Guardini: The Dissolution of the Modern World

05-28-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Romano Guardini & Fr. John Lankeit

One of the thinkers who had great influence on Pope Benedict XVI was Fr. Romano Guardini. Below is an excerpt about the challenges we face as Christians in this postmodern world.

From Fr. Romano Guardini’s The End of the Modern World: “The Dissolution of the Modern World”:

The Faith of Christian men will need to take on a new decisiveness. It must strip itself of all secularism, all analogies with the secular world, all flabbiness and eclectic mixtures. Here, it seems to me, we have solid reasons for confidence. The Christian has always found it difficult to come to an understanding of modern attitudes, but we touch an issue here which needs more exact consideration. We do not mean that the Middle Ages was an historic epoch fully Christian in nature, nor do we mean that the modern world was an age fully un-Christian.


The four hundred years of the Vatican Secret Archive – Lux in arcana The propensity of the Church for memory

05-21-2023Weekly ReflectionInterview with Cardinal Raffaele Farina by Roberto Rotondo

Eminence, the Secret Archive is four hundred years old, but has collected documents that are much more ancient. Why has the Church always felt the need to preserve the acts and documents of its business in a systematic way? From the earliest days of the Church of Rome, as the Liber Pontificalis recalls, the popes used to preserve in their own ‘scrinium’ (archive) the gesta martyrum, the liturgical codices, the memoirs of the episcopal consecrations, donations made to the Bishop of Rome and to the Christians in the early centuries. The need arose from the necessity to pass on the memory of the early Church after the persecutions and the ‘administrative’ need of the Roman Church itself, which of course wanted to know the witnesses of the faith who died for Christ (its best treasure of faith) and the action of the pastors and the faithful in Rome. From the fourth century onwards the Archive of the Church of Rome was enriched with documents, codes, provincial books, formulas of oaths, certificates of consecration of churches or foundations of abbeys, papyri relating to the correspondence sent to the popes from the emperors of the East, first, and then the West, pastoral and administrative and other writings, as is well demonstrated by the Liber diurnus Romanorum Pontificum, an ancient chancellary code form, owned by the Vatican secret archive which dates from the late eighth or early ninth century.


Rectitude of Intention

05-14-2023Weekly Reflection

The life of the first Christians and their witness to the world makes known to us their quality and their character. Their norm of conduct was not to take the easy way out, or opt for the more comfortable line or the more popular decision but rather did they seek to fulfill completely the will of God. They ignored the danger of death… they forgot how few they were, they never noticed how many were against them or the power or strength or wisdom of their enemies. Their power was greater than all of that: theirs was the power of him who had died on the Cross and risen again. [ii] They had their gaze riveted on Christ, who gave his life for all men. They were not seeking their own personal glory, nor the applause of their fellow citizens. They always acted with a right intention, because they had their eyes fixed on the Lord. That is what allows St. Stephen to say at the moment of his martyrdom: Lord do not take their sin into account…[iii]


The Great Tempter

05-14-2023From the desk of Fr. Villa

In his useful book on the devil called, The Great Tempter, Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, gives us ten salutary points by way of a “decalogue against temptation”:


Ideology of Gender as “Secular-Religion”

05-07-2023From the desk of Fr. Villa

Gender-ideology is the fastest growing “religion” in this country. Like many religions, its “theology” involves a transformation: the moment in which a person transforms from one gender to another. Converts to this faith abandon their old lives and embrace a whole new one: their previous identities no longer exist. They are dead names. They believe that they themselves are a god with the power to control nature and, if you think about it, this should be cause for concern because it is a recipe for extremism. People who believe they are a god tend sometimes to react very badly when told that they are not. There is no greater mental illusion than the illusion of being a god, and this is exactly what this ideology teaches its followers: you are a god, you can change nature with your will and thinking.


The False Religion of Biosecurity

05-07-2023Weekly Reflection

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) we find the following: under the First Commandment it teaches Idolatry not only refers to false pagan worship. It remains a constant temptation to faith. Idolatry consists in divinizing what is not God. Man commits idolatry whenever he honors and reveres a creature in place of God. (2113)

Under the Fifth Commandment it teaches: Life and physical health are precious gifts entrusted to us by God. We must take reasonable care of them, taking into account the needs of others and the common good. (2288) Also: If morality requires respect for the life of the body, it does not make it an absolute value. It rejects a neo-pagan notion that tends to promote the cult of the body, to sacrifice everything for its sake, (emphasis added) to idolize physical perfection and success at sports….(2289)


That Sin? Again??

