Saints of the Day & Great Papal Rosary Resource

Here is the saint’s calendar for January 15, 2019, and several versions, each focusing on individual saints, (with a focus on St. Paul the Hermit today) all wonderful.

The Catholic Church has many saints and reading about their lives has been a spiritual journey Catholics have been on since the publication of the Golden Legend,

From Butler’s Calendar of the Saints listing all of the saints of today, (so many).

From Butler’s Lives of the Saints, highlighting one,

From Franciscan Media

From a most lovely site, really a daily devotional site offering much more than just saint of the day, Anastpaul

One of my personal favorites, Tradition in Action

And a great resource for further exploration of individual saints, The Catholic Encyclopedia,

Great Papal Rosary Resources

From Catholic Culture.

An excerpt.

Did you know that Pope Leo XIII, whose pontificate lasted from 1878 until 1903, issued no fewer than ten encyclicals on the Rosary? Some others mention the Rosary, such as his encyclicals on devotion to St. Joseph and on the Confraternity of the Rosary. But these ten actually have the Rosary itself as their main subject. We have them all in our library; you will find the links below.

Pope St. Pius V initiated public papal writing on the Rosary back in 1569 in the very brief document Consueverunt Romani (the current “encyclical” form was not developed until 1740). It was St. Pius who prayed the Rosary to ensure the Catholic victory over the invading Moors at Lepanto in 1571.

In addition, six more popes wrote major documents on the Rosary in the twentieth century.

Links to other papal documents after the jump.

Retrieved January 10, 2019 from

Saints of the Day & The Ruins of Vatican II and the Vatican

Here is the saint’s calendar for January 14, 2019 and several versions, each focusing on individual saints, all wonderful.

From Butler’s Calendar of the Saints listing all of the saints of today, (so many).

From Butler’s Lives of the Saints, highlighting one,

From Franciscan Media

From a most lovely site, really a daily devotional site offering much more than just saint of the day, Anastpaul

One of my personal favorites, Tradition in Action

And a great resource for further exploration of individual saints, The Catholic Encyclopedia,

The Ruins of Vatican II & the Vatican

This article, a must read from one of the truly brilliant minds in Catholicism today, Roberto de Mattei, is from Remnant Newspaper.

An excerpt.

A Shadow Moves About the Ruins

THE PANORAMA WE have before us is one of ruins: moral ruins, political ruins, economic ruins; the Church’s ruins, the ruins of the whole of society.

In this scene, a silent shadow moves about the ruins like a ghost: Josef Ratzinger, who after his resignation from the papacy, wished to keep the title of Pope (Emeritus) and the name of Benedict XVI.

I believe that the abdication of Benedict XVI, on February 28, 2013, will go down in history as an even more disastrous event than the pontificate of Pope Francis, to which it opened the doors.

The pontificate of Pope Francis certainly represents a leap forward in the process of the Church’s auto-demolition, following the Second Vatican Council. However, this is only a stage, the last one of this process: we could say that it represents its ripe fruit.

The essence of the Second Vatican Council was the triumph of pastoral theology over doctrine, the transformation of pastoral theology into a theology of praxis, the application of the philosophy of Marxist practice to the life of the Church. For the Communists, the true philosopher is not Karl Marx, the Revolution’s theorist, but Lenin who carried out the Revolution, proving Marx’s thought. For Neo-Modernists, the true theologian is not Karl Rahner, the principal ideologue of the revolution in the Church, but Pope Francis, who is fulfilling this revolution, putting Rahner’s thought into pastoral practice. There is no rupture, therefore, between the Second Vatican Council and Pope Francis, but historical continuity. Pope Francis represents Vatican II in action.

Benedict XVI’s renunciation of the papacy represents a historic rupture, but in another sense. For starters, it is the first papal resignation in history which has taken place without clear reasons, without valid motives. It is a gratuitous, arbitrary act, rendered contradictory by the way in which it took place. Today in the Church, there is a situation of apparent diarchy and of real confusion, in which many doubt that he who is the pope – Francis – is truly pope, and he who is not the pope – Benedict – is a non-pope. This is a historic novelty without precedent. Benedict XVI is the one responsible for it.

But the gesture of Benedict XVI also has a symbolic reach, which must be understood in its deepest sense.

There are symbolic gestures that express the metaphysical significance of a historic occurrence. Such is the example of the humiliation of Canossa, in January, 1077. Pope Saint Gregory VII refusing to receive Henry IV and leaving him for three days in the cold outside of the Canossa castle, affirmed the primacy of the Papacy over political power with this gesture, proclaiming the freedom of the Church before the world, and forcing the world to bow before the Church. It was an act of courage that gave glory to God, and honored the Church.

