Saturday, November 12, 2005

The Rainbow Sashay Movement and Vatican II

The Rainbow Sash movement distributed a press release saying it wants to disrupt the mass again and use the Holy Eucharist as a tool to gain attention. I think they have a right to their own opinions but it is wrong to impose themselves on others at holy mass and create a sacrilege by misusing the most holy gift and possession of the church for their own political use. I thought it might be fun to dissect their press release by comparing it to the Second Vatican Council documents while I drink my morning coffee.

Rainbow Sash Movement... Call on Catholic Bishops to Enter into Common Ground Dialogue
Saturday November 12, 6:00 am ET

WASHINGTON, Nov. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- As our Catholic Community gathers to celebrate the Holy Eucharist in the Nations Capital, at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception on November 14, 2005 at 5 PM, the Rainbow Sash Movement's delegation will be present wearing Rainbow Sashes. The Sash will identify us as Gay/Lesbian believers. This Plenary Liturgy will begin the annual fall meeting of US Catholic Bishops. It is unfortunate that Cardinal Francis George of Chicago and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, DC have threatened to deny us Communion. We denounce such a threat, and challenge such behavior among Catholics.

We are calling on the Bishops to enter into a common ground dialogue. With each passing day the atmosphere between Gay/Lesbian Catholics and the Bishops is being poisoned by clueless statements that are emanating from the Vatican. Threats to deny gay men ordination are an attempt to deflect the spotlight from the real enablers of the sex abuse scandal. There appears to be a growing inability among the bishops to engage in honest, civilized discourse on the common ground of Faith.

Using the word "The Vatican" deflects from the fact that the teaching comes from the Holy Father in his office of universal authority over the liturgy and teaching. Teaching emanates from the teaching office of the Church to the faithful where it should take root and thrive and come back to the teaching office richer and deeper. The high point of that process is reflected in the lives of people like Catherine of Siena or Theresa of Avila. They are even given a title "Doctors of the Church" to express this reality.

As we read in Vatican II document Lumen Gentium

Lumen Gentium 14 "They are fully incorporated in the society of the Church who, possessing the Spirit of Christ accept her entire system and all the means of salvation given to her, and are united with her as part of her visible bodily structure and through her with Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. The bonds which bind men to the Church in a visible way are profession of faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical government and communion."

Lumen Gentium "The pope's power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact. In virtue of his office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power."

Instead of compromise and moderation, our bishops engage in bullying. They use the Eucharistic meal not as the sign of God's invitation to all people to become one, but as a weapon to beat those who disagree with them over the head. Thinly veiled threats are issued against those who don't toe the line.

Where is the "Eucharistic meal" defined as "the sign of God's invitation to all people to become one..." What the Eucharist does to those who participate in it is more than a loosely defined idea of becoming one. See LG 11

"Taking part in the eucharistic sacrifice, which is the fount and apex of the whole Christian life, they offer the Divine Victim to God, and offer themselves along with It. Thus both by reason of the offering and through Holy Communion all take part in this liturgical service, not indeed, all in the same way but each in that way which is proper to himself. Strengthened in Holy Communion by the Body of Christ, they then manifest in a concrete way that unity of the people of God which is suitably signified and wondrously brought about by this most august sacrament."

Quoting the Document on the Liturgy

"... the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows. For the aim and object of apostolic works is that all who are made sons of God by faith and baptism should come together to praise God in the midst of His Church, to take part in the sacrifice, and to eat the Lord's supper.

The liturgy in its turn moves the faithful, filled with "the paschal sacraments," to be "one in holiness" (26); it prays that "they may hold fast in their lives to what they have grasped by their faith" (27); the renewal in the Eucharist of the covenant between the Lord and man draws the faithful into the compelling love of Christ and sets them on fire. From the liturgy, therefore, and especially from the Eucharist, as from a font, grace is poured forth upon us; and the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God, to which all other activities of the Church are directed as toward their end, is achieved in the most efficacious possible way."

Rather than merely a sign, the Eucharist is a thing in itself -- the Holy and precious Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who is in himself and in the Eucharist, which are one and the same thing, the 'source and summit' of the Church, the faithful, and the entire history of humanity.

Those who find themselves in disagreement with the bishops are often demonized, marginalized and refused Communion. The actions of the Bishops in the current unfolding child sexual abuse scandal, has splintered Church unity. There appears to be an attempt to corral Catholics into a false sense of unity and knee jerk fundamentalism in order not to deal with the systemic corruption of the Church.

The clergy sex scandal is an enormous tragedy, indeed. But if the Church discontinued teaching because of each of its scandals over the past two millennia, we would not have had all of the Councils and great teachers that emerged from St. Augustine to St. Charles Borromeo, from Nicea to Trent and beyond. Short history of Ecumenical Councils

The bishops need to ask themselves what can bring Catholics together as a people. What kind of thoughtful response is possible in the face of a fundamental belief in one's own inerrancy? Such a position leaves no room for God or discernment. St. Paul said "now we see as through a glass darkly ... " This simply means we cannot have complete certitude regarding God's will. It is so easy to condemn and more difficult to love. How can we love God, whom we have not seen, yet hate our neighbor, whom we have seen because he or she is of the wrong sexual orientation? We encourage other Catholics of Good will to stand with us. This is not about protest it is about love of Church.

The 'thoughtful' response that Catholics have to the Church's teaching authority is to unite our intellect and will to the Church as use our minds to deepen our understanding of what the Lord teaches through the Church...'who ever hears you hears me, and whoever sees you sees me...whatever you loose on earth is loosed in heaven and whatever you bind on earth is bound in heaven.' This means that God expects us to follow the Church and he will hold us responsible for that. ' whom much is given much will be expected' To understand Paul's idea that we '...see as through a glass darkly' we have to finish the phrase'... but then face to face' referred not to Church teaching but was comparing the incremental way in which we learn on earth to the way in which we will instantly know things when we are in heaven in the 'beatific vision.' In the meantime, Christ promised that he would 'not leave us orphans,' but gave us Peter and the apostles and their successors to give us everything we need for salvation.

The Second Vatican Council discussed this issue of 'inerrancy' as follows:

25. Among the principal duties of bishops the preaching of the Gospel occupies an eminent place.(39*) For bishops are preachers of the faith, who lead new disciples to Christ, and they are authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice, and by the light of the Holy Spirit illustrate that faith. They bring forth from the treasury of Revelation new things and old,(164) making it bear fruit and vigilantly warding off any errors that threaten their flock.(165) Bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth. In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent. This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking.

Although the individual bishops do not enjoy the prerogative of infallibility, they nevertheless proclaim Christ's doctrine infallibly whenever, even though dispersed through the world, but still maintaining the bond of communion among themselves and with the successor of Peter, and authentically teaching matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement on one position as definitively to be held.(40*) This is even more clearly verified when, gathered together in an ecumenical council, they are teachers and judges of faith and morals for the universal Church, whose definitions must be adhered to with the submission of faith.(41*)

And this infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed His Church to be endowed in defining doctrine of faith and morals, extends as far as the deposit of Revelation extends, which must be religiously guarded and faithfully expounded. And this is the infallibility which the Roman Pontiff, the head of the college of bishops, enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith,(166) by a definitive act he proclaims a doctrine of faith or morals.(42*) And therefore his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly styled irreformable, since they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, promised to him in blessed Peter, and therefore they need no approval of others, nor do they allow an appeal to any other judgment. For then the Roman Pontiff is not pronouncing judgment as a private person, but as the supreme teacher of the universal Church, in whom the charism of infallibility of the Church itself is individually present, he is expounding or defending a doctrine of Catholic faith.(43*) The infallibility promised to the Church resides also in the body of Bishops, when that body exercises the supreme magisterium with the successor of Peter. To these definitions the assent of the Church can never be wanting, on account of the activity of that same Holy Spirit, by which the whole flock of Christ is preserved and progresses in unity of faith.(44*)

But when either the Roman Pontiff or the Body of Bishops together with him defines a judgment, they pronounce it in accordance with Revelation itself, which all are obliged to abide by and be in conformity with, that is, the Revelation which as written or orally handed down is transmitted in its entirety through the legitimate succession of bishops and especially in care of the Roman Pontiff himself, and which under the guiding light of the Spirit of truth is religiously preserved and faithfully expounded in the Church.(45*) The Roman Pontiff and the bishops, in view of their office and the importance of the matter, by fitting means diligently strive to inquire properly into that revelation and to give apt expression to its contents;(46*) but a new public revelation they do not accept as pertaining to the divine deposit of faith.(47*)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Speaking of Bishop's

Here was a great post about the8 Habits of Highly Effective Bishops

1. A bishop must be personally holy.
2. A bishop must promote and defend the authentic Catholic Faith.
3. A bishop must be committed to Catholic education.
4. A bishop must work to strengthen the Catholic family.
5. A bishop must foster vocations.
6. A bishop must love the Mass.
7. A bishop must be willing and able to start from scratch.
8. A bishop must be vocal in the public square.

