31 May 2010

Feast of Our Lady Queen of Heaven and Earth

Let us all rejoice in the Lord and make a festive day in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary our Queen: at whose solemnity the Angels rejoice and give praise to the Son of God.

The style is rather modern, I admit, although not really so bad for all that, but the symbolism is excellent with regard to today's feast. Up until 1956 the Feast of Our Lady Mediatrix of All Graces was usually celebrated on May 31. Then in the Encyclical Letter Ad Caeli Reginam (1956), Ven. Pope Pius XII instituted the Feast of the Queenship of Mary for May 31. The idea of Mary's queenship, of course, includes the idea of her mediation of all graces, and the two are united beautifully in the image above. The queenship motif is from Apoc. 12, the Woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and wearing a crown of twelve stars. From her hands shine forth the rays of divine grace which she mediates to the earth. As the moon reflects the light of the sun, so she reflects the light of her Son, the Sun of Justice.

Together with the institution of today's Feast, Ven. Pope Pius XII requested an annual re-consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary: "We likewise ordain that on the same day the consecration of the human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary be renewed, cherishing the hope that through such consecration a new era may begin, joyous in Christian peace and in the triumph of religion" (47).

A Solemn Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

Most Holy Virgin Mary, tender Mother of men, to fulfill the desires of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the request of the Vicar of Your Son on earth, we consecrate ourselves and our families to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, O Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and we recommend to You, all the people of our country and all the world.

Please accept our consecration, dearest Mother, and use us as You wish to accomplish Your designs in the world.

O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, and Queen of the World, rule over us, together with the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, Our King. Save us from the spreading flood of modern paganism; kindle in our hearts and homes the love of purity, the practice of a virtuous life, an ardent zeal for souls, and a desire to pray the Rosary more faithfully.

We come with confidence to You, O Throne of Grace and Mother of Fair Love. Inflame us with the same Divine Fire which has inflamed Your own Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart. Make our hearts and homes Your shrine, and through us, make the Heart of Jesus, together with your rule, triumph in every heart and home. Amen.

~Venerable Pope Pius XII

30 May 2010

Feast of the Most Holy Trinity

Today in the Divine Office we get to read one of the lesser known of the official Creeds of the Church: The Athanasian Creed. It begins thus:

Whoever wishes to be saved must, above all, keep the catholic faith. For unless a person keeps this faith whole and entire, he will undoubtedly be lost forever. This is what the catholic faith teaches: we worship one God in the Trinity and the Trinity in unity. Neither confounding the Persons, nor dividing the substance...

We had great plans to go to the huge park at nearby Schloss Laxenburg to let the kids wander about, and maybe take in a jousting match, but just as we got in the car to go a rainstorm broke over our heads. Thunder and hailstones and lots and lots of rain.

Thomas thought it was great fun and didn't want to come inside.

Maria shrieked and ran inside to curl up under a blanket.

That left us trying to find indoor entertainment.

The Champion of the Tournament!

29 May 2010

We're on our way!

Well, we booked our tickets anyways. Maria and I will be arriving at Chicago O'Hare on Thursday, July 15 at 18:15, and departing again from Chicago O'Hare on Monday, July 26 at 17:15.

See you soon!

27 May 2010

My Last Paper

I'm about to place my very last paper (for this degree anyway) in the prof's mailbox. It discusses the history of philosophical inquiry into the nature of history. In other words, it combines the philosophy of history and the history of philosophy into a confusing mish-mash, which I may or may not have succeeded in finding my way out of again after getting myself into it. Ah, well. Here you are:


St. Thomas Aquinas solves the question as to whether the articles of faith have increased in the course of time by comparing them to the first principles of natural reason. He writes:

The articles of faith stand in the teaching of faith as principles known through themselves stand in the teaching of what is had by natural reason. A certain order is found in these principles. Some are implicitly contained in others… Thus it is to be said that, as regards the substance of the articles of faith, there has been no increase in them with the passing of time, since whatever things the later Fathers believe were contained in the faith of the earlier, even if implicitly. But as regards explication, the number of articles grew.

The rest of the paper is available via the link on the sidebar.

26 May 2010

Happy Birthday, Mary!

Happy Birthday To You!
Happy Birthday To You!

Dear Mary!
Happy Birthday To You!

Love from all of us,
and big sloppy kisses from the kids!

25 May 2010

Paper on Religious Liberty

One of the options for a paper topic in the Catholic Social Teaching class that Katie and I are taking this semester is a look at the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on Religious Liberty (Dignitatis humanae) in comparison to the magisterial teaching of the popes prior to the Council. This little essay proposes one possible solution to the apparent contradictions between pre- and post- Vatican II teaching on religious liberty.

An Interpretation of the Second Vatican Council's
Declaration on Religious Liberty
in Light of Catholic Tradition

One of the most controversial statements of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) appears in Dignitatis humanæ (1965), the Council's Declaration on Religious Liberty:

This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.
At first glance, this declaration seems radically incompatible with the Church's traditional social doctrine. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in particular, the papal magisterium has explicitly and repeatedly condemned "liberty of conscience" and "liberty of worship" as false doctrines, generally in connection with the idea that error has no rights; the popes have also taught unequivocally that states are morally obliged both to profess the truth of the Catholic faith and to repress religious error (that is, non-Catholic religions). Fidelity to the magisterium of the Church, both past and present, demands that these apparent contradictions be reconciled.

