Monthly Archives: November 2017

EWTN Choir: “Cantate Domino” at Offertory

Today is the Feast of St. Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr, and patron saint of church music.

If you watch EWTN’s Mass today, the small choir (five men, seven women) is doing some very lovely stuff. I don’t know which “Cantate Domino” they did, but it was very nice.

A lot of the great choral music repertoire for Mass is really not all that complicated or long. It is really good to hear EWTN setting a good example for what church music can be.

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Pope Zachary Said, That St. Boniface Said, That St. Virgilius Said, That….

Excerpt from Pope Zachary, Epistola 11, to Archbishop Boniface.

Migne, SL 89, 945-947.

….Meanwhile, Your Brotherly Reverence writes that you have learned of a certain priest of Irish birth, Samson by name, who, wandering from the way of truth, is saying and affirming that one can make a Catholic Christian by imposition of an episcopal hand, without mystic invocation or the laver of regeneration. But he who says this is empty of the Holy Spirit and foreign to the grace of Christ, and should be thrown out of the sacerdotal fellowship. For who can be Catholic without being baptized in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, according to the Lord’s command, and who can so be consecrated through the imposition of a hand? Expel this man, and any such men preaching condemned things to the holy Church of God.

And if one holds a doubt that those men who were baptized by heretics, may not have been baptized in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, inquire into the truth of the matter. If they were baptized wrongly by sacerdotes and this is without doubt, according to the mandate handed down to you from Our predecessor of good memory, Pope Gregory, and the sacred canons, do not omit to complete the baptism, lest they perish forever; but let them be saved by a better evangelical consecration.

[More stuff about the Frankish bishops and saying hello to them.]

But greet them all in turn, my dearest, with the kiss of Christ’s peace, because We have sent letters with Our love and thanks to those doing apostolic work.

On the other hand, it has also been intimated by Your Fraternal Holiness that this Virgilius — and We do not know if he is to be called a priest! — has acted wickedly against you in this way: that he has confused you by wandering himself away from Catholic doctrine; inserting himself with Odilo, Duke of Bavaria, so that he could seed hatred between him and you, affirming that, freed up by Us, he alone would obtain a diocese, and be quit of those four bishops which your fraternity had ordained over there; which never was true, because iniquity lied to him.

But concerning his perverse and iniquitous doctrine, which he has spoken about, against God and his own soul. If it should be made clear that he has confessed to such things — that there may be another world and other humans under the earth, or [another] sun and moon — these things — after holding council, drive him from the Church, deprived of the honor of a sacerdote.

And also, We have sent summoning letters to the aforesaid Duke, writing him that he should present himself to Us, and a strict investigation is required; if he should be found straying, he will be condemned by canonical sanctions. For he sows painful things; they reap themselves. And as it is written, “For perverse thoughts separate us from God, but his proven power reproves the unwise.” (Wis. 1:3)

But concerning the abovewritten Samson, and the priest Virgil, We have examined what Your Holiness has written. We wrote them indeed, as was proper, warning them; for trust is granted more to Your Brotherhood than to them.

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Messing with the Blessed EVEN MORE

Yup, there’s quotes from the Quran on an obelisk in the middle of the Creation Garden courtyard, in the Solanus Casey Center. Just a few yards away from the holy tomb of a man who lived his life for Christ.

I’m sure that all the Chaldean Catholics who fled Muslim oppression in Iraq are soooo happy to see this act of officiousness — commissioning and showing an artwork of somebody else’s religious literature — greeting them at a Catholic holy place. The Creation Garden is supposed to include symbols of all the natural creatures referenced in St. Francis’ “Canticle of the Sun.” So there is a whole array of harmless semi-decorative modern art. The Quran thing is the only offensive and blasphemous part. Nobody at the Center seems to know which verses are even quoted, which makes it even stupider.

Quran obelisk picture one.

Picture two.

Picture three.

Picture four.

Picture of the top of the obelisk, from the artist’s website.

There are some verses in the Quran which sort of copy Genesis, but claim that all things were created out of water instead of out of nothing. (I guess by a misinterpretation of “without form and void.”) There are others which say that people will be raised from the dead as a dead land is raised to life by rain.

If those are the quotes, they would seem okay; but of course, there are a lot of bad theological implications to the Quran which aren’t obvious to the first glance. (Here’s a webpage talking about the context of such verses.) The big one is that all the early Muslim commentators said that things being created out of “water” was a euphemism for “semen” — which goes together with a lot of pagan Middle Eastern creation myths, but is not what Jews and Christians believe at all!

Mostly, though, it’s claiming a communion of religious beliefs with people who aren’t going to feel the same way. To claim that differences don’t matter, when they actually do, is to claim that people’s thoughts and beliefs don’t matter. Having a real community means knowing what other people care about and why, even if you don’t agree.