I guess we must all do this, not just bishops. I fail as well as the next man. However, I am not a professional catholic like Bishops.

Two things worth reading on the role of the Bishop are the Enciclycal Letter of JPII Pastores Gregis

and the great Bishop Carlson's letter on a Bishop's Duties which in some ways prefigured JPII's letter.

Lincoln Nebraska has best Priest/Parishoner Ratio

See Article

"According to the Official Catholic Directory of 2005, the authoritative guide to the Catholic Church in the U.S., there are 121 active diocesan priests in Lincoln and 89,236 Catholics.

Those numbers indicate there is one priest for every 737 Catholics, which is far greater than the total national statistic of one priest for every 4,723 Catholics. The New York Times reported Oct. 7 that in 2003, there was nationally one priest for every 2,677 Catholics, meaning the U.S. priest shortage has nearly doubled in the last two years.

In Omaha, with one priest for every 1,755 Catholics, the diocese is slightly behind Lincoln but still far above the national average.

The directory also shows that some of the lowest ratios of active priests to Catholics tend to occur in larger dioceses.

The Diocese of Los Angeles has only one priest for every 12,217 Catholics, and the Diocese of El Paso, Texas, has one priest for every 11, 927 Catholics."

In Lincoln Nebraska not only is the Latin Mass encouraged but the Society of St. Peter has a major seminary there. Their website

With all due respect for Cardinal Mahoney but one source says that three people are ordained in the largest catholic diocese in the U.S. See notes in this link

Cardinal Mahoney told one group that the Parochial ministry is changing. He was refering to his pastoral letter, As I Have Done For You

“The pastoral letter does not chart out a course for dealing with the ‘vocation crisis,’ but is, we believe, a Spirit-assisted response to the deepening awareness that it is in the very nature of the Church to be endowed with many gifts, ministries and offices,” he said. “Consequently, mere adjustment and small shifts in practice will not do. What is called for is a reorientation in our thinking about ministry, as well as in our ministerial practice.”

I guess if you cannot inspire men to become priests you tell people that the Holy Spirit doesn't need Priests but needs us to change our thinking. The Bishop of Lincoln has another approach, Pray for vocations

I am sure that Cardinal Mahoney is sincere but Lay people need leadership and the sacraments so that they can go out an save the world, they don't need to compete with priests for jobs in the sanctuary.

Latin Mass encouraged at the Synod

Propositions from the Synod

"Proposition 36 suggests that in international celebrations the Mass be said in Latin, apart from the readings, the homily, and the Prayers of the Faithful, and that priests be trained from the seminary to use Latin prayers as well as Gregorian Chant. It also recommends that the faithful be educated to do so as well.John Allen's original

This reminds me of a conversation I had with a nice priest who was training major seminarians. I asked him what they teach for liturgical music at the seminary and he said that they really didn't teach anything and the music was chosen by the seminarians from a song book for their Sunday liturgy. Hopefully this will change and the seminaries will hire music directors to teach Gregorian Chant. This is a long rang proposition.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

The Tridentine Mass in Fargo ND

Bishop in Fargo says he will deny Funeral rites to Catholics who attend St. Pius X Latin Mass

In contrast, this is how our current Pope Benedict XVI viewed these people:

The Holy Father (then Cardinal
Ratzinger) wrote in 2002:

"For fostering a true consciousness in liturgical matters, it is
also important that the proscription against the form of liturgy in
valid use up to 1970 should be lifted. Anyone who nowadays advocates
the continuing existence of this liturgy or takes part in it is
treated like a leper; all tolerance ends here. There has never been
anything like this in history; in doing this we are despising and
proscribing the Church's whole past. How can one trust her present
if things are that way? I must say, quite openly, that I don't
understand why so many of my Episcopal brethren have to a great
extent submitted to this rule of intolerance, which for no apparent
reason is opposed to making the necessary inner reconciliations
within the Church."

The best option is to 'generously allow' (JPII) the indult mass in the diocese for those Roman Catholics who feel an attachment to the 1962 liturgy. Our good and gracious Lord can see from his throne in heaven all of the licit and illicit ways in which the church bends over backwards to try and make itself inclusive for people of progressive sympathies.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Communion in hand versus on tongue gets attention at synod

Two things to keep in mind when reading this article

The Melkite Patriarch is right and wrong. Communion in the hand existed but it was the exception not the rule. St. Basil admitted it for times of persecution but there is no evidence that it was a universal custom in the church.

The use and abuse of ancient history as it relates to the liturgy is amusing. People with no real evidence imagine an idyllic past from fragments that are at best questionable and recreate a past based on a view of the present that makes them happy. When confronted with the difficulty of establishing their view as historically defensible they just ignore the facts because that is too much work. They are using history to explain their views of today.

by John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- It was not listed as a topic for discussion, but the question of Communion in the hand versus Communion on the tongue received attention at the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist.

Cardinal Janis Pujats of Riga, Latvia, was the first to raise the issue, telling the synod Oct. 3 that he thought Catholics should receive Communion on the tongue -- while kneeling. When communicants stand, Cardinal Pujats said, he feels like a dentist looking into their mouths.

Cardinal Francis Arinze, who heads the Vatican's worship congregation, responded by saying that arguments could be made for both Communion practices, in the hand and on the tongue, according to information released by the Vatican. Ultimately, he said, it's up to bishops' conferences to decide what is best in each country, but he added that Communion in the hand needs better catechesis.

Cardinal Arinze said non-Catholics in particular sometimes fail to understand Communion in the hand. He related a story about one person who went up and received Communion and then took it home and kept the host in his scrapbook.

The cardinal added that Communion in the hand does make it easier for sacrilege against a consecrated host. He reminded bishops that a host reportedly received at a papal Mass in 1998 was put up for sale on eBay earlier this year before being withdrawn by the seller.

Speaking Oct. 4, Archbishop Jan Lenga of Karaganda, Kazakhstan, called Communion in the hand a "fad." He proposed that the Vatican issue a universal norm to gradually do away with it and return to Communion on the tongue while kneeling.

The archbishop said Muslims in his predominantly Islamic country consider it disrespectful to receive Communion in the hand while standing. He said Catholics could learn a lot from Orthodox Christians and Muslims about how to show reverence to God.

He added that Communion in the hand adds to the risk of host fragments breaking off and falling to the ground and to the risk of profaning the consecrated host.

One synod participant noted that objections to Communion in the hand were coming from bishops in Eastern Europe, where the liturgical changes introduced by the Second Vatican Council have been implemented only recently.

A different perspective was offered by Melkite Patriarch Gregoire III Laham of Damascus, Syria. He quoted the fourth-century writings of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, who described how Communion should be received in the hand as if the hand were a throne for the Lord. Communion in the hand was the common practice in the early centuries of the church.

The Vatican opened the way for a return to Communion in the hand in 1969, allowing local bishops' conferences to adopt the practice as an option. At the time, the Vatican cautioned that the change should be introduced gradually and with instruction, so that a sense of reverence was preserved.


Monday, July 25, 2005

Gregorian Chant Encouraged

...but new music?

Attn: Peter, Paul and Mary: The idea is to remove profane music

Working Paper Suggests Return to More Prayerful Hymns

VATICAN CITY, JULY 22, 2005 ( The working paper of the next Synod of Bishops suggests that "songs used at present" in the liturgy should "be reconsidered."

The proposal appears in No. 60 of the working document for the assembly of bishops from all over the world, which will be held Oct. 2-23 in Rome, on the theme "The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church."

Based on responses from dioceses, religious and the laity to a questionnaire, the text acknowledges in No. 61 that "to enter into sacred or religious usage, instrumental or vocal music is to have a sense of prayer, dignity and beauty."

In the liturgy, music must have "integrity of form, expressing true artistry, corresponding to the various rites and capable of adaptation to the legitimate demands of inculturation, … without detracting from the idea of universality," the document states.

The working paper, published July 7, outlines the topics that the bishops will discuss during the assembly.

In connection with the question of liturgical singing, the paper states that "musicians and poets should be encouraged to compose new hymns, according to liturgical standards, which contain authentic catechetical teaching on the paschal mystery, Sunday and the Eucharist."

Gregorian chant

In particular, the document suggests the rediscovery of Gregorian chant, as it "fulfills these needs" and, therefore, can "serve as a model," quoting Pope John Paul II.

In No. 61, the text states that in the responses to the questionnaire with which they concluded the synod's first preparatory text, "some lamented the poor quality of translations of liturgical texts and many musical texts in current languages, maintaining that they lacked beauty and were sometimes theologically unclear, thereby contributing to a weakening of Church teaching and to a misunderstanding of prayer."

The paper refers in particular to youth Masses, stressing the need "to avoid musical forms which, because of their profane use, are not conducive to prayer."

