30 November 2009

One More Take on 40th Anniversary of the Novus Ordo

Satirically penned by Damian Thompson of the UK Telegraph:

Happy 40th birthday, Novus Ordo!

By Damian Thompson

It is 40 years ago today since the New Mass of Paul VI was introduced into our parishes, writes Margery Popinstar, editor of The Capsule. We knew at the time that this liturgy was as close to perfection as humanly possible, but little did we guess what an efflorescence of art, architecture, music and worship lay ahead!

There were fears at first that the vernacular service would damage the solemnity of the Mass. How silly! Far from leading to liturgical abuses, the New Mass nurtured a koinonia that revived Catholic culture and packed our reordered churches to the rafters.

So dramatic was the growth in family Mass observance, indeed, that a new school of Catholic architecture arose to provide places of worship for these new congregations. Throughout the Western world, churches sprang up that combined Christian heritage with the thrilling simplicity of the modern school, creating a sense of the numinous that has proved as irresistible to secular visitors as to the faithful.

For some worshippers, it is the sheer visual beauty of the New Mass that captures the heart, with its simple yet scrupulously observed rubrics – to say nothing of the elegance of the priest’s vestments, which (though commendably less fussy than pre-conciliar outfits) exhibit a standard of meticulous craftsmanship which truly gives glory to God!

The same refreshing of tradition infuses the wonderful – and toe-tapping! – modern Mass settings and hymns produced for the revised liturgy. This music, written by the most gifted composers of our era, has won over congregations so totally that it is now rare to encounter a parish where everyone is not singing their heads off! Even the secular “hit parade” has borrowed from Catholic worship songs, so deliciously memorable – yet reverent! – is the effect they create. No wonder it is standing room only at most Masses!

Did Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, who birthed this kairos, have any idea just how radically his innovations would transform the Church? We must, of course, all rejoice in his imminent beatification – but, in the meantime, I am tempted to borrow a phrase from a forgotten language that – can you believe it? – was used by the Church for services before 1969:
Si monumentum requiris, circumspice.

Poll Results

Thank you for voting in good numbers in the last poll.

Extraordinary Form-ers prefer Holy Ghost by a score of 57 to 27. A big margin, but not quite as big as I would have imagined.

Ordinary Form-ers prefer Holy Spirit by a score of 23 to 4. A bigger margin, but not unanimous.

And a shout-out to the 6 druids who took the poll. I won't ask where you worship...

29 November 2009

Forty Years

November 30 marks forty years since the Novus Ordo Missae was unleashed upon the Catholic Church. I have been trying to work out for some weeks how I would mark this momentous occasion, and I figured that I would offend people no matter how I approached it. In the end, I thought I would just lay it on the line.

Did any good come out of all this? Sure-- God is good and never abandons His Church. The Mass is inherently good, as it is the re-presentation of Calvary, however much is truth is obvious or hidden. But using an analogy, one could say that good came out of the protestant "reformation" because the Church was prompted to consolidate, enforce ecclesiastical discipline, promote and defend the faith, and vigorously engage in the battle for souls in a new way. Yet, the protestant revolution is not something to celebrate in and of itself.

Therefore, I will leave the silver linings for another day, and another post. Today, I just want to focus on the problems with a liturgical reform that has not borne good fruit, and which even began without accurately implementing the relatively modest changes contemplated by the Second Vatican Council.

Two Popes, two quotes

Pope Paul VI was the Pope who promulgated the New Mass. Pope Benedict XVI confirmed that the Traditional Mass had not been abrogated by the promulgation of the New. The forty year gulf separates the two. In preparing this post, I came across a passage from each that sums up what I feel on the occasion.

At Rorate Caeli, I found the following quote from Paul VI in a general audience preceding the release of the new missal:

We may notice that pious persons will be the ones most disturbed, because, having their respectable way of listening to Mass, they will feel distracted from their customary thoughts and forced to follow those of others.
Not Latin, but the spoken language, will be the main language of the Mass. To those who know the beauty, the power, the expressive sacrality of Latin, its replacement by the vulgar language is a great sacrifice: we lose the discourse of the Christian centuries, we become almost intruders and desecrators [intrusi e profani] in the literary space of sacred expression, and we will thus lose a great portion of that stupendous and incomparable artistic and spiritual fact that is the Gregorian Chant. We will thus have, indeed, reason for being sad, and almost for feeling lost: with what will we replace this angelic language? It is a sacrifice of inestimable price.
And, to bookend the issue from the perspective of the author of Summorum Pontificum, here is what Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger wrote of the liturgical reform:

What happened after the Council was totally different: in the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy.

We left the living process of growth and development to enter the realm of fabrication. There was no longer a desire to continue developing and maturing, as the centuries passed and so this was replaced - as if it were a technical production - with a construction, a banal on-the-spot product.

While one would be tempted to claim that this lament is not for the Mass as promulgated, but rather for the abuse of it, this claim flies in the face of the language he uses, and the undeniably bureaucratic way in which the New Mass was devised. It was an on-the-spot fabrication-- you can decide for yourself if it was banal, but I agree with the Pope.

The Ottaviani Intervention States the Obvious: "A striking departure"

Back when I first became familiar with the Traditional Mass, I came across one of the works dear to many traditional liturgy adherents-- the famous Ottaviani Intervention. During the drafting of the Novus Ordo, some prelates had concerns about the product. Among these prelates were Cardinal Ottaviani and Cardinal Bacci, who sent their deep concerns to the Holy Father. It is a very sobering read. Here is the preface, in and of itself it hits the nail squarely on the head:

Letter from Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci to His Holiness Pope Paul VI
September 25th, 1969

Most Holy Father, Having carefully examined, and presented for the scrutiny of others, the Novus Ordo Missae prepared by the experts of the Consilium ad exequendam Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia, and after lengthy prayer and reflection, we feel it to be our bounden duty in the sight of God and towards Your Holiness, to put before you the following considerations:

1. The accompanying critical study of the Novus Ordo Missae, the work of a group of theologians, liturgists and pastors of souls, shows quite clearly in spite of its brevity that if we consider the innovations implied or taken for granted which may of course be evaluated in different ways, the Novus Ordo represents, both as a whole and in its details, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent. The "canons" of the rite definitively fixed at that time provided an insurmountable barrier to any heresy directed against the integrity of the Mystery.

