Should converts have a place in the Church?

Recently in the Catholic media there have been a few opinions voiced regarding the place of converts in the church.

One article I recall, a non germane “expose” regarding Pope Francis and the reception of the pontiff by converts to the faith, speaks brazenly of an opinion that converts dare not hold. Of course, because it doesn’t fit the narrative.

It is disgusting that an author speaks ill of his fellow Catholics in such a way. Regardless if one is a convert, or like myself, a ‘cradle’ Catholic: we are one in faith, one in belief. There is no hierarchy of “catholicness.”

If you ‘google’ around and research the recent articles from the more progressive left, you’ll find a similar critique of orthodox Catholics and converts, again implying a separate level of belonging.

Question: who are some of the greatest of our saints? Were they not converts?

Remember: evil is benign at first.

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The Grace of Time

There is no tear, no scar nor wound, neither is there any embarrassment or humiliation that the balm of time cannot heal. For time itself is a form of grace: to persevere, to inspire hope for what has not yet come, and console us as we rest in the prison that we have built for ourselves. Because, in time, that prison dissolves and falls around us. Then we can walk freely and embrace the seconds of grace freely given to us. And when we understand that everyone we meet, brush arms with, or lock eyes with, has time to their own to fall and rise, and to wrong and resolve, then our understanding of humanity; the brokenness of our flesh and desire; becomes the light through the rubble of our choices as individuals. What time we give of ours so that it may become another’s, begs us to love our friends and neighbours because we share that same ache, that same inclination towards utter imperfection. That no man is greater than the next in the human condition, but with grace and time, we can become holy and grow our resolve to resist our desire towards self satisfaction. When we practise and grow in virtue, we know it is right to rather act in pursuit towards that which is authentic and true. With depth of understanding comes depth of love: and this is a divine love, because it comes from God alone who loves each one of us.

– from my exposition for the first day of University classes. Cameron dP O’M.

At Calvary…

It’s been a while since I’ve made a post. I am requesting that you pray for me, because I’m praying for you; offering sacrifice for you. If you have any specific requests, please offer them up and let me know. I’ll be happy to receive them. I’m on the path to a Masters in Divinity and the priesthood please God, and my life has been busy.

As it is, with the Blessed Mother and the saints we praise, let us further extol them all in this following song…

I’m only human, I’m just a man (or) woman
Help me believe in what I could be
And all that I am
Show me the stairway I have to climb
Lord for my sake, help me to take
One day at a time

One day at a time sweet Jesus
That’s all I’m askin’ of you
Just give me the strength
To do every day what I have to do
Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine
Lord, help me today, show me the way
One day at a time

Oh, Do you remember when you walked among men
Well Jesus you know
If you’re looking below, it’s worse now than then
Oh! there’s pushing and shoving  and crowding in my mind
So for my sake, teach me to take
One day at a time

One day at a time sweet Jesus
That’s all I’m askin’ of you
Just give me the strength
To do every day what I have to do
Yesterday’s gone sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine
Lord, help me today, show me the way
One day at a time

Here’s a link. It’s as good for us as anyone.

“I was received as an envoy of the Holy See with true respect and with cordiality”

If you have been following the traditional Catholic blogs and know anything of the SSPX, you’d know by now that there has been for the last year or two, beginning with Pope Benedict XVI, talks between the superior Bishop Fellay and various Cardinals and prelates. Today, over on Rorate Caeli, I read this heartwarming interview done by the blog’s Spanish correspondents:

Adelante la Fe: Your Excellence has recently visited the SSPX [seminaries] in the United States and France. We know it was a “discreet” meeting but, can you make an evaluation for us of what you saw and talked with them about? What expectations do you have of a coming reconciliation and which would be the main obstacle for it? Mons. Schneider: The Holy See asked me to visit the two [seminaries] of the SSPX in order to conduct a discussion on a specific theological topic with a group of theologians of the SSPX and with His Excellency Bishop Fellay. For me this fact shows that for the Holy See the SSSPX is not a negligible ecclesiastical reality and that it has to be taken seriously. I am keeping a good impression of my visits. I could observe a sound theological, spiritual and human reality in the two [seminaries]. The “sentire cum ecclesia” of the SSPX is shown by the fact that I was received as an envoy of the Holy See with true respect and with cordiality. Furthermore, I was glad to see in both places in the entrance area a photo of Pope Francis, the reigning Pontiff. In the sacristies there were plates with the name of Pope Francis and the local diocesan bishop. I was moved to assist the traditional chant for the Pope (“Oremus pro pontifice nostro Francisco…”) during the solemn exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
 
To my knowledge there are no weighty reasons in order to deny the clergy and faithful of the SSPX the official canonical recognition, meanwhile they should be accepted as they are. This was indeed Archbishop Lefebvre’s petition to the Holy See: “Accept us as we are”.
 
I think the issue of Vatican II should not be taken as the “conditio sine qua non”, since it was an assembly with primarily pastoral aims and characteristics. A part of the conciliar statements reflects only its time and possesses a temporary value, as disciplinary and pastoral documents do. When we look in a two millennia old perspective of the Church, we can state, that there is on both sides (Holy See and the SSPX) an over-evaluation and over-estimation of a pastoral reality in the Church, which is Vatican II.

It is well known that Msgr Schneider, who is the auxiliary Bishop of Astana in Kazakhstan, has always been firm in his orthodox practise of faith. In February, he took a moment to point out, define, and denounce what can be seen as a New Gnosticism. His Grace has had the opportunity to visit the French and American seminaries and was welcome with open arms and free from criticism, and I think that that is absolutely wonderful. While a few cracks would certainly have to be paved in the way of regularisation of the Society, I agree with Msgr Schneider that we ought to take them as is, “as what’s written on the tin” so to speak. Please remember to keep Msgr Schneider in your prayers, and the Society of St Pius X as well, in your prayers and offerings.

