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."

Friday, March 18, 2005

Liturgy as the Work of the Trinity

Today the reading at mass was about the relationship between Jesus and the Father. This is told within the context of Jesus' about to be stoned for blasphemy because he said "I am the son of God."

John 10: 31 - 42

The Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, "I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of these do you stone me?" The Jews answered him, "It is not for a good work that we stone you but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God."

Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, `I said, you are gods'? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came (and scripture cannot be broken), do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, `You are blaspheming,' because I said, `I am the Son of God'?

If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father." Again they tried to arrest him, but he escaped from their hands.

He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John at first baptized, and there he remained.

And many came to him; and they said, "John did no sign, but everything that John said about this man was true."

And many believed in him there.

This relationship with the Father that Jesus' was willing to be stoned to support is actually questioned today during the Liturgy. Many priests and people try to omit the reference to God the Father from the Liturgy of the Eucharist. Often we hear the Father referred to as God the Creator, etc... Or more popular is the deletion of the word Father in the Gloria and the creed. Especially done through the removal of the male pronoun. In one church downtown the Pastor says the petition of the people below in a loud voice and substitutes the word "God" for "his." Interestingly, the people in the pews say the word "his."

C: Suscìpiat Dòminus sacrificium de mànibus tuis ad laudem et glòriam nòminis sui, ad utilitàtem quoque nostram totiùs que Ecclèsiae suae sanctae.

C: May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of his name, for our good,and the good of all his Church.

It is ok to use the word God in this context in the sense that we are speaking to God. So, technically it does not change the action. But this betrays what is said before.

P: Oràte, fratres, ut meum ac vestrum sacrificium acceptàbile fit apud Deum Patrem omnipotèntem.

P: Pray, brethren, that our sacrifice may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.

So we don't substitute the abstract God for the more personal Father who is referred to in the pronoun "His."

We are preparing to offer Jesus to God the Father. People do these substitutions out of a misplaced sense of seeking to make sure that woman do not feel excluded in the liturgy. This is also done because people think that the Liturgy is made by them and so they have the right to change it according to their preference.

Even though the Liturgy is carried out by the visible Church, it is still an action of the Holy Trinity. During the consecration the priest acts In Persona Christe, so that it really is Christ offering his Holy Body and Blood to the Father.

CCC 1566 "It is in the Eucharistic cult or in the Eucharistic assembly of the faithful (synaxis) that they exercise in a supreme degree their sacred office; there, acting in the person of Christ and proclaiming his mystery, they unite the votive offerings of the faithful to the sacrifice of Christ their head, and in the sacrifice of the Mass they make present again and apply, until the coming of the Lord, the unique sacrifice of the New Testament, that namely of Christ offering himself once for all a spotless victim to the Father." From this unique sacrifice their whole priestly ministry draws its strength."

The Liturgy is an act of worship that we are invited to. In it Jesus offers himself to the Father in a supreme act of worship that cannot be created but by him. We participate by offering ourselves to the Father together with Jesus.

In the Catechism's section entitled Article 1 "The Liturgy - the Work of the Trinity," we read the sections under The Father-Source and Goal of the Liturgy

This is why, like Jesus, we are not afraid to refer to the Father. In the only prayer that Jesus taught he told us to pray to the Father by first calling him Father and then acknowledging that sanctificetur nomen tuum.

And the Baptism in which the person enters into the life of grace with the Trinitarian formulaIn nominee Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti. Amen, cannot be changed or the Baptism would not take place.

The proof that this is no historical accident is the perpetuation of this language and reality in the Liturgy and Traditions of the Church as well as the Scriptures.

That is why the attempt to change the pronoun from a male pronoun to a gender neutral one is a mistake. We are praying to God the Father, with and through Christ, His Son. It is our honor and the true source of our dignity.

In conclusion I offer the Litany of the Father for your personal use:

The Litany of God the Father

For Private Use Only.

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven,
have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity One God,
have mercy on us.

Father, First Person of the Most Blessed Trinity,
have mercy on us.
Father of the Only-begotten Son,
have mercy on us.
Father and Son, from Whom proceeds the Holy Spirit,
have mercy on us.
Father of the Immaculate Virgin Mary,
have mercy on us.
Father of her most chaste Spouse,
have mercy on us.
Our Father in Heaven,
have mercy on us.

Father eternal,
hallowed be Thy Name.
Father, infinite majesty,
hallowed be Thy Name.
Father, infinite holiness,
hallowed be Thy Name.
Father, infinite goodness,
hallowed be Thy Name.
Father, infinite happiness,
hallowed be Thy Name.
Father, all-powerful,
hallowed be Thy Name.
Father, all-knowing,
hallowed be Thy Name.
Father, present everywhere,
hallowed be Thy Name.
Father, all-just,
hallowed be Thy Name.
Father, all merciful,
hallowed be Thy Name.