2. The pastoral reasons adduced to support such a grave break with tradition, even if such reasons could be regarded as holding good in the face of doctrinal considerations, do not seem to us sufficient. The innovations in the Novus Ordo and the fact that all that is of perennial value finds only a minor place, if it subsists at all, could well turn into a certainty the suspicions already prevalent, alas, in many circles, that truths which have always been believed by the Christian people, can be changed or ignored without infidelity to that sacred deposit of doctrine to which the Catholic faith is bound for ever. Recent reforms have amply demonstrated that fresh changes in the liturgy could lead to nothing but complete bewilderment on the part of the faithful who are already showing signs of restiveness and of an indubitable lessening of faith.

Amongst the best of the clergy the practical result is an agonising crisis of conscience of which innumerable instances come tour notice daily.

3. We are certain that these considerations, which can only reach Your Holiness by the living voice of both shepherds and flock, cannot but find an echo in Your paternal heart, always so profoundly solicitous for the spiritual needs of the children of the Church. It has always been the case that when a law meant for the good of subjects proves to be on the contrary harmful, those subjects have the right, nay the duty of asking with filial trust for the abrogation of that law.

Therefore we most earnestly beseech Your Holiness, at a time of such painful divisions and ever-increasing perils for the purity of the Faith and the unity of the church, lamented by You our common Father, not to deprive us of the possibility of continuing to have recourse to the fruitful integrity of that Missale Romanum of St. Pius V, so highly praised by Your Holiness and so deeply loved and venerated by the whole Catholic world.

A. Card. Ottaviani
A. Card. Bacci

Obviously, whatever the concerns of Pope Paul VI, and whatever misgivings he may have had, the New Mass was issued. Forty years later, the results are not good. The pews emptied, the families became smaller, religious vocations dramatically decreased, Churches and altars were desecrated, the faith was not passed on with vigor and, frankly, souls were likely lost that may not otherwise have been lost.

Forty years later, signs of hope reemerge. The Church has persevered in a hostile world. And no one can say what would have been if the traditional Mass had not been jettisoned.

Yet, I ask readers' pardon if on this anniversary I do not celebrate.

Societies Ignore Natural Law to Their Peril

In a very timely piece--in light of recent posts herein on defense of marriage in Maine-- the noted moral theologian Father Edward Richard has written a nice piece about the natural law and its neglect in recent years. From his blog, Catholic Morality:

Where Did It Go? The End of the Law

The Natural Law (NL) is a well-developed scientific theory of law and is the basis of all legal systems in Western Thought. It was a system of law and political thinking which placed the law at the service of the human person. It presupposed that the human mind was capable of knowing truth, particularly the truth about the human person and the goal of human life.

The value system in the NL was based upon a rational concept of human nature and the perfection of that nature. The goal for the law, both civil and moral, was to protect the common pursuit of authentic human happiness. This good was not individualist and subjective. It was based in the human ability to know truth, universal and objective. NL presupposes the freedom of the human person to choose means appropriate for the attainment of the authentic good of human life, the good which is actually capable of winning the desire of all human beings. The subjective experience of that good is what is known as happiness. NL was not created by the Catholic Church but was the system of law and morality that, of necessity, was acknowledged and presupposed when Christians began their dialogue with the world.

Natural law wisdom was considered to be scientific wisdom and was accepted by the US political and legal systems until the early twentieth century. The most cited law books in the decisions of the US Supreme Court in the first half of the history of this country were the volumes of Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England. Blackstone's views on Natural Law were essentially those accepted for millenia and acknowledged by Catholic thinkers. Natural Law was eventually replaced in the US legal system due to the strident efforts of certain legal thinkers who created a new system of thought. Most legal students today have no knowledge of the principles of the radical reinvention of the legal system that took place about a century ago.

NL began to be questioned by legal philosophers under the influence of the Pragamatists and political Progressivist Movement at the end of the 19th Century. Those who sought to revise the legal system believed in a theory of Social Darwinism and thought that law should be used as a means to bring about the new social eutopia. The "end" in this case were goals that the legislators and judges selected apart from any theory of human nature or other systems of valuing based upon a rational understanding of nature. The novelty of these ideas in the history of law can be seen in the inchoate state of the revised theory of law.

The new legal theory did not contain a system of valuing. The influence of the theory led to the creation of system of law that is no longer concerned with human flourishing which leads to happiness. Instead, by default, the orientation of legal theory became something akin to HLA Hart's view of freedom, the maximum expression of social freedom against every limitation. However, that has not solved the problem resulting from the lack of a theory of value. It is recognized that there must be limitations upon freedom of choice, but without a rational basis for valuing behavior, it is not clear today what the basis should be for establishing such limitations. This hiatus continues to lead to critical conflicts in political and legal processes. As the influence of the new theory continues to advance, there is an increasing tendency to equate any limitation on free choice as an impediment to happiness. But this concept is purely subjectivist. One will note that the concept of the "pursuit of happiness" as a value for law, and as stated in the Declaration of Independence, is unintelligible and seems unattainable in a diverse and pluralistic culture.

