Saturday, April 16, 2011

Gospel Scenes and Meditations

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Solemnity of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ

Moses sent certain young men of the Israelites
to offer holocausts and sacrifice young bulls
as peace offerings to the LORD.
— Exodus 24:4

Christ entered once for all into the sanctuary,
not with the blood of goats and calves
but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.
— Hebrews 9:12

This is my body.
This is my blood.
— Mark 14:22,24

The Solemnity of Corpus Christi, on the calendar since the 13th century, was renamed the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ in 1970. It is observed on the Thursday (compare Holy Thursday), or on the Sunday, after Pentecost. In it the Church, whose birthday is on Pentecost, remembers Christ’s words of Holy Thursday and celebrates the real presence of the Risen Lord in the Eucharist.

The Church teaches in the catechism and other documents the meaning of “real presence.” Catholics see bread, they see wine. The bread is the body and blood of Christ, and the wine is the body and blood of Christ.

You don’t see? Yes, I don’t see: I believe.

It seems entirely fitting that the visionary saint who did see Christ and who heard Him tell her to work for the feast did not see the feast established:

Saint Juliana of Mont-Cornillon, near Liège in Belgium (1192–1257) . . . had a revelation instructing her to work for the establishment of a feast in honor of the Blessed Sacrament, but she did not present this instruction to theologians for almost twenty years. She encountered only opposition and persecution with her attempts to reform the convent where she served as superior. Eventually she had to leave and wandered for twenty years until her death. Only long after her death did her revelations get any real hearing, because a priest whom she knew in Liège became Pope Urban IV. The Feast of Corpus Christi was finally celebrated [1264] in the universal Church [over fifty] years after Saint Juliana had her [first] revelation.
— Benedict Groeschel, A Still, Small Voice: A Practical Guide on Reported Revelations (San Francisco, Ignatius Press, 1993), pp. 112–113.

And we who believe in the real presence, how do we act? Henry Hardinge Menzies, an architect, tells a story:

A Protestant was visiting a Catholic church accompanied by his Catholic friend, and after entering, he was admiring the beauty of the architecture and decorations. He was particularly impressed with the altar and the tabernacle on top which was surrounded by angels and many candles. He asked his Catholic friend, “And what’s in that box there on the table?” The Catholic replied, “Jesus Christ himself is really present in that box. Our faith tells us that.” There was stunned silence. Finally the Protestant said, “If I believed that, I would crawl down this aisle on my knees!”
— Henry Hardinge Menzes, God in a Box

Some Catholics do crawl on their knees before the Real Presence, many adore, and some have ecstasies. When the apostles saw the resurrected Christ, they worshipped him, though some doubted (Matthew 28:17). But he had commanded them to eat his flesh and drink his blood. After Christ rose and the disciples recognized him, they: spoke with him, swam to him, ate with him, followed him; and being assured, “I am with you always, even unto the end of the world,” and receiving the Holy Spirit, they went, and taught all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and prayed, and broke bread together. There is not one posture before the Lord.

And what if we saw Christ, what then?

Fr. Groeschel’s book, cited above, quotes a poem of Longfellow’s
in which a monk in his cell sees Christ,

Then amid his exaltation,
Loud the convent bell appalling,
From its belfry calling, calling,
Rang through court and corridor
With persistent iteration
He had never heard before.
It was now the appointed hour
When alike in shine or shower,
Winter’s cold or summer’s heat,
To the convent portals came
All the blind and halt and lame,
All the beggars of the street,
For their daily dole of food
Dealt them by the brotherhood;
And their almoner was he
Who upon his bended knee,
Rapt in silent ecstasy
Of divinest self-surrender,
Saw the Vision and the Splendor.
Deep distress and hesitation
Mingled with his adoration;
Should he go, or should he stay?
Should he leave the poor to wait
Hungry at the convent gate,
Till the Vision passed away?
Should he slight his radiant guest,
Slight this visitant celestial,
For a crowd of ragged, bestial
Beggars at the convent gate?
Would the Vision there remain?
Would the Vision come again?

and leaves Christ to do his duty as almoner. When he returns to his cell he finds Christ waiting for him. Christ tells him:

“Hadst thou stayed, I must have fled!”

Blessed are they who have not seen and have believed.

Thus endeth this blog. For more in this vein, read Memorare. Amen

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Last evening Jake and Irina treated us to dinner at the Mansion Hill Inn. Jake said he had seen Steve Stofelano at noon Mass at the Cathedral. I once served on a jury with MaryEllen Stofelno, and their daughter was baptized with ours.


Last night O had an overnight here with two friends.

2:45 AM

MARY: I wonder if they are going to sleep.

ME: I know that they are going to sleep, but I don’t know if they are going to sleep.

+ +

Jake asked if I’d like to go this morning to a “Centering Prayer Mini-Retreat” at the Abba House of Prayer. Fr. William Meninger will be speaking on “compassion meditation.”

+ + +

Well, Fr. Meninger didn't show up, nor was he expected to. The leader, Bruce Gardiner, intended to read from a book by Fr. Meninger. The door to Abba House was locked and the sister who has the key could not be reached, so we drove down a few blocks to the Church of St. Vincent de Paul and had the session there.

+ + + +

Four Cathedral parishioners, including Jake, were discerned as new members of the pastoral advisory council, to replace, in September, the four members who are rotating off the council. Before that, they will observe the June meeting, in which new council officers will be discerned.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Dew of your Spirit

Our American bishops will ask that “the dew of your Spirit” (Spiritus tui rore) be changed to “the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.” Too bad they didn’t look ahead to today’s first reading, which says,

A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains
and crushing rocks before the LORD
but the LORD was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake —
but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake there was fire —
but the LORD was not in the fire.
After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.
— 1 Kings 11–12

This is perhaps more familiar in the King James version:

. . . and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

It would probably have been better to have “consubstantial” instead of “one in being,” since consubstantial is in the Catechism (nine times), is English (used without flinching into the 20th century), and has a long history in the Faith. To understand “one in being,” “of one being,” “the same nature,” “consubstantial,” etc., one has to go back to the 4th century, and whatever word or phrase is used in the liturgy, “consubstantial” will turn up in the explanation.

