January 2009


Behold the Lord the Ruler is come: and the Kingdom is in His hand, and power, and dominion. (Psalm) Give to the king Thy judgment, O God: and to the king's Son Thy justice.

Adoration of the Magi

Baptism of Christ in the Jordan River

Wedding Feast at Cana

05 January 2009


I spent another day in Trumau (our new location as of next year) raking leaves. In the inner courtyard of the Schloss (pictured below) stands one huge tree, which managed to drop enough leaves all by itself to keep two of us busy for about 5 hours (on top of the 2 hours spent there last week). Let me just say that the pile at the end was huge.

04 January 2009

The Holy Name of Jesus

In the Name of Jesus let every knee bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: and let every tongue confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father. (Psalm) O Lord our Lord: how admirable is Thy Name in the whole earth! 

This evening we made a tasty Mexican feast for the birthday of one of our friends here. Why Mexican? Because... (wait for it...) I found jalapenos at Hofer! I bought three jars, which now I think wasn't enough, because it's impossible to say how long they will be there. Ah, well... Lisa made enchiladas with black beans and rice, as well as some beef/bean/cheese burritos (my request). It was delicious.

02 January 2009

Update from Ireland

We were delighted to receive a phone call from Galway, Ireland this evening. My parents seem to be having a lovely time on the Emerald Isle. We're looking forward to seeing them soon!

01 January 2009

Happy New Year

And happy Octave-Day of the Nativity, Feast of the Circumcision of Our Lord, Feast of St. Basil the Great Our Father among the Saints (if you're Byzantine), and Feast of Mary the Mother of God (in the Novus Ordo calendar). In short, there's a lot to celebrate today.