Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Saint Francis de Sales Oratory, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - detail of stained glass windows of Saints Michael and Raphael, Archangels

Detail of stained glass windows of Saints Michael and Raphael, at Saint Francis de Sales Oratory. Photo taken today after Mass.

On the Angels

I CONFESS MY HERESY. No, not a heresy against the Faith and morals proposed by Holy Mother Church, but an intellectual heresy of my youth.

One of the central doctrines of contemporary physics is the strong statement on the non-existence of the luminiferous aether or ether. My heresy, among many, was believing falsely that an ether of some kind does exist. This is despite that I got a degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology, or Caltech, which has one of the finest physics programs in the world. Although my grades were marginal, I still learned very much, yet I rejected this doctrine out of intellectual stubbornness.  (Note that I also rejected other then-accepted doctrines of physics, such as the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum mechanics — but I had much firmer basis for my belief). Also, shamefully, I got a degree in physics, not knowing that the word physics comes from the Greek, meaning nature: I never bothered to look it up.

Sound travels as vibrations or waves in air; there is no air in space and so there is no sound in space, despite what you see in films. Sound can be easily generated by the simple wave motion of a plucked string, and this is perhaps a good demonstration that sound must be in the form of waves. Although we cannot see sound waves, ocean waves are similar and are quite visible. Water waves are the form of the moving matter of water. Early modern physics proposed that light travels in waves of a material aether. According to this theory, sound is a wave in the matter of air, ocean waves are waves in the material of water, and light is a wave motion in the material of the aether. I just could not get my head around the concept that an ether does not have to exist, and this was due to my very poor philosophical background.

Saint George Roman Catholic Church, in New Baden, Illinois, USA - stained glass window of Saint Michael

Stained glass window of Saint Michael the Archangel, at Saint George Roman Catholic Church, in New Baden, Illinois.

Today in the new calendar is the Feast of Saints Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael, Archangels; but in the old calendar it is The Dedication of Saint Michael the Archangel, being the day of consecration of the Basilica of Saint Michael, on the Via Salaria, six miles north of Rome.  Today is most famously Michaelmas in the English-speaking world. Michaelmas is particularly important in England, Wales, and Ireland, being one of the Quarter Days and historically was a major Holy Day of Obligation, and still retains secular importance, as well as marking the beginning of the season of Autumn.

A similar feast in the Eastern Byzantine Churches is the Synaxis of the Holy Archangels Michael and Gabriel and All the Bodiless Powers (where synaxis means assembly, congregation, collection, or college); this is celebrated on November 8th.

We must be very certain about the first fact about angels: they are not material beings; as the Greek feast day name indicates, they are Bodiless Powers. According to the Areopagite:
“...we must say under what holy figures the descriptions in the sacred writings portray those Celestial Orders, and to what kind of purity we ought to be guided through those forms lest we, like the many, should impiously suppose that those Celestial and Divine Intelligences are many-footed or many-faced beings, or formed with the brutishness of oxen, or the savageness of lions, or the curved beaks of eagles, or the feathers of birds, or should imagine that they are some kind of fiery wheels above the heavens, or material thrones upon which the Supreme Deity may recline, or many-coloured horses, or commanders of armies, or whatever else of symbolic description has been given to us in the various sacred images of the Scriptures.” (St. Dionysius the Areopagite, Celestial Heirarchy)
In Aristotelian philosophical terms, angels are pure formal cause, without material cause. The Formal Cause is the form or pattern of a thing, and a thing's identity is based on its pattern. The Material Cause is the matter from which a thing is made, for example, the material cause of a house could be wood and bricks, while the formal cause of the house is its design. A pile of bricks is not a house, since it lacks form.

But angels are pure form without matter. Does this sound familiar? Light is made of waves — a formal cause — but there is no aether — or material cause — that waves. Light is form without matter. This is definitively proposed by Einstein's Theory of Relativity, which has ample experimental verification. My heresy in believing that an aether is necessary could lead to heretical notions of angels. That light — one of the most important symbols of Divinity, understanding, and enlightenment — has properties that mimic that of the angels is undoubtably of great significance.