Anyway, the stated idea is that the water quote obelisk represents both the passage of water in nature, and St. Francis being given free passage through his lands by the Sultan.

It doesn’t represent all the Franciscans who’ve been martyred by Muslims. Here’s a selection of the ones we know about:

The Franciscan Protomartyrs: Berard of Carbio and his companions, Peter, Otho, Accursius, and Adjutus. Martyred in Morocco for preaching the Gospel. They didn’t even know the language, so that is actually all they did. Contemporaries of St. Francis who were personally sent out by him. When St. Francis heard of their beheading by Morocco’s own king, he exclaimed, “At last, now I have true Friars Minor!” St. Anthony of Padua was inspired to join the Franciscans upon seeing the procession carrying home their bodies. Their feastday is January 16.

Nicholas Tavelic and Companions: Deodatus Aribert of Rodez, Peter of Narbonne and Stephen of Cuneo.. They preached the Gospel in the presence of the Qadi of Jerusalem, and were executed for their pains on November 14, 1391. Tavelic was the first canonized Croatian saint.

Blessed Francesco Zirano: Sent by the Pope to North Africa, purely to deliver ransoms for kidnapped and enslaved Christians and those held as hostages. He traveled under the guise of a merchant, but was captured and imprisoned by soldiers after a coup in one of the Muslim kingdoms. Martyred for refusing to convert to Islam, by being flayed alive on January 25, 1603. His skin was then stuffed with straw and put on display. Eventually, an enslaved cousin of his managed to get free, get his remains, and get them home for burial. Beatified on October 12, 2014.

The Servant of God Leonard Melki, Capuchin. A contemporary of Blessed Solanus Casey, martyred in 1915 by soldiers of the Ottoman Empire.

So yeah, tell me again how Muslims let Franciscans walk free and do what they like. Sure.

But yeah, it is really lucky for the idiots behind this, that Blessed Solanus Casey isn’t the smiting kind of Irish saint, or they’d be walking around with their feet turned backwards.

UPDATE: The liberal cruft that has been grafted onto the Solanus Casey Center is really ridiculous. Here’s a story from January describing it:

The center showcases the message of Casey, containing life-size statues of activists from Central America, Japan, America and Detroit, including noted figures like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Archbishop Oscar Romero of San Salvador, Dorothy Day and Dr. Takashi Nagai, a victim of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. Outside in a courtyard are pieces of art depicting nature’s elements, including a ceramic pillar from a Muslim artist that has verses from the Quran, an African wind chime and a monument to Mother Earth by an American Indian artist from California.

Let’s count this out, shall we?

There’s no problem with having a statue of Blessed Oscar Romero in a Catholic building with a religious context, once he was beatified in 2015. However, it doesn’t sound like this is a new statue. That could easily have been taken as a violation of “de non cultu,” and have prevented him being beatified.

The Servant of God Dorothy Day hasn’t been beatified yet, so “de non cultu” should still be applying to her. She shouldn’t be in there. Same thing with the Servant of God Takashi Nagai. Why do they hate these folks and want to keep them from being raised to the altars?

Obviously, a statue of the Rev. Martin Luther King has to be put in a purely political context in any Catholic building. And if it’s in a political context, why is it sitting next to Bl. Solanus Casey’s tomb? Seriously, these things matter. But compared to the Quran plus phallic symbol (here’s hoping it’s accidental), MLK is hardly a problem. At least he’s Christian.

The Mother Earth metal sculpture is by a gentleman named Johnny Bear Contreras. He’s from the San Diego area. He’s apparently Catholic and Kumeyaay (Native Americans from California), and he’s done some more classically styled pieces that you can see on the Internet. Looks cool.

I have no problems with wind chimes, although I’m sure the wind off the lake can get them going pretty noisily!

The “ceramic pillar” is the work of a local Detroit artist, Dr. Hashim Al Tawil. This is what he has to say about it. Apparently the first set of tiles were broken down by the weather, which nobody took as a hint.

Anyway, Dr. Al Tawil is apparently the only person on the Internet who actually cares enough to keep visible some explanatory materials about the Garden, so I give him props for that!

He says that the pillar’s blue tiles represent the four rivers of Paradise (as found in Genesis, but also mentioned in the Quran in several places). He doesn’t say what the verses on the pillar are. He does reference a specific verse of Surah Muhammad (47:15). The preceding verses talk about how disbelievers are going to Hell, basically.

