Saturday, December 10, 2011

Father Z - What gives??!!

One of the great things about living in Brooklyn, the most populous borough of New York City (about 3 million of us live in this borough), is easy access to Manhattan. Even though Brooklyn is part of New York City, no one outside of New York (and not many in New York), is much interested in us, but everyone is interested in Manhattan. And many, who would never want to live there, are very interested in visiting Manhattan.

That includes Father John Zuhlsdorf, who has, if not the most popular Catholic blog on the internet, certainly among the most popular. Father Zuholsdorf comes to Manhattan several times a year, and one of the places he always visits is Holy Innocents Church, in the heart of Manhattan, only a few blocks away from Macy's Department Store. Holy Innocents has a daily Traditional Latin Mass (the only daily TLM in this area). In my mind, Holy Innocents is the most important place in all of New York. But that's for another time.

I am a fairly regular reader of Father Z's blog, and I always look forward to his visits to Manhattan because he says the TLM in a beautiful and reverent manner. His blog promotes traditional Catholicism and is very supportive of all things truly Catholic. I don't think it would be out of line to say that Father Z is a "conservative" when it comes to his religious beliefs, and one would think that his political leanings would also be conservative.

So why the heck is Father Z so supportive of Newt Gingrich???? Father Z recently blogged about Newt Gingrich's recent statement that life begins at implantation as opposed to conception, which is in direct contradiction to Catholic Church teaching. Father Z starts out his post by praising Gingrich:
How many times have we heard that presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is smart? I would pay money to watch a debate between Mr. Gingrich and Pres. Obama.
Then, in an attempt to ward off all criticism of Gingrich, Father Z then goes on to warn his readers not to judge and not to be "Donatists."
People can convert, grow, change, mature, etc. We should not be Donatists when it comes to other people’s mistakes in life, as if they are perpetually and irremediably damned to hell forever in the court of public opinion. We pray, after all, that people will sincerely convert. We should be pleased when they do.
Father Z is saying that since the Newtster converted to Catholicism two years ago, we must, without question, accept that this conversion is genuine and complete, and we are obligated to forget about all of the baggage in Gingrich's past. Now, Donatists were an early sect that believed no sinner could ever be forgiven and go to heaven. I think there is a bit of a difference when we are talking about whether someone is qualified for heaven or qualified to be the president of the the United States, but Father Z seems to think they are one and the same.

Father Z admits that there is no way Gingrich could not know church teaching in regard to life beginning at conception, but at this point Father Z injects that the most important issue in the presidential election is the appointment of judges.

Before I add anything else, let me add one of my major points of consideration for my vote in November 2012: judges.
The overriding point about judges is not “Whom would Mr. Gingrich appoint to the bench?”. The overriding point is “Pres. Obama must be defeated so that he cannot appoint another judge.” If the President’s opponent is, as Mark Levin puts it, a frozen orange juice can, the judges the can would appoint would be better.
I’m just sayin’…
I'm not really sure what this has to do with the issue at hand, which is Gingrich's apparent rejection of Church teaching. Is Father Z saying that we should forget about Gingrich's faults because he says he won't appoint the same judges as Obama (and do we really know that for sure)? Are the "right" judges the answer to the problems in the United States, or does it go much deeper than that? I'm just sayin'...

Father Z ends this post by pleading with Gingrich to clarify:
Mr. Speaker, you are obviously a great fan of Pope John Paul II. In a conversation with him, how do you think the late Pope would respond to your statement about implantation? Would you need to clarify what you really meant to say?
My question is, how do we know that Gingrich didn't say exactly what he meant?  Three days later Father Z got his clarification from Mr. Gingrich, who completely changed his position (who would ever think a politician could ever do that?) and said that he now believes that life begins at conception. Father Z did not post any comments of his own, but highlighted the quotes from Mr. Gingrich saying the things that Father Z wanted to hear, and which presumably gave Father Z the clarification and peace of mind he wanted. The bolded comments were originally bolded in Father Z's post. 
In a new statement the Gingrich campaign sent to over the weekend, the former House Speaker says repeatedly that he believes life begins at conception, that he is pro-life and that he would implement a pro-life agenda immediately after being sown in as president if he becomes the GOP nominee and defeats pro-abortion President Barack Obama.