The early scholars of the transformation of the US political and legal system in the 20th were Roscoe Pound, Dean of Harvard Law School, and US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. Their main objective was to use the law to achieve social ends. Pound, in particular, sought to transform the judiciary into a means for a "more effective social engineering" (Pound's own words). Those familiar with Holmes will be aware of the fact that Holmes was a eugenicist, as were many of his contemporaries. Holmes and Pound were familiar with, and apparently accepted, the instrumentalist logic of John Dewey and the similar legal views of the German legal scholar, Gerhard von Ihering who wrote, Law as a Means to an End. Holmes's eugencist views apparently became part of his way of using the law to achieve desired social ends. Holmes wrote the US Supreme Court decision upholding the forced sterilization of Carrie Buck in Virginia saying "three generations of imbeciles is enough." By the middle of the 20th Century, the revisionists' theory of law, which was pragmatic and instrumentalist, became predominant at bench and bar and in the law schools of the country. This information has been well documented in research by Roberts Summers of Cornell University School of Law and other legal historians.

28 November 2009

Advent Begins

Alma Redemptoris Mater, quae pervia caeli
Porta manes, et stella maris, succurre cadenti,
Surgere qui curat, populo: tu quae genuisti,
Natura mirante, tuum sanctum Genitorem
Virgo prius ac posterius, Gabrielis ab ore
Sumens illud Ave, peccatorum miserere.

V. Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae
R. Et concepit de Spiritu Sancto.


Gratiam tuam quæsumus, Domine, mentibus nostris infunde; ut qui, angelo nuntiante, Christi Filii tui Incarnationem cognovimus, per passionem ejus et crucem, ad resurrectionis gloriam perducamur.
Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

27 November 2009

Psalm XI

SALVUM me fac, Dómine, quóniam defécit sanctus: quóniam diminútæ sunt veritátes a fíliis hóminum.

Vana locúti sunt unusquísque ad próximum suum: lábia dolósa, in corde et corde locúti sunt.

Dispérdat Dóminus univérsa lábia dolósa, et linguam magníloquam.

Qui dixérunt: Linguam nostram magnificábimus, lábia nostra a nobis sunt, quis noster Dóminus est?

Propter misériam ínopum, et gémitum páuperum, nunc exsúrgam, dicit Dóminus.

Ponam in salutári: fiduciáliter agam in eo.

Elóquia Dómini, elóquia casta: argéntum igne ex aminátum, probátum terræ purgátum séptuplum.

Tu, Dómine, servábis nos: et custódies nos a generatióne hac in ætérnum.

In circúitu ímpii ámbulant: secúndum altitúdinem tuam multiplicásti fílios hóminum.

Glória Patri, et Fílio, et Spirítui Sancto.

Sicut erat in princípio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculórum. Amen.

25 November 2009


Heading out of the office for the Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to thank all of you for reading here, and for the all of the prayers and words of support I get from many of you.

Of course I am thankful for the many blessings God bestows on me, first and foremost the gift of His Son, and His sacrifice for us all. His Blood was truly shed for us and for many unto the remission of sins. I am thankful for the faith, my family and the countless eternal and temporal benefits I have received.

I am thankful for the Institute, and for the timeless liturgy of the Church.

I am thankful that it is still possible in this country to host a blog that supports and promotes the teachings of the Church, and that it can be shared with others, at least for a while longer.

Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving. Travel safely. For your enjoyment--or endurance-- I republish below one of my posts from Thanksgiving-time last year:

'Twas the Night before the Day before Black Friday

And all through the neighborhood, the Christo-seculars are ready to put up Christmas decorations.

That's right, I just made up a word: Christo-seculars. Who are they? They are Christians, well-meaning no doubt, who love Christmas so much they can't wait to celebrate it. Yet they have, like so many, traded in the Christian calendar for the secular retail calendar. And in the retail calendar, Christmas starts the day after Thanksgiving.

Sure, some retail "modernists" try to foist Christmas on us just after Halloween-- but this is St. Louis, and we are traditionalist-Christo-seculars. Old school.

So now it begins... it doesn't matter whether it's Friday, Saturday or Sunday. This is The Weekend of Christmas Decorations.

And it is also the Weekend that my family begins its annual exercise in self-flagellation and reasserts its status as Neighborhood Pariahs.

How? Because we still attempt to follow the Christian calendar, which, with regard to Christmas anyway, used to be known as "the calendar". And the more traditional we have become in our practice of the Catholic faith, the more assiduously we have striven to really follow the seasons--Advent first, Christmas after. That means we don't have our Christmas tree lit up like a beacon in our bay window until Christmas Eve, and we don't have any outdoor decorations. Moreover, the advent wreath on our dining room table is not visible to the outside, unless you get so close to the house that I will be forced to procure a restraining order.

I don't know, of course, which neighborhood you live in, but my neighborhood thinks VERY highly of itself. If the name weren't taken, or perhaps if the local schools provided anything like a classical education, it might go by the name of Narcissus Peaks. I mean, it is a lovely little neighborhood, but its denizens think it is simply the cat's meow. Or at least the dog's bark.

In our neighborhood, nearly everyone has fallen in love with the idea that quality outdoor Christmas decorations involve the most garish lights, multiple--I mean multiple-- inflatable snowmen, snow globes (complete with blowing snow), Santas, penguins, polar bears and other such items. All of these are crammed onto front yards the size of an NBA free throw lane. Every cornice, roof line, window pane, lamppost and tree are jammed, JAMMED with lights. I could almost attest in open court that for the next forty days, at dusk, I will notice a discernible dimming of my indoor lights as the greenest of Obama voters turn on the juice.

The neighborhood sturmtroopen hand out awards every year for the best "holiday" lighting and decorations. There are individual awards and block awards. Obviously, I don't mind being overlooked for the individual honors (sniff), but the much-coveted block award is the single most culpable vehicle that dooms my family to outcast status. You see, my block has never won the award. It never will win the award. It is handed out before Christmas day, and so my house is a total dud. Oh, and the Jehovah's Witnesses down the street don't help, either.

