31 March 2008

Links for the Consecration of Bishop Johnston


I received the following email from a reader concerning the Consecration of Springfield Bishop Johnston today (that's his coat of arms above):
I hope you either had a chance to watch, or will be able to watch, the
ordination today in Springfield. (it's supposed to be available on the
diocesan website for the next month -

http://home.catholicweb.com/diocspfdcape/index.cfm).

It was beautiful and your Archbishop Burke did a fantastic job and
gave Bishop Johnston a wonderful and challenging homily on what it
means to be a Bishop. More than just the words, it was backed up by
the real life actions of a loving shepherd who has taken on this
challenge with humility and charity. Bishop Johnston, in his closing
address, even mentioned that it was the most beautiful homily he'd
ever heard.
____________________
The Diocesan website has some good information as well.

Rosalind Moss' Religious Community to be Located at St. George Parish


St. Louis Catholic has learned that Archbishop Burke has asked Fr. Robertson, pastor of St. George Parish in Affton (Gardenville) to allow Rosalind Moss to found her new religious community at the now vacant convent there.  Fr. Robertson has responded in the affirmative and is excited to have the new order in his parish.  This church is very close to the southwest border of St. Louis City.

Thanks to the reader who passed along the information.  We wish Miss Moss every success.

28 March 2008

No Difference between Body Worlds and Veneration of Relics?


Giving Town Talk a break this week is the St. Louis Review, which published some doozy letters to the editor.  Here's one:

Body Views

Editor:
The St. Louis Review of March 7 reported that Catholic religious leaders in the Kansas City area find the "Bodies Revealed" exhibit to be degrading.  
Yet that same edition tells us that St. Padre Pio's body will be placed on display for veneration.  Please tell me how we can have it both ways.
__________________
What is the purpose of venerating the body of a saint versus paying to view plasticized bodies carved up and put on display in the name of science?  How is the body obtained?  How is it treated?  Which confirms the unity of body and soul in life, and that the body of a saint in heaven will be resurrected to join his soul on the last day?  Which one falsely leads to the conclusion that the body is the only reality of person?  Which is geared toward profit?  Which is geared toward fostering holiness and prayer?  Which appeals to the basest instincts of men and which to their highest?  In which case is the body treated with respect and honor, as a temple of the Holy Ghost?

Let's compare the two cases:

Bodies Revealed is a competitor of the Body Worlds exhibition that plagued St. Louis this past year, and which is discussed in this Wikipedia entry:

The shows have been surrounded by controversy for a number of reasons. Doctor von Hagens prepared some art-inspired exhibits, such as a man carrying his own skin (based on a 16th century drawing by  Gaspar Becerra); a man on horseback holding his brain in one hand, the horse's brain in the other; and a man kneeling in prayer, holding his heart in his hands. Some religious groups object to any public exhibition of human corpses. Others accuse Doctor von Hagens of sensationalism. Various religious groups, including the Catholic Church and some Jewish Rabbis have objected to the display, stating that it cheapens human life, is inconsistent with reverence towards the human body, and is more artistic and exploitative than educational.

Doctor von Hagens has been repeatedly accused of using bodies from deceased persons who did not give consent, such as prison inmates and hospital patients from Kyrgyzstan and executed prisoners from China (this latter led to a lawsuit against Der Spiegel, which Doctor von Hagens won).

Doctor von Hagens maintains that all bodies exhibited in Body Worlds came from donors who gave informed consent via a unique body donation program.  A commission set up by the California Science Center in Los Angeles in 2004 confirmed Doctor von Hagens' statements.  Doctor von Hagens does not make the same claim for all specimens prepared by his plastination institute, only the ones exhibited in Body Worlds. There is also the issue that the children and unborn fetuses included in the exhibition had no way of giving informed consent to the display of their bodies; in the case of children informed consent would have to have been obtained from their parents.


The following is taken from Catholic Answers:

Relics in Early Christianity



The veneration of relics is seen explicitly as early as the account of Polycarp’s martyrdom written by the Smyrnaeans in A.D. 156. In it, the Christians describe the events following his burning at the stake: "We took up his bones, which are more valuable than precious stones and finer than refined gold, and laid them in a suitable place, where the Lord will permit us to gather ourselves together, as we are able, in gladness and joy and to celebrate the birthday of his martyrdom." 

In speaking of the veneration of relics in the early Church, the anti-Catholic historian Adolph Harnack writes, ". . . [N]o Church doctor of repute restricted it. All of them rather, even the Cappadocians, countenanced it. The numerous miracles which were wrought by bones and relics seemed to confirm their worship. The Church therefore would not give up the practice, although a violent attack was made upon it by a few cultured heathens and besides by the Manichaeans" (Harnack
History of Dogma, tr., IV, 313). 