As Pope Benedict XVI indicated in his 2005 Christmas address to the Roman Curia, the Second Vatican Council cannot be rightly interpreted through a "hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture," but only through a "hermeneutic of reform," that is, of renewal in continuity with the past. The proper interpretation of Dignitatis humanæ therefore also requires the application of a hermeneutic of continuity. That the declaration of the Second Vatican Council on religious liberty is reconcilable with the traditional social doctrine of the Church can and must be demonstrated through an interpretation which does not contradict Catholic tradition, but unfolds in its light.

Read on via the link on the sidebar.

Pentecost Tuesday

Commemoration of St. Cristobal Magallanes Jara and 24 other Martyrs of Mexico, who were killed for Christ and the Catholic Faith during the Cristero War (1926-1929).

The Cristeros fought heroically for Christ and His Church against the Masonic Liberals who took power in Mexico after the Mexican Revolution of 1910. These 25 (22 priests and 3 laymen) canonized saints represent a much greater number of martyrs. Even Wikipedia, which notoriously downplays the numbers of Catholic martyrs in the Masonic Revolutions that have consistently afflicted Christendom ever since 1789, admits that at least 40 priests were killed between 1926 and 1934. The total number of priests in Mexico dropped from about 4,500 to 334, which means that about 4,166 priests emigrated, were expelled, or were simply killed. Most appallingly, after the Vatican sponsored truce of 1929 convinced the Cristeros to lay down their arms and return home, the government sent soldiers into their homes and shot some 5,500 men (usually in front of their families) in blatant violation of the terms of the recent truce.

The Cristeros fought under the banner of
Christ the King and our Lady of Guadalupe

Oremus. O Holy Mary, Virgin Mother of God, who as Our Lady of Guadalupe didst aid in the conversion of Mexico from paganism in a most miraculous way, we now beseech thee to bring about in these our times the early conversion of our modern world from its present neo-paganism to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church of thy divine Son, Jesus Christ, starting in the Americas and extending throughout the entire world, so that soon there may be truly "one fold and one shepherd," with all governments recognizing the reign of thy Son, Jesus Christ the King. This we ask of the Eternal Father, through Jesus Christ His Son Our Lord and by thy powerful intercession - all for the salvation of souls, the triumph of the Church, and peace in the world. Amen.

24 May 2010


Pentecost Monday is, almost incredibly to us Americans, a holy day of obligation and a national holiday here in Austria. Lisa and I spent the evening in Vienna in celebration of our fifth anniversary, which was actually last Thursday, but I had one exam that evening and another the next morning. We were hoping to hear part of a Mozart concert in the Musikverein, but discovered that standing room tickets for this particular performance were unavailable.

Goldenersaal of the Musikverein
(maybe another time)

So the evening consisted of a great English style dinner at 1516, a walk through the city center (the weather was beautiful), and gelato from Zanoni and Zanoni.

23 May 2010


A festive Blumenball was held at the Schloss on Whitsunday in the evening. The dress code was semi-formal and / or lederhosen.

20 May 2010

The I.T.I. on You Tube

A priest alumnus of our Institute has put together a well done little video advertisement, complete with some ridiculous out-takes at the end. This will actually give you a pretty good idea of what our life in Austria is really like. I hope you have 10 spare minutes to watch and enjoy it.

I also found an older video put together from last year's Eastern Catholic Symposium in Gaming. 19 bishops as well as many priests, deacons, and laymen of the Catholic East gathered to discuss the role of the Eastern Catholic Churches within the Universal Church, especially as it regards the possibility of serving as a "bridge" between Rome and Constantinople. It was a remarkable event. This video (Holy Liturgy - A Unique Celebration), which I can only link to, will give you an idea of the solemn splendor of the Eastern Catholic Rites, in which we are privileged to take part at the I.T.I., where the Universal Church "breathes with both lungs".

19 May 2010

Four Years Old!

Maria asked for spaghetti and meatballs for dinner, with garlic bread (her favorite part). For dessert she wanted brownie sundaes with neapolitan ice cream, chocolate syrup, whipped cream, and strawberries.

18 May 2010

The Peasant of the Garonne

I've finished up my second written presentation for my Church History class. Tomorrow, in the last session of this class, we arrive at the 20th century, and my fellow students will be subjected to the following presentation:

The Peasant of the Garonne by Jacques Maritain was written in 1966, within months of the close of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).

The title is a reference to the Peasant of the Danube, a fable written by the 17th century French poet Jean de la Fontaine (1621-1695), in which a rustic German peasant travels to Rome and speaks quite bluntly to the Senate about the injustices which he and his people suffer at the hands of Rome. Since Maritain lived at Toulouse on the Garonne River in France, he calls himself a peasant of the Garonne, meaning that he intends to put his foot into his mouth, as he says, or to call a spade a spade in speaking about some of the problems of the present time. What follow therefore are the usually insightful if sometimes rambling critiques of an octogenarian who speaks his mind bluntly about some of the problems that he sees in the Church in the immediate aftermath of Vatican II... Read more.

