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Sunday, February 27, 2011

A peaceful transition?

Rev. Fr Hugh Green O.F.M.

There are some who believe that the Reformation in England was, by and large, a fairly slow and peaceful affair, with the old Catholic Religion giving place to the new protestant one. Nothing could, in fact, be further from the truth. Catholics were bitterly and brutally persecuted in an attempt to force them into submission. The following relation of the martyrdom of Rev. Fr Hugh Green, O.F.M. was especially moving and I felt it should be published for all to see so that the sufferings that Catholics have had to endure for their Faith may not be forgotten. It is the manuscript account of a pious Catholic woman who was present at his execution and forms part of his life written by Bishop Richard Challoner in his “Memoirs of Missionary Priests and other Catholics” which will soon be able to be found in our library. It is quite long and so part of it has been hidden and can be shown by clicking the “Read more” link.

Upon Wednesday before the sentence of death being given against him by judge Foster, he said, Sit nomen Domini Jesu benedictum in sæcula. "May the name of the Lord Jesus be for ever blessed." He should have died upon Thursday, and to that end the furze was carried to the hill to make the fire, and a great multitude of people were in the streets, and at the gate, and lanes, to see the execution. But our great martyr, did desire to die on Friday, the which was by a friend of his procured of the sheriff, though with very much difficulty, being opposed by Millard, the master keeper. And it was noted, that after his sentence he never went to bed, and eat but very little, scarce enough to sustain nature; yet he was very cheerful and full of courage to the last. Now I beseech our Lord to put his words into my memory, that I may especially relate them, for I have a great scruple to add or take away: and therefore I have had the help of a true servant of God, who was attentive at his death…. Much admired was his devotion: he kneeling on the hurdle made his prayer, and kissed it before he lay down upon it, and continued his prayers until he came to the place of execution. Then he was taken from the hurdle, and stayed on the hill a good stance from the gallows, until three poor women were hanged: two of them had sent him word the night before, that they would die in his faith. O! what comfort was this to God's true servant who did all which was possible to see and to speak with them, but could not. Then they sent again to desire him, that when they had made a confession of their sinful life at the gallows, and should give him a sign, that he then should absolve them. The which with great joy on his part, and much benefit, (I hope,) on theirs, was performed: they two turning their faces towards us, and throwing forth their arms, cried out to him, God be with you, sir; and so died: but the third woman turned from us, towards the press of people, and so she died, her face or speech never tending towards us. Now, I also noted that our martyr's charity in this short time of life was not unrewarded; for God of his mercy was pleased to yield him the like comfort, by a reverend father of the Society of Jesus, who was there on horseback to absolve him, the which with great devotion and reverence, taking off his cap, and lifting up his eyes and hands to heaven, he received from him. I cannot but bless God to see the magnanimity of these two, the holy martyr and that reverend father. The one being at the point of death, with such comfort as his cheerful countenance expressed; and the other not apprehending the great danger he was in to be taken by the rude multitude, of whom he should have found no mercy. Now, is our martyr brought to the foot of the ladder by the sheriff, where falling upon his knees, he remained in devout prayer almost half an hour: then he took his crucifix and Agnus Dei from his neck, and gave them to this devout gentlewoman, my assistant in this relation; and his beads he gave to another; also he gave the master-keeper his handkerchief. And last of all to me most unworthy, he gave his book of litanies, &c., also from the gallows he threw me down his band, spectacles, and priest's girdle. Then turning himself to the people, and blessing himself with the sign of the cross, he began:Read more >>

Friday, February 25, 2011

Message of Hope and Comfort from the Prime Minister of New Zealand

The Right Honourable
John Key
Prime Minister of New Zealand.

New Zealanders have woken to a tragedy unfolding in the great city of Christchurch.

The earthquake that struck the Canterbury region at ten to one yesterday has wreaked death and destruction on a dreadful scale.

There is no reason that can make sense of this event.

No words that can spare our pain.

We are witnessing the havoc caused by a violent and ruthless act of nature.

Many people have lost their lives. Families have lost their cherished loved ones. Mates have lost their mates.

These deaths are the greatest loss.

They remind us that buildings are just buildings, roads just roads, but our people are irreplaceable.

Today all New Zealanders grieve for you Christchurch.

To all those who woke up in Christchurch today feeling lucky to be alive, we know that you too are shocked, unnerved and grieving.

We know that your loss is sharpened by fear.

Our minds go to the mothers and fathers comforting children struck by anxiety and disbelief.

They go to the elderly, infirm and isolated who experienced this event alone and who remain blunted by shock.

And they go to each and every Cantabrian who has stoically endured six months of aftershocks, only to be hit by the biggest shock of all.

On behalf of New Zealand let me say to all of you: We feel your pain, as only a small nation can, for none of us feel removed from this event.

I am a proud son of Christchurch. I was raised there, I got my first job there, my sister lives there, my mother died there, I know what a wonderful place it is.

But my connection to Christchurch is no rare thing.

All New Zealanders have a piece of our heart in Christchurch.

