Sunday 29 March 2009

PASSION SUNDAY: "Before Abraham was, I AM"

Judica me Deus et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab homine iniquo et doloso eripe me: quia tu es Deus meus , et fortitudo mea...

"Judge me, O God, and distinguish my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the unjust and deceitful man: for Thou art my God and my strength" [Ps. 42:1-3, Introit for Passion Sunday and the opening Psalm of every mass]

Vexilla Regis

by Venantius Fortunatus (530-609)

1. Vexilla Regis prodeunt: Fulget Crucis mysterium,
Qua vita mortem pertulit, Et morte vitam protulit.

2. Quae vulnerata lanceae Mucrone diro, criminum
Ut nos lavaret sordibus, Manavit und(a) et sanguine.

3. Impleta sunt quae concinit David fideli carmine,
Dicendo nationibus: Regnavit a ligno Deus.

4. Arbor decor(a) et fulgida, Ornata Regis purpura,
Electa digno stipite Tam sancta membra tangere.

5. Beata, cuius brachiis Pret(i)um pependit saeculi:
Statera facta corporis, Tulitque praedam tartari.

6. O CRUX AVE, SPES UNICA, Hoc Passionis tempore
Piis adauge gratiam, Reisque dele crimina.

7. Te, fons salutis Trinitas, Collaudet omnis spiritus:
Quibus Crucis victoriam Largiris, adde praemium. Amen.

1. Abroad the Regal Banners fly,
Now shines the Cross's mystery;
Upon it Life did death endure,
And yet by death did life procure.

2. Who, wounded with a direful spear,
Did, purposely to wash us clear
From stain of sin, pour out a flood
Of precious Water mixed with Blood.

3. That which the Prophet-King of old
Hath in mysterious verse foretold,
Is now accomplished, whilst we see
God ruling nations from a Tree.

4. O lovely and reflugent Tree,
Adorned with purpled majesty;
Culled from a worthy stock, to bear
Those Limbs which sanctified were.

5. Blest Tree, whose happy branches bore
The wealth that did the world restore;
The beam that did that Body weigh
Which raised up hell's expected prey.

Now in this mournful Passion time,
Improve religious souls in grace,
The sins of criminals efface.

7. Blest Trinity, salvation's spring,
May every soul Thy praises sing;
To those Thou grantest conquest by
The holy Cross, rewards apply. Amen.

In the Gospel for Passion Sunday, our Lord, for the first time, publicly confesses His Godhead by using the sacred Tetragrammaton used only by God of God Himself - the Hebrew phrase "I AM" - and He does so in relation to the Father of the Jews, Abraham, in the most sacred manner possible to describe Himself thus making clear to the Jews that He is Moshiach, the Messias, Emmanuel, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, Very God of Very God, the Incarnate Deity Himself. The Jews will either believe Him and be saved or else they will call Him a devil, a blasphemer and seek to kill Him...

"31 dicebat ergo Iesus ad eos qui crediderunt ei Iudaeos si vos manseritis in sermone meo vere discipuli mei eritis 32 et cognoscetis veritatem et veritas liberabit vos 33 responderunt ei semen Abrahae sumus et nemini servivimus umquam quomodo tu dicis liberi eritis 34 respondit eis Iesus amen amen dico vobis quia omnis qui facit peccatum servus est peccati 35 servus autem non manet in domo in aeternum filius manet in aeternum

36 si ergo Filius vos liberaverit vere liberi eritis 37 scio quia filii Abrahae estis sed quaeritis me interficere quia sermo meus non capit in vobis 38 ego quod vidi apud Patrem loquor et vos quae vidistis apud patrem vestrum facitis 39 responderunt et dixerunt ei pater noster Abraham est dicit eis Iesus si filii Abrahae estis opera Abrahae facite 40 nunc autem quaeritis me interficere hominem qui veritatem vobis locutus sum quam audivi a Deo hoc Abraham non fecit

41 vos facitis opera patris vestri dixerunt itaque ei nos ex fornicatione non sumus nati unum patrem habemus Deum 42 dixit ergo eis Iesus si Deus pater vester esset diligeretis utique me ego enim ex Deo processi et veni neque enim a me ipso veni sed ille me misit 43 quare loquellam meam non cognoscitis quia non potestis audire sermonem meum 44 vos ex patre diabolo estis et desideria patris vestri vultis facere ille homicida erat ab initio et in veritate non stetit quia non est veritas in eo cum loquitur mendacium ex propriis loquitur quia mendax est et pater eius 45 ego autem quia veritatem dico non creditis mihi