“Is the description of Paradise, which the righteous are promised, wherein are rivers of water unaltered, rivers of milk the taste of which never changes, rivers of wine delicious to those who drink, and rivers of purified honey, in which they will have from all [kinds of] fruits and forgiveness from their Lord — like [that of] those who abide eternally in the Fire and are given scalding water to drink, that will sever their intestines?”

So that wouldn’t actually be much about water as part of Creation, per se.

I would say that Al Tawil has some nice pieces, but it’s also clear that the relationship between Arabic script and art is important to his entire aesthetic. So if people can’t read his work, they are missing the whole point. This means that his work includes people who may not want it (Chaldeans) and excludes people who laid down the money to buy it (English-speaking people of Detroit, who donated the money to build the center in the first place).

And then on top of that, you have two groups whose religious beliefs are such that one being right must mean that the other is wrong. If you are quoting the Quran as right, you have to believe that Christ was never on the Cross, was not the Son of God, and that Solanus Casey was a nice guy but wasted his life. If you are quoting the Bible as right and worshipping Christ, Muhammad was dead wrong about everything and the Quran is a book of lies or delusions. No man can serve two masters.

The Creation Garden was designed by Michael Callen, of the New York design firm DCMD.

This genius guy has set out an artwork by a Kumeyaay, with the Canticle of the Sun verse written in Dakota. Yes. Well, that’s certainly multicultural… because it’s an entirely different language family! That’s like describing a Russian statue by using a verse in Japanese! These people are so busy messing with Bl. Solanus that they totally mess up everybody!!!!

Other than all that… the garden seems to be very pretty. It’s humans that end up looking stupid.

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Messing with the Blessed

I didn’t want to post this on Sunday, because it would sour the day.

Some people have a compulsion to make the lives of holy people miserable. Holy people make them look bad and feel small. It’s not anything the holy people do; it’s the lack in themselves that these people feel. People who already know they are not perfect are usually able to bathe in the goodness emanating from holy people. That’s why criminals and nogoodniks often are attracted to saints, and sometimes can be influenced into turning their lives around. But people who already think they are better than anyone else, and then are slammed in the face with evidence that they’re not? Oh, they don’t react well. They are often the persecutors of the saints.

So yeah, sometimes it’s the Christopher Hitchens of this world who hate the Mother Teresa’s, because of irreligiousness, and sometimes it’s the Sauls and ardent pagans of the world, because of excessive disagreement and zeal for religion. But a lot of times, it’s the bishops of Rouen, the ones who say they are Christian but aren’t much.

Problem is — the compulsion doesn’t end when saints die. There’s always somebody trying to rip up the memory of the saints, or use and abuse them, or distress those who love them.

So here’s a lovely story from the Detroit Free Press, documenting a learned Capuchin of the order Blessed Solanus Casey spent his life serving. This man has all the advantages that the beatus did not. He’s got degrees out the wahooey. He lives in comfort. He’s got three jobs at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago: Duns Scotus Professor of Spirituality, professor of liturgy and music, and Director of the Ecumenical Doctor of Ministry Program. Trusting his expertise, the Capuchins asked him to help design the Solanus Center housing the beatus’ tomb, and to design and coordinate the Beatification Mass. See what he did with his opportunity to help out. I can hear Mother Angelica rolling over in her grave, all the way down in Alabama.

Opened 15 years ago next to the monastery where Casey stayed, the Solanus Casey Center draws thousands every month who look to Casey for support and healing. Every Wednesday, it has a service for those who seek help for themselves or loved ones suffering from illnesses.

After the beatification, attendance at the center may double as it draws more visitors from outside Michigan…

Edward Foley, a Capuchin friar who is coordinating Saturday’s liturgy and chaired the committee that designed the Solanus Casey Center, said Casey’s simple and prayerful personality will be reflected in the beatification ceremonies.

The center is “elegant, but not flashy,” like the Saturday mass and ceremonies will be.

“We want it to be rich and full, but not presumptuous,” said Foley, who teaches at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. “He was a very simple guy. He answered the door. … We tried to choose music that’s very accessible.”

The services will be in English, Vietnamese, Chaldean, Tagalog, and Spanish, reflecting the multicultural makeup of the Archdiocese of Detroit, which oversees 1.3 million Catholics in southeastern Michigan. The center contains statues and symbols from not only Catholic backgrounds, but African-American, Protestant, Japanese, and Muslim activists or traditions, among others.

There will be no use of the Latin language in the Saturday ceremonies, said Foley, noting that Father Solanus, of Irish descent, “failed his Latin exams.”

