30 April 2011

Dominica in Albis; Low Sunday; St. Thomas Sunday; Quasimodo Sunday; Divine Mercy Sunday--All Tomorrow

What's in a name, you say?  Tomorrow is called by all of the names that appear in the title of this post. 

Dominica in Albis (White Sunday) is used because traditionally, on this day, the newly baptized neophytes would lay aside their white baptismal garments.   Which pretty much sums up the next--

Low Sunday, as in last Sunday was the highest Sunday in the Calendar, so this one seems low by comparison.  In it, the deacon chants the Gospel which chronicles the events on--

St. Thomas' Sunday, where the great Apostle, who misses out on the Lord's first appearance to the group, expresses doubts about the Resurrection using language he probably wishes he didn't.  This reminds us that "like", or--

"Quasimodo" geniti infantes (newborn babes), we should long for pure spiritual milk which will lead us to salvation, because like Thomas we have tasted that the Lord is good.  In fact, St. Thomas is glad that the Lord indeed showed him--

Divine Mercy, as He has shown us all. 

Truly the Church keeps lovingly all of the Tradition, and the little traditions, handed down by our forefathers and revealed to us over time by God.  I love to come across those little "touches" throughout the liturgical calendar, all year long.
_________________

As you may know, but if you forgot here is your reminder, the faithful may gain a plenary indulgence tomorrow by receiving Holy Communion on Sunday, and also going to confession and reciting prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father.

Finally, tomorrow begins the great Marian month of May, and the annual May crowning will take place at 10 am Mass at St. Francis de Sales Oratory.  Information about this, and the Divine Mercy indulgence, can be read in this excerpt from the latest Oratory newsletter:
____________________

MAY CROWNING ON SUNDAY OF DIVINE MERCY

The night before His death for our salvation, Our Lord Jesus Christ instituted the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist, and at that very moment also instituted the priesthood of the New Testament by which the Sacrament of His Body and Blood would be consecrated and given to men. The Sunday which closes the octave of Easter, traditionally known as Low Sunday, Quasimodo Sunday or Dominica in albis, commemorates the institution of the Sacrament of Penance, that Sacrament by which those separated from our Eucharistic Lord by sin may be brought back to the state of grace. No wonder, then, that, in these dark days of ours, Divine Providence should have chosen this Sunday as the day on which the mercy of God should receive special praise from men, a mercy which was made known in the fullness of time by the Incarnation of His Divine Son. It is the very message of mercy first received by Our Lady of the Annunciation, then by the shepherds in Bethlehem, and countless times throughout history, especially in the apparitions of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary.

Those who go to Confession (within a week’s time) and receive Holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday receive a plenary indulgence, the remission of all sin and punishment. It is a day on which we should implore the grace of perfect contrition for our sins and desire to be enflamed with charity toward all poor sinners, confiding them all to the infinite mercy of our Savior Jesus Christ, who reigns from the sweet wood on which He hung for our redemption.


This Sunday, May 1, we will witness again the crowning of the statue of the Blessed Virgin in our church. During the 10 AM High Mass, the crown, emblem of the reign of the Mother of God over all saints and angels in heaven, will become again the visible sign of Mary’s queenship. She who was elevated over all creatures to become the mother of our savior, is now also the Ianua Caeli, the Gate of Heaven: The Chaplet of Divine Mercy allows us to ask for God’s forgiveness through the “sorrowful passion” of Jesus (‘For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and the whole world’.), the Rosary of the Blessed Mother lets us ask for the intercession of the heavenly queen: “… pray for us now and in the hour of our death. Amen.”


In his 1954 encyclical proclaiming the Queenship of Mary, Ad caeli reginam, Pope Pius XII summed up numerous historical references to this Marian title from ancient tradition, and from the sacred liturgy, which serves as a faithful reflection of the truths taught by the Church. The Holy Father wrote:


… she is a Queen, since she bore a son who, at the very moment of His conception, because of the hypostatic union of the human nature with the Word, was also as man King and Lord of all things. So with complete justice St. John Damascene could write: "When she became Mother of the Creator, she truly became Queen of every creature.” But the Blessed Virgin Mary should be called Queen, not only because of her Divine Motherhood, but also because God has willed her to have an exceptional role in the work of our eternal salvation.


In this holy season of Easter, we especially recall that, by His words to the Apostle John from the Cross, “Behold thy Mother,” Our Saviour gave to us His mother Mary to be our own. Mary’s divine motherhood and her glorious queenship are inexorably entwined. By instituting the liturgical celebration of the Queenship of Mary, Pope Pius XII wished “to exhort Our children in Christ to a strong and tender love, as becomes children, for Our most gracious and exalted Mother.”


Throughout the ages of the Church, her children have looked upon the Blessed Mother and Queen of Heaven for help when we are in times of crisis. And in the Spring time, when we are surrounded with the fragrance and beauty of a blossoming creation, it is fitting that we look to our royal mother with love and tenderness, as we crown her Queen of Heaven, with the simple devotion of children.

[...]

29 April 2011

Meatless Friday: The Kryptonite Cell

I am not Comic Book Guy, though I could pass for him at dusk, I suppose.  But "I hear there's rumors...on the...uh, internets" that Superman has declared that he is going to renounce his United States citizenship.  He claims that "truth, justice and the American way" aren't enough anymore. 

In reality, I suspect his tax burden is too high for his comfort.  Saving lives, thwarting criminals, preventing world destruction would almost certainly bring the temptation to garner and hide hordes of cash.  Tax treatment is the reason most U.S. expatriates give up their citizenship.  His official explanation indicates that Superman's super powers apparently include the ability to spin impenetrable P.C. bluster.

But I don't think Superman really knows what he's getting into.  He is about to face his toughest opponent yet-- the bureaucracies of the State Department, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the IRS.

First of all, because Superman is not seeking to become the citizen of any other country, he has to physically leave the United States to renounce his citizenship.  The relevant section of the Immigration and Nationality Act provides that Superman must:

(5) mak[e] a formal renunciation of nationality before a diplomatic or consular officer of the United States in a foreign state, in such form as may be prescribed by the Secretary of State...

Superman doesn't need to be molested by the TSA to board a plane-- he can fly.  No armed surveillance drones could stop him due to his legendary indestructibility.  No, his test only really begins when he lines up in the queue at the U.S. Embassy in, say, London.

After waiting in line all morning, he will have mere seconds in front of the British national working at the front window to state his case.  Unless he has exceptionally good luck, he will be told that the Embassy only processes renunciations of citizenship on Wednesdays, so come back next week.  For five tortuous days, Superman's strength is sapped by eating British food and and dodging traffic in a steady drizzle.

