Wednesday, February 19, 2020

EDI's Seminar on Holiness

Before the Eighth Day Institute Symposium on Holiness in January, EDI held a two day Seminar on "Holiness in the Bible, the Fathers, the Liturgy, and Literature" at The Ladder, the institute's headquarters. Next Friday and Saturday, February 28 and 29, they are repeating the event and a friend and I are attending:

This four-session Seminar will be conducted in a Shared Inquiry format, the method of approaching texts used in the classrooms of St. John's College, Thomas Aquinas College, and other "great books" curriculum schools.

A good friend once said, "shared-inquiry is a way to read a book with more than one brain." This is an apt description, because one often discovers that a passage which proves difficult is illumined by someone else, and vice versa. Shared-inquiry facilitates a communal engagement with a given text so that we are informed and transformed together.

Seating is limited to first 12 registrants.

Readings include The Song of Songs from the Old Testament, selections from St. Maximus the Confessor (who was the patron saint of the Symposium in January), the Orthodox liturgy for the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, and Flannery O'Connor's "Revelation".

If you are in the Wichita area, please check it out here.

Monday, February 17, 2020

This Morning: 100th Anniversaries of Prohibition and Women's Suffrage

As I mentioned to Anna Mitchell when I sent her the link to the preview of the anniversaries of the 18th and 19th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, we'll probably focus more on Prohibition than on Women's Suffrage this morning during our segment on the Son Rise Morning Show at about 6:50 a.m. Central/7:50 a.m. Eastern. Please listen live here; the podcast will be archived here!

I noted Friday in my preview that the Women's Suffrage movement was part of an overall Protestant reform agenda, which for a time included anti-slavery efforts, temperance and prohibition causes. While the Catholic Church--specifically the hierarchy in the United States--did not proclaim an official response to women's suffrage, some were opposed because of the anti-Catholic, eugenicist position of many in this pro-Protestant, pro-Anglo movement. Therefore, one on-line history of the long-term efforts to gain the vote for women states:

New England suffragists used the argument of “social housekeeping”—that women would clean up urban politics and social ills—to make a case for allowing women to vote in municipal elections. Frequently these campaigns for municipal suffrage drew on anti-immigrant and anti-Catholic bigotry. In Massachusetts, for example, anti-immigrant Republican men believed that native-born Protestant women would be more likely to vote than Catholic women, who would be discouraged from voting by their husbands. Thus, woman suffrage would save the state from “rum and Romanism” by diluting the Catholic vote and promoting the cause of temperance. Despite these appeals, the Republican Party as a whole did not support municipal suffrage for women. The Democratic Party, especially its Irish Catholic wing, which linked woman suffrage to nativism, temperance, and anti-family radicalism, also opposed enfranchising women.[13] (emphasis added)

So there's that linkage between women's suffrage, temperance, and anti-Catholicism.

The article that I cited on Friday, "Some Kind of Religious Freedom: National Prohibition and the Volstead Act' s exemption for the Religious Use of Wine" by Michael deHaven Newsom in Volume 70, Issue Three of the Brooklyn Law Review, notes that anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant (especially ant-Irish immigrant) view held sway throughout the history of the temperance and prohibition movements, and often in the history of the women's suffrage movement. Catholics were un-American and the only hope for American democracy and Protestant survival was for Catholics to assimilate and become Protestants. Lyman Beecher, the Presbyterian abolitionist and temperance promoter, whose son Henry Ward Beecher would also be a supporter of women's suffrage, was confident that Protestantism would triumph in this effort of assimilation:
Let the Catholics mingle with us as Americans and come with their children under the full action of our common schools and republican institutions, and the various powers of assimilation, and we are prepared cheerfully to abide the consequences. If in these circumstances the Protestant religion cannot stand before the Catholic, let it go down, and we will sound no alarm, and ask no aid, and make no complaint. It is no ecclesiastical quarrel to which we would call the attention of the American nation.
Lest anyone think that Beecher had somehow abandoned the cause of the Protestant Empire or had lost his faith in its anointed historical role, Beecher entertained no doubt but that if American Protestant political and religious leadership maintained a watchful eye by checking and regulating immigration, by instructing American Protestants as to the truth of Catholicism, by ensuring that the education of Protestant children never fell into the hands of Catholics, and by kindness and perseverance, that leadership would extend the light of evangelical Protestantism to Catholics, Protestantism would not "go down," but Catholicism would. (Newsom, p. 778)

As Newsom points out, Catholics did not want to assimilate and established the parochial school system and other programs and structures parallel to the (at that time) Protestant public school systems, etc. Newsom's article is detailed and long but well worth reading. He notes that the height of political anti-Catholicism came in the 1928 Presidential election, when Al Smith, the Catholic, Irish-American, Governor of New York ran as the Democrat Party candidate. Herbert Hoover was supported by the Prohibition movement and attacks against "rum and Romanism" focused on Smith's Catholicism. 

