Monday, June 30, 2008

The good, bad and ugly...

"It tried to kill me so I ate it."
Like Pa always said: "Strike quick and take no prisoners."

Teach your kids team spirit for the Church...

Here we see a Spaniard, who although a layman, speaks a thousand words to anyone who sees him on the streets of Rome.

The extras count: the processional banner...

Processional baners are a nice extra. For the Corpus Christi procession in the Port of Rome, Civitavecchia, they had this banner on doors and windows along the processional route.

One can see how easy these are to make. Just show up at the printing shop with a nice pen and ink print. They can enlarge and print it on different materials for indoor or outdoor use. Sometimes it takes the laity to do this sort of thing (so do it!).

The Roman style cope...

These are glorious, but sadly not really seen in America. The next time you find yourself in Rome, just order one for your pastor as a gift (with a matching stole) on the Via di Santa Chiara, 34 (near the Pantheon).

Sunday, June 29, 2008

An American Carmelite: finest living Latinist...

Here we see Reggie in the Roman Forum earlier this month. Some have asked for an update on his health after his fall on Wednesday and so here's the scoop.
Reggie has been in a Rome hospital since Wednesday afternoon recovering from a bit of a fall which occured at his home, but he's in good spirits and resting well. His famous summer Latin courses will likely end earlier than planned this year. One of the leg bones is broken and so please pray for his surgery and successful time of rest and healing.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

From the history books: back when quality was it...

Here we see the last Papal Coronation Mass in June of 1963. This is back before the hippies changed even the way we worship.
Today the masses attend Papal Mass in t-shirt and jeans. But back in the day it was different. Until our modern era every item for use in the "holy of holies" had always been of the purest quality.
For example, pure linen altar cloths (today, all polyester), all starched cottas (today, all linen blend), all pure silk (today, all fake whatever), all hand-made items (today, all machine made), real beeswax hand-painted candles (today, all plastic/oil), all wool cassocks with starched linen collars (today, imitation garments and plastic collars), etc.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Vatican website: also in Latin...

As most everybody knows, the Vatican site is now in Latin, too (

Just goes to show how a petition drive can work: (

The book that made me...

During our formative years we've all read books (or even seen films) which helped to form us into being the people we are today.
A book can have a powerful influence on anybody. It was after reading this book as a high schol student that while still a college student I was led to follow his footsteps to Peoria, Washington, D.C., New York City, Rome and then later as a graduate student to Lourdes, the Holy Land, London, Louvain, etc. He's the one who got me into graduate school and got me to study the sacred science in Rome.
He's our American saint. He always said that it was his "daily holy hour" in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament which made him. This he began in Saint Paul, Minnesota, in the seminary chapel which still stands today.
Visit his tomb under the main altar in the crypt of the deceased prelates in St. Patrick's Cathedral in N.Y.C. and ask him to pray for you and for your families. He was the most brilliant orator which the Church ever produced in our modern era. See his site here:

Light switch in the papal apartment...

Whenever a new Pope is elected a quick renovation of the papal apartments is carried out. In 1963 the Archbishop of Milan was elected and so he hired Milanese designers to fit the apartment to his tastes.
It was then that the lovely, vividly red crimson damask came off the walls and in its place they put up this more "humble" looking brown (which never matched the Baroque ceilings or floors). Forty years later Pope John Paul II had the brown taken down and new damask put up, albeit this time a lovely white with the pattern of festoons and tiara with keys.
So now that the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican and the Papal Summer Villa at Castel Gandolfo are done, now someone just needs to remind them that now they have to save the walls of the Lateran Palace from this same (brown!) wall-covering!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

S.S.P.X and their deadline...

JPSonnen orat pro episcopo Bernardo Fellay, Societatis Sancti Pii X superiore, ut Dominus pacem det Ecclesiae et unitatem cum Beatissimo Papa Benedicto Pp XVI. Oremus omnes! Ut unum sint...

Monday, June 23, 2008

You are invited (in Latin!) to honor his memory...