I hope that “incarnate” — another word that has to be explained — is in, since “et incarnatus est” is so beautiful in music. Indeed, a great point in favor of an English translation closer to the Latin is that it brings the worshiper not only closer to the Latin Mass but to the music of the past 1000 years before 1969. Expect at least a mini-Renaissance in Catholic worship as a result.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I have no wish to engage further with a foul mouthed thug.
Posted by: Dubliner | Thursday, June 15, 2006 at 02:32 PM


The translation has passed.

Will have to look at the amendments.

+ +

If , in the USA, this were the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, this blog would conclude today. As it is, the last entry will be on the solemnity. This has been a good year for the Church. I am very happy.

The Fidelity of the Laity

Read first Bishops contra Athanasius.


Now we come secondly to the proofs of the fidelity of the laity, and the effectiveness of that fidelity, during that domination of imperial heresy to which the foregoing passages have related. I have abridged the extracts which follow, but not, I hope, to the injury of their sense.

1. ALEXANDRIA. "We suppose," says Athanasius, "you are not ignorant what outrages they (the Arian Bishops) committed at Alexandria, for they are reported everywhere. They attacked the holy virgins and brethren with naked swords; they beat with scourges their persons, esteemed honourable in God's sight, so that their feet were lamed by the stripes, whose souls were whole and sound in purity and all good works." Athan. Op. c. Arian. 15, [Oxf: tr.]

"Accordingly Constantius writes letters, and commences a persecution against all. Gathering together a multitude of herdsmen and shepherds, and dissolute youths belonging to the town, armed with swords and clubs, they attacked in a body the Church of Quirinus: and some they slew, some they trampled under foot, others they beat with stripes and cast into prison or banished. They hauled away many women also, and dragged them openly into the court, and insulted them, dragging them by the hair. Some they proscribed; from some they took away their bread, for no other reason but that they might be induced to join the Arians, and receive Gregory (the Arian Bishop), who had been sent by the Emperor." Athan. Hist. Arian. §10.

"On the week that succeeded the holy Pentecost, when the people, after their fast, had gone out to the cemetery to pray, because that all refused communion with George (the Arian Bishop), the commander, Sebastian, straightway with a multitude of soldiers proceeded to attack the people, though it was the Lord's day; and finding a few praying, (for the greater part had already retired on account of the lateness of the hour,) having lighted a pile, he placed certain virgins near the fire, and endeavoured to force them to say that they were of the Arian faith. And having seized on forty men, he cut some fresh twigs of the palm-tree, with the thorns upon them, and scourged them on the back so severely that some of them were for a long time under medical treatment, on account of the thorns which had entered their flesh, and others, unable to bear up under their sufferings, died. All those whom they had taken, both the men and the virgins, they sent away into banishment to the great oasis. Moreover, they immediately banished out of Egypt and Libya the following Bishops (sixteen), and the presbyters, Hierax and Dioscorus: some of them died on the way, others in the place of their banishment. They caused also more than thirty Bishops to take to flight." Apol. de Fug. 7.

2. EGYPT. "The Emperor Valens having issued an edict commanding that the orthodox should be expelled both from Alexandria and the rest of Egypt, depopulation and ruin to an immense extent immediately followed; some were dragged before the tribunals, others cast into prison, and many tortured in various ways; all sorts of punishment being inflicted upon persons who aimed only at peace and quiet." Socr. Hist. iv. 24, [Bohn.]

3. THE MONKS OF EGYPT. "Antony left the solitude of the desert to go about every part of the city (Alexandria), warning the inhabitants that the Arians were opposing the truth, and that the doctrines of the Apostles were preached only by Athanasius." Theod. Hist. iv. 27, [Bohn.]

"Lucius, the Arian, with a considerable body of troops, proceeded to the monasteries of Egypt, where he in person assailed the assemblage of holy men with greater fury than the ruthless soldiery. When these excellent persons remained unmoved by all the violence, in despair he advised the military chief to send the fathers of the monks, the Egyptian Macarius and his namesake of Alexandria, into exile." Socr. iv. 24.

OF CONSTANTINOPLE. "Isaac, on seeing the emperor depart at the head of his army, exclaimed, 'You who have declared war against God cannot gain His aid. Cease from fighting against Him, and He will terminate the war. Restore the pastors to their flocks, and then you will obtain a bloodless victory." Theod. iv.

OF SYRIA, &c. "That these heretical doctrines (Apollinarian and Eunomian) did not finally become predominant is mainly to be attributed to the zeal of the monks of this period; for all the monks of Syria, Cappadocia, and the neighbouring provinces were sincerely attached to the Nicene faith. The same fate awaited them which had been experienced by the Arians; for they incurred the full weight of the popular odium and aversion, when it was observed that their sentiments were regarded with suspicion, by the monks." Sozom. Hist. vi. 27, [Bohn.]

OF CAPPADOCIA. "Gregory, the father of Gregory Theologus, otherwise a most excellent man and a zealous defender of the true and Catholic religion, not being on his guard against the artifices of the Arians, such was his simplicity, received with kindness certain men who were contaminated with the poison, and subscribed an impious proposition of theirs. This moved the monks to such indignation, that they withdrew forthwith from his communion, and took with them, after their example, a considerable part of his flock." Ed. Bened. Monit. in Greg. Naz. Orat. 6.

