I Stand With Oklahoma’s Catholics

Join me in praying with Bishop Slattery and all the priests and faithful that this evil might be put to an end… Remember, a similar event was put to a stop in Boston just a few months ago through vigilant prayer. And be wary lest we should fall into complacency: it might well be in your backyard next, so let us stand with our brothers and sisters now!


Filed under Getting Round in Front

Meanwhile on the Emerald Isle…

Followers of this blog know that I’m pretty proud of my Irish ancestry. A trip to Co. Galway figured pretty prominently in my decision to convert to the Catholic Church. I still count on the prayers of my great uncle, John McHugh from Clifden, who I’m quite convinced had something to do with my family’s return to Rome. The photo that serves as the banner across the top of the blog is one I took of Clifden, and my blogging “profile pic” is from a side trip I took that year to the Aran Islands.

So naturally, I take notice when I hear of good things happening in the Church in Ireland. I want to bring two awesome works to your attention, both of which were spotlighted recently in Regina Magazine.


The first is the Monastery of Our Lady of the Cenacle, a traditional Benedictine monastery in Stamullen, Co. Meath. In the words of their prior, they have a vocation “[n]ot only to the pursuit of the traditional Benedictine life, but also to adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, in a spirit of reparation and intercession for the sanctification of priests.”

They’ve also got a problem: they have more vocations and discerners than they’re presently equipped to handle. 

From the excellent Regina Magazine profile

From the excellent Regina Magazine profile

Dom Kirby has an excellent blog here with great posts and a link to where you can give towards the purchase of their land and renovation of their buildings. Please consider making a donation to help them receive the young men that God is calling to this mission!


Elsewhere, in Limerick, the Institute of Christ the King is in the process of restoring a beautiful old church known as Sacred Heart.

From the Regina Magazine story on the ICK

From the Regina Magazine story on the ICK

 The ICK is a wonderful (and very young) religious order. They’ve also got a lot of young men pursuing vocations (in fact, I believe Cardinal Burke just ordained 4 of them to the priesthood this morning in St. Louis…). I’m happy to say that two young ICK men were at our Mass here in Florida this Sunday, serving as deacon and sub-deacon, which enabled our community to have a Solemn High Mass for the second week in a row (thanks, guys!!!). 

The work that’s happening in Limerick sounds fantastic: they are bringing sacred liturgy and beauty back into a church that had fallen into disrepair, and offering hope to the people to the city. 


With so much bad news coming out of the Catholic Church in Ireland, I’m always encouraged by stories such as these that come out of my ancestral homeland. 

I highly encourage you all to support these two works, whether it be with prayers or donations, as these men work to re-light the fire of faith in Ireland!

St. Joseph's Parish, Clifden, Co. Galway (From my trip to Ireland in 2010).

St. Joseph’s Parish, Clifden, Co. Galway (From my trip to Ireland in 2010)


Filed under Odds and Ends

The Newest Member of the Family

This past Wednesday, we welcomed the newest member of our family! Gabriel is our 3rd. Mom and baby are both doing great, and big brother and big sister are both having a lot of fun doting on “their” baby!


Archangel Gabriel, ora pro nobis!

Archangel Gabriel, ora pro nobis!


Filed under Getting Round in Front

Without Representation / Nursing moms read too!

Ryan M.:

Fellow-blogger Marc brought this post to my attention. The passage from St. Francis de Sales that he quotes was really interesting to read in light of my post from yesterday… it’s well-worth a slow, careful read!

Originally posted on Marc's View on Stuff:

A non-perfect rendering of the Beatific Vision

In other posts (I think), I have noted that I’ve been reading (very slowly) The Treatise on the Love of God by St. Francis de Sales.  It is not a friendly book to we sanguines at all.  It has to be read very slowly and deliberately.

I came across this chapter earlier this week and found it to be very beautiful. Perhaps any nursing moms amongst my VAST INTERNATIONAL READERSHIP may be able to relate some to our saint’s commentary below as well.

It’s a little long but due to the easy-sanguine-friendly extraction from iPieta (the best $3 EVER spent for an iPhone app), I was able to copy it in below with a few comments, observations and emphases of my own.

When we look…

View original 890 more words


Filed under Getting Round in Front

Of White Wine and Breast Milk

During the final week of the World Cup, I was rooting for Germany. It partially had to do with my deep fondness for Pope Benedict, partially to do with the fact that I have a little bit of German ancestry on my mom’s side… I went to the grocery store to get some German beer, but their selection was pretty pathetic. So I decided to check the selection of German wine. The store was running a sale on a wine I’d never heard before: Liebfraumilch. 

I bought a bottle and brought it home. It was pretty good.*

I was looking at the label, and thinking to myself “hmm, I know Germans like to string a bunch of nouns together into a bigger word… the meaning of “Frau” is obvious. Not sure what “Lieb” is, but “Milch” sounds like it might be a cognate of the English word “milk”…

Then I looked above the wording on the label and saw the picture of the Madonna and Child. “It can’t be…”

Not the actual brand I purchased, but it will serve to illustrate the point...

Not the actual brand I purchased, but it will serve to illustrate the point…

Yep, it can be.

“Liebfraumilch” literally means “Beloved Lady’s Milk”. It was originally produced in the vineyards of the Church of Our Lady near Worms in the Rhineland.

And I have to say, for a few moments, I felt a bit… uncomfortable. 

Clearly, the idea did not make Andrea Solari uncomfortable...

Clearly, the idea did not make Andrea Solari uncomfortable…

And I got to thinking (a dangerous past-time, I know…): what is it that makes me feel uncomfortable thinking about the Virgin Mary nursing? 

After all, it’s undoubtedly an historical fact that the Virgin Mary nursed Our Lord (there was, of course, no formula in those days…). And the Nursing Madonna was a common subject for religious art for many centuries. There’s even a (possibly apocryphal) story that St. Bernard of Clairvaux had an eye infection cured by Our Lady’s breast milk. This seems pretty natural: after all, Mary is Mother of the Church…

Historically speaking, Catholics clearly have not been squeamish about this… so why was I?

I'm thinking the story about St. Bernard has got to be apocryphal, but maybe that's just my modern prejudices...

I’m thinking the story about St. Bernard has got to be apocryphal, but maybe that’s just my modern prejudices…

I’m not the only person made uncomfortable by breastfeeding, of course… Here in the US, nursing mothers are often under heavy criticism. Remember that news story about the poor mother in Starbucks? 

But there’s an obvious hypocrisy to the American attitude: breasts are everywhere in this country. Women in revealing tops walk down every sidewalk in this country. You can’t get on Facebook without being shown ads with tons of cleavage. Every grocery store sells “men’s magazines” with pictures of breasts, and almost every gas station has pornography behind the counter.

So why, in a country filled to the brim with images of human mammary glands, are we so darn uncomfortable with breastfeeding?

And I got to thinking that maybe this has something to do with our contraceptive mentality.You see, in addition to widely-available breast imagery, we’ve also got widely-available birth control. It’s not just porn that’s easy to obtain at gas stations… you can also pick up prophylactics while you’re there. Sex is purely about pleasure in this country. Sure, maybe you have a kid or two when you’re well into your thirties and you’ve “had your fun”, but generally speaking American sex is all about the moments of pleasure.

Maybe, just maybe, we’ve divorced sex from its procreative purpose so much, that we think of a woman using her body in a procreative manner as being… well, as being gross. Maybe we’re totally ok with lust-inducing images of breasts, but totally not ok with images of nursing, because we’ve completely forgotten that sex is meant to make babies. Somewhere along the line we decided to disregard the command to “be fruitful and multiply”, and now anything remotely maternal offends us.

Da Vinci sure didn't find it offensive...

Da Vinci sure didn’t find it offensive…

At least, that’s what I think. If you disagree, perhaps we can discuss it back at my place over a nice glass of Liebfraumilch*.

*Yes, I am now aware that Liebfraumilch is considered cheep swill by People Who Know Wine. I have terrible taste in wine. Sue me. 


Filed under Getting Round in Front

I Believe in Solemn, Reverent Liturgy Because…

…I believe that as Catholics, we need to act like we know this is true:

“One day, when a priest was celebrating Mass, I saw, at the moment of Consecration, how all the powers of heaven were set in motion. I heard, at the same time, a heavenly music, most harmonious, most sweet. Numberless Angels came down, the chant of whom no human understanding could conceive, nor the tongue of man describe. They surrounded and looked upon the priest, bowing towards him in reverential awe. The devils commenced to tremble, and took to flight in greatest confusion and terror.”


~St. Bridget of Sweden



St. Bridget of Sweden

St. Bridget of Sweden


Filed under Getting Round in Front

Wait, Catholics Actually Read the Bible?

When I first began to consider becoming Catholic, one of the things that most struck me was how Catholic theology is so deeply rooted in the Bible. Growing up an Evangelical, I heard over and over again that Catholicism was unbiblical, even openly hostile to the Scriptures, and that the more Catholics bothered to crack open a Bible, the more would leave their so-called “Church”. 

So when I started reading things like the documents from the Council of Trent–that infamous moment when those pesky Catholic hierarchs tried to stifle the Reformation– I was stunned at how deeply rooted in the New Testament their arguments were. 

Take this passage for example:

“He that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved, (Matt 10:22; 24:13) which cannot be obtained from anyone except from Him who is able to make him stand who stands, (Rom 14:4) that he may stand perseveringly, and to raise him who falls, let no one promise himself herein something as certain with an absolute certainty, though all ought to place and repose the firmest hope in God’s help.  For God, unless men themselves fail in His grace, as He has begun a good work, so will He perfect it, working to will and to accomplish. (Phil 1:6, 2:13)  Nevertheless, let those who think themselves to stand, take heed lest they fall, (cf. 1 Cor 10:12) and with fear and trembling work out their salvation, (Phil 2:12) in labors, in watchings, in almsdeeds, in prayer, in fastings and chastity. For knowing that they are born again unto the hope of glory, ( cf. 1 Pet 1:3) and not as yet unto glory, they ought to fear for the combat that yet remains with the flesh, with the world and with the devil, in which they cannot be victorious unless they be with the grace of God obedient to the Apostle who says: We are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh; for if you live according to the flesh, you shall die, but if by the spirit you mortify the deeds of the flesh, you shall live. (Rom 8:12ff)” 



~From the Decree on Justification, from Sixth Session of the Council of Trent, 1547 (quote courtesy of Fr. Z)



Do you notice how every sentence is just drenched with Scripture? 

Here, the Council takes on the doctrine of “eternal security” or “perseverance of the saints”, frequently taught in Calvinist churches, as well as others. The Council Fathers allow the Bible itself to carry the logic of their argument for them, exposing the Reformed innovation for what it is: a doctrine that’s entirely contrary to the teachings of the New Testament.

I know, I was stunned too…


The Council of Trent

The Council of Trent



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Filed under Getting Round in Front