Tuesday, June 5, 2012
There is a certain condition in human nature that is familiar to every experienced human being across the boundaries of nations or time. It is that of a relationship grown cold due to a rift--an argument or an act that causes two people once deeply engaged in one another to grow apart. This is never so evident as when it occurs in marriage, where the two are still obliged to remain together. One has no difficulty in conjuring the image of a man and woman moving laconically past one another, each in his and her own shadowy world. They do not speak; the situation has grown comfortable. Maybe they have some notion of doing something in the future to rekindle the joy they felt as they began their lives together, but that must wait for the appropriate time. They have their personal plans, and day in, day out, they move steadily and solitarily towards different goals, though to all appearances, they stay together.

In the Renaissance, thinkers posited the idea that motion itself may be dubbed 'inert' as aptly as stillness is. It logically followed that sluggishness is found in actuality as well as in potency. Not yet abandoning the link between pure reason and reality, these philosopher scientists realized that such an idea would nullify any difference between rest and motion, and so to uphold the truth that our sensory experience indeed reflects reality, many nodded as Newton posited the notions of 'absolute motion' and 'absolute place.' Those scientists, so wanting man to be the measure of all things, likely mopped their brows with relief at such a solution. Somewhere there was an eternal standard to measure individual phenomena against, thus vouchsafing˜­ the credibility of man's reason.

However, the realm of human relations differs entirely. As each man is an individual endowed with sentient thought of the highest order, his personal course of action need not arise from a relation with any eternal measure. Determinists may say otherwise, but personal experience tells us that man does what he does out of free choice, and that this freedom is only lessened by the sleepy influence of inertia (for even acting on the compulsion of another implies that we choose compliance over the alternative of not complying). Whether it is true for physical objects or not, man is indeed capable of resting even as he acts, mindlessly following the course of habit.

'Heaven gives us habit instead of happiness' is the proverb stoically intoned at the beginning of Tchaikovsky's luscious opera, Onegin. As it is shown that story's prelude, the strength of habit is enough to conquer individual impulses, and in this story's case, it is for the better. The security of a repeating cycle helps one to heal after the bruises of disappointed romance.

One may say the same to be the case with the Church and the Society of Saint Pius X. The initial sunderance with Rome must have shook the earth under the bishops' feet, even as they were convinced that Canon Law ultimately justified them, even as it appeared to condemn them. The stigma branded upon them by the mainstream currents in the Church may have at first spurred them on, but after all this time, this condition has very likely become mundane.

Just as with the married couple mentioned before, there was an argument. It was an ugly argument--the sort that shatters lives and even worlds. Yet, the presence of mind in both parties allows the marriage to remain in existence, and the two decide to go seperate ways under the same roof, trusting in some misty future date for a true reconciliation. Habit reigns in place of happiness, and husband and wife are content with their domestic routines, superficial conversation, and nights of regular sleep. This life does not feed their desires. It is not a fulfillment of their vocation. It is an insult against the potential grandeur of their souls. Yet, it is also the easier thing to do. Habit is easier than happiness; routine is easier than romance. Inertia always has that upperhand over the practice of virtue.

That is why it would come as a shock to the wife, if as she prepares supper in the kitchen, or as she returns home from work herself, to suddenly come face to face with her husband and see that he is looking at her. He does not give way for her to continue what she was doing. He does not even follow his own routine. He says decisively: 'Things cannot go on as they have.' She finds now she will have to make a choice. To live with him as his wife, or not to live with him at all, because he will no longer stand for only receiving a part of her or for merely giving a part of himself.

The SSPX expected the barque of St. Peter to take a century or so to right its course, at the which time, they would seek a more visible reunion. Much like a practical wife, the Fraternity was ready to bide its time and wait for the situation to evolve. Romance however kindles revolution; it does not wait for evolution. 

Yet, this sort of passion and deliberate way of thinking may end in either triumph or tragedy. The husband's confrontation with his wife could bring about a wider rift rather than a reconciliation. As Archbishop Fellay himself has said: 

One must not think that things will be easy afterwards. To use the words of the Pope that describe the situation quite well: 'I know,' he said, 'that it would be easier both for the Society and for myself to leave the situation as it currently is.' This describes very well the situation, and also that the Pope himself knows that he, when he does it, will be attacked. And also that the situation will not be easy for us. That which will arise out of this situation will be with Rome or against it. Both of which will be difficult. 

'Difficult'? A very diplomatic term. The enemies of this reunion want to wreck it completely. They are ready to split the Church over it. The heretics that once accused the SSPX of schism, are now entering into formal schism (to add to their heresy): 

A schismatic pope loses his position according to that same teaching of the constitution of the Church. At least, he cannot expect obedience...Instead of reconciling with the ultra-conservative, anti-democratic, and anti-Semitic SSPX, the Pope should rather care about the majority of reform-minded Catholics and reconcile with the churches of the Reformation and the entire ecumenical movement. Thus he would unite, and not divide. _Hans Küng (http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2012/05/freak-extremes-meet-hans-kung-becomes.html)

Ultimately, those engaged in a romance must be willing to ask themselves if the other is enough. If their relationship is a great enough good to place above all other goods and all other relations. The Pope has decided that justice to the Fraternity is above the politics of diplomacy and that open arms to those outside the Church is a lie if those already within Her are not also embraced in love. His Holiness has decided to put his own house in order first, whatever the cost.