"Some responses," it adds, "note a certain eagerness in composing new songs, to the point of almost yielding to a consumer mentality, showing little concern for the quality of the music and text, and easily overlooking the artistic patrimony which has been theologically and musically effective in the Church's liturgy."

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Cardinal to Boycott Graduation

Cardinal Keeler will boycott the Loyola University Graduation because Rudolf Guliani is the commencement speaker.

I am not sure I agree with this. Rudolf Guliani maybe pro-choice but he is not against people holding pro-life views. I think that is what is most important. Mother Theresa was booed at Harvard but she was allowed to speak. Here is an excerpt from an interview with her and Time magazine

"Time: You and John Paul II, among other Church leaders, have spoken out against certain lifestyles in the West, against materialism and abortion. How alarmed are you?

Mother Teresa: I always say one thing: If a mother can kill her own child, then what is left of the West to be destroyed? It is difficult to explain , but it is just that.

Time: When you spoke at Harvard University a few years ago, you said abortion was a great evil and people booed. What did you think when people booed you?

Mother Teresa: I offered it to our Lord. It's all for Him, no? I let Him say what He wants.

Time: But these people who booed you would say that they also only want the best for women?

Mother Teresa: That may be. But we must tell the truth.

Time: And that is?

Mother Teresa: We have no right to kill. Thou shalt not kill, a commandment of God. And still should we kill the helpless one, the little one? You see we get so excited because people are throwing bombs and so many are being killed. For the grown ups, there is so much excitement in the world. But that little one in the womb, not even a sound? He cannot even escape. That child is the poorest of the poor.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Archbishop (soon Cardinal) Levada Promoted

Archbishop Levada has been appointed the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This is good news. I am sure he is glad to go even though I am sure he will miss San Francisco. We wish him well in his new endeavor. I have only met him twice. But both times he seemed somewhat distant and more than anything diplomatic. But always seemed like he was in a hurry to get somewhere else.

We will survey his tenure here later.

Monday, May 09, 2005

10 Years of Baptism Invalid

How Does Your Church Baptize?

Archbishop John Bathersby of Brisbane, Australia commented to the press that baptisms performed at St. Mary's Church for the past 10 years were invalid and re-baptism would be needed. This was according to canonical advice he received. The Archbishop said, "The words of scripture can't be adjusted to suit our own taste. The next thing we'll be getting rid of is Christ himself."
For more than a decade, Fr. Peter Kennedy had been baptiz-ing infants by saying: "In the name of the Creator, Liberator and Sustainer", rather than, In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."
In November, Archbishop Bathersby published a letter in which he said that it was up to the priest and to the people if they wished to remain in communion with the Catholic Church. "They either want to be in communion or not. If they decide that they don't want to follow the authority of the Church, then they have made the choice not to be a part of the uni-versal Church."
Does your priest baptize "in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit"?

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Voice of the Faithful's Prayers Answered

This nice prayer for the Voice of the Faithful seems to have been answered. That was a quick election in which a pope was elected with what reports to be 80% of the Cardinal's votes. The Holy Spirit gave the church the leader we need to bring us all closer to Christ. Thank You VOTF

A Litany for the Faithful
At the time of the Conclave

R: God of Wisdom, God of Mercy, God of Justice, hear our prayer.

Lead us, as the Body of Christ, to raise our “voices” in prayer, helping us to be active participants in the selection of the successor to the chair of St. Peter.

R: God of Wisdom, God of Mercy, God of Justice, hear our prayer.

Let the hearts and minds of the Cardinal/Bishops gathered be truly open to the work of your Holy Spirit in their midst as they accept the important work of choosing new leadership for your Church, your people.

R: God of Wisdom, God of Mercy, God of Justice, hear our prayer. Let the Spirit of Wis

dom, Compassion and Openness dwell among all your bishops as they contemplate the needs of your Church; help them be responsive to the prayers of the People of God.

R: God of Wisdom, God of Mercy, God of Justice, hear our prayer.

May the “Sensum Fidelium” inform the deliberations of the leaders of our church in conclave, may the “faithful’s voice” be heard and the genuine needs of the People of God be at the center of all deliberations.

R: God of Wisdom, God of Mercy, God of Justice, hear our prayer.

May the Gospel values of love, justice, inclusion, mercy, reconciliation and communion guide the collaboration and vision of those who are called to elect a new Pontiff.

R: God of Wisdom, God of Mercy, God of Justice, hear our prayer

Instill in the People of God a genuine sense of hope as they look to the future; hope in the Risen Christ who we meet along our own road to Emmaus this Easter season; hope in the Spirit of the Risen Christ that dwells in and among us and is with us all ways, until the end of time.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Pope Benedict XVI - Ideas on Liturgy when Cardinal Ratzinger

This is a review Cardinal Ratzinger wrote Versus Deum per Iesum Christum.

Versus Deum per Iesum Christum

“The latest direction of liturgical action, never expressed to such an extent in the outer forms, is the same for the priest and for the people: towards the Lord”. The introduction of the dean of the Sacred College to the book of Uwe Michael Lang

by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Now Pope Benedict XVI)

To the ordinary churchgoer, the two most obvious effects of the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council seem to be the disappearance of Latin and the turning of the altars towards the people. Those who read the relevant texts will be astonished to learn that neither is in fact found in the decrees of the Council. The use of the vernacular is certainly permitted, especially for the Liturgy of the Word; but the preceding general rule of the Council text says, ‘Particular law remaining in force, the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites’ (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 36.1). There is nothing in the Council text about turning altars towards the people; that point is raised only in post-conciliar instructions. The most important directive is found in paragraph 262 of the Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani, the General Instruction of the new Roman Missal, issued in 1969. That says, ‘It is better for the main altar to be constructed away from the wall so that one can easily walk around the altar and celebrate facing the people (versus populum).’ The General Instruction of the Missal issued in 2002 retained this text unaltered except for the addition of the subordinate clause, ‘which is desirable wherever possible’. This was taken in many quarters as hardening the 1969 text to mean that there was now a general obligation to set up altars facing the people ‘wherever possible’. This interpretation, however, was rejected by the Congregation for Divine Worship on 25 September 2000, when it declared that the word ‘expedit’ (‘is desirable’) did not imply an obligation but only made a suggestion. The physical orientation, the Congregation says, must be distinguished from the spiritual. Even if a priest celebrates versus populum, he should always be oriented versus Deum per Iesum Christum (towards God through Jesus Christ). Rites, signs, symbols and words can never exhaust the inner reality of the mystery of salvation. For this reason the Congregation warns against one-sided and rigid positions in this debate.

This is an important clarification. It sheds light on what is relative in the external symbolic forms of the liturgy and resists the fanaticisms that, unfortunately, have not been uncommon in the controversies of the last forty years. At the same time it highlights the internal direction of liturgical action, which can never be expressed in its totality by external forms. This internal direction is the same for priest and people, towards the Lord – towards the Father through Christ in the Holy Spirit. The Congregation’s response should thus make for a new, more relaxed discussion, in which we can search for the best ways of putting into practice the mystery of salvation. The quest is to be achieved not by condemning one another, but by carefully listening to each other and, even more importantly, listening to the internal guidance of the liturgy itself. The labelling of positions as ‘preconciliar’, ‘reactionary’ and ‘conservative’ or as ‘progressive’ and ‘alien to the faith’ achieves nothing; what is needed is a new mutual openness in the search for the best realisation of the memorial of Christ.

This small book by Uwe Michael Lang, a member of the London Oratory, studies the direction of liturgical prayer from a historical, theological and pastoral point of view. At a propitious moment, as it seems to me, this book resumes a debate that, despite appearances to the contrary, has never really gone away, not even after the Second Vatican Council. The Innsbruck liturgist Josef Andreas Jungmann, one of the architects of the Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, was from the very beginning resolutely opposed to the polemical catchphrase that previously the priest celebrated ‘with his back to the people’; he emphasised that what was at issue was not the priest turning away from the people, but, on the contrary, his facing the same direction as the people. The Liturgy of the Word has the character of proclamation and dialogue, to which address and response can rightly belong. But in the Liturgy of the Eucharist the priest leads the people in prayer and is turned, together with the people, towards the Lord. For this reason, Jungmann argued, the common direction of priest and people is intrinsically fitting and proper to the liturgical action. Louis Bouyer (like Jungmann, one of the Council’s leading liturgists) and Klaus Gamber have each in his own way taken up the same question. Despite their great reputation, they were unable to make their voices heard at first, so strong was the tendency to stress the communality of the liturgical celebration and to regard therefore the face-to-face position of priest and people as absolutely necessary.

