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Gregorian Masses, Equality & Distributism

De Fide
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Dear Fr. Stephen Somerville,

I read your TIA article about the practice of the 30-Day Gregorian Masses, and the article gives the impression that this is just a traditional Catholic pious practice.

The fact is, that St Gregory the Great, because of his personal miraculous experience, himself put this practice in the Canons of the Catholic Church. You may research this.

It is clearly static as a liturgical practice in the 1917 Pio-Benedictine Canon Law, and even in the 1983 Canon Law it is restated, with specific regulations.

You mention in your article: 'An approved tradition, but not an official one. Is, then the practice of the Thirty Gregorian Masses officially guaranteed by the Church to rescue the given soul from Purgatory into Heaven? As far as I know, no, they are not officially guaranteed, because although we have here a practice approved by the Church, it is not an institution in which the Church engages her official authority.'

So this is not correct, it is an approved very ancient official tradition in the canons of Church law even surviving post-Vatican II.

The Church engages her offical authority by placing it as a liturgical practice in canon law, and its safe to say that the assistance to the Poor Souls in Purgatory by the Gregorian Masses is: 'de Fide'.

     Best regards and peace be with you,

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Archaic Considerations
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After reading Atila Sinke Guimar'es's opinion on "The Eternal Feminine", I am disappointed about this misconception on the theme. He is mistaken on various accounts: Paul is not an apostle but lived way after Christ. He is also the most patriarchal writer in the Gospel and therefore often less liked by women.

The patriarchal indoctrination that has trickled down from the Catholic Church has served both men and women badly. It was a woman who first beheld Christ at his Resurrection. It was a woman who brought us to the potential for freedom and eventual co-creativity with God.

The Catholic Church, as proven by Pope John Paul the 1st and the second, has known many secrets for a long time that they are not divulging to the public for good reasons. It's a lot easier to keep us all ignorant. In fact, we re-incarnate as man and woman every thousand or so years, and that way receive a full experience from both male and female point of view. Christ Himself speaks about re-entering a mother's womb. We are now equal in God's eyes and incredibly important each one of us. It is what happens BETWEEN us that should be considered most now, rather than archaic considerations that truly have no value nor potential for productive development.

We know that the Living Christ lives between us, we must learn to live and lead BETWEEN. It is living experience of the Divine that will become the religion in the future. Nothing else will help us respect and love one another. We have to overcome all these divisions, man/woman and all the religions must eventually find a common concept: we must learn to love one another. Christ will then live between us, it is not important if we use His name, but if we love one another, He will be with us.

     Thank you.

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Charlemagne Praying in His Tent
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On this page there is an image called "Charlemagne prays in his tent on his many campaigns"

Do you know the source of this image, is this original historical image, from what century?

I would be very appreciate for answer. I'm interested in this image because of the tent illustration.


     A.S., Poland

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Charlemagne praying in his tent

TIA responds:

Hello A.S.,

The picture you mentioned represents Charlemagne invoking St. James the Greater during the siege of Pamplona, Spain.

It is an illustration in a French work written in the 15th century to demonstrate that Charlemagne was a precursor of the Crusaders. The work presently is at the National Library of Paris.


     TIA correspondence desk

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Piqued by Distributism
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Thank you for your reasoned, forthright and charitable efforts. I have recently discovered your work and am reading many of the materials online.

Before it slips my mind, I wanted to send a quick note with two thoughts for your consideration.

1. I too am one of those conservatives whose interest is piqued by Chesterton and the thoughts about Distributism. Thus, I was shocked to find out about Eric Gill. I do not know the context that the scathing review of his diaries.

It raised two thoughts to which, when you have time, I would be interested to hear your feedback. I have no interest in defending Eric Gill, but rather the thoughts provoked by the discussion.

a. The review was ad hominem. That would be justified to address his ideas if he cited himself as an authority to support part of his arguments. In fairness, I have not read his materials and can not say if I support them or not, but if the arguments are free of calls to his own authority, then the attack on his person would be unjustified. Am I wrong? How?

b. Couldn't it be said, that if all of our journals were made public (especially those with so much detail), we would all be found wicked, even saints? Wicked people have had good ideas, not by their own design, but because truth is universal and good. If they "discovered" a new and good idea and brought it to mankind, is this jewel of truth ruined or spoiled? I would say no. Perhaps it is tarnished because such a soiled person brought it forth, but over the years of care, the tarnish is removed and a jewel is found.

By this same analogy, it can also be the case that the mud is not removed from the jewel and some may even conspire to add more mud to it to call it their own creation. In all those cases, if there some nugget of truth and good and right, the messenger or the environment do not change that which is right. If this is not true, how could any truth be discovered by man?

2. I am eager to order some of your materials as they would seem to represent an interesting new way (at least to me) for addressing the post-VII church. My question is, have you done any examination on Vatican I? From my cursory glance at the histories, Vatican I seems to stand on very shaky ground as a valid council. Has your group considered this topic?

     Again, thank you for your service.


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TIA responds:


We thank you for your compliments.

Yes, Gill was an intemperate man, as Mr. Odou demonstrated at length (here, here and here).

Regarding your interest in knowing the context of Gill's diary to make your own judgment, we inform you that you may find its original in the UCLA library available to the public.

Even though in nature many times one has to sift through the mud to find diamonds and precious stones, as you suggested, this does not set a pattern to be applied to morals or sociology.

Indeed, to deal with living realities, it is better suited to use a metaphor from a living realm. In morals and sociology the metaphor that applies is that a good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree, bad fruit. If you want a more philosophical approach to this rule, it is the principle of causality: An evil cause cannot produce good effects.

So, your elaboration trying to save Distributism from the dissolute and anti-natural influence of Gill's life is not very sound. Gill deeply marked Distributism with his ideals and morals, since he was one of its principal founders.

Distributism has received the bad influence from other of its founders, such as Belloc, McNabb and Penty. Slowly but surely Patrick Odou is demonstrating that these founders were also bad. The only one that still stands is Chesterton, but we believe that his turn will come as well.

We have studied Vatican I as one of the best councils in the History of the Church. On this subject we will be pleased to deal with you, as long as our correspondence will be serious. If you would like to receive another answer from us, please think twice before entering the matter with superficial attacks against Vatican I.


     TIA correspondence desk

Blason de Charlemagne
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Posted September 22, 2009

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The opinions expressed in this section - What People Are Commenting -
do not necessarily express those of TIA

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