As of July 12th, the TLM (EF), which has been for some time at St. Alphonsus, will be celebrated weekly at St. Mary's Church in Davenport, Iowa. The Mass time is now Sunday, at 8:00 a.m. preceded by confessions at 7:30 a.m.
The parish priest of St. Mary's is Father Chris Young, a priest of the Pastoral Provision, set up by St. John Paul II.
One can get directions on Google-map. Father Chris Young with retired priest Fr. Michael Phillips in photo below.
Truly, I am tired of hearing lay people lament the lack of vocations. When Catholic women begin to talk on this point, I am beginning to say nothing, but listen and pray silently. However, if I have to make a comment, I simply say, "Where are your children and grandchildren?"
Part of the punishment of the Church in the West will be a serious priest shortage, which I have written about many times on this blog. Some dioceses will shrink, and the laity will not have access to the sacraments.
Part of the problem is the fact that people simply do not respond to the call of God to be a priest or nun. Some parents block vocations for selfish reasons, especially since contraception has created one or two children in a family as a norm.
No longer do even some Catholic parents want their one or two children to become a priest or religious.
Remember, St. John Bosco believed that one out of four boys is called to the priesthood.
Look at the numbers of boys graduating from Catholic high schools this year. As I have noted before here, if one out of four would have gone into the seminary, we would not have a priest shortage.
At the end of 2007, for example, there were 638,239 students in Catholic high schools. Allowing for non-Catholic students, let us say one sixth, that would leave about 535,000, half of which could be boys. So, there could have been 267,500 Catholic high school boys in 2007. If a quarter had gone into the seminary, using Don Bosco's insight, that would mean that 66,750 young men would have entered the seminary in a four year period between 2007-2011, just from the Catholic high schools.
Of course, this did not happen.
St. Alphonsus writes about those who do not follow their true vocations. Perhaps one reason why there are so many unhappy young men and women, not being able to find their true "job" in the world, is that they either said "no" to God, for their own reasons, or by being discouraged by family members, including parents.
St. Alphonsus seems to be ranting here, so I shall quote him on the subject....
It is clear that our eternal salvation depends principally on the choice of our state... In regard to choosing a state, if we want to make sure of our eternal salvation, we must follow the divine vocation, where alone God has prepared efficacious helps to save us... This is exactly the order of predestination described by the same Apostle: “He whom he predestined, he also called; and those whom he called, he also justified... and those he also glorified.”... Upon vocation follows justification, and upon justification follows glorification, namely eternal life. He who places himself outside of this chain of salvation will not be saved. With all the efforts and with everything else that one will do, St. Augustine will say to him: “You run well, but outside of the way,” namely outside of the way through which God will have called you to walk, in order to attain to your salvation. The Lord does not accept the sacrifices offered from one’s own inclination: “For Cain and his offering he had no regard.” Rather, he enjoins great punishment on those who want to turn their backs to their calls, to follow the plans of their own inclination: “Woe to the rebellious children,” says the Lord through Isaiah, “who carry out a plan, but not from me; and who make a league, but not by my spirit!” The punishment of the disobedient will begin already during his lifetime, when he will always be restless; for Job says, “Who has resisted him and had peace?” Hence he will be deprived of the abundant and efficacious helps for living well. Therefore the Theologian Habert wrote: “Not without great difficulties will he be able to look out for his salvation.” With great difficulty will he be saved, being forever like a member out of its proper place, so that only with great difficulty will he be able to live well... Therefore he concludes that “although absolutely speaking he could be saved, he will with difficulty enter the way, and lay hold of the means of salvation.”
Another block to vocations is that parents are not raising children to have purity of heart. Here is the great saint again on this subject.
It is necessary for you to pray diligently to God to make you know his will as to what state he wants you in. But take notice that to have this light, you must pray to him with indifference. He who prays to God to enlighten him in regard to a state of life, but without indifference, and who, instead of conforming to the divine will, would sooner have God conform to his will, is like a pilot that pretends to wish his ship to advance, but in reality does not want it to: he throws his anchor into the sea, and then unfurls his sails. God neither gives light nor speaks his word to such persons. But if you entreat him with indifference and resolution to follow his will, God will make you know clearly what state is better for you.
(On the utility of the spiritual exercises made in solitude)
Sorry, moaners and complainers, look to your own failings and the failings of your local Church. I have said to some priests that high schools which have not produced a vocation in twenty years should be shut down. What about forty years? Yes, some Catholic high schools have not seen a priestly vocation for forty years. Something is wrong. And, if parishes are to be shut down, close the ones where there have been no vocations for twenty years, now considered a generation. Something is wrong. Financial viability is not the only criteria for keeping a church open. What about spiritual viability? What about the number of marriages, baptisms, and priestly vocations as a sign of viability?