“As I have stated many times throughout the course of my public life, I believe that human life begins at conception,” Gingrich said in the statement. “I believe that every unborn life is precious, no matter how conceived. I also believe that we should work for the day when there will be no abortions for any reason, and that every unborn child will be welcomed into life and protected by law.”
So Father Z is now satisfied, and thinks all the rest of us should be as well, and if we aren't, well, we're all just Donatists. This is the comment that I posted along with his comments (in red) to it:
Brooklyn says:5 December 2011 at 1:21 pm

I have a very hard time believing anything from a person who cheated on his first two wives, had 84 ethics charges against him and sanctioned $300,000 when he was in the House, and is a 33rd degree Mason. [?!? Proof?] I know he is a recent convert to Catholicism, but I have never heard him renounce masonry. I will always picture him sitting on the couch with Nancy Pelosi and telling us we have to fight climate change. [You sound rather like a Donatist.]
As far as being pro life, I don’t ever remember him trying to do anything about this during his political career. [I guess you didn't actually use any of the links in the top entry.]
Buyer beware.
So I'm a Donatist because I don't like the fact that Gingrich agreed with Nancy Pelosi about climate change? And the links Father Z alludes to are all about what Gingrich says he will do if elected, nothing about what he has actually done.

Another poster answered Father Z:
BT says:5 December 2011 at 7:53 pm

[You sound rather like a Donatist.]

To be fair, Fr. Z, I think a kind of “Donatism” is a perfectly healthy attitude concerning politicians, since they don’t possess any state such that their works will be successful ex opere operato. Indeed, a politician needs the moral virtues in order to govern well. I don’t think it’s imprudent, on the one hand, to be quite hopeful as regards the sincerity and depth of Mr. Gingrich’s conversion, while on the other hand to be less than enthusiastic about giving a man with such a history the power associated with the office of the Presidency.
I also tried to answer Father Z, but he had put me on his spam list and when I posted my comment, it was labeled "awaiting moderation", and as I suspected, was completely deleted. But I saved it before Father Z deleted it, and so I'm going to post it here:
Brooklyn says:
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
6 December 2011 at 12:02 pm

Father Z – I have learned never to trust the words of any politician, but to look at what they actually do. Newt Gingrich has actually worked against pro life causes in his past. In 1989, he sponsored a bill with Nancy Pelosi called The Global Warming Prevention Act of 1989. Here is the link to an article about it:

Here are some excerpts from that article:

The Global Warming Prevention Act was introduced on February 22, 1989. Pelosi signed on immediately, but Gingrich didn’t add his name until June 15. So he and his staff had plenty of time to read it. At the time Gingrich was House Minority Whip.

Aside from Pelosi, other radical abortion proponents co-sponsoring the Act included Barbara Boxer, John Conyers, Barney Frank, Chuck Schumer, Chris Shays, Louise Slaughter, and Olympia Snowe.

Only one other notable Republican pro-lifer, Duncan Hunter, was on the list. (Bob Smith withdrew his support.)

The relevant portion of the Act is Title XI. World Population Growth, Sections 1101-1103. As TPM synopsized, this bill “would have made controlling the growth of the world population a goal of the U.S. government and given the UN a chance to do something about it.”

Mexico City policy overturned

The Global Warming Act gutted the Mexico City policy, which President Reagan had enacted in 1984 to block U.S. funding from going to international groups that refer for or commit abortions (and still in force at this time with GHW Bush at the helm). This, of course, included Planned Parenthood International. Section 1102(c)(2) of the Act states: 
No restrictions may be placed on the use of these funds which would be inconsistent with the United States constitutional rights of privacy, regardless of whether such funds are used to provide such services abroad, to support international efforts, or any other use. 
Billions given to Planned Parenthood and UNFPA

With the Mexico City policy out of the way, the Act appropriated $2.7 billion over five years to family planning groups like Planned Parenthood, of which $300 million went to the United Nations Population Fund, an organization the Bush administration defunded in 2005 after concluding UNFPA helps China with coercive abortions and sterilizations.