As I have pointed out elsewhere, Fr. Solanus didn’t know any Spanish, Vietnamese, Tagalog, or Chaldean. He did know a fair amount of Latin, compared to the average parishioner or priest today, and had many favorite songs and hymns in Latin. He lived and died before Vatican II, so the Ordinary Form was not the Mass he knew. On the other hand, no Irish was used at Mass, either, and the only Irish music at Mass was an instrumental piece written forty years after he kicked the bucket. He played fiddle with great enthusiasm, and there were no violin pieces. He wrote little songs and hymns and religious poems, but none of those were used at Mass.

Father Solanus did have a fairly easygoing attitude toward Protestantism. When he healed a Protestant man’s eyes from total blindness, he just said that the man ought to get more serious about serving God, at least to the extent of attending his Protestant church every Sunday, instead of just when he felt like it. But he certainly wasn’t in favor of promoting Muslim or pagan stuff!

So why would you mess with a dead man, especially when the dead man is doing verifiable, huge miracles, that happen right in your face? What kind of pathetic tantrum do you have to pull, to do evil to a man who never hurt you at all? Wouldn’t it be easier to clean out your own soul, rather than do your best to make a house of prayer to God into a home for untrue abominations?

And couldn’t you just take five minutes to put together a Mass program that is nice and dignified and leads thoughts to Heaven?

Blessed Solanus Casey took the name of St. Francis Solano, who was a great Hispanic musician and composer as well as a great evangelist to the Indians. St. Francis Solano made such beautiful music that it protected him in the howling wilderness, because the wildest and angriest tribes of the Amazon wanted to hear the hearttugging music he made.

Blessed Solanus longed to sing and play like the angels, but the Lord gave him other gifts instead. Why couldn’t you have given a musician’s understanding love to him, and given him a gift in heaven of the kind of music he longed to play on Earth? Heck, if you wanted to be multicultural, why not give a nod to the Mass music of St. Francis Solanus?

Accessible? BS. St. Francis Solano was accessible to people who’d never heard Western music before. Sacred beauty has instant access to the heart and mind of humanity, and is pleasing to God. Deliberately picking “simple” music (that isn’t) is yet another sneer at Blessed Solanus Casey, from yet another superior who can’t stand his own feelings of inferiority.

The good news is that 65,000 friends of Blessed Solanus Casey attended his beatification Mass, and that all of them had the opportunity to go to Confession with the priests of the archdiocese, right there, upstairs in Ford Field. Souls were saved, and thanks were given to God for His goodness. The spitefulness of the world can’t touch the beatus now.

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A New Japanese Rice Strain Bred to Feed Africa

Here’s an interesting NHK news story about a Japanese/African agriculture conference.

Takashi Oritani, a Japanese rice specialist, has spent long years breeding a quick-maturing Japanese strain of “wasei” rice with an African rice, in order to make rice that can finish growing before Africa’s two-month rainy season ends. This rice is designated E111. The news video also shows a taste-test for the rice.

Oritani has also done experimentation with a strain of rice designed for Mongolia, and nicknamed “Chinggis Gold” (after Genghis Khan).

There seem to be a lot of biology and agriculture scientists with the family name “Oritani”.

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“He will not let His beloved see decay”

In preparation for his beatification, and in order to obtain first degree relics for veneration in various places, Blessed Solanus Casey’s remains were exhumed this summer for the second time. (The first time was back in 1987, when he was being made a Venerable, and being transferred from the Capuchin cemetery to a special tomb.)

And it turns out that Blessed Solanus’ body is still one of the incorruptibles. They were even able to have his relatives officially identify him from his face.

Dr. Werner Spitz, a Detroit pathologist who happens to be Jewish, was called upon to act as a medical witness. He said that it was the best-looking 60 year old corpse he’d ever seen!

Incorruptibility serves as a visible sign of God’s love working through a holy person’s body as well as his soul, making him like Christ. Since we believe that our bodies will be resurrected on the last day and made new in Christ, it is a demonstration of the reasons for our hope. It also shows that, if Christ can work through a body to keep it partially or completely undecayed, He can certainly work miracles through bodily relics.

Here’s the amazing story of the miracle worked at Bl. Solanus Casey’s tomb for a Panamanian woman, which got him his beatification. She didn’t go there to pray for herself. But Blessed Solanus insisted on healing her genetic disease anyway! Vocally! And he got it done in an instant!

He is still following a path that’s clear to God, even if not to us!

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Blessed Solanus Casey on Unbaptized Babies

Not long before Bl. Solanus Casey’s death, Gladys Feighan talked to him about her miscarried babies, who died because of her Rh factor, and how sad she was that they died without being baptized.

Bl. Solanus Casey told her:

“That’s not for you to concern yourself about. Just have confidence in our dear Lord’s infinite love.”

Our Lord loves us and has plans for us – plans for good, and not for evil. We should do our best to help babies get baptized; but we should trust Him for whatever goes beyond our power.

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