Friday, February 28, 2014

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Teaching Your Kids the Language of the Church

Cupisne Romanorum sermonem radicitus, ut ita dicam, discere? Nonne tibi admodum placebit si latine cum aliis loqui potueris? Numquid vitam reapse beatam - absque linguae Quiritum ope - satis describere queas? Quidni Augustini Confessiones nobiscum adeas quo duce et copiam verborum in sucum et sanguinem convertas atque prospectum "aeternum" obtineas!

Do you want to learn to speak, write, read, and understand Latin better? How about taking St. Augustine as your guide! We'll use his Confessions to acquire a greater proficiency in the language and learn to meditate on the truly important things in life. Tolle et lege (pick it up and read!)

Thanks, Jonathan!

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Quinque Viæ: How to Argue the Existence of God

Summa Theologia 
By St. Thomas Aquinas  (1225 – 1274)

Article II. Whether the existence of God is demonstrable:

Let us proceed to the second point. It is objected (1) that the existence of God is not demonstratable: that God's existence is an article of faith, and that articles of faith are not demonstratable, because the office of demonstration is to prove, but faith pertains (only) to things that are not to be proven, as is evident from the Epistle to the Hebrews, 11. Hence that God's existence is not demonstratable. Again, (2) that the subject matter of demonstration is that something exists, but in the case of God we cannot know what exists, but only what does not, as Damascenus says (Of the Orthodox Faith, I., 4.) Hence that we cannot demonstrate God's existence. Again, (3) that if God's existence is to be proved it must be from what He causes, and that what He effects is not sufficient for His supposed nature, since He is infinite, but the effects finite, and the finite is not proportional to the infinite. Since, therefore, a cause cannot be proved through an effect not proportional to itself, it is said that God's exisence cannot be proved.

But against this argument the apostle says (Rom. I., 20), "The unseen things of God are visible through His manifest works." But this would not be so unless it were possible to demonstrate God's existence through His works. What ought to be understood concerning anything, is first of all, whether it exists. Conclusion. It is possible to demonstrate God's existence, atthough not a priori (by pure reason), yet a posteriori from some work of His more surely known to us.

In answer I must say that the proof is double. One is through the nature of a cause and is called propter quid: this is through the nature of preceding events sirnply. The other is through the nature of the effect, and is called quia, and is through the nature of preceding things as respects us. Since the effect is better known to us than the cause, we proceed from the effect to the knowledge of the cause. From any effect whatsoever it can be proved that a corresponding cause exists, if only the effects of it are sufficiently known to us, for since effects depend on causes, the effect being given, it is necessary that a preceding cause exists. Whence, that God exists, although this is not itself known to us, is provable through effects that are known to us.

To the first objection above, I reply, therefore, that God's existence, and those other things of this nature that can be known through natural reason concerning God, as is said in Rom. I., are not articles of faith, but preambles to these articles. So faith presupposes natural knowledge, so grace nature, and perfection a perfectible thing. Nothing prevents a thing that is in itself demonstratable and knowable, from being accepted as an article of faith by someone that does not accept the proof of it.

To the second objection, I reply that, since the cause is proven from the effect, one must use the effect in the place of a definition of the cause in demonstrating that the cause exists; and that this applies especially in the case of God, because for proving that anything exists, it is necessary to accept in this method what the name signifies, not however that anything exists, because the question what it is is secondary to the question whether it exists at all. The characteristics of God are drawn from His works as shall be shown hereafter, (Question XIII). Whence by proving that God exists through His works as shall be shown hereafter, (Question XIII). Whence by proving that God exists through His works, we are able by this very method to see what the name God signifies.

To the third objection, I reply that, although a perfect knowledge of the cause cannot be had from inadequate effects, yet that from any effect manifest to us it can be shown that a cause does exist, as has been said. And thus from the works of God His existence can be proved, although we cannot in this way know Him perfectly in accordance with His own essence.

Article III. Whether God exists.

Let us proceed to the third article. It is objected (1) that God does not exist, because if one of two contradictory things is infinite, the other will be totally destroyed; that it is implied in the name God that there is a certain infinite goodness: if then God existed, no evil would be found. But evil is found in the world; therefore it is objected that God does not exist. Again, that what can be accomplished through a less number of principles will not be accomplished through more. It is objected that all things that appear on the earth can be accounted for through other principles, without supposing that God exists, since what is natural can be traced to a natural principle, and what proceeds from a proposition can be traced to the human reason or will. Therefore that there is no necessity to suppose that God exists. But as against this note what is said of the person of God (Exod. III., 14) I am that I am. Conclusion. There must be found in the nature of things one first immovable Being, a primary cause, necessarily existing, not created; existing the most widely, good, even the best possible; the first ruler through the intellect, and the ultimate end of all things, which is God.

