A corporal work of mercy.

A corporal work of mercy.
Click on photo for this corporal work of mercy!

Thursday 31 December 2015

Edward Beck, C.P.; also known as Father CNN, gets all the pretty girls

It's time for this priest of Jesus Christ to grow up. Amazing how his hair and teeth match so well.

What did today's Liturgy of the Hours - Office of Readings and Morning Prayer, say about the Jews?

How interesting that today's Liturgy of the Hours (new rite for this so-called "radical catholic reactionary) says much about the Jews in complete contradiction to the recent non-magisterial issuance from the Holy See.

Shall we have a look?

First, the Responsory from the Office of Readings, or Matins; it followed the Second Reading of a homily by St. Leo the Great:

Responsorium Eph 2, 13-14. 17. Vos, qui aliquándo erátis longe, facti estis prope in sánguine Christi.* Ipse enim est pax nostra, qui fecit útraque unum.. Et véniens evangelizávit pacem vobis, qui longe fuístis, et pacem iis qui prope.* Ipse enim.Responsory      
You who used to be far away have been brought near by the death of Christ, for he himself is the peace between us; he has made Jews and Gentiles into one people.Christ came and preached the Good News of peace to all – to you Gentiles, who were far away from God, and to the Jews, who were near to him, for he himself is the peace between us; he has made Jews and Gentiles into one people.

Then, in Morning Prayer, or Lauds, we have this intercessory prayer:

Christe, Deus et homo, qui Dóminus es David et fílius eius, prophetías adímplens,— te rogámus, ut Israel te Messíam agnóscat.Christ, Son of David, fulfilment of the prophecies,  may the Jewish people accept you as their awaited Deliverer.– Lord, have mercy on us.

Will these heresiarchs who state that Jews have no need of Christ to be saved, twist the liturgy to suit their lies?

Dave Armstrong proves himself in response on FB - Vox is a "radical catholic reactionary"

Image result for dave armstrong catholicDave Armstrong has responded on Facebook to my post about his name-calling of Catholics. He could have left the comment in the box here. He did not. This is typical of his attacks on Catholics. He complains I did not link to him. That is because, I won't put a penny in his pocket on Patheos. Even his Facebook links directly to Patheos. It's all about money with these guys and the more the likes of Shea, and now Armstrong, can keep you going back, the more funds flow into their pockets. 

No sooner did I challenge him for the name-calling of Catholics he does it again.

Sorry Dave, you have proved exactly what you are and it is time you were called out. This has been coming for a while. Too bad you can't take it. Your minions like Ross and others are welcome to come here and tell me where I am wrong about what you spew against your fellow-Catholics.

You say that Father John Hardon, "loved your work?" Well, if he were alive today, I doubt very much he would "love" your name-calling and online abuse of your fellow Catholics. It is time you stopped riding on his words that nobody can verify how they came about. You shame his memory.

It is time that you were held accountable, publicly.

The name-calling of Catholics who hold fast to the truth and tradition is appalling. It is satanic. It is typical of these people who think the church only began at Vatican II. Armstrong puts himself forward as an apologist. Instead, he issues screeds at his fellow Catholics that is not going to go unchecked here. He has attacked me personally in the past and I have generally ignored his pretentious writing, but the latest bile on pathetic.com is enough. His slanderous name-calling must be called out. Odd how he denies he does it anymore and then proceeds to call me a "radical catholic reactionary" whatever that might be.

Show some courage and comment here Dave. As for my "bombastic" comments, they are reserved for those who undermine the faith, not the simple "Novus Ordo Catholic" which you will never find on this blog. You are quite petulant and puerile to say the least and I know of one person who has suffered from your writing by following your pathetic example.

Ask yourself if your name-calling is something that is from the Holy Spirit?

Shame on you.


Below follows his response, the italicised show my original remarks.

Nota Bene: every click you give Armstrong, Shea and others on pathetic.com puts money in their pockets. If you go to his blog, it links directly to pathetic.com as does his FB, It is a racket, don't feed them.

