In this festive day, I know many of you will be having the same concerns that I have; the same ominous thoughts and dark premonitions as we see the Barque of Peter in the hands of the pirates.
It is not, it cannot be a truly serene Christmas when abortionist Proto-lesbian post-Christian nuns are declared fine specimens of Catholicism even as perfectly orthodox, thriving, vibrant orders are persecuted, and when the very Pope spits heresies every second day, and stupidities every single day.
It can never be a truly serene Christmas. If the Church is so afflicted, it cannot but have an effect on us. But on this day, I invite you to remember the Blessed Virgin of Quito.
The phase we are going through was the object of that particular apparition. In the same way as the Blessed Virgin warned us, she also gave us the priceless serenity of knowing that all this must not lead us to despair, or to doubt the Church's Indefectibility. This crisis comes announced from the highest places. It appeared exactly when it was announced, and it is unfolding before us exactly as it was predicted. If you believe in this apparition – as I do – then you must unavoidably believe all of it, including the fact that a moment will come when all seems lost; and who knows how long we will have to suffer before that moment comes! Motus in fine velocior, they say. It seems that this is happening, too.
We do not know when the madness will reach its zenith, and it would be very optimistic to think that it will be with Francis. We might have decades of suffering before us. But at some point, sanity will be restored. At that particular point, and not before. Our prayers can certainly help in mitigating the punishment, but the God-given, amply deserved just punishment will come anyway. Let us pray for a discount, but let us not expect a remission.
I love the Church. I hope I would be able, if tested, to die for Her. For this reason, the reassuring knowledge that all this is part of a plan allowed by God – certainly to punish us for our sins, but with the day of the restoration of sanity already written in heaven – is very consoling to me, a bit in the same way as the Blessed Virgin whispering to my ears that all this will have an end would be infinitely more consoling than simply knowing in abstract that it will be so.
Remember Quito. Never falter in your faith. Never doubt the Indefectibility of the Church. The Barque is in the hand of pirates, but she herself is unsinkable. The Pirates will damage her in every possible way, and many will be those who will throw themselves overboard. But we will stand fast, and wait for the end of the pirates' rule. Francis and his would be trembling now, if they were wise. But they aren't, so they don't. Still, to them will the phrase also apply: nil inultum remanebit.
Do not be afraid, then. Chase away your dark thoughts and your disquieting premonitions, and sink your teeth in the panettone with renewed zeal. Raise the glass with those you love and try as you can, for a few short days, to avoid being sad for this, well, persecution of Catholics by their own shepherds. Celebrate these days with the confidence of a proud Catholic, who knows that the war will be long and messy, but it is won already.
A very merry Christmas to you all and to those you love from your very sinful, but always affectionate war zone correspondent.
I had missed this (or the BBC did not show it? Can someone of my English readers tell me more about this?) and I am glad to repost it courtesy of CNA and Father Z.
The fact the lady has run with the image of the Blessed Virgin is particularly impressive.
On a lighter note, one notices even Usain Bolt feels the need to cross himself before a race, though being Usain Bolt he can’t avoid being over the top in that, too.
I also liked the Russian athlete who before her final start crossed herself uninterruptedly from the “ready” to the starting signal.
I am anxiously awaiting for the next idiot asking the Christian signs be forbidden from Olympic games,lest some Muslim (read: some anti-clerical atheist) should feel offended.
I might have said this, in one form or another, in the past; but as they say, repetita iuvant.
Tomorrow (but celebrated today in the UK) is the Feast of the Assumption. It is the principal feast of the principal victim (after Truth, and Church Unity) of Protestantism.
The Church had already always believed the truth of the Assumption, but it was only with the great Pope Pius XII that the Assumption of Mary was proclaimed as dogma. Before, almost everyone believed. Afterwards, everyone had to believe.
What we are requested to believe is the same that was believed by fifteen centuries of Church history before the heresies of Luther and co., as well as afterwards. The Church never changes Her theology, but her theology organically grows, like a tree that is always the same tree when young and slender or when old and mighty. Please tell this to your Lutheran acquaintances when the occasion arises. The Church doesn’t innovate Her theology.
