Last post I mentioned my family's drive down to Clear Creek Monastery, located in beautiful eastern Oklahoma. I hope to describe a little better our experience at the Monastery and guest house this time.
Apropos of this blog, today's mail included an unexpected jewel: a DVD from Clear Creek! It looks to be a sort of documentary, although I haven't seen it yet. I'll be watching it this weekend with the family all gathered for Thanksgiving. Notice to fund raising monasteries: give out free cd's and dvd's and you'll ALWAYS get lots of grateful donations! I really enjoyed the chant cd that was first sent us about 6 months back.
Anyway, the Mass and all other formal prayers are held in the crypt. My family went in for Vespers the first day as we had arrived in the afternoon. It is a very simple, slightly dark, cavernous room that is roughly split into thirds: the first third is for laypersons to attend, the second third holds the monks, and the final third has the main altar and further back another altar against the wall at the far end of the room.
After Vespers (and a very wiggly little boy on my lap) we walked outside. I want to say a little something about pro-life attitudes: these monks HAVE it! While my baby was quite often babbling away (he was almost 1 at the time of the trip) and making those baby noises that make parents nervous that everybody is focusing on them. The monks that we talked to were so excited to hold him and give him a ton of attention, naturally. There was nothing put on about it.
There was an evening Rosary lead by the caretaker in another building, and a few laypersons and two nuns (not sure which order they are) joined for our election. After that I returned to the lodge to do some spiritual reading before bed. The place was very quiet, and so dark you could see a lot of stars outside.
As you can tell, I can't really give justice to my visit, but I recommend anyone able to visit does so, and soon. How long will we have the ability to travel like we do now? It's important to support such intensely Catholic places such as Clear Creek.
Those interested in a removed, rural life can look into purchasing land in the area. Everyone has acreage! However, visit the monastery and make some contacts before going through an agent- you may get a much better deal.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Last post I mentioned my family's drive down to Clear Creek Monastery, located in beautiful eastern Oklahoma. I hope to describe a little better our experience at the Monastery and guest house this time.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I recently took my family to Clear Creek Monastery for the first time, and I'd like to narrate a little bit of our experience there. Before I start, I'd like to say the obvious: if you can get there, do it!
We input the address of the monastery into our Tom-Tom device and drove from Illinois to Oklahoma over about three days. We attended a TLM in Des Moines in the crypt of St Anthony church, which felt like a church basement (in fairness, it is a church basement), where Msgr Chiodo said Mass and gave a very good homily on Charity. The church (upstairs) is pretty although a little barn-like. It would be nice to see the Latin Mass in the main church.
From Des Moines we headed to Kansas and visited some friends. After a night there we continued to Tulsa, which has an amazing number of large, old churches in about three square blocks downtown! Mass (OF) was about halfway through at the Catholic church, while the other churches were generally empty and locked (it was Monday).
Well, from there we found our way to the monastery, which we found through the help of St. Christopher and (likely) St. Benedict, as our Tom-Tom's coordinates were not quite right. There are signs posted which I initially ignored, but we found our way there. Clear Creek is in the middle of nowhere. I say that as a compliment, of course, because this is a monastery removed from the world, geographically and spiritually.
Everyone here is very friendly and welcoming. If you are used to a small town atmosphere it will be familiar. We talked to one or two monks initially who pointed us to the guest house where we could freshen up and unpack (contact them via mail before visiting if possible). The guest house is run by a family that lives on the property. They are warm, welcoming people and we felt right at home with them.
Part II will continue soon...
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
The Archbishop visited St Augustine's church in South Saint Paul this Sunday and was present at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form. He also gave a sermon.
There is more at Father Z's blog, including pictures.
I hope the Archbishop returns soon to celebrate Mass. He was offered a spiritual bouquet which included quite a few prayers and Masses to be said for him. Pray for our bishops!
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I have been pretty persistent in my opposition to both political parties in the last year, and I continue to be so. A lot of questions arise in my mind as I sit and try and decide how to vote. But first, an anecdote from my mother in law.