Returning to the Embassy, he will be informed he needs to prove he does not owe any U.S. income taxes.  Proving a negative can be tough, even for a Superhero, so Superman reverses the rotation of the Earth to make photocopies of his last 10 years of returns.  Finally, he is passed along to a consular officer.

He takes the oath renouncing his U.S. citizenship-- it is irrevocable-- and is given a Certificate of Loss of Nationality.  The consul sneers, telling him to get out of his sight.  Now Superman is stateless.

Without realizing the full consequences of what he has done, he illegally enters the United States to engage in unauthorized work at the Daily Planet, using a false identity.  An intersection camera monitored by DHS catches him changing into civilian clothes in a phone booth, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids the Daily Planet.  Superman is arrested and found to possess a fake birth certificate, passport and driver's license, all in the alias of "Clark Kent".

DHS then charges the man of steel with document fraud, false claim to U.S. citizenship (ironically because of the fake documents), unauthorized work, and being present in the United States without being admitted or paroled; he is put into removal proceedings and held without bond as a flight risk in a special DHS kryptonite-barred cell.

Janet Napolitano calls a press conference to anounce the arrest as proof of the administration's strong effort to crack down on the employment of illegal aliens and to protect union jobs.

After several months, Superman has his hearing before the Immigration Judge.  It lasts about an hour.  The judge orders him deported.  He appeals the case all the way up, and after another two years in detention, he ultimately loses his case.

The problems then continue for our former hero.  Because his renunciation left him legally stateless, he cannot be physically deported.  Further, because he is a potential threat to the community, the DHS decides to detain him indefinitely.  He will learn, just as the Mariel Cubans learned, that U.S. Courts will uphold this detention, even should it continue for more than three decades.

Adding insult to injury, the IRS begins to levy on all his assets.

Only now, in the midst of his sorrows, does Superman realize that the bureaucracy is a foe of far greater malice and strength than  Lex Luthor.

Superman has just experienced what today passes for the American way.

28 April 2011

A beautiful picture of a traditional nun.

To the Sickos at Modern Bride Magazine...

I found this amusing piece via Fr. Z at the blog of a priest styling himself "Reverend Know-it-All".  And by amusing, I realize that this is super-secret code for "uncharitable".
___________________________

Warning: THIS EPISODE OF THE REV. KNOW IT ALL IS EXTREMELY OFFENSIVE. IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU OR ANYONE YOU KNOW. PLEASE READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE. THE REV. KNOW IT ALL IS NOT OPPOSED TO ALL WEDDING CELEBRATIONS. HE IS NOT TALKING ABOUT YOUR WEDDING WHICH WAS A TRIUMPH OF PERSONAL SANCTITY AND GOOD TASTE. HE IS PROBABLY JUST HAVING A BAD DAY.



Dear Rev. Know it all,


I visited your church once and am thinking about having my wedding there. How long is your main aisle?


Mary O’Burne

Dear Mary,


I am often asked that question, and never quite understand it. Are brides curious about the length of the aisle because they think a longer aisle may give them a few more minutes to back out of the whole thing? Or, as I suspect, does a long aisle prolong the glorious promenade of which a young girl dreams as she thumbs through bridal magazine as she contemplates her special day, when all eyes focus on her as she approaches her enchanted prince and all the world thinks she’s gorgeous and knows that she has bagged her man just as surely as a Wisconsin bricklayer bags a deer and ties it onto the roof of his pick up truck? I have certainly seen a few grooms who look like a frightened deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming truck.


Why is it that weddings cause people to spend so much time, energy and money? And more money. The average American wedding costs almost $29,000, according to “The Wedding Report”, a market research publication. $29,000!” Oh, by the by, the usual donation to the church is about $200.00. That $200 goes to the church, not to the priest. The usual gift to the priest is a hearty handclasp. The usual cost of the photographer is $2,000.00. All this tells me that the photographs are ten times more important than the grace of the sacrament, in most peoples’ estimation. The usual fee for the DJ is $1,500.00. I am consoled by this. It means that painful, occasionally obscene music loud enough to cause brain damage is only 7.5 times more important than the grace of the sacrament.


You must be thinking why is this guy so down on weddings? I am down on some weddings because I am very “up” on the sacrament of matrimony and really in favor of marriage. That’s why the modern method of marrying and the wedding industry make me crazy. They militate against marriage. Here is the heart of my complaint. IT IS STUPID TO SPEND MORE TIME AND MONEY PREPARING FOR THE WEDDING THAN YOU DO PREPARING FOR THE MARRIAGE!!! I have known people who are still paying the credit card bills generated by the wedding years after the marriage is over.


The Modern Method of Marriage, a Reprise. The following is taken from my own experiences and things people have told me (outside of confession, you’ll be glad to know.) Here goes.


A young man and a young woman meet and have a few dates. They go for a weekend at a bed and breakfast where they bed one another, and then have breakfast. If he isn’t too much of a jerk and she isn’t too picky, they are then an item. She goes to the doctor gets a prescription and goes on to a more permanent form of birth control. At some time during this stage, the uncomfortable meeting with the parents happens. Everyone is polite and “supportive.” Secretly the father of the young woman who knows exactly what’s going on, contemplates buying a gun and the mother of the young man begins gossiping with whomever will listen about how her little boy could do better. After a while, if things hold up, they begin to have the conversation about taking their relationship to the “next level” by which they mean shacking up, as we used to call it. Now, I think it’s called moving in together.


Mom and Dad buy housewarming gifts in an attempt to, once again, be supportive. They don’t want their little dears to hate them and besides, it’s what everyone is doing these days, so it can’t be wrong. They have vague thoughts about getting married at that point and mom explains to grandma and to friends at church that they are just doing it to save money for the wedding. At this stage an engagement ring may appear. At some point, when they think about getting the house and the kids, because that’s what you do, they decide to have the wedding.


They rent the hall and then go see the priest. He tells them there are four other weddings that day and they respond, “but we’ve rented the hall already.” Someone suggests a garden wedding if the church is occupied. The priest says we can’t do garden weddings. (More on this later.) The young couple begins to complain about how narrow-minded the Church is with all these rules and regulations. They eventually pick a date. Then the bottom drops out. It seems the groom is not Catholic. He was baptized in the First Reformed Church of the Druids, though he never practiced. This means there must be a dispensation for the marriage, another irritating Catholic invention, and the wedding date cannot be confirmed until the dispensation is received.


The bride goes back to her doctor, this time for a prescription for valium. Her mother joins her on this visit. Finally the dispensation is granted, The groom’s druid will do one of the readings at the wedding, the loans are taken out, the banns are published. Then there is the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. The best man comes to the rehearsal drunk out of his mind, the groom only slightly tipsy. The bride is furious at everyone for some reason known to her alone. Probably because the groom is far more interested in drinking and watching the football game on his hand held computer thing than he is in gazing lovingly into her eyes in anticipation of the great day. In fact they haven’t been, well... friendly in weeks. It is, after all, football season.