Benedict XVI’s act of papal resignation was not only an admission of impotence, but a gesture of surrender. It was an act that expressed the defeatist spirit of the churchmen of our time, whose main sin isn’t moral corruption but cowardice. I say this with all the respect due to the figure of Benedict XVI, and with a certain compassion for this elder, made to watch the historical consequences of his decision by Providence. But we must have the courage to say it, if we do not want to be accomplices to this spirit of resignation and lack of confidence in the supernatural aid of Grace, which sadly today has spread among many Catholics, faced with an advancing revolutionary course.

Every soul has a vocation, every man has a mission to carry out. Renouncing the carrying out of one’s mission carries a grave responsibility. Resignation as the Vicar of Christ entails an immense responsibility: it is forsaking the highest mission which a man can have on this earth: governing the Church of Christ. It is an escape from the wolves, on the part of he who in his homily on April 24, 2005, said: “Pray for me, that I will not flee for fear of the wolves.”

And yet, Benedict XVI during his pontificate, carried out a courageous gesture: the concession of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, on July 7, 2007. Thanks to this action, the number of priests who offer the old Mass multiplied throughout the world, and for this, we must be grateful to him. But what was important in that motu proprio was not so much the de facto aspect, or rather, the permission to celebrate Mass according to the ancient Roman rite for every priest, but the de jure recognition that that Rite had not been abrogated, and could never be abrogated.

With that act, Benedict XVI bowed to the Tradition of the Church, he admitted that no one – not even the Pope – could undermine it; that everyone – including the Pope – had to submit themselves to it.

Today, there is an open fight between two camps and two standards, that of Tradition and that of Revolution. The first, as Saint Ignatius recalled in his meditation on the two standards, is held by Christ, “our High Captain and Lord,” the second by “Lucifer, the mortal enemy of our human nature.” The standard of those who love the Truth of the Gospel, recognizing Jesus Christ as King of Heaven and earth, and the standard of he who claims to transform the Church and construct a new religion based on his own opinion.

“But,” affirms Pope Saint Pius X in the encyclical E supremi apostolato, “no one of sound mind can doubt the issue of this contest between man and the Most High. Man, abusing his liberty, can violate the right and the majesty of the Creator of the Universe; but the victory will ever be with God – nay, defeat is at hand at the moment when man, under the delusion of his triumph, rises up with most audacity.”[1]

We must have confidence in victory, but we need to be convinced that we cannot win without fighting. And today the battle is, first of all, that of words which break silence, defeat falsehood, and destroy hypocrisy, as Archbishop Carlo Mara Viganò did with his courageous testimony.

Retrieved January 7, 2019 from

Saints of the Day & Deaconate Good News

Here is the saint’s calendar for January 13, 2019 and several versions, each focusing on individual saints, all wonderful.

From Butler’s Calendar of the Saints listing all of the saints of today, (so many).

From Butler’s Lives of the Saints, highlighting one,

From Franciscan Media

From a most lovely site, really a daily devotional site offering much more than just saint of the day, Anastpaul

And a great resource for further exploration of individual saints, The Catholic Encyclopedia,

Deaconate Good News

Nice to have good news about the Church, as this story from the Wanderer Newspaper certainly is.

An excerpt.

With all the problems going on in the Catholic Church today — perceived and otherwise — it is perhaps useful to take stock of the things that are going well.

For instance, the permanent diaconate is a wonderful start. The diaconate a much older institution than the priesthood, coming from a time when bishops themselves were able to conduct the Holy Mass while deacons, subdeacons, “deaconesses” (which were really equivalent to a prioress of nuns and don’t let anyone tell you different), religious brothers and sisters, and a host of laity performed the charitable and at times sacramental work of the Church. This sacramental work was limited to deacons, of course, and limited to what in modern parlance was to “hatch, match, and dispatch” — or in other words, to confer the Sacraments of Baptism, Marriage, and Last Rites.

At no point in time in salvation history have we had more deacons than today.

Right now, despite the “vocations crisis” in the Western world, in places such as Africa and Asia, the vocations crisis takes on a different form: how to build the seminaries fast enough. Right now, there are over 415,000 priests in the world — more than at any other point in time in salvation history.

The same is true for our bishops. We have more active bishops — 5,304 to be exact — in active ministry right now than at any other point in time in salvation history.

This is critically important for any number of reasons, but most importantly because these bishops can create new priests — and in that respect, we have over 116,000 new seminarians actively exploring a priestly vocation. Over a five-year average? At no other point in salvation history have we seen this many vocations being explored.

