The other day Damian Thompson published a candid history of the Catholic blogosphere, which covers its heyday during the reign of Benedict XVI to its subsequent decline in recent years. Thompson knows a lot about this since he was on the ground floor of the Catholic digital information explosion, having been the writer for the very popular and hard-hitting blog, Holy Smoke.
As noted here before, the information democracy of the Internet has largely served the interests of the more conservative minded, both within the Church and in the secular world, because the mainstream media (secular and Catholic) has long been dominated by the left. Thompson acknowledges this, and accurately situates the new informational freedom in the context of Benedict XVI’s reform of the reform. With papal power behind doctrinal and liturgical reform as well as unrestricted access to the public through the blogosphere, a large sector of the Church, formerly marginalized, now had an opportunity to further what they saw as the true Church’s agenda. (more…)
Some say that J. R. R. Tolkien is a black-and-white thinker who just pits the force of good against that of evil. However, his characters prove how Tolkien’s writing does not fall readily into such simple categories. The Istari (also known as wizards), for instance, reveal that things are no so black-and-white. Tolkien’s wizards illustrate how one may do evil even with the best of intentions, when one is seduced by the temptation to use an evil means to a good end.
The art of living is not always simple. The circumstances of life do not make it all that easy to live up to noble standards. To do so is a true art, because in moral life, just as in art, one eventually has to formulate a solution where none has existed before. Indeed, this line between good and evil at times can be highly ambiguous, and it is often very difficult to make clear moral choices in complex situations. Our counsels are not always certain. (more…)
Fr. Fidenzio Volpi generously assumed a position of authority within the Institute at the bequest of the Holy Father which he neither asked for or wanted. He did so under extraordinarily difficult circumstances and in the process paid the price by being pilloried in the gauntlet of the Catholic Internet, for the most part by people who did not know him and who knew nothing about the situation with which he was dealing apart from what they read from bloggers with an axe to grind.
I am personally grateful for the sacrifices he selflessly made on behalf of the Church and our Institute. It was a no win situation for him, but he never complained about it. He just continually asked us to do what the Churched asked of us, and gave us an example to follow. He was a good man, and much aligned in the manner of a true follower of Christ.
Please pray for the repose of his soul, and for the good of our Institute. There has already been enough talk and too much sabotage. Now is the time to believe like Catholics and use supernatural means to achieve what can only be a supernatural end, namely, the restoration of unity within our Institute and its perseverance.
Over the past week the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate having been in mourning the loss of Fr. Gabriel Maria Polo, who passed away following a heart attack in Cebu, Philippines. He was forty-three years old, nineteen years in religious vows and twelve years a priest of Jesus Christ.
Fr. Gabriel for a time was a missionary in Anapolis, Brazil and latter was assigned to Stoke On Trent, England. More recently he was the master of postulants and the superior of the formation house in Naga, Philippines.
I came to know Fr. Gabriel while I was assigned to the friary in Cornwall, England. He was a fine friar and priest, kind and joyful, and he was particularly good to me. I am honored to have called him a brother and a friend.
As I understand, he was interred yesterday is Cebu.
Please pray for the repose of his soul and for the consolation of his family.
I include here a video tribute to him, prepared by Fra Didacus as well as some photos from when he was assigned to England provided by Fr. Agnellus.
Now Fr. Gabriel has both hands free.
In my last post, I quoted Fr. Volpi response to the claim that he is no longer able to carry out the function given to him by the Holy See to govern our Institute as the Apostolic Commissioner. He effectively denied it. Since then a further claim has been made that in spite of Fr. Volpi’s attestation to the contrary, “he is unable to carry out, both physically and mentally,” his duties.
The source for this report professes to “confirm” (without providing evidence) that the “Volpi era” is effectively over. So the source pretends to both know and at the same time “respect” Fr. Volpi’s his privacy concerning personal medical status, which certainly is the business of the Capuchins and the Holy See, but not that of a blogger or the general public.
The source is unable and unwilling to prove the assertion, because either 1) it is false, as Fr. Volpi himself claims it is, which is what I believe, or 2) the information was obtained in a way that precisely does not respect Fr. Volpi’s privacy. Thus, the source, driven by his explicit desire to undermine Fr. Vopli’s work, has decided to use information to which he has no right, and still pretends that he is shielding Fr. Volpi’s privacy.
Furthermore, under the circumstances he is compelled to protect his source and assumes that his target audience will give him a pass and believe him, though he provides no evidence and yet proves himself not credible because of his methods.
Still, even if his source has “leaked” to him information to the effect that Fr. Volpi is incapacitated that does not make it true, and there is no reason to believe it is, since runs counter to Fr. Volpi’s own claim and the contrary is asserted gratuitously and discreditably.