All of our lives are touched by this event.

A friend or family member who lives there. A time spent studying there or a memorable experience had there.

We feel connected to your suffering. Your tragedy is our tragedy.

Today I want Christchurch to hear this message:

You will get through this.

This proud country is right behind you and we are backing you with all our might.

The world is with us.

Our Australian neighbours, our British and American friends, the great countries of this world, all are putting their shoulder to your wheel. They are sending their support, their expertise, their people to help us.

Christchurch, today is the day your great comeback begins.

Though your buildings are broken, your streets awash, and your hearts are aching, your great spirit will overcome.

While nature has taken much from you, it can not take your survivor’s spirit.

This devastating event marks the beginning of a long journey for your city.

It will be a journey that leads us from ruins and despair to hope and new opportunities. From great hardship will come great strength.

It will be a difficult journey, but progress is certain, things will get better, Christchurch will rise again.

On behalf of the Government, let me be clear that no one will be left to walk this journey alone.

New Zealand will walk this journey with you. We will be there every step of the way.

Christchurch; this is not your test, this is New Zealand’s test.

I promise we will meet this test.

Today and tomorrow our focus must be on preserving lives, on rescuing those who are trapped and treating those who are injured.

We pay tribute to the hundreds of search and rescue workers, emergency personnel, medical professionals and each and every person who is contributing to this effort.

You are heroes amongst us.

Already the bravery and resilience of Canterbury is on show.

In the weeks ahead our journey will take us to new obstacles, new challenges.

We have a city to rebuild. We have peoples’ livelihoods to restore. We have a community’s confidence to inspire.

We will rise to these challenges.

We will rebuild this city resolutely, and with the conviction that this is what it is to be a Cantabrian, what it is to be a New Zealander.

We are a country of pioneers. Whether we came by waka, sailboat, or aeroplane, we came with the conviction that we could build a new life in this country.

That great pioneering spirit will come to the fore in Christchurch over the coming months and years.

Though lost lives will never be replaced, and though your city will never look the same again, you will rebuild your city, you will rebuild your lives, you will overcome.

We have seen many cities in the world come back from disasters on this scale, and Christchurch will be no exception.

I know that all New Zealanders stand ready to help.

Right now, we can help by rallying around those who are grieving, supporting those whose livelihoods are in peril.

My message to all Kiwis who want to help is - act on that desire.

No act of kindness is too small.

Right now, you can help by offering support to friends and family who are hurting. Offer them a bed or a roof over their head if that is what they need. Make your donations to help those who have been hit hardest.

As infrastructure recovers, your visits to Christchurch will be welcome.

Above all, throughout this journey, offer those affected your love. Know that your humanity is more powerful than any act of nature.

As we look to the future, New Zealanders should know that the Government is going to do everything we can to support the recovery and rebuilding of Christchurch.

We are a resilient nation, and we will not bow down to this challenge.
23 February, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Holy Father prays for Christchurch.


- During today's general audience, the Pope recalled:

"A new and powerful earthquake, even more devastating than the one last September, has struck the city of Christchurch, in New Zealand, causing considerable loss of life and the disappearance of many people, to say nothing of the damage to buildings.

"At this time, my thoughts turn especially to the people there who are being severely tested by this tragedy. Let us ask God to relieve their suffering and to support all who are involved in the rescue operations. I also ask you to join me in praying for all who have lost their lives".

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

For Christchurch We Pray

God of nations! at Thy feet
In the bonds of love we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our Free Land.
Guard Pacific's triple star,
From the shafts of strife and war,
Make her praises heard afar,
God defend New Zealand

Men of ev'ry creed and race
Gather here before Thy face
Asking Thee to bless this place
God defend our free land
From dissension, envy, hate
And corruption guard our State
Make our country good and great
God defend New Zealand

Peace, not war, shall be our boast
But should our foes assail our coast
Make us then a mighty host
God defend our free land
Lord of battles, in Thy might
Put our enemies to flight
Let our cause be just and right
God defend New Zealand

Let our love for Thee increase
May Thy blessings never cease
Give us plenty, give us peace
God defend our free land
From dishonour and from shame
Guard our country's spotless name
Crown her with immortal fame
God defend New Zealand

May our mountains ever be
Freedom's ramparts on the sea
Make us faithful unto Thee
God defend our free land
Guide her in the nations' van
Preaching love and truth to man
Working out Thy Glorious plan
God defend New Zealand

Visit the Christchurch Quake Map.

The graphic Christchurch Quake Map
allows you to choose the day and then
plot the earthquakes in magnitude and depth
about Christchurch.

There is a time clock to the right of the map
and a drop down menu to choose the day.

Yesterday's quakes
look like a city being bombed.
Between 12.34 p.m. and 11.05 p.m.
our friends suffered 48 different quakes.
Since then another 14 earthquakes
have struck
and more keep coming.

Please pray for those who are dead or dying,
hurt and traumatised.

To visit the Christchurch Quake Map
click on the screen shot
or this link.

The Catholic Cathedral, Christchurch, New Zealand.