Father, creating Heaven and earth,
Thy kingdom come.
Father, promising a Savior,
Thy kingdom come.
Father, revealed by the Son,
Thy kingdom come.
Father, willing the passion of Jesus,
Thy kingdom come.
Father, accepting the Sacrifice of Calvary,
Thy kingdom come.
Father, reconciled with mankind,
Thy kingdom come.
Father, sending the Paraclete,
Thy kingdom come.
Father, in the Name of Jesus,
Thy kingdom come.
Father of Nations,
Thy kingdom come.

Father of Love, cherish us.
Father of Beauty, protect us.
Father of Wisdom, direct us.
Father, Divine Providence, watch over us.

Father of the poor,
Thy Will be done.
Father of orphans,
Thy Will be done.
Father of widows,
Thy Will be done.
Father of the exiled,
Thy Will be done.
Father of the persecuted,
Thy Will be done.
Father of the afflicted,
Thy Will be done.
Father of the infirm,
Thy Will be done.
Father of the aged,
Thy Will be done.

Father, we adore Thee.
Father, we love Thee.
Father, we thank Thee.
Father, we bless Thee.

In joy and in sorrow, may we bless Thee.
In sickness and in health, may we bless Thee.
In prosperity and in adversity, may we bless Thee.
In consolation and in desolation, may we bless Thee.
In life and in death, may we bless Thee.
In time and in eternity, may we bless Thee.

Father, hear us.
Father, graciously hear us.

Lamb of God, well-beloved Son of the Father,
spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, commanding us to be perfect as the Father,
graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Our Mediator with the Father,
have mercy on us.
Let Us Pray.
Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name;
Thy kingdom come; Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. Amen.

Page One of the Song from the Handbook

Page 1 Posted by Hello

Page two of program with song

Page 2 Posted by Hello

Get Ready for New Gather Song - Introduced in LA Conference

From the writers of Gather Us In comes a new song just in time for the scism of the Anglican Church over the issue of homosexuality. A song that explicitly refers to sexual orientation in a opening mass song. Now I know when God created us in his image, 'male and female He created them.' My Bible is missing the 'gay and straight He created them.' "Not that it matters." It is just sad to see the introdution of sexual orientation wars in our Liturgy, when we have not concluded the gender wars. In this way the Liturgy becomes a battleground for societal ideology, not the worship "through which the work of our redemption is accomplished," as SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM points out. Now we have to be nice to people no matter what they think are, but we don't have insinuate these debates into the liturgy.

The song is as follows. See other posts following for the pictures of the text from the LA Conference handout.

"Come, all you weary ones, who walk the journey
know that you are wecome at the table of the Lord!
Come bring your burdens here, find love and mercy
With Christ before us, we gather as his friends.

Come, all who struggle hard, all who are hopeful
know that you are wecome at the table of the Lord!
Come with your tired hears, come, find new passion
with Christ within us, we find new life again


Come, all you single ones, divorced and married
know that you are wecome at the table of the Lord!
Come, you who lost your spouse, all who are lonely.
With Christ our brother, we are loved and made whole.

Comee, all you young and old, all male and female,
know that you are wecome at the table of the Lord!
Come, now, all gay and straight, it does not matter
With Christ, all people are one, in God's name."

Copyright 2005 David Haas Published by GIA Publications.

LA Conference Handbook as PDF

Get LA Conference Handbook here

Thursday, March 17, 2005

LA Diocese misses the point of the entire scandal saying that people just don't understand Gay Priests - 81% of Scandal was Gay not Pedophile

LA Diocese Sponsored Conference seeks to understand "Blessing" of Gay Priests

I dislike this topic in general and avoid it like the plague. But it is amazing that these people still do not get that the "scandal" was about gays in the Priesthood, more than pedophilia.

See Article on John Jay Study

" Mr. Bennett, a review board member, blamed seminary officials and bishops for not flagging at-risk homosexual seminarians.
There are "many outstanding priests of a homosexual orientation who live chaste, celibate lives," Mr. Bennett said, "but ... more than 80 percent of the abuse at issue was of a homosexual nature."
"There's an incredibly incongruity of a man of the cloth engaging in this type of conduct. How did they get into the priesthood?"
Seminaries, he said, allowed in "many sexually dysfunctional and psychosexually immature men," and did not prepare clergy to survive "particularly in our oversexualized society."

Compare this to what the Conference participants think.

"Said Father Martin. "In the absence of any healthy gay priests for Catholics to reflect on publicly, and with the only examples being notorious pedophiles, the stereotype of the gay priest as child abuser only deepens."