Now we come to the fun part — the Church Militant. Right now, there are over 1.3 billion professed Catholics around the world. One in six, to be clear. Both as a percentage of the human race and as a raw number of human beings, at no other point in time in salvation history has the Catholic Church enjoyed so wide a membership.

Yet that’s not all! How do you become a Catholic nominally? Of course, one has to accept baptism, which is a mark that cannot be erased and is enjoyed by Protestant, Orthodox, and other varying Christian traditions. So the grand total of souls claimed for the Catholic Faith? 2.3 billion.

At no other time in salvation history have there been so many individual souls marked indelibly with the Sacrament of Baptism.

Right now, the Catholic Church has opened more hospitals, more colleges, more clinics, more schools, more parishes, more refugee camps, more shelters, feeds more indigent populations, visits more prisoners and advocates on behalf of the unspoken more today than at any other time in salvation history.

Full stop and pause for just a moment.

Set aside all of the scandal for just a moment and imagine the Catholic Church as she is, not as how the press and the world would want her to be perceived. Consider what we would imagine her to be in holiness, and reflect on how truly amazing all of these gifts — both spiritual and temporal — truly are.

Granted, in the Catholic West, it can seem as if Christendom is falling apart. Scandals, persecutions, and even calumnies from within seem to be waging war against the Body of Christ.

Yet in perspective, there is no small wonder why the Catholic Church is under such attack — we are growing, and not only are we growing, but more souls today than at any other point in time in salvation history are enjoying the protection, prayers, and charitable works of the Catholic Church.


Saints of the Day & Turning Broken Windows Upside Down

Here is the saint’s calendar for January 12, 2019 and several versions, each focusing on individual saints, all wonderful.

From Butler’s Calendar of the Saints listing all of the saints of today, (so many).

From Butler’s Lives of the Saints, highlighting one,

From Franciscan Media

From a most lovely site, really a daily devotional site offering much more than just saint of the day, Anastpaul

One of my personal favorites, Tradition in Action

And a great resource for further exploration of individual saints, The Catholic Encyclopedia,

Turning Broken Windows Upside Down

The essence of survival crime theory is that if you need to steal to survive it is okay to steal, and this article from City Journal explains.

An excerpt.

The latest fad in criminal-justice activism is the concept of “survival crime.”

The theory holds that the homeless, the poor, and people of color commit property crimes and low-level infractions in order to secure their basic survival. Any enforcement of these laws is thus a violation of their basic human rights and should be relaxed—that is, local governments should stop enforcing any laws that “criminalize homelessness” and “criminalize poverty.”

Survival crime theory is the flipside of Broken Windows theory. They deal with the same class of offenses—mainly property crime, drug possession, and public nuisances—in precisely the opposite way. Broken Windows theory argues that everyone is responsible for their own behavior and that, if we permit low-level crimes, it will lead to a general breakdown in law and order. Survival-crime theory, by contrast, argues that local governments should decriminalize these offenses because vulnerable individuals have been compelled by social conditions to commit them.

The idea of “survival crime” is not new, and has floated around in academic circles for decades. And for people living in a slum in Caracas, Peshawar, or Khartoum, there might be a moral argument that stealing food for oneself or one’s family is a justified “survival crime.” But the United States isn’t Venezuela, Pakistan, or Sudan. The federal government currently spends more than $1 trillion a year on anti-poverty programs, including general assistance, food stamps, housing vouchers, SSI, and WIC. Every city in America has a network of churches, food banks, and charities that offer direct assistance. And, more broadly, we’re living in an era of record-low unemployment and, in cities like San Francisco, New York, and Seattle, record-high minimum wages.

The problem is that cities like Seattle and San Francisco have not just “decriminalized homelessness” or “decriminalized poverty”—they have increasingly decriminalized crime. Over the past five years, the classification of survival crime has expanded well beyond stealing the proverbial loaf of bread. In California, for instance, Proposition 47 downgraded theft of property valued at less than $950 to a misdemeanor, meaning that the police are unlikely to pursue even habitual shoplifters and thieves. The predictable result: a statewide rise in petty theft. Seattle and King County recently released new guidelines calling on police officers to stop arresting individuals for all “homelessness-related crimes,” with the goal of “eliminating racial disproportionality” and ensuring that policies “do not penalize homelessness and poverty.” Meantime, city and county prosecutors have dropped thousands of misdemeanor cases against “vulnerable populations.” All this has caused widespread frustration among residents and law enforcement officers. As one veteran Seattle cop told me: “We have basically stopped enforcing the law against the homeless population. Political leaders don’t want it and prosecutors won’t pursue charges. It’s a waste of time.” In New York City, the NYPD has backed off from arresting people for subway fare evasion, on the grounds that enforcement has a disparate impact on the poor; farebeating has risen sharply since the new policy was enacted.