46 quis ex vobis arguit me de peccato si veritatem dico quare vos non creditis mihi 47 qui est ex Deo verba Dei audit propterea vos non auditis quia ex Deo non estis 48 responderunt igitur Iudaei et dixerunt ei nonne bene dicimus nos quia Samaritanus es tu et daemonium habes 49 respondit Iesus ego daemonium non habeo sed honorifico Patrem meum et vos inhonoratis me 50 ego autem non quaero gloriam meam est qui quaerit et iudicat

51 amen amen dico vobis si quis sermonem meum servaverit mortem non videbit in aeternum 52 dixerunt ergo Iudaei nunc cognovimus quia daemonium habes Abraham mortuus est et prophetae et tu dicis si quis sermonem meum servaverit non gustabit mortem in aeternum 53 numquid tu maior es patre nostro Abraham qui mortuus est et prophetae mortui sunt quem te ipsum facis 54 respondit Iesus si ego glorifico me ipsum gloria mea nihil est est Pater meus qui glorificat me quem vos dicitis quia Deus noster est 55 et non cognovistis eum ego autem novi eum et si dixero quia non scio eum ero similis vobis mendax sed scio eum et sermonem eius servo

56 Abraham pater vester exultavit ut videret diem meum et vidit et gavisus est 57 dixerunt ergo Iudaei ad eum quinquaginta annos nondum habes et Abraham vidisti 58 dixit eis Iesus amen amen dico vobis ANTEQUAM ABRAHAM FIERET, EGO SUM 59 tulerunt ergo lapides ut iacerent in eum Iesus autem abscondit se et exivit de templo."

"31 Then Jesus said to those Jews, who believed him: If you continue in my word, you shall be my disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. 33 They answered him: We are the seed of Abraham, and we have never been slaves to any man: how sayest thou: you shall be free? 34 Jesus answered them: Amen, amen I say unto you: that whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin. 35 Now the servant abideth not in the house for ever; but the son abideth for ever.

36 If therefore the son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed. 37 I know that you are the children of Abraham: but you seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you. 38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and you do the things that you have seen with your father. 39 They answered, and said to him: Abraham is our father. Jesus saith to them: If you be the children of Abraham, do the works of Abraham. 40 But now you seek to kill me, a man who have spoken the truth to you, which I have heard of God. This Abraham did not.

41 You do the works of your father. They said therefore to him: We are not born of fornication: we have one Father, even God. 42 Jesus therefore said to them: If God were your Father, you would indeed love me. For from God I proceeded, and came; for I came not of myself, but he sent me: 43 Why do you not know my speech? Because you cannot hear my word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and he stood not in the truth; because truth is not in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father thereof. 45 But if I say the truth, you believe me not.

46 Which of you shall convince me of sin? If I say the truth to you, why do you not believe me? 47 He that is of God, heareth the words of God. Therefore you hear them not, because you are not of God. 48 The Jews therefore answered, and said to him: Do not we say well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil? 49 Jesus answered: I have not a devil: but I honour my Father, and you have dishonoured me. 50 But I seek not my own glory: there is one that seeketh and judgeth.

51 Amen, amen I say to you: If any man keep my word, he shall not see death for ever. 52 The Jews therefore said: Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest: If any man keep my word, he shall not taste death for ever. 53 Art thou greater than our father Abraham, who is dead? and the prophets are dead. Whom dost thou make thyself? 54 Jesus answered: If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father that glorifieth me, of whom you say that he is your God. 55 And you have not known him, but I know him. And if I shall say that I know him not, I shall be like to you, a liar. But I do know him, and do keep his word.

56 Abraham your father rejoiced that he might see my day: he saw it, and was glad. 57 The Jews therefore said to him: Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? 58 Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say to you, BEFORE ABRAHAM WAS, I AM. 59 They took up stones therefore to cast at him. But Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple."

[John 8:31-59, Gospel for Passion Sunday]

"I AM"


And so it begins: the start of Christ's Passion re-enacted in the Sacred Liturgy...

Now is the acceptable time for men to begin to reconcile themselves with God as the Holy Season of Lent begins to move into high gear and we approach the Holiest Season of the year - the Season when we solemnly recall the sacred Passion of our Lord and Saviour JESUS CHRIST.

Attende, Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi!


You've looked it up now and seen that, no, I wasn't kidding - the current European Justice Commissioner really is a convicted criminal!

It is an appalling disgrace but it is true.

Welcome to the new Europe.

The criminals are making the laws.

And, no, you do not get a chance to vote him out - or even in - because the Commissioners are appointed by a self-selecting oligarchy and are not elected.

And they have the power - not the so-called European "Parliament" which has no power and is a mere talking shop.

The Commissioners and the unelected bureaucracy, the Commission, have the power.

And you are not allowed to elect them!

This is called "democracy"!

Cannot believe it?

Well, it's all true.

Welcome to the EU!


Saturday 28 March 2009

This convicted criminal is European Commissioner for...Justice...what????!!!!