I answer that it can be proved in five ways that God exists.
The first and plainest is the method that proceeds from the point of view of motion. It is certain and in accord with experience, that things on earth undergo change. Now, everything that is moved is moved by something; nothing, indeed, is changed, except it is changed to something which it is in potentiality. Moreover, anything moves in accordance with something actually existing; change itself, is nothing else than to bring forth something from potentiality into actuality. Now, nothing can be brought from potentiality to actual existence except through something actually existing: thus heat in action, as fire, makes fire-wood, which is hot in potentiality, to be hot actually, and through this process, changes itself. The same thing cannot at the same time be actually and potentially the same thing, but only in regard to different things. What is actually hot cannot be at the same time potentially hot, but it is possible for it at the same time to be potentially cold. It is impossible, then, that anything should be both mover and the thing moved, in regard to the same thing and in the same way, or that it should move itself. Everything, therefore, is moved by something else. If, then, that by which it is moved, is also moved, this must be moved by something still different, and this, again, by something else. But this process cannot go on to infinity because there would not be any first mover, nor, because of this fact, anything else in motion, as the succeeding things would not move except because of what is moved by the first mover, just as a stick is not moved except through what is moved from the hand. Therefore it is necessary to go back to some first mover, which is itself moved by nothing---and this all men know as God.

The second proof is from the nature of the efficient cause. We find in our experience that there is a chain of causes: nor is it found possible for anything to be the efficient cause of itself, since it would have to exist before itself, which is impossible. Nor in the case of efficient causes can the chain go back indefinitely, because in all chains of efficient causes, the first is the cause of the middle, and these of the last, whether they be one or many. If the cause is removed, the effect is removed. Hence if there is not a first cause, there will not be a last, nor a middle. But if the chain were to go back infinitely, there would be no first cause, and thus no ultimate effect, nor middle causes, which is admittedly false. Hence we must presuppose some first efficient cause---which all call God.

The third proof is taken from the natures of the merely possible and necessary. We find that certain things either may or may not exist, since they are found to come into being and be destroyed, and in consequence potentially, either existent or non-existent. But it is impossible for all things that are of this character to exist eternally, because what may not exist, at length will not. If, then, all things were merely possible (mere accidents), eventually nothing among things would exist. If this is true, even now there would be nothing, because what does not exist, does not take its beginning except through something that does exist. If then nothing existed, it would be impossible for anything to begin, and there would now be nothing existing, which is admittedly false. Hence not all things are mere accidents, but there must be one necessarily existing being. Now every necessary thing either has a cause of its necessary existence, or has not. In the case of necessary things that have a cause for their necessary existence, the chain of causes cannot go back infinitely, just as not in the case of efficient causes, as proved. Hence there must be presupposed something necessarily existing through its own nature, not having a cause elsewhere but being itself the cause of the necessary existence of other things---which all call God.

The fourth proof arises from the degrees that are found in things. For there is found a greater and a less degree of goodness, truth, nobility, and the like. But more or less are terms spoken of various things as they approach in diverse ways toward something that is the greatest, just as in the case of hotter (more hot) which approaches nearer the greatest heat. There exists therefore something that is the truest, and best, and most noble, and in consequence, the greatest being. For what are the greatest truths are the greatest beings, as is said in the Metaphysics Bk. II. 2. What moreover is the greatest in its way, in another way is the cause of all things of its own kind (or genus); thus fire, which is the greatest heat, is the cause of all heat, as is said in the same book (cf. Plato and Aristotle). Therefore there exists something that is the cause of the existence of all things and of the goodness and of every perfection whatsoever---and this we call God.

The fifth proof arises from the ordering of things for we see that some things which lack reason, such as natural bodies, are operated in accordance with a plan. It appears from this that they are operated always or the more frequently in this same way the closer they follow what is the Highest; whence it is clear that they do not arrive at the result by chance but because of a purpose. The things, moreover, that do not have intelligence do not tend toward a result unless directed by some one knowing and intelligent; just as an arrow is sent by an archer. Therefore there is something intelligent by which all natural things are arranged in accordance with a plan---and this we call God.
In response to the first objection, then, I reply what Augustine says; that since God is entirely good, He would permit evil to exist in His works only if He were so good and omnipotent that He might bring forth good even from the evil. It therefore pertains to the infinite goodness of God that he permits evil to exist and from this brings forth good.
My reply to the second objection is that since nature is ordered in accordance with some defined purpose by the direction of some superior agent, those things that spring from nature must be dependent upon God, just as upon a first cause. Likewise, what springs from a proposition must be traceable to some higher cause which is not the human reason or will, because this is changeable and defective and everything changeable and liable to non-existence is dependent upon some unchangeable first principle that is necessarily self-existent as has been shown.