While the 19th Amendment is still part of the U.S. Constitution, the 18th Amendment was repealed in 1933 by the 21st Amendment:

Section 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Section 2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.

The 21st Amendment took effect December 5, 1933 after state convention approval and passage of the Blaine Act in Congress.

Image Credit: Official program of the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Preview: 100th Anniversaries of Prohibition and Women's Suffrage

On Presidents Day, Monday, February 17, we'll continue our discussion of major anniversaries celebrated in 2020 on the Son Rise Morning Show. I'll be talking to either Anna Mitchell or Matt Swaim about 6:50 a.m. Central/7:50 a.m. Eastern.

Please listen live here; the podcast will be archived here!

One hundred years ago, the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibited "the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes" came into effect at 12:01 a.m. on January 17, 1920. On August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which established that "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex", having been approved by the House of Representatives, the Senate, and 36 states, was officially adopted--in time for that year's Presidential election (Harding vs. Cox, Republican vs. Democrat; both from Ohio!) Harding won.

The causes of temperance and women's suffrage--and the abolition of slavery--were intertwined in various ways as part of a "women's rights movement" throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The women's rights movement was also a general social reform movement with other causes as this brief article on the website for Ken Burns' PBS documentary about the suffrage movement describes:

The enormous success of the temperance movement among native-born American women between 1874 and 1900 entwined the destiny of the suffrage movement with the temperance movement during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Founded in 1874, in the midst of one of the deepest economic depressions in American history, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) quickly became the largest women’s organization in the United States during the nineteenth century.

The WCTU drew on social traditions of Protestant women’s activism that had emerged in the decades between 1830 and 1860, when the separation between church and state transformed Protestant denominations into a set of competing voluntarist organizations. Serving as a pan-Protestant umbrella organization that acted independently of male ministerial authority, the WCTU became a “woman’s church” to many of its members, complete with ritual processions, symbolic regalia, and hierarchical lines of authority.

Both the temperance and the women's suffrage movements were led by Protestants and there were some divisions between Protestants and the Catholics on these issues. The WCTU definitely espoused nativist sentiments toward immigrants from Ireland and Europe, outraged that some non-Anglo, non-Protestant immigrant men could become citizens and vote when Anglo, Protestant, native-born women could not.

There was no official teaching or direction from the hierarchy on either issue, so Catholics could choose whether or not to support the movements, and to what degree to support them. In the matter of temperance and prohibition, however, the Church was definitely concerned to protect the production, purchase, and transportation of sacramental wine to be used at Mass. The 18th Amendment did not address this freedom of religion aspect of Prohibition, although it does include the words "for beverage purposes" (a possible distinction between drinking alcohol and using wine in religious services), so the Volstead Act had to carve out an exception to the rule. This article from the Brooklyn Law Review explains how this exemption extended to Jewish, Episcopalian, and Eastern Orthodox congregations, and the producers of this wine, who were licensed and regulated. The author also explains, in great detail, the theological reasons Evangelical Protestants developed such a fear of both alcoholic beverages and Catholicism. The Volstead Act exemption may have saved California's wine industry, as this article (not entirely accurate in its depiction of the Catholic Mass, however) notes.

There was Catholic concern about the abuse of alcohol but it was focused on temperance, not legal prohibition, as this brief history of the Catholic temperance movement describes:

Curiously, however, (perhaps in a nascent spirit of subsidiarity) the resulting Catholic Total Abstinence Union of America was a wholly moral movement, emphasizing personal reform and not wishing to be part of any legal schemes for prohibiting alcohol production:
Our motto is moral suasion. With prohibitory laws, restrictive license systems, and special legislation we have nothing whatever to do. [Emphasis added.] There is blended with our proposed plan of organization the attractive feature of mutual relief. Thus Temperance and Benevolence go hand in hand.
On the other hand, the Union flatly stated it would not oppose laws that shut down some gin mills.

