Daily Archives: March 10, 2011

15 Prayers of St. Bridget


On having a Mother-in-law problem

Scott Hahn likes to say that Protestants have “mother-in-law” issues.

This is perhaps just a rephrasing of a basic thought, but an inspiration came to me on Ash Wednesday that I never thought of in exactly these terms before.

From the one angle, why would Jesus let anyone into Heaven who doesn’t like His Mother?
And, from the other angle, why would anyone want to go to Heaven who doesn’t like Jesus’ Mother? Whether they want to recognize her as Queen or not, she’s definitely there.

What do Protestants think Our Lord will say to them when they get to Heaven after spending a lifetime calling Him a liar?
“What part of ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you’ didn’t you understand?”

It’s kind of like Marge Simpson’s dream of Catholic Heaven versus Protestant Heaven (and Jesus, of course, was in Catholic Heaven in her dream).

We often speak in Pascal’s Wager-type terms of the mere practice of our lives and what it’s going to take to get into Heaven: that if Evangelicals are right, and all I have to do is confess Jesus, I’m covered. However, it’s more than that; it’s about who Jesus *is*.

One of the things converts on _The Journey Home_ consistently say is how they had to become Catholic because that was the best way to know and have a relationship with Jesus.

Because Jesus is real. Jimmy Akin answers the “how do Jews and Muslims worship the same god we do” question by analogy to Batman. Batman and Bruce Wayne are the same guy, but most people don’t know that. If Dick Grayson, or Alfred, or Superman, or James Gordon is talking to him, that person knows he’s talking to both Batman and Bruce Wayne at the same time, regardless of costume. However, if some other person is talking to Batman, he thinks he’s talking just to Batman, and not to Bruce Wayne. Then that same person talking to Bruce Wayne thinks he’s just talking to Bruce Wayne. However, he’s still talking to both Batman and Bruce Wayne; he just doesn’t know it.

I guess that works, but the fact is the person doesn’t know the whole person unless they know he’s both Bruce Wayne and Batman.

The point is that Protestants and Catholics worship Jesus, but the differences in our beliefs are not just differences in praxis or theory–they are differences in Who we think Jesus is, what we understand His personality to be like, etc. We don’t often think in those terms, but the Protestant Jesus runs the gamut from the Vengeful Judge to the Friendly Hippie Dude, and everything in between (Catholic views span the same spectrum, but the difference is that Protestants base their theologies on their “takes” on Jesus).

If the Protestants are right, I’m in for a bit of a surprise when I die-not that I’d be going to Hell, but because Jesus will turn out to have a completely different personality than what I expect Him to have. I’ve been reading the Gospels completely wrong my whole life; His words have a completely different meaning than what I thought, and for that to be true, His tone and everything else would have to be completely different from what I thought.

When it comes down to it, C. S. Lewis is right that our personal judgement, and perhaps Final Judgement, is “God in the Dock”: us judging God. When we see Jesus face to face, can we be ready to meet Him, and are we prepared for the fact that He may turn out to be different than we expect Him to be?

Hour of Mercy: Thirty Days’ Prayer to Mary

Ever glorious and Blessed Mary,
Queen of Virgins, Mother of mercy,
hope and comfort of dejected and desolate souls,
through that sword of sorrow
which pierced thy Heart whilst thine only Son,
Jesus Christ, our Lord,
suffered death and ignominy on the Cross;
through that filial tenderness
and pure love through that filial tenderness
and pure love He had for thee, grieving in thy grief,
while from His Cross He recommended thee
to the care and protection of His beloved Disciple,
St. John, take pity, I beseech thee,
on my poverty and necessities;
have compassion on my anxieties and cares;
assist and comfort me in all my infirmities and miseries.

Thou art the Mother of mercy,
the sweet consolatrix and refuge
of the needy and the orphan,
of the desolate and the afflicted.