Saint Thomas Aquinas writes:
“It is, further, impossible for an intellectual substance to have any kind of matter. For the operation belonging to anything is according to the mode of its substance. Now to understand is an altogether immaterial operation, as appears from its object, whence any act receives its species and nature. For a thing is understood according to its degree of immateriality; because forms that exist in matter are individual forms which the intellect cannot apprehend as such. Hence it must be that every intellectual substance is altogether immaterial.”
That angels apparently take bodily form is well-attested by Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the lives of the Saints, but these are not to be considered true bodies and ought to be strongly contrasted with the Incarnation of Our Lord. Therefore these apparent bodies are not part of their true nature.

Angels are perfect scientists.  They see, or understand the cosmos as it actually is, like the Agents understand the realm portrayed in the film The Matrix, and are not limited like us by intermediate material senses. Angels are not supernatural — only God is supernatural, that is, above nature. Rather the angels live a preternatural existence. Aquinas has some things to say about this.

The analogy with light can be further extended. Angels exist in vast quantities, can be considered localized to a particular space at a given time, and can travel at exceeding high speeds (perhaps 186,000 miles per second, like light?) although angels' travels according to Aquinas are not necessarily contiguous, because our apparent perception of space is not strictly true. According to the theory of relativity, light experiences no time, even though it is there then and here now; likewise perhaps with the angels who are somehow outside of time while also interacting time: they can forecast the future with great accuracy, but they cannot see the future as does God.

The mystery of the fallen angels is too much to consider here, other than it is said that this is due to the capital sin of pride.  Let us instead ask that God's angels protect us: Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!

For lots of links on the subject of angels, see my old article Writings About the Angels.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Feast of Saint Vincent de Paul

IN THE NEW calendar, today is the feastday of Saint Vincent de Paul, co-patron of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. In the calendar of 1962, his feast is on July 19th.

Born into a peasant family, he got a good education, and was ordained a priest at age 20. He was captured by pirates and enslaved, and gained his freedom by the conversion of his owner to Christianity. Saint Vincent served the sick, poor, imprisoned, and unemployed.  He founded the Congregation of the Mission and, with Saint Louise de Marillac, co-founded the Daughters of Charity. His patronage includes hospitals and prisoners.

The U.S. National Council of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society is based in Saint Louis.  Saint Vincent's churches in this Archdiocese are located in Saint Louis, Dutzow, and Perryville.  Here is a 2005 photo of the Saint Vincent de Paul Chapel at the Cardinal Rigali Pastoral Center (the former Kenrick Seminary):

Saint Vincent de Paul Chapel, Cardinal Rigali Pastoral Center, in Shrewsbury, Missouri, USA - view down chapel

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The City Museum, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - painting of Saint Louis IX, King of France, with the relic of the crown of thorns, originally from a Saint Louis Church in Massachusetts

This painting of Saint Louis IX, King of France, with the relic of the Crown of Thorns, was originally from a church in Massachusetts, and is now at the City Museum, in Saint Louis, Missouri.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Missouri River at Night

Night view of the Missouri River, in Saint Charles, Missouri, USA - moonrise 2

The Moon rises over the Missouri River, in Saint Charles, Missouri.

Night view of the Missouri River, in Saint Charles, Missouri, USA - moonrise between trees

Night view of the Missouri River, in Saint Charles, Missouri, USA - river and trees

This was taken along the KATY trail, which at this spot has nice views of the river, as well as being close to Main Street Saint Charles.

Night view of the Missouri River, in Saint Charles, Missouri, USA - tree trunks in river

"Save St. Mary's"

A CORRESPONDENT asked me to post this link: Saint Mary's in Dubuque, Iowa, is a grand church, but it closed recently in a parish consolidation. Urgent action is needed to keep it standing and Catholic.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Upcoming Conference by the Association of Hebrew Catholics

AN ANNOUNCEMENT from Marsha and Lawrence Feingold:
The Association of Hebrew Catholics is hosting a conference, You Shall Be My Witnesses, which will explore the Jewish roots of the Catholic faith, and the role of the Hebrew Catholic in the Catholic Church today (according to Romans 9-11). The conference will be held on Oct 1-3 at the Renaissance Hotel near the airport.

Archbishop Raymond Burke was interviewed this past summer on these and related topics, and his fundamental and profound remarks will be presented as a video during the conference. Other speakers include Sister Rosalind Moss, Roy Schoeman (author of Salvation Is from the Jews), David Moss (President of the Association of Hebrew Catholics in St. Louis), Dr. Lawrence Feingold, assistant professor of theology with Ave Maria University, and Taylor Marshall, author of The Crucified Rabbi.