We offer our deepest sympathy and prayers
to the Catholics of Christchurch Diocese.

The Catholic Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament
Christchurch, New Zealand, as it was
in its beauty and glory.

And as it stands now
after today's devastating earthquake.

Ne despicias, omnipotens Deus,
populum tuum in
afflictione clamantem:
sed propter gloriam nominis tui,
tribulatis succurre placatus.
Despise not thy people,
O almighty God,
when they cry out in their affliction,
but graciously succour them
in their tribulation,
for the glory of Thy Name.
Through our Lord
Jesus Christ Thy Son
who livest and reignest with Thee
in the unity of the Holy Ghost
for ever and ever. Amen.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Replies to some questions.

Replies to a set of questions
regarding the posts on Sedevacantism/Sedeprivationism.

Dear Friend
I have thought over your comments and make the following replies.

1 How do you know that Fr Arriaga and Fr de Lauriers work no miracles?

If these well known traditionalists worked stunning miracles (or even some small wonders) it is fair to believe that the whole of the traditional world would be alerted to the fact very quickly.

This is because any miracle that they worked would be a confirmation of the Sedevacantist or Sedeprivationist doctrines that they taught.

2. Miracles may be slow in coming; vide. Cardinal Newman.

Yes, we could have a long time to wait for a miracle from the founders of the Sedevacantist or Sedeprivationist movement.

However, Pope John XXIII worked his stupendous miracle less than three years after his death; in fact on what would be the first day of the Novena before his 3rd anniversary.

3. Not all true popes work miracles. Did Pius XI?

Yes, you are right of course. Not all true popes work miracles after their deaths. But that is not the point here.

The point is this:
The Sedevacantists say that there has not been a true pope since Pius XII.

The fact that Pope John XXIII has worked his miracle proves:

a) that he is in heaven,

b) that he was a true Pope and

c) that therefore the sedevacantist theory that there has been no Pope since Pius XII is wrong.
That is all we set out to demonstrate.

4. Do you not think that there is something distasteful, not to say scandalous, about ad hominem attacks on traditionalists who have been in their graves for many years now (35 years in the case of Dr Arriaga).

Certainly we want the dead to rest in peace and we pray for their souls.

For over 35 years their sedevacantist or sedeprivationist theories have been a constant attack on the persons of the five Popes who have legitimately filled the Chair of Peter since Pius XII. Their distasteful scandal cannot be readily repaired without a comparison between the grave of John XXIII and the graves of the authors of these pernicious errors.

For over thirty years noisy Sedevacantist arguments have dominated this question –many of them ad hominem, like the supposed scandals of Pope John XXIII (claimed to be a Freemason, a Heretic, the Usurper of Siri, etc).

We take the case from the arena of human arguments to that of the supernatural level.

The miracle introduces the judgment of God and demonstrates that John XXIII, quem Deus commendat, is a Blessed Pope and was a true Pope.

On the contrary, those who have attacked John XXIII as an anti-pope or ‘material’ pope only, are left in their silent graves; their theories have not been supported by Heaven.

Since we want to help souls find their way to the true Shepherd, the Vicars of Christ, it is necessary to demonstrate that the maligned Vicar of Christ, Blessed John XXIII was indeed a true Pope as are his successors.

5. Do you not think that it is better to explain why a theory is incorrect, rather than attack the man?

Until now the Sedevacantist/Sedeprivationist theories have been argued with cartloads of paper and gallons of ink.

In this world the voice of truth is easily drowned out.

For those souls who have lost faith in the validity of the Popes, more arguments are not going to help. Even the voice of the Church will not help because they believe it to be the voice of a Newchurch. In the chaos of this darkness what can help us? Not more arguments! No.

Where can help come from?
Emmite lucen tuam et veritatem tuam: ipsa me deduxerunt, et adduxerunt in montem sanctum tuum, et in tabernacula tua. In our situation it is a mercy from Heaven that God directly sent forth His light and His truth that souls may be conducted and brought back to His holy hill and the tabernacles of the Church.

The theorists are dead, long buried; they lie in silent graves. But, then, from among the dead, the silenced voice of their opponent is heard; he has the last word on the matter. His voice is loud, clear, full of charity; it awakens a dying nun and heals her instantly and in such a way that she lives thereafter as a walking miracle... Emmite lucem tuam... John XXIII is a brilliant shaft of light on the validity of the “Post Conciliar” popes.

6. Should traditionalists be attacking one another, rather than the enemies of the church?

When sheep and lambs are lost to the Chief Shepherd because of erroneous doctrines it is charity to try to bring them home. If God has given a miracle to prove the Sedevacantist theories wrong it is a duty to speak up and publicise it.

Whoever holds the sheep away from the Chief Shepherd is not his ally even if he speaks from the Papal Bulls and recognises the Assumption of the Blessed Mother.

7. I don't believe you are doing yourself any long term credit by this line of argumentation.

Credit is not the goal.

We began this to help a soul called “Lost Sheep.” To help a soul is a great privilege. Our Lord gave His life for this soul.