The special day comes, the best man is still drunk, the groom is hung over, no one knew about that interesting tattoo that the maid of honor had way low on her back, now revealed by the plunging back of her dress that is held up only by wishful thinking. Grandma, upon reading the logo of the maid of honor’s tattoo, has fainted. Somewhere in all this the vows are exchanged, and quite a few of the wedding party receive their first Holy Communion that day, however one of the ushers puts the host in his suit pocket not having a clue what it is. (This actually has happened to me twice.)


The pictures have been taken. The noise level in the church reaches that of an English soccer match after the riot has broken out. The children are jumping off the altar and the priest is scowling at everyone. Now on to the pictures in the forest preserve, a “must” at every wedding. There the wedding party is attacked by mosquitoes, one of the children falls into the lagoon and the bride is having a hard time smiling for the photos. The best man passes out. On to the reception.


The bride loses it because the shade of fuchsia in the floral center pieces clashes with the shade of fuchsia in the wedding party’s outfit. The groom adjourns to the bar where the game is on the television. The wedding dinner is served as music is played at a mind numbing volume. Grandma is better now. She has turned off her hearing aid. The priest is seated with the pious relatives in plaid suit coats and leaves shortly after the grace before meals.


The best man makes the toast which drones on about how he loves the groom and one begins to wonder. The college roommate/maid of honor does the same for the bride, going on for fifteen minutes about how she knew the bride would find eternal marital bliss the moment she met her in the third grade and they have been like sisters ever since. Then at some point, there is a video presentation of embarrassing photos not unlike the ones that are now shown at wakes.


The bar opens up again. The music reaches levels that cause blood to drip from some peoples’ nose and ears. The joyous event ends with the bride and groom being the last to leave the hall. They are slow to go up to the room they have rented in the hotel because nothing new or beautiful awaits them there. The groom promptly falls asleep, being heavily sedated already, and, as he snores away, with his shoes still on, our blushing bride, having shed her dress of virginal white, thinks back on this day, her special day, the most important day in her life, the day she has dreamt of since she was a little girl.


They will stay an extra day at the hotel, but cannot afford the time or money to go on a honeymoon because on Monday they will both be back at work in order to pay off the colossal bill that their special day has incurred. For some reason, the bride is depressed. Perhaps she is realizing that the high point of her life is now past and the rest of it will be spent with the lump that is now snoring beside her with whom she has never really had a serious conversation, except about the proper shade of fuchsia for the floral centerpieces. So it is that we celebrate the marriage of Christ and His Church in these enlightened and tolerant times.


Remember, none of these things happened at your wedding, thank God and don’t think from reading this that I am down on marriage or even weddings. I love a wedding celebration when there is something to celebrate. Also, it is never too late to begin again by taking Christ and His gospel seriously.


PLEASE SPEND MORE TIME AND MONEY PREPARING FOR THE MARRIAGE THAN YOU DO PREPARING FOR THE WEDDING.


Yours,


Rev. Know-it-all


P.S. Garden weddings. They look good in all the bridal magazines but they are just opportunities to feed biting insects and suffer from sunburn. It is however amusing to watch the bridesmaids sinking in the mud as they try, after a few margaritas to maneuver the newly laid sod in spiked heals. The bride is generally exhausted from not having slept for three weeks as she worries about the weather reports which are promising a 50 percent chance of typhoons and earthquakes that day. And destination weddings. Don’t get me started on Destination Weddings! You want to be married with just your closest friends on a beach in Maui. That means that Grandma can’t go because she hasn’t flown since the Hindenburg Disaster, and is thinking of cutting you out of the will, and all the friends and relatives who aren’t with you on the beach in Maui realize they aren’t very close to you after all. And I haven’t a clue how long the aisle is here at St. Dymphna’s.

Moral Theology Right to Your Computer!

I have long had the blog of the excellent moral theologian, Father Edward Richard, linked at the right sidebar.  After a long period of time without posts, I was pleased to see that Fr. Richard is back to regular blogging.  If you haven't checked out his site lately, you may want to do so.

27 April 2011

A Reader Friend Writes

"Your problem is you're handicapped by being a lawyer."


Classic!  ;-)

Premature Glee on the Veiling Issue? Inconceivable!

There has been a lot of crowing in certain circles over some private correspondence between Cardinal Burke and a laywoman who wrote to ask him his opinion about the immemorial custom of women covering their heads at Mass.  His Eminence is certainly a canon lawyer of the highest excellence, and one whose legal opinion about a matter of canon law would be entitled to great respect.  Should he ever issue such a legal opinion addressing whether head coverings are still binding under canon law, I would welcome it, whatever his opinion was.  I will even go so far as to say that I would likely be persuaded by it, not just considering his position but also because the excellence of his reasoning.

Yet is seems to me that the internet's favorite canon lawyer, Ed Peters, makes much more of this letter than is warranted.  He and his supporters remind me of Vezzini in the movie The Princess Bride, whose principal argument is to declare any reality that contradicts his preconceived notions to be "inconceivable".  If you haven't seen this movie, this will give you the flavor of it:



For my part, I will attempt to play the role of Inigo Montoya and say to Mr. Peters with respect to that letter, "I do not think it means what you think it means."

The woman who received this private correspondence from Cardinal Burke wrote to him after my posting of the canon law analysis by a canon lawyer who wished to remain unidentified (whom I dubbed for fun Unknown Canon Lawyer X) that the immemorial custom that women cover their heads at Mass is still obligatory under canon law.  After some time, the Cardinal responded.  The woman in question then emailed me and let me know that she had received a response from His Eminence, and without indicating what it was also told me she was going to send it to me.  Later, I learned from another blogger that she had sent it to him, and then on Holy Thursday I learned that Ed Peters made relevant portions of Cardinal Burke's private correspondence public on the internet. 

Bloggers Fr. Zuhlsdorf and Jimmy Akin have also written that the letter supports their previously stated positions. Jimmy Akin's post resorts to an "I told you so" effort, though his analysis is of a piece with his earlier efforts on the subject (which were rather easily refuted in the UCLX article). 

At last I received a copy of the letter.  Since it has already been made public by others I will reproduce it here.  If you click on it, it will greatly enlarge:



The original UCLX article I found, and even now still find, to be persuasive.  Cardinal Burke's letter makes no reference to the article, and I don't know if he has even read it.  Be that as it may, what is more important in the light of His Eminence's private correspondence on the subject is to look carefully at what the letter says, and what it does not say, and still more to examine the very nature of the correspondence itself.