For more information and to print the registration form, see and follow the links, or call 314-535-4242 or 314-423-1075.

There are discounts for those under 26, and family discounts.

A flier and registration form is attached for your convenience. Hotel rooms have been reserved for those who would like to stay on site.

Click on the following images to enlarge:

Photos of Saint Joseph Church, in Josephville, Missouri

HERE ARE PHOTOS of Saint Joseph Church, located in the rural village of Josephville, in Saint Charles County, Missouri. The church is approximately 42 highway miles northwest of downtown Saint Louis.

Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, in Josephville, Missouri, USA - exterior from angle

From the parish history:
The community now known as Josephville began in the early l800s as a mail stop and mercantile known as Schmuckers Store in Allen’s Prairie. The land was ceded through a Federal Grant under President Martin Van Buren by Joseph Allen in about 1837. Allen settled on a farm and, along with a group of other French and English settlers from the Virginias, made improvements to the land, erected buildings, then sold the land and moved on. The majority of permanent settlers were German immigrants who were able to purchase the land for $1.25 per acre.

One of these immigrants was Anton Kersting, who purchased the Allen property. In 1848 a parish began to organize when Kersting held church services in his log home, a home which stands today on Hwy P. It was about this time that the area began to be known as Josephville.

In 1852 Kersting donated 10 acres of farmland to the congregation for a parish. A log church, 26 by 59 feet, was constructed. The first pastor of record was Father John Beotzkes. The first baptism occurred in 1857 with the christening of Gerald Brune, son of Christopher Brune and Katherine Kuhlmann.
Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, in Josephville, Missouri, USA - painting in narthex "House of God"

Awe-inspiring is this place: This is the house of God and the gate of Heaven. (Genesis 28:17)

Continuing the history:
Father Theodore Krainhardt came to Josephville in 1868, and in 1870 the cornerstone for a new church was laid. Construction continued through 1872.

St. Joseph Church has been referred to as “the oldest homemade church in the area". This is because clay for the bricks was dug from “the brick yard pond,” an area of red clay on the farm located across the road from the church. The bricks were baked “on the spot” on Leonard Rothermich’s farm at a cost of $4 per thousand. Lumber for the church floors and communion rail came from the trees of parishioners’ farms.

Local masons and carpenters performed the work, and on October 6, 1872, the new church was dedicated by Rev. Henry Muehlsiepen, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.
Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, in Josephville, Missouri, USA - nave

The interior of the church has been restored within the past ten years.

According to the 2010 Status Animarum or ecclesiastical census, this parish has approximately 881 Catholics.

Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, in Josephville, Missouri, USA - sanctuary

Our Lord Crucified is flanked by Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles and Martyrs.

Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, in Josephville, Missouri, USA - tabernacle

The tabernacle, over a depiction of the Lamb of God resting on the book of seven seals from the Apocalypse. To the left are shields apparently bearing the cloak of Christ and the Arma Christi, or instruments of Christ's passion. There are also statues of angels in adoration.

Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, in Josephville, Missouri, USA - painting in apse, Holy Death of Saint Joseph

In the dome over the sanctuary is a painting of the happy death of Saint Joseph.  According to the parish website:
The mural, as the story goes, was originally painted by a traveling artist who appeared unsolicited and offered to paint the domed ceiling. After completing the work, the artist left the area before the negotiated fee could be paid and without signing the painting. This generous artist remains anonymous today, lending an air of divine origination to the painting.
In 1991, parishioners restored this painting.

Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, in Josephville, Missouri, USA - Mary's altar

Altar of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, in Josephville, Missouri, USA - Joseph's altar

Altar of Saint Joseph, spouse of Mary, foster-father of Our Lord, of the line of King David. Joseph's patronage includes:
against hesitation or doubt, bursars, cabinetmakers, Canadian Armed Forces, carpenters, civil engineers, confectioners, craftsmen, dying people, emigrants, expectant mothers, families, fathers, happy and holy death, house hunters, immigrants, interior souls, laborers, married people, people who fight Communism, pioneers, social justice, travelers, unborn children, the Universal Church, the Second Vatican Council, wheelwrights, and workers, as well as the Americas, Austria, Belgium, Bohemia, Canada, China, Croatia, the Koreas, Mexico, New France, Peru, and Viet Nam.
Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, in Josephville, Missouri, USA - stained glass window

A stained glass window.

Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, in Josephville, Missouri, USA - Saint Pio of Pietrelcina

Above the column capitals are depictions of Saints canonized in recent years. Here is Saint Pio of Pietrelcina (1887-1968), better known as Padre Pio. His feast day is September 23rd.

Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, in Josephville, Missouri, USA - stairs to choir loft

Stairs leading up to the choir loft.

Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, in Josephville, Missouri, USA - baptismal font

One Lord, One Faith, One baptism.

The baptismal font.

Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, in Josephville, Missouri, USA - statues at back of church

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and the Sacred Heart of Jesus, with angels holding holy water fonts.

Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, in Josephville, Missouri, USA - choir loft and pipe organ

Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, in Josephville, Missouri, USA - cemetery gate

Gate to the cemetery.

Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, in Josephville, Missouri, USA - crucifix in cemetery

Crucifix in the cemetery.

Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, in Josephville, Missouri, USA - windows over front door

Over the front door of the church.

Mass Times:
Weekdays: 8 a.m.
Tuesday: 7:30 p.m.
Saturday Vigil: 5:15 p.m.
Sunday: 7:30 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Tuesday: 8:30 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.

1390 Josephville Road
Wentzville, MO 63385

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Forest Park Balloon Race, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

At yesterday's balloon race, in Forest Park.

Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman

“I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it”
— Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, as quoted by Pope Benedict XVI on the occasion of Newman's beatification, Cofton Park, Sunday, 19 September 2010 (source)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Peter has Spoken

...Fidelity to the word of God, precisely because it is a true word, demands of us an obedience which leads us together to a deeper understanding of the Lord’s will, an obedience which must be free of intellectual conformism or facile accommodation to the spirit of the age. This is the word of encouragement which I wish to leave with you this evening, and I do so in fidelity to my ministry as the Bishop of Rome and the Successor of Saint Peter, charged with a particular care for the unity of Christ’s flock....
— Pope Benedict XVI, Westminster Abbey, Friday, 17 September 2010 (source)

Feast of the Impression of the Holy Stigmata on the Body of St. Francis, Confessor

Saint Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church, in Portage des Sioux, Missouri, USA - stained glass window of Saint Francis of Assisi receiving the stigmata

Stained glass window of Saint Francis of Assisi receiving the stigmata, at Saint Francis of Assisi Church, in Portage des Sioux, Missouri.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

From the Holy Father's Visit to Britain

... The name of Holyroodhouse, Your Majesty’s official residence in Scotland, recalls the "Holy Cross" and points to the deep Christian roots that are still present in every layer of British life. The monarchs of England and Scotland have been Christians from very early times and include outstanding saints like Edward the Confessor and Margaret of Scotland. As you know, many of them consciously exercised their sovereign duty in the light of the Gospel, and in this way shaped the nation for good at the deepest level. As a result, the Christian message has been an integral part of the language, thought and culture of the peoples of these islands for more than a thousand years. Your forefathers’ respect for truth and justice, for mercy and charity come to you from a faith that remains a mighty force for good in your kingdom, to the great benefit of Christians and non-Christians alike.

We find many examples of this force for good throughout Britain’s long history. Even in comparatively recent times, due to figures like William Wilberforce and David Livingstone, Britain intervened directly to stop the international slave trade. Inspired by faith, women like Florence Nightingale served the poor and the sick and set new standards in healthcare that were subsequently copied everywhere. John Henry Newman, whose beatification I will celebrate shortly, was one of many British Christians of his age whose goodness, eloquence and action were a credit to their countrymen and women. These, and many people like them, were inspired by a deep faith born and nurtured in these islands.

Even in our own lifetime, we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live. I also recall the regime’s attitude to Christian pastors and religious who spoke the truth in love, opposed the Nazis and paid for that opposition with their lives. As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the twentieth century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus to a "reductive vision of the person and his destiny" (Caritas in Veritate, 29) ...
— Pope Benedict XVI, Palace of Holyrood House, Edinburgh, Thursday, 16 September 2010 (source)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Photos of CBC High School

CHRISTIAN BROTHERS COLLEGE High School, in Town and Country, Missouri, opened its doors in 2003.

Christian Brothers College High School, in Town and Country, Missouri, USA - exterior as seen from Interstate 64

A view of the school from Interstate 64-Highway 40.

