Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Novena at the Oratory

Saint Francis de Sales Oratory, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - tower at night

I am late in reposting this, but Saint Francis de Sales Oratory is holding a novena in preparation for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. The full schedule is:
Monday, 11/29, 6:30 PM: Canon Matthew Talarico “Dogma of the Immaculate Conception: Historical Turning Point, Life Changing Truth”

Tuesday, 11/30, 6:30 PM: Father Brian Harrison “Scriptural Basis of the Immaculate Conception”

Wednesday, 12/1, 6:30 PM: Father Eric Kunz “Mary the Mediatrix of all Grace”

Thursday, 12/2, 6:30 PM: Canon Aaron Huberfeld “The Immaculate Conception and the Queenship of Mary”

Friday, 12/3, 6:30 PM The Most Reverend Robert Hermann “Our Lady of Guadalupe — The Answer to Secularism”

Saturday, 12/4, 8:00 AM Father Thomas Keller “The Immaculate Conception and the Catholic Priesthood”

Sunday, 12/5, 10:00 AM: Father Michael Witt “Mary speaks to France — Three Confirmations of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception”

Monday, 12/6, 6:30 PM: Canon William Avis “Immaculate Conception, victory over the devil”

Tuesday, 12/7, 6:30 PM: Father Gregory Lockwood “St. Ambrose and the Blessed Virgin”

"Survey on Strategies to Achieve Archbishop Carlson's Vision for Catholic Schools"

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson invites the people of the archdiocese to participate in a survey about strategies for accomplishing his vision for Catholic schools.
Click here to record your opinion. The survey will be open until December 17th.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Advent Begins

THE END of the liturgical year reminds us of the Four Last Things: Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell. This uncomfortable reminder is ultimately good for us, for it helps inculcate in us a spirit of careful prudence and a healthy fear of the Lord. The beginning of the liturgical year, Advent, continues the theme of the end of the world, and eventually leads from the second coming of Christ in glory at the end of the age, to the first coming of Christ as a babe in Bethlehem.

We are now in Advent. The Latin word adventus, according to the Lewis and Short dictionary, means ‘a coming, an approach, arrival’, in particular the approach of a sovereign or lord. Here is an ancient hymn of Advent, in 19th century translation:
Creator alme siderum
A Hymn for Advent

Creator of the stars of night,
Thy people's everlasting light,
Jesu, Redeemer, save us all,
And hear thy servants when they call.

Thou, grieving that the ancient curse
Should doom to death an universe,
Hast found the medicin, full of grace,
To save and heal a ruined race.

Thou camest, the Bridegroom of the Bride,
As drew the world to evening tide,
Proceeding from a virgin shrine,
The spotless Victim all divine.

At whose dread Name, majestic now,
All knees must bend, all hearts must bow;
And things celestial thee shall own
And things terrestrial, Lord alone.

O thou whose coming is with dread,
To judge and doom the quick and dead,
Preserve us, while we dwell below,
From every insult of the foe.

All praise, eternal Son, to thee
Whose Advent doth thy people free;
Whom with the Father we adore,
And Holy Ghost, for evermore. Amen.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Summer's Last Glory

AS SUMMER FADES and winter's cold approaches, the land bursts forth with a blaze of final glory. Here are some photos of the last few bits of autumn color.

red bush

the last rose of summer

The last rose of summer, in my parents' back yard.

red berries

The following photos were taken at Broemmelsiek Park, in Saint Charles County, Missouri.

Broemmelsiek Park, in Saint Charles County, Missouri, USA - tree trunks with fallen leaves

While some urban vegetation still has autumn foliage, in our native forests the trees have already dropped their leaves. On first examination, there are no colors other than brown, but we rather ought to look more closely.