She received a call from some polling company the other day, and after consenting to answer some basic questions (age, sex) she was asked, "Who will you vote for this November, Barack Obama, John McCain, or undecided?"
She answered, "is there another option? I'm not voting for either, and I'm not undecided." The woman on the other end seemed confused by this answer, answered in the negative, and then continued on to the next question. When my mother in law asked what she had put for her answer above, she said nothing. She then asked, "Did you put undecided?" she heard a click and was disconnected.
The pollster had inserted an answer for her. Folks, these public opinion polls are useless when the answers are fixed in such a way. I'm not against polling, but when the evening news scrolls up with 45% Obama, 45% McCain, what kind of scientific study is that? It's garbage, and stinks of the Delphi Method on a mass scale. Nevermind the 5% who want to vote Green party, 5% for Libertarian party, 5% Constitution party and whatever else is out there (I'm not endorsing these people, merely pointing to their existence).
Personally, I'm interested in many things libertarian leaning, although I'm always a Catholic first, so I'm a single issue voter when it comes to abortion. The thing is, I'm not convinced that McCain will stop abortion...although I'm convinced Obama will push for more abortion. That said, I'm actually at a quandary since the picking of Sarah Palin, the pro-life magnet for hateful liberals everywhere, who could actually become Commander in Chief someday. She's brought to the front the fact that many of the liberals in leadership are hateful people, NOT the bleeding hearts they pretend to be. This is good for naive college students to see, and realize that there is more to the Left than their propaganda advertises.
I can't tell you how to vote, but here's what I'd do: I live in an "Obama state", one that will most likely go blue this time around. My vote will go to Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution party. Sadly, a Baptist is a more decent person than most Catholic politicians. If you live in a red state or a highly contested state, you may feel the need to vote for McCain. So be it. If you live in a blue state like California, VOTE THIRD PARTY! Your "wasted" votes for McCain only will perpetuate the destructive two party system that has ruined our values through massive education increases, wars, financial castastrophies, and socialism.
If you vote third party, Constitution Party is good and pro life. I'm not sure about Bob Barr, the Libertarian party, although I think he is pro life. Nader and McGinney are pro-aborts and I don't think anybody should vote for them. I do think they should get the chance to debate and be on the ballot, if we pretend to be an actual democracy here in the U.S.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
This legislation by our Treasury Secretary has some frightening verbiage.
Abortion is always the number one non negotiable issue for Catholics, but we best not forget about things like this, which give our government more power with nary a peep from us good citizens. We cannot ignore when officials work like this to destroy the value of the dollar, making us all poorer (except the well connected elite).
This is not a failure of capitalism, folks, it's a failure of the State. Pray for our politicians.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Here's a good article on Inside Catholic by Jeffrey Tucker, in relation to the markets and the damage that has been done to some of the most corrupt institutions on the planet.
There are a lot of good counterarguments against his analysis, but to those people I offer this: how do you expect an already corrupt government to impose new standards or stricter laws that will not simply further help the sycophantic who are clamoring to be a piece of whatever legislation is put forward? Invariably, it will be created to "help the people"; inevitably, it will fail and help the few and well connected.
Our politicians on both sides of the aisle are most corrupt. They need our prayers, not our votes.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
I've added a link to my favorite sites list. It goes to the new Carmelite Monastery in Wyoming, which celebrates the traditional Carmelite rite of the Mass. They live a cloistered life of prayer, interceding for a world that greatly needs it. From their site:
The Carmelite Monks are men who are consecrated to God through the Vows of Obedience, Chastity, and Poverty. They live a life of prayer, solitude, penance, and strict separation from the world. Their lives are completely dedicated to interceding for the Church and the world. St. Thérèse proclaimed the Carmelite vocation as being "love in the heart of the Church." As the heart circulates blood throughout the whole body, so the Carmelite is called to circulate grace throughout the Church. This is the essential meaning of the vocation of these cloistered monks.
Many of the greatest male monastic orders within the Church have lived strict monastic enclosure, such as the Carthusians, the Camaldolese, the Brigetines and certain reforms within the Benedictine Order. The Church has always upheld these expressions of male monasticism as a higher means to sanctification and as supremely beneficial to her mission in the world.
The Carmelite Monks have a profound love and respect for their monastic enclosure. Indeed, their form of monastic life is challenging and austere. With the exception of extern monks who are allowed to work outside the enclosure wall, the cloistered monks only pass through the gates of the monastery when there is an explicit permission from the Bishop, for medical needs or other serious reasons.
Many people see the cloistered religious life as formidable; however, the monks experience it as an entrance into a spiritual paradise. Many see it as a separation and an imprisonment; the monks see it as a means to union with God and the truest form of freedom. Ultimately, they have a profound conviction that they are the hidden leaven within the Church, empowering her through a life of prayer and sacrifice.
Deep in the hearts of these monks there is a profound loyalty to the Magisterium of the Church. Like their holy parents, St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross, they wish to always remain "loyal sons of the Church." They firmly embrace and accept each and every definition that has been set forth and declared by the unerring Magisterium of the Holy Catholic Church. They will forever remain firmly united to the Holy Father, the Supreme Pontiff and Shepherd of the Church of Jesus Christ, and the Bishops united to him. They are also determined to always remain in loyal obedience to their immediate shepherd, the Bishop of Cheyenne.
The Carmelite Monks adhere to all those principles set forth by the Church that determine and regulate an authentic religious life. As a sign of their consecration to God and the Blessed Virgin Mary, they will at all times wear the religious habit.
The monks are currently trying to raise funds for a 500 acre area in Wyoming that would well suit them for the contemplative life they seek. Donate here if you wish to get involved. And pray for them!
Sunday, July 27, 2008
That depends on whether or not Catholics believe that the Republican party can stop abortion. Now, Catholics must not vote for Obama, who is a pro-abortion politician. That much is obvious to the rank and file Catholic, although somehow there are a good deal of Catholics who feel like ending the war in Iraq is just as important as ending abortion.
To those types, let me point out that Barrack Obama is pro-war in Afghanistan, and has said "all options are on the table" regarding Iran. Obama is not anti-war. He has used an anti Iraq war stance to garner naive liberals into believing he is a peace president.
He is not.
So, back to John McCain III. Is this a man we want in office? Not really. Is the lesser of two evils a legitimate choice?
I'll leave that up to you ultimately. I don't believe the lesser of two evils is a good choice, and I'll explain. The lesser of two evils idea stems because:
1. There are only two real choices (a third party candidate will not miraculously win this election)
2. With Obama and a friendly Congress a ton of junk bills will get passed increasing government power and decreasing liberty in the United States
With regards to the first, I would like to point out that this has been said for decades. It's always the lesser of two evils we vote for in national politics. Every time. The 20th century has been a nonstop pragmatic decision. Each time we get a politician in office who doesn't deliver on their campaign promises, builds big government (yes, even Reagan did), and ultimately makes us worse off.
The less people that vote for the national candidates, the better the chance a third party candidate could make a showing. For example, approximately 60 million people voted for each of the two major party candidates. Getting another 60 million people behind a third party candidate would be an impossible endevour. But the less people who vote for the main two candidates, the more the gap is brought down to make a third party candidate more viable.
The second argument is more sound, although it is entirely possible that a rejection of John McCain and George Bush Big Government Republicans will bring about a grassroots swell of voters in the next Congressional election to bring in new blood. A hostile Congress with Obama in office might work like it did in 1994-and may bring about more sound policies.