Bishop Schneider offering the Pontifical High Mass during the Latin Mass Society pilgrimage to West Grinstead

If you’re interested, take a minute to pop over here and read the article that attaches the photo above.

Vater Unser!

We don’t require a lot in life to be happy, that blessed minimalism that defines true felicity either situational or in the terms of a long, well lived life. We see this in the penitential lives of friars and brothers, sisters and nuns all over the world that have devoted themselves to monetary poverty and yet are so rich in faith that happiness exudes from their beings. I hear it in the music of Arvo Part, whose sacred minimalistic style has become popular in recent musical and liturgical history.

It only takes a drop of water to know the refreshment it gives and you only need a penny to understand the value of the pound or dollar. Of more value to us is kneeling down and receiving the precious Body of the Lord, and it only takes one communion to increase our piety and for God to work His grace that we can only receive through that sacrament alone. Ironic to that minimalism is that we should receive Communion regularly, and drink water regularly. Our graces will multiply and so will our health, bodily and spiritually.


I leave you now, with a great example of Mr Part’s work, the Vater Unser.

Your Reward Shall Be Great

Sometimes I find myself sulkily sitting in my chair, just wasting time thinking over nothing useful. Then a week ago as I continued the tradition, I had an idea to pick up the Bible and see what I’d flip open to. This is what I found:

But I say to you that hear: Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you. Bless them that curse you, and pray for them that calumniate you. And to him that striketh thee on the one cheek, offer also the other. And him that taketh away from thee thy cloak, forbid not to take thy coat also. Give to every one that asketh thee, and of him that taketh away thy goods, ask them not again. And as you would that men should do to you, do you also to them in like manner. And if you love them that love you, what thanks are to you? for sinners also love those that love them. And if you do good to them who do good to you, what thanks are to you? for sinners also do this. And if you lend to them of whom you hope to receive, what thanks are to you? for sinners also lend to sinners, for to receive as much. But love ye your enemies: do good, and lend, hoping for nothing thereby: and your reward shall be great, and you shall be the sons of the Highest; for he is kind to the unthankful, and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.

If you’re like me, you wouldn’t know what chapter and verse and book that was out of and it’s a good thing I looked because it came from the Gospel of St Luke 6:27-36, and the angels couldn’t have pointed me to a better passage at any better time than this. First a story.

Last night myself and two friends did a usual Saturday-night routine, go downtown for some chips and a diet beverage and then drive around to eat away the night. After we came out of the chip shop I noticed walking right alongside my car a young fellow with the same pattern jumper I had on and, curious as I am, I wanted to see the face of the one with such good taste. It was a guy that used to go to school with us, had since dropped out, moved out on his parents and got a flat and lived alone. He was completing his final year at the Sally Ann school and in order to get by was selling spliff and working at a pizza restaurant.

It was three thousand below zero so he asked could he hop in with us and I told him to go for it. Friend 1 wasn’t impressed due to an apparent “troubled history” with the chap and I can understand that. Friend 2 got a kick out of it and didn’t shut up the moment he got in the back seat, which I enjoyed. We drove him where he needed to be and he was grateful to us all, au revoir. I felt terribly bad for him, considering his circumstances and the unreasonable faction of his family that can’t find it in their heart to give a damn about rehabilitating the child – but something Friend 1 said to me I couldn’t get out of my mind. It was in regard to the worth of this former classmate, where he was going in life, how was apparently useless and that Friend 1 was going to “stick to his engineering degree so as to not end up like that.” Friend 1 is usually a gentle, caring person and is easy to point out my flaws – but I was stuck for words when he said that. I literally had to haul the car over and stop for a minute, my heart skipped a beat (the song on the radio was of the same title by the xx). It bothered me greatly how someone could apparently look down on someone who through no fault of their own finds themselves at the bottom of the scale. That’s my job. I’m the one quick to judge, not him, not until now.

The ugliness in my own heart was exposed to me in the form I least expected it. That was my small conversion last night, which leads me to how important that “classic” verse from the scriptures is.

For whatever reason, known only to Him, God had to show me my error in someone else, a mirror of our imperfection. He has done this countless times to countless saints, and in His infinite mercy – the sins of our youth will be washed away as if they never were there. Continuing on with the theme of reflection, the passage demands that we be mirrors of God’s mercy – our Blessed Lord Jesus is our loving King. He has asked us to make the sacrifice of our own pride, tear out our own ego. “He that takes from you your cloak, forbid him not also to take your shirt.” “If a man should strike you on one cheek, turn the other and let him strike it.” These are just paraphrases, but is it so hard to heed these simple motto’s?

But love ye your enemies: do good, and lend, hoping for nothing thereby: and your reward shall be great, and you shall be the sons of the Highest; for he is kind to the unthankful, and to the evil. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.”

This is SO very important during Lent. God has given us everything as a means to His grace – the Blessed Mother, Our Lady, the image of perfection after whom we must strive to conform our hearts. The saints, the intercessors before Him and our guides in life; our angels each and everyone of us our own – to keep us through the day and night, guard us and watch over us, and furthermore His own Vicar the Holy Father, the Pope. This is the Church: the mystical body. We have a duty – the Church tells us this – to love our neighbour as ourselves, for the strong to protect the weak, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and so on in act of charity. I hope that I will remember this lesson far past and after Easter!