Reply to Latest Attacks from a Radical Catholic Reactionary
This guy refused to link to my piece that sent him into the stratosphere (heaven forbid someone actually read my side of this nonsense), so I won't name him or give a link to his post (from 12-30-15), either. But I will respond (in brackets) to some of the sillier stuff.
"There is an American self-appointed lay "apologist" now writing beyond his own blog, at Patheos. His name is Dave Armstrong. It seems Patheos picks up all of these sorts." ["self-appointed" huh? This is one of the favorite lines of "usual suspect" slanderers. Let's see, for starters, I have twenty officially published books with six different publishers, including most of the largest Catholic ones (including four bestsellers in the field). My first book has a Foreword by Servant of God, Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ, who was Blessed Mother Teresa's catechist and a close adviser to Blessed Pope Paul VI. My second book has a Foreword by Dr. Scott Hahn. I've been endorsed by virtually all of the leading apologists, have been interviewed on Catholic radio over 20 times, including twice on "Catholic Answers Live". I have Imprimaturs, including from my own bishop, a column every other week for "The Michigan Catholic," worked for The Coming Home Network for three years, but I am merely self-appointed and not even entitled to use the title "apologist" to describe myself. What the heck am I, then? I've made my living by writing apologetics these past 14 years. Oh, I forgot: I'm just one "of these sorts." That's what I'll put on my tax form, for occupation]
[Note: this guy favorably cites Fr. Hardon in articles dated 9-20-14, 1-17-14 (in the title), 1-4-13, Fr. Hardon loved my work and called it "very Catholic." I studied with him for many months in 1990-1992. He received me into the Church and baptized my first two sons]
"His [sic] claims to be an "apologist," yet he takes relish in bashing other Catholics."
[I am an apologist; see the above. I take no relish in critiquing Catholics who have gone astray. I criticize the ones who want to bash the pope almost daily, and the Novus Ordo Mass, and Catholics who prefer it, who are slanderously characterized as modernists and neo-Catholics.]
"He can go on about how he has no "objection" to the traditional Mass," [yes I can, since I have attended a traditional Latin Mass since 1991, attended the Tridentine Mass at midnight on Christmas (obviously because I hate it so much) and was in favor of widespread access to it 16 years before Pope Benedict XVI decreed it. I've also written many articles favoring liturgical positions taken by mainstream traditionalists: one of whom -- a person with a major traditionalist website: Unam Sanctam Catholicam -- I invited to my house a few weeks ago to give a talk on the TLM. This guy prominently links to that website on his own sidebar. Sounds very hostile, doesn't it?]
"He is typical of this neo-catholicism that is as destructive to the faith as modernism and the heresies that stem from it." [that's me! Worse than a modernist. All my readers know that: how much I love theological liberalism, folks like Hans Kung, and heresies like Jehovah's Witnesses, that I was refuting over thirty years ago before I was even a Catholic.]
"He is pathetic dot coms latest poster-boy for neo-catholicism. Mad-trads. Trads behaving badly. Rad Trads." [as is well-known, I stopped using the term, "radtrad" a couple of years ago, because it was falsely being perceived as implicating mainstream traditionalists (which it never did). I even went to the trouble of changing the language in dozens of old papers and in a few of my books, which required revisions. I make a stark contrast between mainstream, legitimate traditionalists (with whom I usually agree), and radical Catholic reactionaries, which is what this guy clearly is. But one would never know that about me, reading his babbling ravings.]
"His bombastic, arrogant, uncharitable attacks on Catholics has gone on for years . . ."
[Right; in great contrast, of course, to the measured, charitable, nuanced, soft-spoken, humble, unassuming pontifications of folks like him . . . ]

May the Lord bless his two new priests of the Syro-Malabar Rite in India!

Wednesday 30 December 2015

Dave Armstrong, - stop your hypocritical name-calling! Your lack of charity has exposed you!

There is an American self-appointed lay "apologist" now writing beyond his own blog, at Patheos. His name is Dave Armstrong. It seems Patheos picks up all of these sorts. I will not link to him or give him a hit. I will not direct you to his page, lest it feed the beast. If you wish to find him, you will have no trouble. 

His claims to be an "apologist," yet he takes relish in bashing other Catholics. He can go on about how he has no "objection" to the traditional Mass, but what he objects to, as do many others, is the faith that goes along with it. He is typical of this neo-catholicism that is as destructive to the faith as modernism and the heresies that stem from it. For these people such as Armstrong, it goes far beyond the Mass. How generous it is of Armstrong to let me and others worship according to our fathers. How kind of this hypocritical neo-cath and his ilk to show such tolerance.
Dave Armstrong

Mr. Armstrong has gone on a Shea induced rage of name-calling of Catholics who hold fast to the tradition of the Church. He is pathetic dot coms latest poster-boy for neo-catholicism. Mad-trads. Trads behaving badly. Rad Trads. 


I was one of Mr. Armstrong's targets under Vox and my own name on Facebook and on his blog until I demanded he remove his slanderous attacks on me from his blog whose posts display a pseudo-intellectualism. His bombastic, arrogant, uncharitable attacks on Catholics has gone on for years along with one of his promoters who uses the moniker, "Minion."

Armstrong has proved himself to be a hypocrite with his latest screed and name-calling rant. 

He needs to be called out for his hypocrisy and his lack of charity.

Jorge Bergoglio "presumes" Jesus had to "beg forgiveness." Was the Holy Family "irregular" too?