The Union received many words of encouragement over the years from popes (Leo XIII and Pius X among them), but what’s clear from those words of greeting and from the Union’s own pronouncements is that Catholic temperance was aimed at minimizing consumption of spirits and not at banning either beer or wine. As St. Pius X stated it, the enemy was “the abuse of strong drink.” It’s worth noting that both Leo and Pius were happy consumers of Vin Mariani – basically Bordeaux wine infused with coca leaves (10 percent alcohol and 8.5 percent cocaine extract by volume), which promised to “tone and strengthen body and brain.” Leo allowed it to be promoted with his name and image.

More about Catholics and women's suffrage on Monday.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Death Comes for the Archbishop: Jean-Baptiste Lamy, RIP

Jean-Baptiste Lamy, the first Archbishop of Santa Fe, New Mexico, died on February 13, 1888. The New Mexico History website describes how he became the bishop of Santa Fe in 1853:

After the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo gave sovereignty of the territories of New Mexico and Arizona to the United States. New Mexico, as a territory of Spain and then of Mexico, had been since colonial times under the jurisdiction of the bishop of Durango, but after the treaty ecclesiastical authority was transferred to the Catholic Church of the United States. In May 1849 the Provincial Council of the Catholic Church in Baltimore petitioned to Rome for the establishment of a provisional diocese (Vicariate Apostolic) in New Mexico to be headed by Lamy. In July 1850 the Vatican responded and established the Vicariate of New Mexico, naming Lamy as Vicar. In November Lamy was consecrated in Cincinnati, and he appointed Father Machebeuf to be his Vicar-General.

Lamy left immediately for his new post, going by way of New Orleans with his sister and niece whom he left at the Ursuline convent in that city. Lamy continued by ship to Galveston where he met with Bishop Jean Marie Odin who assigned him jurisdiction of three more towns near El Paso: Isleta, Socorro, and San Elizario. Bishop Odin advised Lamy not to proceed to New Mexico but rather to go to France first and bring some young French priests back with him to replace the Hispanic clergy in New Mexico whose moral and pastoral qualities he questioned. While Lamy did not follow the bishop’s advice to go to France, it was the first evidence of a cultural divide between European and native-born clergy that was to arise many times in his career in New Mexico.

Machebeuf caught up with Lamy in San Antonio and they traveled together to El Paso and then to New Mexico. Upon his arrival in New Mexico in June 1851 Lamy appeared at first to receive a warm welcome with a large and enthusiastic turnout of the populace as he made his way north from El Paso to Santa Fe. Reaching Santa Fe in August, he was again warmly greeted, but then the Vicario Foraneo (Rural Dean, in charge of the Santa Fe pastorate), Juan Felipe Ortiz informed Lamy that he (Ortiz) and the New Mexican priests under him did not recognize Lamy as the Bishop of Santa Fe. . . .

Please read the rest there.

Paul Horgan wrote a Pulitzer Prize winning biography of Archbishop Lamy (he was named Archbishop on February 12, 1875), but Willa Cather's fictionalized biography of Lamy as Jean Marie Latour and Machebeuf as Joseph Vaillant is even more famous. At the end of the novel, Cather's narrator describes the Archbishop's death:

The Mother Superior and Magdalena and Bernard attended the sick man. There was little to do but to watch and pray, so peaceful and painless was his repose. Sometimes it was sleep, they knew from his relaxed features; then his face would assume personality, consciousness, even though his eyes did not open.

Toward the close of day, in the short twilight after the candles were lighted, the old Bishop seemed to become restless, moved a little, and began to murmur; it was in the French tongue, but Bernard, though he caught some words, could make nothing of them. He knelt beside the bed: “What is it, Father? I am here.”

He continued to murmur, to move his hands a little, and Magdalena thought he was trying to ask for something, or to tell them something. But in reality the Bishop was not there at all: he was standing in a tip-tilted green field among his native mountains, and he was trying to give consolation to a young man who was being torn in two before his eyes by the desire to go and the necessity to stay. He was trying to forge a new Will in that devout and exhausted priest; and the time was short, for the diligence for Paris was already rumbling down the mountain gorge.

