29 July 2011
With all of the recent confusion over the immemorial custom of women covering their heads at Mass, and whether there has been any change to its obligatory nature, Holy Mother Church once again steps in to provide guidance for her children.
In his ongoing pastoral care, and as part of his program for liturgical restoration, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, has today announced that indeed the obligation for women to cover their heads at Mass continues to be in full force and effect. Yet, because the Holy Father believes in organic development in the liturgy, he has changed the nature of the type of headcovering to be used.
Instead of the venerable mantilla, the Holy Father has mandated that women must wear a snood at Mass. Link here.
What is a snood? It's easier to show than describe. Here is photo of one:
And don't think that the snood is just some novelty. No sir! It has been around for centuries, as this nifty painting will attest:
Even in the tumultuous 1940s, women wore these practical, yet oh-so-stylish lids while manning the Papal factories. Here is a photo of some ladies putting the finishing touches on a sedia gestatoria:
The trend towards snoods is affecting other sectors of modern life, and even other religious and cultural movements. For example, the Rasta-snood:
Even the "womenpriest" movement is getting into the act. This promotional photo (of paid models, not the galpriests themselves--or did I even need to point that out?) shows their new priest-chic line:
In retrospect, this may explain why Cardinal Burke assured his recent correspondent that a veil was no longer expected. The great Cardinal was almost certainly in the know, but didn't dare reveal the glorious destiny that was to confront the snood.
However, not everyone can wear them. Sorry, Your Holiness, but you will have to remove that when you enter St. Peter's:
The Republicans have passed out of committee legislation requiring internet providers to keep logs of their customers' activities for one year--in case police want to review them in the future. The story below calls this a victory for "conservative" Republicans. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.
28 July 2011
1. The police officer who wished a local drunk a Happy New Year in this video has been exonerated of any wrongdoing (although the sergeant who told him not to file a required report is retiring).
2. In a story I won't link, or even explain all that much due to the grotesque content, an owner of an "S&M" club seeks city approval of what would be the first such legal "for-profit" enterprise in Missouri. If you must read the story, search STLToday for yourself. I post about it because a supporter "sees [the] effort as a civil rights issue."[He] is definitely pushing the envelope in order to make things more mainstream," she said.
Hmmm, a "civil rights issue" done "in order to make things more mainstream." Does that sound familiar? That brings us to two more stories...
3. Nearly one-fourth of "gay-couple" households in the area are raising kids. I suspect that DCFS isn't that concerned.
4. Following the lead of the department of redundancy department's favorite burg (the City of University City), the more pedestrian-named City of Olivette now has passed two so-called "gay-rights" measures, including a domestic partner registry.
And who says there isn't any good news anymore?
"You'd think, to hear some good people talk," he said, "the Church has some sort of secret Swiss Guard like a slave state's secret police to seize me in the dead of the night if I should deny her authority. The truth is I am the police, the judge and the jury-- I am the jailer and the firing squad.
"If I gave up going to church and apostatized, no one I know of would be the least concerned except my lovely Doris here. The bishop, who never heard of me, would certainly not chase after me in great perturbation. And if I took up a life of crime, about the only interest in me would come from the police. The truth is, alas, I'm free to go to hell any way I wish. My salvation is my own personal problem. The Church is about as totalitarian as my own dear mother was. It might have been better for me if both of them had had a little of the totalitarian in them."
He sipped his wine. "And so far as the Pope and the hierarchy being a gang of political schemers plotting like a bureau of internationalists to take over countries of the world--!" He laughed again. "In recent centuries, the guardians of the Church have, with few exceptions, been politically so innocent that the Church's survival can be explained only in terms of her divinity. And this I hold is good. Far better political failure and spiritual progress than the other way around, as happens with nationalist churches whose desire for security commits them to the devious practices of politics and hence to compromise, and dooms them thus to eventual extinction.
