As a person tries to observe the new commandments by making acts of love through all they say and do, they are gradually able to rise step by step towards journey’s end. Their progress is made possible, because it is made in, with, and through Christ who claimed to be the vital living embodiment of Jacob’s mystical ladder (John1:51). He is The Way, The Truth, and The Life (Jn 14:6). He is the way to our destination, the Truth who both reveals and embodies that destination, and the eternal life that constitutes that destination. The journey stretches from here to eternity where the traveller finally enters into a profound and ongoing Holy Communion with the One who dwells in the eternal ecstatic joy, that flows from the mystical vortex of loving that constitutes God’s very being. read on David’s webpage
Tag: Catechism and Apologetics
Continuing the theme: – Praying the Our Father –
My earliest and happiest memories are of going to visit my grandfather. It wasn’t because he played games with me, gave me my favourite chocolate or even money to buy myself an ice cream on the way home, it was just because I loved him. He was such a lovable kindly man that it was more than enough just to be with him and feel myself enveloped by his love. This was before I even went to prep school. read on….
Some Consideration of the Heroic Virtues of Pope St. John Paul II
|Three American Presidents paying respects to Pope John Paul II, April 2005|
|Sr. Marie Simon Pierre|
Sister Marie Simon Pierre, a nun from the order of Little Sisters of the Catholic Motherhood in Aix au Province, France, had suffered with Parkinson’s Disease, like John Paul II, for four years. She intensely prayed along with her community for healing through the intercession of John Paul II only two months after John Paul II’s death. Doctors determined that Sr. Simon Pierre’s neurological symptoms had disappeared inexplicably. This was deemed John Paul II’s first miracle in 2011.
|Floribeth Mora Diaz|
In April 2011, Floribeth Mora, a 50 year old Costa Rican grandmother, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain aneurysm and was sent home to die. But on the day of John Paul II’s beatification, Mora saw a photograph of John Paul II and the photograph spoke to her saying “Get up” and “Be not afraid”. Remarkably, her aneurysm disappeared that same day. Neuro-surgeons in Rome could not medically explain the disappearance. This miracle satisfied the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in the Vatican.
|Pope John Paul II at Auschwitz (1979)|
The date of John Paul II’s canonization also occurs on National Holocaust Rememberance Day in Israel and during the March of the Living where people gather in in Krakow, Wojtyła’s home for 40 years, to march between the Nazi death camps of Auschwitz to Birkenau to remember the Holocaust. John Paul II had strong connections with the Jewish community in his childhood home off Wadowice, where ¼ of the town’s 8,000 residents were eradicated for anti-Semitic aspirations of Nazi racial purity. These events strongly influenced John Paul II’s weltanschauung, since during his pontificate, John Paul II made great strives to acknowledge the sin of anti-semitism, especially in the Holocaust, and to strengthen the Church’s relations with the Jewish Community. In May 1998, Pope St. John Paul II gave a formal apology about Catholic shortcomings in the Holocaust in the proclamation “We Remember: A Reflection of the Shoah”.
It was the same message that he brought when he first visited his homeland of Poland in June 1979. The documentary Nine Days That Changed the World showed the power that John Paul II message of “Be not afraid” had with the Polish people to instill the dignity of the individual to live out their faith and, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, renew the face of the Earth and their land.
|[L] Pope John Paul II shot May 13, 1981, [R] Pope forgives Agca December 25, 1983|
It took me a long time deciding whether or not to use such an uncompromising word, but frankly I have no choice. If we really believe in God and what he has planned to do for us, has already done for us, and is doing for us now to put his plan into operation, to unite our destiny with his, then there is only one way to respond. He has chosen to give us his all, how can we do less than give our all for him.
Read more at David Torkington
Learning typology with Daniel in the lions’ den
I titled this post “learning typology,” instead of “teaching typology,” because this is a subject we can adapt to any age group. Many adult Catholics are unfamiliar with typology. So if your children are grown, or you’re not a parent, read this for yourself. If you do have young children or you teach religious education, you can adapt this to your students’ ages.
If you are completely unfamiliar with typology or need a refresher course, start with my post on Teaching typology with Joseph and his brothers.
Since it is Easter, it’s a good time to look at the similarities between the prophet Daniel and Christ. The story of Daniel in the Lions’ Den prefigures Christ’s Death and Resurrection. I will go through a proposed lesson step by step for various age and skill levels.