The Feast of the Holy Family was long celebrated in the Coptic Church. Egypt, of course, was a Christian country from apostolic times long before it was overrun by the Mohammedans and tragically arabised, something that happened to my own ancestral land of Lebanon. Some day, the Lord and Our Lady and St. Joseph will free this suffering people in gratitude for the refuge they gave the Holy Family. 

A cult had been established in Quebec and a Confraternity established by Saint François de Laval, One could say that this feast is a contribution of Quebec and Canada to the universal calendar. In the Roman Church, it is a relatively new Feast from the 1920's and was appointed to the First Sunday after Epiphany whose Mass already contained the Gospel of the Child Jesus in the Temple and the beautiful communion antiphon. The remaining Proper was changed and the historical Mass of the First Sunday after Epiphany is now celebrated on the next ferial day. 
The liturgical wreckers of the Novus Ordo changed the date to the Sunday within the Octave, thus we have Jesus as 12 before he is circumcised and named on the 8th day. Whatever! The liturgy is not intended to always be chronological, except; it is an "Octave" when liturgical time stops and a Feast is prolonged, but what did the liturgical wreckers care about these liturgical nuances. By the way, the feast of Mary, the Mother of God was/is celebrated in the traditional calendar but in September and is a commemoration of the declaration of Her as Theotokos - the God-bearer from where we get, Mother of God! There was no justification for changing the date or downplaying the Circumcision of the Lord. The silliness of these reformers is that the Gospel, remains the same - the circumcision!

Those wreckers can only be topped by Jorge Bergoglio's latest fantasy. I say "Bergoglio" because as I wrote previously, when he is in accord with tradition he is Pope Francis, when he breaks into one of his off the cuffs or insults or theological nuttiness, he is Jorge Bergoglio. 

Before considering what he said, let us consider this. 

Mary and Joseph knew exactly who their Son was. They knew he was God come into the world in the Flesh. Mary understood this from the very beginning and it was made clear to Joseph. There is much that we do not know that the angel told St. Joseph, we know he was told not to "be afraid." There was no doubt, much, much more.  

Consider this. How do we know what the Gospel of Luke tells us about the Child Jesus in the Temple? Luke was not there, he may not even have been born. We know because Mary told him. The only living witness of these events was the mother of Jesus. She told Luke what happened in his early life. She told Matthew, Mark and John and the other Apostles of the important events in their lives. She was the "eyewitness." 

We have no place to assume what is not there in Scripture. Even if we are Pope! Nowhere, in history or homilies of the great Saints have I ever read the ingenious theological conclusion of Jorge Bergoglio as in this missive launched in last Sunday's homily. 

I'm surprised he didn't follow the Rosica philosophy that along with Jesus begging forgiveness, the Holy Family was also, irregular. Here is an excerpt of the homily given at St. Peter's on the Feast of the Holy Family:

At the end of that pilgrimage, Jesus returned to Nazareth and was obedient to his parents (cf. Lk 2:51). This image also contains a beautiful teaching about our families. A pilgrimage does not end when we arrive at our destination, but when we return home and resume our everyday lives, putting into practice the spiritual fruits of our experience. We know what Jesus did on that occasion. Instead of returning home with his family, he stayed in Jerusalem, in the Temple, causing great distress to Mary and Joseph who were unable to find him. For this little “escapade”, Jesus probably had to beg forgiveness of his parents. The Gospel doesn’t say this, but I believe that we can presume it. Mary’s question, moreover, contains a certain reproach, revealing the concern and anguish which she and Joseph felt. Returning home, Jesus surely remained close to them, as a sign of his complete affection and obedience. Moments like these become part of the pilgrimage of each family; the Lord transforms the moments into opportunities to grow, to ask for and to receive forgiveness, to show love and obedience.
So Jorge says that being "about his Father's business" was an "escapade. I guess he was galavanting around Jerusalem, too. Such a disobedient, uncaring child to do such a thing. If the Pope believes that Jesus needed to "beg forgiveness" then that means that he must have done wrong, that he committed a sin!

This is heresy.

Does he believe Jesus was God? After all, he still didn't genuflect at the altar after the elevations as I saw on Christmas Mass from St. Peter's.

Does this Pope believe that Jesus was God, or not? Does he believe He is truly present in the Holy Eucharist, or not?

He may be Pope, but he cannot be allowed to get away with this kind of non-magisterial theological and historical nuttiness that someone will believe and promote because he said it.