While concern is growing that these permissive policies have led to an increase in property crime, the greatest risk of survival crime theory is that we are slowly creating a parallel justice system: one for average citizens and another for politically-favored identity groups. Activists have successfully made the case that we must sacrifice equality under the law to address wider social inequalities. They are effectively arguing that our bedrock principle of “equality protection of the laws” is simply a mechanism of state oppression against the homeless, the poor, and people of color—a radical reversal of its original constitutional meaning.


Saints of the Day & The Intellectual Life

Here is the calendar of saints for January 11, 2019 and several versions, each focusing on individual saints, all wonderful.

From Butler’s Calendar of the Saints listing all of the saints of each day, (so many).

From Butler’s Lives of the Saints, highlighting one,

From Franciscan Media

From a most lovely site, really a daily devotional site offering much more than just saint of the day, Anastpaul

And a great resource for further exploration of individual saints, The Catholic Encyclopedia,

The Intellectual Life

This is a book review of one of the great books (knocked my socks off when I read it) we should all have in our library, The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods, from Catholic Culture.

An excerpt.

The incomparably rich intellectual heritage of the Church needs no advertisement here. It is the treasure house filled first by the Holy Spirit, and by the great adventurers and plunderers who went before us. Their hard-won wisdom points us toward the highest truths about God and man, and away from the seductive errors and half-truths of the world.

This heritage is not for intellectuals only, and it is wasted on those of us who are only intellectuals. The great minds are benefactors of many who have never heard their names or opened their books, of many even who hate them.

Catholics who do have a vocation to the life of thought are therefore at no loss for study material. But there is less guidance as to the how of pursuing an intellectual vocation, and perhaps less understanding of the precise demands of such a calling. How precisely to attain to the fullness of one’s potential so that one can truly say at life’s end that one has invested one’s talents, small or great, and received them back manyfold? How to be an intellectual who is also a man or woman, to avoid compartmentalizing oneself, living a double life (so characteristic of the modern pseudo-intellectual) or one that is less than fully human? How to study in a spirit of prayer?

The best guide I have encountered to these questions and many others is a little book, now almost a century old, by the French Dominican Antonin-Gilbert Sertillanges, titled The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods. It is one of those books that, upon finishing it, I wanted immediately to start again from the beginning in order to apply its lessons (partially because it revealed to me just how haphazardly I study and work). And its usefulness is twofold: I find it almost as relevant to my life as an artist as to what are more typically called intellectual pursuits. Indeed, Sertillanges often refers to artists when giving examples of great intellectual workers.

In writing The Intellectual Life, Sertillanges was inspired by a short letter historically attributed to St. Thomas Aquinas, Sixteen Precepts for Acquiring the Treasure of Knowledge. Like the Doctor who inspired him, Sertillanges is nothing if not thorough (the table of contents, pictured below, also attests to this). He covers every aspect of the intellectual vocation, from the heights of contemplation, to the indispensable foundation of time management, even to what sort of diet is most conducive to the life of the mind (because “a thinker does not spend his life in the processes of digestion”). He does so with both wisdom and genius, and with great vigor of expression.


Saints of the Day & One Horror Story

Here is the calendar and several versions, each focusing on individual saints, all wonderful.

From Butler’s Calendar of the Saints listing all of the saints of each day, (so many).

From Butler’s Lives of the Saints,

From Franciscan Media

From a most lovely site, really a daily devotional site offering much more than just saint of the day, Anastpaul

One of my personal favorites, Tradition in Action

And a great resource for further exploration of individual saints, The Catholic Encyclopedia,

One Horror Story

Here is one, of all too many I am afraid, of the horror stories about a very evil Catholic priest who abused children, from the Idaho Statesman.

An excerpt.

The Rev. W. Thomas Faucher, a longtime priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise who pleaded guilty to five felony crimes, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison without parole and will be required to register as a sex offender.

Faucher, 73, was accused of amassing thousands of child porn images and videos on his home computer — and pleaded guilty in September to sharing some of those images online. He apologized in the courtroom ahead of his sentencing at the Ada County Courthouse in Boise on Thursday.