Did you know that???

Yes, it is true!

And this is him!

Jacques Barrot (born 3 February 1937 in Yssingeaux, Haute-Loire) is a French politician, currently serving as European Commissioner for Justice (since 2008), after 4 years as Commissioner for Transport.

He was also one of five vice-presidents of the 27-member Barroso Commission.

He previously held various ministerial positions in France, and is a member of the political party UMP.

He was officially approved in his post by the European Parliament on 18 June 2008 but that is a farce because they could not have stopped his appointment even if they wanted to such is the anti-democratic natures of the EU "Parliament".

Barrot has been a European Commissioner since April 2004, serving as Commissioner for Regional Policy in the Prodi Commission before being selected as a Vice-President and Commissioner for Transport in the Barroso Commission.

In 2000 he was convicted in a French court. The case involved the diverting of £2 million of government money to his party. He received an eight month suspended prison sentence but was pardoned by Jacques Chirac.

Now he is Euro-Commissioner for Justice!!!!

The criminals really are making the laws.

And such is the true nature of this Euro-Leviathan of a Commission that they just don't care that he is a convicted criminal. "So what?" they ask. Yes, really!

Welcome to the world of the European Commission and "Parliament".

This is Daniel Hannan MEP, the 37-year-old Conservative European Member of Parliament for South East England.

His parents were one an Ulster Catholic and the other a Presbyterian.

And below is the now famous clip on Youtube that went like a shot that rang around the world.

This was his opportunity to speak upon behalf of so many in the country who are disgusted with the way we have been governed under this government - hence the amazing popularity of this clip which received a record number of hits in its first 24 hours on Youtube.

Hannan is fast becoming the voice of those Tories - and indeed of the people generally - who are tired of the failure to get stuck into this devalued government which - inexplicably - the Front Benchers do not seem able to muster the stomach to undertake.

Hannan is now a familiar figure at the European Parliament where he frequently calls time on the corruption, waste, arrogance and total disregard for democracy and the views and welfare of the citizen.

Here he is telling the untold story of the ballooning corruption within the EU and in this case the European Investment Bank and what he is open enough to call the European Racket.

Here's another clip of him describing what is really going on at Brussels:

Here he calls time on the EU leadership that will not give the people a vote and which is determined to go ahead with the Lisbon Treaty despite the NO vote in France, Holland and Ireland.

He now ends every speech with the resounding Latin phrase:

Pactio Olisipiensis censenda est

which means "The Lisbon Treaty must be given a vote". This is a reflection of the famous words with which Cato the Elder ended every speech he made in the Roman Senate calling upon the people and Senate of Rome to recognise the danger of Carthage to the Roman state and the need to destroy it before it destroyed Rome. He ended his speeches with the words:

Carthago delenda est

which means "Carthage is to be destroyed".

Here is Hannan again exposing the arrogance of the EU leadership ignoring the Irish NO vote and sweeping aside democracy:

The EU leadership pretended to fend off any alleged filibustering - which was allowed under its rules - by the simple expedient of disobeying its own rules.

Hannan objected to this blatantly illegal flouting of its own rules and the chair tried to silence him. When he later likened this open flouting of the rules to the Ermaetigungsgesetz (Enabling Act) of 1933 in Germany - when the Nazis got the Reichstag to agree to give sweeping powers to their new government - Hannan was threatened and then expelled from the EPP (the European People's Party).

Not that it mattered, the Conservative Party has since left the EPP en bloc in protest at its supine policy of giving in on every European issue.

And here is the moment when they tried to crush him. This is taken from a UKIP video clip which uses the X-files theme music but changed to the "E-files" aimed at exposing corruption in the EU:

Make up your own mind about this foreign body which increasingly claims the right to centralise power, to dictate to us, to take away our sovereignty and to treat us like children incapable of electing our own representatives and - more importantly - to impose secularism upon us and upon a once Christian continent.


Tuesday 17 March 2009

St Patrick's Day: remembering the real Irish heroes

Instead of the appalling plastic Paddy poppycock that passes for the celebration of St Patrick's Day in the streets of Boston and New York, complete with fluffy toy leprechauns and trashy outsize toy top-hats and green ribbands, I invite you to consider the real Irish heroes whom many of their countrymen and kin have too easily and readily forgotten.

As well as the gallant Irish who fought for the Royal Stuarts at the Boyne, Aughrim and Limerick let us remember those in the Irish Brigade of King Louis under Patrick Sarsfield, Earl of Lucan, and Lord Mountcashel, Butler, Feilding, O'Brien, Dillon, Bulkeley, Clare, Rooth, Berwick and Lally, not to mention O'Callaghan de Tallahagh and Fitz James's cavalry, all fighting at Steenkirk (1692), Neerwinden (1693), Marsaglia (1693), Blenheim (1704), Malplaquet (1709), Fontenoy (1745), Battle of Lauffeld (1747); and Rossbach (1757). Let us also remember, too, those who fought for the Spanish kings, like O'Donoju (O'Donoghue) and Obregon (O'Brien), and for the Holy Roman Emperor, like Lacy, O'Donnell von Tyrconell, Taafe and many others.