In the fourth century the great biblical scholar, Jerome, declared, "We do not worship, we do not adore, for fear that we should bow down to the creature rather than to the creator, but we venerate the relics of the martyrs in order the better to adore him whose martyrs they are" (
Ad Riparium, i, P.L., XXII, 907). ` 


From the ever-useful and informative Fisheaters site, beginning with scriptural cites:

Exodus 13:19 "And Moses took Joseph's bones with him: because he had adjured the children of Israel, saying: God shall visit you, carry out my bones from hence with you."

4 Kings 13:20-21 "And Eliseus died, and they buried him. And the rovers from Moab came into the land the same year. And some that were burying a man, saw the rovers, and cast the body into the sepulchre of Eliseus. And when it had touched the bones of Eliseus, the man came to life and stood upon his feet." 

Matthew 9:20-22 "And behold a woman who was troubled with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment. For she said within herself: If I shall touch only his garment, I shall be healed. But Jesus turning and seeing her, said: Be of good heart, daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour."

Acts 19:11-12 "And God wrought by the hand of Paul more than common miracles. So that even there were brought from his body to the sick, handkerchiefs and aprons: and the diseases departed from them: and the wicked spirits went out of them."

[...]

When considering relics, it is to be remembered that the body and soul are forever one, even when they seem to be separated by death. The body of the saved will be resurrected and glorified (the bodies of the damned will also be resurrected, for that matter). Forever is there a connection between the remains and the soul that has departed from them -- and the great souls whose remains are left to us have a power described well by St. John of Damascus (a.k.a. "John Damascene"), ca. A.D. 676 - 754/87, in his "Exposition of the Orthodox Faith":

These [the bodies of the Saints] are made treasuries and pure habitations of God: For I will dwell in them, said God, and walk in them, and I will be their God. The divine Scripture likewise saith that the souls of the just are in God's hand and death cannot lay hold of them. For death is rather the sleep of the saints than their death. For they travailed in this life and shall to the end, and Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints. What then, is more precious than to be in the hand of God? For God is Life and Light, and those who are in God's hand are in life and light. 

Further, that God dwelt even in their bodies in spiritual wise, the Apostle tells us, saying, Know ye not that your bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit dwelling in you?, and The Lord is that Spirit, and If any one destroy the temple of God, him will God destroy. Surely, then, we must ascribe honour to the living temples of God, the living tabernacles of God. These while they lived stood with confidence before God. 

The Master Christ made the remains of the saints to be fountains of salvation to us, pouring forth manifold blessings and abounding in oil of sweet fragrance: and let no one disbelieve this. For if water burst in the desert from the steep and solid rock at God's will and from the jaw-bone of an ass to quench Samson's thirst, is it incredible that fragrant oil [see below] should burst forth from the martyrs' remains? By no means, at least to those who know the power of God and the honour which He accords His saints. 

In the law every one who toucheth a dead body was considered impure, but these are not dead. For from the time when He that is Himself life and the Author of life was reckoned among the dead, we do not call those dead who have fallen asleep in the hope of the resurrection and in faith on Him. For how could a dead body work miracles? How, therefore, are demons driven off by them, diseases dispelled, sick persons made well, the blind restored to sight, lepers purified, temptations and troubles overcome, and how does every good gift from the Father of lights come down through them to those who pray with sure faith?...
______________________ 
How can we have it both ways?  We don't.  These are completely separate and dissimilar practices, that in reality are in total opposition to each other.

Chiesa on the Allam Baptism

The Chiesa website has an informative series of articles on the significance of the baptism and the buzz surrounding it.

...A comment on the part of the Vatican appeared in "L'Osservatore Romano," in a note by director Giovanni Maria Vian:

"The gesture by Benedict XVI affirms religious freedom in a humble and clear way. This is also the freedom to change religion, as in 1948 was emphasized by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (even if after this, unfortunately, the declaration was scaled back precisely in this regard). So anyone who without coercion asks for baptism has the right to receive it. And just as this event has not been unduly emphasized, so also there is no hostile intention toward a great religion like Islam."

By coincidence, in the same issue of the pope's newspaper, there was a long article dedicated to the Easter liturgy and to the very ancient tradition of celebrating the sacraments of Christian initiation within it, entitled "The intimate bond between baptism and martyrdom."

This is a bond that Benedict XVI emphasized on Easter Monday, when – at the midday "Regina Coeli" – he invited the faithful to pray for the bishops, priests, religious, and laity killed in 2007 while carrying out their service in missionary countries:

"In the light of the risen Christ, the annual day of prayer for missionary martyrs, which is commemorated today, takes on a particular value." ...

27 March 2008

First ChiefJoeMokwa (tm), Now Chef Paul Prudhomme!


As regular readers know, nothing is more relevant to the mission of a Catholic blog than the lively debate about whether bullets, after having been shot in the air, can actually kill someone by falling back to Earth.

Against my firmly held belief to the contrary, the evidence for the proposition grew (no pun intended) today to larger proportions.


From a blurb found in the Post-Dispatch:


Paul Prudhomme was setting up his cooking tent on the practice range at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans golf event when he was hit in the arm by a bullet.  Police believe it was a falling bullet, probably shot about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday from someone within 1 1/2 miles.