From: Oliver J. Thatcher, ed., The Library of Original Sources (Milwaukee: University Research Extension Co., 1907), Vol. V: The Early Medieval World, pp. 359-363.

Official Portrait of Pope Francis

It's not a very regal pic.

Perhaps he might allow me five minutes to photograph him in private audience?

Prayers for the Roman Pontiffs


Seal of the Archiepiscopus Eleemosynarius Summi Pontificis

Once, while in the Vatican at the office of the Almoner (the Archbishop who signs the papal blessings and who distributes the fees to the deserving poor), I got to visit the room where a guy, a layman, stamps these papal blessings.  The signature is just a stamp.  The actual embossed seal is still done with the very large, old-fashioned seal machine, with each document having to be placed individually under the seal.  Many hundreds are done each day while the fee for each, goes to charity. 

The Seven Big Myths about Marriage - Book Trailer

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Papal Heraldry

Images from Vesti Papali FB. 

Pope Francis' Message For Christian Unity At KCM

Virtual Tour of the Glorious Lateran

To All Who Are Sick

Image from the Internet. 

Be a Nun in the USA

Splendid to see this initiative. 

See here and support these fine daughters of the Church...

International Pilgrimage "Populus Summorum Pontificum"

For Catholic Heraldic Presentation Renderings

Done by a fine artist, I first met in Rome.

Finest old-school quality.  

See here:

Support American Nuns in Russia

I have met these nuns and they are amazing.

The last time I saw them was in Cologne, Germany.

God bless their efforts in the vast Russian Far East.

See here and donate:

The Way of Humility

Pope Francis: Our Brother, Our Friend - Book Trailer

I Am a Ukrainian

Catholic Warrior: Murph the Protector


Introit for Septuagesima Sunday (purple) Psalm 17:

"The groans of death surrounded me, the sorrows of hell encompassed me: and in my affliction I called upon the Lord, and He heard my voice from His holy temple.  Ps. I will love Thee, O Lord, my strength: the Lord is my firmament, my refuge, and my deliverer.  Glory, etc." 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Orbis Catholicus Travel

It is here.

See our new site:

The official launch date is set for March 3 at the Vancouver Art Gallery. 

Spread the word.  Yesterday we lit the match and the site went up. 

Deo gratias et Sancto Valentino.

As many of you know, for some years I have been involved in the tourist industry.  

For years people have been asking for more.  This is our response.   

We are specialists in organizing pilgrimages to Italy and other destinations of religious and biblical interest.

Our expertise is in putting together group tours and pilgrimages for churches and other organisations.

This is something we have been doing for years. Now it is raised to a new level.

Whether you are planning to take a small or large group, we wish to hear from you. 

Individuals are most welcome on any of the pilgrimages listed.  If you cannot find the destination or departure date that suits you, then just wait or contact us. 

To be notified when new groups are added, please sign up for our e-news UPDATES which will include travel tips, travel advice, travel incentives, a book club, and much more.

Christians from the Orient

An inspiration. 

Pray for a Revival in Education

I have always promoted homeschooling.

So many luminaries had their schooling at home - even Shirley Temple, who just passed away.  

Although likely not for every kid, works great for many.

Some time ago I began calling homeschooling "long distance learning."  

As the culture slips deeper in the direction of barbarism, kids educated at home seem to be thriving.   

Special Air Mail Delivery: When New Vestments Arrive from Rome

From the Fratelli Gammarelli Successori in Rome.

Superb quality.  Their signature set. 

This is what they look like new.

Only about 500 dollars.  Worth every penny.

Omnis honor et gloria.  

Catholic Culture: Byzantine Antimension

Gorgeous starched linen.

A blessed object.

Printed you see a hallowed liturgical tongue, Slavonic.

The actual relic is sewn in behind the center cross.

The glorious cross of Christ.  

"It is not so much that His birth cast a shadow on His life, and led to His death," wrote Bishop Sheen.  "It was rather that the Cross was there from the beginning, and it cast its shadow backward to his birth."

Quality of Antique Vestments

Gift Ideas for Priests

Order here from the USA.

The perfect gift for any occasion.

Gorgeous Irish Vestments

Somebody in Ireland, please begin to make these again. 

A great cottage industry. 

Home-based rather than factory-based is always the way to go with treasures such as this. 

Words of Prophecy?

"I think most of the problems plaguing the Church - liturgical, ecumenical, social, governmental, etc. - could be solved or at least greatly improved if Patriarch Shevchuk were elected at the next conclave."

-N. Trandem

Best Book on Liturgy by a Catholic Philosopher

Buy it.

Understand it.

Revel in it.  

Von Hildebrand, a convert to Catholicism, wrote it in just twenty-three days.