For our part, we have tried through the blog posts to secure Lost Sheep along the road of returning to the Church. Since Lost Sheep cannot be the only one in this situation we have published the response for others to find.

It is like everything else, we have to do what we think is right and pay the price for it. The cost is never too much.

The Chief Shepherd.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Who lies in a silent grave - II

The Sedevacantist/Sedeprivationist
Episcopal Consecration
Fr. Michel Louis Guérard des Lauriers, O.P.
by Archbishop Thuc.

A very notable characteristic of Sedevacantism
is that it surrounds itself with cartloads of plausible arguments;
pages and pages and pages of
old Papal Bulls, Canon Law, Church History
and quotes from Doctors of the Church.
Whoever begins out along this road
is soon to be caught in a swamp of arguments.

Correct interpretation in the matter of the Papacy does not depend on the theories of experts.

Correct interpretation in the matter of the Papacy depends entirely upon the authority of God and His Church.

The three leading Sedevacantists
were all highly qualified experts and brilliant men;
none of them held a single doctorate alone,
all three held three Doctorates each.

Archbishop Ngô Ðình Thuc.
Doctorates in Philosophy, Theology and Canon Law.

Fr. Joaquín Sáenz y Arriaga, S.J.
Doctorates in Philosophy, Theology and Canon Law.

Fr. Michel Louis Guérard des Lauriers, O.P.
The most brilliant of the three:
Doctorates in Mathematics, Philosophy and Theology;
Advisor to Pope Pius XII concerning
the Dogma of the Assumption;
Confessor to Pope Pius XII for a time;
the mind behind the "Ottavani Intervention."
The ceremony that perhaps may have consecrated
Fr. des Lauriers a bishop.
7 May, 1981.

I had never doubted the exceptional intelligence
of the Reverend Father (Guérard des Lauriers),
nor for that matter,
the width and depth of his knowledge
of the science of theology.
On the other hand,
what I have always said about this great soul

- those that knew him will not disagree with me -
was that he suffered
an almost total absence of practical judgment.

In an almost habitual fashion

he would support and defend the worst side of any issue.

It was this lack of judgment on his part
that led me to break off all relations with him.
[Fr. Noel Barbara, Fortes in Fide, 1993.]

This priest with a great mind
was convinced that the Popes after Pius XII,
if Popes they were at all,
were only potentially popes,
and each was deprived of his formal papacy
in actual fact.

It was his theory.
He could express the theory in its fullness.
Some still agree with it.
He sought out Archbishop Thuc
and asked to be consecrated a bishop
since, by his theory,
the Sacraments had become invalid
and he was called to continue
Apostolic Succession in the Church;
thus he sought to be consecrated a bishop.

Was his theory right?
Thankfully, No.
Heaven has not approved his theory.
He died on 27 February, 1988.
Since then,
from eternity he works no miracles.
He lies in a silent grave.
Requiescat in pace.

His expert theory was proved 100% wrong.

Contradicting the swamp of intellectual arguments
can never be resolved by mere men,
God Himself judged this matter authoritatively

when He caused Pope John XXIII
~ dressed indeed as a true Pope
and not as a mere bishop or cardinal ~

to appear to and to heal
a dying nun

in an astounding, physical,

scientifically inexplicable,

for all sedevacantists and sedeprivationists

to simply, humbly accept.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Online Library

We have created an online library primarily to make the works of our Holy Father Saint Alphonsus easily available, but also other Catholic literature. We hope to keep adding to it so that over time it will become quite a resource. If you have or know of any suitable books which you think should be there, please don't hesitate to let us know.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Truly tragic -the Episcopal Consecrations of the "Thuc Line" founders.

The story of the "Thuc Consecrations" is, briefly,
a tragic one.
The prestigious Archbishop of Hue in Vietnam
pictured above
agreed in 1981 to consecrate three bishops
who are the origin of the "Thuc Line Bishops"
still operating.

Only two need to be considered
since the third played only a minor role.

Their names are
Bishop des Lauriers and Bishop Carmona.

Archbishop Pierre Martin Ngô Đình Thục.
(October 6, 1897–December 13, 1984)

Michel Louis Guérard des Lauriers, O.P.
(1898 - 1988)
Consecrated bishop 7 May, 1981.

Moisés Carmona y Rivera
(1912 - 1991).
Consecrated bishop 17 October, 1981.

Rue Garibaldi, Toulon.

I personally never knew the Vietnamese Archbishop
before the time of my two visits to his residence
at 22, rue Garibaldi, Toulon,
in the district of Var, in France.
The first time was in March 1981...

The second in January, 1982.

- Fr. Noel BARBARA.

22, rue Garibaldi in Toulon as it is today.

"The Archbishop lived in a very poor and dirty apartment
on the first floor of an old tenement building.
In appearance, it was a simple flat that was longer than wide,
with a small side kitchen.

On the right was a modest bed.
In the corner was a table
on which he celebrated the traditional rite

as codified by Saint Pius V every morning.