[4. SYRIA. "Syria and the neighbouring provinces were plunged into confusion and disorder, for the Arians were very numerous in these parts, and had possession of the churches. The members of the Catholic Church were not, however, few in numbers. It was through their instrumentality that the Church of Antioch was preserved from the encroachments of the Arians, and enabled to resist the power of Valens. Indeed, it appears that all the Churches which were governed by men who were firmly attached to the faith did not deviate from the form of doctrine which they had originally embraced." Sozom. vi. 21]

5. ANTIOCH. "Whereas he (the Bishop Leontius) took part in the blasphemy of Arius, he made a point of concealing this disease, partly for fear of the multitude, partly for the menaces of Constantius; so those who followed the apostolical dogmas gained from him neither patronage nor ordination, but those who held Arianism were allowed the fullest liberty of speech, and were placed in the ranks of the sacred ministry. But Flavian and Diodorus, who had embraced the ascetical life, and maintained the apostolical dogmas, openly withstood Leontius's machinations against religious doctrine. They threatened that they would retire from the communion of his Church, and would go to the West, and reveal his intrigues. Though they were not as yet in the sacred ministry, but were in the ranks of the laity, night and day they used to excite all the people to zeal for religion. They were the first to divide the singers into two choirs, and to teach them to sing in alternate parts the strains of David. They too, assembling the devout at the shrines of the martyrs, passed the whole night there in hymns to God. These things Leontius seeing, did not think it safe to hinder them, for he saw that the multitude was especially well affected towards those excellent persons. Nothing, however, could persuade Leontius to correct his wickedness. It follows, that among the clergy were many who were infected with the heresy: but the mass of the people were champions of orthodoxy." Theodor. Hist. ii. 24.

6. EDESSA. "There is in that city a magnificent church, dedicated to St. Thomas the Apostle, wherein, on account of the sanctity of the place, religious assemblies are continually held. The Emperor Valens wished to inspect this edifice; when, having learned that all who usually congregated there were opposed to the heresy which he favoured, he is said to have struck the prefect with his own hand, because he had neglected to expel them thence. The prefect, to prevent the slaughter of so great a number of persons, privately warned them against resorting thither. But his admonitions and menaces were alike unheeded; for on the following day they all crowded to the church. When the prefect was going towards it with a large military force, a poor woman, leading her own little child by the hand, hurried hastily by on her way to the church, breaking through the ranks of the soldiery. The prefect, irritated at this, ordered her to be brought to him, and thus addressed her: 'Wretched woman, whither are you running in so disorderly a manner?' She replied, 'To the same place that others are hastening.' 'Have you not heard,' said he, 'that the prefect is about to put to death all that shall be found there?' 'Yes,' said the woman, 'and therefore I hasten, that I may be found there."And whither are you dragging that little child?' said the prefect. The woman answered, 'That he also may be vouchsafed the honour of martyrdom.' The prefect went back and informed the emperor that all were ready to die in behalf of their own faith; and added that it would be preposterous to destroy so many persons at one time, and thus succeeded in restraining the emperor's wrath." Socr. iv. 18. "Thus was the Christian faith confessed by the whole city of Edessa." Sozom. vi. 18.

7. SAMOSATA. "The Arians, having deprived this exemplary flock of their shepherd, elected in his place an individual with whom none of the inhabitants of the city, whether poor or rich, servants or mechanics, husbandmen or gardeners, men or women, young or old, would hold communion. He was left quite alone; no one even calling to see him, or exchanging a word with him. It is, however, said that his disposition was extremely gentle; and this is proved by what I am about to relate. One day, when he went to bathe in the public baths, the attendants closed the doors; but he ordered the doors to be thrown open, that the people might be admitted to bathe with himself. Perceiving that they remained in a standing posture before him, imagining that great deference towards himself was the cause of this conduct, he arose and left the bath. These people believed that the water had been contaminated by his heresy, and ordered it to be let out and fresh water to be supplied. When he heard of this circumstance, he left the city, thinking that he ought no longer to remain in a place where he was the object of public aversion and hatred. Upon this retirement of Eunomius, Lucius was elected as his successor by the Arians. Some young persons were amusing themselves with playing at ball in the marketplace; Lucius was passing by at the time, and the ball happened to fall beneath the feet of the ass on which he was mounted. The youths uttered loud exclamations, believing that the ball was contaminated. They lighted a fire, and hurled the ball through it, believing that by this process the ball would be purified. Although this was only a childish deed, and although it exhibits the remains of ancient superstition, yet it is sufficient to show the odium which the Arian faction bad incurred in this city. Lucius was far from imitating the mildness of Eunomius, and he persuaded the heads of government to exile most of the clergy." Theodor. iv. 15.

8. OSRHOENE. "Arianism met with similar opposition at the same period in Osrhoëne and Cappadocia. Basil, Bishop of Caesarea, and Gregory, Bishop of Nazianzus, were held in high admiration and esteem throughout these regions." Sozom. vi. 21.

9. CAPPADOCIA. "Valens, in passing through Cappadocia, did all in his power to injure the orthodox, and to deliver up the churches to the Arians. He thought to accomplish his designs more easily on account of a dispute which was then pending between Basil and Eusebius, who governed the Church of Caesarea. This dissension had been the cause of Basil's departing to Pontus. The people, and some of the most powerful and wisest men of the city, began to regard Eusebius with suspicion, and to meditate a secession from his communion. The emperor and the Arian Bishops regarded the absence of Basil, and the hatred of the people towards Eusebius, as circumstances that would tend greatly to the success of their designs. But their expectations were utterly frustrated. On the first intelligence of the intention of the emperor to pass through Cappadocia, Basil returned to Caesarea, where he effected a reconciliation with Eusebius. The projects of Valens were thus defeated, and he returned with his Bishops." Sozom. vi. 15.