Patrick Sarsfield, Earl of Lucan, one of the more famous of the Irish "Wild Geese"

Let us remember the two senior Dillon officers who remained in the French army, of whom Theobald was murdered by his French soldiers, turned revolutionaries when in retreat in 1792, and Arthur who was executed in 1794 by the revolutionaries during The Terror.

Let us particularly remember the Irish Zouaves who fought in the papal army, alongside the descendants of the generals and heroes of the Vendee in France like Charette and Cathelineau, against the revolutionaries of Garibaldi, Cavour and the faithless Sardinians and Piedmontese who sacrilegiously attempted to overthrow the Papal States.

Zouaves were originally Algerian troops in the French army coming from the Berber tribe of the Zwawa. They wore baggy trousers as were commonly worn by some Muslim troops. Eventually they were replaced by Frenchmen but the baggy-trousered uniform was retained. Soon they became fashionable and other armies introduced regiments of Zouaves including, eventually, the Papal army.

A Pontifical Zouave of Major O'Reilly's Brigade

Sir Patrick Alphonsus Buckley was one of these swashbuckling heroes who fought in the Pontifical Zouaves for the defence of the States of the Church and Blessed Pius IX.

A soldier, lawyer, statesman, judge, he was born near Castletownsend, County Cork, Ireland, in 1841 but died at Lower Hutt, New Zealand, 18 May, 1896. He was educated at the Mansion House School, Cork; St. Colman's College, Paris; the Irish College, Paris; and the Catholic University, Louvain. He was in Louvain when the Piedmontese invaded the States of the Church in 1860, and at the request of Count Charles MacDonnell, Irish Private Chamberlain to Pius IX, conducted the recruits of the Irish Papal Brigade from Ostend to Vienna, where they were placed in charge of representatives of the Holy See.

He served under the heroic Belgian Zouave commander, General Lamoriciere, and was received a prisoner after Ancona. After the war he returned to Ireland. Thence he emigrated to Queensland, where he completed his legal studies and was admitted to the Bar.

After a short residence in Queensland he settled in New Zealand, and commenced the practice of his profession in Wellington. Soon after his arrival in New Zealand, he became a member of the Wellington Provincial Council, and was Provincial Solicitor in the Executive when the Provincial Parliaments were abolished in 1875. He was appointed to the Legislative Council in 1878 (in the days when there were still appointees and a property qualifying franchise for the Upper House); he was Colonial Secretary and leader of the Upper House in the Stout-Vogel Ministry (1884-87), and Attorney-General, Colonial Secretary, and leader of an overwhelmingly Opposition Upper House under the Ballance Administration from 1891 till 1895, when he was appointed Judge of the Supreme Court.

Sir Patrick Buckley KCMG,
who served as an Irish Pontifical Zouave defending the Papal States and then later
became a Supreme Court Judge in New Zealand

He was created Knight Commander of St. Michael and St. George in 1892 by Queen Victoria.

Here is what the Belgian cardinal, Xavier de Merode, Papal Pro-Minister for War, wrote of the Irish Zouaves after they were released from their Genoese prison following capture after the gallant stand at Castel-Fidardo:

"At the moment in which, in consequence of the present sad state of affairs, the brave soldiers of the Battalion of St Patrick, who had hastened hither for the defence of the States of the Church, are about to leave the Pontifical army, the undersigned Minister of War experiences the liveliest satisfaction in being able to express to those soldier his entire satisfaction and in bestowing upon them the highest praise for their conduct. Nothing more could be expected from them. The Battalion of St Patrick at Spoleto, at Perugia, at Castel-Fidardo, and in Ancona, has show the power of faith united to the sentiment of honour, in the treacherous and unequal contest in which a small number of brave soldiers resisted to the last an entire army of sacrilegious invaders. May this recollection never perish from their hearts! God, who defends His Church, will bless what they have done."

About 65 of the surviving Irish returned to Rome to form the Company of St Patrick. Some, like Buckley, returned home to further labours and honour.

These are the men to remember and praise - not the parcel of traitors, apostates and murderers who sought to introduce revolutionary principles into Ireland from 1798 onwards, siding with the enemies of the Church to become the terrorist outlaws of the IRB, the IRA and the Fenians. These sons of Belial were excommunicated by the Irish Bishops and Pope Pius IX and were repeatedly condemned by Cardinals McCabe and Cullen and all the Irish bishops throughout the 19th century. Their legacy is the continuing "troubles" which, thanks to Adams and McGuinness among others who re-opened the Pandora's Box of revolution in the 60s and 70s, continues to spread its poison with the recent murders perpetrated by the so-called "Continuity IRA" and "Real IRA".