“This is the crime that has the potential for both immediate and long-lasting consequences,” 4th District Court Judge Jason Scott said. “… I think there is a legitimate risk to the community.”

“I am deeply sorry that I was and have been connected to that in any way,” Faucher told the judge in a statement that lasted about 17 minutes. Faucher said he was deeply struck by the victim impact statements and that he knows child pornography is not a victimless crime.

“I was one really sick puppy. I screwed up big time … I feel so much remorse and anger,” Faucher said at his sentencing.

“There are many people who will benefit if I am no longer in jail,” Faucher said, explaining that he’d like to help others. “There are no people who will benefit if I am in jail or in prison.”

A thinner and more frail-looking Faucher was wheeled into the courtroom in his Ada County jail uniform just before 9:30 a.m. At least 30 people, including some members of the Diocese of Boise, plus local media were packed into the windowless fifth-floor courtroom — some watching cried while others left the room as a local detective described in graphic detail the images and child pornography found in Faucher’s possession.

Diocese officials told the Statesman Wednesday that they will seek to have Faucher defrocked. They reiterated that in a press release after the sentencing:

“The volumes of shocking information that the law enforcement investigation uncovered reveal the heinous nature of child pornography and the tragic impact upon its victims,” the release says. “While we cannot begin to fathom what brought Faucher to the point that he was able to enter into this evil and dark world, we are thankful for the efforts of the law enforcement community in doing what it can to protect our children from these crimes.”

Investigation took a toll on police

The prosecutor called Garden City police officer Detective John Brumbaugh to the stand on Thursday. Brumbaugh, who’s been on the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force for five years, said he received a cybertip that involved two images sent from that was linked to the St. Mary’s Catholic Church website.

In the months that followed, Brumbaugh said, his investigation looked at chats and emails that showed Faucher was “actively seeking interests with gay men, satanic interests” and the rape and killing of minors. He also described the contents of the images police found on Faucher’s cellphone, computer and Dropbox account: more than 2,500 files that were sexually exploitative or pornographic with young-looking subjects. The files were described by police as violent, disturbing and torturous, some involving children crying….

In online chats with a person called “Bruno,” Faucher expressed a desire to have sex with boys, Brumbaugh said. Faucher said he had “satanic desires,” an attraction to 6-year-old boys and that “the thought of killing someone does begin to excite me,” according to the detective.

Brumbaugh also said Faucher’s online conversations about shared child pornography include the Catholic priest talking about fantasies, including the sexual abuse of altar boys and babies, and saying that he liked a video of a boy being beaten to death


Saints of the Day & What’s Happening in France

Here are two versions, both wonderful.

From Butler’s Lives of the Saints,

From Franciscan Media

What’s Happening in France

This article from Roberto de Mattei explains, a must read.

An excerpt.

The “reverse turn” of Emmanuel Macron’s République en Marche,  confronted by the advance of the “gilets jaunes”, reveals the significance of the protests which have erupted in France over the last few weeks.

The prime target of the protest was the arrogant French President, who, in his discourse to the nation on December 10th had to admit the failure of his policies. But Macron is the embodiment of the European technocratic powers and his failure, moreover, is the economic and social muzzle imposed on France by the Eurocrats. The political winners of this arm wrestling, for the moment, are the defeated political parties of the 2016 presidential elections. The  Rassemblement National of Marine Le Pen and La France insoumise of Jean-Luc Mélenchon ( which had obtained 47% of the votes in the first ballot against Macron’s 24% and were defeated in the second ballot) have now been vindicated.

The operative word of these parties, as Eric Zemmour observes, is “sovereignty”: «Souveraineté de la nation et souveraineté du peuple. Souveraineté de la nation contre l’oligarchie européenne. Souveraineté du peuple contre les élites françaises qui l’ont bradée» (Le souverainisme à deux visages, in Le Figaro, 6 May 2016).  Today, according to surveys, the appeal to sovereignty is shared by more than 60% of French people, as is happening in Italy, where a percentage of voters equally strong, support Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s government. Many observers have highlighted the similarities between the revendications of the gilets jaunes and the agreement of the Lega –Five Star government. The first are in the opposition and the second are governing, but the European elections are at the door and these may change the political horizon, beginning  precisely with France.

Another word resonates alongside that of sovereignty: “populism”. The traditional right-left bipolarity, it seems, is being replaced by the dichotomy of the people-elites.  The new dialectical opposition is hypothesized both by Trump’s former advisor, Steve Bannon and the political scientist dear to Putin, Aleksandr Dugin, who asserted: “Today the left and the right no longer exist: only the people against the elite [exist]. The “yellow waistcoats” are creating new political history, a new ideology.”