This is OK by me, too, and I get a little guilty pleasure seeing the angst on certain faces. We have one Particularly. Well. Respected. Neighbor. who always wins an individual award. In our home, he is affectionately known as uber-neighbor. He tells you how fast (slow) to drive. He signals his minions on the exact times to begin raking, or mowing, or shoveling, as the seasons demand.

He rarely returns my wave this time of year.

But the absolute best Christo-secular neighbor has no pet name in our house. This is because we hold him in absolute awe-- because his ability to assault the beautiful and tasteful in his Christmas decorations goes so far beyond tacky as to be truly sublime. It goes without saying that if you look directly at the holiday lights on his property for more than two seconds you will be left permanently blind. Welders can't handle the optics of it. And inflatable gadgets? You bet. He has an inflatable, scantily-clad in Santa's little-seen underwear Barbie that would make a streetwalker blush. Inflatable NASCAR. Inflatable hula dancer. Inflatable EVERYTHING. Plus tacky, over-stylized Christmas music blaring from speakers.

And yes, he is usually the big award winner of the entire neighborhood. Perfect, if you ask me.

Now we have approximately 37 children living in our three bedroom house. They have eyes (having been warned about the house above, mind you) and can see that everyone else has the decorations up. They ask legitimate questions. We try to give them answers that explain the faith and that satisfy their natural excitement for the season. And on some level it works, but of course every night my wife and I go to bed wondering if it is another day in which we have wrecked their lives.

We take solace, of course, in the fact that they get to look out the windows and see all the festive lights, whereas our neighbors must look out and see our home as festive as a penitentiary the night of an execution.


So, we look forward to Christmas Eve, when we festoon the tree, put up decorations, go to Midnight Mass, and enjoy the solace and beauty of that Wonderful Night so long ago when our beloved Savior saw fit to be born into the world of men. The night of humble glory. We thank Him, and pray for the grace to be His faithful children.

And this year I will make a special effort to pray for our neighbors. After all, the day after Christmas begins the second Christo-secular season in which my family are neighborhood pariahs.

That is because on December 26, when all of the lights are down, the trees stuffed in the yard waste bins, and the neighborhood reels about in post-holiday hangover, we are just getting started. We celebrate Christmas. And Epiphany. And our Lord's Baptism. And the tree in our bay window will be up until February 2.

I can already see uber-neighbor's head shaking ruefully as he drives by.

24 November 2009

Prayer to the Holy Family after Mass

QUOS caelestibus reficis sacramentis, fac, Domine Iesu, sanctae Familiae tuae exempla iugiter imitari: ut, in hora mortis nostrae, occurrente gloriosa Virgine Matre tua cum beato Ioseph, per te in aeterna tabernacula recipi mereamur: Qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.O LORD Jesus, make those whom Thou dost refresh with Thy heavenly sacrament to imitate continually the example of Thy Holy Family, and that being welcomed at the hour of our death by Thy glorious Virgin-Mother and Saint Joseph, we may be found worthy to be received by Thee into Thy everlasting dwelling: Thou who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Vespers Protest in the Rain, but without the Rain?

Just as a quick follow-up to the last post, concerning an item in this week's St. Cronan bulletin:

Advent Vespers: We will be having two Advent Vespers celebrations. ...The second will be held at 7:00 Dec. 16th at Central Reform Congregation, 5020 Waterman Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108. Rabbi Susan Talve will be the homilist.

You will recall that the Central Reform Congregation is led by Rabbi Susan Talve, who decided to host the pretend ordinations of Elsie McGrath and Rose Hudson in 2007, despite the request from Archbishop Burke to refrain from doing so.

Then Rabbi Talve was also invited by St. Cronan to lead an Advent vespers service that same year. This event was held outside the Church building after Archbishop Burke had asked the parish leadership to disinvite her, and further after Archbishop Burke had announced that the Church would no longer cooperate in joint events with Rabbi Talve due to her failure to respect the his request that she not undermine His Grace's efforts to shepherd the flock entrusted to him.

Sr. Louise Lears (subsequently placed under interdict and denied mission in the Archdiocese) participated in this service, which was covered on local television, and which was widely seen as a protest against the Archbishop. The event was also attended by pretend priests Hudson and McGrath.

In short, everything was done that could have been done--short of having the service on parish grounds--to show disrespect to the Ordinary.

Nothing really has changed in 2009, except that the participants have decided not to risk the rain.

Just as Catholic as They Ever Were, or, Catholic Action Network and Its Effort to Undermine Support for Archbishop Carlson

The tears of joy at the departure of Archbishop Burke were real.

The tears of joy to welcome Archbishop Carlson, not so much.

Fellow Catholics in St. Louis, there is an organization called Catholic Action Network that has a branch of anti-Catholic Catholics operating in this Archdiocese. Their pet issues are typical fare of the post-christian, secular far-left: destruction of the institution of marriage, socialist economic policies that serve to increase the power of government, environmental whacko-ism, and, of course, destruction of the Roman Catholic priesthood.

Among their host bodies is St. Cronan parish, which used to occasionally host their "women-led liturgies" until the heat was turned up. St. Cronan still provides support for CAN on its site (stomach their "core values" here, if you dare), as does St. Stanislaus Kostka formerly Catholic parish. Why DO those names keep coming up?

In case you're wondering, you don't find a lot about Eucharistic adoration, prayers for the Holy Father, or Fatima on their site.

Well, we all heard the squeals of glee when the change of leadership was effected in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. Now, the (gay marriage?) honeymoon is decidedly over. CAN is joining forces with the whimsically-named "Show Me No Hate" group to call for a protest against Archbishop Carlson at the Cathedral on Sunday:


An Open Letter From Ed Reggi, Show Me No Hate

ST. LOUIS - Tim Townsend of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on November 11th broke the story how the St. Louis diocese funded an anti-gay marriage ballot measure in Maine.