For heroes let us turn instead to the Wild Geese, their successors in the Pontifical Zouaves and all those many Irishmen who still remain loyal to the Holy See whatever the hardships and temptations.

St Patrick, pray for us!


Monday 16 March 2009

Meditation upon the innocence of Christ our Lord

It is perhaps difficult for our mind to comprehend the innocence of Christ our Lord and thus to understand the enormity of His being unjustly accused, scourged, mocked, crowned with thorns and then heinously gibbeted to appease the anger of His own people (i.e. us) and to atone for our sins.

Perhaps we can best begin to do so by comparing His innocence with that of a little child. Few things evoke such a keen sense of innocent life than that of a child praying, like the little boy in this picture. But the innocence of Christ was far greater even than this pinnacle of human innocence.

Imagine the horror of an innocent child being seriously harmed in any way. We recoil from such an image and feel immediately a powerful desire to protect all children from harm.

This famous picture of a Jewish child being herded off to a camp by evil Nazis perhaps symbolises the horror we feel at the wicked persecution of an innocent child.

How much more, then, should we recoil from causing any harm to Innocence Himself, the Lord Christ, our very God and Creator.

Yet, as the Lenten hymn reminds us, this Holy Innocence was led captive by men and, meekly suffering, He did not refuse to be led though He had been falsely condemned because of impious men.

And who were those impious men?

They were ourselves every time we sin.

Yet another image of the innocent Christ has always been that of the tiny lamb. It is particularly apposite at this time of the year when, as Spring unfolds and the lambing season moves into full swing, we see the tiny lambs emerging and beginning to take their first faltering steps. Soon they will be frolicking and gambolling in the sunlight, kicking their heel and then running back to their mothers, mewling and bleating.

This is another moving picture of innocence undisturbed by sin and violence, hatred and calumny, greed and vice.

For this reason was our Lord Christ called Agnus Dei, the "Lamb of God" for the tiny new-born lamb is a powerful image of innocence and is meant to give us an inkling of the gentle innocence of God Himself.

The lamb has been seen as a symbol of the innocence of God

Wicked men took the innocent lamb and did not merely handle Him roughly but, seeing His innocence and truth, hated Him and used him most cruelly, falsely and mockingly, savagely and brutally scourging and crucifying Innocence itself, immolating the Lamb of God, the child of Mary, the praying boy horribly abused by evil men.

This is perhaps how we should begin to see the Passion and Death of our Lord and Saviour.

Adolphe-William Bouguereau. The Flagellation of Christ. 1880.

Though He was innocence itself, He allowed Himself to be falsely accused and barbarously ill-used so as to atone for the very wickedness that was crucifying Him.

It is as if an innocent child were to give itself up to pain and suffering in order to save an adult criminal, indeed the same criminal who had abused the very same child. It is as if a child were to volunteer to take on the punishment that were due to his own persecutors once they had been caught.

It is as if a beautiful and rare butterfly were wantonly crushed to pieces.

The meekness of Christ is itself overpoweringly heart-rending to contemplate. As Scripture says:

"And the place of the scripture which he was reading was this: He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb without voice before his shearer, so openeth he not his mouth."
[Acts 8:32]

and this was the passage that the Eunuch was reading:

6 All we like sheep have gone astray, every one hath turned aside into his own way: and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was offered because it was his own will, and he opened not his mouth: he shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer, and he shall not open his mouth.
[Isaias 53:6-7]

He shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter...and so it was, just as the Prophet Isaias had prophesied.

We can get a further idea of the innocent meekness of Christ our Lord by seeing the same in his Foster Father, the great St Joseph, Royal Prince of Juda and successor of King David but one who had fallen upon hard times and had to eke a living as a handyman and joiner.

St Joseph and the Christ Child

Blessed Anna Catherine Emmerich describes St Joseph well in her Life of Christ. She relates in her visions of the beautiful meekness of St Joseph as a boy and young man when he was constantly bullied and attacked by his other relatives but bore the same with mute meekness, patience and humility. As he quietly got on with his work, says Blessed Catherine, sometimes other boys would strike Joseph for no reason, perhaps out of spite or envy, but Joseph remained silent and mute, just as His Lord would do on the way to the Cross.

These boys paid little heed to the fact that they were striking the descendent of King David and Joseph did not stand on his dignity being now poor and humble though his ancestry was sufficient to make him the true King of Juda.

Yet greater still was the meekness, humility, patience and long-suffering of Christ our Lord, not only the King of the Jews but the very King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb without voice before his shearer, so openeth he not his mouth...