In either scenario, abortion will not be stopped. As I have written before, it is praying the Rosary (something I've been remiss in lately) and volunteering in grassroots efforts (something I'm very remiss in) that will help end this horror. The Republican Party is not as powerful as the Catholic Church, and our loyalty is to the latter, not the former.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us
Thursday, July 24, 2008
The following continues a discussion regarding the Pope’s actions and abilities in regards to economics. My reply to the last comment is as follows:
Maybe I was a bit unclear, so I hope I can be clearer this time. I'll address your discussion with Christians momentarily.
Informing Catholics on how to make moral choices is a job of parish priests, bishops, cardinals and popes. The popes do issue plenty of statements, formally and informally, regarding things like economic theory. Papal encyclicals, for instance, have addressed everything from Communism to Birth Control to Economics and everything in between.
These encyclicals are not necessarily considered "infallible", but pastoral in nature as teaching from the Pope. These are to be taken seriously by Catholics although many of the rank and file do not read the encyclicals.
Past popes have discussed the benefits of private property. Look at John Paul II's Centesimus Annus, which discusses the benefits of free markets. If my copy of The Church and the Market, by Thomas Woods, was handy I'd quote some more, but I can't find it. Check out that book if you want to learn more.
As for infallibility, the last time a Pope has declared anything EX CATHEDRA (from the Chair of Peter, as the rabbis who used to sit before teaching did in OT times) was Pope Pius XII, defining the Assumption of Mary.
Jesus Christ did not create the papacy to be a magic eight ball to answer intellectual questions to us: he did so as a physical head of His Church. The Pope is the ultimate arbiter of difficult questions arising from Scripture as well as modern issues that may not have been addressed during Christ’s time on earth (like in vitro fertilization). And being a physical head is a full time job, as so many of Her members are in active or passive resistance of him.
As far as the Christians you know who support horrible things or turn a blind eye to injustices, keep in mind that their actions do not support the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are all imperfect. The teachings, however, remain the same. The Bible has remained intact for almost 1600 years throughout the fall of the Roman Empire, and while some disciplinary things have changed in the Church, the dogmas taught have always remained the same.
If you want to find some Catholic teachers in the past that have used logic and reason, you will find more than you can ever count. However, as a primer I suggest St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Now that I'm in the States again, I've begun attending a beautiful Traditional Latin Mass in Volo that is celebrated by the Canons Regular of St John Cantius.
Feel free to browse the homilies located on their website. I'm sorry, but the pictures do not do the church justice; it is just too beautiful for words.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Apparently, pro "choice" -ers believe only in choices that allow for people to kill their babies. Not freedom of speech for those whose conscience leads them to the pro-life view.
If you are currently pro-choice, and reading this, please take a few minutes to ask yourself if this is the type of activity a free society should tolerate. Are the only points of view worth discussing the ones you agree with?
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
I received an odd piece of junk mail the other day. It offered divine graces and blessings, as well as secret prophecies, and some sort of prayer rug (all inside was paper, no cloth). There was something to open as well that I was not supposed to open until I did something (probably donated money).
There is nothing Christian, or Catholic, about this. If you get something like this in the mail, rip it up and throw it away, and say a prayer for those who get sucked into this scam. Read here for more information.
Catholics care nothing for secret prophecies, and if anyone, priest or layperson, says otherwise, do not associate yourself with that person.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
What does one do when a neighborhood is suddenly faced with a strip club down the street? How do you explain to your small children what the place is?
While I generally believe the argument that Saint Thomas Aquinas makes about keeping brothels legal for the sake of protecting innocent young ladies from overanxious and unscrupulous men (his argument is described here), I think local communities ought to set up laws keeping the places in certain areas of towns (red light districts) IF even allowed at all.
Saint Thomas' argument is not DOGMA, so I would bow to the Church if there is evidence that she teaches otherwise, but mainly, I'm interested in the question of WHAT DOES ONE DO, within the law, to get rid of a place or keep them out?
Friday, April 18, 2008
There is plenty that has already been said on the internet about the dreadful music at the Papal Mass. I, for one, have not heard it, but don't feel the need to either. I'm familiar enough with the junk that is played in many parishes across the U.S. and if this was bad enough to get such a huge reaction from Catholics then I'm better off without hearing it. To paraphrase Jeffrey Tucker, it's really bad when Marty Haugen saves the day.