When the Cathedral bell tolled just after dark, the Mexican population of Santa Fé fell upon their knees, and all American Catholics as well. Many others who did not kneel prayed in their hearts. Eusabio and the Tesuque boys went quietly away to tell their people; and the next morning the old Archbishop lay before the high altar in the church he had built.

My late husband Mark and I went to Santa Fe twice. Once in 1989, before we were married--separate hotel rooms, if you please--and again in 1993. We flew to Albuquerque and rented a car in 1989 but drove a rented van from Wichita to Taos (where we stayed) and Santa Fe with our first Westie Ruffis accompanying us in 1993. During both trips we visited Archbishop Lamy's great Romanesque Cathedral of St. Francis. Cather depicts Archbishop Latour's last sight of that cathedral:

Wrapped in his Indian blankets, the old Archbishop sat for a long while looking at the open, golden face of his Cathedral. How exactly young Molny, his French architect, had done what he wanted! Nothing sensational, simply honest building and good stone-cutting—good Midi-Romanesque of the plainest. And even now, in winter, when the acacia trees before the door were bare, how it was of the South, that church, how it sounded the note of the South!

No one but Molny and the Bishop had ever seemed to enjoy the beautiful site of that building—perhaps no one ever would. But these two had spent many an hour admiring it. The steep carnelian hills drew up so close behind the church that the individual pine trees thinly wooding their slopes were clearly visible. From the end of the street where the Bishop’s buggy stood, the tawny church seemed to start directly out of those rose-colored hills—with a purpose so strong that it was like action. Seen from this distance, the Cathedral lay against the pine-splashed slopes as against a curtain. When Bernard drove slowly nearer, the backbone of the hills sank gradually, and the towers rose clear into the blue air, while the body of the church still lay against the mountain.

We attended performances at the Santa Fe Opera during both vacations: Massenet's Cherubin in 1989; Handel's Xerxes in 1993--both starring Frederica von Stade. Mark and I often talked about going back to Santa Fe, but never did. We thought about staying at the Bishop's Lodge outside of Santa Fe, which includes a chapel built by Archbishop Lamy on its grounds. Sadly, the Lodge is closed now, undergoing some delayed renovations, and the chapel is becoming dilapidated (as of May 2019):

The historic chapel was established by Bishop Jean-Baptiste Lamy in the 19th century. The rest of the expansive facility has been around since the 1920s, according to a bulletin published by the Santa Fe Historical Society in 1987. Lamy built the chapel on a property north of the city that he bought for $80 as a personal retreat in 1869, the same time period that the Catholic bishop oversaw the construction of what became the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.

SFR showed pictures of the chapel as it stands today to Mac Watson, chair of the Historic Santa Fe Foundation and a frequent visitor of the chapel before the site was closed for renovation.

"The roof shingles are in terrible shape, and given the amount of rain and snow we've had this year, it is hard to think that a great deal of water has not gone through the roof and inflicted damage to the interior," Watson tells SFR. . . .

I don't find any other updates on-line but I hope the chapel is taken care of soon.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

The Empress Eugenie and Lourdes

This morning on the Son Rise Morning Show, Anna Mitchell and I will talk about a fascinating aspect of the history of the apparitions of Our Lady at Lourdes, France. (7:50 a.m. Eastern/6:50 a.m. Central: Please listen live here; the podcast will be archived here!) Very appropriate for the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes!

The Empress Eugenie, the devout Catholic wife of Napoleon III, the last emperor of France, intervened at an important juncture in 1858. Their son, Louis Napoleon, the Prince Imperial, was ill and the Empress Eugenie sent his governess to Lourdes to bring back some water from the spring at the shrine.

Local authorities had barricaded the shrine and forbidden access, enforced by fines or imprisonment. When Madame Bruat, the Prince Imperial's governess, was arrested at the shrine, she paid the fines of all those threatened with prison terms because they couldn't pay the fines. She took the water back to Biarritz, the Emperor's vacation home, and Louis Napoleon recovered.

Fans of The Song of Bernadette, the 1943 movie based on Franz Werfel's 1941 novel, will remember how the Empress Eugenie, portrayed by Patricia Morison, persuades the Emperor Napoleon III to intervene and order the grotto opened to the faithful. He did so on October 5, 1858. More about that story here.