"As I see it, there are very many gay men who are good priests in the church today," declared Father Martin, who estimated the population of gay priests among the clergy as 25 percent. "The vast majority are healthy, hard-working, faithful, loving celibate members of the clergy. That is simply the truth. In order to grow as a people, we need simply to admit that truth."

Dr. Greer Gordon, said "catechists can also help people understand issues related to sexual abuse. "We have to assist individuals in coming into clarity about the pedophilia issue," stated Gordon. "Psychologically we know it's a fact that the majority of pedophiles are not homosexual; they are in fact, heterosexual…. The majority of pedophiles are not Roman Catholic priests."

Gordon urged catechists to use their instincts and be vigilant in protecting children from pedophiles, using as much resource information as possible. "We need to separate the issue (of pedophilia) from homosexuality," she said.

"Generally speaking, as catechists (and) pastoral leaders, it's important for us to try and deal with our own feelings of bigotry and bias around homosexuality…. There are homosexual people in our midst and some of these homosexual people do now, and have in the past, served this God in this church," said Gordon.

Workshop participant Patricia Mathews, 55, said the church is "opening up channels of compassion" by talking about homosexuality. As a relative of a homosexual family member, Mathews said she saw how the gay teenager experienced misunderstanding in school and at home. "Having sessions like this provides a venue for people to talk about their injuries," Mathews reflected."

Well then, there are fewer pedophiles than there are homosexuals in the priesthood, and most of the sandal that has cost the Church a billion dollars and the closing of churches and cut backs in services is a scandal of homosexuals not pedophiles. Archbiship Weakland didn't resign over a pedophile scandal but a relationship with an adult seminarian.

Lets get real. To quote a recent document:

Pro. N. 886/02/0
Vatican City, May 16, 2002

Most Reverend Excellency:

The Congregation for Clergy has sent this Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments your Excellency's letter, asking us to clarify the possibility that men with homosexual tendencies be able to receive priestly ordination.

This Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, conscious of the experience resulting from many instructed causes for the purpose of obtaining dispensation from the obligations that derive from Holy Ordination, and after due consultation with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, expresses its judgment as follows:

Ordination to the diaconate and the priesthood of homosexual men or men with homosexual tendencies is absolutely inadvisable and imprudent and, from the pastoral point of view, very risky. A homosexual person, or one with a homosexual tendency is not, therefore, fit to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders.

I take the opportunity to send you my most cordial greetings.

Yours sincerely in Domino Your Most Reverend Excellency
Jorge A. Card. Medina Estévez

Lend us your name

Fill in this online form

This will help us collect names so that we can eventually submitt them to the Bishop to get a Indult Tridentine Latin Mass in San Francisco.


Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Buffalo Diocese Sponsors Speaker who calls Structure of the Church "Oppressive"

See Buffalo News article

Interesting that the Diocese of Buffalo would sponsor a speaker who believes that the visible structure of the Church is wrong or worse:

" The main problem affecting the contemporary church, Lakeland said, is that it operates out of a structure of oppression. "One thing that's clear is that the laity has no official role in leadership or governance," Lakeland said. "I'm not saying that the bishops are running around and hitting people over the head, but people are kept in infantilized positions."

Checking the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium, I find a different view...

8. Christ, the one Mediator, established and continually sustains here on earth His holy Church, the community of faith, hope and charity, as an entity with visible delineation (9*) through which He communicated truth and grace to all. But, the society structured with hierarchical organs and the Mystical Body of Christ, are not to be considered as two realities, nor are the visible assembly and the spiritual community, nor the earthly Church and the Church enriched with heavenly things; rather they form one complex reality which coalesces from a divine and a human element.(10*) For this reason, by no weak analogy, it is compared to the mystery of the incarnate Word. As the assumed nature inseparably united to Him, serves the divine Word as a living organ of salvation, so, in a similar way, does the visible social structure of the Church serve the Spirit of Christ, who vivifies it, in the building up of the body.(73) (11*)"

By saying that the visible hierarchical Church is somehow bad in its very structure is different than saying that some of the Bishops, Priests and others do bad things. Now we are all mad at the Bishops who are responsible for causing the "scandal" that has plagued the Church and has cost the Church in America over $1 Billion dollars, causing the closing of Churches and the reduction of programs for the faith. It is difficult for sure for us as adult professional catholics to take such incompetence seriously. However, they are still Bishops and surely we pray that God will have mercy on their souls.

But to call the structure oppressive reminds me of the Liberation Theology ideas from the 1980's. This attempt to look at faith using the intellectual structure of dialectical materialism has long been discredited. I agree with his ideas about how the Protestant churches have lay people doing many things for the Church. In fact, a Lutheran Priest I knew many years ago told me that he was shocked at what goes on in some Catholic liturgies and his Choir Guild ladies would shoot him if he departed from the Lutheran Liturgy with such abandon. Unfortunately, it is hard to implement. And we will discuss that later.