Yet, is the dichotomy of the left and the right truly on the wane? And is the new people-elites dialectic an authentic alternative to the former?

From the historical-political viewpoint, both these concepts originate with the French Revolution, which marked the end of Christian civilization, and the rise of a “profane” political space.  In 1789, when the General States assembled together in Versailles, the French Monarchic State was characterized by a social tripartite. At the top were the clergy and the nobility, at the bottom the Third State. After the dissolution of the General States, in the National Assembly, the defenders of the Throne and the Altar were located on the right, and on the left, were the liberals and the republicans. The first defend the upper class, the second the people – in the lower ranks. The two metaphors, those of the vertical and horizontal, are interconnected.

Throughout its history, it was always the left that made the people its exclusive subject for the political life of the nation, by proposing a conception of sovereignty contrary to the traditional one. For Rousseau and Abbé Sieyes, both intellectual fathers of the French Revolution, sovereignty resides infallibly in the people, who cannot in any way alienate their power by delegating it and dividing it. A well-known historian, George Mosse (1918-1999) emphasized how the aberrant “cults” of the French Revolution were nothing other than the dress-rehearsal for the adoration of the “general will” proposed by the modern totalitarianisms.

History, however, is never made by the people, but always by a minority. Minorities made the French Revolution and the Italian Risorgimento: a minority made the Bolshevik Revolution; a minority made the ’68 Revolution and a minority is leading the apparently “headless” movement of the gilets jaunes. 

The role of minorities in the governing of a society was underlined by all the great masters of political thought, from Plato to Aristotle right through to the modern school of political science originating in Italy at the beginning of the 20th century by Gaetano Mosca, Vilfredo Pareto and Roberto Michels.  By studying politics as a “science”, this line of thinking has documented how, in all human societies, the political direction of the society is always affirmed by an organized minority, defined as elite.

The word “elite” is the modern transcription of “aristocracy” which means, etymologically, government of the best.  When a governing class is corrupted, from being elite, it becomes a financial, party-politicking oligarchy, or even of another type, but always characterized by the fact of egotistically pursuing personal or group interests.  On the contrary, the elite is a governing class that subordinates its own interests for that of  a Nation’s common good.

What distinguishes an elite, as Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira underlines, is being disposed to sacrifice its own interests in order to serve the common good which is the highest interest of society (Nobiltà ed élites tradizionali analoghe nelle allocuzioni di Pio XII al Patriziato e alla  Nobiltà, Marzorati, Milano 1993). Pius XII calls being “an elite, is not only through blood or lineage, but most of all through works and sacrifice, creatively carrying out services to all social communities.” (Discourse to the Patriciate and the Roman Nobility, January 11, 1951).

After the fall of the Communist and Nazi totalitarianisms, representative democracy, apparently the winner, slides towards its definitive collapse. What has happened in fact in the previous two centuries, and has amplified over the last twenty years, is a process in the “pyramidization” of society which has seen new oligarchies replacing the traditional elites. In 1995, a posthumous essay by Christopher Lasch appeared, dedicated to The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy (tr. it. Feltrinelli, Milano 1995), in which the American historian accuses the new elite of having betrayed Western values, by closing themselves up in an artificial and globalized environment, faraway from the real problems of society.

The anti-elitism that distinguishes the thought of Noam Chomsky, is however, a piece de resistance of the left.


Saint of the Day & Capital Punishment Confusion at the Top

From Franciscan Media

Saint Angela of Foligno, Saint of the Day for January 8

(1248 – January 4, 1309)

Saint Angela of Foligno’s story

Some saints show marks of holiness very early. Not Angela! Born of a leading family in Foligno, Italy, she became immersed in the quest for wealth and social position. As a wife and mother, she continued this life of distraction.

Around the age of 40, she recognized the emptiness of her life and sought God’s help in the Sacrament of Penance. Her Franciscan confessor helped Angela to seek God’s pardon for her previous life and to dedicate herself to prayer and the works of charity.

Shortly after her conversion, her husband and children died. Selling most of her possessions, she entered the Secular Franciscan Order. She was alternately absorbed by meditating on the crucified Christ and by serving the poor of Foligno as a nurse and beggar for their needs. Other women joined her in a religious community.

At her confessor’s advice, Angela wrote her Book of Visions and Instructions. In it she recalls some of the temptations she suffered after her conversion; she also expresses her thanks to God for the Incarnation of Jesus. This book and her life earned for Angela the title “Teacher of Theologians.” She was beatified in 1693, and canonized in 2013.


