The Passing of Beauty is a Grief Indeed

I know there is no immediate connection between the two (though in the Divine economy there absolutely is a connection), but today I have been reflecting on the loss of Raffaella Stroik, who was such a beautiful person, inside and out. A beautiful dancer, a Mass-going Catholic, in whose cause of death no foul play is suspected by authorities. And yet she is gone. She exuded beauty in her art, her relationships with those she knew, and in her soul. All that beauty and life gone from this world.

And then I think of the destroyer on the throne of Peter, presiding over the intentional destruction of the Mass and the faith it embodies and guards. A destruction that began long before Raffaella Stroik’s birth. I think of wounding by this man and his cohort of the Church that gives eternal life, day after day, without remorse. Their legacy is death and despair.

And I weep for us all, in the beauty passing daily from this world.

Out on My Limb

For similar reasons to those in this article, I think the GOP keeps the House and gains seats in the Senate. If not, I’ll eat crow tomorrow. An excerpt:

There is but one more reason for my confidence in a Red victory:

Donald Trump.

Both the President’s enemies as well as many of his supporters still have not grasped the significance of his victory two years ago.  Their prognostications continue to reflect a mindset of an earlier era, a pre-Trump era, and they still refuse to accept that Trump is as world-historic a figure as they come.

Both Republican and Democratic commentators (and pollsters) have not figured out—doubtless, many don’t want to figure this out—that their old templates, scripts, models, and even the whole Republican/Democrat paradigm central to their worldview have been relegated by Trump to the same place to which he dispatched the Obamas, the Clintons, the Bushes, and the entire GAME (Government-Academia-Media-Entertainment complex): the trash heap of history.

If Republicans and those who Trump has made into Republican voters get to the polling stations tomorrow, the GOP will win handily.

Omnium Sanctorum

Blessed Feast of all Saints to you and yours. Today is a holy day of obligation; if you haven’t made Mass yet, St. Francis de Sales Oratory still has Masses at 12:15pm and 6:30 pm. The Gospel of today:

Matthew 5:1-12

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain, and when he was set down, his disciples came unto him. And opening his mouth he taught them, saying: Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart: they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you.

“The testimony of Monsignor Viganò is also a call to every Catholic to reflect on their future destiny.”

Rorate Caeli yesterday posted this beautiful essay by Roberto de Mattei, included in which are these excerpts:

In the climate of silence and downright “omerta” which is reigning in the Church, once more Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò’s voice has resonated. Replying to Cardinal Marc Ouellet he reiterated that the McCarrick scandal is merely the point of an immense iceberg represented by the dominance of a powerful homosexual lobby inside the Church.
I don’t want to dwell on this tragic reality. It seems to me instead, that it is important to stress a point illuminating the supernatural light of Monsignor Viganò’s testimony: the reference to the responsibilities that each one of us will have on the Day of Judgment. Turning to his brother bishops and priests, the Archbishop writes: “You too are faced with a choice. You can choose to withdraw from the battle, to prop up the conspiracy of silence and avert your eyes from the spreading of corruption. You can make excuses, compromises and justification that put off the day of reckoning. You can console yourselves with the falsehood and the delusion that it will be easier to tell the truth tomorrow, and then the following day, and so on. On the other hand, you can choose to speak. You can trust Him who told us, “the truth will set you free.” I do not say it will be easy to decide between silence and speaking. I urge you to consider which choice– on your deathbed, and then before the just Judge — you will not regret having made.”

[…]

The words of the courageous Archbishop are a public reproach to the Shepherds who are silent. May God show them that silence is not an inescapable choice. To speak up is possible, and at times it is a duty. Yet the testimony of Monsignor Viganò is also a call to every Catholic to reflect on their future destiny. The hour of judgment that awaits us all is known to God alone. Hence Jesus says: “Take ye heed, watch and pray. For ye know not when the time is. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch. ” (Mark 13, 33,37).

Apropos of

My turn comes at last. I kneel in the sour darkness of the box, which smells of sweat and pullman curtain.