More on Kneeling as the Catholic Response to the presence of the Holy Eucharist

See article on Kneeling and genuflect

At St. Ignatius this weekend I was gratified that the priest invited people to kneel before the Holy and Blessed Eucharist at the Ecce Agnus Dei. This is a change and I think it may be an implementation of the new regulations in the Diocese. I remember a conversation with the Pastor, who is a great Priest, regarding this topic and he told me that the Diocese had said it a person could kneel or not. Well that must have changed. It was difficult before when most people in the congregation would kneel and some would not. So I would be kneeling and looking up at the altar, only to see the back of the person standing in front of me. It is fitting that during the year of the Eucharist we are returning to this practice whose absence did not make sense. There is no more sign of adoration in this society then kneeling or genuflecting. The absence of it I was told by my catholic educators back in the day, was that we no longer see Jesus in the Eucharist as something to adore but Jesus is everywhere so there is no need to kneel. I remember one day in NYC when I went to the Chapel at Fordham University at Columbus Circle to pray before the blessed sacrament and there was no lamp to tell me if the Holy Eucharist was reserved in the Tabernacle. I asked the priest if Jesus was present in the Tabernacle and he told me that Jesus was everywhere so why did I care about the Tabernacle. He was serious. That was the last time I went to that quiet and nice chapel. At the Xavier Hall at St. Ignatius, they have removed the tabernacle altogether. First they took it from its place at the center and front of the chapel. Unfortunate because clearly the chapel was designed and built for the Tabernacle to be there. Then they moved it to a supply closet. Then it disappeared altogether. I assume it is in the sacristy but I have not checked. I will find out what happened.

St. Francis on Kneeling and Eucharistic Adoration

St. Francis on Eucharistic Adoration

St. Francis of Assisi was a great example to the Church today on the witness of Eucharistic Adoration and the necessity of kneeling before our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Here is a man who was one of the greatest saints in the history of the Church as well as a great contributor to Western Society in general.

He wrote a poem:

Priest with Chalice Let everyone be struck with fear,
let the whole world tremble,
and let the heavens exult
when Christ, the Son of the living God,
is present on the altar in the hands of a priest!
O wonderful loftiness and stupendous dignity!
O sublime humility!
O humble sublimity!
The lord of the universe,
God and the Son of God,
so humbles himself
that for our salvation
he hides himself
under an ordinary piece of bread!
Brothers, look at the humility of God,
and pour out your hearts before him!
Humble yourselves
that you may be exalted by him!
Hold nothing back of yourselves for yourselves,
that he who gives himself totally to you
may receive you totally!

See article above for complete ideas.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Gregorian chant back in style at local churches

Posted on Sunday, March 6, 2005

Original Article

Ralph Stanley singing "Angel Band," the strains of "Amazing Grace" and "Just as I am," often sung at the altar call, are the sort of sacred music most often heard in Northwest Arkansas, given the region’s deep associations with evangelical Protestantism.

But for some people in the area, the ancient form of music known as Gregorian chant has a unique power and appeal. "The chant has proven itself over the centuries to be a powerful way to bring oneself into a spiritual state," said Roger Gross, a drama professor at the University of Arkansas. "Nothing has ever been so conducive to worship as Gregorian chant."

Justitiae Domini dulciora super mel et favum. The ordinances of the Lord... are sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.

The origins of Gregorian chant, or plainsong, date back to the ancient Jewish synagogue. Its melodies would have been familiar to Jewish worshippers in the first century A. D. St. Gregory the Great, pope from 590 to 604, developed and codified the use of the music by the Catholic Church. Often associated with the monasteries and cathedrals of the Middle Ages, recordings of Gregorian chant have sold millions of copies in recent years.

Ethel Simpson, a recently retired archivist and classicist from the U of A, is a singer in a Gregorian "schola," or choir, that sings chant every week at the Saturday evening Mass at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Fayetteville. Asked about the "popularity" of chant in the last decade, Simpson was reluctant to classify the music with Britney Spears, Eminem or Rascal Flatts. "I don’t think chant is popular in the sense other kinds of music are," Simpson said. "Its appeal is related to the popularity in the last 30 years of meditation. Many different kinds of chant have surfaced. The Beatles went to India looking for chant. Chant is a part of Buddhism. People realized, ‘Hey, the Western tradition has something like that, too. ’"

Qui biberit aquam fiet in eo fons aquae salientis in vitam aeternam. Whoever drinks this water shall have within him a spring of water welling up unto eternal life.