As he put it in his Memoirs, "The fruit was ripe; all I needed to do was to pluck it from the tree."  

He touches on all that is so relevant today:

The organic element in the Liturgy, continuity in the Liturgy, the classical spirit in the Liturgy, Reverence in Liturgy, Discretio in Liturgy, etc. 

Thank God for (authentic) Catholic intellectuals.  Lord, grant us more. 

Sophia Institute Press:

"Nothing Short of a Miracle" from Sophia Institute Press

Rome Quotes

"He who penetrates the sacred Liturgy with open eyes and heart would like to exclaim, 'O Truth, Truth, Truth!'  Everything is pervaded here with the breath of the Holy Spirit; everything is irradiated with the lumen Christi; everything testifies to the eternal Logos.  All semblance, wavering, and illusion and all that is false, extravagant, or cramped is dispelled.  The Liturgy is the primal image of all that is classical, in the highest sense of the word."

-Dietrich von Hildebrand

John Williams: "Olympic Fanfare and Theme"

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Shirley Temple: RIP (1928 - 2014)

Syrian Christian's Deadly Battle With Islamist Persecution

"Benedictus Qui Venit in Nomine Domini!"

Image from the Internet.

  Of the acclamation from Isaiah 6:3; and the Benedictus, a christological acclamation taken from Matthew 21:9.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Byzantine Rite Episcopal Throne

Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in New Westminster, Canada. 

Catholic Culture: Panakhyda (панихида)

A beautiful solemn liturgical service for the repose of the departed.

A rich and invaluable part of the Church's liturgical worship.

If you have never attended a panikhída, then attend one at your nearest Eastern Rite Catholic parish.  Ukrainian Catholics always do a fine job.   

Catholic Culture: Portrait of the Reigning Pontiff

Displayed in a prominent place.  In a nice frame. 

Your home, vestibule of church, your sacristy, foyer of your Catholic school.  On your desk. 

Pray for the popes.  If you are not doing this, you are not doing enough.  And stop complaining. 

From the Swiss Guard Barracks: St. Bernardus

What the Swiss guardsman drink: St. Bernardus.

Water, barley, malt, sugar, hops, yeast.  From Belgium. 

Well spoken words, "Questa birra nobile ha subito meritato un posto d'onore tra le birre artigianale di grande tradizione!"

Freedom for Ukraine

Let freedom ring. 

Prayers and solidarity with the bread basket of Europe.

A Room With a View in Rome

Circus Neronis in Vaticano no more. 

Now august temple of the Vatican Basilica. 

Saint Peter, pray for us!

Danke Vossi for the pic!


Great God, O God of our Fathers! Grant to our nation many good and holy Christian families. Give us fathers who will loudly and openly confess your holy Gospel and be in Your service. Give us fathers who will be a good example of Christian life for their children, true protectors and good leaders in life. Grant us mothers who will be capable of bringing up their children in a Christian way, and a help and joy as well as good advisors for their husbands. Grant us children who will be the pride and joy of their parents and the splendour of their nation. Almighty God, bless us. Grant us the grace to faithfully serve You and one day to be granted the eternal reward in heaven. For You are a good and loving God, and we give glory to You, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and forever and ever.


With Ecclesiastical Approval.

Happy Winter to Everybody

Prayers and good tidings. 

Post Scriptum
Mea maxime interest quid reantur amici necessariique mei hoc de articulo:
Interdum haesitat - non autem haeret - animus num recta via procedamus.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


The new site is ready.

We launch soon.

Get ready.  

Rome Quotes

"Try to exclude the possibility of suffering and you find that you have excluded life itself." 

 - C.S. Lewis

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Supreme and Universal Pastor

Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Candlemas Day) in the Vatican Basilica

The procession in St. Peter's Basilica today is one of the most picturesque features of the Western Liturgy as celebrated in the Basilica. 

The canons process around the inside nave after they have the blessing of the candles. 

A symbolic presentation of the truth proclaimed in the Canticle of Simeon when he proclaimed that Christ is the, "Light for the revelation of the Gentiles." 

The anthems sung during this procession, Eastern in origin, express the joy and gladness of this happy festival as well as the honor and praise we give to our blessed Lady and her Divine Son by its devout observance.

For meditation, read the Canticle of  Simeon (Luke 2:29-32): Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine! 

The Music Produced by Catholic Culture

Rome Quotes

"The heart is but a small vessel; and yet dragons and lions are there, and there likewise are poisonous creatures and all the treasures of wickedness; rough, uneven paths are there, and gaping chasms. There also is God, there are the angels, there life and the Kingdom, there light and the apostles, the heavenly cities and the treasures of grace: all things are there."

-St. Macarius the Great (d. 392), Homily 43:7