The local Catholic money was used to pay for a ballot measure called, "Question 1," that asked Maine voters if they should take away the right of lesbians and gays to legally marry in their State. Unlike Proposition 8 in California, the right of marriage was already granted to same-sex couples by the Maine legislature and signed into law by Maine's (who is Catholic) Governor John Baldacci. This was a measure to take-away rights already granted.

Make no doubt, Saint Louis Archbishop Carlson, along with dozens of Catholic Bishops across the United States donated over $180,000 to the Maine campaign that erased Maine's new Marriage Equality law; furthermore, they donated the money during a time when the Catholic Church is cutting, slashing and closing down parishes.

It's time for St. Louis Catholics and non-Catholics; gay and straight community; to come together and peacefully tell the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, that there are better uses for the local $10,000 Catholic dollars.

Last November over 1400 St. Louisans stood on the steps of the Historic St. Louis Old Court House to show solidarity to all those affected in California after the passing of Proposition 8.

On Sunday November 29th from 11:30am to 1:30pm; in front of the St. Louis Cathedral Basilica steps, we are asking St. Louis again to stand for equality. We gather again in solidarity for those not only discriminated against in Maine - but we stand for religious tolerance and diversity in our community.

Sunday November 29th: there is no better date than the first day of Advent to rally for Equality. Sunday November 29th marks the first day of Advent, a time for Catholics and Christians to prepare or "make things holy," before the holiday. Advent literally translates to "coming" and we cannot think of any better time to "come-out" and "come-forward" as a community.

This rally is organized by: Catholic Action Network, Holy Families Committee and Show Me No Hate

No matter how few protesters show up, it will likely be reported as 1400. But no matter. CAN has reaffirmed its lack of Catholic identity, and its repudiation of Catholic teaching on marriage. How long can they engage in the false advertising that attempts to deceive people that they are Catholic? And how long can a Catholic parish openly support such a group, that foments contumely on their Archbishop?

Veni, Sancte Spiritus

VENI, Sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende.

V. Emitte Spiritum tuum et creabuntur;

R. Et renovabis faciem terrae.

DEUS, qui corda fidelium Sancti Spiritus illustratione docuisti: da nobis in eodem Spiritu recta sapere, et de eius semper consolatione gaudere. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

COME, Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and kindle in them the fire of Thy love.

V. Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created;
R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray:

O GOD, Who taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that, by the gift of the same Spirit, we may be always truly wise, and ever rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

23 November 2009

St. Clement I, Papal Authority, The Consecrated Life and the Value of Prayer, Dom Gueranger, "Modernist" Trinitarian Formulae, and Other Related Items

Today is the Feast of St. Clement I, Pope and Martyr--the third successor of St. Peter. St. Clement is best remembered, perhaps, for leaving the clearest and earliest historical record of exercising the universal Petrine authority over matters outside of the Diocese of Rome. Dom Gueranger writes about this incident, involving the church of Corinth seeking to settle a particularly contentious issue within its boundaries:

The Corinthians at last felt the necessity of putting an end to a disorder that might be prejudicial to the extension of the Christian faith; and for this purpose it was requisite to seek assistance from outside. The apostles had all departed this life, except St. John, who was still the light of the Church. It was no great distance from Corinth to Ephesus where the apostle resided: yet it was not to Ephesus but to Rome that the church of Corinth turned.

St. Clement claimed authority, used his authority, and his authority was accepted. All this in the first century A.D. Papal authority certainly existed-- and almost certainly was exercised over churches outside Rome-- from the very beginning of the office. But this record contained in St. Clement's letter to the Corinthians while even yet an apostle of Jesus Christ still lived, stands as evidence of a most important kind.

St. Clement also wrote about the laudable life of the consecrated virgin. In the entry for the Presentation of Mary a few days ago, Dom Prosper Gueranger wisely remarked that "the world, unknown to itself, is ruled by the secret prayers of the just." Pope Clement certainly understood this to be true of the consecrated religious. Anticipating the great doctors of Christian virginity--SS. Athanasius, Jerome, Ambrose and others, he wrote as follows:

"He or she who aspires to this higher life, must lead like the angels an existence all divine and heavenly. The virgin cuts herself off from the allurements of the senses; not only does she renounce the right to their even lawful use, but she aspires to that hope which God, who can never deceive, encourages by His promise, and which far surpasses the natural hope of posterity. In return for her generous sacrifice, her portion in heaven is the very happiness of the angels."

These words brought to mind that I would continue to ask for prayers for all consecrated religious, but especially the Sisters Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus Christ Sovereign Priest and their new foundation in St. Louis. These gentle and holy sisters bring the blessing of God, invoke His favor and mercy, and forestall His righteous anger, in a way that we cannot perceive. They give us their "secret prayers of the just".

Back to St. Clement I. Like so many faithful Catholics, especially the early Popes, he paid the price of the faith with his life-- the emperor Trajan had him exiled, and later cast into the sea tied to an anchor. Miraculously, his body was delivered up by the ocean when the sea receded three miles, revealing his body in a marble tomb on the floor of the sea. Hence the anchor graphic, above.

Finally, I wanted to thank Delena, who came to see us in St. Louis this past weekend. Sharon and I had a great time visiting with her and her cool husband and sons. In the middle of a nice dinner with plenty of alcohol (but not enough to trigger a trip to the confessional) she unloads this bombshell: she says Holy Spirit instead of Holy Ghost.


My brother was quick to point out that she is, of course, a modernist.

Now, I realize that saying Holy Spirit doesn't really make you a modernist, so no hate mail, please. Well, not by itself, anyway. Just kidding! It really is a weird phenomenon, isn't it? I know there was no magic diktat from the Second Vatican Council to switch from Ghost to Spirit, but it seems to be the time period when the switch occurred. Spirit is derived from the Latin Spiritus while Ghost comes from the old English Gast, and similar to the German Geist.