The little door slides back. There is Father Smith, close as close, cheek propped on three fingers, trying to keep awake. He’s cross-eyed from twelve hours of fire-watching. A hundred brushfires flicker across his retina. These days people, convinced of world-conspiracies against them, go out and set the woods afire to get even.

“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,” I say and fall silent, forgetting everything.

“When was your last confession?” asks the priest patiently.

“Eleven years ago.”

Another groan escapes the priest. Again he peers at his watch. Must he listen to an eleven-year catalogue of dreary fornications and such? Well, he’ll do it.

“Father, I can make my confession in one sentence.”

“Good,” says the priest, cheering up.

“I do not recall the number of occasions, Father, but I accuse myself of drunkenness, lusts, envies, fornication, delight in the misfortunes of others, and loving myself better than God and other men.”

“I see,” says the priest, who surprises me by not looking surprised. Perhaps he’s just sleepy. “Do you have contrition and a firm purpose of amendment?”

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know? You don’t feel sorry for your sins?”

“I don’t feel much of anything.”

“Let me understand you.”

“All right.”

“You have not lost your faith?”

“No.”

“You believe in the Catholic faith as the Church proposes it?”

“Yes.”

“And you believe that your sins will be forgiven here and now if you confess them, are sorry for them, and resolve to sin no more?”

“Yes.”

“Yet you say you do not feel sorry.”

“That is correct.”

“You are aware of your sins, you confess them, but you are not sorry for them?”

“That is correct.”

“Why?”

“I couldn’t say.”

“Pity.”

“I’m sorry.”

“You are?”

“Yes.”

“For what?”

“For not being sorry.”

The priest sighs. “Will you pray that God will give you a true knowledge of your sins and a true contrition?”

“Yes, I’ll do that.”

“You are a doctor and it is your business to help people, not harm them.”

“That is true.”

“You are also a husband and father and it is your duty to love and cherish your family.”

“Yes, but that does not prevent me from desiring other women and even contriving plans to commit fornication and adultery.”

“Yes,” says the priest absently. “That’s the nature of the beast.” Damn, why doesn’t he wake up and pay attention?

“But you haven’t recently,” says the priest.

“Haven’t what?”

“Actually committed adultery and fornication.”

“No,” I say irritably. “But—”

“Hm. You know, Tom, maybe it’s not so much a question at our age of committing in the imagination these horrendous sins of the flesh as of worrying whether one still can. In the firetower on such occasions I find it useful to imagine the brushfires as the outer circle of hell, not too hot really, where these sad sins are punished, and my toes toasting in the flames. Along comes Our Lady who spies me and says: ‘Oh, for heaven’s sake, you here? This is ridiculous.’”

Damn, where does he come off patronizing me with his stock priestly tricks—I can tell they’re his usual tricks because he reels ’em off without even listening. I can smell the seminary and whole libraries of books “for the layman” with little priest-jokes. How can he lump the two of us together, him a gray ghost of a cleric and me the spirit of the musical-erotic?

More tricks:

“For your drinking you might find it helpful, at least it is in my case, to cast your lot with other drunks. Then, knowing how much trouble you’re going to put your friends to if you take a drink, you’re less apt to—though it doesn’t always work.”

“Thank you,” I say coldly.

“Now let’s see.” He’s nodding again, drifting off into smoke and brushfires. “Very well. You’re sorry for your sins.”

“No.”

“That’s too bad. Ah me. Well—” He steals a glance at his watch. “In any case, continue to pray for knowledge of your sins. God is good. He will give you what you ask. Ask for sorrow. Pray for me.”

“All right.”

“Meanwhile, forgive me but there are other things we must think about: like doing our jobs, you being a better doctor, I being a better priest, showing a bit of ordinary kindness to people, particularly our own families—unkindness to those close to us is such a pitiful thing—doing what we can for our poor unhappy country—things which, please forgive me, sometimes seem more important than dwelling on a few middle-aged daydreams.”