People who live in the United States today can understand Saint Angela’s temptation to increase her sense of self-worth by accumulating money, fame or power. Striving to possess more and more, she became more and more self-centered. When she realized she was priceless because she was created and loved by God, she became very penitential and very charitable to the poor. What had seemed foolish early in her life now became very important. The path of self-emptying she followed is the path all holy men and women must follow. The Liturgical Feast of Saint Angela of Foligno is January 7.


Capital Punishment Confusion at the Top

The papal confusion around capital punishment, beginning with Pope John Paul II—which led to our book, at Amazon, on the subject, Capital Punishment & Catholic Social Teaching: A Tradition of Support—has gotten into real confused territory under Pope Francis, as this article from Catholic World Report notes.

An excerpt.

Debate has always been an invigorating and constructive way of defining and refining views, assuming that the debaters have minds of probity and reason. This is increasingly absent in our culture, where subjectivism rules, and where there is only one debater, and his opponent is a straw man of his own construction.

Yet when one reads the “spontaneous remarks” of Pope Francis on various subjects of the day, the quality of reasoning and information of facts is so fugitive, that frustration yields to sheer embarrassment. There is, for example, the Holy Father’s remarks to youth in Turin on a hot June day in 2015: even a Reuters press release said that his smorgasbord of concerns, from bankers to the weapons industry to Nazi concentration camps, was “rambling.” While constrained by respect for the Petrine office, and aware of the strains that imposes, it is distressing to look for a train of thought and find only a train wreck.

That has to be the impression after reading the Pope’s remarks to a Delegation of the International Commission Against the Death Penalty. Pope Francis reiterated his absolutist opposition to the death penalty which, by a singular gesture, he has also ordered be inscribed in the Catechism. Perhaps aware that public response might be problematic, he did not mention his opposition even to life sentences, having called them a form of “hidden death penalty”. This went far beyond the second edition of the 1992 Catechism, which affirmed the integrity of capital punishment in Scripture and Tradition but added that the cases in which the execution of the offender as an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.” By adding to a catechetical text a prudential opinion, John Paul II did something unprecedented and the whirlwind now being reaped in a pontificate less theologically acute, could justify concluding that the insertion of a prudential apostrophe was imprudent.

Pope Francis uses the term ”inadmissible” to describe the death penalty, although it has no theological substance, and by avoiding words such as “immoral” or “wrong”, inflicts on discourse an ambiguity similar to parts of Amoris Laetitia. The obvious meaning is that capital punishment is intrinsically evil, but to say so outright would be too blatant. He also calls all life “inviolable,” a term which applies only to innocent life and has no moral warrant otherwise. Then there is the ancillary and unmentioned consideration of the role of punishment and hell in all this, conjuring a suspicion of universalism, which is the denial of eternal alienation from God.

In 2004, Cardinal Ratzinger explained: “There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia” and should a Catholic support the death penalty “he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion.” Pope Francis has discarded that, just as he has set aside the entire magisterial tradition of the Church on the kinds of penalties—medicinal and retributive—and their functions. This is no surprise, since an attaché of the Holy See Press Office, Father Thomas Rosica, has said in a statement ultramontane to the point of heresy: “Our Church has indeed entered a new phase: with the advent of this first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture.”

Exceptional delineations of authentic teaching on penalties were explained by Pius XII in his discourse to the First National Conference of Italian Lawyers in 1949 and the Sixth Internal Congress of Penal Law in 1953. A definitive new study is the book By Man Shall His Blood be Shed by Edward Feser and Joseph Bessette. Professor Feser has logically asked why we should have reverence for a father who has no reverence for the fathers, and warns that by divorcing his teaching from the constant tradition, Pope Francis is cutting off the very branch on which he sits.

Pope Francis justifies himself by invoking a “”progress” in society, but this is a humanistic—even Pelagian—confidence that has no warrant in reality. It also lets loose a cataract of contradictions. For instance, one of the Pope’s men, Archbishop Marcelo Sorondo, praised Communist China for coming “closer to Catholic social teaching” than the United States, although there were 23 executions in the United States last year compared with 1,551 in China, more than all other nations combined.


Saint of the Day & Reformed Yakuza

From Franciscan Media

Saint Raymond of Peñafort, Saint of the Day for January 7

(1175 – January 6, 1275)

Saint Raymond of Peñafort’s Story

Since Raymond lived into his hundredth year, he had a chance to do many things. As a member of the Spanish nobility, he had the resources and the education to get a good start in life.

