Posts Tagged ‘Jesuit’
- A Song for Mary
- We stand on a hill between the earth and sky.
Now all is still where Loyola’s colors fly.
Our course is run and the setting sun ends Ateneo’s day.
Eyes are dry at the last goodbye; this is the Ateneo way.
- Mary for you! For your white and blue!
We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, constantly true!
We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, faithful to you!
- Down from the hill, down to the world go I;
rememb’ring still, how the bright Blue Eagles fly.
Through joys and tears, through the laughing years,
we sing our battle song:
Win or lose, it’s the school we choose;
this is the place where we belong!
- Mary for you! For your white and blue!
We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, constantly true!
We pray you’ll keep us, Mary, faithful to you!
Source: Ateneo de Manila University Hymn
Fr. Daniel J. McNamara, S.J. was transferred to Ateneo de Davao University last summer 2008 after spending decades at the Ateneo de Manila University and the Manila Observatory. He celebrated his 50 years as Jesuit last 23 Nov 2007. A tribute was given to him in his 69th birthday last 23 June 2008 and an endowment fund was launched in his honor to fund the studies of a physics major from the province (see p. 14 of the Loyola Schools Bulletin 2008, June-July, vol. 4, no. 1).
To commemorate his departure, I wrote last 12 June 2008 the following piece:
I first met Fr. Dan during the summer of my senior year in physics. It was a cool afternoon but I am sweating. It was difficult to follow his footsteps because he walked in yardsteps. But I caught up with him, at last, in the corner corridor of third floor of Padre Faura Hall.
“Father,” I said, while trying to catch my breath. “I want to learn geometric algebra.”
Fr. Dan looked down at the wide-eyed hobbit awaiting his word. He took a doctor’s prescription paper from his pocket and began his lecture.
“The number i,” he said, “is both an imaginary number and a vector rotator.” He drew a cross, a direction, and an i. He then gave me the paper and left.
The next morning he gave me a book: “Multivectors to Clifford Algebra in Electrodynamics” by Jancewicz.
“This is a good introduction,” he said.
Indeed it is. It took me an hour to understand each equation, a day to read each page, and a month to finish Chapter 0. I skimmed through the other chapters: they are too advanced for me. So I closed the book. With my little background, I then began to read other books and articles on geometric algebra, reading only what I can understand—an equation here, a paragraph there. Tolle lege. Take up and read, as the little angel advised St. Augustine. I toiled. After a year, I finished my thesis on electromagnetic energy-momentum, written in courier font by hand and inserted in a maroon slide folder—there were no binding rules then. That was in 1997.
After college, I don’t know what to do. I was thinking of going to Los Banos to do research in Dr. Muriel’s Institute on Microphysical Fluid Dynamics. When I told Fr. Dan about my plan, he told me that I may learn many things there, but in two years I may not get a degree. He accompanied me to the third floor of Faura—the research office used to be there—and gave me application forms for the Philippine Council for Advanced Science and Technology Research and Development (PCASTRD) scholarship. I was accepted. In two years, I finished my thesis on polarized light—typewritten, double-spaced. But because I did not follow the graduate school style, my manuscript was returned. And from that time I learned how to turn on the computer. That was in 1999.
II. Cambridge Tales
In January of 2001, while I was still teaching at the University of St. La Salle in my hometown in Bacolod City, Fr. Dan emailed me that there is a geometric algebra conference in Cambridge University, England. I sent my manuscript on the Hestenes spacetime algebra for polarized light to the organizers in Cavendish Laboratory. It was accepted.
Fr. Dan sponsored my trip. It was my first international flight, my first international conference. I took a train from the London airport and passed by some square patches of green fields and yellow grain amidst rolling mounds and hills.
“Hobbiton Station,” the train announcer said.
I looked at the window, but I saw no hobbits.
“Maybe they are hiding in holes,” I thought.
I left the train at Cambridge Station and set my first foot on medieval soil. I saw distant castles enshrouded in mist. I passed by King’s College. I walked on Silver Street. I saw churches, lots of churches—strong as stone, tall as towers—glories of once Catholic England. I bumped into one of them, but the sign in the big black door reads: Anglican. I walked farther and found another one: it’s a pub. Across its large glass window stood a statue of an angel holding an empty font, while white men tasted spirits and drained draught. The last church I went to was old and weathered, yet stands still as a proud witness to the centuries past: the Church of St. Mary and the English Martyrs. (Is it the same as the Church of Our Lady and the English Martyrs?) I entered. It was dark and empty.