More recently the atmosphere has become more relaxed so that it is possible to raise the kind of questions asked by Jungmann, Bouyer and Gamber without at once being suspected of anti-conciliar sentiments. Historical research has made the controversy less partisan, and among the faithful there is an increasing sense of the problems inherent in an arrangement that hardly shows the liturgy to be open to the things that are above and to the world to come. In this situation, Uwe Michael Lang’s delightfully objective and wholly unpolemical book is a valuable guide. Without claiming to offer major new insights, he carefully presents the results of recent research and provides the material necessary for making an informed judgment. The book is especially valuable in showing the contribution made by the Church of England to this question and in giving, also, due consideration to the part played by the Oxford Movement in the nineteenth century (in which the conversion of John Henry Newman matured). It is from such historical evidence that the author elicits the theological answers that he proposes, and I hope that the book, the work of a young scholar, will help the struggle – necessary in every generation – for the right understanding and worthy celebration of the sacred liturgy. I wish the book a wide and attentive readership.

The text of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger printed in these pages, unpublished in Italy, is the preface which the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote for Uwe Michael Lang’s book Conversi ad Dominum. Zu Gechichte und Theologie der christlichen Gebetsrichtung, published last year in Switzerland by Johannes Verlag in Einsiedeln. The English version of the book (Turning towards the Lord: Orientation in Liturgical Prayer) is coming out with the Ignatius Press publishing house of San Francisco (USA), which holds the copyright of the book.

Uwe Michael Lang is a member of the Oratory of Saint Filippo Neri in London, studied theology in Vienna and Oxford, and has published numerous texts on patristic subjects.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Benedict election as Pope seen as "coup, by an all-male, patriarchal, clerical church"

I think it is generally unfair to characterize opposing viewpoints by their most extreme adherents or the most absurd end of their spectrum. Therefore, the following should be read in jest, even though the authors are quite serious.

This is from the "Open Conclave" movement of feminists called Woman Church Convergence


Press Release of Women-Church Convergence
April 19, 2005

Women-Church Announces Cyberspace Forum on Women’s Equality; Challenges Pope Benedict XVI to Join the Discussion

Bridget Mary Meehan 703-671-1972 703-283-2929
Mary E. Hunt 301-589-2509 240-472-4587

Women-Church Convergence announces a cyberspace forum for a global conversation on issues, reforms and actions needed to shape the Catholic Church into a “discipleship of equals” in the twenty-first century

Women-Church co-coordinator Bridget Mary Meehan asserted, “We are providing a forum for feminist voices around the world to join together in the work for Gospel equality and justice in our church and world. Women-Church Convergence invites Pope Benedict XVI to join in this dialogue.” Spurred by the success of the Women-Church on-line “Open Conclave” that facilitated the exchange of opinions among thousands of people while the cardinals sat in a locked room, feminist theologian Mary E. Hunt noted, “The Convergence sees this next step as modeling a new, 21st century way to be church where all are welcome.”

Women-Church Convergence is alarmed at the election of Pope Benedict XVI. We believe that the Spirit of God acts through the people of God and this selection reflects a reactionary-right-wing succession plan, perhaps a coup, by an all-male, patriarchal, clerical church.

As prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger released a letter on July 31, 2004, condemning feminism. As the enforcer of orthodoxy, he forbade the discussion of women-priests. We reject both the substance and the process of such teaching and assure concerned people of good will that such authoritarianism has no place in the Catholic community.

Women-Church Convergence calls on Pope Benedict XVI to distance himself from his former role as the arbiter of doctrine and to take on the mantle of a pastoral listener. Women-Church invites the new pope, whose role is to be a symbol of unity, to join in the dialogue and actions to bring about equality and partnership for women in all aspects of church life, including ordination to a renewed priestly ministry. Instead of condemning feminism, we expect Pope Benedict XVI to affirm the important values that Catholic feminists bring to the table and to recognize our leadership. A first step would be to invite Catholic feminists to fill fifty percent of the leadership roles in all Catholic institutions, beginning with the Curia.

Women-Church Convergence is a coalition of autonomous Catholic-rooted organizations/groups working for the empowerment of women in church and society.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Clinton on Pope JPII's Mixed Legacy

See original article

"En route to Rome, Clinton told reporters the pope “centralized authority in the papacy again and enforced a very conservative theological doctrine. There will be debates about that. The number of Catholics increased by 250 million on his watch. But the numbers of priests didn't. He's like all of us - he may have a mixed legacy.”

I wonder if Clinton realizes that the growth in the number of priests is most affected from below not above. Parish priests inspire young men and the bishop's set up a process whereby these young men are prepared and made priests. Look at Bishop Carlson, now of Saginaw, and other bishops who have ordained many men in small diocese. See Detroit Times

According to the Dodge Study on the ordained class of 2004, 70%-75% percent of the men ordained had been altar boys and 70%-80% of the men said that a priest initiated the discussion regarding becoming a priest. see pdf of report

This also ignores the many men who have approached diocese in the past but lacked the will to play by certain rules in order to become priests, as Michael Rose points out in his NY Times Best Seller Goodbye Good Men.

Add to that the general confusion after the Second Vatican Council and the ongoing debates in the church over the identity of the Priest before and after the Council. I remember when I first told my parish priest that I wanted to become a priest he told me that I should become a counselor instead. He told me I would be helping people more. He left the priesthood within a month of that conversation. Most of the parish priests I had as a child left the priesthood in the 70's.

What John Paul II did was reverse the identity crisis that he referred to in his first encyclical letter Redempto Hominis

"... in spite of the various internal weaknesses that affected her in the postconciliar period. ...At times this awareness has proved stronger than the various critical attitudes attacking ab intra, internally, the Church, her institutions and structures, and ecclesiastics and their activities. This growing criticism was certainly due to various causes and we are furthermore sure that it was not always without sincere love for the Church. Undoubtedly one of the tendencies it displayed was to overcome what has been called triumphalism, about which there was frequent discussion during the Council. While it is right that, in accordance with the example of her Master, who is "humble in heart"13, the Church also should have humility as her foundation, that she should have a critical sense with regard to all that goes to make up her human character and activity, and that she should always be very demanding on herself, nevertheless criticism too should have its just limits. Otherwise it ceases to be constructive and does not reveal truth, love and thankfulness for the grace in which we become sharers principally and fully in and through the Church. Furthermore such criticism does not express an attitude of service but rather a wish to direct the opinion of others in accordance with one's own, which is at times spread abroad in too thoughtless a manner."

Through is strong example and voluminous writings he taught us to be firm in our faith and our fidelity to the tradition of the church without the triumphalism of those who look at the church in an us vs. them mentality.

Who knows how many priests there would be without him. But we are sure that Our Lord, "would not leave us orphans," and still "the harvest is many but the laborers are few." We must "pray to the Lord of the Harvest" to send generous souls to be priests and religious. For the Lord is doing the planting, we just have to harvest.

The Pope and the Nobel Prize

Looking at the news and the millions of people around the globe mourning the Pope and the encomiums filing in from everyone, I can't help but to think that maybe the Nobel Prize committee made a mistake when they did not give the Holy Father the Nobel Peace Prize this past time. See story

What struck me was Senator Dodd's statement that he met the Pope in 1983 and gave him a message from Lech Walesa:(See Story)

"Lech Walesa wanted to know if his solidarity movement was overusing the church," said Dodd. He said the pope's answer was no, he was not concerned that the churches -- often meeting places for the solidarity movement -- were being misused.

"He was already sowing the seeds for the critical role he played in that," recalled Dodd, who still carries rosary beads that the pontiff gave him. "No one deserves more credit than the pope for bringing to an end the cold war."

Not that he brought down the Iron Curtain but his support for Solidarity certainly made the Soviet's keep from sending troops there, hastening the demise of Poland's communist government and from there the rest of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union itself. see story

It was most certainly the fatigue of a unworkable system that eventually make the communist governments collapse but the actual events were spurred by international figures like Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II.

That is not the whole story. John Paul inspired so many people to heights of devotion and heroism from his example, teaching and leading that lit so many lights around the globe. These bishops, priests, religious and lay people are the true story of JPII's influence for peace in the world. In his role of "confirming his brethren" he strengthened the message and focus of the Church toward "a preferential option for the poor" while at the same time defending life from conception to natural death.

His reaching out to other religions and spiritual leaders, despite real differences of opinion should be seen as an example that people who fundamentally disagree can work and pray together for peace in the world.

Why should Arafat receive the Nobel Peace Prize for socking away billions in Swiss bank accounts while fomenting hatred in the middle east by paying suicide bombers and encouraging war to keep his own position of power. There are countless people around the globe like Iranian Human Rights crusader, Shirin Ebadi (2003 recipient)and Professor Wangari Maathai, of Kenya. And it is god that the Nobel Committee named them, but there was only one Pope John Paul II and he was clearly and publicly near the end of his life over the last couple of years. So if Ebadi or Maathai had to wait one year, what was the difference.

I assume that he did not get the prize because of his stand on contraception, defense of the unborn and a more conservative moral philosophy with regards to sex outside of a monogamous relationship between a man and a woman.

The great outpouring of grief and support for the Holy Father should give the Nobel Committee cause to pause and reflect that maybe they put themselves onto the margins of the 20th Centuries great currents and missed one of its greatest leaders.