14 May 2010

A Dialogue Concerning Heresies

Having finished up the thesis, I finally got to work on the four papers that I have to write for my other classes this semester. Two of the four are not actually essays, but rather written presentations of particular books which are representative of a given century in the history of the Church. I drew A Dialogue Concerning Heresies by St. Thomas More (16th century) and The Peasant of the Garonne by Jacques Maritain (20th century). First up, then:

The Dialogue Concerning Heresies by Sir Thomas More is more properly called: "A dialogue of Sir Thomas More, knight: one of the counsel of our sovereign lord the king and chancellor of his Duchy of Lancaster. Wherein be treated divers matters / as of the veneration & worship of images & relics / praying to saints / & going on pilgrimage. With many other things touching the pestilent sect of Luther & Tyndale / by the one begun in Saxony & by the other labored to be brought into England." Read more.

13 May 2010

Ascension Thursday

Ye men of Galilee, why wonder you, looking up to heaven? alleluia. He shall so come as you have seen Him going up into heaven, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Having decided that there was no better way to celebrate our Lord's Ascension into heaven (after Divine Liturgy, of course) than by ascending one of the nearby hills, we packed a picnic and headed for the charming little town of Gumpoldskirchen, and set out to wind our way through the vineyards running up the hill behind the town. It was a lovely hike to the top of the hill, although somewhat dampened by a light rainfall.

11 May 2010

Happy 1st Birthday, Gabriel!

We hope it's great! Wish we could be there, please eat some cake for us, and send us lots of pictures!

09 May 2010

Ad Caeli Reginam

In 1954, Ven. Pope Pius XII solemnly proclaimed the Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary, and ordered that a feast should be celebrated in honor of her queenly dignity every year on the 31st of May. This feast would thus crown the month of May, in which she has long been specially honored. Up until that time, a feast of Mary under the title of Mediatrix of All Graces was often celebrated on May 31, the truth of which would now be subsumed by the new feast. On the New Calendar, I think the feast of Mary's queenship now appears sometime in October, having been replaced by the feast of the Visitation on May 31, which used to fall on July 2.

Here are a couple of the most important paragraphs from Ad Caeli Reginam, in case you don't have time to read the whole thing (it's not that long):

47. Since we are convinced, after long and serious reflection, that great good will accrue to the Church if this solidly established truth shines forth more clearly to all, like a luminous lamp raised aloft, by Our Apostolic authority We decree and establish the feast of Mary's Queenship, which is to be celebrated every year in the whole world on the 31st of May. We likewise ordain that on the same day the consecration of the human race to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary be renewed, cherishing the hope that through such consecration a new era may begin, joyous in Christian peace and in the triumph of religion.

48. Let all, therefore, try to approach with greater trust the throne of grace and mercy of our Queen and Mother, and beg for strength in adversity, light in darkness, consolation in sorrow; above all let them strive to free themselves from the slavery of sin and offer an unceasing homage, filled with filial loyalty, to their Queenly Mother. Let her churches be thronged by the faithful, her feast-days honored; may the beads of the Rosary be in the hands of all; may Christians gather, in small numbers and large, to sing her praises in churches, in homes, in hospitals, in prisons. May Mary's name be held in highest reverence, a name sweeter than honey and more precious than jewels; may none utter blasphemous words, the sign of a defiled soul, against that name graced with such dignity and revered for its motherly goodness; let no one be so bold as to speak a syllable which lacks the respect due to her name.

Stupid Eyjafjallajokul!

Apparently that unpronounceable volcano over on Iceland has spewed some more ash up into the European sky, causing more trouble for airlines.

Flights over the U.K. and Ireland are having to be re-routed over the Iberian peninsula, and apparently that's creating a bit of a log-jam in the airspace there (can that really happen? Why not just fly a little higher or lower or something?). Anyways, we're getting rather nervous about what this will mean for ticket prices for our little July visit to the USA. Thus far, we haven't seen anything cheaper than $2,000 or so for the two of us, which is really pushing the limits of what we can manage. So if any of you kind people see a sale or a good price on some airline, please let us know!

01 May 2010

Feast of St. Joseph the Worker

Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Confessor

Wisdom rendered to the just the wages of their labors and conducted them in a wonderful way; and she was to them for a covert by day and for the light of the stars by night.

Today's feast is of relatively recent origin, dating back only to 1956. Pope Pius XII instituted this feast in order to demonstrate the Catholic vision of labor and the working man in direct opposition to the Communist version of the same, which was (and is) celebrated internationally on May 1st as Labor Day. It was a Double of the First Class when Pius XII instituted it, then became First Class in the simplified rankings of feasts in the 1962 Missal, and survives in the Novus Ordo calendar as an optional memorial.

We observed the solemnity of the day by taking the kids to play in the sandbox (after Divine Liturgy, of course). Since it is also one of Thomas's patronal feast days, we made him some Tiramisu for dessert.