After the fall of the Second French Empire in 1870, the Napoleons left France for exile in Chislehurst, England. The former Emperor died in 1873, and their son died in 1879. Still a devout Catholic, Eugenie built a monastery with a crypt for the family tomb, St. Michael's Abbey, in Farnborough, Hampshire with definite French Connections:

In 1880, the Empress Eugénie bought a house in Farnborough. Crushed by the loss of her husband Napoleon III in 1873 and the death in 1879 of her 23 year old son in the Zulu War, she built St Michael’s Abbey as a monastery and the Imperial Mausoleum.

Dom Fernand Cabrol, the prior of the French Abbey of Saint Pierre de Solesmes, had dreamed of a monastic foundation dedicated to liturgical studies. No suitable property or funding had been found, though the vicissitudes of the anti-clerical France of the 1890s made the thought of a house abroad increasingly attractive. Finally, in 1895, the Empress Eugénie invited these French Benedictines to England, and thus the daily round of work, prayer and study began.

Monsignor Ronald Knox was received into the Catholic Church here. In his memoirs he described the Abbey as "a little corner of England which is forever France, irreclaimably French."

The last French monk died in 1956, so it's more England now, but maintains its ties to the Abbey of Saint Pierre de Solesmes with its Gregorian Chant, liturgical studies, and Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite.

The former Empress died in Spain on July 11, 1920--so 2020 is the centenary of her death--and was interred in the family crypt at St. Michael's Abbey.

More about the Empress Eugenie--she had also influenced her husband to send the French troops to Rome in defense of Pope Pius IX and had even offered him refuge in Avignon!--here.

Monday, February 10, 2020

1870: Vatican I and the Siege of Paris

As previewed, I'll be talking to Anna Mitchell or Matt Swaim about the connection between the First Vatican Council and the Siege of Paris 150 years ago in 1870 this morning on the Son Rise Morning Show about 6:50 a.m. Central/7:50 a.m. Eastern.

Please listen live here; the podcast will be archived here!

As The World Digital Library of the Library of Congress describes the Siege of Paris:


The Franco-Prussian War was brought about by rising tensions between France and Prussia in the 1860s. France, under Emperor Napoleon III, was determined to check the growth of Prussian power and avenge what it saw as a series of diplomatic humiliations. Prussia, under Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, believed that a Prussian-led war of the German states against France would be a decisive act leading to creation of a unified German empire. The conflict began on July 19, 1870, when France declared war. The French army proved woefully unprepared and suffered a disastrous defeat at the Battle of Sedan, leaving open the road to Paris. By September 19, the Germans had completely surrounded the city and begun a siege that was to last more than four months. Cut off from supplies from the countryside, the Parisians held out by eating dogs, cats, and even most of the animals in the Paris zoo. The trees on the Champs-Elysées and in parks were cut down and burned for fuel. On January 5, the German armies began a bombardment of the city, which lasted several hours each night for a period of 23 nights. About 12,000 shells fell on Paris neighborhoods, killing some 400 people. Paris surrendered on January 28, effectively ending the war. The French defeat was followed by a popular uprising and the establishment, in March 1871, of the Paris Commune, a revolutionary government formed in accordance with anarchist and socialist principles. The Commune was bloodily suppressed in May 1871 by French troops under the government of Adolphe Thiers. During the brief period in which the communards controlled Paris, they dismantled the imperial column in the Place Vendôme. The suppression of the Commune resulted in further extensive damage to the city, as the communards set fire to the Tuileries Palace, the Louvre, and other buildings, and as desperate fighting between the communards and counterrevolutionary forces destroyed or damaged many other structures.

The Second French Empire had fallen with the surrender of Emperor Napoleon III after defeat at the Battle of Sedan. The Third Republic, the Government of National Defense, continued fighting the Prussians and defending Paris until January of 1871. Then the Germans, as part of the Armistice negotiations, brought food and medicine and other supplies to the people of Paris. Under the Third Republic, from 1871-1940, Paris was restored yet again.

Tomorrow, on the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, we'll follow up with the story of how the Empress Eugenie, the Emperor Napoleon III's devoutly Catholic wife, played a role in the The Song of Bernadette--in real life and in the 1943 movie based on Franz Werfel's 1941 novel. Same time, same station.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Newman on Septuagesima Sunday

Today is Septuagesima Sunday, the first Sunday of the Carnival or Shrovetide season before Lent, observed on the calendars of the 1962 Missal. The old Missal illustration depicts the Gospel of the day in which Jesus tells the parable of the master who pays all the day laborers the same wage, whether they were hired early or late (Matthew 20:1-16).