Protestants miss all this. Most of all, they miss Mary.
A Catholic is not – thank God – so imbibed with Scriptural verses to be thrown around everytime it is helpful to underpin the one or other individual position (tot capita, tot sententiae might have been coined for Protestants, so fitting to them it is); but he knows that he has a Mother in Heaven. He feels the love, the vicinity, the help, the maternal consolation, the loving intercession of his heavenly Mother more than a Protestant ever will.
I pity the man who cannot direct at all times his eyes to heaven knowing that She is there, loving him all the time, suffering for him as a mother, helping him as she can as a mother.
I pity that man, because he has rejected Truth and Love and has closed himself to a great source of love, of consolation in difficult times, of joyous thanksgiving in good ones.
What is more immediately evident to us from the tenderest age, than Motherly Love? What is nearer, more keenly felt, more lovingly remembered? It has been said that by dying, most soldiers pronounce the affectionate word for “mother” they used as a child. I do not doubt it in the least. It truly tells something.
In His infinite Goodness, God has given each and everyone of us such a gift in much greater measure than every earthly mother could; He has given such a consolation and hope to those ( many in the past, less in modern times) who could never know the love of a biological mother; He has provided each and everyone of us with a source of unconditional motherly love, bigger than we could ever imagine.
Then Luther came, and so many were cut out if not from the love, certainly from the consolation.
Poor chaps. The Blessed Virgin loves them so much, and they miss most of the warmth, the love and the beauty. Oh, to have a Mother in Heaven, and not fully realise it!
Hail Mary, conceived without sin,
pray for us now and in the hour of our death.
Fatima and Sacro Vergente Anno: Pius XII’s Consecration of “The Peoples Of Russia” to the Blessed Virgin
It is well-known that among the requests of the Blessed Virgin in Fatima was the consecration of Russia to Her Immaculate Heart.
Less well-known is the fact that Pope Pius XII, Pastor Angelicus, also known as “The Pope of Fatima” for his relentless support to the apparitions, did consecrate “all the peoples of Russia” to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1950.
I am informed that this consecration is widely believed to be somewhat short of the Blessed Virgin’s request, though in all honesty it is not clear to me why it should. It is, though, evident from Sacro Vergente Anno and from further Vatican documents that the great Pope, Venerable Pius XII, had to take care of political considerations in the way he responded to the Blessed Virgin’s request. Therefore, during the “hottest” phase of the Cold War he had limited himself to consecrate to the Blessed Virgin the peoples of all world (not wishing the potential political repercussions of a more direct action); whilst in the comparatively calmer 1952 he felt the moment come to the consecration to the Blessed Virgin of the peoples of Russia so that their freedom (and the freedom of the Church) may be achieved.
I will publish below the relevant part of Sacro Vergente Anno, in the elaborate but extremely elegant Italian in use when people had a somewhat longer attention span and could read longer sentences without becoming dizzy. Following the original text I will write a personal attempt at translation.
I am grateful to all those who will send a message with some link pointing to:
1) an official translation of Sacro Vergente Anno or at least of the relevant passage, none of which I could find.
2) the facts as to why the consecration according to the wishes of Mary is widely considered not to have been completely complied with; perhaps it could be because it was a consecration of the peoples of Russia rather than of Russia itself, though this seems rather a quaestio de lana caprina to me.
In the meantime, enjoy another spectacular example of the work of a truly spectacular Pope.