The real reason I brought it up is to provide the fodder for my next poll. Do you say Holy Spirit or Holy Ghost? My guess is that people who identify themselves as traditional Catholics tend to say Ghost, yet not uniformly so. My other guess is that Catholics not described above say Spirit almost exclusively. Let's see if I am right.

The last poll, while not immensely popular, did prove that by a 2-to-1 margin you do not like my vest. Too bad, I'm wearing it anyway.

Yes, It Would Help. A Lot, In Fact.

Rev. Bozek: I might step down

By Tim Townsend

The Rev. Marek Bozek, pastor of St. Stanislaus church just north of downtown, told parishioners Sunday that he was willing to step down if it would help the parish.

"I do not want my personal circumstances to impede what is best for St. Stanislaus," Bozek said.

Bozek was laicized, or defrocked, by the Roman Catholic church in January.

In July 2008, the archdiocese filed a lawsuit against the St. Stanislaus board that, if successful, would allow it to regain the power to assign the church’s pastor and approve its board members. The trial date is set for February.

Bozek’s announcement could open a door for the archdiocese to regain control of the church without a trial.



Some additional information at today's updated story at STLToday. Is the end of the lawsuit near?

Bozek said he could not comment on the timing of his announcement because of pending litigation between the church and the Archdiocese of St. Louis. His attorney did not return a call seeking comment.

In July 2008, the archdiocese filed a lawsuit that, if successful, would allow it to regain the power to assign the church's pastor and approve its board members. Since 2001, the board twice has amended its bylaws to cement its control of church matters. That lawsuit is scheduled to come to trial in St. Louis Circuit Court in February.

The archdiocese welcomed the news of Bozek's possible departure from St. Stanislaus.

"If that opens up an avenue for reconciliation, that would be a wonderful thing," Bernard Huger, an attorney for the archdiocese, said Sunday. "Clearly we don't want to have a trial, we just want to have St. Stanislaus returned as a Catholic parish."

Huger said St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson had "made it clear" to St. Stanislaus attorneys that he was "most willing to resolve this."

The Polish-born Bozek was hailed as a hero in 2005 for risking his vocation to lead a church some Catholics felt had been abandoned by the archdiocese. But over the last three or four years, Bozek's version of Catholicism drove away many of the church's traditional members.

At the same time, his support for homosexuality in the church, and women's ordination, brought in a new group of parishioners.

In January, Bozek was laicized, or defrocked, by Pope Benedict XVI.

Tensions are high at St. Stanislaus, between those who support Bozek and those who want him gone. And the two sides — with two very different concepts of what it means to be Roman Catholic — reacted to the pastor's announcement Sunday with equal fervor.

"He's bringing people back while the rest of the Catholic church is driving them away," St. Stanislaus member Diana Daley said after Mass on Sunday. "He says he's willing to step down, but if he does, they might as well close this church."

Grzegorz Koltuniak, a longtime critic of Bozek's, said after the pastor's announcement that he'd been "waiting for this moment from the beginning."

22 November 2009

101st Anniversary of the Dedication of St. Francis de Sales

The present church building of St. Francis de Sales was completed and dedicated in a solemn ceremony on Novermber 26, 1908. The Oratory celebrates this anniversary with Mass and the annual Kirchweifest today.

This photo of the church appeared in the Golden Jubilee Souvenir Book published in 1917. (The first church building was erected in 1867, and destroyed by a tornedo in May, 1896.)

The following message to the parishioners of St. Francis de Sales was recorded in the Jubilee book:

We congratulate you to-day for the harmony and unexcelled co-operation that you have in the years gone by ever shown in the interest of your church. May this grand spirit that to-day finds a place in the heart of every parishioner, continue in the years to come. May we in the future work together as we have done in the past, so that the next Jubilee of St. Francis de Sales church may find, if possible, even greater reasons for rejoicing than the past fifty years have offered. Our parish to-day, on the day of its fiftieth anniversary, stands pre-eminent among the parishes of our diocese. The spirit of religion, the frequency with which our parishioners approach the Sacraments, your devotedness to your church, your sacrifices in her behalf, your real, genuine Catholic Faith stands as a shining example to all who have occasion to know the inner life of our parish. This it is, after all, which carries greatest weight before the Eternal Judge. Our good wishes to you to-day are that these grand and noble conditions may continue in our parish, and that each succeeding year may find you more worthy of the name you bear. That you continue walking in the footsteps of those noble men and women, who, by their sojourn in St. Francis de Sales parish, have merited the “Crown of Glory.”
Today is the Last Sunday after Pentecost, and closes out the Church year as we are called to contemplate the Last Things. Advent begins next Sunday.

20 November 2009

Novena to the Immaculate Conception

St. Francis de Sales Oratory is conducting is annual Novena of Masses to the Immaculate Conception. Every day of the Novena will feature Mass with a different homilist.

This year's lineup includes some fantastic preachers. In addition to the many local Archdiocesan priests well-known for their preaching skills, I wanted to call your attention to the Mass of Canon Matthew Talarico of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. Canon Talarico is stationed at the Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago, and is a Vice Provincial of the Institute for the U.S. He is a very moving speaker, and I say that because you may not have heard him before--and not intending to slight any of the other great speakers by omission.

The schedule is below, and directions and information are at the link above.

Novena in Honor of the Immaculate Conception

Rosary and confessions before all Masses and devotions

Sunday – November 29, 10:00 am
Canon Jason Apple, Vicar at St. Francis de Sales Oratory
“The Immaculate Conception – Patron of the Institute of Christ the King”

Monday – November 30, 6:30 pm
Canon Matthew Talarico, Vice-Rector Shrine of Christ the King, Chicago
“Devotion to Mary – Secret to Sanctity and Sanity”

Tuesday, December 1, 6:30 pm
Father Edward James Richard, Dean of Students & Vice-Rector, Kenrick-Glennon Seminary
“The Immaculate Conception - Our Mother”

Wednesday – December 2, 6:30 pm
Father Thomas Keller, Pastor, St. Angela Merici-Florissant
"The Old Testament and Devotion to Mary - The Story of Rebecca and Jacob."