By the time he was 20, he was teaching philosophy. In his early 30s he earned a doctorate in both canon and civil law. At 41 he became a Dominican. Pope Gregory IX called him to Rome to work for him and to be his confessor. One of the things the pope asked him to do was to gather together all the decrees of popes and councils that had been made in 80 years since a similar collection by Gratian. Raymond compiled five books called the Decretals. They were looked upon as one of the best organized collections of Church law until the 1917 codification of canon law.

Earlier, Raymond had written for confessors a book of cases. It was called Summa de Casibus Poenitentiae. More than simply a list of sins and penances, it discussed pertinent doctrines and laws of the Church that pertained to the problem or case brought to the confessor.

At the age of 60, Raymond was appointed archbishop of Tarragona, the capital of Aragon. He didn’t like the honor at all and ended up getting sick and resigning in two years.

He didn’t get to enjoy his peace long, however, because when he was 63 he was elected by his fellow Dominicans to be the head of the whole Order, the successor of Saint Dominic. Raymond worked hard, visited on foot all the Dominicans, reorganized their constitutions and managed to put through a provision that a master general be allowed to resign. When the new constitutions were accepted, Raymond, then 65, resigned.

He still had 35 years to oppose heresy and work for the conversion of the Moors in Spain. He convinced Saint Thomas Aquinas to write his work Against the Gentiles.

In his 100th year, the Lord let Raymond retire.


Raymond was a lawyer, a canonist. Legalism can suck the life out of genuine religion if it becomes too great a preoccupation with the letter of the law to the neglect of the spirit and purpose of the law. The law can become an end in itself, so that the value the law was intended to promote is overlooked. But we must guard against going to the opposite extreme and seeing law as useless or something to be lightly regarded. Laws ideally state those things that are for the best interests of everyone and make sure the rights of all are safeguarded. From Raymond, we can learn a respect for law as a means of serving the common good.

Saint Raymond of Peñafort is the Patron Saint of: Lawyers


Reformed Yakuza

From The Guardian comes this inspiring story.

An excerpt.

Takashi Nakamoto yells a friendly greeting from the kitchen when he spots a customer slide open the door to his restaurant, his face just visible through the steam rising from pots of stock and boiling water.

As he slices leeks and shakes the residual water from another batch of al dente udon noodles, it is easy to miss the most conspicuous physical reminder of Nakamoto’s life before he opened his restaurant, Daruma-ya, in the gritty southwestern city of Kitakyushu in June last year.

His missing pinkie is the legacy of three decades entrenched in Japan’s underworld, during which he rose from foot soldier to a senior position in the Kudo-kai, one of the country’s most violent yakuza crime syndicates.

After lunch service has ended, Nakamoto can be persuaded to lift up his T-shirt to reveal a tattoo stretching across his back and shoulders and down his arms. “That’s enough, it’s not for show,” he says in a tone that suggests the conversation move towards his extraordinary journey of self-awareness and redemption.

Being a yakuza is not like working for a company or having a career – it’s a way of life,” he tells the Guardian over beers and sashimi at a nearby restaurant. “I was a real tearaway as a young man, so it felt natural to join the yakuza. I would do anything for my organisation. I was a serious gangster.”

It is no empty boast. Nakamoto’s years in the Kudo-kai were punctuated by stints in prison, including an eight-year sentence for his part in a violent attack on a Chinese-run massage parlour whose owners had set up shop without the gang’s blessing.

Now, though, the 52-year-old is one of a growing number of men who are cutting their yakuza ties to build new lives situated firmly on the right side of the law….

Nakamoto was in prison in 2008 when he learned that Mizoshita had died. His boss’s death, and pangs of conscience over the misery the gang had inflicted on innocent residents, led him to question his career choice and resolve to cut his yakuza ties for good.

He is now four years into a five-year probationary period, during which he is not allowed to rent property or open a bank account, but has at least found a career with long-term prospects.

A 2016 survey of employers in Kitakyushu found that 80% would not want to hire a former yakuza. And ex-gangsters who manage to find work are likely to find themselves ostracised and discriminated against in the workplace, according to Noboru Hirosue, an expert in criminal sociology at Kurume University.

“For someone as senior as Nakamoto-san to quit the yakuza is almost unheard of,” says Hirosue, whose book about Nakamoto was published in July. “He had to put his whole life behind him and learn to be humble. He was once a wealthy man … he certainly isn’t now.”


Christmas Vacation

Hello Everyone:

I will be taking our traditional Christmas/New Year blog vacation until Monday, January 7, 2019.

Have a Wonderful and Merry Christmas and a Very Happy New Year!!

David H. Lukenbill