Peregrinatio hac scopum habet honorandi augustam memoriam Pii PP XII, cuius obitus commemorabitur 9 octobris adveniente quinquaginta annis transactis. Devoti huius Romani Pontifici omnes cordialiter convocati sunt ut adunentur Romae ad participandum in omnibus praevisis actibus. Ii quibus eventus hoc interesse potuerit id notum faciant Sodalitio Internationali Pastor Angelicus ad ulteriores habendas relationes.

This International Roman Pilgrimage has the purpose of honouring the holy memory of Pope Pius XII on the 50th Anniversary of his death, on the forthcoming 9th of October. All his devotees are cordially convoked to meet in Rome to participate in the several ceremonies that have been organized. Those who may be interested in taking part in this event, please contact the Solatium Internationale Pastor Angelicus for further information.

Facebook has a My Events page for this: Peregrinatio Romana Internationalis pro Pio PP XII

Conventus in Sanctae Sedis Aula Diurnariis edocendis adunatus ad nuntiandos inceptos pro commemoratione Quinquagesimi anni a Pio PP XII obitu: - Press Conference held in the Holy See Press Office to announce initiatives for commemorating the Fiftieth Anniversary of Pope Pius XII’s death: - Conférence de Press

How to build a (nice) modern church...

University students of architecture will explain to you that today, in their university programs of study, classical architecture is still "forbidden."

So parish building committees and architectural firms continue to build the most discordant places of worship one can imagine (even in Catholic countries such as Italy, Poland, Spain, etc).

Here's a fine church which could be reproduced with ease anywhere and on budget. If you're on the parish building committee than consider this one in La Storta, just northwest of Rome with its attached school and rectory (p.s. Eugene Cardinal Tisserant is buried here).

Craftsmanship for Catholic culture...

Here we see the coat-of-arms of Blessed John XXIII (aka Bubbles) from perhaps circa 1959. Notice the craftsmanship, detail and to think it was likely all made by hand.
To get craftsmanship like this today, they say you have to look to India, where for example, the British Armed Forces have all their emblems made. Hope we can cultivate more craftsmen all over the world so as to reproduce some of these past treasures for the life of the Church today.

Friday, June 20, 2008

When Papal Liturgies were Baroque...

It all ended in the tenebrous sixties, but here's another taste of the beauty in the hope that it will make a return.
And why hasn't it yet returned? In large part, Aristotle has the answer: "He who wishes to learn must believe." Many of our tepid leaders just haven't really believed as the Church would have us believe in such tenets as Papal primacy or the real presence of Christ in the Blessed Eucharist, etc.
And the truth is that the sixties never really ended in Italy. Pray that Italy and its people can move on from that never-ending decade (and then Italian television will be just so much more bearable!).

Last Papal Coronation: June of 1963...

Pray, fast and do penance and maybe, if the Lord of History deigns, it will make a return.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The good old days...

Here's a taste of just how much we've lost. In this photo, taken from a book, we see the splendor of the papal rites as the world knew them until the fractious sixties when they did away with most everything that was of this scale of beauty. This photo was taken in June of 1963. You can see it's the outdoor Coronation Mass of Paul VI. My pastor was there, Mons. R.J. Schuler, PhD.

From Largo Argentina: Reggie's world!

Meet the greatest living Latinist, Fr. Reginald Foster, O.C.D. A native of the lovely shrine of Holy Hill in Wisconsin, he's one of the minutanti of the Pope's Secretaria Status. He spends his days translating things into Latin for the Popes and teaching others the rich beauty of Latin.

Holy Hill is worth a visit. It's a wondrous Carmelite shrine on a hill in the woods and crop land near Milwaukee (you can even smell the hops as you drive through the brewing centre!). I once made a pilgrimage there with friends in about 1999. We prayed there for Reggie and his ministry. Please pray for his health. Born in 1939, he's been working in the Vatican for 40 years!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Angelic Doctor on Vestments...

In the Supplement to the Summa Theologica, Question 40 Article 7, we read this:

Seventh Article
Whether the Vestments of the Ministers Are Fittingly Instituted in the Church?