Thursday, December 3, 6:30 pm
Father Kristian Teater, Assistant Professor of Spiritual Theology, Kenrick-Glennon Seminary
“Queen of Priests”

Friday, December 4, 6:30 pm
Monsignor C. Eugene Morris, Pastor, St. Mary Magdalen, Brentwood, Lecturer of Sacramental Theology, Kenrick-Glennon Seminary
“Mary – Woman of the Eucharist”

Saturday, December 5, 8:00 am
Father Gregory Lockwood, Temporary Administrator, St. Elizabeth of Hungary-Crestwood, Lecturer of Systematic Theology, Kenrick-Glennon Seminary
“The Immaculate Heart of Mary”

Sunday, December 6, 10:00 am
Monsignor Vernon Gardin, Vicar General of Archbishop of St. Louis
"Like Mary, Our Identity is in Christ."

Monday, December 7, 6:30 pm
Father Eric Kunz, Associate Pastor, Queen of All Saints-Oakville
"Mary - Cause of Our Joy."

19 November 2009

The Enormous Body of Lies from Our Communist Leaders to Pay Off Soon

The health care plan that won't cover abortion, won't cause the government to takeover one-seventh of the economy, that won't have death panels, that won't ration care, that won't force doctors to perform abortions, that won't cover non-citizens, that won't come up for a vote until after the new year, that won't raise taxes, that won't increase the deficit, that won't bankrupt the country, and that won't destroy private ownership of businesses, and that won't cause massive unemployment...

...will be voted on in the Senate on Saturday night, copying the House's cowardly ramrod weekend job.

This is communism, plain and simple, forced on you by a totalitarian state, controlled by the communist party of political sheep, ruled over by an illegitimate thug.

I Think Being Polite Drives People Crazier Than Just about Anything Else

This incident occurred right here in Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. It really highlights the problem with governmental intimidation and arrogance, and also just how hard it is to effectively protect your rights.

Steve Bierfeldt, who works with Campaign for Liberty, was flying back to D.C. from St. Louis after a C4L event carrying registration money in his carry on bag. He was pulled aside by TSA.

The full audio recording can be found here. Be advised that there are a few instances of medium to strong profanity used by officials therein.

On the one hand, it is obvious that the situation was--practically speaking only-- prolonged by the refusal of Mr. Bierfeldt to give information the government had no right to have. However, isn't that just the point? Isn't the point of freedom from unwarranted searches and seizures, not to mention unjustified detentions, to be able to be free from giving such information "just to get along"? In the end, it is not a security risk to the airplane to carry money, regardless of the amount.

Parts of the audio are funny, parts are frightening. It is a study of psychological law enforcement techniques. Just part of 21st Century Amerika. Credit the ACLU for vindicating this matter in the Courts. That organization sometimes does great work-- too bad it gets grossly overshadowed by most of its other cases.

Jamie Allman Manages to Get It Nearly All Wrong

I enjoy listening to Jamie Allman's morning show. I tend to be politically conservative. But just as I am forced to remind the statists who comment here, being Catholic comes first--antecedent to any political identification, worship of Kenyan-born "presidents", or radio talk show preferences.

Allman, a Catholic, has written an op-ed in the Post-Dispatch today which, seemingly, tries to be controversial for its own sake. Much like the old Kevin Slaten ad--"People say I'm controversial, but I don't buy that. I believe controversy is a good thing."

In the piece, Allman takes issue with the recent donation by the Archdiocese to the effort to defend marriage in Maine. I will re-post section-by-section below, with my responses. From

Is gay marriage a bigger priority than illegal immigration in St. Louis?
Jamie Allman


I think I have a dynamite way for gays who want to get married to avoid the cross hairs of Catholic bishops: They should find a way to become illegal immigrants.

St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson chased nuptial-hunting gays all the way to Maine earlier this month when he used an Archdiocesan fund to drop $10,000 into the coffers of those fighting to defeat gay marriage.

Too bad for the gay people. Had they been illegal immigrants, the Archdiocese might have run to Maine to rescue them and relocate them. That's what the Archdiocese did in Valley Park when the city dared threaten to enforce the law.

OK, let's begin. First of all, this whole argument is a complete non sequitur. Defending marriage is a Catholic issue. Being concerned with the way immigrants are treated by the state is a Catholic issue. Neither decision-- the donation of money to help support the institution of marriage in Maine, and the concern that people are given their rights to due process of law regardless of immigration status-- has any connection to the other, apart from the fact that the Church has justifiable concerns for both.

Also, the language Allman uses is intentionally inflammatory and patently unfair. "Carlson chased nuptial-hunting gays" and "avoid the cross hairs of Catholic bishops" is the type of language I would expect of 19th Century Know-Nothings, or the Foursquare Gospel sect, not from a Catholic. This is also language I would expect to hear from Mr. Bozek or the Cronan's leadership.

No wonder Catholics are confused. They never know where the holy ball is marked. That sure makes it hard to be a holy roller.

Wit, thy name is Jamie Allman. I would suggest some of the confusion comes when avowed Catholics in the public eye feel free to criticize Bishops who uphold Catholic teaching. Allman's target happens to be traditional marriage, while others fault the pro-life efforts of the Church.

What the public sees is just the tip of the mitre when it comes to confusing actions.

In 2002, a St. Louis priest admitted he sexually abused a kid. In the summer of 2003, Archbishop Justin Rigali let one of his buddies, Monsignor Richard Stika, increase the priest's salary. By the fall of that year, Rigali was hammering the board of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church for being "out of communion" with the church. Who is more "out of communion": the abusive priest or the Polish parish?

Rigali became a cardinal in Philadelphia, Stika became bishop of Knoxville, Tenn., and the St. Stan's board wound up being excommunicated.