There were many pious images, a pile of "pocket books,"
two chairs
five cats that appeared to be everywhere."
- Fr. Noel BARBARA.

As he only had two chairs, the Archbishop sat on his bed
and Father Barbara sat opposite him.
The room was so small that Father Barthe
had to place his chair behind the Archbishop.

This is the setting for the consecration of the
founder of the Thuc Line bishops.

A cramped "dirty" bedroom,
five cats,
a corner table
...and a telephone.

In 1981 France was not under persecution.
Why were the Episcopal Consecrations not performed even in a hotel room?

The Mass of the Consecration of a Bishop
was twice celebrated up against the window.

There were not three altar cloths
for there was not even one altar cloth.

The dial up telephone was left where it was,
its telephone wire came onto the table;
also a box of matches.
Episcopal Consecration of Bishop des Lauriers.
(Click on the images to make them bigger.)

Ask yourself:
Is this the Sacred Action that was necessary
for the continuation of the Priesthood
and of Apostolic Succession
in the Church?

Episcopal Consecration of Bishops Carmona and Zamora.
(Better view of the telephone.)

Tragic days ~ the story has not ended.

Blessed Pope John XXIII's miracle had taken place
13 years earlier than these lamentable acts.

By that glorious miracle
of God's Right Hand
Sedevacantism is judged wrong
and deadly to souls.

Blessed John XXIII
~quem Deus commendat~
in your stupendous miracle
approved by God,
pray for us
and for the return of all our brethren
who seem lost to Sedevacantism!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Who lies in a silent grave - I

Some traditional Catholics do not want to recognise
that Pope John XXIII was a true Pope
others dismiss his beatification and holiness of life.

I am struck by words often prayed in the Divine Office:
Fratres: Non enim qui seipsum commendat, ille probatus est;
sed quem Deus commendat.
Brethren: For he is not approved who commends himself,
but whom God commends.
(2 Cor. 10:17-18 ).

Blessed Pope John XXIII
has been raised to heavenly glory
in proof of which, through his intercession,
Sister Caterina Capitani was instantly healed
as we have related.

Some would not commend him
God commends him!
Blessed John XXIII
~ quem Deus commendat.
the grave wherein is laid
the body of the
'very wise doctor and priest',
Father Joaquin Saenz y Arriaga,
the Spiritual Father of the Sedevacantist movement
is silent.

During his life many approved him,
lauded his intelligence,
attended his lectures,
acknowledged his leadership above the Pope's,
and saw his actions as vital for the survival of the Church:
But his tomb is silent.

As of yet he has produced no miracle
to prove that his more than 50 books were right.
Brethren: He is not approved who commends himself,
but whom God commends.
(2 Cor. 10:17-18 ).

Fr. Joaquín Sáenz y Arriaga, S.J.
(Oct. 12, 1899 - April 28, 1976).
Doctor of Philosophy, Theology and Canon Law,
international lecturer,
author of over fifty books
"The new Montinian Church",
"Sede Vacante: Paul VI is not a legitimate Pope",
"Vacant See."

He believed and taught that
the claimants to the papacy after Pope Pius XII
were invalid claimants.
As a result of this, in 1972,
he was excommunicated by Cardinal Miranda
and the Roman Catholic bishops' conference of Mexico.

Fr. Sáenz died of cancer on April 28, 1976.
He lies in a silent grave.

Tu es Petrus,
et super hanc petram ædificabo Ecclesiam meam.
(Mt. 16:18)
Hic est lapis,
qui reprobatus est a vobis ædificantibus...
(Act 4:11).
Thou art Peter
and upon this rock I will build my Church.
(Mt. 16:18).
This is the stone
which was rejected by you the builders.
(Act 4:11).

Blessed John XXIII
~quem Deus commendat~
in your stupendous miracle
approved by God,
pray for us!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Divine Mustard Seed

The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard-seed,
which a man took and sowed in his field.
(Gospel of VI after Epiphany.)

I believe that this man
who took the grain of mustard
and who planted it in the earth of his garden
is no other than Joseph of Arimathea,
who took the Body of Jesus and who buried It in his garden,
and who,
in burying It in his garden,
buried It more intimately in his heart.
(St. Ambrose).

The Noble Joseph,
When he had taken down
Thy most pure Body from the tree,
Wrapped it in fine linen,
And anointed it with spices,
And placed it in a new tomb.

This mustard seed comes out of the ground
and raises itself above the other plants;
Jesus Christ rises from the tomb and by His Almighty power
ascends far above the false reasoning of the philosophers
and the glory of the prophets.

The great branches and extended shoots of this high tree
are the Apostles come out from Jesus Christ,
whose preaching has been heard in all the earth.

The birds of the air that find shelter in the branches of this tree
and who nourish themselves on the fruit of this tree
are redeemed souls;
souls detached and elevated
who, supported on the doctrine of the Apostles
nourish themselves with their heavenly doctrine,
where they find life,
and in these branches they find themselves sheltered
from the whirlwinds of temptations.

The Three dispositions to perfection:

The first disposition to perfection is humility.