1. The Cardinal's letter is written in response to a question, the form of which is not public. It references "custom" but does not indicate the precise nature of the question. Custom can have a lay meaning or a very precise meaning according to canon law. The letter itself doesn't provide the context.  Canon law has a variety of sources, including customary law, and is not merely made up of positive laws.  Ed Peters knows this, yet his former analysis on the question really only covers positive law arguments.



2. Cardinal Burke, in his response, does not attempt to canvass canon law or liturgical law and give an authoritative answer. Of course he is a canon lawyer of great excellence, and if he gave such an authoritative opinion I would not be quick to dismiss it. Based upon the wording of the reply it is not clear. He may have meant exactly what Ed Peters says, or again it may not.  In other words, Cardinal Burke may have done research, analyzed the relevant sources of the law, pondered the question, and came to the conclusion that head coverings were no longer required.  Then again he may just have jotted a brief reply to a question based on what he thought off the top of his head.  We simply don't know, because there is no attempt by His Eminence to give the argument.  After all, in a reply to a nice lady who sends him greetings and asks a question that troubles her conscience, why would he?  If a neighbor of Justice Alito asks him over the fence if he thinks the health care law is unconstitutional, and Alito makes a quick reply that it isn't, is that definitive? Would that be a basis for Justice Alito to skip research, read briefs, and hear argument on the case when it actually came before the Court?  Obviously not.


3. The response was a private reply, and the Cardinal probably did not intend it for publication. I suspect he may have been trying to salve the conscience this laywoman who was concerned enough to write him.  At least one other blogger I know of who received this letter before Peters did not post it out of respect for the privacy of the Cardinal

As an aside, you may recall that Cardinal Burke gave an interview to Randall Terry last year that Terry made public without permission, and the Cardinal publicly rebuked him.  One line of that statement seems particularly appropriate here, when the Cardinal stated "I gave the interview as a Bishop from the United States to encourage those engaged in the respect life apostolate, not as the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura."

Even Ed Peters, after giving his post the misleading title Raymundus locutus, causa finita, and further referring to the authority of the letter writer, admits that the note is not an “authentic interpretation” nor a formal sentence from the Signatura. As a person with a J.D. as well as a J.C.D., he knows that this letter does not purport to be, nor could it be, definitive.

And as far as we would all concede Cardinal Burke's legal acumen, I would point out that His Eminence would know exactly what legal effect the letter would have--or, more to the point, not have.  Hence he is able to write a short note to a woman with a question of conscience, without writing a treatise.


With all due respect, Peters seems to me to be more concerned with making a splash than with finding out whether the immemorial custom of head coverings retains its obligatory character. He has never successfully refuted the argument of UCLX, either because he cannot or because he has not cared to make the effort.  This letter is undoubtedly a public relations coup for him.  And in many ways, the damage is already done. Yet I feel bound in conscience to post on this out of concern for the truth, even if only my seven readers see this post.


4. In the letter, Cardinal Burke says that veiling is "the expectation" in the Extraordinary Form, but is "not required" in the Ordinary Form. In some respects this strengthens the argument in the EF, in that His Eminence may be positing that it is in fact required in the Extraordinary Form, but is phrasing it politely to a private correspondent.  If someone who thinks veiling is required wanted to spin the letter, I could imagine a post headline that reads "Cardinal Burke says women are expected to veil in the Extraordinary Form". 


Regardless, there is no reason given by His Eminence for the distinction between the two forms other than the 1962 missal was promulgated when veiling was specifically dealt with under a Canon in the then-extant Code of Canon Law.  But the new Code was promulgated in 1983, and since Pope Benedict XVI definitively concluded that the Extraordinary Form was never abrogated, if the new Code sufficed to nix the head covering requirement in one form it would nix it for the other.  This adds to my gut feeling that His Eminence's purpose was to ease the mind of the writer and not to engage in a canonical explication.

When Cardinal Burke says that it "is not a sin" to assist at Mass without a veil, he may have reasons for this apart from the requirement or lack of requirement of veiling under the law.  He does not say, and thus we can only speculate.


5.  If Cardinal Burke issues a formal opinion as Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura on the subject, of course I would find it definitive.  And obviously the Holy Father could settle the question himself.

But I will venture to say that, in the absence of a formal opinion, if His Eminence really believes that veiling is not required in the OF, or in either form, based on canon law, I would have to see his rationale before changing my mind that UCLX is correct. And I say that with enormous respect and deference to Cardinal Burke, both as a canonist and a Cardinal. If you have ever read this blog for a nanosecond you will know that I greatly esteem Cardinal Burke, as a man and a prelate.  If he would write such a text refuting the UCLX argument, I will be the first to acknowledge it.

In the meantime, he has not so written.  And those persons who make more of the letter than it is intended or able to state, have done real harm in muddying the waters.  Though they would likely find that notion "inconceivable".

26 April 2011

Back

I am safely back in town after a miserable two days of work, and will have the veiling post up tomorrow.  You'll laugh, you'll cry.  Roger Ebert calls it "the feel-good post of the year."

23 April 2011

Holy Saturday



1510Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; nor wilt thou give thy holy one to see corruption.non enim derelinques animam meam in inferno nec dabis sanctum tuum videre corruptionem ostendes mihi semitam vitae plenitudinem laetitiarum ante vultum tuum decores in dextera tua aeternos

22 April 2011

Good Friday



1925Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother and his mother's sister, Mary of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalen.stabant autem iuxta crucem Iesu mater eius et soror matris eius Maria Cleopae et Maria Magdalene
1926When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son.cum vidisset ergo Iesus matrem et discipulum stantem quem diligebat dicit matri suae mulier ecce filius tuus
1927After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.deinde dicit discipulo ecce mater tuaet ex illa hora accepit eam discipulus in sua
1928Afterwards, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said: I thirst.postea sciens Iesus quia iam omnia consummata sunt ut consummaretur scriptura dicit sitio
1929Now there was a vessel set there, full of vinegar. And they, putting a sponge full of vinegar about hyssop, put it to his mouth.vas ergo positum erat aceto plenum illi autem spongiam plenam aceto hysopo circumponentes obtulerunt ori eius
1930Jesus therefore, when he had taken the vinegar, said: It is consummated. And bowing his head, he gave up the ghost.cum ergo accepisset Iesus acetum dixit consummatum est et inclinato capite tradidit spiritum

I've Seen the Veiling Thing

And I will post on it after the Triduum.  I don't want to get into contentious subjects during this holy season.  Look for it Tuesday or Wednesday, as I have pressing matters on Monday and Tuesday morning.


I do get a chuckle out of the reasoning of certain experts in the field, but recriminations can wait...  

21 April 2011

The Council of Trent on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass-- a Holy Thursday Reflection

Session 22
CANON I.--If any one saith, that in the mass a true and proper sacriflce is not offered to God; or, that to be offered is nothing else but that Christ is given us to eat; let him be anathema.

