Friday, December 20, 2002

Points to Ponder:

"He is insane who rises or acts contrary to this Vicar who holds the keys of the blood of Christ crucified. Even if he was a demon incarnate, I should not raise my head against him, but always grovel and ask for the blood out of mercy. And don't pay attention to what the demon proposes to you and you propose under the color of virtue, that is to say to want to do justice against evil pastors regarding their fault. Don't trust the demon: don't try to do justice about what does not concern you. God wants neither you nor anyone else to set themselves up as a righter of the wrongs of His ministers. He reserves judgment to Himself, and He reserves it to His Vicar; and if the Vicar does not do justice, we should wait for the punishment and correction on the part of the sovereign judge, God Eternal." [St. Catherine of Siena to Barnabas, Viscount Lord of Milan (Letters, Vol. I. Letter No. 28)]

I was unaware that there were "neo-Catholics" in the fourteenth century ;-)


Thursday, December 19, 2002

Courtesy of Carl Olsen at Envoy is this excellent article from Dr. Alice von Hildebrand

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"A Whiiiite Tight Coat" Dept.

We have not updated this thread for a while. As longtime readers are not unaware, prior to the fall from grace of a certain self-styled superrr genius, Rerum Novarum ran a thread on him under the department heading of "He's Blinded to ________ and He's Failed in ___________" with the blanks being filled in with gaffes against the Gospel, Dogmatic Theology, Science, the Talmud, Canon Law, or any other area which was applicable at the time. That department in light of this denunciation by Us of the aforementioned "genius" and his fundamental errors is for the most part set aside now as engaging such an individual in Our judgment would be to provide a forum which he does not deserve and barring the occasional parody that is the policy that We intend to follow here at Rerum Novarum.

However, it is undeniable that to some extent such errors need to be highlighted at times. But your host already has four weblogs that he maintains and there is no time to set up another one. Fortunately, the Curmudgeon, a fellow lover of the leaf, recent inductee by solemn decree into the Faith Legion, and veteran of many battles against "Truly Reformed" Protestants, "Truly Traditional" Catholics, Infidels sites, fundamentalist shills, and a miscellaneous assortment of other kookburgers has a weblog where he deals with just these sorts of people. (People such as the self-styled superrr genius.)

Because of the latter, We have decided to revisit a previous psychoanalysis of the aforementioned character by the Curmudgeon previously posted to John Betts' "Boycott" weblog. (As it was recently relocated to the "Bullies and Bozos" auxillery weblog of Disturber of the Peace Institute.)

Such threads are seldom pretty but We know from years of experience that discrediting the modern self-anointed Duce's is a draining task. Thus, those involved in the trenches thereby deserve recognition for their efforts and possibly some Dominicans being sent their way. (Not a reference to the Order of Preachers.)

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A Rerum Novarum Exclusive!!!
(We should get the Pulitzer for this scoop folks)

"Don't be fooled by the rocks that I've got.
I'm still, I'm still Trent Lott from the swamp.
For my fellow Reps now I have no use.
Instead I'm with the homeys sippin gin and juice..."

Senator Trent Lott, in another move to show solidarity with the black community has agreed to be cast in "House Party IV" the upcoming fourth installment of the "House Party" series. Look for him to be wearing parachute pants, sporting a Kid-like hairdo, and wearing a small clock on a chain around his neck...;-)


Some stuff from Steve's board


Points to Ponder:

[W]hat the Council had in mind was enabling us to engage in an interior conversion, so that we could approach worship with minds and hearts renewed; only then would incidentals make any sense. Instead, especially in the United States, we have been made to think that the heart and soul of the liturgical movement was adding and deleting prayers or moving furniture and persons around the sanctuary. That idea is both superficial and wrong, and no justification for it can be found in Sacrosanctum concilium; if anything, the document condemns such a view...Many indult-Mass devotees mistakenly equate the new rite with aberrations, forgetting that, without enforcement of norms, the old rite would go in exactly the same direction. After all, if a priest or other minister has no intention of following the rubrics and his superior has no intention of making him do so, were a liturgy handwritten by the Son of God himself, it would be ruined as well. [Fr. Peter M. J. Stravinskas]


Pete has blogged with some minor alterations an editorial that he coauthored with me last year for onr of the December Wanderer periodicals. (The original essay was about 4500 so those who think the link version is a bit thin ...well... space constraints in periodicals means one needs more of a "snapshot" approach rather than an exposition.)