The first disposition to perfection is humility,
described as the mustard-seed "the least indeed of all seeds"
which keeps its power within itself
while externally showing nothing to make itself attractive:
having externally no smell, taste or perfum that flatters the senses.

The second disposition to perfection is fervour of spirit.

The Divine Fire
The second disposition to perfection is fervour of spirit
which is demonstrated by the mustard seed
that becomes fiery when it is crushed.

Thus the Faith appears to be of little importance to the eyes of the body:
the seed is small, without attractive appearance:
a Man-God humiliated, flagellated, crowned with thorns,
crucified, dead and buried;
as it were crushed;
Whose power and strength was never better demonstrated
than when He was placed under the pressure of persecution and tribulation
to crush and break Him.

It was then that he demonstrated the vigour of His Divine Fire:
when He rose triumphant from the dead
treading beneath His Feet the devils
and by His Death destroying death.

The Third disposition to perfection
is the desire of spiritual fruitfulness.

The branches of the mustard tree which come forth from it,
according to St Ambrose,
signify the Apostles and apostolic men
who have come forth from and who are sent by Jesus Christ,
to draw souls to Himself.

How many great patriarchs, bishops, religious orders and lay faithful,
in the East and in the West,
from the first centuries of the Church until our own time,
have attracted souls to Jesus Christ
and established holy communities
to serve as their refuge, their place of rest
where they are nourished by the savoury doctrine of the Gospel.

Fit arbor, facit ramos magnos,
ita ut volueres coeli veniant, et habitent in ramis ejus,
requiescant, et nidulentur.
-St. Ambrose

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Papa Stronsay from the past

The Old Papay Gallery has been launched on featuring photos from the 1930s which were kindly given to us by Mrs Nan Scott. Any additional photographs or information concerning existing photographs would be gratefully received.

I think that readers will be surprised to learn
that the entire web-site
from start to finish
is the work of members of the
monastery on Papa Stronsay
and not a production
of professional web designers.

I am very impressed with the attention to detail
that has gone into this site:
making a masthead like the one above
reflects taste and talent
and the technical side of producing an e-shop,
drop down menus and videos,
is, in a humble way,
something to be proud of,
and something that I do not want to let pass
without acknowledgment
and a word of thanks.

Over the past months, much to my edification,
I have seen the Brothers
using mere snippets of time
or days of recreation,
to put the site together;
evocative of their Holy Father Saint Alphonsus
who vowed "to never waste a moment of time"
and who exercised himself with zeal
for the apostolate of the pen.

May God's holy Providence use the site
and may all we publish
ever be to God's greater Glory
and for the salvation of souls.

Fr. Michael Mary, F.SS.R.

Monday, February 07, 2011

To "Lost Sheep" contradicting Sedevacantism.

Dear Lost Sheep
Thank you for writing and telling me of your struggles to remain in the Church and of your temptations to return to the Sedevacantist chapel that has brought you so much consolation and stability in the past.

I would like you to read the following. When you do, remember how Our Lord rebuked the Jews because even with miracles they would not accept Him: Jesus answered them: I speak to you, and you believe not: the works that I do in the name of my Father, they give testimony of me. But you do not believe, because you are not of my sheep. (John X, 25) Our Lord does not permit miracles to lead us to false conclusions. Some miracles almost force us to believe. I think of the Shroud of Turin in which, from modern science, we discover miracles that were unseen by previous generations and left for us to discover; it is the same with the tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The following does not compare with these two great miracles but it is an amazing miracle nonetheless, and meant for our time:

The Sede Vacante device used by the Holy See.

In 1962 a young novice, Sister Caterina started having problems with her health several months after having been clothed in the habit. She was 18 years of age. She began to feel a constant intercostal pain between her stomach and heart. Until that time her health had been very good, so she ignored the pain. She thought perhaps she had knocked against a piece of furniture or something. The pain continued for a couple of months, and one night she had a hemorrage that frightened her. She was in her room. She felt like vomiting, ran to the sink and found her mouth full of very red blood. Since they had taught her during nursing school that very red blood came from the chest area, she thought she had contracted consumption; with a sickness like that, her life in the convent was finished.

"The rule of our Congregation," she said, "is for all aspiring religious to be healthy in order to face the sacrifices and work that a hospital requires. If a nun is ill, she is sent home before pronouncing her vows. I had passed the stage of aspirant, the postulant, and a few months prior to this incident I had been clothed in the religious habit, but I still had yet to pronounce my vows. So if my superiors had discovered I was ill with phthisis, they would have been obliged to send me home."

She decided not to say anything to anyone. For several nights she could not sleep, but then, seeing that the hemorrage failed to return and the persistent intercostal pain had disappeared, she thought the danger had passed and took up her normal life again.

Sister Caterina as a young sister.
Nothing happened for seven months. Then suddenly, with no warning symptoms, there was another terrible hemorrage. This was followed, after a few hours, by another, even more abundant hemorrage, which left her drained of all energy. This time the situation could not be hidden.