10. PONTUS. "It is said that when Eulahus, Bishop of Amasia in Pontus, returned from exile, he found that his Church had passed into the hands of an Arian, and that scarcely fifty inhabitants of the city had submitted to the control of their new Bishop." Sozom. vii. 2.

11. ARMENIA. "That company of Arians, who came with Eustathius to Nicopolis, had promised that they would bring over this city to compliance with the commands of the imperial vicar. This city had great ecclesiastical importance, both because it was the metropolis of Armenia, and because it had been ennobled by the blood of martyrs, and governed hitherto by Bishops of great reputation, and thus, as Basil calls it, was the nurse of religion and the metropolis of sound doctrine. Fronto, one of the city presbyters, who had hitherto shown himself as a champion of the truth, through ambition gave himself up to the enemies of Christ, and purchased the bishopric of the Arians at the price of renouncing the Catholic faith. This wicked proceeding of Eustathius and the Arians brought a new glory instead of evil to the Nicopolitans, since it gave them an opportunity of defending the faith. Fronto, indeed, the Arians consecrated, but there was a remarkable unanimity of clergy and people in rejecting him. Scarcely one or two clerks sided with him; on the contrary, he became the execration of all Armenia." Vita S. Basil., Bened. pp. clvii, clviii.

12. NICOMEDIA. "Eighty pious clergy proceeded to Nicomedia, and there presented to the emperor a supplicatory petition complaining of the ill-usage to which they had been subjected. Valens, dissembling his displeasure in their presence, gave Modestus, the prefect, a secret order to apprehend these persons and put them to death. The prefect, fearing that he should excite the populace to a seditious movement against himself, if he attempted the public execution of so many, pretended to send them away into exile," &c. Socr. iv. 16.

13. CAOOADOCIA. St. Basil says, about the year 372: "Religious people keep silence, but every blaspherning tongue is let loose. Sacred things are profaned; those of the laity who are sound in faith avoid the places of worship as schools of impiety, and raise their hands in solitude, with groans and tears, to the Lord in heaven." Ep. 92. Four years after he writes: "Matters have come to this pass; the people have left their houses of prayer, and assemble in deserts: a pitiable sight; women and children, old men, and men otherwise infirm, wretchedly faring in the open air, amid the most profuse rains and snow-storms, and winds, and frosts of winter; and again in summer under a scorching sun. To this they submit, because they will have no part in the wicked Arian leaven." Ep. 242. Again: "Only one offence is now vigorously punished, an accurate observance of our fathers' traditions. For this cause the pious are driven from their countries, and transported into deserts. The people are in lamentation, in continual tears at home and abroad. There is a cry in the city, a cry in the country, in the roads, in the deserts. Joy and spiritual cheerfulness are no more; our feasts are turned into mourning; our houses of prayer are shut up, our altars deprived of the spiritual worship." Ep. 243.

PAPHLAGONIA, &c. "I thought," says Julian in one of his Epistles, "that the leaders of the Galilaeans would feel more grateful to me than to my predecessor. For in his time they were in great numbers turned out of their homes, and persecuted, and imprisoned; moreover, multitudes of so-called heretics" (the Novatians who were with the Catholics against the Arians) "were slaughtered, so that in Samosata, Paphlagonia, Bithynia, and Galatia, and many other nations, villages were utterly sacked and destroyed." Ep. 52.

14. SCYTHIA. "There are in this country a great number of cities, of towns, and of fortresses. According to an ancient custom which still prevails, all the churches of the whole country are under the sway of one Bishop. Valens (the emperor) repaired to the church, and strove to gain over the Bishop to the heresy of Arius; but this latter manfully opposed his arguments, and, after a courageous defence of the Nicene doctrines, quitted the emperor, and proceeded to another church, whither he was followed by the people. Valens was extremely offended at being left alone in a church with his attendants, and, in resentment, condemned Vetranio (the Bishop) to banishment. Not long after, however, he recalled him, because, I believe, he apprehended an insurrection." Sozom. vi. 21.

15. CONSTANTINOPLE. "Those who acknowledged the doctrine of consubstantiality were not only expelled from the churches, but also from the cities. But although expulsion at first satisfied them (the Arians), they soon proceeded to the worse extremity of inducing compulsory communion with them, caring little for such a desecration of the churches. They resorted to all kinds of scourgings, a variety of tortures, and confiscation of property. Many were punished with exile, some died under the torture, and others were put to death while being driven from their country. These atrocities were exercised throughout all the eastern cities, but especially at Constantinople." Socr. ii. 27.

16. ILLYRIA. "The parents of Theodosius were Christians, and were attached to the Nicene doctrine, hence he took pleasure in the ministration of Ascholius (Bishop of Thessalonica). He also rejoiced at finding that the Arian heresy had not been received in Illyria." Sozom. vii. 4.

17. NEIGHBOURHOOD OF MACEDONIA. "Theodosius inquired concerning the religious sentiments which were prevalent in the other provinces, and ascertained that, as far as Macedonia, one form of belief was universally predominant." &c. Ibid.

18. ROME. "With respect to doctrine no dissension arose either at Rome or in any other of the Western Churches. The people unanimously adhered to the form of belief established at Nicaea." Sozom. vi. 23.

"Liberius, returning to Rome, found the mind of the mass of men alienated from him, because he had so shamefully yielded to Constantius. And thus it came to pass, that those persons who had hitherto kept aloof from Felix (the rival Pope), and had avoided his communion in favour of Liberius, on hearing what had happened, left him for Felix, who raised the Catholic standard. Baron. arm. 357. (56) He tells us besides (57), that the people would not even go to the public baths, lest they should bathe with the party of Liberius.

19. MILAN. "At the council of Milan, Eusebius of Vercellae, when it was proposed to draw up a declaration against Athanasius, said that the council ought first to be sure of the faith of the Bishops attending it, for he had found out that some of them were polluted with heresy. Accordingly he brought before the Fathers the Nicene creed, and said he was willing to comply with all their demands, after they had subscribed that confession. Dionysius, Bishop of Milan, at once took up the paper and began to write his assent; but Valens (the Arian) violently pulled pen and paper out of his hands, crying out that such a course of proceeding was impossible. Whereupon, after much tumult, the question came before the people, and great was the distress of all of them; the faith of the Church was attacked by the Bishops. They then, dreading the judgment of the people, transfer their meeting from the church to the imperial palace." Hilar. ad Const. i. 8.

"As the feast of Easter approached, the empress sent to St. Ambrose to ask a church of him, where the Arians who attended her might meet together. He replied, that a Bishop could not give up the temple of God. The pretorian prefect came into the church, where St. Ambrose was, attended by the people, and endeavoured to persuade him to yield up at least the Portian Basilica. The people were clamorous against the proposal; and the prefect retired to report how matters stood to the emperor. The Sunday following, St. Ambrose was explaining the creed, when he was informed that the officers were hanging up the imperial hangings in the Portian Basilica, and that upon this news the people were repairing thither. While he was offering up the holy sacrifice, a second message came that the people had seized an Arian priest as he was passing through the street. He despatched a number of his clergy to the spot to rescue the Arian from his danger. The court looked on this resistance of the people as seditious, and immediately laid considerable fines upon the whole body of the tradesmen of the city. Several were thrown into prison. In three days' time these tradesmen were fined two hundred pounds weight of gold, and they said that they were ready to give as much again, on condition that they might retain their faith. The prisons were filled with tradesmen: all the officers of the household, secretaries, agents of the emperor, and dependent officers who served under various counts, were kept within doors, and were forbidden to appear in public under pretence that they should bear no part in sedition. Men of higher rank were menaced with severe consequences, unless the Basilica were surrendered. . . .

"Next morning the Basilica was surrounded by soldiers; but it was reported, that these soldiers had sent to the emperor to tell him that if he wished to come abroad he might, and that they would attend him, if he was going to the assembly of the Catholics; otherwise, that they would go to that which would be held by St. Ambrose. Indeed, the soldiers were all Catholics, as well as the citizens of Milan; there were no heretics there, except a few officers of the emperor and some Goths....

"St. Ambrose was continuing his discourse when he was told that the emperor had withdrawn the soldiers from the Basilica, and that he had restored to the tradesmen the fines which he had exacted from them. This news gave joy to the people, who expressed their delight with applauses and thanksgivings; the soldiers themselves were eager to bring the news, throwing themselves on the altars, and kissing them in token of peace." Fleury's Hist. xviii. 41, 42, Oxf. trans.

[20. THE SOLDIERY. Soldiers having been mentioned in the foregoing extract, I add the following passage. "Terentius, a general distinguished by his valour and by his piety, was able, on his return from Armenia, to erect trophies of victory. Valens promised to give him everything that he might desire. But he asked not for gold or silver, for lands, power, of honours; he requested that a church might be given to those who preached the apostolical doctrines." Theodor. iv. 32.

"Valens sent Trajan, the general, against the barbarians. Trajan was defeated, and, on his return, the emperor reproached him severely, and accused him of weakness and cowardice. But Trajan replied with great boldness, 'It is not I, O emperor, who have been defeated; for you, by fighting against God, have thrown the barbarians upon His protection. Do you not know who those are whom you have driven from the churches, and who are those to whom you have given them up?' Arintheus and Victor, the other commanders, accorded in what he had said, and brought the emperor to reflect on the truth of their remonstrances." Ibid. 33.]

21. CHRISTENDOM GENERALLY. St. Hilary to Constantius: "Not only in words, but in tears, we beseech you to save the Catholic Churches from any longer continuance of these most grievous injuries, and of their present intolerable persecutions and insults, which moreover they are enduring, which is monstrous, from our brethren. Surely your clemency should listen to the voice of those who cry out so loudly, 'I am a Catholic, I have no wish to be a heretic.' It should seem equitable to your sanctity, most glorious Augustus, that they who fear the Lord God and His judgment should not be polluted and contaminated with execrable blasphemies, but should have liberty to follow those Bishops and prelates who observe inviolate the laws of charity, and who desire a perpetual and sincere peace. It is impossible, it is unreasonable, to mix true and false, to confuse light and darkness, and bring into a union, of whatever kind, night and day. Give permission to the populations to hear the teaching of the pastors whom they have wished, whom they fixed on, whom they have chosen, to attend their celebration of the divine mysteries, to offer prayers through them for your safety and prosperity." ad Const. i.

Newman, On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine, [1859] 1871. Compare text in Modern History Sourcebook: John Henry Newman (1801-1890): On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine, July 1859.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Bishops contra Athanasius


On the one hand, then, I say, that there was a temporary suspense of the functions of the "Ecclesia docens." The body of Bishops failed in their confession of the faith. They spoke variously, one against another; there was nothing, after Nicaea, of firm, unvarying, consistent testimony, for nearly sixty years. There were untrustworthy Councils, unfaithful Bishops; there was weakness, fear of consequences, misguidance, delusion, hallucination, endless, hopeless, extending itself into nearly every corner of the Catholic Church. The comparatively few who remained faithful were discredited and driven into exile; the rest were either deceivers or were deceived.

1. A.D. 325. The great council of Nicaea, of 318 Bishops, chiefly from the eastern provinces of Christendom, under the presidency of Hosius of Cordova, as the Pope's Legate. It was convoked against Arianism, which it once for all anathematized; and it inserted the formula of the "Consubstantial" into the Creed, with the view of establishing the fundamental dogma which Arianism impugned. It is the first Oecumenical Council, and recognised at the time its own authority as the voice of the infallible Church. It is so received by the orbis terrarum at this day. A.D. 326. St. Athanasius, the great champion of the Homoilison, was elected Bishop of Alexandria.

2. A.D. 334, 335. The synods of Caesarea and Tyre (sixty Bishops) against Athanasius, who was therein accused and formally condemned of rebellion, sedition, and ecclesiastical tyranny; of murder, sacrilege, and magic; deposed from his see, forbidden to set foot in Alexandria for life, and banished to Gaul. Also, they received Arius into communion.

3. A.D. 341. Council of Rome of fifty Bishops, attended by the exiles from Thrace, Syria, &c., by Athanasius, &c., in which Athanasius was pronounced innocent.

4. A.D. 341. Great Council of the Dedication at Antioch, attended by ninety or a hundred Bishops. The council ratified the proceedings of the councils of Caesarea and Tyre, and placed an Arian in the see of Athanasius. Then it proceeded to pass a dogmatic decree in reversal of the formula of the "Consubstantial." Four or five creeds, instead of the Nicene, were successively adopted by the assembled fathers. Three of these were circulated in the neighbourhood; but, as they wished to send one to Rome, they directed a fourth to be drawn up. This, too, apparently failed.

5. A.D. 345. Council of the creed called Macrostich. This creed suppresses, as did the third, the word "substance." The eastern Bishops sent this to the Bishops of France, who rejected it.

6. A.D. 347. The great council of Sardica, attended by more than 300 Bishops. Before it commenced, the division between its members broke out on the question whether or not Athanasius should have a seat in it. In consequence, seventy-six retired to Philippopolis, on the Thracian side of Mount Haemus, and there excommunicated the Pope and the Sardican fathers. These seceders published a sixth confession of faith. The synod of Sardica, including Bishops from Italy, Gaul, Africa, Egypt, Cyprus, and Palestine, confirmed the act of the Roman council, and restored Athanasius and the other exiles to their sees. The synod of Philippopolis, on the contrary, sent letters to the civil magistrates of those cities, forbidding them to admit the exiles into them. The imperial power took part with the Sardican fathers, and Athanasius went back to Alexandria.

7. A.D. 351. The Bishops of the East met at Sirmium. The semi-Arian Bishops began to detach themselves from the Arians, and to form a separate party.

Under pretence of putting down a kind of Sabellianism, they drew up a new creed, into which they introduced the language of some of the ante-Nicene writers, on the subject of our Lord's divinity, and dropped the word -substance."

[8. There is considerable confusion of dates here. Anyhow, there was a second Sirmian creed, in which the eastern party first came to a division among themselves. St. Hilary at length gives up these creeds as indefensible, and calls this one a "blasphemy." It is the first creed which criticises the words "substance," &c., as unscriptural. Some years afterwards this "blasphemia" seems to have been interpolated, and sent into the East in the name of Hosius. At a later date, there was a third Sirmian creed; and a second edition of it, with alterations, was published at Nice in Thrace.]

9. A.D. 353. The council of Arles.The Pope sent to it several Bishops as legates. The Father of the Council, including the Pope's legate, Vincent, subscribed the condemnation of Athanasius. Paulinus, Bishop of Trêves, was nearly the only one who stood up for the Nicene faith and for Athanasius. He was accordingly banished into Phrygia, where he died.

10. A.D. 355. The council of Milan, of more than 300 Bishops of the West. Nearly all of them, subscribed the condemnation of Athanasius; whether they generally subscribed the heretical creed, which was brought forward, does not appear. The Pope's four legates remained firm, and St. Dionysius of Milan, who died an exile in Asia Minor. An Arian was put into his see. Saturninus, the Bishop of Arles, proceeded to hold a council at Beziers; and its fathers banished St. Hilary to Phrygia.

A.D. 357-9. The Arians and Semi-Arians successively drew up fresh creeds at Sirmium.

11. A.D. 357 - 8. Hosius falls. "Constantius used such violence towards the old man, and confined him so straitly, that at last, broken by suffering, he was brought, though hardly, to hold communion with Valens and Ursacius (the Arian leaders), though he would not subscribe against Athanasius." Athan. Arian. Hist. 45.

12. And Liberius. A.D. 357 - 8 "The tragedy was not ended in the lapse of Hosius, but in the evil which befell Liberius, the Roman Pontiff, it became far more dreadful and mournful, considering that he was Bishop of so great a city, and of the whole Catholic Church, and that he had so bravely resisted Constantius two years previously. There is nothing, whether in the historians and holy fathers, or in his own letters, to prevent our coming to the conclusion, that Liberius communicated with the Arians, and confirmed the sentence passed against Athanasius; but he is not at all on that account to be called a heretic." Baron. Ann. 357, 38-45. Athanasius says: "Liberius, after he had been in banishment for two years, gave way, and from fear of threatened death was induced to subscribe." Arian. Hist. S41. St. Jerome says: "Liberius, taedio victus exilii, in haereticam pravitatern subscribens, Roman quasi victor intraverat [Liberius, worn out by the tedium of exile and subscribing to the heretical error, had entered Rome almost as a conqueror.]." Chron.

13. A.D. 359. The great councils of Seleucia and Ariminum, being one bi-partite council, representing the East and West respectively. At Seleucia there were 150 Bishops, of which only the twelve or thirteen from Egypt were champions of the Nicene "Consubstantial." At Ariminum there were as many as 400 Bishops, who, worn out by the artifice of long delay on the part of the Arians, abandoned the "Consubstantial," and subscribed the ambiguous formula which the heretics had substituted for it.

[14. A.D. 361. The death of Constantius; the Catholic Bishops breathe again, and begin at once to remedy the miseries of the Church, though troubles were soon to break out anew.]