Witnesses said the bullet cut Prudhomme's skin on his arm and put a hole in his white chef's coat.  But Prudhomme continued cooking until he left the course about 3:30 p.m.
_____________________

I am a little concerned that bullets apparently are not time and location stamped for easy time-and-place-of-shooting calculation.  I am glad the great chef was unharmed, although I hope not to be disrespectful by observing that if a falling bullet had gone into his frame to do serious damage I would concede the argument forever.

Colleen Campbell on the Pope and the Recent Baptism

From the full article at STLToday:

Why the Pope has bin Laden running scared
BY COLLEEN CARROLL CAMPBELL

The release last week of Osama bin Laden's latest rant — which featured fulminations over cartoon images of the Prophet Mohammed and charges that Pope Benedict XVI is leading a "new crusade" against Islam — sparked a fresh round of head-scratching worldwide.

[...]

So why does Benedict infuriate bin Laden?

A glimpse of an answer came Saturday, during the Easter vigil Mass that Benedict celebrated in Rome. Among seven converts to the Catholic faith whom he baptized was a former Muslim named Magdi Allam, an Egyptian-born Italian journalist known for his outspoken criticism of Islamist extremism.

Allam has been a leading voice of moderate Islam, a staunch supporter of Israel and a fierce critic of Islamist jihadists who murder in the name of God. Death threats have forced Allam to travel with armed guards, and he expects that his Christian conversion will lead to more calls for his head. But Allam says the risk is worthwhile, and he cites Benedict's message about the compatibility of faith and reason as an inspiration for his conversion.

Predictably, Benedict's decision to personally and publicly baptize Allam was blasted by several Muslim leaders. The Vatican newspaper responded by describing the baptism as Benedict's attempt to affirm "in a gentle and clear way, religious freedom." 

The message was clear, indeed. The baptism signaled Benedict's belief that religious tolerance must be a two-way street. As he proclaimed in his Regensburg speech, authentic interfaith dialogue, like authentic religious conversion, can happen only when violence is rejected as a means of persuasion and reason is embraced as a means of finding common ground.

[...]

Like Pope John Paul II, whose persistent reminders of the link between faith and freedom emboldened grassroots resistance to communism and enraged communist leaders, Pope Benedict has infuriated the global bullies of his day. To Islamist extremists who murder innocents in the name of their irrational and bloodthirsty god, Benedict's message about the compatibility of faith and reason undermines their efforts in a way no military campaign or secular leader could.

No wonder bin Laden is worried.

ICRSP Photos from Holy Week in Italy


With thanks to the New Liturgical Movement for the tip, at the Institute's European website there are pages of wonderful images from the liturgies of Holy Week and the Triduum celebrated at the seminary of the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest in Gricigliano, Italy.

26 March 2008

Will There Be a Homosexual Day of Silence in St. Louis Area Catholic Schools?

From the AFA:

Homosexual "Day of Silence" coming to Missouri High Schools

[...]

On, Friday, April 25, several dozen schools in Missouri will be observing "Day of Silence (DOS)." DOS is a nationwide push to promote the homosexual lifestyle in public schools. When AFA alerted parents of this public school classroom disruption by homosexual student activists, many Missourians took action immediately! As a result, 19 schools had their name removed from the participating list. If you haven't gotten involved, it's critical that you do so today!

Take Action!

What should parents do? Check with your local school principal to see if your child's school will be participating in DOS. If the school is participating, notify other parents about DOS and ask them to join in keeping their children out of school on that day. A simple phone call or letter to your local Missouri school administrators, telling them your child will not attend school the day it observes DOS, may be enough to cause some participating schools to change their plans. Sample letter here. Frequently Asked Questions about the Day of Silence. Here is a partial list of Missouri schools which the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network says are participating in DOS:

Berkmar H.S.
Clayton H.S.
Crossroads H.S.
Hickman H.S.
Jefferson City H.S.
John Burroughs H.S.
Kirkwood Senior H.S.
Ladue Horton Watkins H.S.
Liberty H.S.
Liberty Senior H.S.
McCluer H.S.
Metro H.S.
Nerinx Hall H.S.
Pattonville Sr. H.S.
Raymore-Peculiar H.S.
Rock Bridge H.S.
South H.S.
Pembroke H.S
Van Horn H.S.
Webster Groves H.S.
Winnetonka H.S
William Chrisman H.S.


If your school is listed, call your local school and ascertain whether they officially or passively allow students to observe "Day of Silence." If your school is listed, please double-check with your local school to see if the school is actually sponsoring DOS. Sometimes the "participation" turns out to be a handful of kids who are saying they have a homosexual club and are observing this protest day, but without school endorsement. We sincerely hope your school, if listed, is not actually an official sponsor. If it is not, we will take them off the list, if a school official asks us to do so. Please e-mail your correction to webmaster@missionamerica.com. Some tips:

Be sure of the date that DOS is planned for your school. (The national date is April 25, but some schools observe DOS on a different date.)

Inform the school of your intention to keep your child home on that date and explain why. See the sample letter above.