Her Superiors did not send her away. They tried to help her. There were doctors’ visits, clinical examinations, check-ups. The most celebrated specialists in Naples were consulted on the case: Professors Piroli, Capozzi, Ruggero, Grassi, Doctors Caracciolo, Cannata, Maisano. There were x-rays of the chest and stomach and stratigraphs. No one succeeded in finding the reason for her hemorrages.

In 1964, since the doctors at the Ospedali Riuniti had declared there was no explanation for her illness, the young Sister was transferred to Ascalesi Hospital, under the care of Professor Alfonso D’Avino, director of the otorhinolaryngology department. An esophogascope revealed a hemorralgic area in the chest area. It seemed that all of the sister’s troubles came from there. She was therefore taken to the Pellegrini Hospital, to Professor Giovanni Bile, a famous hematologist, but he, too, was unable to improve the situation.

Sister Caterina said: "They told me that there was another person I could consult: Professor Giuseppe Zannini, director of the Surgical Semeiotics Institute of the University of Naples and a specialist in the surgery of blood vessels: an important international personality in the field of medicine. To obtain a visit with him was not easy, but when he found out what the case was about, he wanted to see me. He immediately took my case to heart..."

After a long examination and minute analysis of all the medical reports of his colleagues, Professor Zannini began a new cure that lasted five months. But the situation never changed, so the Professor decided to operate.

She was hospitalized and underwent an operation which lasted for five hours. The inside of her stomach was completely covered with a strange and rare form of ulcerous tumours, caused, perhaps, by the improper functioning of the pancreas and spleen. The Professor was obliged to remove her stomach, except for a small piece the size of a prune. He also removed the pancreas and spleen. The esophagus was connected directly to the intestine. It was also necessary to cut the aorta making a deviation of the blood circulation. It was a delicate operation and the probabilities for the patient to come out of the operating room alive were quite slim.

Our Lady of Pompei.
Before the operation, Sister Caterina tells us, I had prayed to the Holy Virgin of Pompei, to whom I am very devout. The day after the operation, while I was thanking the Virgin for having come through the operation safely, a Sister from our Congregation told me: "It was Pope John XXIII who saved you. I had placed his image on the bed of the operating room and had continued to pray throughout the operation." She gave me the Pope’s image and told me to place myself under his protection. I admired John XXIII very much, but had never thought of praying to him. I answered: "Thank you for what you have done for me, but I am convinced that it was the Holy Virgin of Pompei who protected me, and I will continue to pray to her. " I placed the image of Pope John on the nightstand, as if it served no purpose for me.

In the days following the surgery, Sister Caterina’s health, instead of improving, continued to worsen. During the first night, the nun had a collapse; after several days, she had an intestinal block. Professor Zannini was very worried, and thought that another operation was necessary. The sisters continued to pray to Pope John and Sister Caterina to the Holy Virgin of Pompei. Nine days after the operation, the nun’s condition suddenly improved.

"Three days later, while I was sipping some liquid, I became cyanotic and lost consciousness." The doctors hurried to provide her with oxygen. "They examined me and found I had pleurisy. I was depressed. You have to pray to Pope John my sisters repeated to me. I was convinced and began to pray to the good Pope. Ten days later I was able to leave the clinic."

The improvement was once again short-lived. Two weeks later, Sister Caterina started to vomit great quantities of gastric fluids. They were so acid that they burnt her skin and the lower part of her face was completely sore. Since she couldn’t hold anything down in her stomach, she was nourished through phleboclysis. Professor Zannini was still very worried. He decided to send her home, to Potenza. Perhaps the air of her home town would help her. But two months later Sister Caterina returned to Naples, in worse condition than when she had left. She looked as if she were already dead.

"On 14 May 1966, following a serious crisis of vomiting, I felt my abdomen and it was completely wet," recounts the religious. "I called a sister to have her look at it: gastric fluids, blood and that little amount of orange juice I had just drunk were flowing out of a hole that had opened on my abdomen. A doctor was called. He said there was a perforation, which had caused an external fistula. There was diffused peritonitis. My fever was very high. The situation was desperate. Professor Zannini was informed, and he had me hospitalized immediately. He ordered some medicines and decided to wait to see how the crisis would devolop, because surgical intervention under those conditions was unthinkable".

"We Daughters of Charity pronounce our vows five years after having donned the habit. The rule provides for exceptions, however, when a young sister is about to die. This was my case. So on the 19th of May, 1966, I pronounced my vows, and I was immediately administered the Extreme Unction.

"On the 22nd of May a sister brought me a relic of Pope John’s from Rome: a piece of the sheet upon which the Pope had died. I placed it on the perforation which had opened on my stomach, and since I was suffering quite a bit, I prayed to the Pope to take me to Heaven. I was slowly dying. I felt that my strength was leaving me. The temperature was very high. A sister guarded the room day and night.