The basic idea was to provide a kind of "checklist" if you will for verifying authentic "Traditionalism" and separating it from the chaff that so often masquerades under that pseudonym. Yes, I know what some of you are thinking: "is this the same Shawn who abhors the use of lists and statistics as poor barometers of measurement - because they are easily manipulated - yet here you are proposing a 'list' of your own???" Yes my friends, the outgrowth of this at the time (late November of last year) was annoyance at the number of pseudo-"trads" who tried to cloak themselves in sheeps clothing. My thought at the time was akin to "you want 'lists', I will give you a 'list' and if you do not measure up, then anathema sit!!!" and proceeded to point out five requirements of anyone who claims to be a 'traditionalist'. If any of the five are missing, then they are a pseudo-'trad', a self-styled 'traditionalist', a 'traditionalist' falsely so-called, an Integrist schismatic, etc.

I try to avoid casting fire down from Olympus whenever possible but sometimes it is necessary. Pete actually softened the edges of what was originally written while retaining the substance of the points intact so this is not improperly referred to as an "ecumenical essay". Anyway, without further ado, here is a link to the piece slightly retouched at the intro and ending by Pete to address the contemporary audience: 'Traditionalism' properly so-called and 'traditionalism' falsely so-called: how to differentiate between the two

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Please pray for the eternal repose of the soul of my Grandmother Jo (my late father's stepmother).

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Wednesday, December 18, 2002

"El Camino Real" Dept.

My readers who are only familiar with Jeff Culbreath from either my dialogues with him posted to this humble weblog or some of our conversations at Steve Ray's message board earlier in the year might get the impression that Jeff has two main issues and they are (i) rock music and (ii) ladies wearing veils. This assessment would not of course do him justice. I often jokingly refer to certain people as "arguments for cloning" and as far as those who identify themselves as "Traditionalists" go, Jeff is one of the best advertisements for what is best about people of that overall outlook on life. But lest I digress there are some points to cover here so I will get to them.

I noticed that Jeff had a link at his new weblog about the difficulty of praying the rosary while listening to rock music. To interact with one of those he quotes at his new weblog:

"Have you ever tried praying the Rosary in a devotional and respectful way while rock music plays?

I have tried to pray the rosary in a devotional and respectful way when music plays in the background or foreground yes.

It is a real hard fight, to fight against the contrary presence and power of rock. Any attempts at tranquil, ordered, unified thought is most definitely attacked by the rock beat.

Frankly, I find *any* music to be a distraction when praying the rosary, even the stylings of classical composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, and Tacobell. (Not to mention Gregorian chant.) The rosary is a meditative prayer when it is properly prayed and silence is the only atmosphere that it works well in. (I can concentrate on the rosary while driving a car or walking but not when listening to music, talk radio, or anything else of that sort.) So I suppose Jeff can put that in his pipe and smoke it in a manner of speaking ;-)

Moving onto other subjects the following links from Jeff are worth a read and I will tempt my readers with a tidbit from each:

Much destruction has been wrought by those who interpreted the Second Vatican Council as authorizing the idea that Sacred Scripture contains historical errors...go here for more

Comment: he is right as is the source he quotes. However, I have been involved in this debate with friends who take both sides of the issue and often the quibbling is semantical. Nonetheless, Jeff's link is worth a read and the conclusion of the author of the link is one I concur with - even if I do not agree with all of his observations. Anyway, onto link two of this entry...

Conservatives need to understand that the Second Vatican Council is not an island to itself... Traditionalists, for their part, need to understand that loyalty and reverence for the Holy Father -- and for one's diocesan bishop -- is also a part of Catholic Tradition... go here for more

I find myself using Vatican II contra the extremist 'trads' and using earlier magisterial pronouncements contra many of those who treat the Second Vatican Council as some kind of "clean slate". The above is just a couple of highlights of an entry worth reading.

Assisi-II and Reflections on Covenant and Mission are two such examples [which merited criticism]. These were rebuked tactfully and forcefully by some traditionalists, and maliciously by others. We traditionalists need to choose our battles and guard against acquiring a habit of criticism. Assisi-II merited the strongest public criticism..