"But the shepherds of the Church are always and in every way suspect, as the First Shepherd was always and in every way suspect. Whatever is done or said, even if it is only the warning of the threat divorce is to the home and hence to the nation, is misconstrued as being against the freedom of man and even against the welfare of the country. He who insists on the rules of the game becomes by strange reasoning the enemy of liberty. But so it must be, I suppose. The absolute is always suspect. [...]
"Once, one of these invectives against old Mother Church so put me in a dither that I could not write a letter. I wrote some verse instead." He smiled, took a little wine. "It is always good when you are in a dither to write verse." [...]
27 July 2011
"We are capable of maintaining rational faith in a correct set of doctrines while at the same time consuming cultural entertainments that contradict those very doctrines."
It seems appropriate to other contexts, too.
26 July 2011
Sunday Mass Schedule
Beginning August 7th, the Sunday Masses to be offered at St. Elizabeth will be at 8:00am, 10:30am, and 12:30pm. The 12:30pm Mass will be the same Mass of Vatican II with which all will be familiar, except parts will be in Latin and parts in English. The parts of the Mass which change each week will be in English (the proper prayers, the readings, and the prayers of the faithful), and the parts of the Mass that remain fixed each week will be in Latin (including the Eucharistic prayer and acclamations). A book will be provided so all may participate in the sung or recited Latin parts.
The last Sunday in which the 1:30pm
Extraordinary Form of the Mass will be offered will be Sunday, July 31st. The Extraordinary Form of the Mass is offered at St. Francis de Sales Church and the Oratory of St. Gregory and St. Augustine at St. Louis Abbey.
The 12:30pm Latin/English Mass is being offered at St. Elizabeth as a pastoral response to those who have inquired about the possibility of a Latin Mass here. The Mass will be offered for a period of time and will continue if there is sufficient interest and attendance.
1. There is a lot to say here. First of all, any time the Ordinary Form is celebrated as close to the rubrics and with as great a solemnity as possible, that is a good thing. If the OF is celebrated with more Latin, thus opening up the mother tongue of our faith to more Catholics, that is a positive. If this OF Mass is celebrated ad orientem (the bulletin announcement is completely silent about this), this is even better. Such an initiative is to be encouraged, and I personally pray that the many Catholics who prefer the Ordinary Form, but who are faced with the types of liturgical abuses which are all too common in many places, and who wish a more reverent liturgy, will assist at this Mass.
So I wish to emphasize before continuing, that I am grateful to the parish and the Archbishop for providing another such Ordinary Form, alongside the OF in Latin, ad orientem, currently regularly offered at St. Mary of Victories Parish. Thank you.
2. Now, that being said, the Ordinary Form is not the Extraordinary Form. Latin is not the key issue. Latin is used in the Extraordinary Form because that is what is prescribed for that form by the Church. The language, in and of itself, is not the issue. Certainly Latin is beautiful, elevated and due to its history and usage by the Church, extremely well-suited for the Mass. But the faithful who assist at the Extraordinary Form, with very few exceptions, are not motivated by Latin as much as they are with the fact that the EF is superior in its expression of the truth that both forms inherently contain. The prayers are more theologically precise and unambiguous; the rubrics diminish the personality of the priest and focus the attention on the sacrifice of the altar; there is greater opportunity for contemplation, meditation and reflection; and generally, they believe the reasons why this Form was the rite of Mass handed down over the course of 1,500 years and more as a priceless treasure continue to be just as true and relevant today.
To offer one form of Mass as a substitute for the other just because some Latin is used is to miss the point.
3. The bulletin announcement, which refers to the Ordinary Form as the "same Mass of Vatican II" is guilty of some irony, as it is actually historically inaccurate. The Mass of Vatican II was actually what is now referred to as the Extraordinary Form. Every Mass said by every priest, prelate and pope during the Council was the Extraordinary Form. No document of Vatican II called for the kind of Mass that was produced in 1969-- four years after the council ended. The OF was not mandated by the Council at all. It was devised later, and not in conformity with any document issued by the Council.