Just in case you don't quite understand why many Catholics are upset about this, I'm happy to explain. We have almost 2000 years of the Church's existence, and Western Music has been formed by masters who wrote a large amount of their works for the Church and for God. Gregorian Chant, known to far too many young Americans as "kinda like that music from Halo", is probably the holiest sounding music ever created. Any classical piece you find titled "missa" is going to have music for a Mass, and this music was thoughtfully written by geniuses.
There has always been, alongside "high classical" music, songs that were known and sung by the people, folk tunes. Modern folk tunes in the U.S. are called commercials and tv theme songs, but I digress. These folk tunes were enjoyed at home, but never at Mass. The idea was that Mass, where we worship God and celebrate His sacrifice on the cross at Calvary, should have a certain reverence and piety.
That idea is lost on the American bishops who organized this Mass. Instead, the Mass music became a cheesy slogan, an Old Navy or Mentos ad, with BLACK MUSIC! ASIAN MUSIC! AND DON'T FORGET LATINO MUSIC! put in to show off how diverse we are.
When Mass becomes a place we go to show others who WE are, rather than to give glory to God, thanksgiving, satisfaction and repentance, and for graces and blessings, then we forget the nature of Mass and put ourselves in God's place.
It is a shame, but not a surprise, to hear of this circus of a Mass. Let us pray for our bishops and priests, and for the Holy Father. And let's remember what we're attending when we visit our churches on Sunday for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
An interesting article regarding the FED and its hopes to grow even stronger can be found here.
I'll leave it to better authors to explain this, who are more knowledgable, but suffice it to say the FED's interference in the economy is the reason for the housing bubble...and the tech bubble...and all other bubbles since the early 20th century. More regulation and central planning may sound good, but the effects will be disastrous.
Don't vote for congressmen or senators who will give the FED more power. The presidential candidates are essentially the same in this regard, so don't go looking for respite from any of them. Get in touch with a local Ron Paul Meetup group and support pro-life, free-market men and women to local offices. Ignore the presidential hoopla, unless it is viewed for sheer entertainment.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Malachi Martin is a very interesting character in the history of the 20th century Church. He was born in Ireland and became a Jesuit priest in 1954. His books are most often about the Church and are written from a conservative/traditionalist point of view.
Vatican is a historical novel that takes place between 1945 and 1986. The story follows a young priest from Chicago who is sent to Rome for a few years before becoming the archbishop of the Chicago archdiocese. From there the reader is taken into the innermost chambers of the Roman Curia and views popes, cardinals, and bishops from a completely new perspective-inside the Vatican bureaucracy. There are good men, holy men, evil men, traitors, and everything in between. The battle between Catholicism and Communism is examined, as well as the specific evils of the 20th century-mass genocide, slavery, abortion, and the dirty money that finances and grows from these crimes.
I've read Hostage to the Devil already, also by Malachi Martin. He is a man who truly understood good and evil. A thing that strikes me about this book, especially when comparing it to another book written by a priest, The Tremaynes and the Masterful Monk, is the thorough knowledge of the human condition. Both priests truly understand people and how they tick.
Because Vatican takes place in historical settings, many of the characters are people we've seen on television, but with different names. Pope Pius XII is called Papa Profumi, while Pope Paul VI is called Papa Da Brescia. It is good to have Wikipedia handy to know which pope is which in case you are not well versed in 20th century popes (can you name the 20th century presidents?).
A couple of criticisms: the book is very long and begins quite slowly. I set it down numerous times early on and I'm fortunate to have been underway for seven weeks, giving me the time to chip away at it. Especially in the early part of the book, the lists of Italian names can be daunting. An index would have been nice.
