Saturday, February 28, 2015

Practical Ecumenism

Psychosomatic Unity Realized in Prayer

Stand, Bow, Prostrate: The Prayerful Body of Coptic Christianity
Coptic monastics were indeed wary of the hesychastic practices of the Jesus Prayer that developed later in the Eastern churches, and it may seem that such suspicion is somehow a teaching against engaging the body in formalized asceticism – for example, of sitting in silence and using the recommended breathing exercises. Yet the suspicion of hesychastic practice is not, in fact, a suspicion of the use of the body in prayer, but instead simply a rejection of the complicated system of hesychasm. Fr. Matta el-Meskeen, for instance, in his book on Orthodox Prayer Life, comments that hesychasm made the method of unceasing prayer lose its former simplicity. He claims that the method of unceasing prayer “shifted from its ascetical position as a humbling practice by itself to a mystical position, with programs, stipulations, technical and mechanical bases, degrees, objectives, results…”[4] Instead, he prefers the simplicity of praying while working and in common human duties, which is likewise a practice found in both Eastern and Western Christian monasticism, stating that this allows for God to share in human work, and helps the person to discern God’s calling in regards to work.[5] It is believed that work by itself does not help to save a monk or nun from distractions and temptations, but that the necessity of repeating short prayers along with working helps to keep the mind occupied. Labor mingled with constant prayer, whether short formulas of Psalms or the Jesus Prayer, allows the person to express his love for God continuously. This practice of praying unceasingly while working became one of the accepted forms of prayer in the Coptic Church.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Nice Ecumenical Gesture or a Papal Act That Deserved Second Thoughts?

St. Gregory of Narek: Was the New Doctor of the Church a Catholic? by Dr. R. Jared Staudt
St. Gregory is the first Doctor of the Church to have lived outside direct communion with the Bishop of Rome.

Maybe some Latin traditionalists have been receptive to the news because they think this increases the possibility of Msgr. Lefebvre being canonized some day?

Eastern Christian Books: Married Catholic Priests (Take 2)

Eastern Christian Books: Married Catholic Priests (Take 2)

A reminder...

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Joseph Slipyj

The Burden Is on the Ukrainians First

Let them go in peace. How many Ukrainians really want to sacrifice their men to keep under their government those who wish to leave? Or is this really about territory and resources?

Ukrainian Latin Bishops Visit the Pope Emeritus

Ugly But Necessary Ecclesial Politics?

Constantinople is ready to help establish a unified local Church in Ukraine

Still Too Early in the Pontificate

Making Sense of Pope Francis by Carrie Gress, Ph.D.
Austen Ivereigh’s The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope offers many insights into Francis, but does have a serious weakness

(via Insight Scoop)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The Sixth Day of Creation

Patriarch John X Visits Patriarch Kirill

Patriarch of Great Antioch and All the East arrives in Moscow
His Holiness Patriarch Kirill meets with the Primate of the Orthodox Church of Antioch
Primates of Antiochian and Russian Orthodox Churches celebrate Liturgy at Cathedral of Christ the Saviour on Forgiveness Sunday
Patriarch John X of Antioch’s homily on Sunday of Forgiveness
Primate of Orthodox Church of Antioch completes his visit to Russia


Theotokos Institute for Catholic Studies

FB and website

"The Theotokos Institute for Catholic Studiesis an academic institute dedicated to the study and teaching of theology, especially as it proceeds from the centuries prior to the formal division of the Church into Greek East and Latin West."

Vatican Observers Observing

Chiesa: Vatican Diary / Kangaroo hunt and other stories
Australian cardinal Pell encircled by adversaries. Sant’Egidio eclipsing the secretariat of state. A new Argentine vicar for Opus Dei

Monday, February 23, 2015

Ecumenism According to Joseph Ratzinger

Ecumenism according to Ratzinger: Pluriform unity
In a speech delivered in 1993 the then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith talked about the path toward unity between the Churches and about possible “intermediate solutions” before full communion could be achieved: “There is a duty to let oneself be purified and enriched by the other”

A Nice Gesture But..

Do we need these sort of honorary titles given by papal fiat if we are working towards reconciliation? It may strike some to be more of the mindset of promoting "diversity" in a Rome-centered Church that guides the selection of cardinals. Does the Christian East pay any attention to such titles?

Vatican Insider
Armenian Weekly

Bartholomew I's Lenten Message

If a failure in charity, when it was especially needed to overcome linguistic differences, led to a 1000 year separation between churches, we should be very careful to learn from this lest we offend our Lord. Let us take care during this time of Lent.

Why can't we have temples like this in the U.S.?

Supposedly this is a photo of Resurrection Church in Kfarakka, Lebanon.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Divine Liturgy, 150222

Eastern Christian Books: Maximus in Your Handbag

Eastern Christian Books: Maximus in Your Handbag

Rome Reports: 10 Years After the Death of Luigi Giussani

Two More for Tonight

Saint Porfyrios Kavsokalyvitis: a modern-day Patro-Kosmas Aitolos

Ukrainian Catholic Bishops at the Tomb of St. Peter

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Lenten Message from Archbishop Demetrios

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk at St. Mary Major

More on the Dominicans in Iraq

A Quick Canonization

The New Martyrs of Libya Added to the Coptic Synaxarium

An Examination of Conscience Based on Chapter 4 of the Rule of St. Benedict

NLM: A New Examination of Conscience for Lent

Not a Dominican, But a Fan of Latin Liturgical Diversity

Dominican Liturgy Blog: Dominican Chants of the Passion for Holy Week Available

Are Ad Liminia Visits by Non-Latin Bishops Necessary?

Magister Follows a Certain Line on Ukraine

Assaulted by Moscow and Abandoned by Rome
In Russian-occupied Ukraine, there is persecution of the Catholics once again. But for them Pope Francis has had words not of comfort, but of reproof. The Putin factor at the Vatican

Peter Hitchens: A (not so) Brief History of Crimea


Friday, February 20, 2015

Interview with Iconographer Federico José Xamist

His website.

5th Annual Climacus Conference

Check out the photo from the chapel, too!

Diakonia Center

South Carolina

Peter Hitchens: Putin's Bite is Worse than His Bark - should we have been surprised?

I fear that if the political situation in Ukraine is more complex than Ukrainian nationalists claim it is that the Ukrainian Catholic Church will suffer a loss in credibility if it is continuing to join its voice to theirs.

Next Monday: The Head of the UGCC is holding a press-conference in Vatican

Aquinas v. Suarez on Natural Law

J. Budsizewski: Is Natural Law Really Law?

Mondays are for letters from students. This one is a doctoral candidate in Dallas.


Since discovering your online writings and lectures I have read and listened to a fair bit of your work and talks. I’m writing to ask about the difference between St. Thomas Aquinas’s and Francisco Suarez’s views of natural law. St. Thomas has a clear understanding of natural law and much to contribute. But if Suarez is right about what law is, then it strikes me that the St. Thomas’s ethics and politics are not natural law theory simply, but something more like Aristotelian virtue ethics. In the De Legibus, Book 5 and Book 6 , Suarez argues that Natural Law isn’t divine law by virtue of its having been promulgated by a lawgiver; rather it comes from God as efficient cause. This seems a rather radical disagreement.

I gather from other writers that Suarez is more nearly the father of the early modern views of natural law. That implies that there must be two streams or traditions of natural law theory, one which views God as a lawgiver and one which does not. Could you point me in a direction that would explain your thinking on this?


Right: Though Suarez holds natural law in great esteem, he argues that it is not literally law, except insofar as God verbally commands it – something which does not happen except through revelation. One might then say that the natural law is produced by God -- since He is the First Cause of everything -- but not promulgated by God. Many of the Enlightenment thinkers took a view something like this too. For them the natural laws were not laws in the sense of commands; they were more like the empirical generalizations of the sciences. So, just as you suggest, there was a split in the natural law tradition in the early modern era. The classical tradition epitomized by St. Thomas continued to develop, and is experiencing a modest renaissance in our own times. But the revisionist tradition turned out to be a dead end – or so I would argue (long story).

St. Thomas agrees with Suarez that law must be promulgated to be law. Yet he disagrees with Suarez too, because he thinks natural law is promulgated. Natural law is the finite manner in which the eternal law, the Wisdom of God’s own mind, is reflected in the mind of the rational creature.