CANON II.--If any one saith, that by those words, Do this for the commemoration of me (Luke xxii. 19), Christ did not institute the apostles priests; or, did not ordain that they, and other priests should offer His own body and blood; let him be anathema.

CANON III.--If any one saith, that the sacrifice of the mass is only a sacrifice of praise and of thanksgiving; or, that it is a bare commemoration of the sacrifice consummated on the cross, but not a propitiatory sacrifice; or, that it profits him only who receives; and that it ought not to be offered for the living and the dead for sins, pains, satisfactions, and other necessities; let him be anathema.

On the institution of the most holy Sacrifice of the Mass.


Forasmuch as, under the former Testament, according to the testimony of the Apostle Paul, there was no perfection, because of the weakness of the Levitical priesthood; there was need, God, the Father of mercies, so ordaining, that another priest should rise, according to the order of Melchisedech, our Lord Jesus Christ, who might consummate, and lead to what is perfect, as many as were to be sanctified. He, therefore, our God and Lord, though He was about to offer Himself once on the altar of the cross unto God the Father, by means of his death, there to operate an eternal redemption; nevertheless, because that His priesthood was not to be extinguished by His death, in the last supper, on the night in which He was betrayed,--that He might leave, to His own beloved Spouse the Church, a visible sacrifice, such as the nature of man requires, whereby that bloody sacrifice, once to be accomplished on the cross, might be represented, and the memory thereof remain even unto the end of the world, and its salutary virtue be applied to the remission of those sins which we daily commit,--declaring Himself constituted a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchisedech, He offered up to God the Father His own body and blood under the species of bread and wine; and, under the symbols of those same things, He delivered (His own body and blood) to be received by His apostles, whom He then constituted priests of the New Testament; and by those words, Do this in commemoration of me, He commanded them and their successors in the priesthood, to offer (them); even as the Catholic Church has always understood and taught.


For, having celebrated the ancient Passover, which the multitude of the children of Israel immolated in memory of their going out of Egypt, He instituted the new Passover, (to wit) Himself to be immolated, under visible signs, by the Church through (the ministry of) priests, in memory of His own passage from this world unto the Father, when by the effusion of His own blood He redeemed us, and delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into his kingdom. And this is indeed that clean oblation, which cannot be defiled by any unworthiness, or malice of those that offer (it); which the Lord foretold by Malachias was to be offered in every place, clean to his name, which was to be great amongst the Gentiles; and which the apostle Paul, writing to the Corinthians, has not obscurely indicated, when he says, that they who are defiled by the participation of the table of devils, cannot be partakers of the table of the Lord; by the table, meaning in both places the altar. This, in fine, is that oblation which was prefigured by various types of sacrifices, during the period of nature, and of the law; in as much as it comprises all the good things signified by those sacrifices, as being the consummation and perfection of them all.


--With thanks to CABH

Holy Thursday

Solemn High Mass at St. Francis de Sales Oratory, 6:30 pm, followed by procession to Altar of Reposition, and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament until midnight.  Confessions begin at 5:30 pm.

It should be incredibly beautiful, as usual.  If you haven't been to the Oratory, consider this your invitation.

May you and your family have a blessed and spiritually fruitful Triduum.

What of Civilization is Left to Save?

I sometimes pause in giving an answer to that question, when I contemplate the fact that the Philadelphia Department of Health is offering free condoms by mail to children as young as eleven years old-- and when I further contemplate that I can't find an article I can link to for my readers that doesn't contain material that is completely unsuitable APART FROM THE UNSUITABILITY OF THE POLICY ITSELF.

If you want the sordid details, do a google news search with the terms children philadelphia free condoms.  Don't say I didn't warn you.

Instead, I will post this video from Monty Python that makes more sense to me:

Hey, Little Brother

"What should I post on today?"

"How 'bout them free condoms in the Philly public school system?  Whatever you do, don't post Biffi's Boffo Bongo memoirs.  Soo-eee! Soo-eee!"

20 April 2011

Update on the St. Austin School Effort

From an email sent to me by one of the organizers of the school:

54 ENROLLED!



Welcome to The St. Austin School

It is with great joy that we share the exciting news that 54 children are currently enrolled in the St. Austin School! Our sincere thanks to all who have been praying for guidance in the decision-making process and ultimately for God's will to be done with respect to this school. His hand has guided us over the first hurdle and we move forward with faith and confidence.
There are many families who have just recently heard about the school and have expressed interest. Please note that enrollment will be capped at 80 children with 5th and 6th grade already nearing capacity. If you, or someone you know, may be interested please contact us immediately so we can organize another informational gathering.

St. Austin School families will receive an email by tomorrow evening announcing our first organizational meeting to determine where peoples' talents and interests lie.

Again, our most sincere thanks to all who are supporting this effort; the families who have taken the leap of faith to enroll their children and the countless others who are with us in spirit. May God bless you all!

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths." (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Gueranger on Spy Wednesday

I am going to post this somewhat lengthy excerpt from Dom Prosper Gueranger's The Liturgical Year for the Wednesday in Holy Week, because it is so rich in fodder for meditation and so terrible in its reproaches to us sinners who have necessitated Our Lord's passion.  Today marks the day of the dreadful and momentous decision to seek the life of Our Savior:

WEDNESDAY IN HOLY WEEK


The Chief Priests and the Ancients of the people, are met to-day, in one of the rooms adjoining the Temple, for the purpose of deliberating on the best means of putting Jesus to death. Several plans are discussed. Would it be prudent to lay hands upon him at this season of the Feast of the Pasch, when the City is filled with strangers, who have received a favourable impression of Jesus from the solemn ovation given to him three days back ? Then, too, are there not a great number of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who took part in that triumph, and whose enthusiastic admiration of Jesus might excite them to rise up in his defence ? These considerations persuade them not to have recourse to any violent measure, at least for the present, as a sedition among the people might be the consequence, and its promoters, even were they to escape being ill-treated by the people, would be brought before the tribunal of the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate. They, therefore, come to the resolution of letting the Feast pass quietly over, before apprehending Jesus.

But these blood-thirsty men are making all these calculations as though they were the masters. They are, if they will, shrewd assassins, who put off their murder to a more convenient day: but the Divine decrees, — which, from all eternity, have prepared a Sacrifice for the world's salvation, — have fixed this very year's Pasch as the day of the Sacrifice, and, to-morrow evening, the holy City will re-echo with the trumpets, which proclaim the opening of the Feast. The figurative Lamb is now to make way for the true one; the Pasch of this year will substitute the reality for the type; and Jesus' Blood, shed by the hands of wicked priests, is soon to flow simultaneously with that of victims, which have only been hitherto acceptable to God, because they prefigured the Sacrifice of Calvary. The Jewish priesthood is about to be its own executioner, by immolating Him, whose Blood is to abrogate the Ancient Alliance, and perpetuate the New one.