But the posts to which I refer are simply addenda to the propaganda campaign waged by the source in question and might as well be attached to this petition to have Fr. Volpi removed. This “breaking story” is not information but manipulation.
I would like to comment directly on one statement made by the source:
Those principles are made clear in our ecclesiastically approved legislation, which we are following, as we have since the beginning. That would include the liturgical. We are observing the liturgical norms the Church has approved for our Institute—again—as we always have. As for the “crumbling” of our Institute, the source, ought not to waste any crocodile tears on the matter because 1) the Institute is not crumbling and 2) because it is disingenuous to complain about a crisis one has intentionally helped to cause.
Why don’t we all attend to our own business, allow the Church to work, and continue to pray.
Comments are closed.
Fr. Volpi thanks everyone for their prayers and wishes to confirm that reports of his death have been greatly exaggerated.
If there ever were a major change in the government of the Institute or any other important news, one should expect to hear it from the Holy See or the Institute itself.
I cannot stress too much what ought by now to be apparent to all, namely, that blogs are not news outlets and bloggers are not disinterested reporters or journalists. When they do “break stories” their work ought to be checked against how self-serving the stories are, and whether or not they are willing to post alternative positions.
Furthermore, just because a web site aggregates the work of many writers does not mean that it is anything more than an aggregated blog. One-sidedness is a dead give away that you have a blog and not a serious news source. Even when scholars and journalist blog, they are, believe it or not, blogging and not performing the work of a scholar or journalist.
All this being said, I still don’t see why so many Catholic bloggers have such a hard time telling the truth, instead of just pushing their agenda.
Comments are closed.
On June 8th and 9th of this year, Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner, FI, will have his lifetime of theological work honored by a large number of scholars in a symposium, entitled: Sursum Actio: Symposium in Honor of Peter Damian Mary Fehlner, FI. The event will be conducted at Notre Dame University. Please click here for more information about the speakers and venue.
Father Peter is a native of Dolgeville, New York. He was ordained in Rome in 1957, and received his Doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Seraphicum in Rome in 1959. For over 40 years he has taught dogmatic theology in various seminaries and university faculties. He has written and lectured extensively, especially on things Marian and Franciscan, in North America and Europe; for five years, he was editor of the magazine Miles Immaculatae founded by Saint Maximilian Kolbe and has been featured on EWTN. He was a past member of the general council of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate and was the first rector of the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in LaCrosse, Wisconsin where he continues to reside and work.
Most recently Fr. Peter has been accorded the prestigious Cardinal John J. Wright Award of the Mariological Society of America for his outstanding contributions to Mariology. Past honorees include, Juniper B. Carol, O.F.M., William G. Most, Edward D. O’Connor, C.S.C., and Luigi Gambero.
At the symposium, I will be reading a minor paper entitled: “‘In the Counsels of the Immaculate': Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner’s Contribution to the Renewal of Franciscan Immaculatism.”
In 1985, when I was investigating the possibility of joining our observance of the Franciscan Conventual tradition (in the light of St. Maximilian Kolbe’s Marian consecration), I was given a copy of one of his essays on the contribution of St. Maximilian to the Franciscan tradition and its relation to St. Francis: “Mary in the Franciscan Tradition: ‘The Virgin Made Church.’” That essay and a meeting with him in Rome right before I visited our mother house were determinative for me. I have always remembered this satement of his:
At the time when our particular observance was in question, Fr. Peter provided the intellectual defense and the Franciscan-Marian metaphysics for St. Maximilian’s establishment of the City of the Immaculate, and the reason why this contribution to the Order was a true and permanently valid gift from the Immaculate. Fr. Peter’s own personal commitment to this ideal has been an inspiration for many of us.
I can never be grateful enough to Fr. Peter, who through the years has been a source of inspiration, strength and enlightenment to me to persevere in this Franciscan vocation. I know he has influenced and inspired many other friars, priests, religious and laypeople. I am very thankful that the importance of his work is being acknowledged in this way. Hopefully, it will inspire others to learn from this great Marian scholar.
Report: outbreak of debilitated judgment, commonly diagnosed as Missing Conclusion Syndrome, frequently occurring in Catholic journalists, but more often in clerics and academics. Also known as the “Do Not Judge” fallacy. Reduced to its elemental components it looks something like this:
Watching pornography is a mortal sin.
But, 50 Shades of gray is pornography.
Therefore, it depends on stuff; maybe if you have a bad intention; just be careful.
Response: avoid exposure and do the math.
A blessed Easter to all. I remembered all my readers this evening at the Easter Vigil at St. Mary Majors.
This is a repost from several years ago.