Simpson’s schola has provided music recently for a special service held at 6 p.m. on Mondays in Lent at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Fayetteville. The church’s rector, the Rev. Lowell Grisham, usually presides over the service, called "Ancient Roots: Chant, Silence and Breaking Bread." Grisham finds in the chant a measure of a peace the world cannot give. "Gregorian chant is so counter-cultural for people in our age," he said. "This music has all the time in the world. Time seems to stand still. It’s so balancing to the hurry-up world that most of us live in.

" Before Monday’s service, I’d had one of those days, with too many plates spinning. I found myself almost sprinting to the service. After just a few minutes of allowing the peace of that music to enter me, my metabolism had changed. I was present, relaxed, everything was centered again. "

Grisham said the service is popular with his congregation.

" It’s the only special Lenten program I’ve ever offered where as many or more people come at the end as at the start of Lent, "he said.

Passer invenit sibi domum ubi reponat pullos suos: altaria tua, Domine virtutem, rex meus et Deus meus. The sparrow hath found herself a house where she hath laid her young: even thine altars, O Lord of hosts, my king and my god.

At a recent Saturday night Mass at St. Joseph’s, the congregation joined in some of the chants, singing from song sheets that contained translations of the Latin texts.

Lyle Cooney-Pead said the use of a sacred language that is not a spoken language in everyday use is a universal human impulse.

" At the Last Supper, Christ and his apostles prayed in Hebrew, a language as dead in first-century Palestine as Hebrew is today, "he said." Until a decade or two ago, Protestants used the King James Bible, which is written in a form of English that hasn’t been used for 400 years. Every religion has a sacred language. "

Cooney-Pead appreciates the chants’ emphasis on the divine.

" Some people today say the purpose of the Mass is to celebrate community, "he said." I profoundly disagree. The purpose of the Mass is to worship God. With the chant, there’s no forgetting that. The chant draws men to Christ. "

Richard Lee, a philosophy professor at the UA, has led the Gregorian schola for 10 years. Besides the mixture of aesthetic, historical and spiritual motives that have drawn the choir’s members, the music they sing helps the congregation at St. Joseph’s reconnect to the denomination’s roots.

" One thing the priest [at St. Joseph’s] has been asked to do is re-introduce some Latin into the Mass, "Lee said." So he looks to us to help the congregation learn the ordinary [unchangeable] parts of the Mass in Latin. Putting Latin back into the Mass might be a way of restoring some common ground so people can pray together anywhere in the world, for example, singing the Lord’s Prayer together in Latin. It might be a way of returning to tradition. "

Simpson said the Catholic Church places a high value on tradition as a means of teaching.

" Gregorian chant is a way of connecting to the those earlier ages [of Christianity]. It connects us to the universality of the church, not only across the world today, but across time. "

Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of goodwill.

The lyrics of Gregorian chant, such as those interspersed through this article, are generally taken from the Bible, mostly from the Psalms. The music that goes with it, with its four-line staff and square notes, is far older than the five lines and round notes familiar to choirs today. Lee said those are not the only differences.

" The rhythms are different in chant than in modern music, "he said." It’s not like a four-four march. It’s more like the rhythm of spoken words. Some chant is melismatic, where there are several notes — sometimes dozens — on a single syllable. There’s a lot we don’t know about chant. Sometimes we’re surprised at which words are ornamented in this way, because they don’t seem to be the most important words. "

According to Lee, Gregorian plainsong does not have four-part harmony.

" Chant has an advantage in a choir like ours because everybody sings the same note, "he said." I’ve been in other choirs [that sang modern music] where the tenor didn’t show up and we couldn’t sing. "

Parce, Domine, parce populo tuo. Spare, O Lord, spare thy people.

Austin Welsh is a Springdale physician who belongs to the Northwest Arkansas chapter of Una Voce, an organization that promotes the use of Latin and Gregorian chant in church services.. The group is circulating a petition to church authorities, asking them to implement locally a directive from Pope John Paul II that Mass be offered for those who want it in the" Tridentine rite" — the form of Mass common in the Catholic Church until the early 1960s.

The word "Tridentine" refers to a reforming church council in the 16 th century, held at Trent in Italy. "We have found the traditional Latin Mass is the perfect setting for Gregorian chant — they’re made for each other," Welsh said. "Our organization seeks to make the Tridentine Mass a permanent part of the Northwest Arkansas religious landscape."

Cantate Domino canticum novum. Sing to the Lord a new song.

Roger Gross and his wife are among several Northwest Arkansas residents who like to share in the worship of a religious community in Oklahoma that uses Gregorian chant in its daily round of praise and intercessory prayer. Clear Creek Monastery, near Tahlequah, Okla., was founded in 1999 by 13 Benedictine monks from Fontgombault, a medieval abbey in France famous for its recordings of the chant. The Grosses and others from Washington County make the 90-minute trip to Clear Creek to participate in the monks’ worship, and sometimes to spend a few days in the monastery guesthouse. "We used to have traditional vacations and take recreation in the ordinary way," Gross said. "The time we spend at Clear Creek in the monastery’s atmosphere of peace provides much better re-creation than any vacation or entertainment we’ve ever done."