"On 25 May, at around 2.30 in the afternoon, I asked a sister who was guarding the room to close the window a little because the light bothered me. She did so, and then left the room for a few minutes.
"I drifted off to sleep. At a certain point I felt a hand pressing the wound on my stomach and the voice of a man saying: "Sister Caterina, Sister Caterina!" I thought it was Professor Zannini, who came to check on me occasionally. I turned towards the voice, and saw Pope John standing beside my bed: he had the same smile as the image that had been given me. He was the one who was holding his hand on my wound. "You prayed to me very much," he said with a calm voice. "Many people have prayed to me, but especially one. You have really taken this miracle from my heart. But don’t be afraid now, you are healed. Ring the bell, call the sisters who are in the chapel, have them take your temperature and you will see that you will not have even the slightest temperature. Eat whatever you want, as you did before the sickness: I will hold my hand on your wound, and you will be healed. Go to the Professor, have him examine you, have some x-rays done and have it all written down, because these things will be needed someday."

"The vision disappeared, and only then did I begin to realize what had happened. I wondered whether it had been a dream. I was trembling from the emotion and fear. I felt well. I felt no pain, but I didn’t dare call the sisters: they would have thought I was crazy. After several minutes, I had to decide. I did what the Pope had told me to: I rang the bell.

"The sisters hurried to my bedside. They found me sitting up on the bed. They looked at me as if they were dreaming. I could no longer stifle my joy, and I almost shouted: ‘I have been healed. It was Pope John. Measure my fever, you’ll see that I have none’. Mother Superior thought I was delirious, as sometimes happens before death.

"They took my temperature: 36.8 C°. ‘Do you see?’, I said, challenging them. ‘Now give me something to eat because I’m hungry’. I hadn’t been able to hold anything down in my stomach for many months. Mother Superior, who was almost hypnotized by my state of excitement, ordered the sisters to do as I asked. A sister brought me some semolina, which I ate voraciously, to the astonishment of my sisters. Then they brought me an ice cream, and I ate that too. ‘I’m still hungry’, I said. The sister brought me some meatballs, and I ate those, followed by some soup, and I devoured that as well.

At this point, the Mother Superior, who was still not convinced of what was happening, said: ‘Now we have to change you’, thinking that everything I had eaten had gone out of the fistula that had opened on my stomach, which is what always happened. They lay me down on the bed. A nurse brought gauze and a clean nightgown. They uncovered me. The nurse shouted: ‘But there’s nothing here’. The sisters fell on their knees, crying from emotion. Until a few minutes earlier the skin on my stomach had been one big wound: the gastric fluids that continually flowed out of the fistula had corroded the skin. The wound had completely disappeared. There was no sign of the fistula, not a trace: the skin was smooth, clean and white. So I told them what had happened.
"From that day on," concludes Sister Caterina, "I haven’t been ill at all. The doctors examined me, did scores of x-rays. There wasn’t a trace of my illness. The day after the miracle I went back to a normal life. My first lunch was french fries, roast kid, tomatoes and ice cream. I went back to eating anything I wanted. That was 34 years ago: I’m well, I have no problems of digestion, and I work with enthusiasm."

Sister Caterina with the relics of Bl. John XXIII

Sister Caterina was cured on 25 May 1966.

Francis Schuckardt
I tried to find out who was the first Sedevacantist. Unfortunately, according to Wikipedia, it seems to have been Francis Schuckardt of unhappy memory; but even so, Pope John XXIII had visited Sister Caterina five years before this Sedevacantist was ordained a priest and consecrated a bishop in 1971. Others who were better qualified to hold Sedevacantist beliefs came on the scene later.

God's miracle confirming the holiness and pontificate of Pope John XXIII was five to ten years before the Sedevacantist and Sedeprivationist movements began.

The miracle of Sister Caterina is a continuous miracle: she still has no spleen and no pancreas; her stomach is the size of a prune. Since 26 May, 1966, Sister Caterina Capitani lives a "super human" life of hospital work.

Sometimes even the finest arguments are wrong.
They are wrong when God contradicts them by miracle.

The Sedevacantist arguments have been contradicted
by a continuous miracle since 25 May, 1966.

In the matter of the papacy the onmiscient God provided a living affirmation that the true Church continues through the Popes that followed Pope Pius XII. The Church may not be the way we may think it should be; but it is the Church. The Popes may not be the way we think that they should be either; but they are the Popes. And after Pope Pius XII there came Blessed John XXIII. If we doubt this we should meditate on the miracle of Sister Caterina Capitani. But if we deny the miracle we would be like those of old, of whom Our Lord said: I speak to you, and you believe not: the works that I do in the name of my Father, they give testimony of me. But you do not believe, because you are not of my sheep. (John X, 25)

Dear Lost Sheep, look at Sister Caterina Capitani on this Italian link; It may help to look at a walking miracle that contradicts the sedevacantist view.

Persevere along the narrow, often painful road of life in the Church under Peter in 2011. The truth is often difficult to accept; there are many times when we would like to say: "Stop the world I want to get off;" - it is not an option; however bad, we must accept it. The spiritual world is as real as the material world; escaping the Church is not a real option; it would be leaving the spiritual, invisible reality, upon which our eternity depends, for a temporal deadly game of playing house.

Fr. Michael Mary


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