Crucem Sanctam subiit
A military chant from the Knights Templars (the real ones) in honor of the Resurrection and Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem
This Easter anthem is the work of the Knights Templar who were closely associated with the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. I call it an “anthem” because it truly has a military ring. The “Alleluia” refrain sounds like it could just as likely come from a column of mounted knights as from a choir of monks. Of course, the Templars were both.
Each one of the verses begins: “Christ is risen . . .” and then identifies the effects of the Resurrection on the Lord as well as on us: His rejection is His victory; He will die no more; His Blood has bought the fruit of Easter for us.
He who bore the weapon of the Cross and went into battle in order to liberate His people, has destroyed the very gates of death and hell by his sacrificial death. When the battle is over and the smoke clears there is silence over the whole earth—an apocalyptic silence that might be misconstrued for the end of all things. But it is exactly the opposite. After a moment, from the smoke and ashes the One who is called Faithful and True in a garment sprinkled with His own blood rides forth on a white horse (Rev 19:11). His word is as a sword that forever separates the light from the darkness and his livery proclaims His identity: He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords (16).
The faith of the Templars led them to face death for the sake of Christ, the Holy Sepulcher and for the People of God who travelled to the holy places. We talk a great deal about a “Resurrection Faith.” Sometimes what we mean is too fluffy to be real. To live in the light of the Resurrection is to face death with one’s face set like flint, and to do so in joy and hope (cf. Is 30:7).
Several years ago, shortly before Easter, I had the blessing of celebrating Mass inside the tomb of Our Lord and then of spending the whole night locked in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher with other pilgrims. We were able to spend as much time as we wanted praying inside the tomb. I was kneeling at Ground Zero. The tomb is dead center in the charola of the Church, the rotunda that marks the center of the world. All Templar churches were modeled after the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, with round sanctuaries and an altar in the middle, to commemorate the miracle of the Resurrection. All roads lead to Jerusalem.
Inside the enclosed space of the tomb is another hidden space, like a Holy Grail. There is an icon of Our Lady on the marble wall of the tomb that just looks like it is hung there. But it is actually a door that reveals the rock wall of the original tomb. The stone is worn away polished from the uncounted pilgrims who touched and kissed it.
In the icon, Our Lady holds the Holy Grail. Actually, what is depicted is a ciborium. Grail means “dish” and the legends regarding the Holy Grail vary as to whether the object was a cup or a dish. In any case, the Eucharistic and Marian significance remains the same.
These are enclosed spaces within spaces—places of worship, sanctuaries in which we find meaning, refuge, hope and ultimate victory. Like concentric circles, these spaces lead us deeper within the mystery of faith in order to be liberated and break out from the narrowness the ego. We go in to get out.
He was girded with power. And so are we. This is the Easter proclamation of “Alleluia! Praise the Lord!” The chant of the Templars sets the cadence to our march forward toward the light of the new dawn and to eternity. But we do not need to go on pilgrimage to Jerusalem in order to benefit from the Resurrection, though I cannot recommend making such a pilgrimage enough. Our altars and sanctuaries, our sacred vessels, indeed, the very bodies of those who have become temples of the Holy Spirit, all lead us to Jerusalem. Our love for all that is true, good and beautiful, preeminently represented by the Resurrected body of Christ made present in the Eucharist and by the Immaculate and pierced Heart of the Coredemptrix, anchors us to Ground Zero. The power that singed our Lord’s image onto the shroud at the moment of His resurrection burst outwards like a shock wave that continues to reverberate through time and space. May we be singed with the image of Christ by the same Easter sunburst.
I think he overlooks a few of the complexities, but agree with him on the three points as to why reunion was not going to happen. It seems Pope Benedict counted on an outpouring of grace through the lifting of the excommunications and the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum. As Universal Shepherd he did his job.
Over the last year or so I have been receiving regular emails from adjuncts of thewarningsecondcoming.com, the front for the self-styled seer, Maria Divine Mercy. I assume the messages I am receiving are from robots, since I never get a response to my pleas to stop sending me emails.
I believe the phenomenon of the virtual visionary is another symptom of the sickness of the Catholic Internet. There are always those who will be easily duped by scams. All an unscrupulous chiseler has to do is promise something too good to be true, or propose an arch-villain to explain every woe, or fix a doomsday on the calendar, and those who suffer will empty their pockets to have their empty cup filled with snake oil.
But this. This is almost too much to believe except that I have learned not to be surprised by anything. We are largely blind to the fact the increase in the amount of information we have access to only requires us to have new much larger sewers and leach fields installed to process all the discharge.
Anyone can play peekaboo gossip on the Internet and win a virtual crown of laurel for their anonymous heroism because this is the new information age in which the downtrodden now have a voice and can hide at the same time from Big Brother. But this? (more…)