The Rev. Philip Anderson, the prior of Clear Creek Monastery, quoted a choirmaster from the community’s French motherhouse on the power of the chant. "Gregorian chant excels in transporting souls to the blessed region where God waits for them," Anderson said. Lee said the Gregorian schola welcomes new members, of any religion or none. "If there are people interested in singing chant, we’d love to have them," he said. "We’re small, but we’d like to be bigger." Contact information for Lee is available on the schola’s Web site at comp. uark. edu /~ rlee/chant. html. Directions to Clear Creek Monastery can be found at Una Voce of Northwest Arkansas has a Web site

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Orange County - Fate of the Tridentine Latin Mass

OC Bishop Doesn't Want Tridentine Mass Anymore

The Catholic Church's great divide

Senior editorial writer and columnist,
The Orange County Register

Even readers without a trace of interest in Roman Catholic liturgical and theological debates might want to follow an ongoing controversy in the Diocese of Orange surrounding the future of the Tridentine Mass. The issues at the center of this debate are issues that shed light on the ongoing sex-abuse scandal, the roots of which still confuse some observers today.

To traditional Roman Catholics, there are few things more pious than this mass, which is an old-style Latin Mass known for its deep meaning and great beauty. This is the real deal, complete with vestments, incense and Gregorian Chant. It's more pious than the modern mass and the polar opposite of - this really happened in Orange County - a mass given by a dancing priest wearing a black leotard.

Now that a veteran priest at a traditional Huntington Beach parish has retired, the diocese is stamping out the Tridentine Mass at that location, forcing devotees to drive to the overcrowded Mission San Juan Capistrano, where it is still officially sanctioned.

Basically, the forces of liberalism that are crushing traditional Roman Catholic piety are the same forces that unleashed the sex-abuse scandal within the church. As long as the leadership rejects traditional ideals of holiness and piety, nothing will be done to assure that holy men, and not those with lax sexual attitudes, dominate the priesthood.

Locally, Fr. Daniel Johnson, the kindly, traditionalist priest who led St. Mary's by the Sea for 25 years, has retired. His retirement, and the retirement of the Tridentine Mass with him, is heartbreaking news to St. Mary's parishioners.

It's a mean-spirited act for the bishop to deny the parishioners the mass they love so much. The diocese says permission for the mass was granted for the priest only, and it retires with him. But the diocese could, if it wanted to, pass the permission on to someone else.

This is standard fare, however, in the bitter war that is waged behind the scenes within the church. In reality, there are two churches co-existing uncomfortably together. There's the traditional Catholic Church, with its unwavering support for church traditions and theology.

That's the world of Fr. Johnson and St. Mary's by the Sea.

Then there's the "progressive" church, with its emphasis on "social justice," and its desire to make church teachings fit with modern sensibilities. I call it the Kumbaya Church.

That's the world of the diocese leadership.

Since Vatican II, the church council that adopted reforms, the left has been ascendant. Social and theological liberals have used the "spirit" of Vatican II to advance their agenda, and have succeeded, despite the traditional emphasis in far-away Rome.

As Catholic author Michael Rose argued in his blockbuster book, "Goodbye Good Men," the liberals gained control of many seminaries and kept tradition-minded men out of the priesthood. That's the root of the sexual-abuse scandal: The success of the left in driving out "good men" and replacing them with priests with different standards.

The proof is in the pudding. The more liberal the diocese, the fewer the men interested in priestly vocations. Only in the most traditional dioceses are there large number of people pursuing the priesthood. At St. Mary's by the Sea, Fr. Johnson took over a congregation of 400 people 25 years ago, and it is now 1,500 families strong.

Is the growth because the church has the traditional liturgy and doesn't soft-sell its principles?

"Of course," Fr. Johnson told me.

Yet, as Fr. Johnson said, "the diocese reaches out to everyone but we are barelytolerated [by the diocese]."

"The old mass, in particular, emphasizes the real presentation at Calvary," he said. "The pope said we have to get back to the idea of sacrifice rather than a fraternal banquet."

One never hears diocese officials talk that way. They use the language of political
correctness and ecumenism. I recall the photograph I was sent by one local Catholic of Bishop Tod Brown yanking (he says gently pulling) a middle-aged woman up by her arm, as the woman tried to receive communion from him while she was kneeling. The bishop has a firm policy against kneeling before communion.

Last summer, the bishop insisted that two priests credibly accused of downloading child pornography on their computer were not in violation of the diocese's zero-tolerance policy on sexual abuse. That's why the person who sent me the photograph penciled in a caption: "Bishop Brown: light-handed on child porn - but heavy-handed on kneeling for communion!!"