In the first sermon published in Newman's Sermons on Subjects of the Day, "The Work of the Christian," he commented on this parable, determining at what stage of the day's work we have started in the vineyard:

Nor, secondly, can we argue that our work is shorter from the labourers' complaint, "These have wrought but one hour." For we are called, as is evident, in the world's evening, not in our own. We are called in our own morning, we are called from infancy. By the eleventh hour is not meant that Christians have little to do, but that the time is short; that it is the last time; that there is a "present distress;" that they have much to do in a little time; that "the night cometh when no man can work;" that their Lord is at hand, and that they have to wait for Him. "This I say, brethren," says St. Paul, "the time is short; it remaineth that both they that have wives be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it, for the fashion of this world passeth away." [1 Cor. vii. 29-31.] It was otherwise with the Jews; they had a grant of this world; they entered the vineyard in the morning; they had time before them; they might reckon on the future. They were bid "go their way, eat their bread with joy, and drink their wine with a merry heart, and let their garments be always white, and let their head lack no ointment, and live joyfully with the wife whom they loved all the days of the life of their vanity: ... for that was their portion in this life, and in their labour which they took under the sun." [Eccles. ix. 7-9.] But it is otherwise with us. Earth and sky are ever failing; Christ is ever coming; Christians are ever lifting up their heads and looking out, and therefore it is the evening. We may not set our hearts on things present; we may not say to our soul, "Thou hast much goods laid up for many years, take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry:" [Luke xii. 19.] and therefore it is the evening. We may not think of home, or brethren, or sister, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or land; and therefore it is the evening [Mark x. 29.]. The evening is long and the day was short; for the first shall be last, and the last first. What seems vigorous perishes; what seems ever expiring is carried on; and this last age, though ever-failing, has lasted longer than the ages before it, and Christians have more time for a greater work than if they had been hired in the morning.

O may we ever bear in mind that we are not sent into this world to stand all the day idle, but to go forth to our work and to our labour until the evening! Until the evening, not in the evening only of life, but serving God from our youth, and not waiting till our years fail us. Until the evening, not in the daytime only, lest we begin to run well, but fall away before our course is ended. Let us "give glory to the Lord our God, before He cause darkness, and before our feet stumble upon the dark mountains;" [Jer. xiii. 16.] and, having turned to Him, let us see that our goodness be not "as the morning cloud, and as the early dew which passeth away." The end is the proof of the matter. When the sun shines, this earth pleases; but let us look towards that eventide and the cool of the day, when the Lord of the vineyard will walk amid the trees of His garden, and say unto His steward, "Call the labourers, and give them their hire, beginning from the last unto the first." That evening will be the trial: when the heat, and fever, and noise of the noon-tide are over, and the light fades, and the prospect saddens, and the shades lengthen, and the busy world is still, and "the door shall be shut in the streets, and the daughters of music shall be brought low, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond-tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail," and "the pitcher shall be broken at the fountain, and the wheel broken at the cistern;" then, when it is "vanity of vanities, all is vanity," and the Lord shall come, "who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts,"—then shall we "discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not." [Mal. iii. 18.]

May that day and that hour ever be in our thoughts! When we rise, when we lie down; when we speak, when we are silent; when we act, and when we rest: whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, may we never forget that "for all these things God will bring us into judgment." [Eccles. xi. 9.] For "He cometh quickly, and His reward is with Him, to give every man according as His work shall be." [Rev. xxii. 12.]

"Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city." Blessed will they be then, and only they, who, with the Apostle, have ever had on their lips, and in their hearts, the question, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" [Acts ix. 6.] whose soul "hath broken out for the very fervent desire that it hath alway unto His judgments;" who have "made haste and prolonged not the time to keep His commandments;" [Ps. cxix. 20, 60.] who have not waited to be hired, nor run uncertainly, nor beaten the air, nor taken darkness for light, and light for darkness, nor contented themselves with knowing what is right, nor taken comfort in feeling what is good, nor prided themselves in their privileges, but set themselves vigorously to do God's will.