I strongly disagree that the two examples above can be lumped together. As I noted back in September when discussing interfaith outreach this is an area which cannot be handled as nicely and neatly as many might want it to. (I believe though that Jeff has the approach needed to eventually understand this issue.)

As far as Jeff's calling Nihil Obstat to comment on a misspelling at my weblog, all I will say is this Jeff:

Maybe there is a reason that link could remain misspelled for so long with no comment from Nihil Obstat forthcoming...

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Before I go grab my cutter and a double carona from my humidor (it has been a while since my last one), I wanted to link here to a very good series on the liturgy at the Society of St. John's website. Having revised the sections of my treatise on the liturgy last week, this is a subject I have been delving into recently and it is a mosaic more complex then most people casually presume. This four part series the first part of which can be here along with all subsequent sections is a good and balanced overview and one that I recommend.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Rerum Novarum Update:

This is probably the last revision to be made to the blog until next year excluding my addition of new archives sections. (Unlike most blogs We at Rerum Novarum prefer to build our own archives to not be at the mercy of Blogger.) Nonetheless, here are the revisions made.

"Approved Blogs" Added :

Envoy Encore Weblog
Fr. Jim Tucker's "Dappled Things" BLOG

"General Theological Musings"
(New Category)

Extra Ecclesia Nulla Salus
More on EENS/On the Mystical Body
On the Mystical Body
More on the Mystical Body
And Yet More on the Mystical Body

"Controverted Subjects"

"Death Penalty/Application" link (old link updated)

"Spiritual Instructions"

Spiritual Instruction on Zeal links combined into one threaded-link series.

Spiritual Instruction on Prayer (Part I) removed from thread. (Because I am about half way through that series and will post it as a completed thread when it is finished - hopefully in January of 2003.)

By the authority vested in me as Sovereign Thane and Lord High Executioner of Rerum Novarum I declare and decree that each and every link above are to be given motu proprio and remain intact, stable, and valid now and in perpetuity all things to the contrary notwithstanding.


Monday, December 16, 2002

What St. Pius X had in common with The Curmudgeon, The Mighty Barrister, G. Thomas Fitzpatrick (of Verus Ratio), and your humble host of Rerum Novarum.
(Other than the Catholic Faith)

Reading of [Fr. H's] defense of cigars as not being a vice, I was reminded of a story that a cigar smoking priest of the Diocese of Tulsa, who is now in training for the Vatican diplomatic corps, told me. When he was a seminarian in Rome, he learned that Pius X, who was the pope from 1903 to 1914, called a bishop onto the carpet to reprimand him for his scandalous misbehavior with wine, women and song, and to correct his wrongs patiently.

The pope offered the errant bishop a cigar from the papal humidor on his desk. The bishop declined the offer with the protestation, "I do not have that vice, Your Holiness," to which His Holiness replied, "If cigars were a vice, I would not offer you one, for you have quite enough vices already."

After his death, Pope Pius X was canonized a saint and is now known as St.Pius X. According to Catholic belief, a saint is a holy person who is now in heaven. Although Pope Pius X may not have become St. Pius X because he smoked cigars, smoking cigars apparently did not keep him from being a holy man who is now in heaven. Indeed, cigars may have helped him be holy.

Let us salute not only Fr. H but also St. Pius X, whom we may regard as the patron saint of us cigar aficionados.

(Courtesy of the "Out of the Humidor" section of Cigar Aficianado circa March/April 1997)


Sunday, December 15, 2002

Points to Ponder:
(Courtesy of the Curmudgeon)

[T]he fact that Pope John Paul II accepted Cardinal Law's resignation may have meant that for him enough was finally enough. It may also mean, as blogger Mark Shea pointed out today, that the Pontiff's refusal to boot the former Archbishop last Spring was far less of a gesture of support for Law (as too many in the media and in the laity, this writer included, had assumed) than a means of making Law face the music back home at the hands of the press, the civil government, and the critics within his own flock.