Contineu reading at Contemplative Homeschool.
Some of Giving the Devil's Advocate His Due on Conspiracies and the Canonization of Pope John XXIII
In anticipation of the dual canonizations of Pope Saint John XXIII and Pope Saint John Paul II, I wanted to better understand the merits of the men whose heroic virtues the Catholic Church recognizes must be in heaven.
Contemporary memory of Pope John XXIII was that he was a portly septuagenarian Patriarch of Venice who was elected in 1958 to be a caretaker seat warmer on the Chair of Saint Peter. Yet “Papa Roncalli” audaciously called for what became the Second Vatican Council which brought the liturgy into the vernacular. “The Good Pope John” died after a pontificate of just over four years and one third of the way into Vatican II.
That thumbnail sketch of Pope John XXIII’s papacy is simplified but accurate. Yet it does not explain the apoplectic opposition from some traditional Catholics, who consider “Roncalli” an anti-pope. To better understand objections by radical traditionalist “Catholics”, I braved the fever swamps of internet intrigue, old school insider catholic baseball as well as historical peculiarities. I wanted to discern if their counter arguments were persuasive or held merit.
Those who are Sirianists strongly cling to an anomaly associated with the 1958 Conclave. The College of Cardinals were reduced to 51 electors as Pope Pius XII only held two Consistories (in 1945 and 1953) during his 19 year reign, and many of the participating Cardinals were quite elderly.
In fact two Cardinal electors died in the Interregnum prior to the Consistory so only 49 Cardinals participated. On the first evening of the Conclave, white smoke was reported coming from the Sistine Chapel indicating “Habemus Papem”. Even Vatican Radio announced: “The smoke is white… There is absolutely no doubt. A Pope has been elected.” However, no Pope appeared and after perhaps twenty minutes, the smoke changed to black.
|Cardinal Giuseppe Siri, Archibishop of Milan|
Radical traditionalist postulate that Cardinal Giuseppe Siri, the Archbishop of Genoa and leading conservative papabili allegedly had been unanimously elected Pope and chosen the name Gregory XVII. However, they claim that while still in Conclave, Siri’s election was suppressed under duress by grey eminence Dean Cardinal Eugene Tisserant to prevent the assassinations of Iron Curtain Bishops. Some even believe that the Kremlin had imitated a nuclear threat on the Holy See. So Cardinal Siri supposedly said: “If you do not want me, then elect someone else”. This Siri election was supposedly corroborated by a CIA report, but the pages concerning the event have been lost. Curious that there is confirmation without credible corroboration.
After votes are tallied in a Conclave, an elected is asked if he accepts the election. If so, he is asked for his desired regnal name. At that point, he is Pope. So if the Siri Thesis has merit, the Archbishop of Genoa had accepted and given the name “Gregory XVII”.
Afterwards, the vote was suppressed with threats. Yet according to the 1917 Code of Canon Law, Canon 187: “Resignation made out of grave fear that is inflicted unjustly or out of malice, substantial error, or simony is invalid by the law itself.” Hence, Siri was the legitimate pope who was prevented from taking his place– Sede Impeditists– and the succeeding popes were anti-popes,. The 1958 Conclave remained deadlocked for two more days. Since Conclave proceedings are secret, conspiracy theorists string together conjecture with fragments of “facts”.
According to the intrigue, Cardinal Federico Tedeschini, an 85 year old curial cardinal, was elected as a “transitional pope” but his acceptance was immediately quashed with threats. Eventually, another transitional pope was sought, but bitter radical traditionalists bemoan that another compromise candidate the Patriarch of Venice Cardinal Angelo Roncalli, an alleged free mason, was elected Pope John XXIII on the eleventh ballot, facilitated by B’nai B’rith (Jewsish Masonic) alleged collaborator Cardinal Tisserant. Some Sede Impeditists allege that a cabal of free mason cardinals which planned a “satanic coup d’etat” to install Roncalli as the 262nd Supreme Pontiff.
As a historian, the 1958 Conclave had some interesting elements which makes one wonder. The 49 electors, with many being curial lends credence to some “palace intrigue”. Furthermore, the initial puffs of white smoke combined with confusion in the Sede Vacante Vatican on the first day of the 1958 Conclave was interesting, but inconclusive. Allegations of a fifth column or satanic coup d’etat seem like fantastic filaments in a rad/trad yarn.