Broemmelsiek Park, in Saint Charles County, Missouri, USA - cluster of red berries with pale yellow-green leaves

Broemmelsiek Park, in Saint Charles County, Missouri, USA - red berries with pale yellow-green leaves

Broemmelsiek Park, in Saint Charles County, Missouri, USA - large, unusual white mushroom growing on log

Broemmelsiek Park, in Saint Charles County, Missouri, USA - red berries with leaves along stalk

Broemmelsiek Park, in Saint Charles County, Missouri, USA - cluster of brownish-yellow seed heads

Broemmelsiek Park, in Saint Charles County, Missouri, USA - brown seed head

Broemmelsiek Park, in Saint Charles County, Missouri, USA - red leaf

Broemmelsiek Park, in Saint Charles County, Missouri, USA - seed head against blue sky

Broemmelsiek Park, in Saint Charles County, Missouri, USA - seed head with white strands

Broemmelsiek Park, in Saint Charles County, Missouri, USA - red berries on red stalk against brown background

Broemmelsiek Park, in Saint Charles County, Missouri, USA - brown leaf

Broemmelsiek Park, in Saint Charles County, Missouri, USA - red berries against blue sky

Sunday, November 21, 2010

From the Feast of Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne

LAST THURSDAY, the feast day of Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne, I attended Holy Mass at the Old Saint Ferdinand Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri. It was here were the Saint lived for many years. Her relics are entombed in nearby Saint Charles.

Old Saint Ferdinand Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri, USA - poster of Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne

Old Saint Ferdinand Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri, USA - Holy Mass, celebrated by Fr. Bede Price of the Benedictine Abbey

Fr. Bede Price was the celebrant.

Old Saint Ferdinand Shrine, in Florissant, Missouri, USA - exterior at night

Exterior of the church, which was constructed starting about 1820.

On the Cryptic and the Elliptic

WISDOM FROM G.K. Chesterton:
When a statesman or philosopher makes an important speech, there are several courses which the reporter might take without being unreasonable. Perhaps the most reasonable course of all would be not to report the speech at all. Let the world live and love, marry and give in marriage, without that particular speech, as they did (in some desperate way) in the days when there were no newspapers. A second course would be to report a small part of it; but to get that right. A third course, far better if you can do it, is to understand the main purpose and argument of the speech, and report that in clear and logical language of your own...

The present method is this: the reporter sits listening to a tide of words which he does not try to understand, and does not, generally speaking, even try to take down; he waits until something occurs in the speech which for some reason sounds funny, or memorable, or very exaggerated, or, perhaps, merely concrete; then he writes it down and waits for the next one...

Most of us, I suppose, know Mark Antony's Funeral Speech in “Julius Cæsar.” Now Mark Antony would have no reason to complain if he were not reported at all; if the Daily Pilum or the Morning Fasces, or whatever it was, confined itself to saying, “Mr. Mark Antony also spoke,” or “Mr. Mark Antony, having addressed the audience, the meeting broke up in some confusion.” The next honest method, worthy of a noble Roman reporter, would be that since he could not report the whole of the speech, he should report some of the speech. He might say—“Mr. Mark Antony, in the course of his speech, said—
‘When that the poor have cried Cæsar hath wept:
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.’”
In that case one good, solid argument of Mark Antony would be correctly reported. The third and far higher course for the Roman reporter would be to give a philosophical statement of the purport of the speech. As thus—“Mr. Mark Antony, in the course of a powerful speech, conceded the high motives of the Republican leaders, and disclaimed any intention of raising the people against them; he thought, however, that many instances could be quoted against the theory of Cæsar's ambition, and he concluded by reading, at the request of the audience, the will of Cæsar, which proved that he had the most benevolent designs towards the Roman people.” That is (I admit) not quite so fine as Shakspere, but it is a statement of the man's political position. But if a Daily Mail reporter were sent to take down Antony's oration, he would simply wait for any expressions that struck him as odd and put them down one after another without any logical connection at all...
— from the essay ON THE CRYPTIC AND THE ELLIPTIC, in the book All Things Considered.

Journalism ought to present the facts regarding those in power in a timely, accessible, accurate, and lively manner. However, journalism in what Chesterton called the “modern, progressive, or American manner,” as found in our major media outlets, is considerably less than this.

Consider the recent controversy over Pope Benedict's new book. What is reported, nearly the only thing that is reported, is what fits in with the goal of finalization of the sexual revolution. They say that Pope Benedict now agrees with them. Of course, we have a clarification from Vatican Radio: Pope Benedict does not mean what the reporters say.

Rather Pope Benedict is calling for conversion — something we all have to do, myself included, or else we will suffer the consequences of our actions.