Tuesday 29 December 2015

St. Thomas Becket knew what today is denied

St. Thomas Becket knew. In the Office of Readings, or Matins, for this Christmastide Feast, we read in his Letter, 
"As successors of the apostles, we hold the highest rank in our churches; we have accepted the responsibility of acting as Christ’s representatives on earth; we receive the honour belonging to that office, and enjoy the temporal benefits of our spiritual labours. It must therefore be our endeavour to destroy the reign of sin and death, and by nurturing faith and uprightness of life, to build up the Church of Christ into a holy temple in the Lord.
There are a great many bishops in the Church, but would to God we were the zealous teachers and pastors that we promised to be at our consecration, and still make profession of being."
I print below the latest Letter to Friends and Benefactors of the Society of St. Pius X in Canada. It refers to the scandalous statement by the Vatican that the Jews do not need conversion to Christ. This is the third time I have posted on this because I am so disgusted that our so-called Shepherds, would make such statements as they did a few weeks ago.

They deserve public rebuke for it. 

St. Thomas Becket knew.

So do those in the Society of  St. Pius X. 

It is my firm belief that the day will come when the Church will declare Blessed, Marcel Lefebvre and it will be fully realised that the Holy Spirit was acting through him to preserve the Faith from the those, the likes of which we have not seen for many decades, who know raise their heads with such heterodoxy.


"There is no other Name under Heaven..."
Dear Friends and Benefactors,
2016 A.D. i.e., anno Domini – in the year of the Lord.   Let us never hesitate to tell people of the meaning of these two little Latin letters that remind us all year long of the historical coming of the Saviour.  The Freemasons in the French Revolution did try to put the years back to zero in their attempt to eliminate any reference to the Divine Saviour.  They failed, but others continue to attack the very fact that “the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us” (Jo 1:14) and that “this day, is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David” (Lk 2:11).  The Incarnation is an objective, historical fact, -- “when the fullness of the time was come, God sent his Son, made of a woman” (Gal 4:4) --and with Our Lord’s death on the Cross, the Old Testament came to an end, as was proven by the veil of the Temple being torn from top to bottom.  When one writes a new will, it supersedes all previous wills.
Modernism, moral or doctrinal, puts subjective conscience above the need to submit to anything objective.  For modernists, just as your conscience replaces the objective moral law, similarly your ideas or religious feelings replace the objective Revelation. St Pius X called that “vital immanence”. “If you think it is true, then it is true for you, but don’t try to impose your truth on someone else.”
The Modernists at the Vatican produced more bad fruit on December 10 in a document called: “The gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable” to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Council’s document Nostra Aetate.
At the start, it is truly scandalous to publish such a document a mere two weeks before Christmas, and to take for its title a quote from the epistle to the Romans (11:29), an epistle all geared at proving that the Jews, in order to be saved, must accept Our Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior: “For the end of the law is Christ, unto justice to everyone that believeth” (10:4).  This document “is not a magisterial document or doctrinal teaching of the Catholic Church, but is a reflection prepared by the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews”.  But being published by the Vatican, signed by a cardinal (Koch), it will be quoted as an official document.  Here are the key blasphemies and heresies (what other theological notes apply here?) of this text:
  • The New Testament does not supersede the Old Testament, the Old Testament has not been revoked; (nn.17, 23, 33) “33. In this covenant community it should be evident for Christians that the covenant that God concluded with Israel has never been revoked but remains valid on the basis of God’s unfailing faithfulness to his people.”
    ‐‐ But then, what about the tearing of the veil of the Holy of Holies by Angels: “And behold the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top even to the bottom” (Mt 27:51)? This tearing expressed the abrogation of the Old Law with the fulfilment of the redemption of the New Law (cf. Pirot Clamer, Cornelius a Lapide).
  • The Jews do not have to believe in Our Lord to be saved: “36. From the Christian confession that there can be only one path to salvation, however, it does not in any way follow that the Jews are excluded from God’s salvation because they do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Messiah of Israel and the Son of God. Such a claim would find no support in the soteriological understanding of Saint Paul…”
    – But what about Our Lord’s words: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by Me” (Jo 14:6)?
  • The Catholic Church has no mission to convert Jews (n.37, 40‐43) “The Church is therefore obliged to view evangelization to Jews, who believe in the one God, in a different manner from that to people of other religions and world views. In concrete terms this means that the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews.” (n.40)
    – But what about: “And He said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned” (Mk 16:15‐16)?

  • The Word of God is present to today’s Jews by means of the Torah, and to today’s Christians through Jesus Christ: “Whoever observes the Torah has life in its fullness. By observing the Torah the Jew receives a share in communion with God. In this regard, Pope Francis has stated: "The Christian confessions find their unity in Christ; Judaism finds its unity in the Torah. Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Word of God made flesh in the world; for Jews the Word of God is present above all in the Torah.” (n.24).
    – But what about: “Jesus answered: Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (Jo 3:5)?
This shocking document is one of the worst in the last 50 years! “The Christians believe this… The Jews believe that… whatever you like is fine!” The Word made flesh or the word of God in the Torah – these are word games in the mind and have no basis in historical reality.”
We object with all our soul and strength! At the start of this New Year “of the Lord”, we do profess that Our Lord Jesus Christ is the only Saviour, born in Bethlehem 2016 years ago, that He is the only way to Heaven, that without the shedding of His blood, without baptism, there is no redemption for anyone, Jews or Gentiles. “There is no other Name under Heaven whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