After all, if he wanted to plant 10 million trees he would have just had to get 1% of the Catholics to plant a tree. Maybe then he would have gotten the prize. Instead he planted the seed of hope and peace in the hearts of millions of people around the globe that will replicate for generations.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Major Computer Virus Issues

last week had disrupted the flow of stuff. more tommorrow. Let us Pray for the Holy Father who is deathly ill at this point. Latest News from Bloomberg.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Schiavo, Roe vs. Wade and the Courts

As heard on the NewsHour

Judicial or political intervention

JIM LEHRER: In other words, the judge in Florida should not be resolving this; there should be a federal law of some kind that would resolve this?

DAVID BROOKS: Right. And I would say building off the abortion example, I mean, I personally believe if we had settled the abortion issue politically rather than judicially, we would have arrived at some sort of muddled solution, which was not either or and most Americans would be happy with it. And most Americans would regard it as a little more legitimate. And just people would feel happy with the law. And as with that birth issue, I think the same thing is true with this death issue.

JIM LEHRER: But, David, this issue involving Terri Schiavo has been going on for seven years and Congress did nothing until issuing some subpoenas today.

DAVID BROOKS: That's right. And there's an element of political grandstanding. But there's also an element of sincere belief. I mean, I'm personally sort of in the middle on this issue. I'm muddled. I confess I haven't really come to conclusions about this subject.

But I do, just thinking about it, why does there seem to be a presumption toward the death option when the woman's parents are willing to take care of her? Why can't we have a law that says the presumption is toward life unless you sign something and there's something very concrete that's definable in a court of law saying "No, I don't want these measures taken?" To me there should be a presumption toward life but everyone have the right to sign something, which makes it very cut and dry.

MARK SHIELDS: Jim, one thing, David used the term "grandstanding," which I think was probably kind. I went back and checked the files; Tom Delay had not spoken on this issue -- the House Republican Majority Leader, until Wednesday of this week. I mean, I think it's a great diversionary tactic for him.

I don't think there's any question he identifies himself with Palm Sunday, that there are people of deep religious conviction who believe that this is totally wrong and that somehow he wants to divert attention. I don't think there's any question about it. And the idea of subpoenaing Terri Schiavo is a grandstand.

But the issue remains, and I think David is right, a political resolution of the abortion issue would have resolved that. We were headed toward that on a state-by-state basis. Some states were going to legalize it under certain terms, others were going to legalize it totally in New York, and then we short circuited it by going to the courts. And I think this is a mistake here."

This is one of the most thoughtful discussions I have seen to date. Especially important because of the ideas that we have allowed the courts to become a world in themselves and so moral issues become issues of legal procedure. Legal procedure cannot solve moral dilemmas. David Brooks is quite right that the courts have a "presumption toward the death option" instead of a presumption toward life option.

Mary Ann Glendon has written well on exceptional nature of Roe vs. Wade and how at the time people knew it was a manufactured decision. I will try to find it later (here is a summary of some arguments) . We must be patient because this will take time. First the ultrasound is making people realize what is in the womb. See article Then as more and more people are uncomfortable it will become clear to our political leaders that there is no upside in supporting abortion and then there will be a tipping point where even the ones now supporting abortion will change there opnions. For many of them they will be changing back to what they said in the '70's when it was popular to be against abortion.

Most people have a strong sense of protecting life that they can clearly recognize as living and breathing human or animals. Or I would say all people with the exception of a few sociopaths. The isssues become cloudy at the edges. On the one hand it is life in the womb, which exists in reality but is more in potential than in actuality. On the other extreme it is life that seems burdensome to the totally healthy. Like in Terri Schiavo's case, or in the Pope's case for that matter. This latter issue will become more important as the population ages.

It is important that we develop a philosophy of life and communicate it in an interesting fashion so that people can understand that when thy undermine the two edges they undermine life as they would protect it now. This is a philosophical argument that is discussed in Ordinary Men. And other books that attempt to explain how ordinary people can do horrible things. However, it is impossible to have these debates while both sides are intransigent, which is the point made by both Brooks and Shields. By solving the issue in the courts we have taken it off the table.

Slowly but surley an entire generation of woman who developed their political ideology based on the "right to choose" have to become loving mothers and realize the errors of their ways in the loving eyes of their children and realize that their political position is unteneble with their developing concience.

And for some who have had abortions it will mean repenting of their sins and accept the forgiveness of God whose mercy is infinite. ("Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isa. 1.18))

Back to Schiavo

The judge should have seen using common sense that Michael Schiavo had questionable interest in the life of his wife. He had a financial interest for years. He was living with another woman and had two children with her. He is living in a virtual bigimous state. I don't say this to judge him just what the judge should consider. She left no explicit instructions so we are taking him at his word, yet his actions according to Terri's nurse are questionable.

On NPR the other day I heard a doctor talking about the "vegatative state" and he even pointed out that this was a terrible word because it gives people the wrong impression. I will research this topic.

Supreme Court Rejects Schiavo Case

See Article

Not surprising since they have created a situation in which millions children have died since 1973 in their mother's womb. Not that it is all their fault for they have done what many people have wanted and each adult mother made her own choice. But what is the life of one woman to them. It is different with God. So we must pray for them.

Some of the Democrat leadership have totally abandoned life issues and so will continue to lose their clout in a country growing more weary of abortion. (The rise of pro-life Democrats) The Dems have changed from being at the forefront of protecting the innocent to really taking a cynically political attitude toward those who have no one to defend them, even while the Domocrats on the ground are more pro-life than the leadership See Poll

The legal positivism that has been used to support Michael Schiavo is unfortunate. The arguments are more about the role of the courts vs. the life a woman who has indicated that she wants to live.

For it is written:

Exodus 22

22 "Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. 23 If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. 24 My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.

Jeremiah 1

4 The word of the LORD came to me, saying, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart;

James 1:27 (NIV)

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

So let us pray for our leaders and all those who need our prayers to put an end to the abandonment of the sick, the old, the poor and the helpless.


O Eternal God! O Eternal Trinity! Through the union of Thy divine nature Thou hast made so precious the Blood of Thine only-begotten Son! O eternal Trinity, Thou art as deep a mystery as the sea, in whom the more I seek, the more I find; and the more I find, the more I seek. For even immersed in the depths of Thee, my soul is never satisfied, always famished and hungering for Thee, eternal Trinity, wishing and desiring to see Thee, the True Light.

O eternal Trinity, with the light of understanding I have tasted and seen the depths of Thy mystery and the beauty of Thy creation. In seeing myself in Thee, I have seen that I will become like Thee. O eternal Father, from Thy power and Thy wisdom clearly Thou hast given to me a share of that wisdom which belongs to Thine Only-begotten Son. And truly hast the Holy Spirit, who procedeth from Thee, Father and Son, given to me the desire to love Thee.

O eternal Trinity, Thou art my maker and I am Thy creation. Illuminated by Thee, I have learned that Thou hast made me a new creation through the Blood of Thine Only-begotten Son because Thou art captivated by love at the beauty of Thy creation.

O eternal Trinity, O Divinity, O unfathomable abyss, O deepest sea, what greater gift could Thou givest me then Thy very Self? Thou art a fire that burns eternally yet never consumed, a fire that consumes with Thy heat my self-love. Again and again Thou art the fire who taketh away all cold heartedness and illuminateth the mind by Thy light, the light with which Thou hast made me to know Thy truth.

By this mirrored light I know Thou are the highest good, a good above all good, a fortunate good, an incomprehensible good, an unmeasurable good, a beauty above all beauty, a wisdom above all wisdom, for Thou art wisdom itself, the the food of angels, the fire of love that Thou givest to man.

Thou art the garment covering our nakedness. Thou feedest our family with Thy sweetness, a sweetness Thou art from which there is no trace of bitterness. O Eternal Trinity! Amen.

A Trinity Prayer

Love of Jesus Fill us.
Holy Spirit Guide us.
Will of the Father be done.

Prayer For Help Against Spiritual Enemies

Glorious Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly hosts, who stands always ready to give assistance to the people of God; who fought with the dragon, the old serpent, and cast him out of heaven, and now valiantly defends the Church of God that the gates of hell may never prevail against her, I earnestly entreat you to assist me also, in the painful and dangerous conflict which I sustain against the same formidable foe.

Be with me, O mighty Prince! that I may courageously fight and vanquish that proud spirit, whom you, by the Divine Power, gloriously overthrew, and whom our powerful King, Jesus Christ, has, in our nature, completely overcome; so having triumphed over the enemy of my salvation, I may with you and the holy angels, praise the clemency of God who, having refused mercy to the rebellious angels after their fall, has granted repentance and forgiveness to fallen man. Amen.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Boston Parish defies O’Malley: Plans Easter at Protestant church

By Jessica Fargen
Wednesday, March 23, 2005 - Updated: 04:47 AM EST

"Defying the wishes of the archbishop, a shuttered Quincy church is holding a Catholic Easter Mass in a Protestant church and a married priest will preside.
The pain of a first Christmas without their neighborhood church was too much to bear for Star of the Sea parishioners in Quincy, said Sean Glennon, one of the leaders to reopen the church.
``Too many of our parishioners expressed that they couldn't go through that again, especially on Easter, which is the highest holy day of the year,'' Glennon said.
The Mass at the Protestant First Church of Squantum, which is on the same street as Star of the Sea, is the first Catholic Mass in the tight-knit section of Quincy since its closure in October.
Parishioners are holding the Mass against Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley's wishes, and the Rev. Terry McDonough, a married priest not recognized by the church, will preside over an expected 500 people.
Glennon said O'Malley, in a letter, ``has denied permission for us to hold Mass in a Protestant church.''
But parishioners have overwhelmingly supported the idea and they may ask the Rev. McDonough to keep saying Mass there.
``If parishioners decide they wouldn't mind celebrating Mass there on a regular basis, he's a priest without a parish community,'' Glennon said.
McDonough was ordained in 1962 but was automatically suspended when he married in 1984. McDonough, who has two kids, said the Vatican does not sanction him as a priest, but he believes that does not matter.
``I'm ordained and I have the same priestly powers as the pope does,'' he said. ``They can never take that away from me.''
The archdiocese put the seaside church property, valued at more than $1 million, on the market late last year. An archdiocesean spokeswoman would not comment on the use of a married priest.
Glennon said the Vatican is reviewing the parishioners' canon appeal to keep the church open."
End of Article:

Clearly if they are going to sell the parish for $1 million dollars, this thing can be kept open forever. Lets look at the economics. The parish is paid for I would assume. And they had money in the bank, at least enough to operate. If 500 people are going to church at the protestant church on Easter Sunday, that means they could raise $1,500 if each person gives three dollars. I don't know but at $10 bucks a person they would have an operating budget of $15,000 a month and that probably would go along way.

Don't these Bishop's know that at some point they are trying the patience of their flock to such an extent that the disobedience of the faithful appears to be a virtue, at best, and is not culpable, at worst. I am the last person who would agree with an illicit mass being said. That offends our Lord greatly. For the priest to say that he "is as much a priest as the Pope" is deeply troubling. But who is to blame. Certainly the laicized priest. He knows what he is doing and he is misleading the faithful. Certainly the Bishop who instead of making a plan for each parish that respects the community of the faithful entrusted to his care so that the parishners can reasonably accept the closing of their parish. Not just anouncing that they are closing the parish and locking the people out of their churches.

Do not the parish's belong to the faithful who have developed communities over the decades and who call these places home. Knowing that the money is going to pay for the sins of omission and commission of those who have bankrupted some diocese in this country due to moving around sexual predators and denying the just demands of the faithful for accountability.

He wasn't in Boston as these people each day were shocked and embarrassed and harrassed for their faith as the Shanley case and others were there each day to remind them what human's their Pastors are. And now to attempt from above to rob these poor people of their faith homes. A person can only do this if their authority is earned rather than just legal.

"Matthew 20:25-28

25(A)But Jesus called them to Himself and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.

26"It is not this way among you, (B)but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,

27and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;

28just as (C)the Son of Man (D)did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many."

These Bishop's should be wearing sackcloth fasting for the sins of their priests and their brothers and the faithful. Not selling the parishes to pay off lawsuits. These bishop's don't have families. They don't know what it is like to get the little one's ready for mass and have a service convenient, regular and with community. They do not grow old shuttling themselves to mass on buses and walking in all kinds of weather and relying on their friends to make it to mass regularly.

For every house of God that they close. It is one less place that our Lord waits faithfully for his children in the Tabernacle in the holy and blessed Eucharist. It is one less place that prayers are offered to the most adorable and blessed Trinity. It is one less reminder to the neighbors that their is a God and he waits patiently and conveniently for them when they need him.

In case you want to bid on the churches to save them for the future, go to the Diocesan Real Estate Web Site.

This Blog was not intended to highlight life issues

But the outrageous nature of the Schiavo case and the very idea that a mother could be arrested for exercising her legal right over her 14 year old daughter, while a woman would kidnap a girl her son got pregnant and take her to an abortion clinic. Now this goes a little too far. This is not the scenario that the predictors of the perfect society had when they told us that abortion was to prevent back alley abortions and would decrease out of wedlock pregnancy and make us all happy. Now more people have died in the U.S. alone than were killed by Hitler and Stalin and many of these poor woman are in denial. Not all of the woman. Not Norma Rae (Jane Doe) or many other woman who have come to terms with what a travesty they have made out of the incredible gift of life that God entrusted to them. We know God will have mercy on them. I earnestly pray for them that when he shows them what they did they won't despair of his love. They will realize he can forgive them just as Jesus forgave his killers on the cross.

Mother arrested for attempting to intervene in her 14-year old's decision to have abortion

Original story
Tuesday, March 22, 2005

"By Joyce Morrison, Southern IL News Correspondent

For legal reasons, the names of the family and the 14-year old girl that are the subject of this story have been withheld at this time.

GRANITE CITY - A Sothern Illinois woman was arrested last week (March 17) after trying to intervene on behalf of her 14-year old daughter's effort to have an abortion. The girl was allegedly taken to an abortion clinic by the mother of the man allegedly to have impregnated the 14-year old.

According to the girl's mother, her 14-year old daughter was called off from school in Madison County by a woman posing as the girl's “grandmother.” The woman took the girl from her home only minutes before the girl’s mother returned home from work.

It was later determined that the woman who had posed as the "grandmother" to the school authorities was the mother of the male who had fathered the unborn child the 14-year old girl was carrying. The age of the male has not been released.

When the parents were notified their pregnant daughter was not at school, they suspected she had been taken to the Hope Abortion Clinic in Granite City. The parents and grandfather were the only persons authorized to request school absence for the fourteen year old female.

“My husband and I rushed to the abortion clinic where we saw our daughter’s name on the roster and the time she had checked in,” the mother said. She then went into the clinic and searched a room filled with young women awaiting abortions but did not see her daughter.

She took a seat near the main desk and said, “I was told I could not prove my daughter was there so I began calling her name. A medical tech at the clinic told me , ‘It’s your daughter’s rights, it’s her body. You have no rights.’”

After continuing to call out her daughter’s name and telling her “don’t do it,” authorities were called and the mother was arrested.

The 14-year old told her mother she could hear her but when she asked employees to give her mother a message, they came back to the room and told her that her mother had left.

Angela Michaels, of Small Victories Ministry, was tipped off as to what was happending at the Hope clinic. According to Michaels, she witnessed police placing the mother’s hands behind her back, taking her into custody. As the police were putting the mother in the squad car, she was crying out, “Please, please, help daughter is in there.”

Michaels said, “Exactly one hour later at 10:35 a.m., the 14-year old emerged from the clinic looking disheveled. The 14-year old told us that employees kept her in a quiet room until the procedure was performed and she was told that her mother had left.”

Employees assured this girl on her departure, “No-one will ever know you were here, we’ll bury your records.”

In the meantime, the woman who had taken the girl for the abortion was slipped out the back door of the clinic.

The police in the community in which the family lives allegedly told the girl's mom that they couldn't intervene despite her making a charge that her daughter had been raped (by statute) because the charge was stale--7 weeks after the incident. They did tell the girl's mom that, while she had no right to stop the abortion, she did have a right to go into the clinic and speak to her daughter."

People wonder why South Dakota passed the law that they did recently:

Source Story
Tuesday March 22, 2005

South Dakota Adopts Strictest Abortion Restrictions in US

PIERRE, S.D., March 22, 2005 ( - South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds signed four new bills into law Thursday, including one measure mandating that doctors tell the woman that, by aborting her child, a human life ends. The bill stipulates that a doctor must inform the mother in writing and in person, no later than two hours before the abortion, that abortion ends the life of her baby, and "terminates the constitutional relationship women have with their fetuses."

Among the three other bills is one that mandates, in the event that the US Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade, abortion become immediately illegal in that state, listed as a felony with a maximum of two years prison for an offence.

The third bill, sponsored by Sen. Brock Greenfield, requires doctors to inform parents before a minor child undergoes an abortion. "This seeks to clear up a loophole," Greenfield said when the bill was introduced last month.

The final bill, sponsored by Rep. Roger Hunt, sets up a task force to study the effects of abortion. "In the 32 years since Roe v. Wade was decided, there's been a whole body of scientific knowledge developed," Hunt said of the bill in February. "It would be profitable and very worthwhile to learn and study that, so as the issue of abortion comes before the Legislature in the future, we'll have good information upon which to make decisions."

Last month, a bill that would have illegalized abortion in the state was discarded in favor of the lesser bills, signed into law Thursday.