International abortions funded

It also appears the Global Warming Act overturned the Helms amendment, which bans U.S. foreign assistance funds from being used to pay for abortions. Section 1102(a) and (c)(1) state: 
POLICY- It is the policy of the United States that family planning services should be made available to all persons requesting them….

LIMITATIONS- None of the funds authorized by this section may be used to pay for the performance of involuntary sterilization or abortion or to coerce any person to accept family planning. 
I guess we can thank Newt that Obama has been able to fund abortion throughout the world.

As far as accusations of Newt’s ties to freemasonry, none of the “proofs” I can give you would be from websites that you would consider credible, I am sure. So I won’t go there. But there does seem to be a tremendous amount of smoke in regard to this issue. Here is the article alluded to in someone’s earlier post about Newt having to deny his association with Freemasonry and the Bohemian Grove. He does admit to being a being a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, which many people believe is a Masonic organization. And as you will see, he denies his association with the Bohemian Grove, even though his name is listed with them.

Someone also posted here that there is no such thing as a 33rd degree Mason. Here is an excerpt from a book written by a former 33rd Degree Mason.

As far as calling me a Donatist, is it wrong to question lapses in moral judgment in people? Newt Gingrich is married to his third wife, a women with whom he had an affair of several years before leaving his second wife. He has shown many lapses in moral judgment both in his private life and public life. I wanted to be sure what you mean by this term, so I looked it up. From Wikipedia: “Like the Novatianist schism of the previous century,[3] the Donatists were rigorists, holding that the church must be a church of “saints,” not “sinners,” and that sacraments, such as baptism, administered by traditores were invalid.”

Do you think that by questioning someone’s checkered background when he wants to be the leader of America that I am guilty of Donatism? I’m certainly not saying he can’t be a Catholic, but I don’t like the idea of someone who could not be trusted in marriage to not one but two women, to be my president. How does that make me a Donatist?

I have the highest respect for you Father Z, and I love your blog. But I think you’re making a big mistake by overlooking such important issues. In my opinion, which admittedly counts for nothing, I don’t think Gingrich is any better than Obama.
I have posted a video below that goes into Gingrich's background and record. I'm sure many people will denounce this video because it is from the John Birch Society. But I would challenge anyone to denounce the facts that are given in these videos. I personally find Newt Gingrich to be a very scary person. I hope his conversion to Catholicism is for real, but so far, he has done far too many things that would seem to belie that fact.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Readings from Traditional Breviary for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Below is a whole lot of reading that I have posted.  These are all readings from the Traditional Breviary for December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  I have highlighted statements from these readings that I found especially enlightening about the nature and work of our Blessed Mother.  She is such a wonderful gift, one of our greatest defenses against Satan and all his works of evil.  She is the best advocate we have between us and her Son. I once heard Mary compared to Esther in the Bible, who was made queen of Babylon, and who intereceded on behalf of her Jewish people and saved them from complete destruction.   We will never know in this lifetime how often Mary has interceded on our behalf and saved us from what would have been a just punishment. 

The Lesson is taken from a Sermon by St. Jerome the Priest

Who and what was the blessed and glorious ever-Virgin Mary, hath been revealed by God by the message of an Angel, in these words : Hail, thou that art full of grace, the Lord is with thee : blessed art thou among women. It was fitting that a fulness of grace should be poured into that Virgin who hath given to God glory and to man a Saviour, who hath brought peace to earth, who hath given faith to the Gentiles, who hath killed sin, who hath given law to life, who hath made the crooked ways straight. Verily, she is full of grace. [Mary became part of Christ's redemptive work when she said yes to the Holy Spirit] To others grace cometh measure by measure ; in Mary grace dwelleth at once in all fulness. Verily, she is full of grace. We believe that the holy Fathers and Prophets had grace ; but they were not full of grace. But into Mary came a fulness of all the grace which is in Christ, albeit otherwise than as it is in him. Therefore is it said : Blessed art thou among women, that is, Blessed art thou above all women. The fulness of blessing in Mary utterly neutralized in her any effects of the curse of Eve. In her praise Solomon writeth in the Song of Songs, Rise up, my dove, my fair one, for the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. And again, Come from Lebanon, my Spouse, come, thou shalt be crowned.