4. It is good that the bulletin mentions that the EF is offered at other locations. But the OF in Latin is also offered in at least one other location. Just because the EF is offered elsewhere, or that the OF is more correctly celebrated elsewhere, doesn't speak to whether the local parish should, can or will offer the particular form. Of course there may be reasons why it cannot be offered; I am just stating that pointing to another location does not, in itself, satisfy.
5. In charity, assuming the best of motives by the parish, the final paragraph of the announcement is troubling. To say that this Mass is a pastoral response to those who have inquired as to the possibility of a "Latin Mass" doesn't quite do it. First of all, people have no doubt requested that the Extraordinary Form be offered-- not a mere "Latin Mass", though that term is sometimes used as a shorthand reference. Again, an OF Mass with Latin is a wonderful development, but it isn't the proper pastoral response to a group that requests the EF. From the Apostolic Letter of Pope Benedict XVI, Summorum Pontificum:
25 July 2011
Fox 2 covered the relics exposition this past weekend at St. Francis de Sales Oratory. My wife and I were able to make the Saturday event, so I can't speak to Friday's attendance. If it were close to Saturday's turnout, it would have been huge. The talk of Fr. Martens-- very informative-- was given to a full house in the Church hall prior to the display of relics in the Church.
It was a great blessing to those in attendance. There were so many important relics that it was nearly overwhelming. Imagine if you will stopping yourself, because you just sort of breezed past a relic of St. Luke the Evangelist, because, hey there were others just as great. Each encounter with these relics-- nearly all of them first-class relics-- was a special means of intercessory prayer to these friends of God. As Catholics, we believe in the communion of saints, and this was a very tangible reminder.
Others may have their own experiences to report, but I will pass along something my two oldest children told me afterwards. My daughter and my son did not arrive together, and did not go through the exhibition together. Yet at home, each of them told my wife and me that when they touched the relic of St. Alphonsus Liguori, they clearly smelled incense. I was not fortunate enough to smell incense or roses, but I was glad to venerate relics of my patrons and those of Our Lord, Our Lady, St. Joseph and the Apostles.
All you Saints of God, pray for us!
Today is also the Feast of St. Christopher (yes, he's still a saint), and is commemorated in today's Mass.
There is a very edifying entry in Dom Prosper Gueranger's The Liturgical Year for St. James relevant to this title, an excerpt of which is below:
... And how did he justify his name of son of thunder, since his voice was heard by a mere handful of disciples in a desert of infidelity?
This new name, another special prerogative of the two brothers, was realized by John in his sublime writings... With regard to James, too, then, eternal Wisdom could not have been mistaken. Let it not be thought that the sword of any Herod could frustrate the designs of the most High upon the men of His choice. The life of the saints is never cut short; their death, ever precious, is still more so when in the cause of God it seems to come before the time. It is then that with double reason we may say their works follow them; God Himself being bound in honour, both for His own sake and for theirs, to see that nothing is wanting to their plenitude. As a victim of a holocaust, He hath received them, says the Holy Ghost, and in time there shall be respect had to them. The just shall shine, and shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds. They shall judge nations, and rule over peoples; and their Lord shall reign for ever. How literally was this divine oracle to be fulfilled with regard to our saint!