Look, therefore, with pity on a miserable,
forlorn child of Eve,
and hear my prayer;
for since, in just punishment of my sins,
I am encompassed with evils
and oppressed with anguish of spirit,
whither can I flee for more secure shelter,

O amiable Mother of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
than to thy maternal protection?
Attend, therefore, I beseech thee,
with pity and compassion to my humble and earnest

I ask it through the infinite mercy of thy dear Son,
– through that love and condescension wherewith
He embraced our nature, when,
in compliance with the divine Will,
thou gavest thy consent, and Whom,
after the expiration of nine months,
thou didst bring forth
from the chaste enclosure of thy womb,
to visit this world
and bless it with his presence.

I ask it through the sores of His virginal Flesh,
caused by the cords and whips
wherewith He was bound and scourged
when stripped of His seamless garment,
for which His executioners afterwards cast lots.

I ask it through the scoffs and ignominies
by which He was insulted,
the false accusations and unjust sentence
by which He was condemned to death,
and which He bore with heavenly patience.

I ask it through His bitter tears and bloody sweat;
His silence and resignation;
His sadness and grief of heart.

I ask it through the Blood
which trickled from His royal and sacred Head,
when struck with His sceptre of a reed,
and pierced with the crown of thorns.

I ask it through the excruciating torments He suffered,
when His hands and feet were fastened
with huge nails to the tree of the cross.

I ask it through His vehement thirst,
and bitter potion of vinegar and gall.

I ask it through His dereliction on the cross,
when He exclaimed:
“My God! my God! why hast Thou forsaken me?”

I ask it through His mercy extended to the good thief,
and through His recommending His precious Soul and Spirit
into the hands of His Eternal Father before He expired.

I ask it through the Blood mixed with water,
which issued from His sacred Side,
when pierced with a lance,
and whence a flood of grace and mercy has flowed to us.

I ask it through His immaculate life,
bitter Passion,
and ignominious death on the cross,
at which nature itself was thrown into convulsions,
by the bursting of rocks,
rending of the veil of the temple,
the earthquake,
and the darkness of the sun and the moon.

I ask it through His descent into hell,
where He comforted the Saints of the Old Law with His
and led captivity captive.

I ask it through His glorious victory over death,
when He arose again to life on the third day,
and through the joy
which His appearance for forty days after gave thee,
His blessed Mother,
His Apostles,
and His Disciples,
when, in thine and their presence,
He miraculously ascended into heaven.

I ask it through the grace of the Holy Ghost,
infused into the hearts of the Disciples,
when He descended upon them in the form of fiery tongues,
and which they were inspired with zeal
for the conversion of the world
when they went forth to preach the Gospel.

I ask it through the awful appearance of thy Son,
at the last dreadful day,
when He shall come to judge the living and the dead,
and the world by fire.

I ask it through the compassion He bore thee in this life,
and the ineffable joy thou didst feel
at Thine Assumption into heaven,
where thou art eternally absorbed
in the sweet contemplation of His divine perfections.

O glorious and ever-blessed Virgin,
comfort the heart of thy suppliant,
by obtaining for me the graces and the favours
which I now most earnestly solicit.

(Here mention your requests)

And as I am persuaded my Divine Saviour honour Thee
as His beloved Mother, to whom He can refuse nothing,
so let me speedily experience
the efficacy of thy powerful intercession,
according to the tenderness of thy maternal affection,
and His filial,
loving Heart,
who mercifully grants the requests and complies
with the desires of those that love and fear Him.

Wherefore, O Most Blessed Virgin,
beside the object of my present petition,
and whatever else I may stand in need of,
obtain for me also of thy dear Son,
our Lord and our God,
a lively faith,
firm hope,
perfect charity,
the contrition of heart,
unfeigned tears of compunction,
sincere confession,
just satisfaction,
abstinence from sin,
love of God and of my neighbour,
contempt of the world,
patience to suffer affronts and ignominies,
nay, even, if necessary,
an opprobrious death itself,
for the love of thy Son,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.
Obtain likewise for me,

O Holy Mother of God,
perseverance in good works,
performance of good resolutions,
mortification of self-will,
a pious conversation through life,
and at my last moment,
strong and sincere repentance
accompanied by such a lively
and attentive presence of mind,
as may enable me to receive
the last Sacraments of the Church worthily,
and to die in thy friendship and favour.