Where are the Latino vocations? Here are statistics from this year's ordinands. Note that a quarter were not American born. This is a scandal for our American Church.
Two-thirds of responding ordinands (69 percent) report their primary race or ethnicity as Caucasian/European American/white. Compared to the adult Catholic population of the United States, ordinands are more likely to be of Asian or Pacific Islander background (10 percent of responding ordinands), but less likely to be Hispanic/Latino (14 percent of responding ordinands). Compared to diocesan ordinands, religious ordinands are less likely to report their race or ethnicity as Caucasian/European American/white. One-quarter of the ordinands (25 percent) were born outside the United States, with the largest numbers coming from Colombia, Mexico, the Philippines, Nigeria, Poland, and Vietnam. On average, responding ordinands who were born in another country have lived in the United States for 12 years. Between 20 and 30 percent of ordinands to diocesan priesthood for each of the last ten years were born outside of the United States, as were 25 percent of this year’s diocesan ordinands.Most ordinands have been Catholic since birth, although 7 percent became Catholic later in life. Eighty-four percent report that both of their parents are Catholic and more than a third (37 percent) have a relative who is a priest or a religious. Almost all ordinands in the Class of 2015 (96 percent) have at least one sibling. Seven in ten (74 percent) have more than two siblings, while one in five (22 percent) have five or more siblings. Ordinands are most likely to be the oldest in their family (36 percent). USCCB website.
Parents, give the first child to God....a long tradition in the Catholic Church. I also blame priests for not speaking out against mixed religion marriages. Note that the vast majority of priests ordained had Catholic mums and dads. I know of many churches in the Midwest where there have not been vocations for forty years or more, and a few which have young men going into the seminaries in a regular fashion-especially in rural areas.. Interesting...and the blocks to vocations are yet more reasons for a house of prayer set aside to pray for priests, bishops, cardinals, and seminarians.
4 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. 4 I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then every man will receive his commendation from God.
6 I have applied all this to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brethren, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another. 7 For who sees anything different in you? What have you that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?
8 Already you are filled! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you! 9 For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute.11 To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are ill-clad and buffeted and homeless, 12 and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; 13 when slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become, and are now, as the refuse of the world, the offscouring of all things.
14 I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. 15 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me.
Thomas, Saint: stained-glass window, St. Mary’s Church, Bury St. Edmunds, Enggland
From a homily on the Gospels by Saint Gregory the Great, pope
My Lord and my God
Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. He was the only disciple absent; on his return he heard what had happened but refused to believe it. The Lord came a second time; he offered his side for the disbelieving disciple to touch, held out his hands, and showing the scars of his wounds, healed the wound of his disbelief. Dearly beloved, what do you see in these events? Do you really believe that it was by chance that this chosen disciple was absent, then came and heard, heard and doubted, doubted and touched, touched and believed? It was not by chance but in God’s providence. In a marvellous way God’s mercy arranged that the disbelieving disciple, in touching the wounds of his master’s body, should heal our wounds of disbelief. The disbelief of Thomas has done more for our faith than the faith of the other disciples. As he touches Christ and is won over to belief, every doubt is cast aside and our faith is strengthened. So the disciple who doubted, then felt Christ’s wounds, becomes a witness to the reality of the resurrection. Touching Christ, he cried out: My Lord and my God. Jesus said to him: Because you have seen me, Thomas, you have believed. Paul said: Faith is the guarantee of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen. It is clear, then, that faith is the proof of what can not be seen. What is seen gives knowledge, not faith. When Thomas saw and touched, why was he told: You have believed because you have seen me? Because what he saw and what he believed were different things. God cannot be seen by mortal man. Thomas saw a human being, whom he acknowledged to be God, and said: My Lord and my God. Seeing, he believed; looking at one who was true man, he cried out that this was God, the God he could not see. What follows is reason for great joy: Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed. There is here a particular reference to ourselves; we hold in our hearts one we have not seen in the flesh. We are included in these words, but only if we follow up our faith with good works. The true believer practises what he believes. But of those who pay only lip service to faith, Paul has this to say: They profess to know God, but they deny him in their works. Therefore James says: Faith without works is dead.
Too many Catholics are in denial.
They only want to think happy thoughts. Of course, denial is one stage of trauma. Having been through traumas, I recognize the stages. I expected this decision and saw it coming many years ago, so I am not traumatized, merely saddened and righteously angry.
The stages of trauma are:
Emotional and psychological symptoms of trauma:
Shock, denial, or disbelief
Anger, irritability, mood swings
Guilt, shame, self-blame
Feeling sad or hopeless
Confusion, difficulty concentrating
Anxiety and fear
Withdrawing from others
Feeling disconnected or numb
Physical symptoms of trauma:
Insomnia or nightmares
Being startled easily
Aches and pains
Edginess and agitation
Many good Catholics have had trouble sleeping this week. Many are still in shock, denial and disbelief. Some are anxious and fearful, Some are agitated.
God is in charge, always. If we truly believe in Providence, we believe that God has allowed sin to triumph, temporarily in order to bring the faithful to perfection, and to punish the evil.
Purification of the Church and this land seems inevitable. Those who are in denial need to move into the various stages and come into reality.
America, like Ireland, like Britain, like Spain, will never be the same again. Christianity will triumph in the end, but I most likely will not see any earthly triumph.
Get ready. Become holy. Pray for me to keep blogging.
Still, nothing from the pulpits where I have been going to Mass. Nothing. I have felt abandoned by the clergy and I am angry that many of the laity in this area have been left in confusion, when clarity could have come from the pulpits.
God, forgive us and forgive these lax priests. As one of my friends said yesterday, a bit sarcastically, "Why should they hunger and thirst after righteousness, or endure persecution for His Name's sake?"
I shall continue to pray for all priests, bishops, cardinals, and seminarians.
Many of us are sitting back and wondering where the world will be moving politically now that America has lost the culture? war. We cannot be in cloud-cuckoo land, pretending that this week is the same as a week last month. We cannot pretend that a great day of the Church, a new Christendom, will bless the earth with a homogenous vision of God, His rule, good and bad, brotherly and sisterly love.
Sorry, the moment has passed. Those of us who have been praying for a long time or involved in the work of the Church for a long time have seen this day coming. We knew in the 1970s, after Roe v. Wade, that the Christian community would have to fight, or be persecuted. We can fight, but the majority is against us.
Some people do not believe this. I met many guests and religious in the past two months who believe in the resurrection of the dead Western Civilization and a time of Christ's reign on earth which will bring world peace. I do not know which Bible these people read or why they are not hearing the Holy Spirit.
That I try, gently, and maybe not so gently, to speak the truth is that there is not much time.
There are NO safe havens. One may be able to withstand evil in an excellent Catholic community for awhile, but persecution will come. First, the established Church will be more openly attacked, then priests, nuns, sisters and the laity.
The Church Triumphant is in Heaven.
The emphasis on this blog, therefore, will be on the interior person and personal holiness. Why? If we are facing martyrdom, or sacrifices beyond our imagination, we must be prepared spiritually. One cannot exhibit virtue without living in the Presence of God, of Love Himself, in the days to come.
There is no time frame on this coming persecution. Catholics in England saw incremental, increasingly harsh times and some were martyred. It became illegal to leave the country in order to practice Catholicism elsewhere and avoid fines or imprisonment.
Where are the Catholic havens now? Not Ireland, where I am sitting, looking out over the downtown of Dublin, witnessing the fall of the one of the most faithful countries in the world, now racked with gross materialism, hatred for the Church and selfishness. The winter is already more severe than last year, as if the gods of nature, metaphorically, of course, were grieving at the loss of innocence on this once holy isle.
I have also written that persecution is for the purification of the elect, which may be clarified by reading the long series on Predestination.
But, one thing is clear. Persecution creates heroes and this world is in great need of heroes.
Saints are heroes.
Our children need heroes, need models of grace and courage.
Adults need heroes to spur them on and continue the fight against evil.
We are not living in a time of heroes, but a time which glorifies anti-heroes. This was clear even in the depiction of Aragorn in LOTR movies, when Jackson missed the chance to really explore and understand the ideal of kingship, which Tolkien understood and revealed in his books.
Persecution forces the mediocre to make decisions. No one can be an existentialist in a time of tribulation. Persecution forces the good to become excellent, as the good are made pure of heart, mind and soul in persecution.
Persecution clarifies what is heresy and what is truth in the Church. We are seeing that already, clearly.
Persecution causes men and women to convert, to see the truth and choose it. People more easily convert when they can see from what they are turning and what they are embracing.
However, there is something which escapes most Catholics, a small truth which can change history. And, it is this. If we cooperated with God daily in being purified, we would not need a time of tribulation.
Persecution creates saints, but so do daily decisions for Christ and for his Church. If Catholics got up early or went to Mass after work daily, if Catholics went to Confession regularly and attended Adoration whenever it was offered, if Catholics stood up for the truth in the market-place, making the reign of Christ real in the world, if Catholics took on mortification and penance, we would not need persecution.
Christ desires as many people as possible to go to heaven. Persecution allows evil to be seen clearly, helping some convert, and the good to rise to the level of perfection.
But, if we prayed and cooperated with grace now, daily, these times will be shortened.
The times of purification have begun. For some, persecution is part of daily life.
Pray to become a hero now, to become a saint now.
Then, one can evangelize others with real authority and power.
For those who have been following my blog, remember all the many, many posts on persecution and the stages.
I have re-posted these many times and here are some of the links again. If you do not see that Catholics are approaching a time of serious persecution, especially in the States, it is because you do not want to see the trend.
A sign of the stages of persecution. Posted by Supertradmum. Last year I said we were at the end of the fourth out of five steps of persecution. Here is another indication, just in case some readers do not believe this.
A sign of the stages of persecution. Posted by Supertradmum. Last year I said we were at the end of the fourth out of five steps of persecution. Here is another indication, just in case some readers do not believe this.
As I am the one who has to rewrite my own ideas, I am trying to be patient with myself. Stages one, two and three in the United States and Europe are long gone. The beginnings of stage one are in the educational systems of ...
I have written this post before...and it was accidentally deleted with many others. Stages four and five of persecution are clear. We are in stage four in the States and entering into it is Great Britain. Stage Four is criminalization.
There have been since World War II, psychologists and sociologists who have defined stages of persecution for religions. The first is stigmatizing the targeted group. This has already happened in the United States under the ...
Stage Two is the vilification of Catholics. Again, this happened years ago in America, with the Ku klux Klan and Masons printing anti-Catholic material, as well as other Protestant groups, such as the old "Chick" cartoon ...
The last stage of persecution witnesses laws directly aimed at the target group, making their activities unlawful and forcing them into poverty and fines if they do not cooperate. This happened here 500 years ago and the ...
Many younger Catholics understand we are headed for real persecution. Those who do not can read my previous posts on the stages of such persecution. We are in the beginning of the last stage. But, many Catholics think ...
Since last January, I have highlighted the five stages of persecution now and then. You can use the search tab or click on the " persecution" tag at the bottom of this and other posts. The tags bring up many articles. Yesterday ...
The perfection series which I started a year ago was an effort to share what I know about the stages and to help you to see how we must be in the illuminative stage at least to face persecution without crumpling. Of course, God ...
Collect: Grant, almighty God, that we may glory in the Feast of the blessed Apostle Thomas, so that we may always be sustained by his intercession and, believing, may have life in the name of Jesus Christ your Son, whom Thomas acknowledged as the Lord. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Let us pray today for all who are doubting the goodness of the Lord in these hard times.
I suggest to my readers, as I did before, to get and read this book. God wants us to love our neighbor as ourselves, but never more than
ourselves, that is, never to such an extent that we harm our own souls. And in practice,
this is as much as if He demanded that we take more care of our own soul than of those
others, since our zeal must be regulated by charity, and “Prima sibi charitas”4″ is an
axiom of theology.
“I love Jesus Christ,” said St. Alphonsus Liguori, ” and that is why I am on fire with
the desire to give Him souls, first of all my own, and then an incalculable number of
others.” This is a practical application of St. Bernard’s Tuus esto ubique” and that other
principle of the holy abbot of Clairvaux: “No man is truly wise, who is not wise for
St. Bernard, who was himself a rare miracle of apostolic zeal, followed this rule.
Geoffrey of Auxerre, his secretary, depicts him as: Tot us primum sibi et sic totus
omnibus. “He belonged, first of all, entirely to himself, and thus he belonged entirely to
all men.” When I lose my peace, it is because I have not prayed intently. When I am impatient, it is because I have not prayed enough. I have to rely entirely on God for all goodness which is in me. God has given me the grace to recognize that the big obstacle to
my acquiring a peaceful and fruitful interior life is my natural activity, and my tendency
to be carried away by my work. And I have recognized, besides, that this lack of interior
life is the source of all my faults, all my troubles, my dryness, my fits of disgust, and my
bad health. Too much activity causes a whirlwind of chaos in families. Jesus is our example--30 years of silence, 40 days of retreat, and then, and only then, three years of active ministry. Let us consider the mortal life of Our Lord, a perfect realization of the divine plan.
Thirty years of recollection and solitude, then forty days of retreat and penance are the
prelude to His brief evangelical career. How often, too, during His apostolic journeys, we
see Him retiring to the mountains or the desert to pray: “He retired into the desert and
prayed,” or passing the night in prayer: “He passed the whole night in the prayer of
God.” More later....
In 1997, when I was the lay person in charge of retreats and RCIA at a Catholic university, which no longer exists as a Catholic institution, I designed and put up on MY bulletin board an advertisement for a Courage meeting I was setting up. There were many lesbians and homosexuals who needed Catholic teaching.
When I came back the next morning, the bulletin board and all the information had been taken down and thrown away by the faculty member in charge of the "Rainbow" movement. She never admitted that she did this, but other faculty members told me the truth. She.also discouraged those who needed the meeting not to support this effort