"I answer that, The vestments of the ministers denote the qualifications required of them for handling Divine things. And since certain things are required of all, and some are required of the higher, that are not so exacted of the lower ministers, therefore certain vestments are common to all the ministers, while some pertain to the higher ministers only. Accordingly it is becoming to all the ministers to wear the amice which covers the shoulders, thereby signifying courage in the exercise of the Divine offices to which they are deputed; and the alb, which signifies a pure life, and the girdle, which signifies restraint of the flesh. But the subdeacon wears in addition the maniple on the left arm; this signifies the wiping away of the least stains, since a maniple is a kind of handkerchief for wiping the face; for they are the first to be admitted to the handling of sacred things. They also have the narrow tunic, signifying the doctrine of Christ; wherefore in the Old Law little bells hung therefrom, and subdeacons are the first admitted to announce the doctrine of the New Law. The deacon has in addition the stole over the left shoulder, as a sign that he is deputed to a ministry in the sacraments themselves, and the dalmatic (which is a full vestment, so called because it first came into use in Dalmatia), to signify that he is the first to be appointed to dispense the sacraments: for he dispenses the blood, and in dispensing one should be generous.

But in the case of the priest the stole hangs from both shoulders, to show that he has received full power to dispense the sacraments, and not as the minister of another man, for which reason the stole reaches right down. He also wears the chasuble, which signifies charity, because he it is who consecrates the sacrament of charity, namely the Eucharist.

Bishops have nine ornaments besides those which the priest has; these are the stockings, sandals, succinctory, tunic, dalmatic, mitre, gloves, ring, and crozier, because there are nine things which they can, but priests cannot, do, namely ordain clerics, bless virgins, consecrate bishops, impose hands, dedicate churches, depose clerics, celebrate synods, consecrate chrism, bless vestments and vessels.

We may also say that the stockings signify his upright walk; the sandals which cover the feet, his contempt of earthly things; the succinctory which girds the stole with the alb, his love of probity; the tunic, perseverance, for Joseph is said (Gen. xxxvii. 23) to have had a long tunic, - talaric, because it reached down to the ankles (talos), which denote the end of life; the dalmatic, generosity in works of mercy; the gloves, prudence in action; the mitre, knowledge of both Testaments, for which reason it has two crests; the crozier, his pastoral care, whereby he has to gather together the wayward (this is denoted by the curve at the head of the crozier), to uphold the weak (this is denoted by the stem of the crozier), and to spur on the laggards (this is denoted by the point at the foot of the crozier). Hence the line:

Gather, uphold, spur on
The wayward, the weak, and the laggard.

The ring signifies the sacraments of that faith whereby the Church is espoused to Christ. For bishops are espoused to the Church in the place of Christ. Furthermore archbishops have the pallium in sign of their privileged power, for it signifies the golden chain which those who fought rightfully were wont to receive."

Gammarelli: measuring room of tailor to the popes...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The good old days...

In 2006 the B-16 brought back the throne you see in the photo (which had been in the Museo Storico San Giovanni in Laterano) for some years and now let's just hope he brings back the same with the glorious old ostrich flabella fans still stuck in the same Museo!

Read Aquinas: Thomism for all...

"...the students should learn to examine more deeply, with the help of speculation and with St. Thomas as teacher, all aspects of the mysteries, and to perceive their interconnection."

-Optatam Totius (Decree on the Training of Priests) of Vatican Council II, 1965.

"Emulation in seeking and propagating the truth is not suppressed, but is rather stimulated and given its true direction by commending the teaching of St. Thomas."

-Pius XII, Address to Seminarians, 1939.

"Let (teachers) listen with respect to the Doctors of the Church, among whom St. Thomas Aquinas holds a principal place. For so great is the power of the angelic Doctor's genius, so sincere his love of truth, and so great his wisdom in investigating the deepest truths, illustrating them, and linking them together with a most fitting bond of unity, that his teaching is a most efficacious instrument not only for safeguarding the foundations of the faith, but also in gaining the fruits of healthy progress with profit and security."