When you are really out of ideas, just bring up the sex abuse issue. I love how you hear all the time--even out of the USCCB bureaucracy itself-- that homosexuality is not involved in the abuse situation. Yet the statistics bear a different story. Nearly all of the pedophilia cases (children yet to reach puberty, as opposed to that term being defined to include any minor under 18) involved the abuse of boys by men. Same sex. Is there a term to describe that situation?

Then of course Allman pulls another non sequitur and pairs this situation to the St. Stanislaus situation. The funny thing is that he presents this as a way to make the St. Stan's junta look like victims. Funny he should mention Bozek in juxtaposition to the abusive priest. What was Bozek but an abusive priest? He disregarded the authority of the Bishop. He preached a Gospel different than that of Jesus Christ. He supported heresies and publicly opposed infallible Church teaching. And I am only talking about his public statements here.

Gee, am I wrong or wasn't it Allman's job to explain Archbishop Burke's position in this matter? How good a job did he do on that, I wonder? Maybe because Jamie Allman never thought he was in the right when he did so?

Give me a break. You can be against both pedophilia and "gay marriage". In fact, you ought to be--and as a Catholic you must be. In Allman's view, if any leader of the Church ever did anything wrong at any time, the whole Church loses the ability to advocate in the moral realm.

So heaven forbid you're gay and want to get married in Maine. Now you've got ten grand and more against you, courtesy of Catholic bishops. Better you commit a crime by sneaking into the United States. Then you have legions of bishops surrounding you with protection, condemning raids on you and even harboring you from the law.

Heck, as long as you're an illegal immigrant and not eyeing a gay marriage, the bishops will even push for government health care to be thrown your way.

Oooh. Ten grand in the context of a statewide referendum, where the other side is backed by tens of millions of dollars. That is scary. P.S., gays can get married in any state in the union. They just have to actually get married, which is to say to someone of the opposite sex, like anybody else. That strikes me as equality.

This then leads to the straw man of the nefarious "illegal immigrant". Should people follow the civil laws governing the flow of immigration to the United States? Absolutely. Does the government have the right to regulate this process to ensure order, maintain sovereignty and promote the common good? Sure.

But don't tell me that a person from another country is not a person who doesn't deserve basic human dignity and due process of law. If an immigrant without status needs to go to the emergency room because he would die otherwise, is Allman saying he shouldn't get care? If he is the target of crime, should the police not protect him? If he is charged with being out of status and deportable, does he get a hearing or can anyone just judge the case on their own and ship someone out? If his spouse, or children, are U.S. citizens is it always proper to deport? No matter what? That may or may not be Allman's view, but it isn't the Catholic view. The bishops are right in wanting certain basic rights for everyone.

This is a far cry from Allman's baseless charge that the Church harbors illegal immigrants from the law. Giving a hungry person a sandwich is not harboring.

And regarding the health care takeover-- readers surely know what an awful idea I think this is, that aids in the destruction of innocent human life and violates the principle of subsidiarity. But I will say this: the bishops aren't advocating that homosexuals shouldn't be covered, so at least their position vis-a-vis the two non-related issues is consistent. Allman might phrase it that "Carlson chased nuptial-hunting gays all the way to Maine to ensure they had health insurance."

As keenly opposed as Catholic leaders like Archbishop Carlson are to gay marriage, it's too bad they aren't more determined on abortion. Sure they all lobbied to ban abortion funding in the House health care reform bill. But that came after an election season in which they mumbled incoherently about a "scale of values" in voting for a president.

With some notable exceptions, the Bishops as a group strongly advocated for life in the last election. And since he is talking about the Archbishops of Saint Louis, past and present, with regard to them both the stance of the Church was crystal clear. But don't let the facts get in the way.

What you get with your "scale of values" is confusion and hypocrisy.

See above. This is laughable.

You get St. Louis Catholics with Obama buttons pinned to their purses hollering at priests when they have the audacity to hope during a homily that people consider the abortion issue in voting.

Or you get Catholic commentators like Chris Matthews on MSNBC who will on one day declare that it's not wrong for someone to "call al-Qaida," but the next day declare that it is wrong for Catholic bishops to call lawmakers.

So Catholic clergy DID speak up for life in the election, and leftist Catholics ignored them and spread confusion?

Bishop Carlson's $10,000 wire to whack gay marriage in Maine got very little attention among St. Louis Catholics. (Be lucky your name isn't Raymond Burke, your excellency. You'd still be on the front page about this one.)

Maybe a good Director of Communications could help.

The lack of attention may be because Catholics — especially the ones who voted for a pro-choice president — may feel they have to stand up for something they deem to be a moral issue. Putting the hammer on gays is cleansing. It's absolving. It feels, well, Catholic.

I mean, really, this is asinine. How many Catholics who voted intentionally pro-choice are anti-gay "marriage"? One? Even one? More than three?

But I'm sure there are many uses for ten grand. Last Sunday, Catholics heard appeals from priests for donations to the seminary. Kids at one local parish started a Pennies For Priests collection. Ten grand would go a long way there. Or could the Marriage Enrichment Program at the Archdiocese use some cash?


Before you cue the lightning strike, please make no mistake. As a Catholic I do believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman. I'll be sure to teach my children that. Otherwise it's none of my business. And I certainly don't believe the government should be involved in dictating who gets married and who doesn't. That's why I'm a conservative and not a Republican.

I'm personally opposed, but...

But maybe I'm totally wrong. Maybe Archbishop Carlson and his guys finally have found the American sweet spot by mixing their fight against gay marriage with their wave to illegal immigrants. After all, both the Democratic and Republican parties seem to share a disdain for gay marriage and a soft spot for illegals. Maybe the bishops have finally found a bipartisan comfort zone.

Catholic bashing from an avowed Catholic. Does it get any better?