Category Archives: Commentary

LITANY FOR THE CONVERSION OF AMERICA Invocations 2

 LITANY FOR THE CONVERSION OF AMERICA Invocations 2

For Private Use.

Lord, have mercy. 

Christ, have mercy. 

Lord, have mercy. Christ, hear us. 

Christ, graciously hear us.

Our Lady of America, 

pray for us.

Immaculate Conception,

succor us not to offend God anymore.

Our Lady of Guadalupe,

succor us in the will to subdue all infanticide.

Our Lady of Fatima,

succor us to secure the Consecration of Russia to thine Immaculate Heart.

Our Lady of Refuge,

succor us in routing the plaque of perversity.

Our Lady, Comfortress of the Afflicted,

succor us in defense of that which has been left unguarded in laxity.

Our Lady, Health of the Weak,

succor us in humility.

Our Lady, Morning Star,

succor us in fraternal and Divine charity.

Our Lady, Gate of Heaven,

succor us to seek the will of the One True God in all things.

Our Lady, Ark of the Covenant,

succor us with courage to uphold the rights of God and His commandments.

Our Lady, House of Gold,

succor us in the just limits of government.

Our Lady, Tower of Ivory,

succor us the love of virtue and justice.

Our Lady, Tower of David,

succor us in the love of temperance and honor.

Our Lady, Mystical Rose,

succor us in the virtue of holy silence.

Our Lady, Vessel of Singular Devotion,

succor us in a rejection of self-love.

Our Lady, Cause of Our Joy,

succor us in gratitude to God.

Our Lady, Virgin Most Faithful,

succor us to the defense of our one nation under God.

Our Lady, Virgin Most Merciful,

succor us in prudence in self-government.

Our Lady, Virgin Most Venerable,

succor us in repentance for moral depravity.

Our Lady, Mother of Our Redeemer,

succor us to convert this nation one soul at a time.

Our Lady, Mother Undefiled,

succor us in the proper example of righteousness.

Our Lady, Mother Most Pure,

succor us in the advocacy of Marylike standards of modesty.

Our Lady, Mother of Divine Grace,

succor us in the Divine order of nature and holy motherhood.

Our Lady, Holy Mother of God,

succor us to defend the most defenseless among us.

Our Lady, O Holy Mary,

succor us to revere the name of the One True God.

Our Lady of Prosperity,

succor us to forsake pragmatism for holy principle.

Our Lady of Consolation

succor us in resisting evil whatever it costs.

Our Lady of Good Counsel,

succor us patience and persistence.

Our Lady of Good Succor,

succor us upholding Truth.

Our Lady of the Dove,

succor us in rejecting the vanity of the things of this world.

Our Lady of Lourdes,

succor us in resisting the culture of death.

Our Lady of the Thorn,

succor us in Christian discourse and logic.

Our Lady of Victory,

succor us in avoiding false compromise.

Our Lady, Mediatrix of All Graces,

succor us in rejecting hypocrisy.

Our Lady of Tears,

succor us in the chastisement we must endure.

Our Lady of Divine Providence,

succor us in self-negation.

Our Lady of Consolation,

succor us in the virtue of hope.

Our Lady of Good Remedy,

succor us to not be confounded and demoralized.

Our Lady of Deliverance,

succor us to defend and uphold the traditional family.

Our Lady of Confidence,

succor us to pray for and promote humble lawmakers.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel,

succor us to exhort men of true faith to rise in leadership.

Our Lady of Perpetual Help,

succor us in upholding and explaining the natural law.

Our Lady of the Poor,

succor us in the restoration of property as taught by Holy Church. 

Our Lady of Fire,

succor us in holy zeal for the things of God.

Our Lady of the Bells,

succor us in courage to be outspoken in the face of evil.

Our Lady of Great Power,

succor us in resisting tyranny.

Our Lady, Star of the Sea,

succor us in all our trials and coming tribulations.

Our Lady of Safety,

succor us in common sense and the nobility of simplicity.

Our Lady, Queen of the Clergy,

succor us in praying for holy and humble priests and bishops.

Our Lady of Ransom,

succor us in overcoming the deadly ideas of the politically correctness.

Our of the Sacred Heart,

succor us in thinking with the mind of Tradition.

Our Lady of the Assumption,

succor us in conquering concupiscence.

Our Lady of the Holy Cross,

succor us in making sacrifice for sinners.

Our Lady of Sorrows,

succor us in piety.

Our Lady of the Star,

  succor us in withstanding false gods.

Our Lady of Good Help,

succor us in pleading for the mercy of God.

Our Lady of Light,

succor us in the knowledge suitable for our state of life.

Our Lady of the Rosary,

succor us in true devotion to thee.

Our Lady of Life,

succor us defending the sanctity of human life whatever the price.

Our Lady of Peace,

succor us in our families that we be rendered unto the Holy Family.

Our Lady, Queen of Heaven and Earth,

succor us into eternity.

Our Lady of America,

succor us to covert our enemies.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,
R. And obtain for us our own conversion and that of our country.

Pope Francis by Muris–Let’s get this straight:

Let’s get this straight: Concern about Pope Francis is not rooted in dissent, but in dismay.

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio – articles – email) | Mar 17, 2017

One wonders where Pope Francis finds the people who provide articles to L’Osservatore Romano which attack those who raise questions about his leadership. The latest is Father Salvador Pié-Ninot, who has criticized what he calls “dissent in the form of public criticism” of the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Of course, I do not know that the Pope actively recruited Fr. Pié-Ninot. As evidenced by the broadside released by Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, there are plenty of churchmen who are happy to preach tradition and orthodoxy when those who can promote them are traditional and orthodox, and to condemn those who value tradition and orthodoxy when those who can promote them are not.

This is nothing new, though I freely admit the uncertainty of assigning motives in particular cases. What I really do know, however, is that the arguments made by Fr. Pié-Ninot completely misrepresent the nature of the concerns of the faithful in this matter. Since Fr. Pié-Ninot is a theologian, one has little choice but to surmise that such misrepresentation is either deliberate or unwittingly driven by ideology—even if we grant that this is only a reasonable assumption, not a known fact.

I say this because Fr. Pié-Ninot’s criticism is based on the claim that some Catholics are guilty of “dissent in the form of public criticism”. But there are two glaring errors in this claim. First, criticism is not dissent unless it takes the form of denying the truth of something the Church has taught. Second—and this is the main point—as a general rule those who have criticized the Pope’s approach to divorce, remarriage and Communion have not denied the truth of anything Pope Francis has officially taught.

Two Issues

I regret that, even in some of our own commentary, we have used a kind of shorthand, talking about the controversy over Amoris Laetitia. But the controversy which is shaking the Church at present is not over what Amoris Laetitia actually says but how it is to be interpreted in practice. The questions arise precisely because Pope Francis himself has encouraged bishops and pastors to address these marriage questions in ways that (a) are forbidden in Canon Law; (b) violate both Catholic tradition and the clear magisterial teaching of Pope John Paul II; and (c) are not, in fact, taught in Amoris Laetitia.

The only problem which reasonable critics have discerned (to use one of Pope Francis’ favorite words) in Amoris Laetitia is an unfortunate (and perhaps tendentious) lack of clarity. This affects two particular issues:

Gradualism:

In section 8 of the document, Pope Francis repeats Pope John Paul II’s conclusion that gradualism in moral theology can be used to describe the subjective stages of moral growth but can never be understood as “gradualism of the law”. Though Francis does not say so, gradualism of the law would mean that different moral teachings apply to persons at different stages of moral growth: What is sinful for a saint will not be deemed sinful for a person who is less advanced spiritually. This, of course, would be nonsense. Sinful behaviors are objectively wrong. Only degrees of personal guilt can vary.

Unfortunately, instead of clarifying this point, Pope Francis continues with a discussion that can be interpreted to lapse directly into what he has just denied, namely gradualism of the law. He suggests (but does not clearly teach) that it is possible to recognize that a sinner may be doing the best he can even though he has chosen to persist in his sin (as opposed to repenting of it but sometimes falling again). This leads to (unstated) speculation about whether the person should be judged to be actually sinning. The Pope suggests (but does not clearly teach) the idea that such a person may be pursuing a lesser good that simply falls short of the ideal. Insofar as this text can be taken to undermine the Church’s confidence in the liberating grace available through Christ, the discussion would be construed as drifting tacitly into gradualism of the law.

Admission to Communion:

On the question of changing the traditional Catholic teaching and discipline concerning the reception of the Eucharist, the text of Amoris Laetitia does not directly address it. Rather it offers two uncertain hints. First, in #300, the text states that since the degree of responsibility is not equal in all cases, “the consequences or effects of a rule need not necessarily always be the same.” Footnote 336, attached to this sentence, is not much clearer: “This is also the case with regard to sacramental discipline…”.

Second, in #305, the text reads: “Because of forms of conditioning and mitigating factors, it is possible that in an objective situation of sin—which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such—a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end.” But there is no clarification of what this might mean in marriage cases, and once again, footnote 351 (attached to this sentence), is not much clearer: “In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments.” The note then reminds readers of certain aspects of Penance and Eucharist, without specifying how and when they are to be used. Yet the use of both has been expressed clearly and consistently in the past, encouraging Penance in these cases, and prohibiting Communion.

Immediate Confusion

It is impossible to pretend (as some ecclesiastics have done) that there is no sincere confusion. As a matter of public record, the text of Amoris Laetitia as it affects these two issues has meant different things even to different bishops and cardinals. Some bishops (and episcopal conferences) have decided the text does not change the existing sacramental discipline of the Eucharist, especially since Canon Law has not been changed. Indeed, this is also the conclusion of the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Müller. Other bishops (and episcopal conferences) have decided the text intends to permit reception of Communion in some (or a few) cases by those who are divorced and remarried without benefit of an annulment, after a period of discernment with the help of their pastors.

Still other bishops have decided that reception of Communion for those in every sort of irregular marital situation is now left to the persons in question, who are to decide for themselves if they feel comfortable enough with their situation to receive the Eucharist. As far as we know, Pope Francis has never even unofficially favored this third view, but neither has he unofficially favored the first. The only interpretation the Pope has favored in interviews, conversations and personal letters is the second. Meanwhile, a number of bishops and theologians have proposed examples of cases which could justify reception of Communion under the second interpretation, but they have not agreed with each other on which cases qualify.

In other words, there are widely varying and mutually inconsistent interpretations all across the board, and it is precisely this that faithful Catholics throughout the Church have complained about. In addition, it is precisely this confusion that the cardinals who submitted “dubia” to Pope Francis hoped to remedy. They used the traditional method of seeking clarification by presenting a number of precise questions that can only be answered with a clear “yes” or “no”. For their pains, Pope Francis has not only refused to clarify what he means, but he has belittled all those who have such questions, including the cardinals. He has called them names, and he has launched a campaign of public criticism and demotion of critics, along with both publication and promotion for those who are willing to champion the uncertainty, pretending that only bad Catholics are confused.

Conclusion

The point of all this is to demonstrate that Father Salvador Pié-Ninot has completely missed the point by characterizing Catholics with legitimate questions as dissenters. The truth is that none of those who are confused by the Pope’s overall behavior in this matter have accused him of error in his exercise of the Ordinary Magisterium (such as Amoris Laetitia). What has concerned them is the uncertainty of the text coupled with the Pope’s personal (non-magisterial) support of pastoral practices which, again, he has not officially taught. To review, these pastoral practices and the claims that justify them contradict the current Code of Canon Law, deviate from Catholic tradition, differ from the formally-taught conclusion on this very matter by Pope John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio (#84), and so have thrown the Church into conflict and confusion around the world.

It is critical to recognize that this is not a question of dissent. It is a request for the elimination of serious confusion which has been actively encouraged by the Pope. As I have stated several times before, Pope Francis is actively pursuing a pastoral and administrative program based on principles of faith and morals which the Holy Spirit appears to have prevented him from officially teaching. Under such circumstances, dissent does not enter into the issue at all. It is shamefully disingenuous to suggest that it does. Two things alone enter into this question: Dismay that this has come to pass in the Church, and deep concern for the care of souls.

Comments

Posted by: dover beachcomber – Mar. 23, 2017 4:41 PM ET USA “The controversy which is shaking the Church at present is not over what Amoris Laetitia actually says but how it is to be interpreted in practice.” Change “Amoris Laetitia” to “the Second Vatican Council” and you have a fine summary of the predicament of the last 50 years.
Posted by: Jeff Mirus – Mar. 22, 2017 10:12 AM ET USA bkmajer3729: You raise a good question, but once again we have a statement which the context protects from the necessity to understand it as an error in Faith. Paragrah 297 is about the human tendency to write people off. The emphasis is on “reaching out to everyone, of needing to help each person find his or her proper way of participating in the ecclesial community and thus to experience being touched by an ‘unmerited, unconditional and gratuitous’ mercy.” It is in this sense that the Pope writes, in the very next sentence, that “No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!” But he then goes on to say, “Naturally, if someone flaunts an objective sin as if it were part of the Christian ideal, or wants to impose something other than what the Church teaches, he or she can in no way presume to teach or preach to others; this is a case of something which separates from the community (cf. Mt 18:17). Such a person needs to listen once more to the Gospel message and its call to conversion. Yet even for that person there can be some way of taking part in the life of community, whether in social service, prayer meetings or another way that his or her own initiative, together with the discernment of the parish priest, may suggest.” In other words, there are questions of prudence here, including prudence of expression, but nothing that (considering the context) can be shown as intending to violate prior Catholic teaching.

Editor: Continue to pray to eliminate the confusion.

Catholics in the Media

Catholic World News – March 20, 2015

Catholics in the media should have the “courage to speak directly, telling the truth and working to “preserve it from all that distorts and twists it for other purposes.” That was the message of Pope Francis in a December 15 meeting with the personnel of the Italian Catholic television network TV2000.

The Pope urged media figures to resist “propaganda, ideologies, political ends” and all efforts to control the media for economic or political ends. He also cautioned against “fashions, clichés, pre-packaged formulas.”

In reporting on current events, the Pope continued, the media should avoid the twin dangers of providing too much irrelevant information—“saturating our perceptions with an excess of slogans that annul our thoughts instead of setting them into motion”—and oversimplifying stories to promote quick judgments.

Finally the Pope cautioned his audience to avoid “the sins of the media: disinformation, slander, and defamation.” Of these, he said, “the most insidious is disinformation,” which leads people to accept falsehoods or partial truths.

Syrian spreads harmony, unity

Something to Say a Prayer For
Composer hopes Pianos for Peace will promote solution.

By Bo Emerson for the “Living” section of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sept. 23, 2015, bemerson@ajc.com

Syrian transplant Malek Jandali has seen the effects of war.

He has seen bombed churches and murdered hostages. He has seen the tiny body of a little boy from his homeland, washed up on the shore.

Now, he wants to use what he calls the “soft power” of his art to bring about a solution.

A classical composer and part-time Atlanta resident, Jandali wants to use music to unite, and he plans to do that in an unusual way.

His fledgling organization, Pianos for Peace, has accumulated 28 donated pianos, and plans to acquire perhaps 70 more. Next April, the pianos will be decorated by local artists and set up outdoors in neighborhoods around Atlanta, where, for two weeks, the residents and visitors can play them to their heart’s content.

Afterward-, the pianos will be donated to schools, community centers, hospitals, nursing homes and other locations, where Jandali hopes they will become magnets for harmony.

He sees Pianos for Peace as a social event.

[God Bless him in his effort to bring hope and improve relationships in our nation and the Nations of the world.]

Divine mercy

The mystery of conversion, always deeply rooted in Divine mercy
By Dr. Jeff Mirus Jul 30, 2015

There is a three-year-old in the house these days, as my oldest son and his family are visiting. Today young Jeffrey got to play on the red caboose which is displayed on the pavilion grounds in our town. This prompted a discussion of the traditionally lamentable demise of the caboose. By the 1980s, all the functions of the caboose in a train were being handled electronically, so safety laws requiring a caboose were dropped. A whole era of children’s stories came to an end.Unlike Antony in the wake of Caesar’s murder, I come neither to bury the caboose nor to praise it. But it is an example of an ephemeral influence on the human psyche, and who can say what its impress on any given person’s character might be? This is a more important question that we might think.

Attentive readers will have noticed that I have reviewed two books recently which take different approaches toward convincing or persuading the men and women of our age to recognize God’s existence, take Him seriously, and seek a relationship with Him. I now wish you to notice that I ended each of my titles with a question mark (Fr. Robert Spitzer on happiness: An effective approach to God? and God the Designer: Yes or No?). Why did I do that?

There are two reasons. First, I wished to pique the reader’s interest in whether the central arguments in each case were convincing. Objectively, I would say that they are. But second, I hoped to raise a more subtle question: Will these central arguments be effective in engaging a significant proportion of each author’s projected modern audience? That is a far more difficult issue.

All the Reasons for Unbelief

As with the unfathomable imaginative impact of the little red caboose, the influences which dispose men and women to believe or not believe in God, or to act as if God does or does not exist, are many and varied and hard to guess. The same caboose which means nothing to one person might instill dreams of travel in another—or the realization of how uncomfortable it would be to travel very far.

Indeed, the same stimulus can help to form different people in different ways. For example, a father who attempts to instill reverence in his children may be successful or unsuccessful, depending on the overall way in which his various children react to his personality, the other influences in the life of each child, or a child’s propensity to live in rebellion. In my own case, faith was attractive in my formative years in the 1960s because by embracing it I had to swim against the cultural tide (which it seems to be in my nature to do). For many others, cultural pressure had the opposite effect.

Even when we make a list of rather obvious reasons why many people do not believe in God, or at least persistently ignore the question of God’s role in their lives, we can see that the same reasons could stimulate some other soul to greater belief. Along with cultural pressure, consider ignorance, pride, mistaken understandings, bad experiences with religion, misplaced priorities, selfish desires, distractions, bad example, and frameworks of perception which make religion seem false or irrelevant on its face. Each and every one of these things can push any given person in more than one direction.

This is why, in the work of evangelization, something more is needed than this or that book, this or that argument, or this or that sermon. With communities, it is necessary to learn something of their history, their common cultural values, what comes easy to them and what hard. With individuals, it is necessary to get to know them well, to learn something of their personalities, likes and dislikes, motivation, and stumbling blocks. The more we understand about another person, the more likely we can write or say the things that are most likely to address that person’s needs, that person’s obstacles to faith.

Inducements to Faith
Apologists call “motives of credibility” those things which attract people to Christ and the Church such that they want to believe. I’ve talked about this before. Among other essays, see Models of Apologetics (1/9/2013), Why believe in God? And why are some answers so unbearably thin? (1/8/2015), Evangelization and the Gift of Meaning (3/3/2015), or even go back to examine the darker side of such motives in Victims of Our Catholic Personalities (6/6/2007).

Something as theologically irrelevant as cultural pressures in favor of the Church can induce people to take the Faith seriously, though the development of an interior life may be slow in coming. But usually there are obstacles that need to be overcome—a bad father figure, a misperception of the nature and role of the physical sciences, a situation handled badly by the clergy, serious attachment to some vice, an image of God that is either terrifying or just plain stupid, a particular suffering, some private guilt, a sense of unworthiness, anger at God. Not everyone needs an intensely personal touch, but many people do.

It was quite common in my youth for would-be evangelizers to stress arguments to overcome errors and misconceptions. I have certainly done plenty of this, and clearly it has its place. But in the last generation, as cultural religiosity has disintegrated and died away, the Church has increasingly sought to inject a sense of Divine mercy into the resulting chaos. The theory (though no particular “theory” is needed to proclaim the mercy of God) is that a great many of our contemporaries are not only confused but, in their confusion, alienated from themselves. Nothing seems to make sense; as Yeats wrote, “the center cannot hold”. The poverty of meaning in the modern world will nearly always, at one point or another, lead to a kind of enervating despair.

Divine Mercy
In the face of this vacuum of meaning, recent popes, beginning with John Paul II, have strongly emphasized God’s mercy. Pope Francis has continued and even heightened this emphasis, and it makes what we might call “old school” Catholics nervous; they fear that the message is unclear about the exact character of prevalent sins and the need for a change of life. But in the midst of alienation, including alienation from our very selves, the mercy of God can often restore a fundamental connectedness that has been lost.

To put it in the first person, assurance of mercy is assurance that, no matter what mess I have made of things, and no matter how deep my present confusion, God loves me inexpressibly and yearns for me to call Him “Daddy” (Abba). Mercy is an experience that, very frequently, we can actually extend to others with the assistance of the Holy Spirit. In a flash of grace, the soul recognizes that God is Savior, that God is the sole source of meaning and love. To feel intimately connected to God changes everything.

When a person’s outlook is fundamentally changed in this way, everything that has alienated or confused the person in the past suddenly becomes a motive for strengthening this new and vital relationship. And now, Fr. Spitzer’s exploration of happiness and Dr. Augros’ arguments for the First Cause begin to penetrate. Tailored to each personal situation, the motives of credibility—through the assistance offered by an apostle-friend—finally become attractive. The mind begins to catch up. Conversion becomes a work of love.

“But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” (Rm 5:8) and “We love, because he loved us first” (1 Jn 4:19).