It's up to the reader to be cautious when it comes to deciding what is fact and fiction in this book. It is tempting to assume that everything in this book is real. Ultimately, none of us will know what is real and what is fiction until we die, and it is far more important to focus on growing our spiritual life than whether or not secret organizations run everything in some sort of shadow government conspiracy. Fun? Lots! But not practical to the Catholic Faith.
Martin has put together a great novel that will introduce the workings of the Vatican to many happy readers. While slow at times, the book is worth reading, and some divine moments shined through that were beautiful and moving.
Insomnia Effect: *** at the beginning, **** near the end
Thursday, March 27, 2008
From time to time, a book comes along that is far more enjoyable than the other nine books I happen to be reading. This book is viewed as a special treat among good books. Hardly a minute flies by without sitting down to continue reading, often working hard to not plow through the book too quickly. Upon closing, the book is set aside with relish and a warm feeling that goes a little beyond mere sentiment.
The Tremaynes and the Masterful Monk is one of these books. Owen Francis Dudley, an Anglican clergyman who converted to become a Roman Catholic Priest, is the author of this and a few others in the series. I have read all but The Coming of the Monster, which I will save for another day. It was my familiarity with the series that created so much anticipation for this book. I had, in fact, saved it for when I needed a good read and had the time to do it relatively quickly.
The Tremaynes and the Masterful Monk continues the story of Father Anselm, a British monk. Some familiarity with the previous titles will help the reader understand the backstory (and there are spoilers for those beginning with this title), but essentially it is a story about a horrible, evil man named Gordon Tremaynes and his encounter with grace. Mr. Tremaynes is a sadist (when this book was written, the idea of sadism was relatively obscure) who has lived his life exacting very intricate tortures upon others, including his younger brother. This younger brother happens to be acquainted with Brother Anselm, who finds himself tangled in the affairs of this family. The first half of the book is more historical, building a background to demonstrate how evil and remorseless Gordon Tremaynes is. The second half of the book is Brother Anselm working with his family to do something to change him. This is a story of God's grace.
Probably the biggest draw to this book, as well as the whole series, is the character of Brother Anselm. This is a man of God that we all wish we knew. He is a living saint, he is brave, he is good and morally sound in such a way as Americans can hardly imagine. He embodies Catholic teaching and decency. He is beloved by his friends and feared by his enemies. He is a manly priest, a concept foreign to many. If you want your boys to look into a vocation, this is the book you should give them.
I picked this book up while a third of the way through Malachi Martin's Vatican, which got set aside for a few days. It took me less than three days to finish it-I was underway at the time-and it was everything I expected it to be. This is an enjoyable read that will spiritually refresh you as well. I give it my highest recommendation-but start with The Shadow on the Earth and read them in order.
Content: ***** (Brother Anselm smokes cigarettes, but does not appear to be addicted)
Insomnia Effect: *****
Total: ***** This book (and series) belongs in EVERY Catholic's house and should be consulted as the model for the manly priesthood that Jesus Christ instituted.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Politically, the next election looks bleak. Obama looks poised to pull a J.F.K. on McCain this fall, and Obama's pro-life record is abysmal. McCain is a 50/50 guess on the pro-life as he has voted pro-life before, but also supports stem cell research with already created embryos. Also, he generally creeps me out and seems to be even bolder than Bush in what he'll tell people...I can't imagine he would bode well for the international image of the U.S.
Obama's personality cult looks to engulf even President Clinton's if his success continues. Hillary would have been a one term president, I think, while Obama could easily hit two terms. This is scary and will likely result in a steep increase of big government doing big government things. Considering we're already broke, I'm expecting a redux of FDR's programs from the 30's. Gary North has good investment recommendations to hedge for a recession, and I recommend his site for just that.