News of the District: Last November 27, Rev. Father Paul Greuter, from Nanaimo, BC, left us “strengthen with the rites of holy Mother Church”. Born in Holland, Father Greuter was ordained in Calgary on April 3, 1954, and, after some parish and hospital work, moved to Vernon, BC as early as 1973 in order to save his priesthood and to remain faithful to the mass of his ordination. He was the last (of perhaps 6) priest in Canada ordained before Vatican II who never said the new mass. Then on December 12, it was Fr. Stephen Somerville who died near Toronto after a long illness. Having been part of the ICEL team (International Commission on English in the Liturgy), he had the courage to renounce his work and come back to Tradition in 2002. May they rest in peace.
Father Daniel Couture
District Superior

Monday 28 December 2015

In Rama was there a voice heard, weeping and great mourning; Rachel weeping for her children. Because they were no more.

As we rejoice in this Christmastide, we are reminded for the second time of those who gave their lives for Our Lord Jesus Christ. First, it was Stephen, the Protomartyr, who said as recorded in the Book of Acts
51"You stiff-necked people, with uncircumcised hearts and ears! You are just like your fathers: You always resist the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there ever a prophet your fathers did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him-- 53 you who have received the law that was put into effect through angels but have not obeyed it."
I dare say that St. Stephen would be scandalised by the Church of Christ's refusal to speak truth to the Jews today.

Stephen died for Christ. Now, we have the great feast of the Holy Innocents, the first Martyrs of Our Lord who did not know Him but now rejoice in Him and who died in place of Christ.

Are we blind to the Holy Innocents of today who suffer slaughter in the womb  of their mothers

 All hail, ye little Martyr flowers,
Sweet rosebuds cut in dawning hours!
When Herod sought the Christ to find
Ye fell as bloom before the wind.

First victims of the Martyr bands,
With crowns and palms in tender hands,
Around the very altar, gay
And innocent, ye seem to play.

All honour, laud, and glory be,
o Jesu, Virgin-born to thee;
All glory, as is ever meet
To Father and to Paraclete.

V. Herod being wroth, slew many children.
R. In Bethlehem of Juda, the city of David.

A sermon of St Quodvultdeus
Even before they learn to speak, they proclaim Christ
A tiny child is born, who is a great king. Wise men are led to him from afar. They come to adore one who lies in a manger and yet reigns in heaven and on earth. When they tell of one who is born a king, Herod is disturbed. To save his kingdom he resolves to kill him, though if he would have faith in the child, he himself would reign in peace in this life and for ever in the life to come.
  Why are you afraid, Herod, when you hear of the birth of a king? He does not come to drive you out, but to conquer the devil. But because you do not understand this you are disturbed and in a rage, and to destroy one child whom you seek, you show your cruelty in the death of so many children.
  You are not restrained by the love of weeping mothers or fathers mourning the deaths of their sons, nor by the cries and sobs of the children. You destroy those who are tiny in body because fear is destroying your heart. You imagine that if you accomplish your desire you can prolong your own life, though you are seeking to kill Life himself.
  Yet your throne is threatened by the source of grace, so small, yet so great, who is lying in the manger. He is using you, all unaware of it, to work out his own purposes freeing souls from captivity to the devil. He has taken up the sons of the enemy into the ranks of God’s adopted children.
  The children die for Christ, though they do not know it. The parents mourn for the death of martyrs. The child makes of those as yet unable to speak fit witnesses to himself. See the kind of kingdom that is his, coming as he did in order to be this kind of king. See how the deliverer is already working deliverance, the saviour already working salvation.
  But you, Herod, do not know this and are disturbed and furious. While you vent your fury against the child, you are already paying him homage, and do not know it.
  How great a gift of grace is here! To what merits of their own do the children owe this kind of victory? They cannot speak, yet they bear witness to Christ. They cannot use their limbs to engage in battle, yet already they bear off the palm of victory.
They worshipped him who lives for ever and ever, and laid their crowns before the throne of the Lord their God.
They fell on their faces before the throne, and blessed him who lives for ever and ever, and laid their crowns before the throne of the Lord their God.

Sunday 27 December 2015

Priestly Ordination of our friend - Deacon Joice

Dear Friends,

You will remember our friend. Reverend Deacon Joice of the Missionary Society of St. Thomas the Apostle of the Syro-Malabar Rite. On December 30 he will be ordained to the priesthood. 

Please keep our friend in your prayers. His family prays for you and thanks you tremendously for your kindness.