In the conference I met many creatures great and small. There was Hestenes himself, a large man with full gray beard.
“Are you the guy from the Philippines,” he asked in a deep, gruff voice.
“Yes,” I said. And I shook hands with the giant of geometric algebra.
He was glad that I came. I sent him my M.S. thesis before for his comment and he suggested that I attend this meeting.
There was Baylis of Canada, a thin old man, smaller than I.
“Are you Baylis of Pauli algebra and polarized light?,” I asked.
“O,” he gasped, and his surprised eyes sparkled. “That’s right. That’s right,” he said, and laughed like a little old elf.
And there was Sommen of Belgium, bearded and stocky—strong enough to wield an axe .
“You know,” he said, as he brandished his mug over his protruding belly, “I love to give lectures that make my students sleep.”
In the last evening of the conference, I did not join the farewell party. I felt sleepy. Cambridge summer chilled my bones and British humors cracked my lips. I went to my room and covered myself with four furry blankets. My watch said it’s 8:00 p.m. but the sun refused to sleep. I longed for home.
III. Monk Hobbit
In Summer of 2002, I went back to Ateneo, upon Fr. Dan’s advice. A new Ph.D. in Physics program had just been opened. I entered the doctorate, thinking I will be headed for cloud studies. I worked as graduate assistant for two years, a faculty for three years, a graduate assistant again for another year, and a consultant for a summer to support myself. Under Fr. Dan’s supervision, I was able to write some conference papers, journal articles, and book chapters. But I am not still done with my dissertation. This is already my seventh year. It’s now 2008.
To help me finish fast, Fr. Dan directed me a month ago to my monastery: a bare brick building amidst a field of flowering grass, beside a forest of undying trees, under the loving gaze of heaven, in full view of the setting sun. It is the Manila Observatory’s Ionosphere building, the former office of Fr. Badillo, the little prince of Philippine physics with an asteroid named after him. I now sit on his swivel chair as I count sunrises and sunsets through a lone open window. Behind my desk are stacked some remnants of the bygone years: a large magnifying glass, an aircon turned icemaker, and a 386 computer with 5 ¼ inch floppy drive. A wooden crucifix hangs near the window, on top a dusty portrait of the Sacred Heart. When the window darkens, I know it is night. And I leave.
Fr. Dan is leaving. To where he is going I cannot follow. Hobbits have holes, birds have boughs, but the son of Ignatius has no place to call his home. Forever he is a pilgrim and a priest, in the Company of Jesus, in obedience to the Pope. His mission is universal as the Church is Universal: all peoples, all places, all times. How can the halls of Faura hold him? How can the grass of M. O. bind him? The rule of realms is not his, but worthy souls that are in peril as the world now stands, those are his care. And he shall not wholly fail in his task if anything passes through this night that can still grow fair and bear fruit and flower again in days to come. For he is a steward, too. He is Gandalf. He is Fr. Dan.
Farewell Fr. Dan. You will surely be missed.
Last New Year’s Eve, I was browsing some books at home in Bacolod and I stumbled on a black book with a white cross like the mantle of the Knights Hospitallers of St. John: “Purgatory: Explained by the Lives and Legends of the Saints” by Fr. F. X. Schouppe, S.J. The imprimatur was issued in 1893, so this must be a very old book, though the edition that I have was published by TAN in 1986.
The pocket book is divided into two parts. Part I is the Mystery of God’s Justice. Part II is the Mystery of God’s Mercy. The first part have 41 chapters; the second, 65. But do not let the number of chapters discourage you: each chapter do not exceed 5 pages. And the prints are large like that of Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys. So this 430-page treatise on purgatory is an easy read.
The book opens with fire: “Let him be anathema.” In pages vi to vii, Fr. Shouppe immediately lists down the pertinent Canons of the Council of Trent (1547-1551) regarding Purgatory. For those of us who still plan to set aside the doctrine of Purgatory, the threat of anathema (let him be handed over to Satan) is enough to make us think thrice. (Vatican II, in contrast, was a pastoral council and no anathemas were hurled.)
But despite the anathemas, the book’s writing style is simple, because it was meant to instruct the simple–the children and the child-like. Thus, we should not expect the rigor of proof like that of St. Thomas’s “Summa Theologiae”. Rather, we should read it as if we are reading St. Louis de Montfort’s masterpiece: “The Secret of the Rosary.”