Anyhow, back to what needs to be done. The USCCB, long known for its backbone (this is my tongue in my cheek), needs to work on creating blocs of Catholic voters who are willing to sit out elections if need be. The Republican Party is not the pro-life party...they are just less pro-choice than the Democrats. Many are choosing to sit out the election this fall, and I understand their choice. I'm unsure yet if I'll vote for McCain or a write in/third party. However, a million people (or many millions) organized under the pro-life banner refusing to vote for a weak pro-life candidate may set the stage for the next election to have some stronger pro-life candidates. Then again, there were plenty of good options for Catholics available: Ron Paul, Alan Keyes, Sam Brownback (great on pro-life, not great on empire, but would have been plenty fine), Mike Huckabee (terrible on many issues but very pro-life). I think at this point even Romney might have done something just to create a legacy for himself...maybe not.
Regardless, the bishops need to get their act together and stop playing the tax avoidance game. They also need to stop saying ridiculous things like the death penalty and racism being intriniscally evil, and make it a one issue decision once again: abortion. I personally hate how our government grows and grows and wastes all of our tax money on stupid wars, but I can live with that. I can't live with abortion. We need to take it down no matter what the cost.
Friday, February 29, 2008
Catholicism has been under attack for quite some time in the U.S., as well as other parts of the world. This is nothing new. Many Catholics have little idea of this, and consider things quite rosy. A good amount of Catholics, however, do know and argue considerably over what to do. I was once the former, now the latter. For me, it was a transition from liberal fallen away Catholic to Traditional Catholic that showed me the light. My lifestyle didn't change overnight; however, I list the following suggestions to Americans who wish to live a "radical" Catholic lifestyle in 2008 and beyond.
1. Pray the rosary, every day. This is not easy, and I have had difficulties with it. Nevertheless, true change begins here.
1.5 Attend Mass more often than weekly, if possible. Find a traditional Latin Mass in your area. (PDF alert)
2. Turn off the television. This might be the hardest, but if Catholics are to begin a serious culture war it MUST be done. Even non-Catholics agree on this. Not only do television shows waste our time, but there is a constant barrage of unChristian material. Grown ups and children alike are vulnerable. Turn off the television.
3. Find like-minded Catholics in your area. You need support. Your children need friends who share their values-you don't want to deny them television at home only to hear they are watching it at a friend's house. You will likely be looked at with pity/sympathy/whatever by worldly people who don't understand you. Make sure you have some friends that do.
4. Pull your children out of public schools. If you can't, begin finding out how you can. This is possible. Homeschooling associations are everywhere and curriculum is getting easier to find. Most so called Catholic schools are not very different from public schools and use the same textbooks. Your children will learn the same liberal junk, but in uniforms and with a prayer (maybe) beforehand.
5. Culture your family through better music (chamber music and choral music) and the arts. Don't let pop culture seep back into your house.
6. Love thy neighbor. Don't look down at everyone for not being like you. Be charitable, and do your best to help others find better ways to live. But, this is last, as your family is the most important. Basically, be a good role model.
If you can do three of these, you're on your way. Start a fourth. If you're already doing more than 5, you're in a great situation, and way to be a model Catholic! If you are at zero or one, it's time to start praying and looking at what truly matters in life: God, or mammon.
Friday, January 4, 2008
My wife and I donated some money to Ron Paul this fall and decided if we could tighten our budget enough for him, we sure could do it for some Catholic charities this year. Here's a list of some we've looked at so far:
Clear Creek Monastery. This traditional Benedictine monastery sent us a cd of Gregorian Chant as an advertisement. The monks here live a life of contemplation, work and prayer. There is no school. This looks to be a wonderful place to visit and get away from the world. I hope to take my boys here someday to teach them about this vocation. They're still building and need money.
Transalpine Redemptorists. I was amused to find that the famed monks from Papa Stronsay had a blog. On it, I found them to be making newspapers, and an email to their webmaster (you'll get anti spam reply that takes a moment to fill out) will get you a subscription to their quarterly newspaper for $20 U.S. I'm sure a little extra cash for Mass intentions wouldn't be turned down either.
FSSP. The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter is growing as numbers of young men flock to the orthodox teachings of the Faith. Our future parish priests will be studying here and they need all the support we can offer.