Lastly, obtain, I beseech Thee,
for the souls of my parents,
brethren, relatives,
and benefactors both living and dead,
life everlasting.


The Hour of Mercy: the Chaplet from Catholic Broadband TV

“There Be Dragons”: A Movie about St. Josemaria Escriva

Roland Joffe, the director of _The Mission_, is coming out with a movie about St. Josemaria Escriva during the Spanish Civil War:

Here’s the Wikipedia page.

Let’s get our political terminology down

For many people, political terms are “insults”. Liberals don’t like being identified as liberals. Now, some who are actually socialists don’t like being identified as liberals, and that’s fine, since they’re not liberals. In the conservative movement, “paleocon” and “neocon” are often interpreted or used as insults, even though they were originally coined by those who held those beliefs.

The neoconservatives were a specific group of Reagan-era intellectuals, “Reagan Democrats,” who had once been liberals but didn’t like how the American Left went in the late 60s and the 70s. Further, proving Churchill’s famous statement about being a liberal when you’re young and a conservative when you’re old, the original neocons–men like Michael Novak, Richard John Neuhaus, etc.,–were thinkers who rejected certain of their liberal beliefs from their youth. However, when they became conservatives, they decided to use the federal power to enforce their views, just as liberals do. It was the neocons who convinced Reagan that, rather than abolishing the Department of Education as he’d promised, he should use the Department of Education to promote “standards and accountability” and “values-based education” across the country. Neocons promoted an activist foreign policy more like that of Wilson and Kennedy. Finally, as neocons became the predominent voice of the Republican Party, they pushed not just for overturning _Roe v. Wade_ or passing a Human Life Amendment (we don’t really need one, because we already have one; it’s called the Fourteenth), they instead wanted to pass a federal ban on abortion, starting with a federal ban on partial birth abortion.

Meanwhile, the original people to call themselves “paleoconservatives” were people like Russell Kirk and Patrick Buchanan themselves. They saw how conservatism was turning under Reagan, and they saw their more traditional views going to the “fringe.”

Yet, rather than being terms to define a particular view, these terms are often used as insults. Many people hear or say “paleoconservative” and think “Anti-Semite” or “Fascist.” Many people hear “neo-con” and think “That person calling me a neocon must be a racist.” “Neocon” has been ironically adopted by the Left in recent years to refer to warmongering Republicans, yet somehow they fail to recognize that the point of the term “neocon” is to distinguish anti-war conservatives from pro-war conservatives, and that those who are identified as “neocons” are usually criticized from the Right for being too liberal.

In the late 90s, when he conducted the Crisis Catholic Voter Survey, Deal Hudson sociologically proved that “Catholics” do not form a voting block, but that Catholics’ voting behaviors were associated with Church attendance. Having been around the block a few times, I’d argue that it’s even more nuanced than that. Catholics run the gamut. If you look up “neoconservative” and “paleoconservative”, you’ll find Catholic thinkers identified under both categories (Kirk, Buckley, Sobran and Buchanan, for example, or Neuhaus, M. Novak and Hudson). Oddly enough, both movements are considered “Catholic” movements within conservatism. Then on the left, of course, you’ll find Catholics prominent among all streams of Leftist thought. While many consider Catholicism and Libertarianism incompatible (especially if their view of libertarianism is Randian Objectivism), you’ll find many Catholics who are libertarians–and likely the ingellectual heavyweights of libertarianism. And, sadly, just as you’ll find Catholics who are Communist (Liberation Theologians), you’ll find some Catholics who are Fascists. Therefore, to distinguish categories from name calling, I thought I’d point out the idifferences between these groups on some of the key lines that distinguish the different nuances between movements.