Christian Brothers College High School, in Town and Country, Missouri, USA - exterior front

From the school's website:
Christian Brothers College High School was founded in 1850 when the first school was established at Eighth and Cerre Streets in downtown Saint Louis. By 1855, the school became the first establishment of the Brothers to function on the collegiate level when the state of Missouri granted Christian Brothers College a college charter. This would be the first college of the Brothers in America.

Rapid industrialization following the Civil War forced the school to build a new facility. The Brothers purchased 30 acres of land for $50,000 near the intersection of Kingshighway and Easton (now Dr. Martin Luther King Drive.) By 1882, the new school was ready for students and by 1889, CBC had established a reputation as one of the finest schools in Saint Louis.

The new campus was quite opulent. Its five-story structure contained a library with more than 40,000 volumes and manuscripts, four grand parlors and reception rooms, a 1,000 seat auditorium, and a steam elevator. But in October 1916, a fire ravaged the building and insurance at the time was insufficient to cover the estimated $275,000 in damage. The property was sold, and with the help of the Saint Louis Archdiocese, another campus was established on what was then farmland in Clayton, Missouri. That campus opened in 1922 and would serve as the school’s home for more than 82 years. Given the age of the building, inadequate parking, lack of practice fields and space considerations, the Board of Directors made the decision to build a new facility on land donated by a prominent alumnus.

In September 2003, CBC opened its fourth campus near the intersection of I-270 and I-64/U.S. 40 – one of the heaviest traveled intersections in the metropolitan area.
The school was designed by Mackey Mitchell Architects.

Christian Brothers College High School, in Town and Country, Missouri, USA - Statue of Saint Jean-Baptiste de La Salle in library

Statue of Saint Jean-Baptiste de la Salle with children, located in the library.

Born in Reims, France, in 1651, Saint de la Salle founded the modern school system. His age was a time of absolutism and heresy, and all of society suffered. But his involvement with schooling was not according to his own plan, but rather was a charitable response to the evil he saw daily. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, when God moved him to start his mission:
Jansenism had gained the ascendancy in France and spread broadcast its pernicious doctrines; it fostered internal dissensions and promoted Gallicanism, to the great detriment of the Faith and of loyalty to the Holy See. In the social order, a spirit of exaggerated independence was abroad, condemning authority or thrusting it aside. When such conditions prevailed in the upper classes, one may well ask, what must have been the condition of the masses? The incessant foreign and internal wars, with their consequent evils, told with disastrous effect upon the people. Exorbitant demands on the part of army officials, the violence of the soldiery, the rapine of supervisors, the wholesale plunder of crops, followed by famine and ruin, left whole provinces of France under the weight of terrible sufferings and untold misery. The peasants frequently had no bread, and when they had it the circumstances were such as to deprive them of any hope of sustenance for the morrow. Even when the gloom of internal turmoil had been momentarily brightened by the splendid victories abroad, the sad effect of the glory of the reign of Louis XIV made the mourning in cottages only the more bitter owing of the loss of the loved ones on foreign battlefields. Evidently, morals among the masses under these dire circumstances were threatened with ruin, as were the social and economic conditions; for false doctrines were spread and took hold among the people, destroying their faith and stultifying their consciences. Schools there were, but they were poorly attended and shamefully neglected. The children and the people generally were ignorant, and vice, according to contemporary authorities, was rampant among all classes. De la Salle carefully studied these conditions and, moved to compassion for the poor, resolved to improve their social and moral status. The founder grasped the situation and proposed as a remedy, popular free schools thoroughly graded and supplied with zealous teachers, who would implant in the hearts of the children the germs of those virtues that would tend towards the regeneration of both the pupils and the parents. He saw that a religious congregation composed of enlightened men, eager for the salvation of souls, could alone stem the tide of irreligion, vice, and ignorance.
Christian Brothers College High School, in Town and Country, Missouri, USA - entrance foyer

In the foyer. Note the chevrons in the chandelier: the chevron and the five-pointed star were on the de la Salle family crest, and now are symbols used by Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.

In Latin, the name of the Institute is Fratres Scholarum Christianarum, and so the Brothers use FSC after their names. Their headquarters is in Rome, Italy, on the Via Aurelia, about a mile west of Vatican City.

According to the Institute's website: “The De La Salle Christian Brothers, assisted by more than 100.000 lay colleagues, teach over 1.000.000 students in 82 countries.

Christian Brothers College High School, in Town and Country, Missouri, USA - hallway

A typical American high school — long corridors, lined with lockers.