That is where Bishop Carlson was the Bishop until he was recently appointed Bishop of the Saginaw diocese. Maybe they should move him to Illinois.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Washing the Feet of Men Only on Holy Thursday

For many years I have attended Holy Thursday services where the feet of women and children were washed, instead of men only, which is the rule of the church as stated in Paschales Solemnitatis .

"51. The washing of the feet of chosen men which, according to tradition, is performed on this day, represents the service and charity of Christ, who came "not to be served, but to serve.[58] This tradition should be maintained, and its proper significance explained."

Like many norms, this is considered inconvenient in the U.S. so it is routinely ignored. Now we have an item in the press just before Holy Thursday that the Bishop of Boston will wash the feet of women on Holy Thursday because he was criticized last year for not including them. See article.

What is missing from all this is the big deal that the good Archbishop made last year of not washing women's feet. See Boston Globe article.

O'Malley, who was installed as archbishop last summer, believes that the foot-washing ceremony is closely linked with the establishment of the priesthood by Jesus at the Last Supper.

`He very strongly feels the connection between the Lord's washing of the feet of the disciples and the ordering of them to the priesthood of the church,'' Coyne said.

The foot-washing ritual occurred during the same week that O'Malley listed feminism among several phenomena that affected the religious practices of the baby boom generation in the United States. In his Chrism Mass homily on Tuesday, O'Malley said that baby boomers "are heirs to Woodstock, the drug culture, the sexual revolution, feminism, the breakdown of authority, and divorce.''

Coyne said O'Malley's foot-washing policy is not connected to any broader concern about the role of women in the church."

I hope next year we do not see an article that he is ordaining women because he has been criticized for not doing so at the last ordination. This clearly hyperbolic speculation is meant to bring home the point that if a bishop were to ignore the norms for celebration of the sacraments because some people find them inconvenient, who should keep them. Certainly not his priests, nor the souls under his care. And if he can be cavalier about them, then why should Catholics not choose for themselves what it is they are to obey and not obey. Although this may seem extreme, that is where the Church is today with its leaders and members.

On the contrary, what Catholic souls need from their Bishops is a more thoughtful upholding of liturgical norms. As it says in Redemptionis Sacramentum

[176.] The diocesan Bishop, “since he is the principal dispenser of the mysteries of God, is to strive constantly so that Christ’s faithful entrusted to his care may grow in grace through the celebration of the sacraments, and that they may know and live the Paschal Mystery”.[285] It is his responsibility, “within the limits of his competence, to issue norms on liturgical matters by which all are bound”.[286]

[177.] “Since he must safeguard the unity of the universal Church, the Bishop is bound to promote the discipline common to the entire Church and therefore to insist upon the observance of all ecclesiastical laws. He is to be watchful lest abuses encroach upon ecclesiastical discipline, especially as regards the ministry of the Word, the celebration of the Sacraments and sacramentals, the worship of God and the veneration of the Saints”.[287]

Now we read that very publically the Bishop of Boston has "consulted with Vatican officials about the Holy Thursday practice." According to Ann Carter, a spokeswoman for the archbishop, the "Vatican responded that although the "liturgical requirement is that only the feet of men be washed at the Holy Thursday ritual, he could make whatever decision he thought was best for Boston."

According to the Zenit article, the "rubrics for Holy Thursday, written in Latin, clearly state that the priest washes the feet of men, "viri," in order to recall Christ's action toward his apostles. Any modification of this rite requires permission from the Holy See."

"Viri" is man in Latin. In documents of the Holy See, if the Church wants to refer to both men and women it uses the word homo.

According to the UCCB the "rubric for Holy Thursday, under the title WASHING OF FEET, reads:

"Depending on pastoral circumstance, the washing of feet follows the homily. The men who have been chosen (viri selecti) are led by the ministers to chairs prepared at a suitable place. Then the priest (removing his chasuble if necessary) goes to each man. With the help of the ministers he pours water over each one's feet and dries them." Using the Latin word viri, not homo.

After making this clear the NCCB goes on to say that"

"# The principal and traditional meaning of the Holy Thursday mandatum, as underscored by the decree of the Congregation, is the biblical injunction of Christian charity: Christ's disciples are to love one another. For this reason, the priest who presides at the Holy Thursday liturgy portrays the biblical scene of the gospel by washing the feet of some of the faithful.

# Because the gospel of the mandatum read on Holy Thursday also depicts Jesus as the "Teacher and Lord" who humbly serves his disciples by performing this extraordinary gesture which goes beyond the laws of hospitality,2 the element of humble service has accentuated the celebration of the foot washing rite in the United States over the last decade or more. In this regard, it has become customary in many places to invite both men and women to be participants in this rite in recognition of the service that should be given by all the faithful to the Church and to the world. Thus, in the United States, a variation in the rite developed in which not only charity is signified but also humble service.

# While this variation may differ from the rubric of the Sacramentary which mentions only men ("viri selecti"), it may nevertheless be said that the intention to emphasize service along with charity in the celebration of the rite is an understandable way of accentuating the evangelical command of the Lord, "who came to serve and not to be served," that all members of the Church must serve one another in love."

So much for respecting liturgical norms. They cast it aside with the idea that the "gospel of the mandatum read on Holy Thursday" depicts Christ as a humble teacher we can dispense with the norms. What about the day the gospel sees Christ as filled with holy indignation and casts out the coin changers from the temple. Should we then tip over bingo tables on Saturday night. Exactly what does the reading for the day have to do with liturgical norms? This is an argument that seems to have some meaning but upon further analysis means nothing. I suppose that the day that Jesus talked to the woman at the well, which was an extraordinary act for a Jewish man of his day toward a woman, mean that on that day woman can function as priests. My arguments are hyperbolic indeed, only to make the point that norms are set by a competent authority and the Gospel reading is meant for our reflection and the homily, not to change liturgical norms.

An extreme use of this idea was used in the past in Europe for instance when on Good Friday some Catholic men used the story of the bitter passion of our Lord to suspend the norms of Christian charity and beat up Jewish men in Poland and elsewhere. Hyperbole, yes, exaggeration, no.

"thus, in the United States, a variation in the rite developed in which not only charity is signified but also humble service...celebration of the rite is an understandable way of accentuating the evangelical command of the Lord, 'who came to serve and not to be served,' that all members of the Church must serve one another in love."

This reminds me of the conclusion of a story of the Cure of Ars when he was praying for the grace of perseverance in his difficult studies and he made a pilgrimage as a beggar to a shrine of St. John Francis Regis. Hungry, tired and frazzled, he arrived at La Louvesc and went to confession. He was told to go back as a regular pilgrim and not suffer so much. When John was taken aback at this idea when he was doing penance for a reason the priest told him that "sometimes an act of mortification can be tinged with pride, but never an act of obedience."

How can the Bishops now, with so many Catholic faithful no longer respecting them for their judgment, imagine that the Catholic faithful will learn the virtue of obedience unless the Bishop's themselves don't practice it. Their priests will follow their example and then the faithful as well.

To quote the Holy Father in his Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Gregis

"Given the importance of the proper transmission of the faith in the Church's sacred liturgy, the Bishop will not fail to be vigilant and careful, for the good of the faithful, to ensure that existing liturgical norms are observed always and everywhere. This also calls for the firm and timely correction of abuses and the elimination of arbitrary liturgical changes."

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Some thoughts on The Elevation at Mass

One of the things I have noticed in happening at a couple of churches in the Bay area is the habit of diminishing elevation of the host and chalice during the mass. The rules call for the priest elevate the host for adoration after the consecration of the bread and then the wine, and at the per ipsum "through Him, with Him and in Him..." and the great "Amen." I can see why there is a temptation to do this.

In the Tridentine liturgy the separate elevations of the sacred host and chalice are called the major elevation and the elevation at the per ipsum is called the minor elevation. Indeed, it would seem fitting to elevate the sacred bread and wine together from the per ipsumto the great Amen.

As Peter Elliot says in his book Ceremonies of the Modern Roman Rite"

The elevation of the host should be a gracious and unhurried "showing" of the Body of Christ to His people. Having said the words of Consecration, the celebrant stands upright, still holding the Host, which he reverently raises directly over the corporal. It seems preferable to raise the host at least to eye-level, where it would obscurer the celebrants face. The action is more significant if he raises the Host higher, without stretching....It seems best to pause for a moment and then lower the Host slowly and reverently to the corporal."

304.Standing upright, he then elevates the chalice carefully with both hands, directly over the corporal. It seems preferable to raise the base of the vessel at least to eye-level, preferably higher, then to pause for a moment before lowering it slowly and reverently to the corporal."