Nearly eight centuries, which to the heavenly citizens are but as a day, had passed over that tomb in the north of Spain, where two disciples had secretly laid the apostle's body. During that time the land of his inheritance, which he had so rapidly traversed, had been overrun first by Roman idolaters, then by Arian barbarians, and when the day of hope seemed about to dawn, a deeper night was ushered in by the Crescent. One day lights were seen glimmering over the briars that covered the monument; attention was drawn to the spot, which henceforth went by the name of the field of stars. But what are those sudden shouts coming down from the mountains, and echoing through the valleys? Who is this unknown chief rallying against an immense army the little worn-out troop whose heroic valour could not yesterday save it from defeat? Swift as lightning, and bearing in one hand a white standard with a red cross, he rushes with drawn sword upon the panic-stricken foe, and dyes the feet of his charger in the blood of 70,000 slain. Hail to the chief of the holy war, of which this Liturgical Year has so often made mention! St. James! St. James! Forward, Spain! It is the reappearance of the Galilean fisherman, whom the Man-God once called from the bark where he was mending his nets; of the elder son of thunder, now free to hurl the thunderbolt upon these new Samaritans, who pretend to honour the unity of God by making Christ no more than a prophet. Henceforth James shall be to Christian Spain the firebrand which the prophet saw, devouring all the people round about, to the right hand and to the left, until Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place in Jerusalem.
And when, after six centuries and a half of struggle, his standard bearers, the Catholic kings, had succeeded in driving the infidel hordes beyond the seas, the valiant leader of the Spanish armies laid aside his bright armour, and the slayer of Moors became once more a messenger of the faith. As fisher of men, he entered his bark, and gathering around it the gallant fleets of Christopher Columbus, Vasco de Gama, Albuquerque, he led them over unknown seas to lands that had never yet heard the name of the Lord. For his contribution to the labours of the twelve, James drew ashore his well-filled nets, from west and east and south, from new worlds, renewing Peter's astonishment at the sight of such captures. He, whose apostolate seemed at the time of Herod III to have been crushed in the bud before bearing any fruit, may say with St. Paul: I have no way come short of them that are above measure apostles, for by the grace of God, I have laboured more abundantly than all they.
St. James, pray for us!
St. Christopher, pray for us!
22 July 2011
"There's nothing methodical about going to daily Mass," he said. "Each morning holds a fresh and unique experience-- a drama more solemn than death, more inspiring than birth-- it is a drama of death and birth, really-- the one great drama since time began.
"We are all at heart ritualists, whether we know it or not, and participating in the ritual of the stupendous sacrifice, we shed our false and gaudy artificialities and swim into deep, primal seas-- plunge into coldly refreshing reality, and become, in an invigorating sense, our primitive selves again. Morning Mass is a morning song as well as a morning sacrifice and good for the soul. It is a time of detachment and offers the perfect hour not only for prayer but for orientation. We are all racing toward eternity and it is then, in that morning hour, we can take time out, so to speak, to have a slow, quiet look at our distorted selves and our crazy world--and see both in placidly proper perspective. A great simplification takes place, and lucidly, even radiantly, we see the things that matter-- and see, too, that the things that matter can be counted on the fingers of one hand.
"Morning Mass is a matchlessly healthy and practical way of starting the day. So soon as the news gets about, I expect all the psychiatrists will be prescribing morning Mass for their patients whatever their belief or lack of it."
--from Dan England and the Noonday Devil, by Myles Connolly
Tomorrow: talk in the hall at 9:00am; relics displayed in Church at 10:00am
Map and Directions
The watchmen who keep the city, found me: Have you seen him, whom my soul loveth?
When I had a little passed by them, I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him: and I will not let him go, till I bring him into my mother's house, and into the chamber of her that bore me.
I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes and the harts of the fields, that you stir not up, nor awake my beloved, till she please.
Put me as a seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thy arm, for love is strong as death, jealousy as hard as hell, the lamps thereof are fire and flames.
Many waters cannot quench charity, neither can the floods drown it: if a man should give all the substance of his house for love, he shall despise it as nothing.
Canticles 3: 2-5; 8: 6-7
Lord, we pray thee that we may be holpen by the pleading of Blessed Mary Magdalen, whose prayers so much availed with thee, that Thou didst call up her brother Lazarus living from the dead, when he had lain in the grave four days already. Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
21 July 2011
Why are Catholic Seventh Graders Raising Money to Lobby for Abortion and Contraception?: A Case Study in Social Justice
This section was followed by what is described on the website as "the Process", in which students considered some sample case studies under the direction of the teacher and a priest. Among these cases studies are two that seemed a more than a little daring for seventh grade children: Mary and the Problem Pregnancy, and Annie-- To Report or Not Report.