Most of the radical traditional condemnations of Pope John XXIII’s reign attribute elements of change in practice (but not in doctrine) which they can not reconcile. The outreach to the Jews and the Orthodox seem anathematic to people who believe in Catholic supremacy. These radical traditionals would bristle at altering a jot or tittle of Pope St. Pius V’s one true Tridentine Missal from 1570 and would scoff at the People of God worshiping in the vernacular as they should be saying Mass in the Lord’s language of Latin (sic).
Siri intimates that he was twice elected Pope, in 1963 which he refused and for the second 1978 Conclave, which Siri supposedly was obliged to refuse to prevent a schism. Thus the source claims that Pope Paul VI and Pope St. John Paul II were anti-popes. If we choose to believe former Jesuit novelist and biblical scholar Malachi Martin, Cardinal Siri was also elected in the first 1978 Conclave. Conservative Catholics claim that Siri was elected at four conclaves but never actually assumed the Chair of St. Peter.
This sort of claim is curious. Pro arguendo, taking Cardinal Siri’s alleged claims, at face value, then what happened to his 1958 election? Cardinal Siri supposedly did not care for Pope John XXIII and despised Pope Paul VI, yet he referred to them as pontiffs. Surely a conservative Cardinal could have applied Canon Law and either disputed their elections or he could have resigned so as not to be obliged to serve under anti-popes. Yet Cardinal Siri remained as Archbishop of Genoa until 1987.
Reading plethora of scant sources of radical traditionalists on the matter, it seems that they will seize upon anything to confirm their suspicions against Modernism, Free Masonry, Internationalism (the New World Order) and even more sinister conspiracies. The sketchy sourcing calls into question their conclusions, but their contention is that Free Masons also control messaging in the Church and secular sources would not contradict their corrupted Church conspirators.
I found several striking leitmotifs in the radical traditionalist critique of “The Good Pope John”. That very moniker originates from the world-wide affection for the portly pontiff, who was able to be companions to those on the margins. No where in their literature was any good perceived from (anti) Pope John XXIII’s reign. Perhaps this should not be a great surprise as most of them condemn all Popes from 1958 onward to be anti-popes.
After reading many radical traditional assessments of the Siri Thesis and conspiracies about (anti) Pope John XXIII sound like the fare common on Art Bell’s Coast to Coast AM, which Malachi Martin was a frequent guest. These challenges to Pope John XXIII parallel conservative critiques and rejection of Vatican II longing for the days of glory epitomized in the Tridentine Mass. So questioning the authenticity of Pope John XXIII’s election by the College of Cardinals conveniently vitiate any innovations of the Council and their successors without thinking themselves as schismatic. The shifting narratives of the Siri Thesis (if one believes various sources, being elected but impeded in 1958, 1963 and twice in 1978) along with the ad hominem attacks on Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II sound more like sour grapes than serious charges.
Understand that radical traditionalists object to the “aggornamento” (updating) which the Second Vatican Council brought to the Catholic Church which shifted control of the Vatican from a clubby curia and failed to treat the Church like a museum. Hence, attacking the Shepherd to takes them to that place discredits him while driving home their traditionalist message.
It would behoove believers to examine the heroic virtues of Pope St. John XXIII rather than delve into Sede Impeditist and Sede Vacante fever swamps. Or as Pope St. John XXIII put it: “The habit of thinking ill of everything and everyone is tiresome to our selves and to all around us.”
Keeping watch with Jesus–unexpectedly
|Memorial to the Japanese martyrs of Unzen. (Photo by Connie Rossini.)|
This is the week for keeping watch with Jesus in a special way. Although God calls us to spend time with Him in prayer daily, we rightly feel that we should spend extra time with Him during Holy Week. But how should we go about it?
When I was a teenager, my family started a tradition of an all-night prayer vigil on Holy Thursday. Beginning at 10 p.m., my parents, siblings, and I took turns praying in one or two one-hour slots for the next eight hours. I loved offering this extra sacrifice to Jesus, this extra sign of love. Jesus would not be alone in the Garden of Gethsemane if I could help it.