Explain to your children why you're taking a stand: Homosexual behavior is not an innate identity; it is a sinful, unnatural and destructive behavior. No school should advance a physically, emotionally, and spiritually destructive sexual lifestyle to students.

Schools do not have to tolerate students remaining silent in class. Schools can adopt policies that require parental consent for students to attend any club, including those premised on sexual orientation or gender identity. Here is more information from Attorney Mat Staver with Liberty Counsel who provides free information to parents, students, and schools regarding their rights associated with noncompliance on the Day of Silence.

[...]

Sincerely,
Donald E. Wildmon,
Founder and Chairman American Family Association

25 March 2008

F.A.Q.


In the course of running this blog, I get a ton of great questions.  Over the last few months, I have begun to collect them in the hopes that a centralized "Frequently Asked Questions" page would be a helpful resource for readers.  The most popular questions received so far are answered below.

Why did you start this blog?


It was a penance from a particularly severe confessor.


What was your inspiration for the name of the blog?


I really love St. Louis style pizza, and it occurred to me that this love was fairly "universal", or "catholic".  It's funny how many people don't know that.


Which topics in the arena of Catholicism do you most enjoy discussing on your blog?


Well, Bozek that's a tough Bozek question.  You see Bozek, there are so many Bozek wonderful Bozek things happening in the Bozek Church today, from the Bozek resurgence of the traditional Bozek Mass to the strong and inspirational Bozek leadership of our beloved Holy Father and Archbishop Burke; from Bozek life Bozek issues inherent from Bozek conception to death to Bozek local Catholic Bozek events.  So, I really couldn't Bozek narrow it down.  Bozek Bozek Bozek Bozek.  Womenpriests.


I've noticed that your "currently reading/recently read" book list is quite lengthy and filled with books of which I've never heard.  Have you really read all these books or are you just putting us on?


Yes.


Who are your favorite saints?


Well, the Blessed Mother is the Queen of All Saints, and in addition to my patrons I am devoted to Sts. Thomas Aquinas, Francis de Sales, Therese of Lisieux, Edmund Campion, Pius V, and Pius X. But perhaps as a role model St. Marcarius the hermit is more my speed.  I read in the Magnificat magazine a few years back that Marcarius was a hermit but who liked to spend time with other hermits, tried to fast but would eat when he got hungry and who would remain silent unless he needed to talk.  In my facile analysis, he is the patron saint of the decent effort. And may he forgive my attempt at humor just now!


Do you have a real job?


That is a matter of subjective interpretation, depending on whom you ask.  And, sometimes, when you ask them.  I am a little unclear on this issue myself.


Who are your favorite bloggers?


I am obliged under the terms of a yet-to-be-executed marriage dowry contract to say that Wolftracker over at Kansas City Catholic is my absolute favorite.


Are you worried that your content might get you in hot water?


No.  But I will say that if I ever receive a canonical admonition and summons from the Archbishop, I, unlike some, would show up as directed, and without the press.


You're so pretentious and smug.  Who do you think you are?


I think what you meant to say is, "Whom do you think you are?"


You're not the Pope.


You're probably right, but do you know for sure?


Where do you get your extremist views?


The Catechism of the Catholic Church.


Do you attend the novus ordo

Not if I can help it.


Why is that?


Because I have the right to attend any Church-approved rite, or form of rite, of Mass and thankfully I have the privilege to have the traditional Mass nearby.  For me, three-and-a-half decades of regular novus ordo attendance couldn't withstand three-and-a-half traditional Masses.


You're so divisive, man.


Is there a question there?


How do you serve cajun pork?


That's a trick question.  You don't.


Do you work for the Archdiocese?


I'm not on the payroll if that's what you mean.  But in a sense, every Catholic in St. Louis should work for the good of the Archdiocese.


Jesus loved everybody, man.


Thanks for the reminder!


How do I cancel my subscription to Saint Louis Catholic?  And where's my refund?


Good questions!  If you find out the answers, please let me know, too.

Vestments




A study in contrasts.

Tomorrow's Birdcage Liner Shortage


There is an old expression about the passing nature of news stories to the effect that today's newspaper lines tomorrow's birdcage.  But the internet is always out there.

I was reminded of this tonight when someone who obviously just found the blog posted an outraged comment on the first St. Cronan's post of nearly four months ago.  Hey, welcome to the site!

Video from Easter Vigil Mass at the Oratory

At Rome of the West.

In Other News: Flowers Attract Bees; Honey Draws Flies; Spring Follows Winter


Hey, did you know that boys are attracted to serving at the altar for the Traditional Mass? I think you must have suspected as much. This time-tested incubator of vocations to the priesthood is being reestablished today. Boys see a role worth the sacrifice of time and learning-- contrast this with the altar girl dominated novus ordo parishes where, though easier to serve, altar boys are hard to find. From the full story in the Boston Herald:


Boys step up to altar, en Mass


By Laura Crimaldi Sunday, March 23, 2008 Photo by Matt Stone


A new generation of young altar servers captivated by the solemn rituals of Latin Mass is mastering the traditional rite in growing numbers in the Boston archdiocese as the liturgy makes a comeback after a four-decade hiatus.