Saturday 26 December 2015

The Feast of Stephen and Father Stephen Auad, the Pastor of the Maronites

Church of Christ the King
In the southwest corner of Toronto is the old Village of Long Branch and the Parish of Christ the King. Toronto, originally known as York, is essentially a city of towns and villages amalgamated over the years into one city. Long Branch was a Village in its own right until 1967, when it was amalgamated into Etobicoke, before Etobicoke itself, was eventually amalgamated into Toronto. Etobicoke means, "where the alders grow" in the language of the Mississauga, the native people of the area, now also the name of the City west of Toronto and only a few blocks from Christ the King parish. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Long Branch was a summer resort area for the wealthy of Toronto, only 8 miles away. They would come for the cool lake breeze on a ferry and it would later become a residential and industrial community with companies such as Chrysler, Pittsburgh Paints, Castrol, Gabriel Automotive and Neptune Meters all now gone, many to Mexico with the jobs along with them. Long Branch was a prosperous and pleasant community and it was to this little village that would come the Pastor of the Maronites, Father Stephen Auad.

As with all immigrants at the time from Mount Lebanon, including my four grandparents to Canada from Lebanon, life in the old country was hard. My grandparents, along with Father Auad, were born just after the then, latest wave of Islamic persecution. It was known as the Mount Lebanon Civil War or the Civil War of Syria as Lebanon was officially part of the Greater Syria Province of the detestable Ottoman Empire. It began as an uprising by the Maronite Christians of Mt. Lebanon, my ancestors, against the Druze overlords and culminated in a massacre of Christians at Damascus. Nearly 400 Christians villages and 500 churches were destroyed in a battle by Islamists which eventually spread even to the south of Lebanon. The British backed the Druze for economic reasons, the French came to the rescue of the Christians at the urging of the Pope and the Ottoman's enjoyed fomenting the strife. It included the then, Massacre of Aleppo when over 5000 died as Mohammedans rose up against the Christians of Aleppo. It seems all too familiar.

A year after my father was born in 1919 and only a few short blocks from the tenement on York Street where the Toronto Stock Exchange now stands, a Maronite Qurbono, literally "Offering" or Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, was celebrated at St. Michael's Cathedral by the Rt. Rev. Shakralla Khoury. Khoury was the Maronite Eparch, or Bishop of Tyre and delegate from Mount Lebanon to the Paris Peace Conference following The Great War (World War I before it became necessary to label it as the First). 

The Qurbono was in Thanksgiving to God for the "virtual independence of Lebanon” from the defeated and vanquished Ottomans, an independence that would not be totally realised for another thirty years and after another great war due to the mischief and machinations of King Faisal. 

[If you note a theme here about foreign domination by Islamists, Arabs, Europe, specifically Britain and now, the rest of us in the "West" in Christian Syria and Lebanon which has served to destroy these lands and kill thousands, you would not be mistaken, but let's get back to the subject at hand. ... ]

Remarkably, this Mass at the Cathedral was reported on September 6, 1920 in the old Toronto World; and that the "Pastor of the Maronites in Toronto" assisted at the Mass. 

Yet, despite Father Auad being termed in the secular press, the "Pastor of the Maronites" there was no Maronite Church in Toronto so Lebanese immigrants followed the Latin Rite and assimilated into it. That all changed in 1980 when then Emmett Cardinal Carter assisted the new Lebanese immigrants fleeing war and the latest Islamic persecution and Israeli war, with the purchase of the former Anglican Church of the Epiphany on Queen Street in Parkdale, now Our Lady of Lebanon Maronite Catholic Church. Pope John Paul II had just established the Eparchy of St. Maron in Canada (Montreal). There is now a second Maronite Church in the region with St. Charbel's in Mississauga. Given the more recent strife, we also see Chaldean Catholic, Syriac Catholic and Coptic Catholic and Orthodox churches being built. 

While studying in Rome, Father Auad was able to celebrate in both the Latin and Maronite Rites and was what would be termed, "bi-ritual." He would, of course, learn Italian which would prove helpful. Catholic Toronto was Irish and these first Catholics in Toronto suffered many indignities in what was known as the Ulster of North America and the Church here was hardly prepared for the next waves of immigrants, particularly the demanding Italians. 

The old parish of St. Patrick's, built in 1867 the year of Canada's Confederation, had a new church built behind it on McCaul Street and the former became Our Lady of Mount Carmel and was assigned to the Italians as their first parish) with the Maronite Lebanese Father Auad as their pastor, because he could speak Italian. It still stands today serving Chinese Roman Catholics. 