The first sentences of each chapter of the book are usually the main point. The next paragraphs are doctrines, teachings, and stories illustrating such point. The dogmatic doctrines of the church regarding Purgatory must be believed by all Catholics. The teachings of doctors and theologians we may disagree, but it would be ” imprudent, and even rash, to reject them, and it is in the spirit of the church to follow the opinions commonly held by the doctors.” The revelations of saints we may also disbelieve, but since they are authenticated, “we cannot freely reject them without offending against reason; because sound reason demands that all men should give assent to truth when it is sufficiently demonstrated.” These distinctions Fr. Schouppe explained in his Preface.
Today, we have forgotten about sin and the effects of sin on the soul, which must be paid to the last penny either in this age or in the age to come. We have forgotten about our dead relatives who languished long in Purgatory with no one to pray for them. We have forgotten how our little works here on earth, such as as simply abstaining from water between meals, can assuage the suffering of our departed brethren. We have forgotten about the power of the rosary, the scapular, and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. We have forgotten that we too shall die. And the cure for our forgetfulness? Fr. Schouppe’s “Purgatory.”
This book is a masterpiece.
In her Inquirer commentary entitled, “Ateneo’s Freudian slip,” Minyong Ordonez wrote about the two Ateneo de Manilas:
Many Ateneo alumni are asking questions. Whatever happened to “Ratio Studiorum,” the Jesuit-conceived curriculum concept that inspired many Ateneans in the past to pursue excellence of mind and spirit? What is happening out there in Loyola Heights? Are there two schools of thought in Ateneo today?
On one side are followers of the Church magisterium who obey the Church teachings with humility as taught by Jesus Christ in his Sermon on the Mount. On the other side are a coterie of modernists, populists and personalists whose attitude on Catholicism is a matter of feel not faith, a matter of body and not of soul, a matter of material pragmatism not spiritual idealism, a matter of worldliness not of saintliness and a matter of selfish love not self-less love.
The media savvy lawyer and priest, Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J., who wrote his opinion on the RH Bill does not augment Fr. Nebres’ kind of spirituality at all. He chose to skin the cat in many ways, replete with ifs and buts, hence the good father was disabled from making a truly Catholic stand on morality. Methinks Fr. Bernas is too fascinated with life in a pluralistic society. He chose to be a politically correct constitutionalist first, an ordained Catholic priest second.
A top-rating TV preacher in America, the late Bishop Fulton Sheen, had an unequivocal view on moral issues. He said, “Right is right even if only one person believes it and millions don’t. And wrong is wrong even if millions think it’s right and only one thinks it’s wrong.”
Quo vadis, Ateneo?
Accurate observation. Sad but true. And we little hobbits of the Old Ateneo can only weep and mourn (and blog) as we silently pray our Alma Mater song.
(St. Ignatius: Then and Now)
by Fr. Jett Villarin, S.J.
Based on a talk delivered at the Klima Conference Room, Manila Observatory,
Ateneo de Manila University Campus, Loyola Heights, Quezon City, Philippines
28 July 2008
Before talking about St. ignatius then and now (noon at ngayon), let me start first with tomorrow (bukas) because Ignatius always begins his Spiritual Exercises with the end, the purpose of human life, as stated in his introductory section, the Principle and Foundation:
Human beings are created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by means of doing this to save their souls.
This thinking about the end helps us to test the spirits, to discern. Ignatius listed four methods for discernment. The first is the rational way: what are the pros and cons? The second is to imagine someone like you asking for advice regarding the same problem: what will you say to him? The third is to imagine you are laid in a funeral: what will other people will say about you? And the fourth is to imagine you are in front of our Lord on Judgement Day: what will He say to you?
Ignatius was born in a Spanish aristocrat family. To be Spanish then is to be Catholic, and Ignatius was raised Catholic: son of the Church, servant of the Crown.
In 1521, Ignatius’s was tasked to defend the city of Pamplona against the French. The Spaniards were already losing and the most sensible thing to do was to surrender. But he would not, and he continued to rally his men, exhorting them to fight, even after a cannonball smashed his leg. The French admired his courage. They placed him in a stretcher and brought him home.
In his home Ignatius asked for books on chivalry: kings and knights, honor and courage, love and death. But there were no books to read except the Bible and the Lives of the Saints. Reluctantly, he read them. He read about Love dying on the cross. He read about courage before fire, rack, and sword. He read about a kingdom that is not of this world. And his eyes were opened: What would it profit him if he gains the whole world yet suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what exchange shall he give for his soul? Ignatius got up from his mat and left. No king shall he now serve except the King of Kings. No kingdom shall he now aspire for except that of Heaven.