Noi, pertanto, affinché più facilmente le Nostre e le vostre preghiere siano esaudite, e per darvi un singolare attestato della Nostra particolare benevolenza, come pochi anni fa abbiamo consacrato tutto il mondo al Cuore immacolato della vergine Madre di Dio, così ora, in modo specialissimo, consacriamo tutti i popoli della Russia al medesimo Cuore immacolato, nella sicura fiducia che col potentissimo patrocinio di Maria vergine quanto prima si avverino felicemente i voti, che Noi, che voi, che tutti i buoni formano per una vera pace, per una fraterna concordia e per la dovuta libertà a tutti e in primo luogo alla chiesa; in maniera che, mediante la preghiera che Noi innalziamo insieme con voi e con tutti i cristiani, il regno salvifico di Cristo, che è «regno di verità e di vita, regno di santità e di grazia, regno di giustizia, di amore e di pace»,(8) in ogni parte della terra trionfi e si consolidi stabilmente.
And therefore we, in order that Our and your prayers may be more easily answered, and in order to give you a special attestation of our benevolence, in the same way as a few years ago We consecrated the entire world to the immaculate Heart of the virgin Mother of God, so now, in a very special way, consecrate all peoples of Russia to the very same immaculate Heart, in the safe confidence that with the extremely powerful protection of the virgin Mary the wishes expressed by Us, by you and by every good person for a true peace for fraternal concord and due freedom for everyone and for the Church in the first place, may be answered as soon as possible; in such a manner that, through the prayer that We send up to Heaven together with you and all Christians, the reign of Christ, harbinger of salvation, which is “kingdom of truth and life, kingdom of sainthood and grace, kingdom of justice, of love and of peace”, may triumph and steadily consolidate itself everywhere on earth”
I have written already about the beautiful site of “The Age of Mary”. Among (many) other things, the site is notable for the best narration of the Fatima events I have been able to find on the Internet up to now. I would like to spend some words about this astonishing series of historical documented facts.
Let us first say very clearly that, no matter how impressive the miracles and apparitions, as a Catholic you are not obliged to believe anything of the entire story. As in every private apparition, no belief is required of the faithful; not even in the cases publicly endorsed by the Church as worthy of belief. I would be the last one to accuse a Catholic of being a lesser one because he doesn’t believe in the Fatima apparitions.
But please allow me to say why I am one of those who do. Some of the arguments can, no doubt, be applied to other apparitions (think of Lourdes).
1) The apparitions involved children. It is apparent how a child tends to change and inflate whatever exciting event has happened to him; nay, whatever event he is requested to repeat time and again. Nothing of the sort has happened here. Infinite times the children have been requested to tell the story; infinite times they have repeated it in exactly the same way. Hundreds of sceptical and atheist enquirers eager to expose the “plot” have never succeeded in finding contradictions, exaggerations, changes of descriptions, discrepancies of whatever sort. This is not normal, and doesn’t happen just because one child (or three) happens to be uncommonly fond of precision.
2) The apparitions involved children who were, without exception, illiterate. They couldn’t have written down a story, or an agreed version, to give coherence to their claims.
3) The apparitions established a clear hierarchy – at least in the eyes of the people – among the children. Only one girl, Lucia, speaks to Mary; the older of the two siblings, Francisco, doesn’t hear her, nor does he ever pretend to do so; but his younger sister, Jacinta, hears Mary’s every word. Come on, this is a recipe for strife, we are talking here of children between seven and ten! Nothing of the sort ever happened. No rivalries, no jealousies, no attempts to make oneself important as their notoriety grows, no fights for leadership, no races to get attention. This is not normal by any adult standard, let alone by a childish one.
4) The apparitions trigger a change in the children’s behaviour. A real, observable and lasting one. They start praying for long periods at a time, when before they used to cheat on their daily rosary obligations; they start to offer all their suffering to God with a zeal and simplicity you would find in a living saint, and only after a long and conscious effort; they start practicing such harsh penances that their relatives are worried. One child can, perhaps, fall in love for a short time with his own pious dispositions; another may indulge, every now and then, in an excess of zeal; but this was three children, out of three claiming to have seen Mary, completely changing their tune and starting to behave in what can only be called an extraordinary way. Try this with your nephews and see how it goes.