“It’s really reverent. That’s why I like it,” said altar server Brendan MacKenzie, 12, of Marshfield, as he readied for the Tenebrae, or “Spy Wednesday,” service at Mary Immaculate of Lourdes in Newton during Holy Week. “It brings you closer to God.”


Since April, the number of young boys trained to perform Latin Mass in the Boston area has more than doubled, from eight to 18 servers, said the Rev. Charles J. Higgins, pastor at Mary Immaculate, where the old-style Mass is celebrated every Sunday at noon.


There are an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 altar servers throughout the Boston Archdiocese, a spokesman said. Keeping with the tradition, only boys serve at Latin Mass.


Higgins, 46, who is self-taught in the Latin liturgy, said the increase in boys studying the traditional Mass has more to do with his repeated appeals for volunteers than last year’s “motu propio” from Pope Benedict XVI. The Vatican order reversed 43 years of near banishment of the worship service by allowing priests to perform the liturgy without the authorization of a local bishop.


The devoted altar boys agree with this interpretation of how the pool of servers took on a more youthful look after years of just adult men on the altar.


“As Father Higgins says, he wants an army of servers,” said Stephen Farynaz, 12, of Lunenberg, who has been serving at Latin Mass since he was 7 years old.


A minimum of nine servers is needed to perform the highly choreographed rite, which can be traced to the sixth century and is referred to as the Tridentine Mass. The training takes weeks and entails memorizing Latin responses and learning the ceremony’s many rubrics, such as how to walk, genuflect, hold your hands, stand and carry objects.


Frank Doyle Jr., 43, of West Roxbury, a veteran master of ceremonies who has been serving Latin Mass for 17 years, trains new servers in the nuances of the Mass while conveying that they need not be Thomas Aquinas to get the hang of it.


“When in doubt, genuflect. That’s an old MC’s joke,” said Doyle, who studied the work of English priest Adrian Fortescue to learn the Mass.


[...]


Davulis studies from a booklet titled “How To Serve Low Mass and Benediction” to learn the difficult Latin. He said he prefers serving at Latin Mass to serving at the Novus Ordo, or modern Mass, because he feels more involved.


“I just want to learn it now before it’s too late,” said Davulis.


MacKenzie’s older brother, Cameron, 14, said he resisted when his parents urged him to serve.
“I guess the first time when I served I realized I was serving God. I guess it just took me away,” he said.


Higgins said he is heartened by his new flock of servers and is training five priests to say Latin Mass.


“They have an openness to the religious practice, which is very refreshing,” said Higgins. “I see it as a hopeful sign that when they come of age, that whatever stage of life they choose, that they will be strong Christian men whether as priests or family men.”

Oratio Pro Summo Pontifice


The following prayer is taken from the Roman Missal. A partial indulgence is attached to the versicle and response.


V. Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Benedicto.


R. Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius. [Ps 40:3]



Deus, omnium fidelium pastor et rector, famulum tuum Benedicto, quem pastorem Ecclesiae tuae praeesse voluisti, propitius respice: da ei, quaesumus, verbo et exemplo, quibus praeest, proficere: ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi credito, perveniat sempiternam. Per Christum, Dominum nostrum. Amen.


______________________


V. Let us pray for Benedict, our Pope.


R. May the Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies. [Ps 40:3]

Our Father, Hail Mary.


O God, Shepherd and Ruler of all Thy faithful people, look mercifully upon Thy servant Benedict, whom Thou hast chosen as shepherd to preside over Thy Church. Grant him, we beseech Thee, that by his word and example, he may edify those over whom he hath charge, so that together with the flock committed to him, may he attain everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

24 March 2008

Solemn Papal Mass


You can check out a wonderful post at the New Liturgical Movement site with a description of, and images from, the Traditional Solemn Papal Mass.

Fear of Giving Offense Can Lead to Ambiguity


Sometimes, anyway.


I attended a typical Catholic parish, with the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite, most of my life. At least for the last 15 or so years of that attendance, I read something in my missalette every Good Friday similar in content to what a reader sent me this year:


"The message of the liturgy in proclaiming the passion narratives in full is to enable the assembly to see vividly the love of Christ for each person, despite their [sic] sins, a love that even death could not vanquish. The crimes during the Passion of Christ cannot be attributed indiscriminately to all Jews of that time, nor to Jews today. The Jewish people should not be referred to as though rejected or cursed, as if this view followed from Scripture. The Church ever keeps in mind that Jesus, his mother Mary, and the Apostles all were Jewish. As the Church has always held, Christ freely suffered his passion and death because of the sins of all, that all might be saved."


-- Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs
_________________

Certainly Christ died for the sins of all, that all might be saved. Yet not all accept that sacrifice and some number reject the redemption won for them by Christ. It is pointless to get into the question of whether the greater number persons, or even the greater number of Catholics, are saved or are damned. For one thing, it is not in my line of expertise to even analyze, let alone criticize, the arguments for one side or the other put forth by some of the great theologians and doctors of the Church. Also, such an argument can seem presumptuous when forwarded by one who cannot himself know the answer in his own particular case. It is no reason to lose Hope, but is a good reason to consistently and humbly pray for the graces necessary for salvation.

The reality that not all are saved is made clear from Scripture, and is implicated by the words of consecration of the Precious Blood spoken by Our Lord, "...qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum." ("...which shall be shed for you and for many for the remission of sins."). The words of consecration of the Precious Blood are the same for both the Ordinary and Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite of Mass. Yet in English, we suffer through the woefully inaccurate mis-translation of "for all" --instead of "for many" or "for the many"-- for the Latin phrase "pro multis".




But the words which are added "for you and for many" ("pro vobis et pro multis"), were taken some of them from Matthew (26:28) and some from Luke (22:20) which however Holy Church, instructed by the Spirit of God, joined together. They serve to make clear the fruit and the benefit of the Passion. For if we examine its value, it will have to be admitted that Blood was poured out by the Savior for the salvation of all, but if we ponder the fruit which men will obtain from it, we easily understand that its benefit comes not to all, but only to many. Therefore when He said "for you" ("pro vobis"), He meant either those who were present, or those chosen from the people of the Jews such as the disciples were, Judas excepted, with whom He was then speaking. But when He added "for many" ("pro multis") He wanted that there be understood the rest of those chosen from the Jews or from the gentiles. Rightly therefore did it happen that "for all" ("pro universis") were not said, since at this point the discourse was only about the fruits of the Passion which bears the fruit of salvation only for the elect. And this is what the words of the Apostle aim at: Christ was offered up once in order to remove the sins of many, and what according to John the Lord says: "I pray for them; I do not pray for the world, but for those whom you gave to Me, for they are Yours" (John 17:9). Many other mysteries lie hidden in the words of this consecration, which pastors, God helping, will easily come to comprehend for themselves by constant meditation upon divine things and by diligent study.
___________________


To say that the Jews should not be blamed specifically for Christ's death is true. We all are to blame. Every sinner born of woman is to blame. Me. You. Catholics and non-Catholics, equally. And therefore, the Jews should not be considered specially cursed because of the death of Christ.

However, what the advisal of the Bishop's Conference (however well-intended) risks is a notion of indifferentism, or to accept that the Jews do not need the salvation offered by Christ and His Church. Anyone who rejects Christ is, in a real sense, cursed. He who knowingly rejects the Catholic Faith, he who knows that it is the true Church founded by Christ and necessary to salvation, cannot be saved.

Please consider this carefully, and do not misunderstand. This imputes no condemnation on any individual person by me or by the Church, because the subjective knowledge and belief of the individual cannot be known by anyone except God. The objective reality of the person described in the paragraph above remains.

What bothers me is that advisals such as the one in the missalette can lead Catholics to fail in charity and not pray for the conversion of all people. It can lead them to believe that not everyone needs to believe in Christ-- and thus certain people are off limits to the proclamation of the Gospel. Jesus commanded us to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. The Holy Father has, by his actions even in the last month, confirmed this constant teaching of the Church.


This Easter, let us join with the Church in praying:

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui vis ut omnes homines salvi fiant et ad agnitionem veritatis veniant, concede propitius, ut plenitudine gentium in Ecclesiam Tuam intrante omnis Israel salvus fiat. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Conversion: An Act of Free Will

Happy Easter to you all. I am sure by now that most have read about the baptism by the Holy Father of a muslim convert at the Easter Vigil in Rome. Excerpts from the full story appear below. The reason I wanted to post on this is because I believe that it is no accident that this baptism took place in such a public way by the Pope himself.

I believe that, perhaps among many other reasons, the Holy Father wished to juxtapose this event with the murder of the Catholic Bishop in Iraq last week. Conversion is possible, of course, but it must be an act of the will of the converted. It must be a free choice, or it is not a conversion at all. Murdering one's enemies stands in stark contrast to the Christian commandment of love of enemies. The Holy Father is no coward, and shepherds his flock without fear of those who would seek violence against him. We should never cease to pray for his temporal and spiritual protection.

Pope baptizes prominent Italian Muslim

By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer
Sat Mar 22, 9:24 PM ET

VATICAN CITY - Italy's most prominent Muslim, an iconoclastic writer who condemned Islamic extremism and defended Israel, converted to Catholicism Saturday in a baptism by the pope at a Vatican Easter service.

An Egyptian-born, non-practicing Muslim who is married to a Catholic, Magdi Allam infuriated some Muslims with his books and columns in the newspaper Corriere della Sera newspaper, where he is a deputy editor. He titled one book "Long Live Israel."

As a choir sang, Pope Benedict XVI poured holy water over Allam's head and said a brief prayer in Latin.