Ignatius went on a pilgrimage and passed by the town of Manressa. He planned to stay a there few days, but he ended up staying for ten months. He exchanged his rich clothes for that of a pilgrim and offered his sword to his Lady, the Blessed Virgin, as a pledge of love, devotion, and service. In a cave he contemplated his sins and confessed them to a priest—day after day, week after week, month after month—not sparing one sin, however small. His scruples he could hardly get past.
Beside a river, Ignatius had a vision: he saw God laboring in the world. He then understood that God wanted him also to labor in the world, outside the walls of his cloister. Where will he go? To labor in the world requires competence and this can only be acquired by studying. So Ignatius left his cave and travelled to Europe’s best university: the University of Paris.
Ignatius wanted to become a priest. And to be a priest, he must study Latin. The University of Paris, however, did not group students according to age but to ability. So Ignatius, vassal of kings and captain of men, suffered himself to be seated with little lads learning Latin. He was thirty-five.
In University of Paris Ignatius met two of his future companions: Peter Fabre and Francis Xavier. Blessed Peter Faber became the Apostle of Germany at the rise of the Protestant Reformation and the eve of Council of Trent, winning many souls back to the Catholic Faith. St. Francis Xavier became the Apostle of the Indies, converting thousands to Christianity in India, Malacca, Moluccas, and Japan;. Faber died in the hands of Ignatius at forty; Xavier, in China’s Shangchuan Island at forty-six. Both died in their labors. Ignatius did not become a missionary like his two friends, but he sat in his office as the Jesuit Superior General in Rome, directing his highly-trained legions loyal and obedient the Pope, in the conquest of the world for Christ, for the salvation of souls.
After Ignatius’s death, the Jesuits numbered a thousand; now, four and a half centuries later, about twenty thousand. The first Jesuits worked in hospitals; some preached in public squares. To train future priests, seminaries were built, which grew into universities. Many Jesuits became university professors; some confessors to kings; others organizers of the peasants. Where the need is greatest, there are the Jesuits.
Unlike Dominicans and Franciscans, the Jesuits do not wear a monk’s habit but the garb of diocesan priests: a black cassock, as Ignatius required. The cassock may be tainted with scandal in Ignatius’s time—and even now, at the outbreak of clerical sexual abuse. But wear it they must. To wear the cassock is to be a sign of contradiction. To wear the cassock is to carry a cross. Where the scandal is greatest, there are the Jesuits.
A. Jesuits’s Global Mission
The Jesuit mission is global. Did not God labored in the world? Did not Christ commanded his apostles to preach the Gospel throughout the world? As Ignatius said, “Our vocation is to travel through the world and to live in any part of it whatsoever.”  Because Ignatius wanted to deal with the universal good, which is always the greater good, the Jesuit Superior General Kolvenbach said that the mission for Ignatius could not be anything but the mission of a universal apostolic body, gifted with global apostolic availability.
In the 35th General Congregation, the second decree is entitled A Fire that Kindles Other Fires: Rediscovering our Charism. The fire here is the fire of the Society’s original inspiration, the fire whose heart is Christ. Jesuits know who they are by renewing their love for Christ:
There [at La Storta], “placed” with God’s Son and called to serve him as he carries his cross, Ignatius and the first companions respond by offering themselves for the service of faith to the Pope, Christ’s Vicar on earth. The Son, the one image of God, Christ Jesus, unites them and sends them out to the whole world. He is the image at the very heart of Jesuit existence today; and it is his image that we wish to communicate to others as best as we can.
Carrying the image of Christ as a banner, the image of the Sacred Heart aflame, the Jesuits ventured into the remotest corners of the world—Miguel Andrade (1624) crossed the heights of Himalayas in search for Tibet; into the crossroads of ideologies—Miguel Pro (1927) was shot in Mexico as he raised his hands in imitation of Christ, shouting, “Viva Cristo Rey!”; and into the frontiers of science—Christopher Clavius (1612) formulated the Gregorian system of leap years that we still use today.