Christian Brothers College High School, in Town and Country, Missouri, USA - auditorium

The auditorium.

Christian Brothers College High School, in Town and Country, Missouri, USA - Cadets mascot

At one time, all of CBC's students were enrolled in JROTC — the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. That ended in the 1970s, but the symbolism remains. CBC had the reputation of being a tough, disciplined Irish school, and is still highly esteemed today by parents and students.

CBC's colors are purple and gold.  My high school's colors were also purple and gold, and so we had a fierce rivalry!

Christian Brothers College High School, in Town and Country, Missouri, USA - door to chapel

The heart of the school is the chapel, named in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary under her title Our Lady of the Star.

Christian Brothers College High School, in Town and Country, Missouri, USA - detail of bas-relief in foyer

A detail of the carvings outside of the chapel, showing Saint Jean-Baptiste de la Salle.

Christian Brothers College High School, in Town and Country, Missouri, USA - holy water font before chapel

Holy water font, located at the entrance to the chapel.

Christian Brothers College High School, in Town and Country, Missouri, USA - chapel

Interior of the chapel. Many thanks to Father Matthew O'Toole, Chaplain, who invited me to the school and gave me a tour. The chapel was designed by Brother William Woeger, F.S.C., alumnus of Bishop du Bourg High School and Saint Louis University, and now of the Archdiocese of Omaha.

Christian Brothers College High School, in Town and Country, Missouri, USA - mosaic of Our Lady of the Star, in the chapel

Mosaic of Our Lady with the Christ Child, surrounded with stars.

Christian Brothers College High School, in Town and Country, Missouri, USA - mosaic of Saint de la Salle, in the chapel

Historical mosaic, with de la Salle in the center.

Christian Brothers College High School, in Town and Country, Missouri, USA - tabernacle and rose window in chapel

Tabernacle of the Blessed Sacrament. Behind is a stained glass window from the chapel of the old Clayton school.

Christian Brothers College High School, in Town and Country, Missouri, USA - confessional in chapel


Christian Brothers College High School, in Town and Country, Missouri, USA - exterior back of chapel

The view of the chapel from the outside.

1850 De La Salle Drive
Town and Country, Missouri 63141

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Feast of the Triumph of the Cross

Saint Louis University Art Museum, in Saint Louis, Missouri - Collection of the Western Jesuit Missions - Relic of the True Cross.jpg

Relic of the True Cross, at Saint Louis University.
Photo taken in 2006.
By the sign of the holy Cross, O Lord, protect Thy people from the wiles of all our enemies that we may be able to do Thee worthy service, and that our sacrifice may be well-pleasing in Thy sight.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

El Divino Niño Jesús

Saint Joseph Roman Catholic Church, in Josephville, Missouri, USA - Divino Niño

El Divino Niño Jesús de Bogotá, Colombia; at Saint Joseph Church in Josephville, Missouri. Under Jesus' feet is inscribed Yo reinare, or “I shall reign.” The feast-day of this devotion is September 3rd.

This devotion to the Divine Child Jesus was started in the 20th century by the Salesian priest Fr. John Rizzo, who was originally from the region of Arenzano, Italy. Assigned to a desperately poor barrio of Bogota in Colombia, Fr. Rizzo had the task of raising funds for a grand new church — but where where was the money to be found? He had a vision of a smiling Child Jesus with hands outstretched, as if He were saying “Take me with you. I want to accompany you.” Fr. Rizzo started a public devotion to the Child Jesus, and the fortunes of his neighborhood turned around — and the generosity of the newly-prosperous inhabitants solved the fund-raising problem.

A striking feature of the Apostolic Faith is the possibility of our increase in virtue — both natural and supernatural. Being truly faithful can lead to an increase of the virtues so that we can be lifted out of poverty, or to be able to endure poverty in a saintly manner. This is in contradiction to the fatalistic pagan religions and contemporary philosophies, and also to those which claim utter freedom from objective morality.  But the devotion to the Child Jesus is also important because it shows that God humbled Himself. If He can be humble and obedient, why can't we?

The original statue, which Fr. Rizzo purchased from an Italian artist in Bogota, can still be seen there. Jesus is clothed in a pink tunic.

Monday, September 06, 2010

On Labor

HERESY CREATES PROBLEMS, and since even heretics are often decent enough men, they seek ways to fix those problems — just as long as the solutions don't require them to repudiate their original erroneous opinion. New heresies are born, or rather, they are revived, and so new problems are created, which leads to new solutions to fix these problems, which creates new problems in turn. The plight of labor under the current regime is understandably chaotic.