Professor John Zucchi of McGill University who specialises in immigration history wrote in 1983 that 

"In the late 1920's the Parish Committee of Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish filed a complaint in Italian with the archbishop regarding their pastor, Father Stephen Auad." 
Old St. Patrick's - Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church 
You see, the Italians were villagers and more accustomed to active involvement of the laity in the parish, even then. The Irish were different; they had to escape persecution to forests and cliffs to find a rock to hear Mass. Their history was different of course being persecuted on their own soil so it was a different situation and they never questioned the priest or made demands. Given the prevailing climate in Toronto as so well told by Bear at The Spirit's Sword, one can understand the Irish mentality. Their ancestors were persecuted in Ireland by the English and Scots and they came to York - later Toronto, and got it good here too.  Bear also writes in the combox, after the second posting of this story in 2014, that Father Auad was also known as a "healer." Do visit the link above for his take on the persecution of the Catholic Irish, it was a hard go for them. Toronto was not a nice place and the stories are similar to those told of the gangs of New  York.

The Italians were bolder and had their own customs and devotions. Father Auad had clearly adopted the prevailing official Irish culture of liturgical minimalism and flying below the radar for the reasons noted above and this conflicted with the Italians under his care. 

Professor Zucchi continued:

"The committee was highly critical of Auad; he was too busy to hear confession; it was difficult to find him in the rectory or in the church; he rarely visited school children; his masses were too short, etc." 
It wasn't only the local Italians that criticised the poor beleaguered priest unbelievably, even American Evangelical Pentecostals chimed in.  It was August 5, 1933 at Springfield in the State of Missouri and the Pentecostal Evangel displayed its bigotry and ignorance in its story, "Paganized Christianity” writing:
“The  following item  taken  from  the Toronto  press  will  show  how  it  is  possible for Christianity to catch the diseases of  the  old pagan religions:  "What  has become  an annual  public religious  function in Toronto will take  place tomorrow, when Rev. Father  Stephen Auad, pastor of  Mount  Carmel Church (notice that they left "Our Lady" out of the title!)  St. Patrick Street,  will bless  motor  cars and  other conveyances  after  the  11  o'clock  Mass. The vehicles will thus be placed under the patronage of St. Christopher,' patron saint of travelers. The time is coming when Christianity will be purged of all alien additions. Matt.13:41.” 
James Cardinal McGuigan
It was now 1938 and Father Stephen Auad approached Archbishop James Charles McGuigan, later to be English-speaking Canada's first Cardinal, about building a shrine to St. Anthony of Padua in that old summer resort village of Long Branch now becoming an industrial centre. Finances being what they were at the time, just after the Great Depression and with Canada entering the Second World War, the Archbishop declined the request. Disappointed in the Archbishop's decision Father Auad went home and there he brooded about the situation obviously not happy and still fighting with the Italians until his housekeeper, one Mrs. Maggie Jobin, encouraged him to go back and ask again, but this time, more firmly. 

So, he did and did so to the point of pounding on the desk of the future Cardinal. Astonished at the boldness, the good Archbishop, originally from Prince Edward Island, is reported to have laughed until tears flowed down his cheeks and then said, "If you feel so strongly about the church, go ahead, but keep it your responsibility" and on August 4, 1938, Father Auad was appointed the parish priest of the Village of Long Branch, and directed to build a church.

There were two other villages between Long Branch and Toronto, all now amalgamated. The Town of New Toronto and the parish of St. Teresa established in 1924 where Vox was baptised in the presence of his Scotsman Freemason godfather; of course, none of us knew it until he died and he left me his Shriner Fezz, which I've since gotten suitable disposed of. The other was the Town of Mimico, which means, “the place of pigeons” and St. Leo the Great Parish, established a few years earlier. Many children of those first Lebanese settled in Mimico and a few in New Toronto, but none, interestingly enough, in Long Branch.

Saint Maroun

Coming back from Holy Communion and walking past another window, I was astounded at what I had seen or perhaps more because I had never noticed them before. In addition to St. Anthony of the Desert there was St. Maroun, the great mystic, monk and missionary to the people of Mount Lebanon and Syria who died in 410 A.D.  It is from him that the Maronites are named. The next window was Mar Youhana Maroun or as we would say in English, St. John Maron who died in 707 A.D., the first Patriarch of the Maronite Church. Then a little further along, there she was, Our Lady of Mt. Lebanon whom the Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East declared in 1908 to be "Queen of Lebanon." Knowing that the people of Long Branch would not know these Saints, each one has a little banner with their name under their image and quotes from scripture about "Libanus." As mentioned, there were many Lebanese that settled in these parts but not one of them spoke of Father Auad that I can ever recall from my childhood and none of them attended Christ the King Parish. They were a different generation. They had just married and in their twenties were having babies; they worked, had businesses, bought houses and worshipped at the place they knew, their local parish. They didn't know that only a few short blocks away from their homes was a little bit of their cultural and family history. Here was a little parish, built by a priest who came from the same lands as their parents, who may have known them or blessed them as little children and here were the windows to the greatest of Lebanon’s Holy One’s and the Mother of our Redeemer whose birth we celebrate.