Today the new context that the Society of Jesus live is marked by “profound changes, acute conflicts, and new possibilities.” In the words of the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, as quoted in the 35th General Congregation:
Your Congregation is being held during a period of great social, economic and political change; of conspicuous ethical, cultural and environmental problems, of conflicts of all kinds; yet also of more intense communication between peoples, of new possibilities for knowledge and dialogue, of profound aspirations for peace. These are situations that deeply challenge the Catholic Church and her capacity for proclaiming to our contemporaries the word of hope and salvation.
The Church needs the Jesuits. The Church relies on the Jesuits. The Church turns to the Jesuits. And Benedict XVI quoted Paul VI’s 1974 address in the 34th General Congregation:
Wherever in the Church, even in the most difficult and extreme fields, at the crossroads of ideologies, in the social trenches, there has been and there is confrontation between the burning exigencies of man and the perennial message of the Gospel, here also there have been, and there are, Jesuits.
B. Manila Observatory
Let me end my talk with three challenges for the Manila Observatory, as the Jesuit presence here diminish:
- 1. Interdisplinarity. We cannot anymore work in isolation—physicists, chemists, biologists, engineers, economists, managers. The present problems in climate, for example, require an interdisciplinary approach.
- 2. Solutions. Monitoring is not enough: we can monitor rainfall, pollution, temperature, and sea levels forever. We need solutions. We have to engage the government and other insititutions to craft better policies.
- 3. Love. We must cultivate our love for Christ. At the end of our life, the Just Judge will ask us only one question, the same question he asked Peter :“Do you love me more than these?” And to which we hope to reply, “Yes, Lord. You know that I love you.”
Disclaimer: I transcribed this talk from my notes and my memory of Fr. Villarin’s words. I added some notes, quotes, and references for clarity. –Quirino M. Sugon Jr. email: email@example.com
About the Author: Fr. Jose Ramon “Jett” T. Villarin, S.J., is the present president of Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro City, Philippines. He is an Assistant Professor of the Department of Physics at the Ateneo de Manila University and is a member of the Manila Observatory’s Board of Trustees. He finished his Ph. D. in Physics at the Georgia Institute of Technology and is a member of the American Geophysical Union.
 George E. Ganss, The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius: A Translation and Commentary, 2nd Indian Ed. (Gujaratsahitya Prakash, Anand, Gujarat, 1992), p. 32.
 Ibid., pp. 77–79.
 c.f. Mt 16:26.
 Suau, Pierre, “Bl. Peter Faber.” The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 11. (New York, Robert Appleton Company, 1911) 12 Dec. 2008 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11767a.htm>.
 Astrain, Antonio, “St. Francis Xavier,” The Catholic Encyclopedia, Vol. 6 (New York, Robert Appleton Company, 1909). 12 Dec. 2008 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06233b.htm>.
 ”Jesuits acknowledge drop in vocations,” Catholic News Agency (10 May 2006). 12 Dec. 2008 <http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=6687>
 James Martin, S.J., “Father General: Out of Habit,” In All Things, a blog of The America Magazine (posted 2008-03-08 19:28:00.0). 12 Dec 2008 <http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=6687>
 Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, “Opening talk of the Father General,” in Loyola 2000: Corresponsible in Service of Christ’s Mission (Press and Information Office, Rome, 22 September 2000). 12 Dec. 2008 <http://users.online.be/~sj.eur.news/doc/Loyola2000e.htm>
“A fire that kindles other fires: Rediscovering our charism,” Decree 2 of the 35th General Congregation (7 March 2008). <http://www.sjweb.info/35/documents/Decrees.pdf>
 Ibid., Article 3.
 It was during the octave of Corpus Christi, 1675, probably on 16 June, when Jesus said to Sr. Mary Margaret Alacoque, “Behold the Heart that has so loved men…. instead of gratitude I receive from the greater part (of mankind) only ingratitude …..” and asked her for a feast of reparation of the Friday after the octave of Corpus Christi, bidding her consult Father de la Colombière, then superior of the small Jesuit house at Paray. The mission of propagating the new devotion was especially confided to the Society of Jesus. Jean Bainvel. “Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus,” The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 7. (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1910). 12 Dec. 2008 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07163a.htm>.