Not unjustly then is she bidden to come from Lebanon, for Lebanon is so named on account of its stainless and glistening whiteness. The earthly Lebanon is white with snow, but the lonely heights of Mary's holiness are white with purity and grace, brilliantly fair, whiter far than snow, sparkling with the gifts of the Holy Ghost―she is undefiled like a dove, all clean, all upright, full of grace and truth. She is full of mercy, and of the righteousness that hath looked down from heaven, and therefore is she without stain because in her hath never been any corruption. She hath compassed a man in her womb, saith holy Jeremiah, but she conceived not by the will of fallen man. The Lord, saith the Prophet, hath created a new thing in the earth : a woman shall compass a man. Verily, it is a new thing. Verily, it was a new work of power, greater than all other works, when God, whom the world cannot bear, and whom no man shall see and live, entered the lodging of her womb, breaking not the blissful cloister of her virgin flesh. And in her body he was borne, the Infinite inclosed within her womb. And from her womb he came forth, so that it was fulfilled which was spoken of the Prophet Ezekiel, saying : This gate shall be shut, it shall not be opened, and no man shall enter in by it ; because the Lord, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be shut. Hence also in the Song of Songs it is said of her, A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse, a garden enclosed, a fountain sealed, thy perfumes are a garden of delights. Verily a garden of delights, filled with the perfumes of all flowers, rich with the sweet savour of grace. And the most holy Virgin herself is a garden enclosed, whereinto sin and Satan have never entered to sully the blossoms, a fountain sealed, sealed with the seal of the Trinity.  [Satan hates Mary above all of God's creation because he never had any power over her in any way, and this makes her one of our greatest spiritual defenses against Satan]

The Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Today, December 8, is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.  This day marks the conception of Mary, the Mother of God and our Blessed Mother, given to us to be our Mother by Christ himself as he hung dying on the cross. 

From Wikipedia:
"The proclaimed Roman Catholic dogma states "that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin".[1] Being always free from original sin, she was from the start filled with the sanctifying grace that would normally come with baptism after birth. Although widely-held since at least Late Antiquity, the doctrine was not formally proclaimed until Pope Pius IX did so in 1854 in Ineffabilis Deus."
Four years later, in 1858, our Blessed Mother appeared to a young but poor and illiterate girl named Bernadette who lived in Lourdes, France.  When Bernadette asked her name, Mary answered "I am the Immaculate Conception", thus confirming the proclamation by Pope Pius IX.

Celebrate this day with great joy.  Mary is the greatest of all of God's creation, greater than all of the rest of creation combined because she was created in perfection, without sin or spot.  Mary's will is completely at one with the will of the Trinity. St. Louis Marie de Montfort explained in "True Devotion To Mary" exactly why it was so necessary that Mary be conceived without sin:

Mary alone was given the most sublime grace that God could give to any mere human creature. Because God chose her to be the mother of his only begotten Son, the Eternal Word at time of his Incarnation, God infused her soul with every grace possible. She required every grace imaginable to be a worthy vessel to conceive, to sustain, and to bear within her body the Eternal Son of God in the divine person of Jesus Christ. The primary reason for of the creation of the whole universe itself, began within the womb of Mary. "All things were created for him." (Col. 1:16) Through Mary, and in Mary, God accomplished the greatest, most sublime work of his entire creation. The greatest work of God came into existence in Jesus Christ himself. Christ alone glorifies, and loves, almighty God to the greatest extent possible for any created being.
The most direct way to Christ is through our Blessed Mother.  Her will is and has always been completely at one with the Trinity, she who is the daughter of the Father, the spouse of the Holy Spirit, and the mother of Jesus.  As St. Louis de Montfort wote:

The Church says of Mary: "You alone have destroyed every heresy in the whole world." This means that when souls fully accept Mary as their own mother, and as the Mother of Grace, and as the Mother of the Church, every other heresy which may have contaminated their souls is destroyed.

Below is a video which goes into further explanation of this most beautiful feast day.

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