04-30-2023Weekly ReflectionBr. Luke VanBerkum O.P. (edited for the bulletin)

Have you ever confessed a sin and then, no matter how earnestly you intended to amend your life, had the desire to commit that sin again? Why aren’t we simply fixed after Confession?

Jesus instituted the sacrament of Confession that our sins may be forgiven and that we may return to friendship with him. He renews our souls, again filling them through the Holy Spirit with the many spiritual gifts first given to us at Baptism. Yet a certain inclination to sin—not the sin itself—remains.


What we must do when we are wounded

04-25-2023From the desk of Fr. Villafrom Chapter 26 of The Spiritual Combat by Lorenzo Scupoli

When you feel yourself wounded, from having through your weakness, or even through willfulness it may be, fallen into some sin, do not be discouraged nor be over-anxious, but turn at once to God, and say unto Him:—"Behold, O Lord, what of myself I have done; what else could be expected of me but falls?" Then, pausing a little, humble yourself in your own eyes, bewail the offence which you have committed against your Lord, and without discouragement rouse your indignation against your vicious passions, and especially against that one which caused your fall.


Contraception: the 'common ground' that devastates family life by Phil Lawler

04-23-2023From the desk of Fr. Villa

[In his commencement address at Notre Dame, (years ago), President Obama suggested that advocates and opponents of abortion should find common ground in a campaign to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Although he did not flesh out that suggestion, he clearly intended to suggest more aggressive promotion of contraceptives. That option should be recognized as unacceptable-- not just by Catholics, but by anyone attuned to the prescripts of natural law and indeed the realities of modern life. More than a decade has passed since I published the op-ed below; it originally appeared in several US newspapers as the world marked the 30th anniversary of the prophetic encyclical Humanae Vitae.


Christ is risen, death is now conquered….and dystopia too!

04-23-2023Weekly Reflection

Dystopia(from the Greek meaning a “bad place): an imagined world or society which makes war on reality in which people lead wretched, dehumanized, fearful lives.

Man was created to know, love, and worship God. Here he finds his true self, the order of God’s love. …whoever loses their life for my sake will find it. Matthew 10:39


“There is no peace to be compared with that of the souls in purgatory, save that of the saints in paradise”

04-16-2023Weekly Reflection

As far as I can see, the souls in purgatory can have no choice but to be there; this God has most justly ordained by his divine decree. ...They retain no memory of either good or evil respecting themselves or others which would increase their pain. They are so contented with the divine dispositions in their regard; and with doing all that is pleasing to God in that way which he chooses, that they cannot think of themselves, though they may strive to do so.


On the Third Day He Rose from the Dead

04-09-2023Weekly Reflection

The Resurrection of Jesus is the crowning truth of our faith in Christ, a faith believed and lived as the central truth by the first Christian community; handed on as fundamental by Tradition; established by the documents of the New Testament; and preached as an essential part of the Paschal mystery along with the cross: Tradition means the faithful handing down of the truths of Jesus Christ, His words and deeds by the Apostles and their successors.


Words Every Catholic Should Know and Meditate on About the Eucharist

04-06-2023From the desk of Fr. Villa

Transubstantiation: The Church makes use of this word in the Catechism to help us understand the meaning of the Holy Eucharist. A substance is what something is. Material substances have an outward appearance: color, weight, size, etc. In the Holy Eucharist bread stops being bread and wine stops being wine. At the Consecration bread becomes Jesus Christ: Body, Blood, Soul, Divinity; wine becomes Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. The appearances (species) of bread and wine remain. Only God can do this. The changing of water into wine by the Lord at the wedding in Cana was a manifestation that Jesus is God who brings things into being through His Word but also it was preparing the disciples for the power of Christ’s word at the Last Supper changing bread and wine into Himself.


Attempts to Re-Define Marriage, Change Gender, Transhumanism

04-02-2023Weekly Reflection

….“(I)n the attempt to create a new type of human being one can recognize an ideological element in which man tries to take the place of his Creator”
— Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith

"'Man,'" I cried, "'how ignorant art thou in thy pride of wisdom!'"
— Frankenstein, The Modern Prometheus