"We no longer stand alongside or in opposition to one another," Benedict said in a homily reflecting on the meaning of baptism. "Thus faith is a force for peace and reconciliation in the world: distances between people are overcome, in the Lord we have become close."

Vatican Television zoomed in on Allam, who sat in the front row of the basilica along with six other candidates for baptism. He later received his first Communion.

Allam, 55, told the newspaper Il Giornale in a December interview that his criticism of Palestinian suicide bombing provoked threats on his life in 2003, prompting the Italian government to provide him with a sizable security detail.

The Union of Islamic Communities in Italy — which Allam has frequently criticized as having links to Hamas — said the baptism was his own decision.

"He is an adult, free to make his personal choice," the Apcom news agency quoted the group's spokesman, Issedin El Zir, as saying.

Yahya Pallavicini, vice president of Coreis, the Islamic religious community in Italy, said he respected Allam's choice but said he was "perplexed" by the symbolic and high-profile way in which he chose to convert.

"If Allam truly was compelled by a strong spiritual inspiration, perhaps it would have been better to do it delicately, maybe with a priest from Viterbo where he lives," the ANSA news agency quoted Pallavicini as saying.

[...]

The pope administers baptism "without making any 'difference of people,' that is, considering all equally important before the love of God and welcoming all in the community of the Church," said the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi.

[...]

There is no overarching Muslim law on conversion. But under a widespread interpretation of Islamic legal doctrine, converting from Islam is apostasy and punishable by death — though killings are rare.

Egypt's highest Islamic cleric, the Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa, wrote last year against the killing of apostates, saying there is no worldly retribution for Muslims who abandon their religion and that punishment would come in the afterlife.

On Wednesday, a new audio message from Osama bin Laden accused the pope of playing a "large and lengthy role" in a "new Crusade" against Islam that included the publication of drawings of the Prophet Muhammad that many Muslims found insulting.

Lombardi said Thursday that bin Laden's accusation was baseless. He said Benedict repeatedly criticized the Muhammad cartoons, first published in some European newspapers in 2006 and republished by Danish papers in February.

22 March 2008

Surrexit Enim, Sicut Dixit!


Vespere autem sabbati, quae lucescit in primam sabbati, venit Maria Magdalene, et altera Maria videre sepulchrum.  Et ecce terraemotus factus est magnus.  Angelus enim Domini descendit de caelo: et accedens revolvit lapidem, et sedebat super eum: erat autem aspectus eius sicut fulgur: et vestimentum eius sicut nix. Prae timore autem eius exterriti sunt custodes, et facti sunt velut mortui.  Respondens autem Angelus, dixit mulieribus: Nolite timere vos: scio enim, quod Iesum, qui crucifixus est, quaeritis: non est hic: surrexit enim, sicut dixit.  Venite, videte locum, ubi positus erat Dominus.  Et cito euntes dicite discipulis eius, quia surrexit: et ecce praecedit vos in Galilaeam: ibi eum videbitis.  Ecce praedixi vobis.
Mt. 28: 1-7

O mors, ero mors tua, morsus tuus ero, inferne

21 March 2008

Tradition Ascendant


I didn't mean to post on Good Friday again, but this picture from New Liturgical Movement made me reconsider.  The Pope wore a beautiful, Roman style chasuble today for Good Friday service.  It may seem a small thing.  But little by little, the Holy Father is trying to restore the beauty, tradition and solemnity of the Liturgy.  This and other pictures can be found here.

20 March 2008

Good Friday



Again, from fisheaters:





Good Friday (also called "Great Friday" or "Holy Friday") is the most somber day of the entire year. A silence pervades, socializing is kept to a minimum, things are done quietly; it is a day of mourning; it is a funeral. The Temple of the Body of Christ is destroyed, capping the the penitential seasons begun on Septuagesima Sunday and becoming more intense throughout Lent. Traditional Catholics wear black, cover their mirrors, extinguish candles and any lamps burning before icons, keep amusements and distractions down, and go about the day in great solemnity.



Jesus was put on the Cross at the very end of the third hour (the time between 9 and noon), and almost the sixth hour. He died at the ninth hour:


Mark 15:25, 33 And it was the third hour, and they crucified Him... And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole earth until the ninth hour.


Because Jesus was on the Cross between the hours of Noon and 3:00 PM, these three hours today are considered the most sacred of all. A devotion called "Tre Ore" or "Three Hours' Agony" might be held at this time; if not, you can do it yourself by meditating on His Passion -- reading the Gospel narratives of the Passion, making the Stations of the Cross by yourself, praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary, praying the Litany of the Passion, etc. Draw the curtains, take the phone off the hook, turn off televisions and radios, quiet your environment and yourself, and meditate on what Christ has done for you. At 3:00, "The Hour" He died, the atmosphere should be as if you are standing next to the deathbed of your father who died a moment ago.




Catholics also focus their attention on Mary this day and tomorrow (Holy Saturday), empathizing with the pain she endured as Our Lady of Sorrows. In another break in the tradition of veiling statues since Passion Sunday, they might dress the image of Our Lady in a black dress or veil, placing flowers of mourning before it in her honor.