 “As I express the wish that the 50th anniversary will give rise to an ever more fervent response to love of the Heart of Christ in numerous hearts, I impart a special Apostolic Blessing to you, Most Reverend Father, and to all the Religious of the Society of Jesus, who are still very active in promoting this fundamental devotion.” Letter of His Holiness Benedict XVI on Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Encyclical ”Haurietis Aquas” to the Most Reverend Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus (Vatican, 15 May 2006). 12 Dec. 2008 <http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/letters/2006/documents/hf_ben-xvi_let_20060515_50-haurietis-aquas_en.html>
 In 1624, the Portuguese Jesuit Antonio de Andrade, became the first European to cross the Himalayas. China History Forum (posted by Southern Barbarian 9 Jul 2006). 12 Dec. 2008 <http://www.chinahistoryforum.com/lofiversion/index.php/t12548.html>
“Miguel Pro,” Wikipedia. 12 Dec 2008 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miguel_Pro>
 “Christopher Christopher Clavius, S.J. and his Gregorian calendar,” (Mathematics Department, Fairfield University, Fairfield CT). 12 Dec 2008 <http://www.faculty.fairfield.edu/jmac/sj/scientists/clavius.htm> (broken link)
 “A new context for mission,” in Decree 3 of the 35th General Congregation (7 March 2008). See Ref. .
 Pope Benedict XVI, “Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Fathers of the General Congregation of the Society of Jesus” (Clementine Hall, Thursday, 21 February 2008). 12 Dec 2008 <http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/speeches/2008/february/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20080221_gesuiti_en.html>
 c.f. Jn 21:15–19.
The Ateneo Catechetical Instruction League (ACIL) asked me to give a talk this afternoon on the paranormal and the occult. I have given the same talk last year when I was still a facilitator of ACIL-Escopa, about a week after Fr. Jose Francisco C. Syquia, Director of the Archdiocese of Manila Office of Exorcism, gave his talk at the Jesuit Loyola House of Studies, the only talk that made me trek down the hilly jungle to that secluded school of priests, nuns, and brothers from all over the Philippines. The Loyola House stands on the precipice of a fault overlooking the city of Marikina: all the kingdoms of the world laid bare before you, tempting you with wealth, power, and glory, as you try to focus on the Kingdom of Heaven beyond the clouds, beyond the stars, at the end of time.
I do not personally know Fr. Syquia, but I bought his book at Power Books at Megamall, on the Feast of All Hallows Eve 2006. I have grown suspicious of any book on paranormal. I have read Lobsang Rampa, Carlos Castaneda, and Jaime Licauco in my youth. I have read them and found them wanting: they promise that anyone “can be like gods, knowing good and evil,” as the Serpent tempted Eve. But I see only emptiness in the faces of the New Age practitioners. No joy, no peace. By their fruits you shall know them.
But Fr. Syquia’s book is different. It is an account by an exorcist priest himself. No theological speculations, no make-believe stories, no fear. Only plain stories from his everyday encounters with demon-possessed persons and spirit-infested houses, against the backdrop of authentic Catholic Church Teaching and sayings of the saints.
The book’s structure is similar to a diptych. Most chapters consist of two parts: (1) Experience narrative and (2) church teaching. This is what journalists call as the broken-line method: narrative, explain, narrative, explain. I would have preferred a more systematic demonology: classification of demons, their powers, manifestations, and weaknesses. Maybe this is just my hangover from my close study of the Monster Manual in Dungeons and Dragons in my youth. But Fr. Syquia’s narrative grounds you to the reality: the hairy kapre in a mango tree, the arrogant blasphemies of the possessed, the crisp cards of a fortune teller, the consecrated hands of the priests. This is the war of angels and demons fought in our very earth, in our very house, in our very soul. And Fr. Syquia tells us about this war in its gory details: the vomits, the salts, the ropes, the shrieks. This is the war whose ending we know: Satan bound by Christ our Lord; the Serpent’s head crushed by Our Lady’s heel. Satan knows his defeat and he wants to drag as many souls with him to Hell.