Our Lady of Mount Lebanon

Father Auad had a great personal devotion to St. Anthony of Padua and wanted this new parish at Long Branch to be named the Shrine of St. Anthony. Given that there was already a large church on Bloor Street dedicated to this much-loved Saint, the Archbishop did not agree. It was named Christ the King and a small grotto was built to house an Altar. “Shrine of St. Anthony” remains today engraved in the terrazzo flooring just below the plaque in memory of Father Auad. The first Mass offered there was celebrated by Father Auad on September 17, 1939 and on Sunday, May 26, 1940, the church was blessed by Archbishop McGuigan.

Surely now the young Lebanese of this community would seek out their old friend, Father Auad from the streets of McCaul, Queen, Bond, York, Simcoe, D'Arcy, and so on but alas, it was not to be; for at Midnight Mass on December 25, 1944, Father Stephan Auad suffered a stroke while preaching the homily. The next day, December 26, 1944, seventy-two years ago today and on that very same Feast of St. Stephen, his name-saint, Father Stephen Auad went on to his eternal reward and a little bit of Lebanese history in Long Branch lay hidden.

On this anniversary of his death, may this little Christmas story serve as a tribute to this early and long forgotten priest of the first hundred years of the Church in Toronto. May Father Stephen Auad be rejoicing on this day with St. Stephen in the presence of the LORD whom he loved and served. 

Thank you Father Auad for what you did so long-ago for those early Catholic villagers in Long Branch and for the windows serving as a memorial to our Maronite heritage.

Father Stephen Auad, 1884 -1944
 Requiescat in pace

Friday 25 December 2015

A blessed Christmas to you all

To all who pass this way,  - may the WORD MADE FLESH in Bethlehem pour out his grace upon you. May He let His face shine upon you in all your comings and goings. May you be blest with courage and strength and may He keep you always in His love. May His gracious and blessed Mother Mary, console you, St. Joseph guide you and St. Michael the Archangel protect you.

A blessed Christmas to you all and thank you for all of your prayers and kindness.

Fox and Vox

Thursday 24 December 2015

Laetabundus -- the forgotten Christmas Sequence

In the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, there are four Sequences which in the Third Missal, precede the Alleluia, prior to that, they followed it as in the Extraordinary Form, they were "in sequence." However, in a Mass in the Ordinary Form, in a "Gregorian" manner with Gradual and Alleluia, it follows with the Sequence. With the Responsorial Psalm, it precedes the Gospel Acclamation as it is not truly in the manner of the Gregorian Alleluias. More ridiculous Novus Ordoisms. Two of these are mandatory, Victimae Paschalis of Easter and Veni, Sancte Spiritus of Pentecost, two are, sadly, optional; these are Lauda, Sion Salvatorem of the Solemnity of Corpus Christi and Stabat Mater on Our Lady of Sorrows, but not to the common tune that is sung as a hymn. In the Extraordinary Form they are not optional and there is one additional, Dies Irae in the Requiem Mass and funeral liturgy and it survives in the new Liturgy of the Hours for All Souls Day, which in the new Ordinariate Missal, returns to the Requiem Mass.

What is little known though is that prior to the Council of Trent, there was a Christmas Sequence known as Laetabundus. The Concilium created by Pope Pius V after Trent did not include it in our current traditional Roman Missal as it was not "Roman." They were extremely cautious about Sequences because there were so many in use in different Rites and on many Sundays and Feasts.

While this Sequence cannot be sung in the Mass, it can be done within it as a "hymn" or prior. 

Courtesy of Music Sacra is the text newly set in the Gregorian. I've included below the English translation and the video of the Laetabundus extremely well sung and with perfection by Cantori Gregoriani of Italy. Enjoy this beautiful piece of a liturgical past. 

Faithful people,
Sweeten all your song with gladness.

Matchless maiden
Bringeth forth the Prince of princes:
O! the marvel.

Virgin compasseth a man,
Yea, the angel of the plan:
Star the Dayspring.

Day that sunset shall not close,
Star that light on all bestows,
Ever cloudless.

As the star, light crystalline,
Mary hath a Son divine
In her likeness.

Star that shining grows not dim,
Nor his Mother, bearing him,
Less a maiden.

The great tree of Lebanon
Hyssop's lowliness puts on
In our valley;

And the Word of God Most High
Self-imprisoned doth lie
In our body.

So Isaias sang of old,
So the Synagogue doth hold,
But the sunrise finds her cold
Hard and blinded.

Of her own she will not mark,
Let her to the gentiles hark;
For the Sybil's verses dark
Tell of these things.

Make haste, O luckless one,
Give ear to the saints bygone:
Why perish utterly,
O race undone?

He whom thy seers foretell
Born is in Israel:
Mary's little Son, O mark him well.