On Abortion
Fascist: Abortion is good, and may sometimes be necessary
Libertarian: Abortion should be up to individuals
Paleoconservative: Abortion should be illegal at the state level
Neoconservative: Abortion should be against federal law
Liberal: Abortion should be up to individuals
“Progressive”/Socialist: Federal government should pay for abortions
Communist: Abortion is good, and may sometimes be necessary

On Foreign Policy
Fascist: People of a nationality should stick together; those of superior races should rule over others
Libertarian: Countries should mind each others’ own business
Paleoconservative: Countries should mind each others’ own business
Neoconservative: We should use global foreign policy to “promote Democracy” and fight various “threats to Democracy”
Liberal: We should use global foreign policy to “promote Democracy” and fight various “threats to Democracy”, and the world should work together as an egalitarian community
“Progressive”/Socialist: The world should work together as an egalitarian community. Ideally, there should be no national boundaries at all.
Communist: There should be no national boundaries at all

On War:
Fascist: War is good.
Libertarian: anti-war
Paleocon: anti-war, except legitimately defensive war
Neocon: defensive war can be broadly defined as a war to overthrow a government on the other side of the world that may theoretically pose a threat to US security. See also, Liberal
Liberal: War to promote democracy is good. See also, paleocon
“Progressive”/Socialist: War is bad, unless it’s the Revolution
Communist: War is bad unless it’s the Revolution

On Education
Fascist: Total government control, top-down. Education should be controlled by the state and teach the state’s view of things.
Libertarian: No public education
Paleocon: Public education should be locally controlled
Neocon: The federal government should be used to control public education with values education, national standards and accountability. We want to make all public schools teach the values that paleocons believe in, but in the most watered down way possible.
Liberal: The federal government should be used to control public education with values education, national standards and accountability. It’s just that we disagree about what values to teach and what standards to promote.
Progressive/Socialist: Federal government should control public education, and teach the most basic civil virtues. Standards are good if no one is made to feel bad about themselves, and if the standards promote our view of history, science, economics and politics.
Communism: Total government control, top-down. Education should be controlled by the state and teach the state’s view of things.

Now, people often balk at applying political terminology to the Church, but it can’t be denied that, especially post-Vatican II, the way Catholics see the Church and the way they see society often run parallel. Catholics who are more progressive politically will be more “progressive” in their view of the Church: they want rock music and women priests, etc. Catholics who are more traditional in their views of religion and morality are going to adopt a more traditional view of society. Indeed, you’ll probably find the greatest diversity of political views among traditional Catholics than other groups in the Church. Among traditionalists, you’re most likely to find monarchists, paleocons, and libertarians. However, there are traditionalists who are old school liberals, and there are sadly some traditionalists who are Fascists, but they’re mostly of the schismatic variety.

But Neocons are interesting, because if any “faction” in the Church best matches up to neoconservatism, it’s the Charismatics: they embrace Vatican II wholeheartedly, even to the point of embracing “the Spirit of Vatican II”. They may respect some aspects of tradition, but Catholics who are politically neocons tend to be as opposed to Summorum Pontificum, Liturgiam Authenticam and the Reform of the Reform as liberals are. When liturgy comes up, Catholics of a more paleocon bent are more likely to prefer GIA and Oregon Catholic Press. They’re more likely to be OK with altar chicks. They may be OK with a little Latin in the Sanctus or Agnus Dei, or a hymn or two. They may even be OK with the Gloria in Latin, but the idea of even saying the Novus Ordo in Latin is anathema to them.

Even beyond liturgy, then come questions of interpretation of Vatican II texts, and the question of which side of continuity one emphasizes in the “Hermeneutic of Continuity”. Neocons sound a lot like liberals when it comes to interpretation of Vatican II–they are willing to drop entire chunks of traditional Catholic teaching if it seems Vatican II “overturned” those teachings. Even while talking “hermeneutic of continuity” they don’t seem too concerned about making it fit, but merely accepting, “Vatican II says what it says, so I don’t have to worry about anything the Church might have said before.”

One Neocon I frequently argue with, for example, holds that Vatican II’s broad teachings on freedom of conscience and the possibility of baptism by desire mean that we don’t have to be concerned about the salvation of Muslims. This person will say, in one breath, that Islam is an evil religion and should be wiped out by military force and then, when confronted with the need to save the souls of the individual Muslims, say, “We are not supposed to judge their individual souls.” So, we can kill them because they’re evil, but we can’t try to convert them because we shouldn’t judge them. OK.