After I graduated from college, I spent two years as a lay missionary in Japan, teaching English to support the evangelization work of an American priest. During spring break of the first year, my roommate Mary Beth and I traveled to the island of Kyushu. We planned to be in Nagasaki for Easter.
On Holy Thursday we were in the resort town of Unzen. Known for its hot springs, in which the Japanese bathe for health, Unzen is also the site of mass martyrdoms in the 17th century. In one of the most heinous instances of torture in history, Japanese officials hung Catholics upside-down to slowly roast over the hot springs. They punctured holes in the martyrs’ foreheads, so that the rush of blood to their heads would not kill them prematurely.
Read the rest at Contemplative Homeschool.
Pope Francis Condemns Slaying of Dutch Jesuit in Syria
Dutch Jesuit Fr. Francis van der Lugt was brutally murdered in Homs, Syria by masked gunman. The septigenarian cleric was beaten by a masked man on the street in front of the Jesuit monastery in Bustan al-Diwan, a Christian portion of the Old City, and then he was shot twice in the head.
Fr. van der Lugt who was a trained psychotherapist, had spent fifty years living in Syria ministering to disabled people at the Al Ard Center near Homs. The Center also took in refugees from the Syrian Civil War, but that mission curtailed as the staff fled since they could not ensure the safety of their guests. Fr. van der Lugt tried to be a companion to those in mental distress and give them as much food as possible.
Fr. Frans refused to be part of the February 2014 UN supervised evacuation of 1,400 people from the city, which had been besieged for a year and a half. In the Old City of Homs, the Christian population had shrunk from tens of thousands to just 66. Christians used to make up 10% of the Syrian population before the Civil War, but Christians have been brutalized for their faith during the conflict Fr. van der Lugt reasoned that he was the only priest remaining to minister to his people so how could he leave.
In January, Fr. van der Lugt made pleas through the media that gained world-wide attention to have humanitarian aid sent to the city to feed the starving Muslim and Christian population.
This led to meeting with UN officials to receive aid and hear first hand accounts of the humanitarian trials in Homs. Fr. van der Lugt procured four kilos of kilos of flour a week from a Muslim charity so that he could make bread and distribute half a loaf to the enclaves neediest 30 people.
Fr. van der Lugt’s selfless dedication to his fellow man and openness to serve the Lord even unto death
echos the ultimate sacrifice that our Lord Jesus Christ which we will celebrate next week in the Triduum.
What's the Little Way got to do with detachment?
|Monument to St. John of the Cross in Frontiveros, Spain.|
You can’t read the Carmelite saints for long without encountering the idea of detachment. We find it in the writings of John of the Cross, of Teresa of Avila, and even of St. Therese. Detachment for Catholics is not the same as mere penance. Detachment, like the entire spiritual life, begins and ends with love.
St. John of the Cross is the master teacher about detachment. Here is his famous passage on detachment from The Ascent of Mount Carmel:
Endeavor to be inclined always:
not to the easiest, but to the most difficult;
not to the most delightful, but to the most distasteful;
not to the most gratifying, but to the least pleasant;
not to what means rest for you, but to hard work;
not to the consoling, but to the unconsoling;
not to the most, but to the least;
not to the highest and most precious, but to the lowest and most despised;
not to wanting something, but to wanting nothing.Do I detect a few sighs?
If we read this passage out of context, the spiritual life appears dry, difficult, and even impossible. We are tempted to give up before we even begin. We reject John of the Cross and move on to another saint whose teaching appears less demanding.
What if I told you that St. Therese practiced perfect detachment? What if I told you her Little Way makes the same demands as John’s Ascent? Let’s look at the passage again in light of the life and teaching of St. Therese.
Read the rest at Contemplative Homeschool.
Family and homeschool activities for the rest of Lent
Ready to celebrate the rest of Lent as a family? Here are several activities you can do together, whether or not you homeschool.
p=suitable for grades 1-3
m=suitable for grades 4-6
j=suitable for grades 7-9
s=suitable for grades 10-12
BooksBesides reading the Gospel accounts of Holy Week, try reading and discussing the following books that deal with sacrifice, martyrdom, or resurrection:
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams (p).
The Tale of Three Trees by Angela Elwell Hunt (p+).
The Queen and the Cross: The Story of St. Helen by Cornelia Mary Bilinsky (p, m)
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (p+ for reading aloud; m+ for independent reading).
Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.