That's a strange disconnect: apparent laxity toward misbehavior, yet intolerance toward attempts at holiness. It's typical. When Mel Gibson's "The Passion" was released, traditional Catholics were ecstatic. But the Diocese of Orange spokesman called the movie tedious and offered this snide review in the newspaper: "If you are of the bent that feels that graphic suffering makes you feel the terrible sinner that you are and Jesus is saving you, then this is going to be a very big plus in your favor when you see the movie."

Now the diocese is taking away the Tridentine Mass at St. Mary's. In a letter to a parishioner, the diocese said the parishioners should accept the decision with an obedient heart. But given the Vatican has said dioceses should be generous in allowing such masses, a reasonable question is raised about who is not being obedient.

"Bishop Tod Brown has sent out a survey asking O.C. Catholics for suggestions ... to help him accomplish Thesis No. 4 of his 'Covenant With the Faithful,' the pledge to 'work collaboratively with all members of the diocese,'" said St. Mary's parishioner Teri Carpentier.

"If Bishop Brown sincerely cares about his people, why will he not listen to the hundreds of parishioners at St. Mary's by the Sea and hundreds of other faithful Catholics who signed a petition to retain the Tridentine Mass at St. Mary's. ... What is the harm that is done in retaining it?"

Such is the divide within the Roman Catholic Church. Unfortunately, the church leadership lacks the courage and wisdom to bridge it.

CONTACT US: sgreenhut@ or (714) 796-7823

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Walter Cardinal Kasper on the Mass and Eucharist

Original Article at

The former is a theologian and cardinal, the latter is superior general of the Jesuits; both have the reputation of being progressivist. But their most recent declarations are a cold shower for the Church's left wing. The effect of the conclave

by Sandro Magister

ROMA, March 8, 2005 – Within the Vatican curia, only one cardinal is capable of holding his own with Joseph Ratzinger on his turf, that of advanced theology. It is Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity (see photo).

Both are German, and they have had very similar careers. Like Ratzinger, Kasper began as a theologian, became a bishop, for Rottenburg and Stuttgart, and finally obtained an important post in the Vatican.

But under current classifications – partly in view of the future conclave – the two are placed on opposite sides: Ratzinger as the world leader of the neoconservatives, Kasper as leader of the progressivists.

The refined theological dispute about the relationship between the universal Church and the local Churches, which has divided the two in the past, has seemed to confirm the above mentioned classification.

Another confirmation: as head of ecumenism, Kasper is the cardinal in the curia who has attracted by far the most opposition from the traditionalists.

But the facts do not always fit the prepared schemes.

For example, in the closing homily for the annual week of prayer for Christian unity, last January 25, Kasper said some things out of keeping with his reputation as a progressivist.

He made strong references to faith in Jesus Christ as the "only savior of all humanity" – in full agreement with the declaration "Dominus Iesus" published by Ratzinger in 2000 and bitterly contested by the advocates of dialogue – and continued:

"But is this reality still clear to all of us? Do we keep it well in mind during our discussions and reflections? Or do we not rather find ourselves in a situation in which our primary task, our greatest challenge, is to remember and reemphasize this common foundation, and prevent its being rendered meaningless by the so-called 'liberal' interpretations which define themselves as progressivist but are, in reality, subversive? Precisely at this moment, when everything is becoming relative and arbitrary in postmodern society, and everyone creates his own religion à la carte, we need a solid foundation and a common point of reference that will be trustworthy for our personal life and for our ecumenical work. And what foundation could we have, except Jesus Christ? Who better than He to guide us? Who can give us more light and hope than He can? Where, except in Him, can we find the words of life (cf. Jn. 6:68)?"

* * *

But even more strongly in contrast with the current progressivism is what Kasper has written in a book recently published in Germany and Italy, by the publishing houses, respectively, of Herder and Queriniana: "Sacrament of Unity: The Eucharist and the Church."

Kasper published this book for the occasion of the eucharistic year proclaimed in 2004 by John Paul II. The year will conclude in October of 2005 with a synod of bishops dedicated precisely to the theme of the eucharist.

In 2003, the pope published an encyclical on the eucharist: "Ecclesia de Eucharistia."

According to the dean of Italian theologians, Giuseppe Colombo (see "Teologia," the magazine of the Theological Faculty of Northern Italy, no. 4, 2004), the "prevailing intention" of the encyclical was "that of denouncing the abuse, probably the one most widespread in the Church today, of celebrating the mass without an ordained priest, due to the scarcity of priests or to an erroneous interpretation of the equality of all Christians."