Let us turn from shadows of all kinds,—shadows of sense, or shadows of argument and disputation, or shadows addressed to our imagination and tastes. Let us attempt, through God's grace, to advance and sanctify the inward man. We cannot be wrong here. Whatever is right, whatever is wrong, in this perplexing world, we must be right in "doing justly, in loving mercy, in walking humbly with our God;" in denying our wills, in ruling our tongues, in softening and sweetening our tempers, in mortifying our lusts; in learning patience, meekness, purity, forgiveness of injuries, and continuance in well-doing.

Notice the emphasis on "shadows" in the last paragraph: the shadows and imaginings we must leave behind to enter into the truth.

Ancilla Press has issued another excellent seasonal devotional for Septuagesima:

Recover the ancient Catholic tradition of the pre-Lenten season with special devotions and prayers for the three Sundays before Ash Wednesday. Features two versions of the burial of the Alleluia; commemorations and prayers proper to Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima; Divine Office propers for the Patriarchs Adam, Noah, and Abraham; and devotions for Shrovetide and Mardi Gras, including instructions, reparations, and an examination of conscience.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Preview: Papal Infallibility and the Siege of Paris: 150 Years Ago

On Monday, February 10, we'll discuss two interconnected anniversaries on the Son Rise Morning Show: The dogmatic definition of Papal Infallibility at the First Vatican Council on July 18, 1870 and the Siege of Paris at the end of the Franco-Prussian War beginning on September 19, 1870.

The First Vatican Council was convened by Pope Pius IX (Blessed Pope Pius IX, whose feast is February 7) on December 8, 1869 (the feast of the Immaculate Conception, celebrating the dogma Pope Pius IX had declared in 1854 via the Papal Bull Ineffabilis Deus). 

The purpose of the First Vatican Council was to clarify the Church's teaching about the Church itself. The bishops met, not in the Lateran Basilica like previous councils held in Rome, but in St. Peter's Basilica. As the bishops met in council, Pope Pius IX was already the "Prisoner of the Vatican", as Victor Emmanuel of Sardinia had conquered the Papal States. Troops from the French Empire, ruled by Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon III, protected the Pope in Rome, which had not yet been taken by the Italian revolutionaries.

Although the First Vatican Council is most famous for the proclamation of Papal Infallibility, there was another document issued, Dei Filius, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, on April 24, 1870. It has four chapters: 1. God, Creator of All Things; 2. Revelation; 3. Faith; 4. Faith and Reason. It begins (in translation):

The holy, Catholic, Apostolic, Roman Church believes and confesses that there is one, true, living God, Creator and Lord of heaven and earth, omnipotent, eternal, immense, incomprehensible, infinite in intellect and will, and in every perfection; who, although He is one, singular, altogether simple and unchangeable spiritual substance, must be proclaimed distinct in reality and essence from the world; most blessed in Himself and of Himself, and ineffably most high above all things which are or can be conceived outside Himself.

This sole true God by His goodness and "omnipotent power," not to increase His own beatitude, and not to add to, but to manifest His perfection by the blessings which He bestows on creatures, with most free volition, "immediately from the beginning of time fashioned each creature out of nothing, spiritual and corporeal, namely angelic and mundane; and then the human creation, common as it were, composed of both spirit and body" [Lateran Council IV, can. 2 and 5]

But God protects and governs by His providence all things which He created, "reaching from end to end mightily and ordering all things sweetly" [cf. Wis 8:1]. For "all things are naked and open to His eyes" [Heb 4:13], even those which by the free action of creatures are in the future.

The document on the nature of the Church, which included the role of the Papacy, faced more opposition and therefore, Pope Pius IX decided the bishops should define only the role of the Pope in that document, which became known by its first words, Pastor Aeternus, defining Papal Infallibility as one of its topics. Pastor Aeternus was finally adopted on July 18, 1870 with two dissenting votes. One of those dissenting votes was cast by the Bishop of Little Rock, Arkansas: Edward Fitzgerald, whose family had left Ireland during the Irish Potato Famine! He was concerned--as was St. John Henry Newman in England--that the declared definition of the doctrine would hamper his efforts to evangelize. Like Newman, he agreed that the Pope exercised magisterial infallibility in declaring dogma in certain limited occasions; he just thought the public definition was inopportune. The other dissenter was Aloisio Riccio of Sicily. Both accepted the doctrine after it had been declared.