But we must not be under any illusions. We were promised, due to Original Sin, that
“...cursed is the earth in your work: with labour and toil shall you eat thereof all the days of your life. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you, and you shall eat the herbs of the earth. In the sweat of your face shall you eat bread till you return to the earth out of which you were taken: for dust you are, and into dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3)
Labor, we must expect, will never be pleasant and without its burdens. But we have been redeemed, and we ought to expect that this redemption — if we cooperate with it — will make even difficult burdens light.  But contemporary man does not believe in a Redeemer, nor the need to be redeemed; he seeks comfort and complains greatly under burdens — although he often does not mind placing burdens upon other people.

Two things that ensured a just economic order were wiped out with the rise of heresy: subsistence farming and the guild system. These ancient, organic, and very Catholic systems allowed families to be self-suffient in an orderly and stable society, and both systems had the now-unusual circumstance that the owners of the businesses were also the primary workers, who controlled their own conditions of work and had a direct influence in the regulation of the market. It was the absolutists and revolutionaries, heretics all, who ended both systems by violence, due either to greed or by a mistaken idealism, or both.

Labour Day, as observed in the old British Commonwealth countries, celebrates the eight hour work day. But is eight hours of work, eight hours of leisure, and eight hours of rest, with a two-week paid vacation something to celebrate?  Do not forget that the people of Christendom had the time available to go on pilgrimage to Walsingham, Rome, Santiago de Compostela, or even Jerusalem — on foot — and could offer week-long marriage celebrations, and pray the entire Hours of the Divine Office every day.  For the most part, their lives and work were their own, and they could allocate their time as they saw fit. They chose the better part.

If things are so much better now, then why are people so unhappy? Perhaps it is because they have little control over their lives.

Heretics, ancient and contemporary, love slavery. Even if not actual chattel slavery — although they most certainly did love it— they still love great conscript armies sending revolution to distant lands, high burdensome taxes, and people who are willing to give up their entire lives for work, or are willing not to work in exchange for political support. This is also the root of the current immigration problem in the Western world. They simply cannot rest knowing that there are people who aren't working for them. They cannot bear to let others earn their own living.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Way of the Cross

Tapestry of the Way of the Cross with Saint Veronica, at the Saint Louis Art Museum

This Medieval tapestry is at the Saint Louis Art Museum.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

"When they talk of a paradise... they mean the grave"

SEE THE ARTICLE Discovery TV Gunman Demands Halt to 'Parasitic Human Infants,' Credits Al Gore with ‘Awakening’, from LifeSiteNews.

A hostage-taker reportedly wanted to rid the earth of "human filth". Shocking, but he simply took contemporary thinking to its logical conclusion... which is universal homicide. Ideas have consequences, and the consequences of contemporary ideas are very bad indeed. I was reminded of this excerpt of a book by G. K. Chesterton:
"I will tell you," said the policeman slowly. "This is the situation: The head of one of our departments, one of the most celebrated detectives in Europe, has long been of opinion that a purely intellectual conspiracy would soon threaten the very existence of civilisation. He is certain that the scientific and artistic worlds are silently bound in a crusade against the Family and the State. He has, therefore, formed a special corps of policemen, policemen who are also philosophers. It is their business to watch the beginnings of this conspiracy, not merely in a criminal but in a controversial sense. I am a democrat myself, and I am fully aware of the value of the ordinary man in matters of ordinary valour or virtue. But it would obviously be undesirable to employ the common policeman in an investigation which is also a heresy hunt."

Syme's eyes were bright with a sympathetic curiosity.

"What do you do, then?" he said.

"The work of the philosophical policeman," replied the man in blue, "is at once bolder and more subtle than that of the ordinary detective. The ordinary detective goes to pot-houses to arrest thieves; we go to artistic tea-parties to detect pessimists. The ordinary detective discovers from a ledger or a diary that a crime has been committed. We discover from a book of sonnets that a crime will be committed. We have to trace the origin of those dreadful thoughts that drive men on at last to intellectual fanaticism and intellectual crime. We were only just in time to prevent the assassination at Hartle pool, and that was entirely due to the fact that our Mr. Wilks (a smart young fellow) thoroughly understood a triolet."