And in fact many eucharistic liturgies in Latin America and central Europe are celebrated in this way, in small groups without a priest, by ordinary men and women. And there are even some in the progressivist camp who defend this practice as an innovation that the Church should approve without reservation.

On this matter, cardinal Kasper's "no" is absolute:

"A celebration of the eucharist without the ministry of the priest is unthinkable. The ministry of the priest is integral to the celebration of the eucharist. This is also true in cases of extreme emergency. Wherever there have been situations of extreme persecution, in which it has not been possible to have a priest for years or for decades, we have never heard of a parish community or an individual group celebrating the eucharist by their own initiative, without a priest."

The "extreme situations" referred to are, for example, that of Soviet Russia, or of China. Never was there seen in these cases the practice Kasper rejects as "inadmissible," not for disciplinary but for theological reasons, which are developed on many of the pages in his book.

The homily – Kasper says with support from the New Testament – must also be reserved to the priest. In absolutely exceptional cases a layman could address a "spiritual address" to the community, but this must always be "distinguishable from the homily."

Kasper contests the tendency to "interpret in a simple metaphorical and purely symbolic" sense the words of the consecration:

"The words of Jesus 'This is my body' and 'This is my blood' must be understood in the real sense, and in this sacramental sense we speak of the real presence; that is, the true, real, and substantial presence of Jesus Christ under the signs of bread and wine."

The cardinal contests the obfuscation of the mass as sacrifice and its reduction to a meal at which "the celebration of the eucharist is almost indistinguishable from a banquet or a party."

Another target of Kasper's criticisms is the "functionalist" interpretation of the eucharistic liturgy:

"The mass is not a 'service' which, following the law of supplication and offering, is oriented primarily according to the needs or desires of certain groups. It is not a means to an end, but rather an end in itself. It must not become a 'happening'. It is wrong to evaluate it on the basis of its capacity to entertain. The liturgical celebration must be animated, instead, by respect for the holy God and for the presence of our Lord in the sacrament. It must be a space for silence, reflection, adoration, and personal encounter with God."

And again:

"The primary meaning of the eucharistic celebration is the 'cultus divinus', the glorification, adoration, praise, and exaltation of God in remembrance of his mighty deeds. This aspect becomes all the more difficult to understand in our society, which is focused upon human needs and their satisfaction. And yet, this is where lies the true reason for the crisis of the liturgy and the widespread inability to understand it. Neither the priestly ministry not the eucharist may be derived 'from below' and from the community. A reduction of the eucharist to its anthropological meaning would be a false renovation of the Church."

Kasper also takes issue with the "gloomy Puritanism" of so many masses that are stripped of all solemnity:

"The candles, the vestments, the music, and everything human art has to offer, must not be eliminated as if they were superficial pomp. The entire celebration of the eucharist should be a foretaste of the coming kingdom of God. In it, the heavenly world descends to our world. This aspect is particularly vivid in the liturgy and theology of the Eastern Church. In the West, however, after the council both the liturgy and theology have unfortunately become puristic and culturally impoverished in this regard."

As for communion, Kasper confirms that "we cannot invite everyone to receive it." Exclusion applies especially to non-Catholics:

"The eucharist presupposes, as the sacrament of unity, that we are in full ecclesial communion, which finds its expression above all in communion with the local bishop and with the bishop of Rome, as the holder of the Petrine ministry, which is at the service of Church unity."

But it also applies to Catholics in a state of grave sin. Kasper recalls the duty – largely fallen into disuse – to make recourse to the sacrament of penance, in order "not to eat and drink unworthily the body and blood of the Lord":

"Here we meet with another weak point of postconciliar development. The affirmation that unity and communion are possible only in the sign of the cross includes another affirmation, that the eucharist is not possible without the sacrament of forgiveness. The ancient Church was fully aware of this nexus. In the ancient Church, the visible structure of the sacrament of penance consisted in the readmission of the sinner to eucharistic communion. Communion, excommunication, and reconciliation constituted a single unity. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the Lutheran theologian executed by the Nazis in 1945, rightly warned against cheap grace: 'Cheap grace is the sacrament on sale, it is the Lord's supper without the remission of sins, it is absolution without personal confession'."

Immediately after this citation of Bonhoeffer, an icon of the progressivists, Cardinal Kasper adds his own comment:

"Cheap grace is, for Bonhoeffer, the cause of the Church's decline. The rediscovery and renewal of the character of the assembly and of the banquet of the eucharist have undoubtedly been important, and no intelligent person thinks of undoing them. But a superficial conception of these, detached from the cross and from the sacrament of penance, leads to the banalization of these aspects and to a crisis of the eucharist such as we are witnessing in the life of the Church today."

And on another page of the book he writes, even more succinctly:

"The crisis of the conception of the eucharist is the very nucleus of the crisis of the Church today."