-Paul VI, Address to Pontifical Gregorian University, 1964.

The wealth of parents who teach their nest...

Dear Uncle John,

On the 12th it was the day Pope pius X became a Cardinal.


The sun never sets on the British Empire: cheers...

Liberals and others maintain that Latin or good liturgy is "too difficult" for us boor peasants to learn. But the Pope knows better and so does the Holy Ghost, too.

With the lovely summer breeze of Latinum we had a little celebration on the balcony in honor of the Solemn Pontifical Mass just sung in London by our favorite Columbian prelate from the Roman Curia. Such history in the making every day of the year.

To celebrate, booze and tobacco were on the table. With an old Vauen pipe purchased in Bonn where Fr. Ratzinger taught, with toasted cavendish tobacco and some real Scotch Whisky (go Scotland!) aged 18 years (it was a gift worth gold picked up at Tokyo International Airport), it was a special moment of thanksgiving and gratitude.

Brilliant to so see the scarlet cardinalatial cappa magna! Makes me think of the Rev. Mr. Harold Hughesdon of the R.A.F. who was a nine-year old altar boy in Westminster Cathedral in the twenties back in the day. Like he used to sometimes say: Per Ardua ad Astra (Through Struggles to the Stars)!
N.B. Photo from:

Christians, vote pro-life...

It's election year and all Christians are reminded to vote pro-life.

Catholics, know Canon 1398 from the Codex (Code of Canon Law):

"Qui abortum procurat, effectu secuto, in excommunicationem latae sententiae incurrit."

"A person who procures a successful abortion incurs an automatic (latae sententiae) excommunication."

From the Vatican City: Pope's private heliport...

Here we see the Pope's heliport in the Vatican gardens. Nice Latin, eh? Thank Cardinal Bacci for the word helicopter in Latin and Father Foster for the lovely Latin of the inscription!
Quo Aptius Atque Commodius
In Civitate Vaticana
Commeatus Rationibus Prospiceret
Paulus VI Pontifex Maximus
Hunc Helicopterorum Portum
Aperiendum Instruendumque Curavit

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Catholic womanhood: richness of elegancy...

As a fashion designer might gush: "Fastidiously tasteful!"
Such refined propriety expressing fastidious taste with such richness and refinement combined is something which can only be called Catholic and gorgeous.

The most Catholic president we've ever had...

As the spirit of irreligion continues to rage on our Western continents, we see the two most powerful men in the world spending time together in of all places, gardens. From the South Lawn to the Vatican Hill, they seem to really get along rather well.
In the United States we all grew up with God banished from our classrooms and with the bogus shibboleth: "Separation of Church and State." This mantra will not live forever.
Three times I've had the honor to cheer the motorcade of GW Bush while in Rome. In 2004, 2007 and 2008. He's as good as Catholic. That the Father in His mercy might send us more God-fearing public servants as this happy warrior! And that Tony Blair might be pro-life...Veni Creator Spiritus!
N.B. AP photo from the Internet.

Hope of Bl. Alojzije Stepinac: the future is here...

The future isn't tomorrow, it's already here. Please pray for this cleric who will be ordained priest on Saturday, June 21, a.D. 2008. Here he is pictured at the Pontifical Roman Major Seminary in Rome.
One of the most beautiful gifts that many of us have ever seen is religious fervor. The joy of many of our lives has been to give homage to the Church, with all the fervor of our baptism. Meanwhile, the Church needs priests and here they are with all the fervor of past generations.
The welfare of Catholic Croatia is in good hands. Let us pray!

Friday, June 13, 2008

The good old days...

Here's a photo from circa 1964 in which we see how the old papal throne used to be set up in St. Peter's Square for Holy Mass.
Sure would be nice to bring some of this beauty back.

Milan: fashion capital of the world...

Archbishop John Baptist Montini in glossy 1950s colour (and notice the cool shoes!).

Thursday, June 12, 2008

From Rome: Hail to the Chief...