But how are Jesus' enemies to get possession of their divine Victim, so as to avoid a disturbance in the City ? There is only one plan that could succeed, and they have not thought of it: it is treachery. Just at the close of their deliberations, they are told that one of Jesus' Disciples seeks admission. They admit him, and he says to them: What will you give me, and I will deliver him unto you ?  They are delighted at this proposition: and yet, how is it, that they, doctors of the law, forget that this infamous bargain between themselves and Judas has all been foretold by David, in the 108th Psalm ? They know the Scriptures from beginning to end; — how comes it, that they forget the words of the Prophet, who even mentions the sum of thirty pieces of silver.  Judas asks them what they will give him; and they give him thirty pieces of silver ! All is arranged: to-morrow, Jesus will be in Jerusalem, eating the Pasch with his Disciples. In the evening, he will go, as usual, to the Garden on Mount Olivet. But how shall they, who are sent to seize him, be able to distinguish him from his Disciples ? Judas will lead the way; he will show them which is Jesus, by going up to him and kissing him !

Such is the impious scheme devised on this day, within the precincts of the Temple of Jerusalem. To testify her detestation at it, and to make atonement to the Son of God for the outrage thus offered him, the Holy Church, from the earliest ages, consecrated the Wednesday of every week to penance. In our own times, the Fast of Lent begins on a Wednesday; and when the Church ordained that we should commence each of the four Seasons of the year with Fasting, Wednesday was chosen to be one of the three days thus consecrated to bodily mortification.

On this day, in the Roman Church, was held the sixth Scrutiny, for the admission of Catechumens to Baptism. Those, upon whom there had been previous doubts, were now added to the number of the chosen ones, if they were found worthy. There were two Lessons read in the Mass, as on the day of the great Scrutiny, the Wednesday of the fourth Week of Lent. As usual, the Catechumens left the Church, after the Gospel; but, as soon as the Holy Sacrifice was over, they were brought back by the Door- Keeper, and one of the Priests addressed them in these words: " On Saturday next, the Eve of Easter, " at such an hour, you will assemble in the Lateran "Basilica, for the seventh Scrutiny; you will then " recite the Symbol, which you must have learned; "and lastly, you will receive, by God's help, the " sacred laver of regeneration. Prepare yourselves, "zealously and humbly, by persevering fasts and " prayers, in order that, having been buried, by this " holy Baptism, together with Jesus Christ, you may " rise again with him, unto life everlasting. Amen."
_________________

[Here follows the first lesson from today, from Isaias 62 & 63:]

Behold the Lord hath made it to be heard in the ends of the earth, tell the daughter of Sion: Behold thy Saviour cometh: behold his reward is with him, and his work before him.  And they shall call them, The holy people, the redeemed of the Lord. But thou shalt be called: A city sought after, and not forsaken.


Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bosra, this beautiful one in his robe, walking in the greatness of his strength. I, that speak justice, and am a defender to save.  Why then is thy apparel red, and thy garments like theirs that tread in the winepress?  I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the Gentiles there is not a man with me: I have trampled on them in my indignation, and have trodden them down in my wrath, and their blood is sprinkled upon my garments, and I have stained all my apparel.  For the day of vengeance is in my heart, the year of my redemption is come.  I looked about, and there was none to help: I sought, and there was none to give aid: and my own arm hath saved for me, and my indignation itself hath helped me.


And I have trodden down the people in my wrath, and have made them drunk in my indignation, and have brought down their strength to the earth.  I will remember the tender mercies of the Lord, the praise of the Lord for all the things that the Lord hath bestowed upon us, and for the multitude of his good things to the house of Israel, which he hath given them according to his kindness, and according to the multitude of his mercies.
_________________

How terrible is this our Defender, who tramples his enemies beneath his feet, as they that tread in the wine-press; so that their blood is sprinkled upon his garments ! But is not this the fittest time for us to proclaim his power, now that he is being treated with ignominy, and sold to his enemies by one of his Disciples ? These humiliations will soon pass away; he will rise in glory, and his might will be shown by the chastisements, wherewith he will crush them that now persecute him. Jerusalem will stone them that shall preach in his name; she will be a cruel step-mother to those true Israelites, who, docile to the teaching of the Prophets, have recognised Jesus as the promised Messias. The Synagogue will seek to stifle the Church in her infancy; but no sooner shall the Church, shaking the dust from her feet, turn from Jerusalem to the Gentiles, than the vengeance of Christ will fall on the City, which bought, betrayed, and crucified him. Her citizens will have to pay dearly for these crimes. We learn from the Jewish historian, Josephus, (who was an eye-witness to the siege,) that the fire which was raging in one of the streets, was quenched by the torrents of their blood. Thus were fulfilled the threats pronounced by oar Lord against this faith- less City, as he sat on Mount Olivet, the day after his triumphant Entry.


And yet, the destruction of Jerusalem was but a faint image of the terrible destruction which is to befall the world at the last day. Jesus, who is now despised and insulted by sinners, will then appear on the clouds of heaven, and reparation will be made for all these outrages. Now he suffers himself to be betrayed, scoffed at, and spit upon; but, when the day of vengeance is come, happy they that have served him, and have compassionated with him in his humiliations and sufferings ! Wo to them, that have treated him with contempt I Wo to them, who not content with their own refusing to bear his yoke, have led others to rebel against him ! For he is King; he came into this world that he might reign over it; and they that despise his Mercy, shall not escape his Justice.

19 April 2011

Link to the Series of Sermons on the Seven Deadly Sins

The series of sermons on the Seven Deadly Sins delivered by the Canons of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest proved very popular to readers, and I still get emails asking for links.  So, to make it easy, I am going to post all of the links below, and add this post to the favorites list at the sidebar.

Sloth

Envy

Wrath

Gluttony

Lust

Greed

Pride

Thanks again to the good Canons for making these available here.

Sixth Anniversary of the Election of Pope Benedict XVI: Cardinal Burke Praises the Holy Father's "Profound Goodness"

Today is the sixth anniversary of the election of Pope Benedict XVI.  He has accomplished much in a short time to repair and restore, though obviously much needs to be done.  From CNA

On election anniversary, Pope praised for his ‘profound goodness’


By David Kerr

Vatican City, Apr 19, 2011 / 06:00 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Upon the sixth anniversary of Benedict XVI’s election to the papacy on April 19, Cardinal Raymond Burke told CNA of his “profound goodness” and praised his pontificate as one of “great dynamism” and “intense evangelization.”

Cardinal Burke, the American cardinal who runs what is often called the Church’s Supreme Court, offered as his first reaction, “Well it’s certainly been a period of very intense evangelization.”