Though a somber atmosphere will last until the Easter Vigil, after "The Hour" (3:00 PM) passes, it eases a bit, and life can go back to a "somber normal." The phone can put back on the hook, etc., but candles and other symbols of Christ shouldn't be used, music shouldn't be played, raucous games should be eliminated, etc., while Christ is "in His Tomb" -- i.e., until after Vigil of Holy Saturday when Eastertide officially begins.



No true Mass is offered today (or tomorrow until the Vigil tomorrow evening); instead a liturgy called the "Mass of the Presanctified" is offered , which is not a true Mass because no consecration takes place. Instead, we consume Hosts consecrated at yesterday's Mass. Vestment colors will be black, and the liturgy consists of lessons, prayer, St. John's version of the Passion, and ends with a long series of prayers for various intentions: the Church, the Pope, the faithful, those engaged in public affairs, catechumens, the needs of the faithful, unity, the conversion of the Jews, the conversion of infidels. These intentions are called the Great Intercessions, and we kneel after each.



Then the Cross will be unveiled and and elevated to be adored by our kneeling three times before it at the words "Venite, adorémus" (come, let us adore). We kneel thrice because He was mocked thrice: in the high priest's courtyard, in Pilate's house, and on Mt. Calvary. Then the priest lays the Cross on a cushion and covers it with a white veil to symbolize the Entombment. He takes off his shoes, like Moses before God, and kneels three times as the choir chants. He and his acolytes kneel and kiss the Cross.



The Cross is held up for us, and we file past - - men first, then women -- to kneel and kiss the Cross while the choir sings the Improperia (the Reproaches) of Christ, in which Our Lord reminds of us all He has done for us and our ingratitude towards Him. Note the use of the singular "thee" in these Reproaches. Our Lord is speaking to you. The first three of the twelve Reproaches are:


O My people, what have I done to thee? Or wherein have I afflicted thee? Answer Me. Because I led thee out of the land of Egypt, thou hast prepared a Cross for thy Savior.



Because I led thee out through the desert forty years: and fed thee with manna, and brought thee into a land exceeding good, thou has prepared a Cross for thy Savior.



What more ought I to have done for thee, that I have not done? I planted thee, ineed, My most beautiful vineyard: and thou has become exceeding bitter to Me: for in My thirst thou gavest Me vinegar to drinkL and with a lance thou hast pierced the side of thy Savior.



A second choir responds to each of those Reproaches with a trisagion in Greek and Latin. You might recognize its English translation if you've ever prayed the Divine Mercy chaplet:


O holy God! O holy God! O holy strong One! O holy strong One! O holy immortal One, have mercy on us. O holy immortal One, have mercy on us!


The remaining nine Reproaches are answered with the response " O my people, what have I done to thee? or wherein have I afflicted thee? Answer me." ("Popule meus, quid feci tibi? aut in quo constristavi te? responde mihi."). The words evoke awe in reminding us of our ancient Israelite heritage -- and evoke humility in recalling how our ancestors failed repeatedly:


For thy sake I scourged Egypt with its first-born: and thou didst deliver Me up to be scourged.



I led thee out of Egypt having drowned Pharao in the Red Sea: and thou to the chief priests didst deliver Me.



I opened the sea before thee: and thou with a spear didst open My side.



I went before thee in a pillar of cloud: and thou didst lead Me to the judgment hall of Pilate.



I fed thee with manna in the desert; and thou didst beat Me with blows and scourges.



I gave thee the water of salvation from the rock to drink: and thou didst give Me gall and vinegar.



For thy sake I struck the kings of the Chanaanites: and thou didst strike My head with a reed.



I gave thee a royal scepter: and thou didst give My head a crown of thorns.



I exalted thee with great strength: and thou didst hang Me on the gibbet of the Cross.


After the Reproaches, we receive Communion, receiving Hosts consecrated at yesterday's Mass.



It is customary for churches to offer the Way of the Cross devotion on this day, especially around 3:00, the hour of His death. And, again, there may be a tenebrae service (consisting of the Matins and Lauds for Holy Saturday).

19 March 2008

Triduum Schedule at the Oratory


     Triduum Sacrum:

Thursday, March 20, Holy Thursday

5:30 p.m. Confessions

6:30 p.m. Solemn High Mass, Procession to the Repository

Followed by Adoration at the Repository until Midnight

Friday, March 21, Good Friday

8:00 a.m. Stations of the Cross and Confessions

2:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Confessions

3:00 p.m. Liturgy of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Followed by Adoration at the Holy Sepulcher until 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, March 22, Holy Saturday

8:00 p.m. Confessions

9:00 p.m. Easter Vigil, Solemn High Mass

At the End of the Vigil Blessing of Easter Food: Bread, Eggs…

Sunday, March 23, Easter Sunday

8:00 a.m. Low Mass with organ

10:00 a.m. Solemn High Mass

St. Francis de Sales Oratory

2653 Ohio Ave.

St. Louis, MO 63118