“You’re right. I’m sorry,” I say instantly, scalded.

“You’re sorry for your sins?”

“Yes. Ashamed rather.”

“That will do. Now say the act of contrition and for your penance I’m going to give you this.”

Through the little window he hands me two articles, an envelope containing ashes and a sackcloth, which is a kind of sleeveless sweater made of black burlap. John XXIV recently revived public penance, a practice of the early Church.

While he absolves me, I say an act of contrition and pull the sackcloth over my sports coat.

“Go in peace. I’ll offer my mass for you tonight.”

“Thank you,” I say, dumping the ashes in my hair.

After hearing confessions, the priest gets ready to say mass. The pious black seminarian, who looks like Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, who never entertained a dirty thought, assists him.

Some of the Protestants stay, including Leroy Ledbetter and Victor Charles and his wife.

There is a flick of eyes as people notice my sackcloth. Ellen’s cheek radiates complex rays of approval-disapproval. Approval that I will now “do right,” be a better husband, cultivate respectable patients, remain abstemious, etcetera. What she disapproves is not that I am doing public penance. No, what bothers her is an ancient Presbyterian mistrust of things, things getting mixed up in religion. The black sweater and the ashes scandalize her. Her eyelid lowers—she almost winks. What have these things, articles, to do with doing right? For she mistrusts the Old Church’s traffic in things, sacraments, articles, bread, wine, salt, oil, water, ashes. Watch out! You know what happened before when you Catholics mucked it up with all your things, medals, scapulars, candles, blood statues! when it came finally to crossing palms for indulgences. Watch out!

I will. We will.

Father Smith says mass. I eat Christ, drink his blood.

At the end the people say aloud a prayer confessing the sins of the Church and asking for the reunion of Christians and of the United States.

Outside the children of some love couples and my own little Thomas More, a rowdy but likable lot, shoot off firecrackers.

“Hurray for Jesus Christ!” they cry. “Hurrah for the United States!”

— Walker Percy, Love in the Ruins

Today’s Happy Thought

To be truthful, there is nothing left of Western civilization, and the fault is not Russia’s, China’s, Iran’s, or Venezuela’s. It is our own. We are an insouciant people, unconcerned, ignorant, worried only about unimportant things, kept ignorant and confused by a media that serves only the One Percent. The American people, indeed the people of the West, have no awareness that they are headed into total destruction, if not by climate change, if not by nuclear war, then by societal collapse.– Paul Craig Roberts

I’m two-thirds of the way through Walker Percy’s Love in the Ruins, and I can see this thing going one of a few ways.  So, I’ll refrain from a review of it until the end.  But Percy (through the protagonist) makes so many insightful observations about human nature and the mindset of modern man that it is already a must-read.  You want to know why society is breaking down?  Well, of course at its root is society’s rejection of God and of His Christ.  But let me highlight reason #2,345: the complete control of education by the godless, and its complete politicalization.  Here are a couple of gem quotes by Percy:

Students are, if the truth be known, a bad lot.  En masse they’re as fickle as a mob, manipulable by any professor who’ll stoop to it.  They have, moreover, an infinite capacity for repeating dull truths and old lies with all the insistence of self-discovery.  Nothing is drearier than the ideology of students, left or right.

And this:

Students are a shaky dogmatic lot.  And the “freer” they are, the more dogmatic.  At heart they’re totalitarians: they want either total dogmatic freedom or total dogmatic unfreedom, and the one thing that makes them unhappy is something in between.

Have a great day!

 

This is Outrageous

Bergoglio gives interview and states Mary did not intend to remain perpetually a virgin.

Mary was spotless from the first moment of her existence. The Church has always taught that she either formally vowed perpetual virginity or else had a firm commitment to virginity; this explains her answer to Gabriel of “How can this be, since I do not know man?” (See this article by Mark Shea, who now will now have to rewrite it since the Oracle has changed teaching again).

There is no outrage of which this man is not capable.

O Mary, Ever-Virgin, pray for us.