“I think the Holy Father has shown he has many outstanding qualities not least his ability to teach very profound things in a very accessible way. Whether that’s through his visits, his Wednesday audiences or his many homilies, without exaggeration he manages to make the very profound very understandable. And I hear that from so many people I meet.”

Certainly, Cardinal Burke is better placed than most to assess the papacy of Benedict XVI. In 2008, the Holy Father personally asked the then-Archbishop of St. Louis to move to Rome to head up the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. That’s the highest court on matters regarding the internal law of the Church, known as canon law. Then, only last year, the Holy Father elevated Archbishop Burke to the rank of cardinal.

So what’s his close-up assessment of Pope Benedict himself? “One of his great qualities is his profound goodness. When you listen to him or meet him personally there’s a thorough goodness to the man that communicates itself to others,” Cardinal Burke said.

“I think too that there’s a great dynamism in this pontificate that some wouldn’t have expected from an older man. He hasn’t been able to do all the things that John Paul II did in terms of travel but he does keep up quite a schedule.”

Cardinal Burke is particularly impressed by this scholarly Pope’s ability to maintain his academic career. “The other extraordinary thing is that he’s been able to publish two volumes on the life of Our Lord. In them he’s given us a way of reading Holy Scriptures that is quite remarkable – very credible scientifically and at the same time very evangelical to those reading it.”

Out of the past six years of service, Cardinal Burke said he was “particularly impressed by his visit last year to the United Kingdom. It was a visit that many people said would meet with nothing but negative reactions. So it was wonderful to see how very receptive people actually were to his various talks and homilies.”
__________________

Not to discount anything His Eminence said, I maintain that Summorum Pontificum is the key act of this papacy, and may prove to be the most important papal document of the last hundred years.  There have been more important documents of a doctrinal nature-- Pascendi is but one example-- but the "freeing" of the Mass of all ages is the one indispensable act of justice upon which the rebirth of the Church from the ruins will be based.  And Cardinal Burke is the one prelate in all the Church who has been most faithful to the vision of this Pope in reintegrating sound and holy liturgy into the life of the Church.  God bless and protect them both.

V. Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Benedicto.

V. Let us pray for Benedict, our Pope.

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

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]

Pater Noster, Ave Maria.

Our Father, Hail Mary.

Deus, omnium fidelium pastor et rector, famulum tuum Benedictum, 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.

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.

Late to the Game, Mainstream Media Reports on JPII Beatification Controversy

I post these links for the record, without adding any comment to my previous post on the matter.

ABC NewsAs John Paul Beatification Nears, Criticism Mounts;  Pope John Paul II's beatification nears, as critics question its pace and thoroughness

Same title, different article, from USA Today As John Paul beatification nears, criticism mounts

I Said It Before, I'll Say It Again...

...this is what happens when Protestants get a hold of a Catholic Church.

17 April 2011

Palm Sunday

May God bless us as we compassionate Our Lord this week.



Click here for a link on how to make a cross from palm branches:
http://stlouiscatholic.blogspot.com/2010/03/palm-sunday.html

15 April 2011

As We are about to Enter Holy Week...

As we stand primed to accompany Our Lord in His sacred Passion, a reminder, and a minor lament, before returning to work.

1. Reminder: if you are planning to attend Solemn High Mass at St. Francis de Sales Oratory this Sunday, remember that the blessing of palms and procession begin at 9:30 am-- NOT the usual 10 am.

2. Holy Week is beyond personal likes or dislikes, obviously.  So, don't take this comment the wrong way, because I know I have to get over this sort of thing.  But, every Holy Week is, in addition to the events we commemorate, on the purely personal level of the faithful in the pew, bittersweet to me. 

Most of my past life has been as a typical novus ordo attendee, and I have seen that form celebrated (sometimes) more or (more often) less faithfully according to its rubrics.  Holy Week brings out the best in the Church and the worst in liturgical committees.  It brings out the best in priests who show us how to enter in to the sacred Passion, and the worst in the priests who try to be Emeril Lagasse, Wavy Gravy and Tony Robbins all in one.  I have seen all of the now so-typical abuses of Holy Week-- the mass-washing of feet by all of the congregation at once, men and women included; messing with the form and content of Easter Vigil lessons, including weaving them into one groovy play; messing with the account of the Passion, including letting the congregation read the part of Jesus, etc., etc.

When I finally embraced the Traditional Mass I was so blessed to escape all of that annual drama, the drama of whether the Masses would be properly celebrated.  I was even more blessed for a couple of Holy Weeks to be aware of Masses according to pre-1955 rubrics.  Many readers know, but many may not, that the same architect of the the novus ordo, Annibale Bugnini, was able to alter in a less substantial way the Masses of Holy Week.  It was, in retrospect, a kind of mini-Spirit of V2 moment, with similar tactics.  Calling changes "restoration", a few parts of Mass calling for the priest to turn away from ad orientem, limited verbal participation by the faithful, jettisoning venerable sacramentals and prayers, and cutting lots of lessons from the Vigil Mass.  And other seemingly little things.

With the promulgation of the motu proprio, it is hard to find a pre-1955 Holy Week Mass, unless you hit a so-called "independent" chapel, which I would not.  So, the liturgical geek in me notices all of the Bugnini-changes like finding grains of sand, or strands of hair, in haute cuisine.  They. just. bug. me.

It's almost worse than Fr. Wavy putting on his show, or having immodestly dressed women in hip-huggers carrying bowls of incense around in procession.  Because it was the harbinger of the liturgical destruction that was to come.

I guess I am often an alternative history guy, who likes to posit what-if?s about the event markers of the long defeat of civilization.  What if the Armada won?  What if the Eastern Empire remained faithful?  What if the Consecration had been done and the secret revealed before 1960?  Stuff like that consumes more of my time than it should.

So, every Holy Week, while praying for a true restoration of the Holy Week liturgy, I have to remind myself to offer up all of my own petty concerns to be nailed to the Cross of Christ.  My own sins have contributed so much to His suffering and death, and add weight to the burden He bears.  I am thankful that the Mass survived. 

When the day comes, if it comes, that I am holy, I will have time enough to complain-- or rather, to realize I shouldn't.

Mary, Co-Redemptrix and Mediatrix of All Graces, pray for us!

14 April 2011

Irony Meter Broken at the NY Times...and Elsewhere

A universal church, they say, should have the closest thing possible to a universal missal.


The above sentence is taken from this story in the New York Times, which details the intent of the schismatics of the left to disobey (what, again?) the Holy Father and to disregard the new English translation of the Paul VI Missal.  The new translations are defended, though with much needless hand-wringing, by Church officials in the U.S. 

The Times sums up the position of "Church leaders" with the line above.  I semi-successfully prevented a spray of iced tea from my monitor, and ruefully chuckled to the effect that WE. ALREADY. HAD. ONE.