While the latter has a creepiness factor of 10, in the interests of time let me focus on the former. It dealt with the travails of a woman who was divorced from an emotionally abusive man and who becomes pregnant with another man's child outside of wedlock. See if you can square the circle of description from this excerpt:
She met a young man who was decent to her, respected her, and was loving towards her. She would eventually marry him, but before they were married, she became pregnant again.
Just how the young man who took advantage of her and joined her in mortal sin was nonetheless "decent" to her and "respected her" is less than clear. And, sorry, but "became pregnant"? I can imagine little Janey raising her hand and asking, "Father, if they weren't married, how did she become pregnant? How can that happen?" Perhaps I am not jaded enough if I dare hope that even one seventh grader may have some measure of childhood innocence left. Be that as it may, it is the province of the parent to decide when these topics are covered, and not that of the school.
The scenario then allows the children to discuss Mary's (and isn't that name loaded with implications?) two options: to have the baby or to abort the baby.
I can't speak to the rest of the religion curriculum at this school, but I wonder if the children are as adept at internalizing the teachings of the faith and sound Catholic theology as they are about the plight of women who don't have access to "family planning" services.
And these types of programs seem to have the implicit support of Catholic Charities, whose ongoing collaboration with JustFaith (which includes a recent workshop given by its founder Jack Jezreel, who has ties to the dissident group Call to Action) sends a message that social justice need not be "tethered to the truth", as the Holy Father maintains it must be.
In case you're wondering, the tuition at Our Lady Queen of Peace is $3,780 per year.
Your view and lived reality of liturgy will depend on your age. Let us say if you were born before 1948, you are Pre-Vatican II. Those born between, 1949-1970, are Vatican II. Those born after 1970 are experiencing the changes of liturgy without experiencing a pre-Vatican liturgy! What are the challenges facing all of us today facing the current "word" changes. To have people embrace it fully and pray, will take time, but it is possible. We can't concentrate on the changes and forget to pray, we must always be a Church of prayer. Use this image to help: you have a director, actor and audience. Pre-Vatican II people saw the director as God, actor as priest, and audience as the people. Now, Post-Vatican II sees the director as priest, actors as the people, and the audience is God. Have you changed your mind set, from being audience to being actors? "Liturgy" means the work of the people. Therefore, we need to "work", we just don't come to the Church and observe!!!
20 July 2011
Delena's snood factory at Regina Coeli Creations is having a 25% off sale. Say it with me: Snooooooood.
And Veils by Lily, with traditional mantilla fare, has had such good demand that it has moved into new office digs.
There are clickable photo buttons for both on the right side of the blog.
This sermon was delivered on July 10, 2011 at St. Francis de Sales Oratory, by Canon Raphael Ueda of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. It is a good "everyday" reminder for all of us struggling to get to Heaven.
19 July 2011
What: Treasures of the Church – Sacred Relics of the Saints – Father Carlos Martins of the Companions of the Cross
Where: Saint Francis de Sales Oratory on corner of Ohio and Gravois
- Friday, July 22, at 5 PM in the hall – Presentation by Fr. Martins
- Friday, July 22, at ~6 PM exhibition opened in the church
- Saturday, July 23, at 9 AM in the hall - Presentation by Fr. Martins
- Saturday, July 23, at ~10 AM exhibition in the church
Attention: The exhibition in the church won’t be opened before the end of Fr. Martin’s presentation in the hall.