By analogy, it is morally commendable if an armed robber does not shoot his victims as well as robbing them. But that doesn't make armed robbery itself commendable.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Photo of Stained Glass Window of Saint Louis IX, King of France

Resurrection Cemetery, in Affton, Missouri, USA - stained glass window of Saint Louis IX, King of France

Stained glass window in the Chapel of St. Louis the King of France, at Resurrection Cemetery, in Affton, Missouri. Window dates from 1974 and is from the Emil Frei studios.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Coverage of the Consistory of Cardinals

FROM THE Saint Louis Review:
On Nov. 20 and 21, Pope Benedict XVI will elevate 24 men, including His Excellency Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, archbishop emeritus of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, to the sacred College of Cardinals.

The Holy Father will confer on these "princes of the Church" the red silk biretta and the Cardinalitial ring, both signs of their unity with the pope and their willingness to serve the pope and Church, even to the "shedding of his blood."

Join the St. Louis Review, the official publication of the archdiocese, as we journey to Rome to cover these blessed events. Check back to this site for frequent updates, including stories, photos and multimedia presentations.

Photos of Mosaics at Resurrection Cemetery

NOVEMBER IS THE month dedicated to the holy souls, who need our prayers. A pious practice is to visit cemeteries, especially those that contain the relics of loved ones, although out of charity it is commendable to offer prayer at any cemetery. Since Saint Paul commands us to pray without ceasing, we have plenty of time to give prayerful consideration to all things.

A cemetery is a holy place, and ought to have the honor, respect, and beauty which we give to church buildings; and we ought to be generous in supporting them.

Resurrection Cemetery, located in the unincorporated community of Affton, in Saint Louis County, Missouri, is close to Kenrick-Glennon Seminary and the Archdiocesan pastoral center. Founded in 1928 as New Saints Peter and Paul Cemetery, it was renamed Resurrection in the 1940s.

A section of this cemetery features a series of mosaics set into monuments. These are placed in two rows between two small chapels. This was developed in about 1974 and these mosaics were among the last commissions of the Ravenna Mosaic Company, which was responsible for the mosaics at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis.

Resurrection Cemetery, in Affton, Missouri, USA - monument with a mosaic of Christ

The mosaics illustrate salvation history and serve as a visual catechesis to visitors. My intention was to photograph both sides of these monuments, and when I arrived it was overcast, which is ideal; however, the sun came out, and I was only able to capture the east side of each.

Resurrection Cemetery, in Affton, Missouri, USA - mosaic of the sacrifice of Abraham

The sacrifice of Abraham.

Resurrection Cemetery, in Affton, Missouri, USA - mosaic of Jacob's Ladder

Jacob's ladder.

Resurrection Cemetery, in Affton, Missouri, USA - mosaic of Moses and the manna in the desert

Moses and the manna in the desert.

Resurrection Cemetery, in Affton, Missouri, USA - mosaic of the Annunciation

The Annunciation.

Resurrection Cemetery, in Affton, Missouri, USA - mosaic of the Nativity

The Nativity.

Resurrection Cemetery, in Affton, Missouri, USA - mosaic of the Baptism of Christ in the Jordan River

The Baptism of Our Lord in the Jordan River.

Resurrection Cemetery, in Affton, Missouri, USA - mosaic of Jesus healing

Jesus raising the dead.

Resurrection Cemetery, in Affton, Missouri, USA - mosaic of Christ the King

Christ the King.

Resurrection Cemetery, in Affton, Missouri, USA - mosaic of Christ the Good Shepherd

Christ the Good Shepherd.

Resurrection Cemetery, in Affton, Missouri, USA - mosaic of Jesus granting Peter the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven

Jesus granting Peter the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Click here for photos of the other mosaics.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mercedes-Benz for Sale

FOR SALE: A Classic 1977 Mercedes-Benz 300D. Diesel engine, 227,XXX miles, maintained by Mercedes-Benz dealer; kept in garage. The car is in excellent condition, with some cosmetic flaws due to age, and runs well. My parents are selling this car because they need room in their garage.

Located in the Saint Louis metropolitan area. Asking price $6000; please email me at marcusscotus (at) sbcglobal (dot) net for details or if you would like to see the car.

