St. Bridget: Popes and Priestly Marriage

St. Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373) was a medieval mystic and founder of the Bridgettines. Besides being the most celebrated Swedish saint, St. Bridget's writings had a profound effect on late medieval piety, so much so that she is considered one of the patron saints of Europe. St. Bridget's most famous work is her Revelations, a series of visions of Christ, Mary and the angels received by St. Bridget and transcribed into Latin by one Mathias, canon of Linköping, and her confessor, Peter Olafsson. In this article, we provide the entirety of Chapters 10 of Book VII, in which the Blessed Virgin Mary narrates to St. Bridget God's opinion of a married, sexually active priesthood. Mary's words are especially poignant in light of current discussions about admitting married men to priesthood. The Virgin Mary specifically tells her that any pope who tried to reform the discipline to admit married, sexually active men would be subject to a most severe curse.

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St. Bridget: The Punishment of Lustful, Immoral Priests

St. Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373) was a medieval mystic and founder of the Bridgettines. Besides being the most celebrated saint to come out of Sweden, St. Bridget's writings had a profound effect on late medieval piety, so much so that she is considered one of the patron saints of Europe. St. Bridget's most famous work is her Celestial Revelations, a series of visions of Christ, Mary and the angels received by St. Bridget and transcribed into Latin by one Mathias, canon of Linköping, and her confessor, Peter Olafsson. In this article, we provide the entirety of Chapters 47-49 of Book I, in which Christ narrates to St. Bridget the offense caused by lustful, prideful priests and details their punishments. Christ's words are especially poignant in light of the current wave of scandals unfolding in the American hierarchy.

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Problems with the Bayside Apparitions

What you are about to read represents probably the biggest waste of time in my life, though that does not mean it will be a waste for time for you. This is my magnum opus against the false and stupid Bayside apparitions. For the past three years I have spent my spare time reading through every single message of Bayside, going all the way back to the late 1960s. Thousands of them. The monotony. The stupidity. The banality. It was horrendous, mind-numbing work, and many times friends of mine urged me to just drop it and move on to something more rewarding. It is waste for two reasons - one, just wasting my years reading all these banal, stupid messages; and two, the fact that, for those caught up in Bayside, nothing will convince them otherwise.  So yes, I fear this effort was a waste. But, who knows. God may bring something fruitful from it.

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The Experience of Prophetic Revelation

Saints are humble people. They know that whatever gifts and graces they have come by the goodness of God, not by any merit of their own. They are extraordinarily fearful of their own pride, and consequently do not like to talk about their own mystical or miraculous experiences. Those who do - like St. Therese of Lisieux - often do so only under obedience. It is thus very mysterious, from a layman's perspective, what it is really like experientially to receive these special charisms from God - what it is like "behind the veil" for those who truly receive prophetic revelations and visions. In this article, we examine two saints - Columba of Iona (d. 597) and Hildegard of Bingen (d. 1179) who, in confidence to their friends, explained in luminous detail what it is like receiving prophetic messages from God.

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Christian Contemplation vs. Pagan Meditation

We live in a world which increasingly rejects Catholic tradition while simultaneously professing great interest in spiritualities influenced by the New Age. Christians have been traditionally reluctant to embrace such practices, as they contain elements that are fundamentally opposed to the most basic tenets of Christianity. Some, however, have merged various elements of eastern mysticism and New Age neo-paganism with traditional Catholic spirituality, thrown in some Christian vocabulary and are now peddling these practices as compatible with Catholicism. The method of "Centering Prayer" promoted by the late Cistercian monk Basil Pennington is the most famous example, but there are others. These practices are promoted as Christian forms of "contemplation", and Catholics are encouraged to participate. In this article we will look at how to discern whether a spiritual practice is authentically Catholic or just New Age esoteric mysticism in a Christian veneer.

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Sacred Heart: No Baroque Sentimentality

In the distressed years surrounding the Second Vatican Council, a great debate raged among the theologians of the day on how a Conciliar vision of Catholic spirituality ought to look. We are familiar with the debates over Marian devotion between the so-called "Minimalists" and "Maximalists", the former who effectively sought to suppress Marian piety as hyper-sentimentalism and dangerous to ecumenical progress. A similar though less intense dispute arose over the propriety of the Sacred Heart devotions. The progressives essentially argued that this devotion was too bound up with Baroque era piety, meaning it suffered from a kind of sappy sentimentalism that was not fitting for the modern Church. Furthermore, it was argued that it was not fitting for such a devotion to have such a central place in the Church's life, since it sprung from a mere private revelation and was not integral to the Gospel message. In this article, we will endeavor to show that the Sacred Heart devotion is no mere Baroque sentimentalism, and that far from originating in some private revelation, it is a devotion whose origins are found in the deepest Traditions of the Faith.

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Revisiting the Cloud of Unknowing

 This week I have been revisiting a classic work of Catholic spirituality, the Cloud of Unknowing, written in the early 14th century by an anonymous English monk. The work was unknown for many years and is not even mentioned in the 1917 "Catholic Encyclopedia", the first modern translation of it in English having only appeared in 1912. It was scorned for the first half of the 20th century as a piece of foolish medieval enthusiasm and only became an object of intense scholarly study in the late 1970's. Nevertheless, in its time it inspired St. John of the Cross and many of its ideas are found in Thomas a' Kempis, though it is uncertain whether the Imitation predated the Cloud, or vice versa.

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Seven Reasons Why the Charismatic Renewal Does Not Foster Deep Spirituality

There have been many responses to the modern crisis of faith in the Catholic Church. While Traditionalist Catholics have typically sought refuge in the traditional doctrines and liturgical practices of the Church's pre-Vatican II history, other Catholics have looked to the Charismatic Renewal as a means of restoring devotion, prayer and enthusiasm to parishes. Many bishops in particular, wary of the traditionalist movement, have adopted the Charismatic Renewal (CR) in their dioceses. I once had a chat with the former Director of Seminarians for my diocese. He told me that our bishop had a "strategy" of geographically spreading priests formed in the CR all around the diocese so that as much of the flock as possible would be exposed to charismatic Catholicism. The Director of Seminarians lauded this decision as a means to promoting genuine Catholic spirituality in the diocese...


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