And how shall it end? That depends on whether one's trust in the good God is well-founded. Those with faith already have their answer.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

In the grey damp I sat,
Just ris’n from moods whereat
            I could find cause for shame,
My red eyes lit on the thorn,
And the skullcap He had borne
When alone and forlorn,
Souls like me did him maim.

And I wept fresh that this
World He begot in bliss
            Had been my foul accomplice.
Would that the elements
Not rendered obedience,
But in holy dissonance,
My urge on them dismissed.

Then flashed through that drab bush,
In a gold, crimson rush,
            And lit upon the thorn,
He stared at me with redd’ned face,
The sign of his proud place,
For he ‘gainst thorns so base,
            Wrestled with their sharp scorn.

His small beak could not clasp
Wood like fangs of an asp,
            Yet, impassioned he strove,
And bloodied his white face,
And hence no rain can chase,
From his sweet head that trace,
Of his small act of love.

Finch, gratias ago!
For penitents to know,
            That not all creatures did
Abandon their Master,
Is a healing plaster,
In their sad dark, an aster,
            That ne’er was all rev’rence hid.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Ni bu Sanct Brigid suanach
Ni bu huarach im sheire Dé,
Sech ni chiuir ni cossens
Ind nóeb dibad bethath che.

Saint Brigid was not given to sleep,
Nor was she intermittent about God’s love;
Not merely that she did not buy, she did not seek for
The wealth of this world below, the holy one. _The Catholic Encyclopaedia

St. Brigid or Bríd once had a name that could be found in every Irish family holding the blessing of a daughter. Just as it would have been presumptuous to name a son Jesus, the Irish so revered His mother, that they felt it would also be audacious to name their daughters Máire, as our Lady had been endowed with a fullness of grace no other woman could approach. Hence, the name of the ‘Mary of the Gael’ served as the highest to bestow on a girl.

This resplendent woman was a tireless worker with an even more bountiful heart. Friend to both St. Patrick and St. Brendan, she served God and Ireland less by preaching than by humbly working to relieve the suffering of those around her. Her bounty and her example served to convert many, even the druid who had purchased her mother. Naturally, those who saw her wished to know why she was so loving, whereupon she would relate the story of the Gospels.

The labour she divided amongst so many needs has made her the patroness of many: babies, blacksmiths, cattle, children born out of wedlock, dairy workers, Ireland, Leinster, mariners, midwives, nuns, poets, poultry workers, scholars, and travellers.

Of late in our history, this saint has fallen into neglect and abuse. Secularists have scoffed and called her an attempt of Christianity to imbibe pagan deities. Feminist radicals have claimed she was a bishop. Some Catholics do not even distinguish her from St. Bridget of Sweden . Respondeo: the Church has no need to adopt pagan deities to win converts, as St. Patrick shows. He came to smite what was evil in the old ways of Erin ’s people, but in doing that, it was not necessary to strike the good. The pagan who wrote of the goddess Brigit must have had a far off vision of the saint to come, who is both more, for she is blessed with the grace of Christ, and yet much less than a goddess.

Also, an abbot is not a bishop’s equal, much less is an abbess. That St. Brigid is depicted with a crosier only serves to portray her as the shepherdess she was. Her early lives say nothing of her being made a bishop, and immemorial doctrine stands firmly enough to contest any later assertions.

Much like the mother of our Lord, St. Brigid went her way in fiery humility. St. Patrick and St. Columcille majestically sermonized, while she milked the cows or firmly rebuked the wayward in private. The beauty of her meek devotion is displayed in her prayer:

I’d like to give a lake of beer to God.
I’d love the Heavenly Host to be tippling there for all eternity.
I’d love the men of Heaven to live with me, to dance and sing.
If they wanted, I’d put at their disposal vats of suffering.
Wide cups of love I’d give them with a heart and a half—
Sweet pitchers of mercy, I’d offer to every man.
I’d make Heaven a cheerful spot, because the happy heart is true.
I’d make the men to be contented for their own sake.
I’d like Jesus to love me, too.
I’d like the people of Heaven to gather from all the parishes around.
I’d give a special welcome to the women, the three Mary’s of great renown.
I’d sit with the men and women of God, there by the lake of beer.

We’d be drinking good health forever, and every drop would be a prayer.

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Domine, spero quia mundum vicisti. Lord, I trust that Thou hast overcome the world. Panie, ufam, żeś pokonał świat.
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