Treasures Of The Church
Sacred Relics of The Saints
St. Francis de Sales Oratory presents a conference on and exposition of Sacred Relics on Friday July 22 at 5:00 PM and on Saturday July 23 at 9:00 AM. Father Carlos Martins of the Companions of the Cross will be here with his very special ministry to teach about these holy objects. He will bring with him over 150 relics, some of which are believed to be as old as 2000 years. Among the treasures will be relics of St. Francis de Sales, St. Maria Goretti, St. Therese of Lisieux (the “Little Flower”), St. Francis of Assisi, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Faustina Kowalska. In addition, there will also be present a piece of what is believed to be the veil of Our Lady, as well as one of the largest remaining pieces of the True Cross in the world. Those in attendance will be able to examine and venerate each relic. In the Church’s history many miracles and healings have been worked in the presence of relics, and many have been healed through this ministry. Please do not miss this opportunity. You are encouraged to bring your articles of devotion (such as rosaries, holy cards, etc.) and pictures of ill friends/family members which you will be able to touch to the reliquaries as a means of intercession.
Some will dismiss this study because Father Cekada is canonically irregular and a sedevacantist. Whilst these are more than regrettable, ad hominem realities are not sufficient to dismiss this carefully argued and well researched work. We must attend to his arguments on their merits.
True enough. And in this review, examining the arguments, Dr. Reid persuasively maintains that the new Mass is valid, contrary to the claims of Fr. Cekada. As any reader of this blog knows, I believe that is not a conclusion that a Catholic may dispute. If the Church were able to promulgate an invalid rite, it would mean the gates of hell would have prevailed. And that is impossible.
What I found noteworthy in this review, however, is the way Dr. Reid states the matter. After giving credit to Cekada for certain criticisms, Dr. Reid writes (emphases mine):
What the book does not succeed in doing, however, is to demonstrate the invalidity of the Mass of Paul VI. For whilst there is certainly a theological difference between the two, it is by no means proven that in its Latin text the rite of Mass of Paul VI contradicts Catholic doctrine. It may be doctrinally weaker, it may be theologically different, but it is not heretical. Nor can it be successfully maintained, as does the book, that Paul VI had no authority to modify the formula for consecration in the Mass.
Given that, it is certain that a validly ordained priest who intends to “do what the Church does” in celebrating the Mass according to the modern rite, celebrates a valid Mass. Yes, it is possible, perhaps even more likely, that some priests with a formally defective liturgical and Eucharistic theology that may have been unintentionally encouraged by the liturgical reforms, may more easily celebrate invalidly; that too is an indictment of the rite. But Peter holds the Keys, and whatever prudential errors he may or may not have made in the liturgical reform following the Second Vatican Council, he cannot have committed the Church to an intrinsically invalid rite of Mass.
Given its theological deficiency, Father Cekada dismisses the efforts, led by Pope Benedict XVI, to celebrate the modern rites in more visible continuity with liturgical tradition. We disagree here: the Mass of Paul VI is a valid rite, and its better celebration is all to the good. One may even prefer it in good conscience―as do many generations who have known nothing else. We can argue (and I think quite convincingly) that we can and ought to do better that what is in the Missal of Paul VI, but to worship according to the modern rite is not of itself sinful.
Regardless, Father Cekada’s great service is to flag the big question that we have not widely, as yet, been prepared to face. Whilst it is certainly better to celebrate the modern liturgy in a traditional style using more accurate translations, that is not enough. For if the Missal of Paul VI is indeed in substantial discontinuity with the preceding liturgical and theological tradition, this is a serious flaw requiring correction. It is high time, then, that we not only recognise, but do something about the elephant in the liturgical living-room.
I think Dr. Reid has certainly identified the problem of the day in the Roman Rite, existing as it does now with two authorized "forms". Given that the OF is intrinsically valid, and further given that it ought to be celebrated correctly and with more reverence than it typically is afforded, another question remains: If it is as inferior in its accidents as it obviously is, why shouldn't it be changed to be brought into line with the traditional praxis of Holy Mother Church?