One might expect St. Thomas to say that natural law does not have to be promulgated verbally, because it is promulgated through the structure of creation. And he could have said that, for as he points out, sometimes we use the term "word" in a figurative sense, not for the word itself, but for that which the word means or brings about. For example, we say "The word of the king is that such and such be done." This way of speaking collapses the Suarezian distinction between what God produces and what He promulgates. So St. Thomas might have argued that just by being an effect of God as First Cause, the natural law is figuratively spoken to us.

But what he actually says is more intriguing. Natural law is promulgated verbally -- and not in a figurative sense, but literally. In saying this, St. Thomas is not referring to sounds made by the mouth (or for that matter characters formed of ink). He argued that the expression "word" has three proper senses. The most fundamental sense is "the interior concept of the mind," because a vocal sound is not a word unless it signifies this interior concept. In natural law, our minds receive an impression of the idea in the mind of God. We receive this impression through the natural disposition of the mind called synderesis, deep conscience, which is put to work by conscientiae, conscience in action.

So St. Paul’s remark in the letter to the Romans that the law is “written on our hearts” turns out to be precisely true. As St. Thomas points out in his commentary on the letter, “conscience does not dictate something to be done or avoided, unless it believes that it is against or in accordance with the law of God. For the law is applied to our actions only by means of our conscience.” In other words, when we enter the court of conscience and listen closely, the voice we are trying to hear is the voice of God – whether or not we fully realize that we are trying to do so.

If you want to follow up, take a look especially at Summa Theologiae, I-II, Q. 90; Q. 91, Art. 1, ad 2; Q. 94, Art. 1, ad 2 ; and Q. 94, Art. 6. I discuss all of these texts in detail in my Commentary on St. Thomas’s Treatise on Law. My quotation from the Commentary on the Letter to the Romans is from the Fabian Larcher translation, Chap. 4, Lect. 2, Sec. 1120, which I also take up there.

(Unfortunately his blog format does not allow for a direct link to this post, so I have copied and pasted instead.)

Pope Francis Meets with Roman Clergy

Rorate Caeli: IMPORTANT! Francis says "Reform of the Reform" is "mistaken".
"Traditionalist" seminarians criticized, Pope says their "imbalances" are manifested in their celebration of the liturgy


Orthodoxy and Heterodoxy?: “Born Again” Experience or Baptismal Regeneration? by Robert Arakaki

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk at the Liturgy in St. John Lateran

Interfaith Gestures?

Why would one ask Muslims to fast unless he thought it were an efficacious gesture to God? What would that imply about the status of Muslims with respect to their "standing" with God, as this invitation was made without qualification? That they are just like Christians, even if their faith is different?

Ecumenism That Matters

Dominican Friars: NPR: Piece By Piece, Monks Scramble To Preserve Iraq’s Christian History

Still waiting to see what comes of it all

St. Mark Orthodox Church, Irvine, CA


The style is too minimalist for me...

Entering Into the Spirit of Great Lent

A Response to Pope Francis

From CRC: KERYGMATIC THEOLOGY The mystery of Jesus

Budziszewski's Commentary on Summa theologiae, I-II, qq. 90-97 J. Budziszewski's book on the Treatise on Law

Cambridge University Press
His faculty page.

Fr. Romanus in America Magazine

Fr. Volpi Responds

Rorate Caeli: For the record: Letter of the Apostolic Commissioner of the Franciscan Friars

Dietrich von Hildebrand on the Promulgation of the New Missal

The Remnant Scrapbook History ~ In The Beginning (via Pertinacious Papist)

In a letter dated April 27, 1970, von Hildebrand wrote a letter to Walter Matt’s brother, the new editor of The Wanderer, summing up, in effect, the meat of the matter that had separated the two Matt brothers. Von Hildebrand wrote:

Dear Mr. Alphonse Matt:

I thank you very much for your kind letter. But I believe that there is some misunderstanding. You assume that the new ordo missae and especially the rubrics constitute for me merely a personally painful change by replacing something very beautiful and perfect with something less beautiful and less perfect. But unfortunately it is my conviction that the new ordo missae is the greatest pastoral mistake and that its consequences for the Church may be disastrous.

I agree however completely with you that it is a grave problem, whether one should criticize it publicly or only intra muros. Concerning this problem every one must follow his conscience. But I frankly cannot understand that you do not only abstain from a public criticism of the new ordo missae but make the “Wanderer” an instrument for propagating and praising the new ordo. You even suggest in your letter, dear Mr. Matt, that I should join this propaganda. As you say that you agreed with my article in “Triumph” in which I stress that obedience to practical decisions of the Pope does not imply approval of them – it is difficult for me to understand why you expect me to utter a univocal approval of something which seems to be, from the purely religious point of view, a “suicidal” practical decision. I do not believe that a mere loyalty to the present Pope who does not act against those who destroy the Catholic faith daily more and more – like Kueng, Schillebecks, Padovano, Greeley and many others – and who does not use the means by which the Church survived through 2000 years: anathema and excommunication – can preserve Catholic faith untarnished.

Dear Mr. Matt, it is painful for me to disagree with you because of my sincere admiration for the “Wanderer” throughout the past years and our warm personal union in Christ. This disagreement, however should in no way affect our friendly relations.

Faithfully yours in Christ
Dietrich von Hildebrand

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Cure for Sadness

Magister Looks to Benedict XVI for Good Homiletics

Chiesa: Lenten Homilies. A Single-Author Anthology

Exercises in liturgical preaching for Ash Wednesday and for the five Sundays in preparation for Easter. From the archive of Benedict XVI. In obedience to Pope Francis

by Sandro Magister

"The homilies for Lent of cycle B do not represent the summit of the homiletics of Benedict XVI, which is instead found in those of the Christmas and Easter season"

Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord Jesus Christ to the Temple

Celebrated on February 14.

Ultramontanist of Convenience?

Rorate Caeli: Cardinal Wuerl attacks "brother bishops" as "dissenters"

Fr. Moses Shares His Thoughts on Fasting

Every Home a Monastery

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Orthodox Art Journal Review of Cappella Romana's Latest Album

Learning Byzantine Chant

Some lucky people...


Something on the Pope Emeritus

Monday, February 16, 2015

St. Ephrem the Syrian

Halki Seminary

Aristotle Papanikolaou Bringing Virtue Theory and Deification Together

Toward a Godly Mode of Being: Virtue as Embodied Deification
Modes of Godly Being: Reflections on the Virtues from the Christian East

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Divine Liturgy, 150215

If True, How Will It Be Spun?

Rorate Caeli: BREAKING: Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate Commissioner Volpi admits guilt of defamation and lies
Must pay 20,000 euros, make public apology
Will Pope Francis allow what's left of the FFI to survive?

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Christopher Blum Reviews The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science

Aristotle and the God of Creation (To the Heights)
Armand-Marie Leroi’s The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science (Google Books)

Also from the author: 6 Things Aristotle Got Wrong

Saint Jean Daniélou?

My Homosexual Brother by Sandro Magister

As his spiritual diary reveals, Cardinal Jean Daniélou took upon himself the sins of his beloved brother Alain, so that his soul might be saved. The life lesson of one of the greatest theologians of the twentieth century

Friday, February 13, 2015

Who Picked the Crucifix?

I would think the Franciscans would be more likely to adopt one like this.

What Impact on the Local Church?

Benedict XVI: No Regrets about Retiring

Again, Does the Church Universal Need the Roman Curia?

Fr. Dewan has passed. Eternal memory.


St. John of Kronstadt on Deification

Metropolitan Hilarion on Ecumenism

St. Peter of Damaskos

One Lust Hurrah from Karl Keating?

Circling the New Geocentrists: An Interview with Karl Keating by Carl E. Olson
A new book by the founder of Catholic Answers addresses the scientific mistakes, theological errors, and conspiracy-minded promoters of geocentrism

He doesn't name Robert Sungenis in the interview; does he do so in the book? How about Wolfgang Smith? Does he even know who Wolfgang Smith is?

Galileo Was Wrong hasn't been updated for a while.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Canonizations: Infallible?

Fr. Hunwicke: When one Pope undercuts his predecessor in a doctrinal matter ...


St. Silouan the Athonite

Yes, analogies are limited in understanding Divine Love.

Good Friday in Medieval Jerusalem: CD release/live concert

The Latest from Eric Jobe

Grace and Debt – How do we Understand Legal Terminology in Paul?

Grace and Wrath in the Orthodox Tradition by Dylan Pahman

Wednesday, February 11, 2015


Orthodox Arts Journal: Byzanfest, an Orthodox short-film festival.