While on the train this afternoon it was a treat to admire all the lovely sunflowers which are now in full bloom here in the fields of Lazio. All the while I was thinking about this morning how a complete stranger approached me on the street and thanked me for the blog. Charmed was I as one might imagine!

After a tricky exam today I exited the Dominican University and low and behold, the President of the United States of America was about to drive by! Making a quick dash up to the park overlooking the street called the Villa Aldobrandini (the best place to see presidential motorcades as they make their way to the home of the President of Italy, the Quirinale Palace), I got a few great photos which I will later post.

Ostensibly gathering for the pâté, I've had so many Europeans approach me while at parties and the like only to corner me and then rail on President Bush ad infinitum. Knowing they get most of their formation from the secular media, I simply smile and give a polite nod of affirmation at their energy.

But then when they don't stop, as they often never do, I feed 'em with some good-old-Texan talk like so: "Weller first of all, ya'll better know just one ting and tat is his real name and it ain't no Bush 'cause it's a GW Bush, Junior. I've voted for GW twice. He's the most Catholic president we've ever had. He's a legend, a God-fearing Christian and so's his daddy!"

To end the day then, after ten years, I enjoyed the thrill to enter again into the hallowed belly (measuring room) of the Roman tailor shop Ditta Annibale Gammarelli. Getting measured for a new shirt, one can't help but think of all the holy clergy who were measured in the same little room in the back of the Gammarelli shop. I got some great photos and I'll post them soon.

For your trip to Rome this summer...

It's already really busy so schedule now with us for your tour of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and Basilica of Saint Peter: .

From Rome: Pontifical Institute of Sacred Music...

Welcome to the Pontificium Institutum Musicae Sacrae in Rome! See their info. here:

P.S. If you're a student of architecture at Notre Dame, then consider this plan which is simple, classical and functional. Let's reproduce these nice properties in the New World and elsewhere!

La Popessa: the great Sr. Pascalina Lehnert...

Inside the Vatican City, in the graveyard of the Teutonic College, one can pray before the tomb of this saint. Mother Pascalina was the housekeeper of Cardinal Pacelli/Pope Pius XII for many years.
In Rome one hears great stories about her from those who were around here between 1939 - 1958 and it's great to see a new "fan page" for her on Facebook.
I cordially invite you to become a fan of Mother Pascalina - Je vous invite cordialement à devenir fan de la Mère Pascalina - La invito cordialmente a diventare fan di Madre Pasqualina - Te invito cordialmente a convertirte en fan de la Madre Pascualina - Você está cordialmente convidado a tornar-se fã da Mãe Pasqualina.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Pius XII: "A Pope who knew how to Pope."

Thanks to RV for the picture and to RC for the quote!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Card. Bacci: greatest Latinist of twentieth century...

Even though Latin has dwindled to the brink of extinction, even with the Latin-speaking Catholic being an endangered species, we must remember that we have a patron saint of Latin!
Meet the young Monsignor Antonio Bacci (later Cardinal) of the Segreteria dei Brevi ai Principi (see 1917 Code of Canon Law, canon 264). He was, they say, the greatest Latin prodigy of the century.
Today, everyone stands awe-struck with the genius of Fr. Reginald Foster, who is the finest living Latinist (and also famous for his irascible stream of rhetoric). Foster was a member of the last generation of seminarian which was immersed in Latin morning, noon and night (he had fourteen years of Latin before he was ordained). But the upper echelons never listened to Foster's plea to save our Catholic tongue (our inheritance) and so we have a lot of work to do to bring Latin back into our Catholic families, and sacred rites.
Before Foster, there was Bacci. For many years Monsignor Bacci was the Segretario dei Brevi ai Principi (pro. litt. in forma brevi ad Principes Secretarius). In this capacity he had an ordinary audience with the Pope every first Friday of each month. His office was in the Apostolic Palace of the Vatican. He worked with a team of four (three were laymen) and they put everything into Latin through the 1930s, '40s, '50 and '60s.
In the 1990s the Latin Liturgy Association translated the autobiography of Card. Bacci into English and it was a fantastic read. So if you can get your hands on it, then please do. Also, in 1963 he had the fourth edition published (by Editrice Studium) of a Latin-Italian dictionary of modern words which he had put together which was entitled, LEXICON Vocabulorum Quae Difficilius Latine Redduntur.
"Until 1967, the office of the Latinists enjoyed its own distinctive title. It was known as Epistoles ad Princeps - Briefs to Princes. The titles were taken away in a fit of modernism, and scholars like Fr. Foster were listed by their minor official rank in the Annuario Pontificio, the Who's Who of the Vatican. The scholar who held the last title as chief composer of the Briefs to Princes is now over ninety years old. The man lives in retirement in an apartment behind the Vatican, and when he dies, the old title will expire with him. 'He's the Last of the Mohicans,' said Fr. Foster, with an unerring instinct for the least apt comparison, a sign that thirty years in Rome have not touched him profoundly."
-Romans Their Lives and Times, by Michael Sheridan, c. 1994.

Catholic student parties in and near Rome...

All the news that's fit to print (c me in the photo?)...

Monday, June 09, 2008

Relics of St. Pio in Rome...

Many Italians have a special devotion to Padre Pio. These relics of the saint can be seen in the Church of San Salvatore in Lauro, which is located in Rome's historic center (near the Tiber River).

Support your clergy and build them up...

Everyone likes to give and everyone has their favorite charities. Consider the F.S.S.P. and see their site here:

In this photo we see clergymen young and the old. From the Borghese Chapel of the Patriarchal Basilica of Saint Mary Major we see a canon of the Basilica with the youthful Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter.

The world is in need of priests.

From the Lateran Archbasilica: buckled shoes...

Facets of dress are always a nice touch. Here we can see the shine of the clergy shoe atop the Roman floor. Order your buckled shoes today from the clerical tailor Signor Gammarelli: (they don't have a web site, but the e-mail address is helpful).

Sunday, June 08, 2008

June 8: Inauguration of new FSSP parish in Rome...

A special day: new FSSP Parish in Rome...

Hodie in terra canunt angeli (this day do the angels sing on earth).
To the sound of mopeds, tourists, pilgrims, Romans and others, hundreds flocked this morning to Rome's Church of the Santissima Trinita' dei Pellegrini to witness a historical event.
Inside this red moiré folder embossed with the arms of the Cardinal Vicar of Rome is a copy of the official Decreto di Erezione which was read aloud today in the presence of all the faithful by the Bishop of Rome's historic center (an auxiliary to the Cardinal Vicar). The decree raises the Church of the Most Holy Trinity of Pilgrims to the status of an ordinary parish under the care of the Priestly Fraterity of Saint Peter ( for the pastoral care of those persons who worship according to the so-called usus antiquior of the Roman rite.
An hour early the snowballing crowds began to arrive. Hundreds were present with standing-room-only in the rear of the church. Countless clergy were in attendance with young and old, families with babies, seminarians and others.
With the literary and artistic genius of the Classical rite the faithful prayed and with great emotion did I sneak one peak at the crowd of the smiling hundreds during the presentation of the decree and that was a special moment to behold in which one couldn't help but feel almost spellbound.

From Rome: envoking the great noir films of old...

Hats always look nice on ladies and gentlemen. They say formal mens' hats went out of fashion with the Kennedy administration as the President didn't like to be photographed in a hat as he was embarassed with how large his round face and head were as seen with a hat. Anyways, the sixties being over, I guess it's okay to wear a hat again!

The biretta as seen on the streets of Rome...

In Rome there are some who perorate about local custom in regard to clerical dress and sometimes what they have to say is rather interesting.
For example, in Rome, one perogative of parish pastors is that only they wear the biretta on the street in their parish boundaries and only they wear the fascia sash.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Battle of Lepanto as seen today...

Save this photo and tell your kids about it. This is no ordinary choir loft: this balustrade was obtained from the stern of the Papal galley, Saint Peter, which had been the flag ship of the Christian fleet that in 1571 defeated the Turkish navy at the famed battle of Lepanto.