Since the Second Vatican Council, there has been a confusion or disagreement about when exactly does transubstantiation occur. Does it happen exactly at the words HOC EST ENIM CORPUS MEUM. for instance, or does it happen at some time throughout the prayers. Well if it didn't happen before the major elevation then we wouldn't be elevating it. So it has to happen at least by that time. The following is from the Catholic Forum

Elevation of the Host

"The ceremony in the Mass according to the Roman Rite wherein, immediately after the Consecration of the Host, the celebrant raises It high enough to be seen and adored by the congregation. The most ancient mention of the Elevation is found in the synodal statutes of Eudes de Sully, Bishop of Paris (1196-1208), who introduced this practice, to protest against the erroneous opinion that the change of the bread into the Body of Christ was complete only after the Consecration of the chalice. There is a like Elevation of the chalice, which is first mentioned in the Ordo Romanus XIV (1311), the papal ceremonial of Pope Clement V. A bell is rung at each Elevation to call the attention of the faithful. Pius X granted an indulgence of seven years and seven quarantines (40 days) to all who look with piety, faith, and love upon the elevated Species."

At one church I know of, the priest doesn't even do the two elevations and at the per ipsum and great Amen, he stands back and points to the many vessels containing the sacred species as the whole congregation says the per ipsum and the great Amen. Of course when Bishop Wester was there saying the mass this did not happen.

I wonder if they are implementing the GIRM like the rest of the diocese. As I said in a previous post, it was refreshing for a priest to invite people to kneel at the Ecce Agnus Dei.

What I have noticed is the priest will hold the sacred host or the chalice just below chest height and say the words of consecration and after just keep it there for a second and set it down. He may lift it an inch but that is all. Sometimes he bows his head and other times not. Then at the per ipsum he elevates both the sacred Host and Chalice together.

The result is that the elevation and separate consecrations are somewhat dimished. The reason for the separate consecrations is well stated on the Perth Catholic Youth Ministry Pagewebsite.

"The priest, by the power of Christ, acts in the person of Christ, and by the words of consecration, changes the bread into the Body, Blood, Soul and Godness of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The 3 rd bell is rung after the priest says the second words of consecration: THIS IS THE CUP OF MY BLOOD etc. Jesus did this changing of the wine into His Blood at the end of the Last Supper. He showed forth His death, His SACRIFICE, by the SEPARATE CONSECRATIONS of bread and then wine. He showed HIS BODY and then, separately, HIS BLOOD to God the Father. The priest at Mass does the very same: he changes the bread and then the wine into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. At the Last Supper, Jesus called the consecrated bread HIS BODY ONLY, and the consecrated wine HIS BLOOD ONLY. This was done to show His sacrifice (the cleaving of Blood from Body – which always means death) under the forms of bread and wine until He comes in glory. So, it is the SEPARATE consecrations of bread and wine that account for the sacrificial nature of the Mass. It is the same sacrifice offered on the Cross at Calvary only, like at the Last Supper, in an unbloody manner. At Mass, before the consecration, the priest drops water into the chalice of wine to signify our personal participation in Our Lord's sacrifice."

Maybe I am just reacting to my own preferences. However, it really is best that the celebrant listen to the Holy Father's Letter for Holy Thursday this year and try to "ensure the observance of the liturgical norms intended to safeguard the sanctity of so great a sacrament."

Selections from the Pope's Holy Thursday Letter highlights

Holy Thursday Letter

This is such a beautiful letter. Reiterating many Eucharistic truths of the faith - transubstantiation, sacrifice, in persona christe, Eucharistic adoration, etc...

"I will take as my inspiration the words of Eucharistic consecration, which we say every day "in persona Christi" in order to make present on our altars the sacrifice made once and for all on Calvary. These words provide us with illuminating insights for priestly spirituality: If the whole Church draws life from the Eucharist, all the more then must the life of a priest be "shaped" by the Eucharist. So for us, the words of institution must be more than a formula of consecration, they must be a "formula of life."

5. "Hoc facite in meam commemorationem." These words of Jesus have been preserved for us not only by Luke (22:19) but also by Paul (1 Corinthians 11:24). We should keep in mind that they were spoken in the context of the Paschal meal, which for the Jews was indeed a "memorial" (in Hebrew, "zikkarôn"). On that occasion the Israelites relived the Exodus first and foremost, but also the other important events of their history: the call of Abraham, the sacrifice of Isaac, the Covenant of Sinai, the many acts of God in defense of his people. For Christians too, the Eucharist is a "memorial," but of a unique kind: it not only commemorates, but sacramentally makes present the death and resurrection of the Lord.

Jesus said: "Do this in memory of me." The Eucharist does not simply commemorate a fact; it commemorates Him! Through his daily repetition "in persona Christi" of the words of the "memorial," the priest is invited to develop a "spirituality of remembrance." At a time when rapid social and cultural changes are weakening the sense of tradition, and leading the younger generation especially to risk losing touch with their roots, the priest is called to be, within the community entrusted to him, the man who faithfully remembers the entire mystery of Christ: prefigured in the Old Testament, fulfilled in the New, and understood ever more deeply, under the guidance of the Spirit, as Jesus explicitly promised: "He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you" (John 14:26).

6. "Mysterium fidei!" Every time he proclaims these words after consecrating the bread and wine, the priest expresses his ever-renewed amazement at the extraordinary miracle worked at his hands. It is a miracle which only the eyes of faith can perceive. The natural elements do not lose their external characteristics, since the "species" remain those of bread and wine; but their "substance," through the power of Christ's word and the action of the Holy Spirit, is changed into the substance of the body and blood of Christ. On the altar, then, Christ crucified and risen is "truly, really and substantially" present in the fullness of his humanity and divinity. What an eminently sacred reality! That is why the Church treats this mystery with such great reverence, and takes such care to ensure the observance of the liturgical norms intended to safeguard the sanctity of so great a sacrament.

We priests are the celebrants, but also the guardians of this most sacred mystery. It is our relationship to the Eucharist that most clearly challenges us to lead a "sacred'' life. This must shine forth from our whole way of being, but above all from the way we celebrate. Let us sit at the school of the saints! The Year of the Eucharist invites us to rediscover those saints who were vigorous proponents of Eucharistic devotion (cf. "Mane Nobiscum Domine," 31). Many beatified and canonized priests have given exemplary testimony in this regard, enkindling fervor among the faithful present at their celebrations of Mass. Many of them were known for their prolonged Eucharistic adoration. To place ourselves before Jesus in the Eucharist, to take advantage of our "moments of solitude'' and to fill them with this Presence, is to enliven our consecration by our personal relationship with Christ, from whom our life derives its joy and its meaning."

Beautiful. Reminds me of Paul VI's Encyclical Letter Mysterium Fidei that upset not a few people who did not like the fact that the Pope was reiterating the unchanging teaching of the church regarding the Eucharistic mystery.(See Fr. Hardon's Explanation) Especially upholding the necessity of the use of the word "transubstantiation" in reference to the nature of the Eucharistic species. Some people at the time thought that the term "transubstantiation" was outdated and too scholastic and that our times required a reformulation of concepts of our faith to fit with the times. Paul VI said:

"These formulas—like the others that the Church used to propose the dogmas of faith—express concepts that are not tied to a certain specific form of human culture, or to a certain level of scientific progress, or to one or another theological school. Instead they set forth what the human mind grasps of reality through necessary and universal experience and what it expresses in apt and exact words, whether it be in ordinary or more refined language. For this reason, these formulas are adapted to all men of all times and all places."

This letter reminds me of Paul VI's letter because the Holy Father is addressing concerns regarding the understanding and the celebration of the Eucharist as well. And given that this is the Year of the Eucharist. We would do well to read this letter again.

Pope Appeals to Priests to Respect Liturgy

Pope Appeals to Priests to Respect Liturgy

Cardinal Comments on Holy Thursday Letter

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 18, 2005 ( In his annual letter to priests, John Paul II appealed for respect of liturgical norms in the celebration of the Eucharist.

When presenting the letter to the press today, Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Clergy, commented that the use of more popular language in the celebration of the liturgy does not always help people understand what they are living.

Asked about the topic of obedience in the letter, to which the Holy Father said priests commit themselves "on the day of their ordination," the cardinal replied: "From the press one learns that there is no lack of abuses in the sacred rite of the Eucharist."

The cardinal said that his Vatican congregation receives complaints because "at times the rite is celebrated perhaps in a rather indelicate manner. It depends on people's sensibility, but the Holy Father reminds us priests that it is the most sacred action we can carry out."

That is why the Holy Father wrote the encyclical "Ecclesia de Eucharistia," which also speaks of the "rite's form, of the holiness of the rite," Cardinal Castrillón said.

Moreover, he added, "the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments wrote an instruction, 'Redemptionis Sacramentum,' approved in a special way by the Holy Father, as at times more popular gestures are made in the belief that people need a very simple language to understand the liturgy better."

Cardinal Castrillón added: "The sacred rite, the holiness of the rite, the imperative to submerge oneself in the rite, is something we must do with all possible holiness, including external. The Holy Father speaks about this.

"Always with great respect for the local hierarchy, the bishops, who are the authority in their dioceses, the Holy Father requests priests to be obedient to the norms that are given to them by the bishops, especially, on the Eucharist."