15. A.D. 362. State of the Church of Antioch at this time. There were four Bishops or communions of Antioch; first, the old succession and communion, which had possession before the Arian troubles; secondly, the Arian succession, which had lately conformed to orthodoxy in the person of Meletius; thirdly, the new Latin succession, lately created by Lucifer, whom some have thought the Pope's legate there; and, fourthly, the new Arian succession, which was started upon the recantation of Meletius. At length, as Arianism was brought under, the evil reduced itself to two Episcopal successions, that of Meletius and the Latin, which went on for many years, the West and Egypt holding communion with the latter, and the East with the former.

[16. A.D. 370-379. St. Basil was Bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia through these years. The judgments formed about this great doctor in his lifetime show us vividly the extreme confusion which prevailed. He was accused by one party of being a follower of Apollinaris, and lost in consequence some of the sees over which he was metropolitan. He was accused by the monks in his friend Gregory's diocese of favouring the semi-Arians. He was accused by the Neocaesareans of inclining towards Arianism. And he was treated with suspicion and coldness by Pope Damasus].

17. About A.D. 360, St. Hilary says: "I am not speaking of things foreign to my knowledge; I am not writing about what I am ignorant of; I have heard and I have seen the shortcomings of persons who are round about me, not of laymen merely, but of Bishops. For, excepting the Bishop Eleusius and a few with him, for the most part the ten Asian provinces, within whose boundaries I am situate, are truly ignorant of God." De Syn. 63. It is observable, that even Eleusius, who is here spoken of as somewhat better than the rest, was a semi-Arian, according to Socrates, and even a persecutor of Catholics at Constantinople; and, according to Sozomen, one of those who were active in causing Pope Liberius to give up the Nicene formula of the "Consubstantial." By the ten Asian provinces is meant the east and south provinces of Asia Minor, pretty nearly as cut off by a line passing from Cyzicus to Seleucia through Synnada.

18. A.D. 360. St. Gregory Nazianzen says, about this date: "Surely the pastors have done foolishly; for, excepting a very few, who, either on account of their insignificance were passed over, or who by reason of their virtue resisted, and who were to be left as a seed and root for the springing up again and revival of Israel by the influences of the Spirit, all temporised, only differing from each other in this, that some succumbed earlier, and others later; some were foremost champions and leaders in the impiety, and others joined the second rank of the battle, being overcome by fear, or by interest, or by flattery, or, what was the most excusable, by their own ignorance." Orat. xxi. 24.

19. A.D. 363. About this time, St. Jerome says: "Nearly all the churches in the whole world, under the pretence of peace and the emperor, are polluted with the communion of the Arians." Chron. Of the same date, that is, upon the council of Ariminum, are his famous words, "Ingernuit totus orbis et se esse Arianum miratus est [The whole world groaned, and marveled to see itself Arian.]." In Lucif. 19. The Catholics of Christendom were surprised indeed to find that the Council had made Arians of them.

[20. A.D. 364. And St. Hilary: "Up to this date, the only cause why Christ's people is not murdered by the priests of Anti-christ, with this deceit of impiety, is, that they take the words which the heretics use, to denote the faith which they themselves hold. Sanctiores aures plebis quàm corda sunt sacerdotum [There is more holiness in the ears of the people than in the hearts of the priests.] ." In Aux. 6.]

21. St. Hilary speaks of the series of ecclesiastical councils of that time in the following well-known passage: "Since the Nicene council, we have done nothing but write the creed. While we fight about words, inquire about novelties, take advantage of ambiguities, criticise authors, fight on party questions, have difficulties in agreeing, and prepare to anathernatise each other, there is scarce a man who belongs to Christ. Take, for instance, last year's creed, what alteration is there not in it already? First, we have the creed, which bids us not to use the Nicene 'consubstantial;' then comes another, which decrees and preaches it; next, the third, excuses the word 'substance,' as adopted by the fathers in their simplicity; lastly, the fourth, which instead of excusing, condemns. We determine creeds by the year or by the month, we change our own determinations, we prohibit our changes, we anathernatise our prohibitions. Thus, we either condemn others in our own persons, or ourselves in the instance of others, and while we bite and devour one another, are like to be consumed one of another."

22. A.D. 382. St. Gregory writes: "If I must speak the truth, I feel disposed to shun every conference of Bishops; for never saw I synod brought to a happy issue, and remedying, and not rather aggravating, existing evils. For rivalry and ambition are stronger than reason, -- do not think me extravagant for saying so, -- and a mediator is more likely to incur some imputation himself than to clear up the imputations which others lie under." Ep. 129.

Newman, On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine, [1859] 1871. Compare text in Modern History Sourcebook: John Henry Newman (1801-1890): On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine, July 1859.

Continued in The Fidelity of the Laity.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

After retiring, Bishop Griswold said, he may write a book or two. Or take up invitations to teach. Or tend to his house in New Hampshire, where, he said, he can scythe a meadow.

“I like to scythe,” Bishop Griswold said, with a small smile, “because grass obeys in a way people sometimes don’t.”

— Bishop Frank T. Griswold, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church (USA), 1997–2006, New York Times, June 11, 2006


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Letter from Mary Tripoli

Mary Tripoli attends Mass at St. Mary’s by the Sea in the Diocese of Orange, California, USA.

Date: Jun 13, 2006 12:46 AM
Subject: St Mary's by the Sea.