This choir loft is located inside the Church of Santa Maria dell'Orazione (Saint Mary of Prayer) in the port of Rome, Civitavecchia. This church is only open Sunday mornings for Holy Mass. The church was constructed between 1693 - 1702 and today it's the oldest church in the city. It's small, one of my most favorite in all of Italy, and would make an ideal usus antiquior parish - I repeat, ideal for this purpose.

This church is locked all week and just has one "Childrens' Mass" each Sunday morning. If you're a priest who feels you might be called to learn Italian and join an Italian Diocese, then consider Civitavecchia with its new bishop and consider asking for this parish. It would be the ideal for the Classical rite and only 70 km from Rome. It has both interior and exterior charm, is just a three minute walk to the Cathedral, the Curia and the beach (there are three other parishes within just a two/three minute walk from it).

Archbishop F.J. Sheen to Pope J.P. II...

November 26th, 1979

Your Holiness:

After the greeting extended me by Your Holiness at Saint Patrick's Cathedral, and the beautiful letter on my Sixtieth Anniversary, were it not for the renewed strength the Lord gave me, I should have sung my "Nunc Dimittis."

But I am still, thank God, blessed with the Psalmist's promise - "Vigorous in old age like a tree full of sap." (92:14)

I bow in humble gratitude for the Pontifical approval of my ministry of the Word, saying with Saint Augustine: Nisi fideliter praecederet Piscator, Non humiliter sequeretur Orator.

Pray for Your Holiness? That I always do for the Vicar of Christ, but in this fourth cycle of a crisis which strikes the Body of Christ every five hundred years, I pray for Your Holiness as for another Gregory the Great, Gregory VII, Pius V, and for our times as the poet Slowacki put it: "A Slav Pope will sweep out the Churches and make them clean within."

Every night when silence gives vision scope, I pray to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament for the Chief Shepherd of our souls, and the only moral authority left in the world.

On the one hand, my heart bleeds for Your Holiness, for like Peter knocking at our doors, some of us like Rhoda hear Your voice but do not admit You into our hearts.

On the other hand, there is being fulfilled in the Vicar what was said of the Lord: "Why the whole world has gone after him!" (John 12:19)

I wish I were younger to enjoy the blessings to come, for as one of our poets put it:

"Lift up thy head and hark
What sounds are in the dark,
For His Feet are coming to thee
On the waters!"

In prayerful gratitude for Your Blessing, I remain,
Obediently Yours in Christ,

+Fulton J. Sheen
Titular Archbishop of Newport

-Treasure in Clay by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, c. 1980.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Why the crisis of faith of today?

"As one looks over the history of Christendom, it seems that there is a crisis about every five hundred years. The first cycle of five hundred years was the fall of Rome, when God raised up the great Pontiff Gregory the Great, who had been a senator in Rome. He became a Benedictine monk and then set about conversion of the barbarians and prepared the way for a Christian Europe. The second cycle of five hundred years brings us roughly to the year 1000, when there was the Eastern schism, but also the decline of holiness in the Church. Three dominant evils prevailed - clerical concubinage, simony or the buying and selling of ecclesiastical offices, and the naming of bishops by princes and kings. Gregory VII, who was a Benedictine, was raised by God to heal that crisis against much opposition from within and prepared the way for the great medieval civilization. In the third cycle of five hundred years, there was a breakup of Christian unity. Clergy again became corrupt, nuns became secular and everyone recognized the need of reform. Some undertook to reform the Faith. There was nothing wrong with the Faith. What needed reformation was behavior. The great Dominican Pontiff, Pius V, saved the Church by applying the reforms of the Council of Trent and by establishing missionary activity throughout the world. Now we are in the fourth cycle of five hundred years, with two world wars in twenty-one years, and the universal dread of nuclear incineration. This time God has given us John Paul II, who has drawn the attention of the world to himself as no human being has done in history."

-Treasure in Clay by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, c. 1980.