"We adore Thee, O Christ, and we bless Thee, because by Thy Holy Cross Thou has redeemed the world!"


Sunday 15 March 2009

Innocens captus: Innocence led captive, refusing not to be led...

The God of Earth and Heaven battered and torn by sinful and rebellious men: the gentle Lamb of God crushed by the wickedness of us evil men!

See, O man, how your sins have torn and shattered your Lord and Saviour!
Have mercy on us O Lord our God for we have sinned against Thee!

Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

Ad te Rex summe,
omnium Redemptor,
oculos nostros
sublevamus flentes:
exaudi, Christe,
supplicantum preces.

Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

Dextera Patris,
lapis angularis,
via salutis,
ianua caelestis,
ablue nostri
maculas delicti.

Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

Rogamus, Deus,
tuam maiestatem:
auribus sacris
gemitus exaudi:
crimina nostra
placidus indulge.

Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

Tibi fatemur
crimina admissa:
contrito corde
pandimus occulta:
tua, Redemptor,
pietas ignoscat.

Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

Innocens captus,
nec repugnans ductus;
testibus falsis
pro impiis damnatus
quos redemisti,
tu conserva, Christe.

Attende Domine, et miserere, quia peccavimus tibi.

Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy, because we have sinned against Thee.
Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy, because we have sinned against Thee.

To Thee, highest King,
Redeemer of all,
do we lift up our eyes
in weeping:
Hear, O Christ, the prayers
of your servants.

Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy, because we have sinned against Thee.

Right hand of the Father,
way of salvation,
gate of heaven,
wash away our
stains of sin.

Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy, because we have sinned against Thee.

We beseech Thee, God,
in Thy great majesty:
Hear our groans
with Thy holy ears:
calmly forgive
our crimes.

Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy, because we have sinned against Thee.

To Thee we confess
our sins admitted
with a contrite heart;
We reveal the things hidden:
By Thy kindness, O Redeemer,
overlook them.

Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy, because we have sinned against Thee.

Innocence captive
refusing not to be led;
condemned by false witnesses
because of impious men
O Christ, keep safe those
whom Thou hast redeemed.

Hear us, O Lord, and have mercy, because we have sinned against Thee.


Sunday 8 March 2009

GREAT LENT: a time to do penance, atone and be reconciled to our Creator

This painting shows the return of the Blessed Virgin after the Crucifixion on Calvary.

In the distance can be seen the 3 crosses upon Calvary mount.

It is a fitting theme for the penitential season of Lent - or Great Lent as the Greeks call it.

Lent is a time of very moving and indeed hauntingly beautiful liturgy and chant.

Ash Wednesday begins with the reading from Joel the Prophet, Chapter 2:

“Now therefore saith the Lord: Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting, and in weeping, and in mourning. 13 And rend your hearts, and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil. 14 Who knoweth but he will return, and forgive, and leave a blessing behind him, sacrifice and libation to the Lord your God? 15 Blow the trumpet in Sion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly,

16 Gather together the people, sanctify the church, assemble the ancients, gather together the little ones, and them that suck at the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth from his bed, and the bride out of her bride chamber. 17 Between the porch and the altar the priests the Lord's ministers shall weep, and shall say: Spare, O Lord, spare thy people: and give not thy inheritance to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them. Why should they say among the nations: Where is their God? 18 The Lord hath been zealous for his land, and hath spared his people. 19 And the Lord answered and said to his people: Behold I will send you corn, and wine, and oil, and you shall be filled with them: and I will no more make you a reproach among the nations.”

On the First Sunday of Lent the Gospel reminds us of the precedent for Lent: our Lord's 40 days in the desert fasting.

On the Saturday in Ember week of Lent, when it was customary to have Ordinations to the clerical state, there are 6 readings including the Gospel and many beautiful chants.

In many communities, both religious and secular, it was also customary to have numerous additional pious devotions including chants, hymns and canticles dedicated to the instruments of the Passion, for instance the Holy Lance and the Holy Nails.

Ivan Kramskoy. 1872. Christ in the Desert.

In English-speaking countries there are many customary hymns such as this well-known one below by Fr Vaughan CSSR which captures the spirit of Lent very well.

GOD of mercy and compassion
Look with pity upon me;
Father, let me call Thee Father,
'Tis Thy child returns to Thee

Jesus, Lord, I ask for mercy;
Let me not implore in vain;
All my sins I now detest them,
Never will I sin again.

By my sins I have deserved
Death and endless misery,
Hell with all its pains and torments,
And for all eternity.

Jesus, Lord, I ask for mercy;
Let me not implore in vain;
All my sins I now detest them,
Never will I sin again.

