Wednesday, May 31, 2017

St. Teresa of Avila on Venial Sin

"St. Teresa in Ecstasy"  Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598 - 1680)

In case you thought one venial sin was not a big deal, consider what St. Teresa of Avila, mystic and Doctor of the Church, wrote on that subject:

May it please His Majesty that we fear Him whom we ought to fear, and understand that one venial sin can do us more harm than all hell together; for that is the truth.  The evil spirits keep us in terror, because we expose ourselves to the assaults of terror by our attachments to honours, possessions, and pleasures.  For the the evil spirits, uniting themselves with us, - we become our own enemies when we love and seek what we ought to hate, - do us great harm. We ourselves put weapons into their hands, that they may assail us; those very weapons with which we should defend ourselves,  It is a great pity.  But if, for the love of God we hated all this, and embraced the cross, and set about His service in earnest, Satan would fly away before such realities, as from the plague,  He is the friend of lies, and a lie himself.  He will have nothing to do with those who walk in the truth.  When he sees the understanding of any one obscured he simply helps to pluck out his eyes; if he sees any one already blind, seeking peace in vanities, - for all the things of this world are so utterly vanity, that they seem to be but the playthings of a child, - he sees at once that such a one is a child, and ventures to wrestle him - not once but often.

from "The Life of Saint Teresa of Avila," by herself

Thursday, May 25, 2017

If only bishops spoke like this

"St. Teresa of Avila" Francois Gerard (1770−1837)

From "The Life of Saint Teresa," by the saint herself:

I look upon it as a most certain truth, that the devil will never deceive, and that God will not suffer him to deceive, the soul which has no confidence whatever in itself; which is strong in faith, and resolved to undergo a thousand deaths for any one article of the creed; which in its love of the faith, infused of God once for all,  - a faith living and strong, - always labours, seeking for further light on this side and on that, to mould itself on the teaching of the Church, as one already deeply grounded in the truth.  No imaginable revelations, not even if it saw the heavens open, could make that soul swerve in any degree from the doctrine of the Church.  

St. Teresa of Avila, pray for us.

Monday, April 17, 2017

New Inigo Hicks Short Story!!

Lot and His Daughters, Jan Brueghel the Elder (17th Century)

“Writers who see by the light of their Christian faith will have, in these times, the sharpest eye for the grotesque, for the perverse, and for the unacceptable…. To the hard of hearing you shout, and for the almost-blind you draw large and startling figures.”

Readers will note the great extent to which Flannery O’Connor’s dictum has inspired Inigo Hicks’ new short story,”The Suburbs of Gomorrha”, in that the story not only contains much that is grotesque, perverse and unacceptable, but also a lot of shouting, as well as several large, and sometimes startling figures. 

Which doesn't mean it isn't funny.  Malcolm Muggeridge suggested that the fall of man was just the old bananaskin joke on a cosmic scale.  The humor in "The Suburbs of Gomorrha" belongs to the bananaskin genre.

“The Suburbs of Gomorrha” is affordably priced at just 99 cents (cheap) on Amazon Kindle. Where else can you get so much perversity (seen by the light of Christian faith), not to mention laughs, for less than a dollar? 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Edward Cardinal Koch?

The one in scarlet resembles a former mayor of NYC
(click to enlarge)

Judging from these paintings by Eduard von Grutzner, monks used to have a lot of fun, and the ready supply of alcohol sure didn't hurt.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Are galeros making a comeback?

Cardinal Medeiros' galero (and two other galeros)

In 2001 Avery Dulles was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II, but did not receive a galero, the cardinal's distinctive red hat.  Pope Paul VI had abolished those in 1969 AD, on the grounds that a galero was at odds with "the spirit of humility and poverty, which must always and preeminently shine forth" from cardinals.  And yet Dulles' galero hangs in the university church at Fordham University, where Dulles had resided for many years.  So where did the galero come from?

Perhaps Cardinal Humberto Medeiros' galero provides a clue.  Medeiros was made cardinal in 1973 AD by Pope Paul VI, the abolisher of galeros, and naturally didn't receive a galero on that occasion.  However, in 2010, Medeiros' galero was raised to the ceiling of Holy Cross cathedral in Boston.  Since Medeiros didn't get a galero from Pope Paul VI, where had the galero come from?  According to the Boston Pilot, Cardinal O'Malley of Boston had bought the galero while on a visit to Rome on other business.   The galero which was recently raised to the ceiling of Holy Name cathedral in Chicago had likewise been purchased for the late Cardinal George as a gift.  Cardinal George's galero joined Cardinal Bernardin's galero up on the ceiling, and Bernardin's (made a cardinal in the post galero year of 1983) had been a gift, too.

So Pope Paul VI may have abolished galeros, but galeros are making a quiet comeback as a popular gift item for a cardinal, though it's generally a posthumous gift, as in the cases of Cardinal Medeiros and Cardinal Bernardin.  If the cardinal is alive when he receives his galero, as Cardinal George was, a well-behaved cardinal will be mindful of Pope Paul VI's strictures, and modestly set his galero aside until the time comes for raising it to the cathedral ceiling.  In the meantime, a certain amount of private gazing upon or even wearing of the galero is to be expected.

Not all cardinals are so modest and well behaved.  Cardinal Burke, created a cardinal in 2010, has been wearing his galero around since 2011 AD, though I suspect Cardinal Burke's galero was not a gift.

If you're interested in buying a galero for a cardinal of your acquaintance, where is the best place to shop?  Alas, that seems to be a well-guarded secret.  For instance, Barbiconi of Rome sells saturnos and various cords to be worn on saturnos, but no galeros.   Gammarelli has black felt hats, and a variety of cords, but no galeros.   Maybe the best thing to do is ask Cardinal O'Malley where he bought that galero for Cardinal Medeiros.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Galeros in the news

Whose galero is this?
Hint: this galero hangs in NYC, though not in a cathedral

I'm happy to report the extremely long drought of galero-related news has at last ended: last Sunday in Chicago, Cardinal George's galero was raised above the sanctuary in Holy Name Cathedral.  Cardinal George, who died on April 17, had received the galero as a gift but, sadly, never wore it, perhaps fearing to fall afoul of Pope Paul VI's "Instruction on the Dress, Titles and Coat-of-Arm of Cardinals, Bishops and Lesser Prelates," which among other things, banned the galero.   Pope Paul VI, though an estimable pope in many respects, was not much given to mirth or whimsy, a quality which shines with particular clarity in this Instruction.

The present pope is cut from very different cloth, though one suspects he may be even less galero-friendly than Paul VI was.  In naming Pope Francis its "Best Dressed Man" of 2013, Esquire magazine noted approvingly his ''black shoes and unadorned, simplistic regalia.''   A black shoed, "unadorned" pope seems unlikely to top off his "simplistic regalia" with a galero, or look approvingly upon those who do. 

However, Esquire's reference to Francis's regalia as "simplistic" may be unintentionally telling. Webster's dictionary defines simplistic as "not complete or thorough enough: not treating or considering all possibilities or parts."  That strikes us as perfectly apt.  The red shoes, capes and hats Pope Benedict was mocked for wearing were not only traditional, which, for the leader of a 2000 year old Church, has value in itself, but also red to recall the martyrs' blood which helped the Church grow.  We would thus urge Francis to consider more "possibilities and parts" in his regalia. We would further urge Francis to permit more "possibilities and parts" in the regalia of cardinals, too.   Indeed, we'd recommend Francis instruct cardinals as follows: "If you've got a galero, flaunt it."   And if you don't got a galero, get thee to a galerory.