The festival is on Youtube: Orthodox Filmmakers and Artists

An Orthodox Response to FSG

But it, like Catholic socon essays, is unaware of the psychological dynamic involved in sexual attraction and desire, and how feminism has distorted it.

Jean Vanier

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Western Dominicans Vocations Weekend

More info.

St. Haralambos

Report on Catechism of the ROC


Never Seen a Photo of Him When He Was So Young

Monday, February 09, 2015

St. Dominic

Another Brave Latin Bishop in Kazakhstan

His Excellency Archbishop Jan Pawel Lenga,

Rorate Caeli: RORATE EXCLUSIVE: Open letter by Archbishop on the crisis in the Church

His brother bishop, Athanasius Schneider: Bishop Schneider to visit U.S., speak on liturgy

Five New Ideas On How To Select Bishops by Sandro Magister

They are proposed by an Australian theologian and economist, in an open letter to Pope Francis. A simple and concrete contribution to the reform of the curia that is in the works

Someone needs to argue for "decentralization"....

Curia reform: C9 holds meeting in view of the Consistory

St. Herman of Alaska

Infant Baptism

Chaldean Catholic Ordinations of Bishop Basel Yaldo and Bishop Emmanuel Challita

Didn't We Know This Already?

Liberalism and its logical consequences...

Recognizing the "culture of rationalism" at work by Kevin C. Walsh

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Divine Liturgy, 150208

Bishop Iakov

How to get in touch with techies?


Saturday, February 07, 2015

George Kordis Icons

Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Columbia, South Carolina
Dr. Kordis

Transformative And Moving – The Iconography Of Dr George Kordis
George Kordis Icon Portfolio

Friday, February 06, 2015

Icons: Real People, Real Presence

Père Joseph Fahmé & Damien Poisblaud

Agni Parthene Père Joseph Maximos Fahmé

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Damien Poisblaud

Une histoire pas comme les autres...

BTS Politickin'

Between One Synod and Another, the Battle Continues by Sandro Magister

The most active are the cardinals, the bishops, the theologians who want to innovate in Church doctrine and practice on marriage and homosexuality. But in the first round of elections for the next synod, the defenders of tradition are much more numerous

Putna Monastery

Olive Oil Vigil Lamp

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

One Tiny Temple

Something on friendship...

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

An "Interest" Choice of Academics

Classical Theism Workshop Call for Papers

Confirmed Participants in the 2015 Workshop Include:
Richard Cross (University of Notre Dame)
William Hasker (Huntington College)
Eleonore Stump (Saint Louis University)
Sandra Visser (Valparaiso University)
Thomas Joseph White, OP (Dominican House of Studies)
Linda Zagzebski (Oklahoma University)

I'd Like to See the File

What was the OD scuttlebutt regarding the archbishop before his assassination? "Archbishop Oscar Romero is going to be a deeply beloved saint"

Vocations Director for the Local Latin Diocese

An Explanation of One Part of Iconography

May the Partnership Be Fruitful!

OCA: St. Vladimir’s Seminary, St. Tikhon’s Monastery sign landmark publications agreement(via Byz TX)

Matthew Hazell on the Reform of the Roman Missal

NLM: A Tradition Both “Venerable” and “Defective”: More from Matthew Hazell on the Reform of the Missal by Gregory DiPippo

Robert Barron on Thomas Merton

The Hundredth Anniversary of Thomas Merton's Birth

No one is supporting his cause for canonization right?

Fr. Barron's apologetic:
They see this as an indication of a religious relativism or a vague syncretism. Nothing could be further from the truth. Merton was indeed fascinated by the Eastern religions and felt that Christians could benefit from a greater understanding of their theory and practice, but he never for a moment felt that all the religions were the same or that Christians should move to some space “beyond” Christianity.
How would Christians benefit? Eastern Christian monks certainly do not think there is anything to be gained from studying Buddhism and the like.

Art of Eternity, The Glory of Byzantium

Monday, February 02, 2015

Means or End? Again.

NLM: Is the Liturgy an End or a Means? Further Considerations by Peter Kwasniewski

In the book of Isaiah...

Robert Spaemann on Legalized Euthanasia

Death with Dignity: Questions, Concerns, Dangers

Sunday, February 01, 2015