By my sins I have abandon'd
Right and claim to Heav'n above,
Where the Saints rejoice for ever
In a boundless sea of love

Jesus, Lord, I ask for mercy;
Let me not implore in vain;
All my sins I now detest them,
Never will I sin again.

See our Saviour, bleeding, dying,
On the cross of Calvary;
To that cross my sins have nail'd Him,
Yet He bleeds and dies for me.

Jesus, Lord, I ask for mercy;
Let me not implore in vain;
All my sins I now detest them,
Never will I sin again.


Friday 6 March 2009

Anonymous is back...

Anon-eeeee!-mouse more like since he's too cowardly to identify himself. Yep, he's back spewing forth abuse and incoherence in equal quantities. Apparently animals can't feel any pain and if there was a God then they would - or some such piffle. Mousey go blah - again. Never mind - some mothers do 'ave 'em!


Monday 2 March 2009

Febronianism and Josephism: errors very similar to those of today

Febronianism and Josephism were two sides of the same coin.

In the Holy Roman Empire, the central empire of Christendom, due to the onslaughts of the Protestant Reformers, its Catholic subjects of the Emperor had come to cling more closely to the Holy See.

However, once the religious wars had ended without a decisive victory for either party, and once the theory of imperial religious neutrality (cuius regio, eius religio) had been sanctioned formally by the Peace of Westphalia (1648), the Catholic rulers of Germany, not excluding even the spiritual princes, showed more anxiety to increase their own power than to safeguard the interests of their religion.

The evil example of the Protestant states, where the rulers were supreme in religious as in temporal affairs, could not fail to encourage Catholic sovereigns to assert for themselves greater authority over the Church in their own territories, with the danger of compromising the rights of the Pope and of the constitution of the Church.

During the reign of the Freemasonic and theologically liberal Emperor Joseph II (1765-90) - pictured above - the full results of the Jansenist, Gallican, and Liberal Catholic teaching made themselves felt in the Empire.

Joseph II was a consummate hypocrite, insisting on both theological liberalism and freedom to ignore the Pope but also absolute power for himself to dictate to his subjects, even in religious matters.

This was all the more hypocritical given his central position in Catholic Europe as Holy Roman Emperor. He wanted liberal theology so that he could do what he liked but, equally, he wanted to remove the liberty of his subjects and rule them dictatorially.

He became the great icon for Liberal Catholicism and set the tone for liberal dissent ever after, right up to our own day.

Like all Liberal Catholics, he wanted to be free to dissent from the Pope but dealt harshly with anyone who dared to dissent from him.

Such is the consummate selfishness and hypocrisy of the revolutionary - he demands excessive freedom for himself but refuses even basic freedom to others.

The most learned exponent of Gallican views on the German side of the Rhine was Johann Nikolaus von Hontheim (1701-90), Assistant Bishop of Trier in 1740.

Johann Nikolaus von Hontheim, aka Justinus Febronius,
the heterodox author of the Febronian heresy and Assistant Bishop of Trier

At the time the hope of a reunion between the Lutherans and the Catholics in Germany was not abandoned completely. It seemed to von Hontheim that by lessening the power of the Papacy, which was regarded by the Protestants as the greatest obstacle to reconciliation, Gallicanism provided the basis for a good reunion programme, that was likely to be acceptable to compromisers.

This was the beginning of what later became the ecumenical movement for the re-union of Christendom. It appealed to men in the Holy Roman Empire of Germany because the Peace of Westphalia had carved up the Empire into both Protestant and Catholic parts, nominally under a Catholic Emperor. Hence the seemingly perennial enthusiasm of Germans and Austrians for ecumenism.

With the object therefore of promoting the cause of reunion he set himself to compose his heretical book, De Statu Ecclesiae et de Legitima Potestate Romani Pontificis, published in 1762 under the assumed name of Justinus Febronius.

According to Febronius, Christ entrusted the power of the keys not to the Pope nor to the hierarchy, but to the whole body of the faithful, who in turn handed over the duty of administration to the Pope and the hierarchy.

Hontheim/Febronius claimed that the Pope was only the first among equals, empowered no doubt to carry on the administration of the Church, but incapable of making laws or irreformable decrees on faith or morals.

Sound like many liberal Catholics, today?

So what’s new?

The Devil is merely the ape of God and never has any original ideas.

Febronius taught the old heresy that the Pope subject to a General Council which alone enjoyed the prerogative of infallibility.

Febronius called upon the Pope to abandon his untenable demands, and, if he refused to do so spontaneously he should be forced to give up his usurpations, and if necessary the bishops should call upon the civil rulers to assist them in their struggle.

The book was in such complete accord with the Freemasonic and absolutist tendencies of the age that it was received with applause by Freemasonic civil rulers, and by the court canonists, theologians, and lawyers, who saw in it the realization of their own dreams of a state Church subservient to the civil ruler, just as Henry VIII had.

The book was roundly condemned by Pope Clement XIII, in 1764, who exhorted the German bishops to take vigorous measures against such dangerous theories.

Pope Clement VIII who condemned the errors of Febronius.

Some were indifferent but the majority suppressed the book in their dioceses.

Hontheim continued stubborn but, before his death in 1790, he expressed regret for the doctrine he put forward, and died in full communion with the Church.

The teaching of Febronius, paving the way as it did for the supremacy of the State in religious matters, was welcomed by the Emperor Joseph II, as well as by the spiritual princes of the Rhine provinces and particularly by the Freemasonic Prime Ministers of Catholic Europe.

Emperor Joseph II was influenced largely by the Gallican and liberal tendencies of his early teachers and advisers. After the death of his devout Catholic mother, Empress Maria-Theresa, in 1780, and in conjunction with his prime minister, Prince Kaunitz, he began to inaugurate his schemes of ecclesiastical reform.

He insisted upon the Royal Placet on all documents issued by the Pope or by the bishops, forbade the bishops of his territories to hold any direct communication with Rome or to ask for a renewal of their faculties, which faculties he undertook to confer by his own authority. He forbade all his subjects to seek or accept honours from the Pope, insisted upon the bishops taking the oath of allegiance to himself before their consecration, introduced a system of state-controlled education, and suppressed a number of religious houses.

He abolished the episcopal seminaries, and established central seminaries at Vienna, Pest, Louvain, Freiburg, and Pavia for the education of the clergy in his dominions in the heretical way he wanted. Clerical students from Austria were forbidden to frequent the Collegium Germanicum at Rome. Even the smallest details of ecclesiastical worship were determined by royal decrees. In all these reforms Joseph II was but reducing to practice the teaching of Febronius.

So far did the Emperor Joseph II – the very Holy Roman Emperor himself, he who should have been the most faithful lay Catholic – lapse from the true faith that, when he paid a visit to Rome, he was, with difficulty, induced by the representations of the Spanish ambassador to desist from his plan of a complete severance of the Empire from the Holy See.

Imagine the disaster of the entire Holy Roman Empire severing all connection and loyalty to the Holy See! It would have been far worse than the split from Rome of King Henry VIII of England.

Joseph II’s radicalism cost the Empire the loss of the whole Austrian Netherlands, following revolution in 1789.

When the Rhine archbishops attempted to repudiate papal authority, through a Council at Ems and the subsequent document called the Punctuation of Ems, even the Protestant ruler Frederick II, King of Prussia, took the part of Rome against the archbishops and mocked Emperor Joseph II by calling him the “Sacristan king” for his obsession with suppressing even minor religious ceremonies and devotions.

Friedrich Karl Joseph, Reichsfreiherr von Erthal (1719-1802) was Prince-Archbishop-Elector of Mainz and a stubborn Febronian heretic whose obstinacy did him no good - he lost everything when the French revolutionary armies swept over his lands and he was ousted by a movement that had grown out of his own disloyalty and heresy

Eventually, all the rebel bishops finally submitted to the Pope, save Friedrich Karl Joseph, Reichsfreiherr (Baron-Imperial) von Erthal, the Prince-Archbishop-Elector of Mainz, who clung obstinately to his heretical views until the storm of the French Revolution broke over his city and territory, and put an end to his rule as a temporal prince forever.

In Tuscany where the Grand Duke Leopold, brother of Joseph II, reigned (1765-90), a determined attempt was made to introduce Febronian principles. Scipio Ricci, the Bishop of Pistoia set himself deliberately to introduce Jansenism and Gallicanism amongst his clergy, establishing a seminary at Pistoia, and a synod at Pistoia.

Eventually the Catholic Faithful attacked the palace of the Bishop and the synod and brought proceedings to an end.

In 1794 the Pope issued the Bull, Auctorem Fidei, in which the principal errors were condemned.

Bishop Scipio Ricci, the heretical Bishop of Pistoia in the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, whose Febronianism later led him to support the French Revolution. Later, after the full horror of the Revolution had been unleashed, he was eventually reconciled to the Church.

Bishop Scipio Ricci refused for years to make his submission and eventually supported the French Revolution. It was only in 1805, on the return journey of Pope Pius VII, from the coronation of Bonaparte at Paris, that he could be induced to make his peace with the Church, after Bonaparte had already set fire to half of Europe.

It was under the influence of these heterodox ideas that the Jesuit Order was suppressed in 1773 and these ideas led directly to the French Revolution which left Christian Europe in ruins and led on to the rise of Communism, Nazism and modern Secularist Fundamentalism.

Such was the disastrously poisoned legacy of Febronianism, Josephism and the heresies of Gallicanism, Jansenism and Freemasonry.