From one of my ex-professors

16 09 2009

altar seminario

El Espíritu Santo nos asegura que los obispos no pueden errar cuando imponen su autoridad, pero nada nos asegura cuando la deponen. Quedan siempre en pie las promesas de la indefectibilidad de la Iglesia –las puertas del infierno no prevalecerán–, pero muy empequeñecido quedará el rebaño de Cristo si los pastores siguen adorando al sentir de su grey, cada vez más inspirado por el espíritu nada santo del actual aparato publicitario.

El magisterio conciliar no ha recurrido nunca al ejercicio de la infalibilidad por modo extraordinario, ni puede alcanzar nunca la infalibilidad del magisterio ordinario universal mientras se crea obligado a ejercer su oficio de modo subordinado a una inexistente infalibilidad del sentido de la fe del común de los creyentes.

La Lámpara Bajo el Celemín, de Alvaro Calderón, págs. 50-1.

The Holy Ghost assures us that the bishops cannot err when they exercise their authority, but nothing assures us of this when they have put it aside. The promises of the indefectibility of the Church always remain – the gates of hell will not prevail- but the flock of Christ will become very small if the shepherds keep adoring the opinions of their flock, everyday more inspired by a non-so-holy spirit of the current publicity apparatus.

The Conciliar magisterium has never had recourse to the exercise of infallibility in its extraordinary mode, nor can it ever achieve the infallibility of the ordinary universal magisterium while it feels itself obligated to exercise its office in a way subordinate to a non-existent infallibility of the sense of common faith of believers.

-Fr. Alvaro Calderon (La Reja, Argentina), in his book, The Light Under a Bushel Basket: Disputed Question Regarding the Magisterium of the Church after Vatican II

(I am trying to get this book, but since it is published by a small publisher in Argentina, it is hard to get, apparently. Any ideas for me?)

While obviously this is only one of the few excerpts I can find from this book, I will speculate to develop what he is trying to say. I think that what he is saying is that “authority” is not an automatic, charismatic mechanism that is simply given in the Church because one holds a particular office: one is obligated to assent to a number of limitations in order to exercise it. In other words, the only bishops who govern well are the bishops who govern wisely, and that means taking into consideration the perrenial doctrines and practices of the Church, and knowing when to discern that certain trends will only lead to destruction.

Thus, bishops (and popes) who follow the zeitgeist, ever reading the signs of the times and ever anxious to adapt the Catholic Faith to the latest fads of the faithful, are the ones who have really put their authority aside. That is my understanding at least. I am very anxious to get my hands on the rest of this book.

More on the microcosm

15 09 2009


Assuredly, man is a small world in such a way that he is also a part of the large world. Now, a whole shines forth in all its parts, since a part is a part of a whole. Just as the whole man shines forth in the hand, which is proportioned to the whole, but, nevertheless, the whole perfection of man shines forth in a more perfect manner in the head: so the universe shines forth in each of its parts, for all things have their respective relation and proportion to the universe, but, nevertheless, the universe shines forth more greatly in that part which is called man than in any other part. Therefore, because the perfection of the totality of the universe shines forth more greatly in and through man, man is a perfect, but small, world and is part of the large world. Hence, a man has particularly, specially, and distinctly the things which the universe has universally. And because there can be only one universe but there can be a plurality of particular and distinct things, many particular and distinct men bear an image of, and a specific resemblance to, the one perfect universe. Thus, the stable oneness of the universe is unfolded quite perfectly in such a variegated plurality of small transient worlds that succeed one another.

-Nicholas of Cusa, De Ludo Globi

Versos a Santa Lucía

15 09 2009


Con vuestros ojos preciosos,
Amparadnos, Virgen bella,
Pues que Dios, sacra doncella
Quiso fuesen belicosos.

Lucía, si en la conquista
Del Cielo tuviste gozo
Alcanzad de vuestro esposo
Nos quiera guardar la vista.

With your precious eyes
Help us, beautiful Virgin,
For God, holy maid,
Wills that they have power.

Lucy, if in the conquest
Of Heaven you rejoiced,
Obtain from your Spouse
That He wills that we keep our sight.


Fr. John Allen Peek, SSPX – R.I.P.

14 09 2009


Fr. Peek, staring into the camera, as a seminarian

Recently, I was in the Society of St. Pius X bookstore in Kenner after I had attended Sunday Mass in the adjacent chapel. The books I found there were standard fare for such establishments: lots of lives of saints, Fr. Dennis Fahey, books on why the New Mass is inherently evil and television rots your brain… you know, the stuff you know in your heart of hearts is true but don’t want to write about on your blog out of fear that people will think you are some sort of reactionary weirdo… Truth be told, I spent too much time in that bookstore and bought only one, very reasonably priced book which I will review of on this page in the coming weeks. Spending too much time in that space exacted its price on me, for behind the counter was a rather snarky, and dare I say, bitter older woman who seemed to not have a nice thing to say about just about anyone. In the space of five minutes, she single-handedly condemned one person to Hell, excommunicated 99.9% of the priests of the Catholic Church, and managed to give creedence to every reactionary conspiracy in the book, all before morning coffee. But that is what I was expecting I guess. Truth be told, I don’t know what is scarier sometimes, my occasional trips to botanicas or these kinds of visits to my so-called “co-religionists”.
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So when the glitt’ring Queen of Night

11 09 2009

Henry Purcell

The story of the decline of many things

11 09 2009

Thus a Muslim holy man has said: “in the beginning Sufism was a reality without a name, today it is a name without reality.”

-Jean Borella, The Secret of the Christian Way

Church and Cosmos

10 09 2009

zodiac church

This is a series of outline drawings in which a fourteenth-century scholar, a native of Pavia in Italy who lived in the court of Avignon, has attempted to translate his conception of the Universe into geometric terms. What we have here are… learned diagrams in which notions of every sort – theological, geographical, minerological, medical- are combined according to the laws of number and the divisions of visible space. One consists of a map of Europe on which are superposed circles and ovals containing medallions inscribed with signs of the zodiac, the names of the planets and months, of minerals, parts of the body, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the corresponding sins, with the seven Ages of Life dominating all the rest. In another, five points- the five patriarchates, seats of the princes of the Church- determine the surface of the earth. On the site of Jerusalem a crucifix is reared; from the wound is Christ’s side issues a straight line, rivus sanguinis, which crosses the picture diagonally. Another line, intersecting this one, emerges from the lance of Sagittarius. At the center of the zodiac stands an immense figure of the Virgin; circles symbolize the Church universal, “spiritualis et sacramentalis,” with the Pope in their midst. Along the lines thus created, on the circumferences of the circles, are arranged the Patriarchs and the lesser Prophets, the Planets, the symbols of the stars, the Elements, the parts of the body, and the names of the Months. In still another drawing, two crucifixes symetrically opposed are surrounded by a rose-like form made up of Winds, medallions of the Virgin and Child, Sponsus and Sponsa, animals, Evangelists, Dogmas and Virtues, the Sun and the Moon, the Planets and Metals, the Doctors of the Church, and the monastic orders.

-Jean Seznec, The Survival of the Pagan Gods

The history of night

9 09 2009


Historia de la noche

A lo largo de sus generaciones
los hombres erigieron la noche.
En el principio era ceguera y sueño
y espinas que laceran el pie desnudo
y temor de los lobos.
Nunca sabremos quién forjó la palabra
para el intervalo de sombra
que divide los dos crepúsculos;
nunca sabremos en qué siglo fue cifra
del espacio de estrellas.
Otros engendraron el mito.
La hicieron madre de las Parcas tranquilas
que tejen el destino
y le sacrificaban ovejas negras
y el gallo que presagia su fin.
Doce casas le dieron los caldeos;
infinitos mundos, el Pórtico.
Hexámetros latinos la modelaron
y el terror de Pascal.
Luis de León vio en ella la patria
de su alma estremecida.
Ahora la sentimos inagotable
como un antiguo vino
y nadie puede contemplarla sin vértigo
y el tiempo la ha cargado de eternidad.

Y pensar que no existiría
sin esos tenues instrumentos, los ojos.

-Jorge Luis Borges, found on this site

Throughout the course of the generations
men constructed the night.
At first she was blindness;
thorns raking bare feet,
fear of wolves.
We shall never know who forged the word
for the interval of shadow
dividing the two twilights;
we shall never know in what age it came to mean
the starry hours.
Others created the myth.
They made her the mother of the unruffled Fates
that spin our destiny,
they sacrificed black ewes to her, and the cock
who crows his own death.
The Chaldeans assigned to her twelve houses;
to Zeno, infinite words.
She took shape from Latin hexameters
and the terror of Pascal.
Luis de Leon saw in her the homeland
of his stricken soul.
Now we feel her to be inexhuastible
like an ancient wine
and no one can gaze on her without vertigo
and time has charged her with eternity.

And to think that she wouldn’t exist
except for those fragile instruments, the eyes.

Pico della Mirandola video

8 09 2009

A Brief (Catholic) History of Violence

7 09 2009


La Reja, Argentina, 2002

Around 6:45 a.m.

“Deus in adjutorium meum intende…”

In seminary, our day would always open with those words: “O God, come to my assistance”. In rapid succession, trying not to drag, we would chant the psalmody in recto tono. This was the office of Prime, the first office of the day for slackers who didn’t rise at three in the morning for Matins. After much back and forth, and after the last Gloria Patri, we would rapidly come to the part where we would finally be able to sit down on our cold, hard benches. A reader would come forth in the middle of the choir, and begin to read, in Spanish, from the Roman Martyrology. At this point, I would usually just space out. For even while trusting the wisdom of Holy Mother Church, the violence portrayed could be almost gratuitous. Yes, it is very edifying what the martyrs lived and suffered through, but there was only so much of stuff like the following that you could stomach before breakfast:

At Spoleto, in the days of Emperor Antoninus, the passion of St. Pontian, martyr, who was barbarously scourged for Christ by the command of the judge Fabian, and then compelled to walk barefoot on burning coals. As he was uninjured by the fire, he was put on the rack, was torn with iron hooks, then thrown into a dungeon, where he was comforted by the visit of an angel. He was afterwards exposed to the lions, had melted lead poured over him, and finally died by the sword.
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