5) The plain simplicity of the entire story. A poor village in the middle of Portugal. Simple, illiterate children from simple and rather poor (though not destitute) families. Monotonous conversations of Lucia with Mary; just as monotonous responses of Mary to the children. There is no glitz here, no splendour, no poetry. A planned tale would have been intriguing, the events fascinating, the words spectacularly catching, unforgettable. Nothing of the sort happens here. Plain questions, plain answers, no concessions to the theatrical.
6) Orthodoxy. Several times both the angel and Mary speak to the children; they transmit a quantity of information. None of it is less than absolutely orthodox. Try to invent that as a group of three seven-to-ten-years-old children, and good luck to you. This of the orthodoxy is, to me, actually the first criterium of every claim of apparition. This is why I, like many others, despise the Medjugorje affair so much.
7) Public character. One of the unique features of the Fatima apparition is the utter public character of the entire matter. Never before had Marian apparitions been announced, and punctually delivered, in front of a plurality of people. Granted, not everyone could perceive the various phenomena; but enough of them could as to make the event a truly public display of miraculous activity. We do not know why not all were able to enjoy the extraordinary phenomena more than we know why Francisco was not allowed to hear, or Jacinta to speak. But this is what happened all along, with various people affected in various way, and a multitude of them affected forever.
8 ) Memory. Some of the apparitions contained longish conversations; all of them went above what a child can usually remember. Prayers are repeated to them a couple of times and their content is etched in their memory forever. Never they say that they can’t remember what was said, never they have hesitations. Still, at times they forget the implications (for example, they don’t reflect that Lucia won’t be killed, because Mary forecast a long life to her; but that Mary says so, they never forget), showing to be in normal “child mode” most of the times, in another stunning contrast to their behaviour related to the apparitions. These children are stunningly normal in their being children, and extraordinary in whatever pertains to the apparition.
Fatima is, truly, unique even among the Marian apparitions considered worthy of faith. It richly deserves the central place it has rapidly gained in the heart of Catholics. Not even 100 years after the events, you’ll rarely hear a Rosary recited without the “Fatima prayer”.
I invite you to read the entire story from the beautifully made Internet site (intelligently divided for you in easy-to-digest tidbits) and become aware of the unique nature of the extraordinary events in Fatima. Your belief in Fatima, once acquired, will make it so much easier for you to start what the Blessed Virgin so often recommended to the children: daily recitation of the Rosary.
The Infant jesus of Prague is a miraculous* wax statue with a moving and edifying history. It was first donated to the Discalced Carmelites of Prague by a rich lady who, after the death of her husband, desired to dedicate herself to works of piety and charity. The lady donated the statue (very dear to her heart) to the Carmelites saying “I hereby give you what I prize most highly in this world. As long as you venerate this image you will not be in want”. The lady’s work proved prophetic on several occasions as the following years proved that whenever the Carmelites seriously recurred to the statue, they were helped and when they neglected its proper devotion, they weren’t.
The Carmelites put the statue (made of wax itself, with rich vestments) in their oratory and performed special devotions in front of it twice a day. For some reasons, such devotions were particularly loved by the novices. Particularly by one, Cyrillus, who was through his prayers delivered from a period of spiritual dryness. But then the Thirty-Years war started to bite and in 1630 the novitiate was removed to Munich; the devotion was more and more neglected and the prosperity of the community progressively declined.
The following year, the Protestant troops of King Gustavus Adolphus took Prague. The Monastery was plundered and vandalised, the statue was damaged and thrown over a heap of rubble behind the high altar. It stayed there completely for the following seven years, years of great hardship for the community.
In 1637, Cyrillus – in the meantime Father Cyrillus – came back to Prague still occupied by the Protestant invaders. He remembered the little statue and asked of the prior to be able to search for it; the entire place was turned upside down until the statue was finally found and recovered from his pile of rubble. That the rubble had remained there for years without anyone “cleaning up” tells the story about the poverty of the times. The little statue was put in a fitting place and the devotions started again, this time with greater zeal due to the difficulties of the times.