Here are the contents of Fr. Syquia’s book:
- The Church and the Devil
- The Parapsychological Dimension
- Catholicism and Philippine Folk Religiosity
- The Secrets of the New Age Movement: Notebook 1
- The Secrets of the New Age Movement: Notebook 2
- Ministering to Those under Extraordinary Demonic Assault
- Confrontation between God and the Devil
- The Catholic in the Midst of Love and War
- The Scars of Battle
- Defensive Armor and Offensive Weapons
- The Exorcist
- Haunted Houses: Notebook 1
- Haunted Houses: Notebook 2
Notes on Some of the Sources Used
Appendix A: More on Philippine Folk Religiosity
Appendix B: Personal Spiritual Warfare
Appendix C: A Concise Handbook on Exorcism and Deliverance
Appendix D: A Pastoral Approach to Infested Homes
Appendix E: Manual of Prayers
About the Author
In September 1968 issue of the America magazine, Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J. summarized the views of his fellow Jesuit, Karl Rahner S.J., published in Stimmen der Zeit, on the then recently published encyclical of Pope Paul VI, Humanae Vitae. The summary is long, but two points struck me:
In the first place, Rahner points out that Human Life cannot reasonably be considered irreformable doctrine. But this does not mean that it may be ignored. Since Catholics believe that the magisterium ordinarily operates under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the presumption should be in favor of the Pope’s declaration. Any such presumption, however, must also allow of the possibility that a Catholic can arrive at a carefully formed and critically tested conviction that in a given case the fallible magisterium has in fact erred. Nobody today denies that there are cases in which official, reformable teaching of the Holy See has in fact been erroneous. As examples, Rahner cites the views of Gregory XVI and Pius IX on liberal democracy, and various statements about the Bible issued in the aftermath of the Modernist crisis. It cannot therefore be assumed that a Catholic who conscientiously opposes the non-infallible doctrine of the magisterium, as it stands at a given moment, is necessarily disloyal. (In this connection an American Catholic might think of the long struggle of John Courtney Murray to obtain revision of certain papal pronouncements on Church-State relations.)
In the present case, Rahner continues, the complexity of the issue is such that no one opposed to the encyclical can claim absolute certainty for his own stand. But it is normal and inevitable that some should be unable to accept the pope’s doctrine. The encyclical, although it claims to be an interpretation of the natural law, does not in fact give very persuasive intrinsic arguments. The encyclical seems to look on human nature as something static and closed–not open to modification by free and responsible human decision. But for some time many moral theologians have been teaching that what is distinctive to human nature, as distinct from plant and animal life, is precisely man’s power to modify his own nature according to the demands of a higher good. The pope, in fact, seems to allow for a measure of rational manipulation of human fertility in permitting the practice of rhythm and the use of the “pill” to regularize the menstrual cycle. Undoubtedly this differs somewhat from the use of the pill for directly contraceptive purposes, but in some instances the distinction is so subtle that many will regard it as hair-splitting. Since a notable majority of the Papal Commission is known to have come out against the position later taken in the encyclical, one can hardly expect the majority of Catholics to find the reasoning of Human Life convincing.
Rahner’s arguments are echoed weeks ago when 69 (ominous number) professors of Ateneo de Manila University signed a petition in support of the Reproductive Health Bill, in defiance to the Catholic Bishops of the Philippines who insist on fidelity to Humanae Vitae:
As Catholic educators, Racelis said it was incumbent upon them to teach their students that the RH bill was not “immoral” as the Church claims.
“We respect the consciences of our bishops when they promote natural family planning as the only moral means of contraception. In turn, we ask our bishops to respect the one in three [35.6 percent] married Filipino women who, in their most secret core and sanctuary or conscience, have decided that their and their family’s interests would best be served by using a modern artificial means of contraception,” they said. (Manila Standard Today, 29 Oct 2008)
See the similarities? After 40 years, the seeds of dissent Rahner sowed in 1968 reaped 69-fold . That is,
- Papal encyclicals are fallible documents.
- Catholics can disobey them without being disloyal.
Infallibility is defined in the Catholic Encyclopedia as follows:
- Infallibility means more than exemption from actual error; it means exemption from the possibility of error;
- It does not require holiness of life, much less imply impeccability in its organs; sinful and wicked men may be God’s agents in defining infallibly;
- The validity of the Divine guarantee is independent of the fallible arguments upon which a definitive decision may be based, and of the possibly unworthy human motives that in cases of strife may appear to have influenced the result. It is the definitive result itself, and it alone, that is guaranteed to be infallible, not the preliminary stages by which it is reached.
Furthermore, the Catholic Encyclopedia continued, in Session IV, cap. 4 of Vatican Council I, it is defined that the Roman pontiff when he teaches ex cathedra “enjoys, by reason of the Divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer wished His Church to be endowed in defining doctrine regarding faith and morals”.
Was Pope Paul VI making a definitive statement as Vicar of Christ when he declares the evil nature of contraception? Let us listen to Pope Paul VI’s words in Humanae Vitae:
The Magisterium’s Reply
6. However, the conclusions arrived at by the commission could not be considered by Us as definitive and absolutely certain, dispensing Us from the duty of examining personally this serious question. This was all the more necessary because, within the commission itself, there was not complete agreement concerning the moral norms to be proposed, and especially because certain approaches and criteria for a solution to this question had emerged which were at variance with the moral doctrine on marriage constantly taught by the magisterium of the Church.