Mercedes-Benz 1

Mercedes-Benz 2

Mercedes-Benz 3

Mercedes-Benz 4

Mercedes-Benz 5

Mercedes-Benz 6

Mercedes-Benz 7

Mercedes-Benz 8

Mercedes-Benz 9

Mercedes-Benz 10

Mercedes-Benz 11

Photo of Saint Magaret of Scotland Church

Saint Margaret of Scotland Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - view of tower

Saint Margaret of Scotland Church, in Saint Louis. Today is Saint Margaret's feast day in the new calendar. She was sister of the last Anglo-Saxon king of England and wife of the King of Scotland. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia:
In her position as queen, all Margaret's great influence was thrown into the cause of religion and piety. A synod was held, and among the special reforms instituted the most important were the regulation of the Lenten fast, observance of the Easter communion, and the removal of certain abuses concerning marriage within the prohibited degrees. Her private life was given up to constant prayer and practices of piety. She founded several churches, including the Abbey of Dunfermline, built to enshrine her greatest treasure, a relic of the true Cross. Her book of the Gospels, richly adorned with jewels, which one day dropped into a river and was according to legend miraculously recovered, is now in the Bodleian library at Oxford. She foretold the day of her death, which took place at Edinburgh on 16 Nov., 1093, her body being buried before the high altar at Dunfermline.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan to be next president of the USCCB

CONGRATULATIONS TO His Excellency, the Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who was elected to head up the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Currently Archbishop of New York, Archbishop Dolan is a native of Saint Louis County. Spending his infancy in Maplewood, he grew up at Holy Infant Parish in Ballwin, attended Cardinal Glennon College in Shrewsbury, and was associate pastor at Immaculata Parish in Richmond Heights.

Holy Infant Roman Catholic Church, in Ballwin, Missouri, USA - sanctuary
Holy Infant, where the newly-ordained Fr. Dolan celebrated his first Mass in 1976.

Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, in Shrewsbury, Missouri, USA
Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, the former Cardinal Glennon College.

Immacolata Roman Catholic Church, in Richmond Heights, Missouri, USA - sanctuary featuring mosaic of the Holy Spirit by the Ravenna Mosaic Company
Immacolata Church.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Feast of Saint Albert the Great

TODAY IS THE feast day of Saint Albert the Great (ca. 1206—November 15th, 1280), Albertus Magnus, priest of the Order of Preachers — the Dominicans — Bishop of Regensberg, “teacher of everything there is to know,” preacher of the crusades, professor of theology, a scientist who was reputed to be a magician and wizard, mentor of Saint Thomas Aquinas, one of great devotion to Our Lady, patron of philosophers and scientists, and who is called the “Universal Doctor” because of his wide knowledge.

Many people love novelty, and intellectuals are no exception. In our day, as in the day of Saint Albert, new theories are exciting to scholars, who quite naturally will mine these new studies for intellectual gold. The writings of the Greek pagan philosopher Aristotle were largely lost at the end of antiquity, although he was otherwise well-known through secondary sources. The re-discovery and promulgation of his texts and subsequent commentaries were undoubtably exciting for the philosophers of the Middle Ages.

The late Platonic philosophy, adapted in the writings of many of the Fathers of the Church and early theology, is of great importance for its lofty understanding of being, enlightenment, and the ultimate Source of all things, which is God. But it has a certain static quality — which although is undoubtably of ultimate importance — it does not closely analyze the dynamic reality of the material world. Aristotle's philosophy instead offers explanations of the material world and its forces.

The rediscovery of Aristotle was of huge importance to Christians, Jews, and Muslims; and scholars engaged in an intellectual debate that altered the course of theology for centuries. However, Aristotle was a pagan: scholars of any religion who followed him too closely were in danger of falling into extreme heresy. For this reason, the Bishop of Paris condemned the writings of Aristotle and prevented the faculty of Arts at the University of Paris from studying them: however, theologians could read them, and these writings were otherwise available at other universities.

This was the situation at the time of Saint Albert. He was a great advocate of Aristotle, yet he did not uncritically accept him as an authority. Aristotle provided a great framework for critical and logical thinking, and yet following Aristotle too closely was disastrous. The problem was choosing what parts of Aristotle were solid and which were false, which Saint Albert and Saint Thomas worked diligently to determine.

In the year 1277 Pope John XXI asked the Bishop of Paris to prepare a list of specific condemnations according to the theologians. This list was decisive: rather than limiting academic freedom, instead the new guidelines (punishable under pain of excommunication) led to the creation of the scientific method by guiding scholars into more fruitful lines of investigation. The powerful flowing forces of the logical and critical methods of Aristotle would instead be channeled into more certain things. However, we must note that a second school of thought flowed from these condemnations — a rejection of some of Aristotle led to a rejection of all of his thought, including that of logic and reason itself — a new school concerned only with skepticism, doubt, and the pursuit of power for its own sake. This is the school of thought largely found in our universities today, especially in the social sciences and literature.