Cyrillus was once again the most fervent disciple of this devotion and one day, whilst praying, he heard the following words:
“Have pity on me, and I will have pity on you. Give me my hands, and I will give you peace. The more you honour me, the more I will bless you”.
Only then Cyrillus noticed the missing hands of the statue behind the rich vestments that adorned it. Several attempts followed to have the statue repaired by Father Cyrillus. He asked the money for the repair from the prior, who wouldn’t open the purse of the very poor community. He begged the Blessed Virgin to help him and as a result was called to the sickbed of a wealthy man who, told of the story, donated a large sum for the repair of the statue, but the prior decided to buy a new statue instead. The new statue was accidentally (or rather: providentially) destroyed just after being put into place and the devotion to the mutilated statue was resumed, the problem of the repair still to be solved. Then a new prior was elected and Cyrillus begged for the funds once again, but once again his wish was refused. Stubbornly, he once again asked the Blessed Virgin for help and as a result received a large donation by an anonymous woman. This time, the prior took almost all of the money, leaving Cyrillus a portion insufficient to repair the statue. It really seemed that this statue was never to be restored, but our chap was of the kind that never let go and he put his trouble in front of the statue itself. Once again he heard the following words: “Place me near the entrance of the sacristy and you will receive aid”. This our Cyrillus promptly did and a short time later a stranger offered to pay for the repair. This time the prior didn’t appropriate the fund and the statue was rapidly restored.
From then on, the devotion to the statue rapidly procured a great fame. The prior itself was rapidly healed by the pestilence which had befallen Prague after promising to recite Holy Mass before the statue for nine days if healed. During a successive period of great financial need, the prior ordered that the entire community should pray in front of the Divine Infant and again, generous financial help promptly came. In the meantime the popularity of the statue had started to grow, so that it was moved again from the oratory to the church to allow for its veneration by the general public. In 1641, a large donation allowed the erection of an altar to the Most Holy Trinity, with the statue of the Infant Jesus placed within it. It didn’t remain there for long, though, because the following year another generous donation allowed the erection of a chapel dedicated to the Divine Infant, completed and consecrated in 1644. Since then, the devotion has continued to spread and the favours received through its devotions have become innumerable. The devotion to the Infant Jesus grew more and more and in 1665 a crown was prepared for the statue and put in place on the Sunday after Easter.
The devotion to the Holy Infant is now spread worldwide. It has generated a series of worldwide recited prayers: the Prayer of Rev. Cyrillus, the Litany of the Miraculous Infant, the Prayer to the Infant Jesus to be said by a sick person, the Prayer of Thanksgiving for Graces Received from the Infant Jesus among them, though the most famous must be the Chaplet of the Infant Jesus of Prague. The Church of Our Lady of Victory is visited by around 500,000 pilgrims every year.
The fortune of the devotion is probably due not only to the innumerable favours granted to those devoted to it, but probably also to the favour that this devotions found among saints like Therese of Lisieux. You must also consider that the devotion to the Infant Jesus was not a new phenomenon having been widely spread during the Middle Age, with St. Francis and St. Bernhard of Citeau among its best known followers.
The idea of the Infant Jesus, so powerless and still so powerful, so little and still so big, has never failed to inspire and to this day Catholics can very well, particularly in times of need, relate to this beautiful paradox of Christianity. In addition, it is easy to see how the devotion to the Infant Jesus puts us in front of another mainstay of Christian thinking: the opportunity to pray with great candor, defenceless humility and, well, tenderly shameless confidence, that is to say with the typical attributes of a child’s prayer. In front of Jesus we are all children. We need to pray like a child does. We need to pray with exactly those qualities that can make a child’s request so difficult to refuse.
This message wants to be a small contribution to the revival of this beautiful Catholic devotion, neglected after Vatican II as almost everything unapologetically Catholic and hopefully destined to greater glory in the decades to come.
* In the Catholic sense, of course. Please don’t go around saying that Catholics believe that wax statues make miracles. Thanks!