Consequently, now that We have sifted carefully the evidence sent to Us and intently studied the whole matter, as well as prayed constantly to God, We, by virtue of the mandate entrusted to Us by Christ, intend to give Our reply to this series of grave questions.
So as Aragorn said in the Last Debate before the assault on the Black Gates of Mordor:
We come now to the very brink, where hope and despair are akin. To waver is to fall. Let none now reject the counsels of Gandalf, whose long labors against Sauron come at last to their test.
Let us heed then the counsel of Pope Paul VI and reject the melodious music of Rahner the Wise. Let us reject contraception. Let us reject the Reproductive Health Bill.
If it is the Pill they clamor for, then a Pill must be given–the Pill that brought many souls back to the Catholic Faith, the Pill that sent the Roman Emperor Theodosius begging for pardon before the doors of the Church of Milan under St. Ambrose: Anathema Sit. If they do not wish to listen to the Church, then they must be excluded from the Church, and sent outside in the darkness where they will wail and gnash their teeth until they repent and pay the last penny.
An audio tape by Father John A. Hardon, S.J., S.T.D. -
Eternal Life , P.O. Box 787, Bardstown, KY 40004-0787, 502-348-3963, 1-800-842-2871. What follows are my excerpts of the excerpts from the tape. Please see end of this document.
In my judgment, the contraception mentality is the single deepest issue facing Western society. Notice, I call it “the contraception mentality.” We could just as well call it “the contraception ideology.” It was centuries in the making. It is devastating in its consequences! And it is, at the most, you might say, at its most destructive as the root of the massive assault in today’s society on the human family. Nothing less is at stake than the survival of Western, and with emphasis, American society.
So, we ask ourselves, what is — and I have two names — what is “the contraception,” or what is “the contraceptive mentality”? The contraceptive mentality is the philosophy which claims that contraception is not morally wrong. Indeed, according to this philosophy, it can be morally good for the welfare of those who practice contraception, and — certainly so its proponents claim — for the welfare of the human race. And I am speaking just a few weeks after the historic Cairo-Egypt conference, at the bottom of which was the plan to legislate — under dire financial and all kinds of economic and political sanctions — legislate, mandate contraception, sterilization, and abortion.
Already by the end of the first century there are written documents issued by Christian authorities reprobating, condemning, and always condemning three practices, and in sequence, contraception, abortion and infanticide. As Christianity spread not only numerically but ideologically, its moral influence on whole continents became imbedded in the civil laws of all the corresponding nations. It took, therefore, apostasy, apostasy in a Christian religion — and how this needs to be said — in that Christian religion of English origin that has so deeply infected, and, by now, devastated our own beloved country. Christianity was instituted by Christ to provide the moral soundness — let’s call it “the soul of society.” As long as Christians remained firm and faithful to their principles, the rest of the world where Christianity was established followed their lead. Once Christians caved in, whole nations fell along with them.
By way of a short analysis of what we said so far, before we go on. Already, therefore, before the end of the second millennium, it is now simply assumed in much of the modern world that contraception is not only justified, but has to be prescribed by the moral law. I sure hope I’m clear! It is no longer toleration, no longer permission, it is now prescription. The grounds for this “widespread mentality,” as we are calling it, are mainly the professed priority of each person’s own conscience. How this needs to be underlined! Instead of the mind and will of God being the guide which sets the norms for moral behaviour, it is now each person’s own mind determined by each person’s own will. What that person decides is good, becomes good. What that person decides is evil, is evil. In other words, each person’s conscience is his own judge of what is morally good or morally bad. Conscience, therefore, has been redefined to mean each person’s own free will independent of an objective Divine Law which teaches us our minds what is morally right or wrong.
N.B. For a copy of this tape, other audiotapes, albums, books and catechisms by Father John A. Hardon, S.J., S.T.D. write to Eternal Life (Web page: http://www.lifeeternal.org) at the above address; or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Fax: 502-348-2224.
Father Hardon, a member of the Society of Jesus, was born in 1914 and died on December 30, 2000. He was an internationally renowned and highly respected theologian, an advisor to His Holiness Pope John Paul II, preacher, professor, lecturer, and a prolific writer of many books, articles, etc. on the matters of Faith and Morals.