Dear Leo,

Thank you for your words regarding fairness about selective liturgical enforcement. St. Mary's has been a little haven for the refuge of sinners. The most liberal Church in our Diocese is 5 minutes away from St. Mary's. They stand at the Consecration. The Church was built without kneelers. People still used to kneel though. I was one of the parishioners that was asked to leave the parish and Diocese for kneeling at St. Mary's. I went to visit and talk with the Pastor of the Church with no kneelers about the situation at St. Mary's. I told him that Father Tran told us that we had to go back to wherever our home parish was if we didn't like it. Even though I have been to funeral Masses and listened to watered down and goofy theology at this parish, something wonderful happened. I told the Pastor that I had been in the Legion of Mary and that if I was to meet some one who was interested in the faith, I would not know where to send them. I told him that his parish had beautiful horizontal but lacked the vertical. I praised him for the beautiful homily he gave at a funeral I attended. This very, very liberal priest said he felt our pain and that we could come and kneel after the Agnus Dei anytime. He actually said, "Now you know what it is like to have a tyrant come in and remove everything that is Sacred to you." He tried so hard to comfort us. He told us that the Church was diverse and that there was room under the umbrella for everyone. I told him that was only in words, not reality. I asked him who loved the Bishop enough to let him know he is wrong. Who loved him enough to challenge him to the truth? I asked him if he knew about Bishop Sheen. I said that Bishop Sheen had said that the laity is the eyes, ears and mouths for the Church. I told him that other priests in the Diocese who don't like Bishop Brown just say, "Well when he faces Almighty God, he will be in trouble." Again I asked him if that was the best we could do for Bishop Brown. Who loves him enough to challenge him now? Our conversation was absolutely incredible. This priest was so taken by our sincerity he did not want us to leave. He wanted to talk and console us. I learned a valuable lesson about charity from this priest. I still am attending St. Mary's and I approached Bishop Brown after Saturday evening Mass where he showed up unannounced. I asked him if I could have a meeting with him. He asked me what kind of meeting it would be. I said a meeting to heal division within the Church. He said, "Who would attend this meeting?" I said, "A few people and don't worry it will be tame and loving with no tempers." He said, 'Alright I am always interested in healing division with loving talks." I asked the Bishop to check his schedule and please let Father Tran, our parish administrator, let me know. This was a few days ago. The Bishops conference is this week so I am going to wait a few days and call the Diocese and ask for the appointment. Please pray for us. I will be attending a prayer vigil outside the hotel where the Bishops will be meeting. The reason I wrote to you is that your responses on the blogs made sense to me. That is a rare gift and I wanted to thank you. Keep us in your prayers, as I will keep you in mine. Leo, I have just learned how to use a computer, so please forgive any errors. After reading your responses on the blogs, I know you will.

God Bless,


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

For the LORD, the God of Israel, says,
"The jar of flour shall not go empty,
nor the jug of oil run dry,
until the day when the LORD sends rain upon the earth."
—1 Kings 17:14

The Lord has not sent rain to the Church in America, but the jar is not empty, nor the jug dry.

Men of rank, how long will you be dull of heart?
Why do you love what is vain and seek after falsehood?
—Psalm 4:2

May this not be applicable to the bishops meeting in Los Angeles.

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
— Matthew 5:16

Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam


John Harris on baseball today.

+ +

I had been advised to visit the Pont-du-Gard; hitherto I had seen none of the remaining monuments of Roman magnificence, and I expected to find this worthy the hands by which it was constructed; for once, the reality surpassed my expectation; this was the only time in my life it ever did so, and the Romans alone could have produced this effect. The view of this noble and sublime work, struck me the more forcibly, from being in the midst of a desert, where silence and solitude render the majestic edifice more striking, and admiration more lively, for though called a bridge it is nothing more than an aqueduct. One cannot help exclaiming, what strength could have transported these enormous stones so far from any quarry? And what motive could have united the labors of so many millions of men, in a place that no one inhabited? I remained here whole hours, in the most ravishing contemplation, and returned pensive and thoughtful to my inn.
— Rousseau’s Confessions, Book VI

On my arrival at Nismes, I went to see the amphitheatre, which is a far more magnificent work than even the Pont-du-Gard, yet it made a much less impression on me, perhaps, because my admiration had been already exhausted on the former object; or that the situation of the latter, in the midst of a city, was less proper to excite it. This vast and superb circus is surrounded by small dirty houses, while yet smaller and dirtier fill up the area, in such a manner that the whole produces an unequal and confused effect, in which regret and indignation stifle pleasure and surprise. The amphitheatre at Verona is a vast deal smaller and less beautiful than that at Nismes, but preserved with all possible care and neatness, by which means alone it made a much stronger and more agreeable impression on me.
— Ibid.

I was convinced that the physicians (who understood nothing of my disorder) looked on my complaint as imaginary, and treated me accordingly, with their waters and whey. In this respect physicians and philosophers differ widely from theologians; admitting the truth only of what they can explain and making their knowledge the measure of possibilities. These gentlemen understood nothing of my illness, therefore concluded I could not be ill; and who would presume to doubt the profound skill of a physician?
— Ibid.


Monday, June 12, 2006

Monday, June 12, 2006

Enjoyed yesterday afternoon visiting our friend Sr. Mary Anne Nelson at Pyramid Lake. On the way we had lunch in Chestertown at the Main Street Ice Cream Parlor. SMAN, M, O, and O’s friend K went kayaking. I read Romans. Afterwards we all sat down with SMAN, who every year after the College of St. Rose ends its spring semester comes up to Pyramid Life Center for a month to establish a garden. The subject of bears came up.

SMAN: I once saw Greeley [SMAN’s cat] hiding under the cabin, and when I turned around and I said, “Yikes! There’s a teenage bear out here!”

ME: I would have said, “Yikes! There’s a teenager out here!”

Only I laughed.


I sent a prayer request to the Father Solanus Guild:

His name is Justin.

Crohn's disease
Inflammatory bowel disease
Kidney stones (resulting from prior bowel resections)
Possible adhesions from prior surgery and/or Crohns

And now, most likely, depression. . . . . he is not doing well after getting his hopes up about Georgetown being able to help.


See also From the Friars e-mail.