With two documents completed, and after the bishops had been in Rome for seven months, the bishops were to return to their home dioceses for a summer break and then come back to the Vatican for further consultations, taking up the document on the nature of the Church, for example, on the role of the bishops. That's when the Franco-Prussian war intervened.

Prussian troops were advancing in France quickly, so Napoleon III had to recall the French troops garrisoned in Civitavecchia in August of 1870. When the French were defeated at the Battle of Sedan at the beginning of September that year, the new Kingdom of Italy invaded Rome and took over the city, removing it from Papal jurisdiction. On September 20, 1870, Pope Pius IX suspended the First Vatican Council indefinitely. It was formally closed in 1960, before the Second Vatican Council convened.

So while the unification of Italy proceeded apace, so did the Franco-Prussian War, and the French were losing. Just as the Kingdom of Italy needed to take Rome to be unified, the Prussian-German nation needed to take Paris to be victorious. Thus, the Siege of Paris beginning on September 19, 1870.

More about that Monday!!

Monday, February 3, 2020

Raphael, Beethoven, and the Great Hunger

Please remember that I'll be talking to Anna Mitchell on the Son Rise Morning Show as we continue our series on the great historical events to be remembered this year : about 6:50 a.m. Central/7:50 a.m. Eastern. The next three topics:  the 500th anniversary of the death of Raphael, the 200th anniversary of the baptism/birth of Ludwig von Beethoven, and the 175th anniversary of the potato famine in Ireland.

We will discussion the Great Hunger more than the two great artists. 

BTW, my favorite Beethoven symphonies are the 3rd, the 5th, and the 7th, especially the second movement of the 7th, the Allegretto

Please listen live here; the podcast will be archived here!

Image CreditAn Irish Peasant Family Discovering the Blight of their Store by Cork artist Daniel MacDonald, c. 1847.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Venerable Francis Libermann, RIP

In my review of David W. Fagerberg's Liturgical Mysticism, I mentioned that in one chapter he highlighted the spirituality of Venerable Francis Libermann, who died on February 2, 1852. He was convert to Catholicism from Judaism and is known as the Second Founder of the Spiritan order:

Venerable Francis Libermann had a most remarkable journey of faith. He was born into an orthodox Jewish family in the Alsace region of France in 1802, and given the name Jacob.

Jacob Libermann’s father was a rabbi, and Jacob was preparing to become a rabbi himself when his studies led him to the New Testament and to Christianity.

He was baptized Francis Mary Paul, in 1826, at Christmas.

Soon he was studying for the Catholic priesthood, but violent attacks of epilepsy put his vocation on hold.
It was fifteen years before he was finally ordained, in 1841.

In 1848 Libermann brought personnel and a renewed Spiritual energy to the Spiritans that transformed the Congregation.

Those intervening years were a time of grace and of maturing, as Libermann became an advisor and confidant to many seminarians and others wanting to grow in the spiritual life. His own trials and painful experiences, as well as joys and perceived blessings, developed in him a great confidence in Providence and a sense of the Holy Spirit directing human affairs.

Professor Fagerberg quotes from the five volumes of spiritual letters the counsel he gave correspondents to embrace their cross and suffer with Jesus. Duquesne University has a selection of his letters online. He also offered other advice; for example to Louise des Loges, Libermann advised her in her discernment of a missionary vocation:

  • Libermann encourages Louise to open her heart to the Lord in perfect freedom and peace. "He who feeds even the smallest animals will provide what is necessary for those who desire to serve Him.
  • "She is not to rely on her own efforts, which lead nowhere. Rather, she is to "cling to Jesus," the "bridegroom of her soul" in the confidence that he provides "sweetness, love, and peace" for those who desire to serve him.
  • Her weaknesses do not prevent her from sharing in God's love. Rather "true self-knowledge brings with it an increase of love for God."
  • In the power of God's love Louise will "leap over" all the obstacles holding her back from following the "impulses of grace" and walk confidently in God's love.
Although Libermann was the founder of a missionary order, he never served as a missionary, but he wrote a rule for the Spiritan missionaries that is considered a great guide to missionary work. Father Libermann also wrote a book about the Gospel of St. John, translated as Jesus Through Jewish Eyes: A Spiritual Commentary on the Gospel of St. John by the Spiritans. Here is a commentary on that book, also published by the Spiritans.

He was declared Venerable in 1876 by Pope Pius IX.