"Do you mean," asked Syme, "that there is really as much connection between crime and the modern intellect as all that?"

"You are not sufficiently democratic," answered the policeman, "but you were right when you said just now that our ordinary treatment of the poor criminal was a pretty brutal business. I tell you I am sometimes sick of my trade when I see how perpetually it means merely a war upon the ignorant and the desperate. But this new movement of ours is a very different affair. We deny the snobbish English assumption that the uneducated are the dangerous criminals. We remember the Roman Emperors. We remember the great poisoning princes of the Renaissance. We say that the dangerous criminal is the educated criminal. We say that the most dangerous criminal now is the entirely lawless modern philosopher. Compared to him, burglars and bigamists are essentially moral men; my heart goes out to them. They accept the essential ideal of man; they merely seek it wrongly. Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it. But philosophers dislike property as property; they wish to destroy the very idea of personal possession. Bigamists respect marriage, or they would not go through the highly ceremonial and even ritualistic formality of bigamy. But philosophers despise marriage as marriage. Murderers respect human life; they merely wish to attain a greater fulness of human life in themselves by the sacrifice of what seems to them to be lesser lives. But philosophers hate life itself, their own as much as other people's."

Syme struck his hands together.

"How true that is," he cried. "I have felt it from my boyhood, but never could state the verbal antithesis. The common criminal is a bad man, but at least he is, as it were, a conditional good man. He says that if only a certain obstacle be removed—say a wealthy uncle—he is then prepared to accept the universe and to praise God. He is a reformer, but not an anarchist. He wishes to cleanse the edifice, but not to destroy it. But the evil philosopher is not trying to alter things, but to annihilate them. Yes, the modern world has retained all those parts of police work which are really oppressive and ignominious, the harrying of the poor, the spying upon the unfortunate. It has given up its more dignified work, the punishment of powerful traitors in the State and powerful heresiarchs in the Church. The moderns say we must not punish heretics. My only doubt is whether we have a right to punish anybody else."

"But this is absurd!" cried the policeman, clasping his hands with an excitement uncommon in persons of his figure and costume, "but it is intolerable! I don't know what you're doing, but you're wasting your life. You must, you shall, join our special army against anarchy. Their armies are on our frontiers. Their bolt is ready to fall. A moment more, and you may lose the glory of working with us, perhaps the glory of dying with the last heroes of the world."

"It is a chance not to be missed, certainly," assented Syme, "but still I do not quite understand. I know as well as anybody that the modern world is full of lawless little men and mad little movements. But, beastly as they are, they generally have the one merit of disagreeing with each other. How can you talk of their leading one army or hurling one bolt. What is this anarchy?"

"Do not confuse it," replied the constable, "with those chance dynamite outbreaks from Russia or from Ireland, which are really the outbreaks of oppressed, if mistaken, men. This is a vast philosophic movement, consisting of an outer and an inner ring. You might even call the outer ring the laity and the inner ring the priesthood. I prefer to call the outer ring the innocent section, the inner ring the supremely guilty section. The outer ring—the main mass of their supporters—are merely anarchists; that is, men who believe that rules and formulas have destroyed human happiness. They believe that all the evil results of human crime are the results of the system that has called it crime. They do not believe that the crime creates the punishment. They believe that the punishment has created the crime. They believe that if a man seduced seven women he would naturally walk away as blameless as the flowers of spring. They believe that if a man picked a pocket he would naturally feel exquisitely good. These I call the innocent section."

"Oh!" said Syme.

"Naturally, therefore, these people talk about 'a happy time coming'; 'the paradise of the future'; 'mankind freed from the bondage of vice and the bondage of virtue,' and so on. And so also the men of the inner circle speak—the sacred priesthood. They also speak to applauding crowds of the happiness of the future, and of mankind freed at last. But in their mouths"—and the policeman lowered his voice—"in their mouths these happy phrases have a horrible meaning. They are under no illusions; they are too intellectual to think that man upon this earth can ever be quite free of original sin and the struggle. And they mean death. When they say that mankind shall be free at last, they mean that mankind shall commit suicide. When they talk of a paradise without right or wrong, they mean the grave.

"They have but two objects, to destroy first humanity and then themselves. That is why they throw bombs instead of firing pistols. The innocent rank and file are disappointed because the bomb has not killed the king; but the high-priesthood are happy because it has killed somebody."
The Man Who Was Thursday: a Nightmare, by G.K. Chesterton