With heat comes purification, and forcing Bernard Law to remain in the fire all these months may very well have been the Pope's strategy... For more go here


And where would we be in this whole war saga if not for the compelling insights of.......MAD Magazine??? Courtesy of the JunkYard Blog:

Gulf Wars Episode II: Clone of the Attack

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Is it too much to hope for that this man could somehow make it onto the presidential ticket in 2004 as Bush's VP???

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"JunkYard Blog" Dept.
(A Rerum Novarum "Triple Spin")

One of the very first weblogs I found of a predominently political nature was Bryan Preston's JunkYard BLOG. It is among my favourites in that realm as Mr. Preston (henceforth referred to as Bryan) is politically on the same page as I am most of the time. Here are a few posts which I read and enjoyed recently.

HOW IS LOSING LOTS OF MONEY LIKE 3,000 DEAD IN A TERRORIST ATTACK? Um, well, they're not similar at all, unless you're Ted Turner. Way to go, Ted, you've just one-upped Trent Lott.

Speaking of Senator Lott, Bryan apparently addressed the states rights issue that I brought up back on the twelfth when trying to give Lott the benefit of the doubt and did so back on the eleventh. (I have done very little weblog browsing recently and apparently missed it.)

It is good to see someone else besides your humble servant addressing this aspect of the equation. Bryan's principle that states' rights should never trump human rights, and any attempt to use states' rights in this way is immoral, and delegitimizes raising states' rights where appropriate is of course on target. Lest it appear that I was using states rights haphazardly, it should be noted that I was trying to get into the mindset of Sen. Lott and what would have prompted him to make these comments as he did and when he did.

"Civil rights" -to define a term that is so commonly misused- are rights which are asserted and therefore are protected by valid law. Such a right can be present in either (i) common law or (ii) local statutes (iii) federal statutes or (iv) the Constitution itself. (See Addendum.) An assertion that falls within these guidelines is a "civil right" properly so-called. Any usage that does not conform to the above cannot be legitimized under the banner of "civil rights" and any attempts to do so are fraudulent and should be exposed for what they are.{1}

Nonetheless, it seems in light of some new information that I may have been too quick to presume that Sen. Lott was approaching this from a states rights standpoint. (As opposed to endorsing the racist policies of the since-reformed Strom Thurmond.) I still will give Lott the benefit of the doubt of course but I am not going to do so as forcefully as I did previously.{2} But there is more from the JunkYard Blog so I will digress no longer and will get to it:

David Rose's Vanity Fair article, in which he outlines some of the evidence of Iraqi collusion with al Qaeda, has hit the stands (though it isn't online anywhere I've seen). I've read through it, and I have to say it's a fascinating piece. The al Qaeda evidence is something of a sidebar--the story actually centers on Ahmad Chalabi, founder of the Iraqi National Congress, an anti-Saddam and pro-democracy group dedicated to regime change in Baghdad. A theme that runs throughout the piece is the competence, or lack of, within the CIA's counterterrorism efforts. Rose cites several examples showing that the CIA simply isn't up to the job, and its weakness was a major contributing factor to 9-11. It seems to me that the CIA is in similar shape to the INS--inept and even unwilling to do its job.

As for the al Qaeda angle, it seems solid. Here's the money graph...For more click here

And finally, Bryan also hits the nail on the head in discussing the developments of the past year since a speech was made by President Bush on the "Axis of Evil":

It was not quite a year ago now, in his State of the Union address, I believe, that President Bush outlined a group of states that he called the "axis of evil." Those states are Iraq, Iran and North Korea. His grouping of those three nations together earned him some praise from people who already liked him, and much scorn from people who didn't. Europe howled. Much of Asian reeled. Iraq, Iran and North Korea scoffed. This past week has been interesting, though...go here for Bryan's on-target observations


[Update: Important credit for the content of this definition (and the first sentence of the wording itself) goes to the late Senator Barry M. Goldwater courtesy of the book The Conscience of a Conservative (circa 1960) from which reference I unconsciously made when the above words were originally written. -ISM 6/29/07]


{1} That is one of the reasons why this weblog is running snippets from Frederic Bastiat's magnum opus "The Law": to educate people on the proper usage of these kinds of concepts.

{2} I still feel he should not be leading the Senate because of a seemingly consistent string of imprudent gaffes that he has made which demonstrate at the very least some pretty poor judgment.

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