And still do, for that matter.  One more reason for a Catholic to vote with his feet and head to one of the traditional Mass locations in the Archdiocese.  But, back to the story.

Rather then causing my head to explode with a line-by-line analysis of the article.  I am going to, instead, pull some money quotes from it and just a little gig of my own:

But after getting a glimpse of the texts in recent months, thousands of priests in the United States, Ireland and Australia have publicly objected that the translation is awkward, archaic and inaccessible. 

Products of Catholic schools the last forty-five years?

“What we are asking of the bishops is to scrap this text,” said the Rev. Sean McDonagh, .... “I know people are not going to use it. I wouldn’t use it, because everything I know in terms of theology and anthropology and linguistics, it breaches every one of those.”  

Pope Sean I speaks.

“The first time I saw some of the texts, I was shocked,” said the Rev. Richard Hilgartner, who as executive director of the American bishops’ Secretariat of Divine Worship is overseeing the introduction of the new missal in the United States.


“But the more time I’ve spent with it, the more comfortable I became with it,” he said. “The new translation tries to be more faithful to the Scriptures, and a little more poetic and evocative in terms of imagery and metaphor.”  

Wow.  What a passionate and stirring defense of the translation. 

The new missal is the product of a long tug-of-war over liturgy, which began with the decision of the Second Vatican Council to make the Mass more accessible to Catholics by allowing churches to replace the Latin with the local vernacular.  

That worked out just great!  Those empty pews have a much better view of Mass without all those Catholics who used to sit in them getting in the way.

Msgr. Chris Maloney, a pastor in Yonkers who had backed one of the resolutions, said, “When you think about it, the change from the Latin to English was a much more difficult transition, and the church survived.”  Ah, yes, the ultimate measure of success-- survival.  Son, you lost two limbs and are paralyzed, and need to eat through a tube, but hey, you survived!


God bless the New York Times for its consistent effort to produce gallows humor in the post-Christian West.

Crossing the Line

Because I haven't gotten enough email this week...

The beatification of John Paul II is scheduled for May 1st.  There have been many Catholics who have raised objections to this beatification, or at least to the hurried nature of the process producing it.  I have blogged on this rush to beatification here.

Bishop Richard Williamson of the SSPX is no stranger to saying things that irritate people, nor is he one that often backs down from doing so.

In something of a perfect storm of controversy, Bishop Williamson has elected to make public his objections to the upcoming beatifications.  The problem is that his objections call into question the authority of the pope and venture very dangerously into sedevacantism.  For his objections do not just call into question the prudence of the decision to beatify, nor just the rush to beatify, but the efficacy of the beatification itself. 

I am going to excerpt some of the linked statement below.  Brace yourself:

NEWCHURCH, NEWBLESSEDS

On May 1, in a few weeks' time, John-Paul II is due to be declared "Blessed" by Benedict XVI amidst great celebration in St. Peter's Square in Rome. But Catholics clinging to Tradition know that John-Paul II, while being a great promoter of the Conciliar Church, was an effective destroyer of the Catholic Church. How then can he be called "Blessed", the last step before being canonized, when Church canonizations are infallible ? The swift answer is that John-Paul II will not be beatified as a Catholic Blessed by a Catholic beatification in the Catholic Church, but as a Newblessed by a Newbeatification in the Newchurch. And Newchurchmen are the first to claim novelty, the last to claim infallibility, for what they do.

[His Excellency goes on to draw an analogy of pure gasoline (Catholicism) and pure water (secularism) and their effects.  Then he continues...]

Thus Newbeatifications may taste and smell to unwary Catholic nostrils like Catholic beatifications, but on closer examination it is clear that Newbeatifications are not at all the same reality. Famous example: a Catholic beatification used to require two distinct miracles, while a Newbeatification requires only one. And the rules for a Newbeatification are significantly relaxed in other ways as well. Therefore no Catholic should expect anything other than a Newblessed to emerge from a Newbeatification. John-Paul II was indeed a Conciliar "Blessed".

What deceives Catholics is the elements of Catholicism that still remain in the Conciliar Church. But just as Vatican II was designed to replace Catholicism (pure gasoline) with Conciliarism (gasoline-water), so Conciliarism is designed to give way to - let us call it - the Global Religion (pure water). The procession is from God to Newgod to Nongod. Right now we still have Newrome pushing the Newgod of Vatican II with Newblesseds to match, but before long sheer criminals will be the "Blesseds" of the Nongod.

However, the true God will let no sheep be deceived that does not want to be deceived. Nor will he abandon any soul that has not first abandoned him, says St. Augustine...

This article evidences a position that goes beyond what a Catholic mind may think about the Church and thus is not a Catholic position.  Whatever the understandable frustration about the Church's downward spiral since Vatican II, and even beyond valid criticisms of the texts of Vatican II themselves (not merely their implementation), this is so beyond the pale that it must be noted. 

A Catholic person, let alone a Catholic bishop, cannot stick labels like "Newchurch" or "Newbeatification" on the Church and Beatification, without taking a practical position that the Pope is not the Pope.  And that, my friends, is ether sedevacantism (i.e., there is no Pope), or else he thinks someone else is Pope (in which case he should name names).  Because if he holds to the SSPX's position that Pope Benedict XVI is the Pope as he appears to be, then he would have to acknowledge that he has the right to beatify someone and that that decision is entitled to, at least, the assent of the faithful.  If John Paul II were canonized, would Bishop Williamson then claim that was in error?  That "Newcanonizations" are fallible?  Where does that rabbit hole lead?

To claim God will never let the sheep be deceived who do not want to be deceived, as the Bishop does, without acknowledging that the Rock of Peter is the principle of unity with the flock of Christ, is a dangerous proposition.  On what basis does this make sense?

What is Bishop Williamson up to?  Is he merely trying to do what he can to prevent an SSPX reconciliation, or is it worse than that?

13 April 2011

Waxing and Waning

NOTICE

PERSONS attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot.

--Mark Twain, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
________________________________
Thus far with rough and all-unable pen

Our bending author hath pursued the story,

In little room confining mighty men,

Mangling by starts the full course of their glory.

Small time, but in that time most greatly lived

This star of England. Fortune made his sword,

By which the world's best garden he achieved.

And of it left his son imperial lord.

Henry the Sixth, in infant bands crowned king

Of France and England did this king succeed,

Whose state so many had the managing

That they lost France and made his England bleed,

Which oft our stage hath shown -- and, for their sake,

In your fair minds let this acceptance take.

--William Shakespeare, Henry V
_________________________________

"It is ever so with the things that men begin: there is a frost in Spring or a blight in Summer, and they fail of their promise.”

“Yet seldom do they fail of their seed,” said Legolas. “And that will lie in times and places unlooked for. The deeds of Men will outlast us, Gimli.”

--J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King