Saint Albert knew that faith and reason, properly understood, cannot conflict. This remains a central belief of Catholicism, although much of modern religion rejects this, particularly fundamentalist and liberal religion, becoming a pervasive kind of “folk theology”, which infects even otherwise pious Catholics in the United States.

Saint Albert also knew that God wrote two books: that of sacred scripture and that of nature. His writings show him to be a true natural scientist of the best contemporary kind: “The aim of natural science is not simply to accept the statements of others, but to investigate the causes that are at work in nature,” “Experiment is the only safe guide in such investigations,” and “In studying nature we have not to inquire how God the Creator may, as He freely wills, use His creatures to work miracles and thereby show forth His power: we have rather to inquire what Nature with its immanent causes can naturally bring to pass.”

Saint Albert was a master of theology, logic, ethics, as well as the natural sciences of geography, mineralogy, mechanics, and biology. However, Saint Albert was also very much a student of much which is now known as pseudoscience, such as alchemy, astrology, and phrenology. This is understandable: we know more about the forces of nature now than then. Also, isn't reasonable that the order of the heavens would somehow influence the order of things on earth? Oddly, the world of Harry Potter is very much rooted in Saint Albert the Great — keeping the Gothic atmosphere and pseudoscience, but jettisoning the theology and philosophy.

We ought not be surprised that the sciences flourished in the Catholic universities, and that sciences, especially theoretical sciences, can sometimes suffer under heretical regimes. The idea of an eternal static universe, found in Aristotle, remained the standard theory with atheistic scientists until a Jesuit scientist proposed the Big Bang theory, later proven to be true. The Catholic view of the sciences is very traditional: is it true? and not is it useful?

We can look at thinking and investigation from a top-down or bottom-up view. Generally speaking, Plato tends to be top-down, while Aristotle tends to be bottom up. Saint Albert and Saint Thomas Aquinas, by encouraging the study of Aristotle, are said to have started the chain of events that have led to our modern world of self-centered skeptical egotists, who can be organized into society only by the use of force and the manipulation of pleasure. I don't think so — Saint Thomas quoted Platonists more than he quoted Aristotle, and was also a great mystic. Most of all, both were great men of faith, which is something our current era lacks.

"The Mystery of Israel and the Church"

A NEW BOOK SERIES, The Mystery of Israel and the Church, by Lawrence Feingold, is now available.

On the cover of this book is one my photos taken at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis:

Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis, in Saint Louis, Missouri, USA - mosaics in east sanctuary arch

The Cathedral has a comprehensive artistic plan based on the ideas of the Liturgical Movement of the early 20th century; mosaics in the sanctuary are designed to bring out figures and types of the Old Testament which foreshadow and find fulfillment in the New Testament, in what is called Biblical Typology. For example, the sacrifice of Abraham, shown here, along with the Passover meal, and the sacrifice of bread and wine by the priest-king Melchizedek foreshadow the institution of the Eucharist by Our Lord and his passion, which are illustrated analogously in other parts of the sanctuary, and which are re-presented in the Mass offered here.

Biblical typology is the topic of volume one of Dr. Feingold's book. From the publisher:
This work, the first of a series, presents a theology of Israel and her beautiful mission in salvation history from the perspective of the Catholic faith. Topics include: the election of Israel, messianic prophecy, Biblical typology, the major feasts of Israel and their relation to the paschal mystery, the Mosaic Law and the New Law of Christ, the prayer of Israel and of the Church, the ongoing mission of the Jewish people to witness to the Messiah, and Mary-daughter of Zion and Mother of the Church. It is hoped that this book may deepen the awareness of Catholics and others of the luminous teaching of the Second Vatican Council in Nostra aetate 4: "As the sacred synod searches into the mystery of the Church, it remembers the bond that spiritually ties the people of the New Covenant to Abraham's stock."
From the Gnosticism of the Apostolic age until Modernism and New Age in our our own time, heresies often attempt to divorce the Old and New Testaments. Rather, the Catholic Faith depends on a harmonization of the two, which is convincingly put forth with Thomisic precision by Dr. Feingold.

Dr. Feingold offers a continuing series of lectures at the Cathedral Basilica on the topic of the Mystery of Israel and the Church: more information on these lectures can be found here.

Click to purchase: