Monday, 31 December 2012

The Oath Against Modernism

It is, I think, quite unfortunate that priests are no longer required to take this oath. In my opinion, all priests and Catholic teachers should be required to take it. The errors of Modernism have very badly infected the Church today, and are being taught in Catholic schools and preached from Catholic pulpits worldwide. Pope Pius X, near the beginning of the 20th century, masterfully showed in his encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis how Modernism is absolutely incompatible with the Catholic faith. He then required priests to swear the following oath, which also demonstrates very well the errors of modernism, and the truths in contradicts. [I will likely be posting more about Modernism in the future on this blog.]

I, [name], firmly embrace and accept all and everything that has been defined, affirmed, and declared by the unerring magisterium of the Church, especially those chief doctrines which are directly opposed to the errors of this time. And first, I profess that God, the beginning and end of all things, can be certainly known and thus can also be demonstrated by the natural light of reason "by the things that are made" [cf. Rom. 1:20], that is, by the visible works of creation, as the cause by the effects. Secondly, I admit and recognize the external arguments of revelation, that is, divine facts, and especially miracles and prophecies, as very certain signs of the divine origin of the Christian religion; and I hold that these same arguments have been especially accommodated to the intelligence of all ages and men, even of these times. Thirdly, likewise, with a firm faith I believe that the Church, guardian and mistress of the revealed word, was instituted proximately and directly by the true and historical Christ Himself, while he sojourned among us, and that the same was built upon Peter, the chief of the apostolic hierarchy, and his successors until the end of time. Fourthly, I accept sincerely the doctrine of faith transmitted from the apostles through the orthodox fathers, always in the same sense and interpretation, even to us; and so I reject the heretical invention of the evolution of dogmas, passing from one meaning to another, different from that which the Church first had; and likewise I reject all error whereby a philosophic fiction is substituted for the divine deposit, given over to the Spouse of Christ and to be guarded faithfully by her, or a creation of the human conscience formed gradually by the efforts of men and to be perfected by indefinite progress in the future. Fifthly, I hold most certainly and profess sincerely that faith is not a blind religious feeling bursting forth from the recesses of the subconscious, unformed morally under the pressure of the heart and the impulse of the will, but the true assent of the intellect to the truth received extrinsically ex auditu, whereby we believe that what has been said, attested, and revealed by the personal God, our Creator and Lord, to be true on account of the authority of God the highest truth.

I also subject myself with the reverence which is proper, and I adhere with my whole soul to all the condemnations, declarations, and prescriptions which are contained in the Encyclical letter, "Pascendi" and in the Decree, "Lamentabili", especially on that which is called the history of dogma. In the same manner I disapprove the error of those who affirm that the faith proposed by the Church can be in conflict with history, and that Catholic dogmas, in the sense in which they are now understood, cannot be reconciled with the more authentic origins of the Catholic religion.--I also condemn and reject the opinion of those who say that the more erudite Christian puts on a dual personality, one of the believer, the other of the historian, as if it were permitted the historian to hold what is in contradiction to the faith of the believer; or to establish premises from which it follows that dogmas are either false or doubtful, provided they are not directly denied.--I disapprove likewise that method of studying and interpreting Sacred Scripture, which disregards the tradition of the Church, the analogy of faith, and the norms of the Apostolic See, and adheres to the fictions of the rationalists, and no less freely than boldly adopts textual criticism as the only and supreme rule.--Besides I reject the opinion of those who hold that to present the historical and theological disciplines the teacher or the writer on these subjects must first divest himself of previously conceived opinion either on the supernatural origin of Catholic tradition, or on the aid promised by God for the perpetual preservation of every revealed truth; then that the writings of the individual Fathers are to be interpreted only by the principles of science, setting aside all divine authority, and by that freedom of judgment with which any profane document is customarily investigated. Finally, in short, I profess to be utterly free of the error according to which the modernists hold that there is nothing divine in the sacred tradition; or, what is far worse, admit this in the pantheistic sense, so that nothing remains but the bare and simple fact to be assimilated with the common facts of history, namely, of men by their industry, skill, and genius continuing through subsequent ages the school inaugurated by Christ and His disciples. So I retain most firmly the faith of the Fathers, and shall retain it until the final breath of life, regarding the certain gift of truth, which is, was, and will be always in the succession of the episcopacy from the apostles, not so that what may seem better and more fitting according to each one's period of culture may be held, but so that the absolute and immutable truth preached by the apostles from the beginning may never be believed otherwise, may never be understood otherwise.

All these things I promise that I shall faithfully, completely, and sincerely keep and inviolably watch, never deviating from them in word and writing either while teaching or in any other pursuit. So I promise, so I swear, so help me God.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

New Year's Resolutions

As the new year approaches in just a couple days, it is about time that we consider the significance of making resolutions. Here are some resolutions I am making - I don't expect to be perfectly successful in keeping all of these. I will divide these into two categories: general resolutions which apply to everybody, and some resolutions for myself personally. 

General Resolutions. Here I have five general resolutions which should be relevant to the lives of all Christians, since they pertain directly to the spiritual life. I would heartily recommend to anybody who reads this to join me in making these resolutions. (Note: there are probably quite a few other important things that one could resolve in addition to these... This is just something off the top of my head. So bear with me.)

1. To completely abandon myself to Divine Providence and the Will of God. The way to sanctity is to desire nothing except the Will of God. This should be obvious. But it is much easier said than done. To completely conform ourselves to the Will of God requires a spirit of detachment from our own wills, from the things which we desire in this world, from anything in which we take pleasure. We have to be willing to give up everything, if that were God's Will for us. It is in this practice that the virtues of Hope and Love are cultivated: we place complete confidence in God's providence, that He will direct us to our own good; and we love nothing except Him and His Will. 

2. To prepare myself for whatever future sufferings, great or small, God will send me. This resolution is actually very connected to the previous one.  This is because the key to preparation for suffering is the complete abandonment to Divine Providence. If we love the Will of God alone, we must love our sufferings too, insofar as they are God's Will for us. As a piece of encouragement, we must grasp the fact that God Wills nothing which is not for our own good, and that if we were to resist, it would destroy us rather than save us. We must place our trust in God completely, and embrace our sufferings with loving patience.

3. To reform my life of prayer. Prayer is necessary for salvation. We cannot achieve sanctity without raising our hearts and minds to God, in an intimate personal conversation with Him. If our life of prayer is disjointed, inconsistent, and without structure, it is likely to be much more difficult for us to preserve this constant conversation with God, and thus more difficult for us to merit the graces of salvation. 

4. To cultivate interior silence and solitude. It is in the silence and solitude of our hearts that God is best able to speak to us. Interior silence implies in us a freedom of the mind from all worldly thoughts and imagination, in order to let God fill our minds and hearts completely, so that there be no room for anything but Him. A spirit of solitude, likewise, must be cultivated, in that we must be detached from the society of men, seeking principally the friendship and companionship with God; this is not to say that we must shun society altogether, for Charity forbids us to do so. But we must not become attached; we must prefer the company of God to that of men.

5. To spend more time in devotional and spiritual reading. There is a wealth of wisdom provided for us by the many Saints and spiritual writers whom the Catholic Church has produced. Francis de Sales, Thomas Kempis, John of the Cross, Catherine of Sienna, Teresa of Avila, Therese of Liseaux, Sister Faustina, Garrigou-Lagrange - and so many others, canonized or not. One can benefit immensely from the reading of their works. 

That should roughly conclude my general resolutions. 

Particular Resolutions for Myself
These pertain to me personally. This will also serve as another sort of introduction of myself for my readers...

1. To prepare for college. As many of you probably know, I am still a senior in high school right now. I will be leaving the house in August for Thomas Aquinas College, in Southern California. I have a lot of preparation to get done before then. Something to pray for, also, and I wouldn't mind if you all helped out with those prayers.

2. To plan my summer. I have at least one big event in the summer, and that's the Sacred Music Colloquium, which will be in Salt Lake City for the second year in a row. Other than that, while I'm home I will need to get a job and earn some money for college and books and other things. I think that's probably the most important thing for summer, as part of a preparation for college.

3. To win a piano competition. In the beginning of March I will be participating in a local piano competition. If I win I get a good sum of money. Another way to start preparing for college. St. Cecilia pray for me! Also, maybe I should look for some more piano competitions...

4. To really focus on finishing high school. At this time of my life, there are so many distractions which can enter my mind that it's hard to focus. So I need to prioritize all my interests, and really focus on school. I also need to improve my time-management skills.

5. To pray and prepare for whatever vocation God has in mind for me. As happens to any good Catholic young man, I have to discern my vocation. It's the standard story: ought I to marry or enter the priesthood/religious life? As for the latter, there are several options. If I were called to the priesthood, I would most likely join the Fraternity of St. Peter, who specialize in the Traditional liturgy of the Church and teach using very Traditional methods of theology. But I might also consider the religious life in either the Dominican or Benedictine orders. I like the Dominicans, because they teach, and are very involved in scholarly and academic pursuits (think St. Thomas Aquinas). But I also like the Benedictines, because they are very contemplative; and I'm sort of that kind of a person. And then there's the married life to consider. To me that seems like another quite strong possibility. Between the priesthood/religious life and marriage I think there's about a fifty-fifty chance for me, at this point. So I need to pray hard about that, and expect some signs from God. In March I'll be visiting the FSSP seminary in Nebraska, so that's a start. But maybe I won't get any real signs in the next year; probably not, in fact. I still have a lot of life to live first...

Monday, 10 December 2012


About This Blog

Wisdom is never fully attained in this life. We have now but a mere foretaste, a glimpse through a dark veil, a cloud of mist. We are travelers on a quest; we seek to attain this treasure of inestimable value, wisdom. By the grace of God through His Holy Church, and the knowledge of the faith which she provides to us, we hope to succeed in the attainment of this goal. By the guidance of the many teachers whom God has seen fit to send to us, we will find our way along these lonely paths, in the hopes of coming at last to our blessed destination. Among our teachers, principal place is given to the Magisterium of the Holy Catholic Church, and the immortal tradition bequeathed to her care. We believe this tradition of Holy Church to be embodied especially in the gift of the Sacred Liturgy, which God has given us for a revelation of Himself and his wisdom, by which we are commanded to "be wise unto sobriety, and according as God hath divided unto everyone the measure of faith" (Romans 12:3). Among our teachers, we look most especially to the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas, as a guide for our studies - in whose words "the pursuit of wisdom is more perfect, more noble, more useful, and more full of joy" (Summa Contra Gentiles). Persevering in faith, hope, and charity, and enlightened by the Holy Spirit, we look forward to the day when, at long last, we shall have not a mere foretaste, but the complete possession of Wisdom itself, in the intuitive vision of the Divine Essence, to our own eternal happiness, and the greater glory of God.

The reader may expect herein to find written reflections upon matters pertaining to traditional Catholic theology, spirituality, and especially liturgy, as well as philosophical reflections, poetry, and many passages of wisdom from the saints and spiritual writers of Catholic tradition. Let it be known that I am no true authority on any of the matters about which I will write on this blog. I am not a philosopher, theologian, or liturgist (yet), even if I hope to become one in the future. This blog is simply a record, as it were, of one particular soul's efforts on the path to wisdom. This blog shall merely be a record of my endeavors to understand what lies before me. If there be any semblance of error, or impiety, or any other folly contained therein, I pray God have mercy on my soul.

About Me

Here, I call myself The Maestro. 'Tis a joke of a name, admittedly, in which I hope there be not read any shade of presumptuous character or excessive esteem of self for having attributed to myself such a name - though certainly there is no want of such defects in my person... But this aside, look you to my profile (linked), in which I hope you find a more sufficient introduction to myself.

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam!