31 July 2007

Story on Demand for Traditional Mass

From the Washington Times:

Old rite wins new Mass appeal

July 30, 2007
By Julia Duin -

The Tridentine Mass, the Latin-only rite both loved and hated by many Catholics for its medieval qualities, is roaring back into use after a July 7 papal decree loosened the rules on celebrating it.

Two traditional priestly societies dedicated to the rite report that priests from all over the country are signing up in droves for weeklong classes to learn the rituals and language of the Mass, named after the 16th-century Council of Trent.

Monsignor Michael Schmitz, vicar-general of the Florence, Italy-based Institute of Christ the King, said he has received hundreds of calls from interested clergy.

"This is a nationwide phenomenon," he said. "Many more parish priests and younger priests are interested in learning to celebrate the Latin Mass.

"Whenever the Latin rite is celebrated, you get many young people," he added. "They are looking for something that speaks to the soul, and the beauty of the liturgy is awe-inspiring. The heartfelt presence of God really affects them."

The Elmhurst, Pa.-based Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter trained 50 priests on performing the rite this summer at its Our Lady of Guadalupe seminary in Denton, Neb.

Its September session is already full and its Elmhurst bookstore got a "big upsurge" in demand for priestly training materials within two days of the announcement, said the Rev. Carl Gismondi, a Fraternity priest studying theology at the Dominican House in the District.

"It is a detailed liturgy, so there's a lot of books and videos needed to teach a priest how to say this Mass," he said. "There's something about it that's very attractive to people. It's more than nostalgia because a lot of young people are interested in it."

Until Pope Benedict XVI's declaration, called a "motu proprio," the Tridentine Mass could be celebrated only with the approval of the local bishop. One-third of U.S. dioceses had no Tridentine Masses, and most of the others had only one or two per week. Benedict noted in his document, though, that the post-Vatican II Novus Ordo, or Mass of Paul VI, will remain the church's usual celebration.

The Society of St. Pius X offers a "free Mass kit" along with a 120-minute instructional video for priests on its sspx.org site.

Neal Kotlarek, manager of the Catholic bookstore near the Archdiocese of Detroit headquarters, is ordering reproductions by the case. "Usually, I just carry a few copies," he said.

Maureen Williamson, a manager at the Fort Collins, Colo.-based Roman Catholic Books, said 200 copies of its $155 deluxe edition priest's altar missal sold within two weeks of the papal announcement. She typically sells 20 to 35 a month.

"We're projecting we are going to sell more than 700 by the end of the year," she said. "Now that this Mass is able to be said by anyone at any time, priests and parishes have been ordering it."

Priests from St. Mary's Catholic Church in Alexandria and St. John's in McLean are sending priests to Denton, Neb., in September. The Rev. Franklyn M. McAfee, pastor of St. John's, was trained in Denton four years ago and plans to implement the Tridentine rite in early October. It will replace his parish's noon Latin celebration of the Novus Ordo Mass.

"The people here really want it," the priest said. "All sorts of prominent people have asked me for it. They're not opposed to the Novus Ordo Mass, but they prefer the 1962 Missal," referring to the rules that Pope John XXIII drew up for the centuries-old Mass.

"It's more reverent, more transcendent," Father McAfee said.

In the older rite, worshippers must kneel to receive Communion on their tongues; the priest always leads the parishioners in facing east, rather than facing them; and the rite is always in Latin. There are other differences in terms of liturgy, priestly vestments and the manner in which laity take part in the service. Women communicants of the Tridentine mass customarily cover their heads, although it is not mandated.

"Logistically, I think the challenge for the next two months for priests who want to say the Mass is to get the missal, vestments and plan for working with a modern sanctuary," Father McAfee said. "Altar boys need to be trained, and men need to learn Gregorian chant. There's a ton of work for parishes with a priest who wants a Mass."

"The solemn high Mass is a production," he added. "It's very choreographed. Someone called it the greatest ballet in the world. It's all very scripted."

Ann Thunder, one of his parishioners, likened altar-boy training to football diagrams.

"If you word it in terms of a sports analogy, it works," she said, "such as server A passes a cruet to server B."

Back Home

Just wanted to update the blog to let readers know I am back at a bloggable location, and will continue as normal tomorrow. Thanks, too, to Mr. and Mrs. Wolftracker at Kansas City Catholic for their hospitality yesterday.

26 July 2007

Gratitude for Summorum Pontificum

I had been saving this piece for a couple of weeks because there were such a flurry of MP posts. Since we hit a little lull, here it is:

James Bemis, a contributor to Catholic Exchange, writes of his gratitude for Summorum Pontificum. He gives the perspective of a Protestant convert who, after converting, did not find the Mass he expected to find prior to his conversion. Yet another "conservative" Catholic source applauding the return of tradition.

Before my conversion, my image of the Catholic Church was formed by the Latin Mass, then the Roman Catholic Church's primary form of worship. Even before I understood Catholicism, I could easily see how it differed from the Episcopal Church in which I was raised. By virtue of its liturgy, the Catholic Church was its own Thing — there was nothing on earth remotely like it.

When thinking of the Catholic Church, I visualized the elaborate and mysterious ritual I had seen in countless television shows and movies. For when Hollywood wanted to show the reverent, the sacred or practically anything else having to do with religion, it was the Catholic Church and her sacraments that best provided the visualization of the tangible presence of the supernatural in human life. Like many, I was attracted to It without really knowing what It really was. But there is something strange and yet familiar about the whole atmosphere of Catholic worship, much having to do with use of the beautiful sounding Latin, a language you could love without knowing a word of it.

By the time I converted in 1983, of course, the liturgy had changed drastically from what I expected. Over the years, I attended folk masses, rock masses, and children's masses, where kids frolicked in the sanctuary while Father tried to keep us focused on the liturgy; listened to weepy, sentimental songs at Mass whose melodies echoed the Top 40; saw receiving the Eucharist in the hand appear and altar rails disappear; watched as priests became scarce and altar girls abundant. But in all that time there was one thing I never saw: the ancient liturgy that formed my notion of what made Catholicism special in the first place.

And then:

It was at least fifteen years after converting before I attended a Traditional Latin Mass. Although the ritual was different, somehow I immediately felt like I had arrived back home. This was the Catholicism that I unconsciously had known without really knowing it, the Faith to which I instinctively reacted before actually encountering it.

Although finding a Tridentine Mass in my area (Los Angeles archdiocese) is difficult and the times inconvenient, I attend one whenever possible. To me, nothing conveys the richness and sense of the supernatural the way the Old Mass does: its magnificent prayers constantly remind us that the Mass is, first and foremost, a Eucharistic Sacrifice; the beautiful, strictly defined rubrics; the wonderful ancient hymns that contain not a hint of pop schmaltz about them; the solemn reception of the Body and Blood of Our Lord kneeling and on the tongue; and, at the end of Mass, the reading of the beginning of John's Gospel, perhaps the most profound words ever written.

Then, Bemis writes of the effect of the traditional Mass, an effect to which I can personally testify:
By attending the Old Mass, my conversion has become deeper and more complete. The catechesis provided through this magnificent ritual has guided me toward the Church's Sacred Tradition: toward Her teachings elaborated in Papal Encyclicals; toward working for the Social Reign of Jesus Christ; toward an understanding of the Faith and a love of the Blessed Mother; and, most importantly, toward an awed appreciation for the glorious treasure of Her liturgy.

It should be remembered that the Traditional Mass produced the Church's greatest saints and provided the formation of every pope for the past 1500 years, and has been praised by poets, artists and other intellectuals as the crown jewel of modern culture. Thus, if we are obligated to offer our sacrifice to God in the manner most pleasing to Him, Pope Benedict has given a great gift to every Catholic — indeed to the entire world. Only good can come from the celebration of more Traditional Latin Masses. May God bless Pope Benedict XVI for this great pastoral act and may bishops around the world receive his motu proprio in the spirit in which it was intended.


Light blogging until Tuesday.

25 July 2007

Canons Regular Suspending Activity in St. Louis

A reader sent me an email yesterday, which I excerpt below:

I do not know whether you also receive the newsletter of the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem, the small, newer religious order that offers the Extraordinary Form of the Mass out here in West St. Louis County, but the newest copy of the newsletter states that they are moving out of their home and temporarily relocating ... The students to Rome and Father Prior to California, where he will assist the Norbertines at St. Michael's Abbey in Orange County for the 2007-2008 school year.
Father Prior says they are not disbanding and will continue their ties to St. Louis and the archbishop.

Ken C. Manchester, MO

I did not want to post this story until I confirmed it, which I was able to do today. The Canons' last Mass in St. Louis for the foreseeable future will be August 5, 2007. For the next year, the members will have separate situations in different locales. The Canons hope to reconstitute themselves, and hope to do so in St. Louis, in a year or so.

They ask for our prayers.
This leaves a hole that I trust the Archbishop will fill for the availability of the traditional Mass in the Archdiocese. The implementation of Summorum Pontificum will likely result in at least one or two parishes in West County/St. Charles to fill the void.

Let's Not Forget Jefferson City and Springfield

We in Missouri are extremely blessed to have two of the most favorable dioceses in the country, St. Louis and Kansas City-St. Joseph, for the faithful implementation of Summorum Pontificum. We are grateful to Archbishop Burke and Bishop Finn for their leadership.

But there are two other dioceses in our state-- Jefferson City and Springfield. And so far there has not been much said publicly about the motu proprio or the traditional forms of the sacraments in general.

At Lumen Gentleman's motu proprio database, there is already, even at this early date, a significant group of people expressing their support for the traditional Mass located in Springfield and Jefferson City dioceses. Might this not be the beginning of the so-called "stable groups" of faithful whose rightful desires for the extraordinary use are to be readily acceded to by their pastors and bishops? And the contact database above has only just been linked to by other blogs of greater readership-- thus the numbers will assuredly grow.

There are SSPX chapels in both dioceses, in Mexico (Jefferson City Diocese) and Springfield itself. Surely these, too, indicate a desire of the faithful for the traditional Mass and sacraments?

I would like to issue a call that I hope will be supported by readers of this blog and by other Missouri Catholic bloggers' readership as well. I ask for help to promote the faithful and generous implementation of Summorum Pontificum. I ask for the help of Kansas City Catholic, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, Rome of the West, Lost Lambs, Dust of the Time, Traditional Catholic Mom, and any other "local" blogs I may have unintentionally failed to mention. I ask for the help of our readers.

We need to provide resources and information about parish pastors willing to accede to requests for the Mass and other sacraments, servers willing to serve or train others, and to provide a clearinghouse to exchange information.

To begin with, we should encourage everyone we know who supports this motu proprio, especially priests, to provide their confidential contact information to the database mentioned above. If enough state bloggers are on board, we might be able to provide a more local and responsive way to share contacts and resources. And we can keep an eye on the successes or failures on an ongoing basis.

In the meantime, anyone with advice to give on how best to do any of this is encouraged to post a comment or to email me at saintlouiscatholic@hotmail.com

Saint James the Greater, pray for us.
Saint Christopher, pray for us.

23 July 2007

Why Latin? To Find the Answer, Let's "Turn Back the Clock"

The classic apologetics collection published under the title Radio Replies, by Fathers Rumble and Carty, was originally published in 1938. The three volume set is eminently readable and still relevant (hardly surprising when the subject is Catholic truth that cannot change), formatted as questions-and-answers taken from a series of apologetics radio broadcasts.

As part of our effort to assist the faithful and successful implementation of Summorum Pontificum, we will be called upon to answer the above question-- "Why Latin?" I thought it fitting, since the Mass' critics accuse us supporters of trying to turn back the clock, that I check the answers given in Radio Replies. Below are some excerpts:

1392. Why, in all ceremonies and sermons, do priests speak Latin?

In the Epistle to the Hebrews, V., I., you will find these words, "Every Priest is ordained for men in the things that pertain to God, that he may offer up gifts and sacrifices for sins." A Priest has two chief duties: to offer sacrifice to God, and to sanctify men by his teaching and instruction. Now, when a Priest is speaking, not to men, but to God in the name of men, he speaks in the language of the Church-- in Latin-- a language God certainly understands, as does the Priest. When on the other hand he speaks to the people he speaks in their own language... Sermons are always given in the vernacular, and not in Latin, because they are addressed to the people. Go into any Catholic Church, and you will never hear any sermons in Latin.

1393. But the Priest says the Mass in Latin.

That is a sacrificial action offered to God. Latin is the liturgical language of the Catholic Church, just as Hebrew is the official language still used in the Synagogue.

1394. Do the worshippers understand all that the Priest says in the Latin Mass?

Not all Catholics understand Latin, by any means. But they are all quite at home when assisting at Mass. They know what is being done, even though they cannot understand all that is being said... However, every Catholic can know what the priest is saying, should he wish to do so. He has but to secure a prayer book containing the translation of the Latin into English. Most prayer books [missals] give the Latin and the English of the Mass side by side, in columns.

1395. Why does the Church cling to Latin, a dead language?

For one reason, precisely because it is dead! In modern and living languages, words are constantly changing their meaning whilst in a dead language, such as Latin, they do not. The essential doctrine and significance of Christianity must not change, and the safest way to preserve it intact is to keep it in an unchangeable language. Again, a universal Church must have at least her chief form of worship in a universal language. Christ came to save all men, and wherever a member of the true Church may be in this world he should be able to find himself at home at the central act of Christian worship. The Mass, being said in Latin, is the same in all lands...It brings out the wisdom and the universality of the Catholic Church. The Priest ascends the Altar to intercede with God on behalf of the people. Those present kneel, and in their hearts pour out their prayers for their own necessities. They feel no more need to know just what the Priest is saying than the Jews who knelt at the foot of the mountain felt the need of knowing just what Moses was saying to God on their behalf at the top. (And from what can only be described as better days, comes this:) ...if anyone should complain of the use of Latin, it should be those who have to endure it. And I have never yet heard a Catholic soul complain that it caused difficulty, or that he or she would like it changed.

1396. What good can result to the people if they cannot know what the Priest is asking in their name?

[After reiterating that they can know by using a Missal] ... the Latin prayers could [still] win for them the graces requested. If a German friend prayed for you in German, would that prayer be useless because you did not understand German?

1397. Is it not a short-sighted policy, since God hears hearts rather than words?

No. The Catholic Church is the greatest Church of all, and has preserved her unity despite her vast expansion. Those smaller churches, on the other hand, which adopted national languages are divided one from the other; are national in character; and are splitting up into innumerable sects as their doctrines change with every change in the sense of modern words.

22 July 2007

Road Trip

Kansas City Catholic posted the following great news, that His Excellency Robert Finn, Bishop of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, will celebrate the Traditional Mass at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 15, the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, at the main altar of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. I believe this will be a pontifical low Mass, if the ICRSP site in Kansas City is correct.

There was a large contingent of Kansas City area Catholics at the Cathedral for the ordinations here in St. Louis. It would be nice if we returned the favor.

20 July 2007

Archbishop Burke on Summorum Pontificum

Be not afraid!
Two forms of the Rite of the Mass
by Archbishop Raymond L. Burke

[Note: The Archbishop writes on the MP and on NFP in this column; for space considerations and in the interests of getting the word out on his thoughts about the traditional Mass, I will only post the Summorum Pontificum-relevant parts. Full article here, and I will post on the other later in the coming week]

Introduction: Two different but related subjects

In writing to you this week, I want to address two different but related subjects of concern to us all. The first is the recent publication of new liturgical norms pertaining to the celebration of two forms of the Rite of the Mass, the form used by all until 1970 and the new form introduced by Pope Paul VI. The new norms, given by Pope Benedict XVI on July 7, have been the subject of much discussion in the media. For your better understanding of the new norms, I want to offer you my reflections on the norms and their implementation in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.


Two forms of the one Rite of the Mass

By his apostolic letter "Summorum Pontificum," Pope Benedict XVI has provided for the easier use of the form of the Rite of the Mass until 1970, which was published by Blessed Pope John XXIII in 1962, in addition to the use of the Rite of the Mass, which was published by Pope Paul VI in 1970 and with which we are all quite familiar. The first form is sometimes popularly called the Tridentine Rite of the Mass, referring to the fact that, in its essentials, it remained the same from the time of the reforms introduced by the Council of Trent (Tridentine is the adjective for Trent). Changes were introduced into the rite over the centuries, including the changes made in the 1962 edition of the Roman Missal, but the greater part of the rite remained unchanged.

The second form is called the Novus Ordo or New Order of the Mass. It also retains the essential elements found in the Tridentine Rite but introduces a somewhat radical simplification of the rite. It is, however, one and the same Rite of the Mass.

With the norms promulgated by Pope Benedict XVI, the Novus Ordo remains the ordinary form in which the Rite of the Mass is to be celebrated. The Order of the Mass in force before the changes introduced by the Novus Ordo is now the extraordinary form, which may be celebrated by any priest, without special permission, under the conditions set forth by the Holy Father. In establishing the extraordinary form of the Rite of the Mass, our Holy Father reminds us that, in fact, the use of the Roman Missal of Blessed Pope John XXIII "was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted" (Letter of Pope Benedict XVI Accompanying the Apostolic Letter Summorum Pontificum, July 7, 2007, paragraph 6).

As he observes, there was a greater attachment to the former rite than perhaps was anticipated, especially among the faithful "with a notable liturgical formation and a deep, personal familiarity with the earlier form of the liturgical celebration" (Ibid.). An interest in and attachment to the former Rite of the Mass also developed among the faithful in circumstances in which the reforms of the Novus Ordo were not implemented with fidelity but were falsely seen to permit or even require a creative interpretation on the part of the priest. Such circumstances, in the words of Pope Benedict XVI, "led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear" (Ibid.). Our Holy Father reflects upon his own experience of the confusion and hurt which sometimes accompanied the implementation of the Novus Ordo.

Not infrequently, I meet young people who are attracted to the former Order of the Mass, even though they had no experience of it when they were growing up. What attracts them is the beauty and reverence, which the earlier form very much fosters. Such beauty and reverence should also be evident in the celebration of the Novus Ordo. Because the ordinary form is greatly simplified, the priest and those who assist him must be attentive to the divine action taking place and not give way to an informality and familiarity which is offensive to the nature of the Sacred Liturgy.

Through "Summorum Pontificum," Pope Benedict XVI makes the former Order of the Mass more available to the faithful who are attached to it. At the same time, he maintains the Novus Ordo as the ordinary form of the celebration of the Mass. It is the expressed hope of our Holy Father that the use of the extraordinary form will support the faithful celebration of the Mass according to the Novus Ordo.

Implementation of the new norms in the archdiocese

Some of the faithful of the archdiocese have expressed the fears that the use of the vernacular in the celebration of the Mass will be taken away and that the use of the extraordinary form of the Mass will be imposed upon them, while they, in fact, are attached to the ordinary form. Both fears are unfounded. The celebration of the extraordinary form in parishes must be requested by a group of the faithful and is to be scheduled in such a way as to permit the other faithful the use of the ordinary form. Priests, when they celebrate the Mass without a congregation, that is, when they are on vacation or away from a parochial assignment, may choose either form. Members of the faithful can, of course, assist at the Mass, no matter in which form it is celebrated.

At present, the Archdiocese of St. Louis has a most effective apostolate on behalf of the faithful who are attached to the extraordinary form of the Rite of the Mass, that is the Roman Missal of Blessed Pope John XXIII. St. Francis de Sales Oratory is the center of the apostolate and serves well the faithful who desire the celebration of the Mass and of the other sacraments according to the rites which were in force in 1962. The Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem also provide Sunday and holy day Masses at the Chapel of the Passionist Nuns in Ellisville. In addition, the Canons Regular, as befits their form of religious life, celebrate daily and publicly the Liturgy of the Hours in the chapel of their Priory in Chesterfield.

If additional requests of the regular celebration of the extraordinary form of the Rite of the Mass are received, I will work with the parish priests in responding appropriately and generously to the requests. Also, courses of liturgical formation pertaining to the Roman Missal of Blessed Pope John XXIII will be provided for priests who desire it. The seminarians at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary will be provided the liturgical formation necessary to celebrate the Mass according to the extraordinary form. Their studies of Latin will also give attention to the texts of the extraordinary form.

Gratitude for the richness of the forms of the Sacred Liturgy

In concluding my brief reflections on "Summorum Pontificum," I express, in the name of us all, deepest gratitude to Pope Benedict XVI for providing so richly and well for the worthy and beautiful celebration of the Sacred Liturgy, especially the Holy Mass. With Pope Benedict XVI, I am certain that the richer possibilities for the celebration of the Mass and the other sacraments will lead us all to a deeper appreciation of the immeasurable love of God for us and to a deeper response of love, on our part.
Comments: Just what one would expect from Archbishop Burke-- a faithful and generous reception of the Motu Proprio, and a generous implementation.

He reaffirms the excellent work of the ICRSP at St. Francis de Sales Oratory and of the Canons as well, and encourages faithful to become familiar with the traditional use.

And while he certainly supports these apostolates, he makes it clear that priests who wish to provide for their faithful the traditional use on a public basis will be assisted to do so, consistent with the necessary training required.

He states that seminarians will receive the necessary Latin and rubrical education to be able to provide for the needs of the faithful in this area on an ongoing basis.

He notes how the young are attracted to the traditional Mass because of its beauty and truth, and reminds priests that all celebrations of the Roman Rite, in whatever use, are to be done reverently with regard for the correct celebration thereof.

I also appreciate His Grace's comment that the novus ordo is a "somewhat radical simplification" of the Roman Rite. True indeed.

Let us give thanks for being members of such a great Archdiocese with such stalwart leadership.
Deo Gratias!

19 July 2007

Archdiocesan Newspaper Clarifies Its Article on Infant Baptism

The issue of infant baptism was canvassed in the last two issues of the St. Louis Review, the Archdiocesan newspaper. This may not seem that uncommon, but the way the two issues covered the subject, and the contents of each issue, were remarkable. I intended to post on the first article, which ran June 29, 2007, but the excitement and news rush of the Motu Proprio and the CDF document sidetracked my plans.

This may have been for the best, however, because the Review published an editorial in its next edition to clarify the issue.

What was the fuss? The June 29 cover story was titled "Parents delaying infant baptism". This story, instead of decrying the trend of parents today to delay infant baptism, or even merely to describe the phenomenon, contained several paragraphs and quotes from both clergy and parents that tended to indicate that it was no big deal to delay the baptism of an infant, or perhaps it might even be good in certain instances.

Mostly, it was in the tenor and tone of the story-- I don't want to go so far as to say the article strongly advocated waiting awhile to baptise an infant-- it just seemed like the paper didn't really disapprove, and that some clergy didn't strongly disapprove. Some excerpts below, with clergy names withheld:

...According to several archdiocesan pastors interviewed by the Review, it’s seemingly becoming more common for Catholic families to wait to have their children baptized several months — and in some cases years — after the child’s birth. That’s a change from what has been, as a rule, the tradition of celebrating the Sacrament of Baptism within a few weeks after the child’s birth.

But whatever the reasons may be, Father [], pastor of [], summed up the feelings of many priests: "I think people don’t have that sense of urgency that maybe they would have before."

[After a short section about official Church teaching on infant baptism, the article continued.]

Some pastors have said that each family is received on a case-by-case basis, and each generally has good intentions for wanting their child to be baptized — and good reasons for waiting. Priests have said most families are generally accommodated based on their needs.

Several common reasons why priests said parents are waiting include: families who are spread out geographically and need extra time to bring together everyone for a Baptism; a needed delay because parents need to iron out hurdles with their own faith, such as being in a marriage not recognized by the Church; and an increase in more elaborate parish-based baptismal preparations, which can include classes and meetings with clergy and other parents in the parish. The amount of preparation is determined by each parish. Some parishes also schedule Baptisms only once a month, which can cause added delays.

"Years ago, people had their children baptized immediately, for fear that if they would die, they wouldn’t go to heaven," [a priest] said. "I don’t think it’s that thinking anymore. If a child is sick or in the hospital, there’s always that urgency. But I think people just weigh all of the factors — when the family can get together, a good time for the church."

[Another priest] said he’s happy to see parents aren’t living in fear of delaying Baptism anymore. "It strikes me that years ago, parents were sometimes afraid that their baby might die before Baptism," he said. "So then they felt even more of a pressure to get that child here as soon as possible."

Today, however, "people have come to believe that while Baptism of their children is important, they’re less frightened that should their child die before they were able to have him or her baptized, that something bad would happen to their child."

One possible explanation for the change is because older Church concepts such as limbo — a place where unbaptized infants would spend eternity but without communion with God — are becoming less compelling with younger parents.

Limbo has never been defined as Church dogma and is not mentioned in the current Catechism of the Catholic Church, which only states that unbaptized infants are entrusted to God’s mercy.

In April, the Vatican’s International Theological Commission said there are good reasons to hope that babies who die without being baptized go to heaven.

Here is a link to the
original story, that ran on June 29, 2007. When I first read this, I thought that it was an absolute waste of newspaper space. But I am prone to hyperbole, so I let the matter sit awhile. After all, the article did contain a brief section quoting the catechism on infant baptism, and maybe I was imagining what I perceived to be the tendency of the article to "reassure" parents that baptism isn't really that necessary to be given quickly. I did remember thinking that although Bishop Finn may be better positioned where he is now, he was a fine newspaper editor.

But, after the Review came back from its annual summer one-week hiatus, the editorial page ran a
clarification. I actually chuckled a bit; I thought I had heard heads cracking at the chancery from my home about six miles away. Look for a dent on His Grace's ring next time you kiss it. The July 13 editorial:

Delaying infant Baptism not good for child, parents

Again and again in the New Testament Scriptures, Our Lord insists on the importance of Baptism for salvation.

For most of the Christian era Catholic parents have recognized the need to ensure that their children receive this great Sacrament of Initiation. In fact, for centuries devout parents did their best to have children baptized on the very day they were born.

The effort to have babies baptized as soon as possible sprang from an appreciation of the importance of Baptism and an awareness of the high level of infant mortality.

There are a number of factors that might lead parents to delay their children’s Baptism, as noted in the Review June 29. Improved medical care has lessened but not eliminated the danger of infant death. The desire to schedule a Baptism to allow attendance by more family members can be a reasonable cause for briefly postponing the sacrament.

Sadly, though, an increasingly secular society can lead some to regard infant Baptism as less important than was common in the past.

Parental attitude is the central factor governing setting the date for a child’s Baptism. When the faith of parents is deep, they will realize the greatness of this sacrament and the treasure it confers on their offspring. This attitude will be the measure of the faith they will pass on to their children.

In the setting of the date of Baptism and in all they do to foster the growth of faith in their children, we should pray every day that God’s blessing and inspiration will guide all parents. To become an adopted child of God and a brother or sister of Jesus Christ is no small matter. Parents should make it among the highest priority in the care of their children to ensure that they become that adopted child of God.

A fairly gentle correction, perhaps, but an immediate and solid clarification of Catholic teaching on infant baptism. One may thus assume that His Grace reads the Archdiocesan paper.

Our Next President?

Boy, I can't wait to vote in 2008, with all of the wonderful choices we have! I have emphasized some things from the report below, and added a few comments.

Sex Ed for Kindergarteners 'Right Thing to Do,' Says Obama

July 18, 2007 1:13 PM
ABC News' Teddy Davis and Lindsey Ellerson Report:

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., told Planned Parenthood Tuesday that sex education for kindergarteners, as long as it is "age-appropriate," is "the right thing to do."

"I remember Alan Keyes . . . I remember him using this in his campaign against me," Obama said in reference to the conservative firebrand who ran against him for the U.S. Senate in 2004. Sex education for kindergarteners had become an issue in his race against Keyes because of Obama’s work on the issue as chairman of the health committee in the Illinois state Senate.
"'Barack Obama supports teaching sex education to kindergarteners,'" said Obama mimicking Keyes' distinctive style of speech. "Which -- I didn’t know what to tell him (laughter)."

"But it’s the right thing to do," Obama continued, "to provide age-appropriate sex education, science-based sex education in schools." Oh, as long as it is "science-based". For a moment there I was worried.

Speaking to a young woman (how young, I wonder) who asked a question about sex education, Obama said, "You, as a peer, can have enormous power over your age cohort but you’ve got to have some support from the schools. You certainly should not have to be fighting each and every instance by providing accurate information outside of the classroom because inside the classroom the only thing that can be talked about is abstinence." There you go, parents. Tomorrow's headline: "Obama urges school children to learn about sex on the playground-- Candidate seeks to ameliorate the damaging effects of abstinence advocacy".

"Keep in mind: I honor and respect young people who choose to delay sexual activity," Obama continued. "I’ve got two daughters, and I want them to understand that sex is not something casual. Please make sure you send in those parent-of-the-year nominations. That's something that we definitely want to communicate and should be part of any curriculum. But we also know that when the statistics tell us that nearly half of 15 to 19 year olds are engaging in sexual activity, that for us to leave them in ignorance is potentially consigning them to illness, pregnancy, poverty, and in some cases, death." Hard not to laugh, but crying helps.


'Nobody's suggesting that kindergartners are going to be getting information about sex in the way that we think about it,' Obama said. 'If they ask a teacher 'where do babies come from,' that providing information that the fact is that it's not a stork is probably not an unhealthy thing. Although again, that's going to be determined on a case by case basis by local communities and local school boards.'" In other words, decided by the teacher unions, which support, and are supported by, Planned Parenthood.

What Would St. Pius Do?

Reader Rich sent me the following, comparing the recent quotes from James Carroll in the Boston Globe castigating the Holy Father for Summorum Pontificum with the heretical statements of Alfred Loisy in the early twentieth century, and then contrasting them with the encyclical of Pope St. Pius X in Pascendi. An interesting exercise. Here it is:

1. "Pope Benedict, in last week's denigration of Christian traditions that lack the unbroken "apostolic succession" of Catholicism, for example, was seeking to protect the "deposit of faith," those core beliefs that were established by the Apostles themselves. But such literalist reading of apostolic succession goes out the window when one learns that none of the actual Apostles thought that they themselves were establishing a "church" in our sense, independent of Judaism. Similarly, the New Testament is "inspired," but what does that mean for appeals to "apostolic" authority when one learns that its 27 books were not "canonized" until three centuries after Jesus?" - James Carroll, Boston Globe, July 16, 2007

2. "Jesus preached the kingdom of God, but the Church came instead." – Alfred Loisy (1857-1940), French Roman Catholic priest, professor and theologian and advocate of Biblical Modernism in the Roman Catholic Church, whose books were condemned by the Vatican, and was excommunicated in 1908.

3. "To hear [Modernists] talk about their works on the Sacred Books, in which they have been able to discover so much that is defective, one would imagine that before them nobody ever even glanced through the pages of Scripture, whereas the truth is that a whole multitude of Doctors, infinitely superior to them in genius, in erudition, in sanctity, have sifted the Sacred Books in every way, and so far from finding imperfections in them, have thanked God more and more the deeper they have gone into them, for His divine bounty in having vouchsafed to speak thus to men. Unfortunately, these great Doctors did not enjoy the same aids to study that are possessed by the Modernists for their guide and rule, - a philosophy borrowed from the negation of God, and a criterion which consists of themselves.

"We believe, then, that We have set forth with sufficient clearness the historical method of the Modernists. The philosopher leads the way, the historian follows, and then in due order come internal and textual criticism. And since it is characteristic of the first cause to communicate its virtue to secondary causes, it is quite clear that the criticism We are concerned with is an agnostic, immanentist, and evolutionist criticism. Hence anybody who embraces it and employs it, makes profession thereby of the errors contained in it, and places himself in opposition to Catholic faith." - Pope St. Pius X, Encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis (On the Doctrines of the Modernists), September 1907.

St. Pius X was pretty straightforward, eh? Now, that's pastoral, if you ask me.

18 July 2007

OK, Let's Take This One On

This story appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, and contains so many of the tiresome myths, lies, and modernist party line that we are used to. I avoided it in my previous post about Fr. Talarico's Mass in Pittsburgh, but sometimes the record needs to be set straight. The story below, with my comments in green.

A church's assertive shift toward tradition
Pope Benedict XVI consolidates sweeping changes, reasserting the spiritual supremacy of the Vatican.

By Robert Marquand Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Rome and Paris

The leader of 1.1 billion Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI, is completing a significant theological shift of the Roman Catholic church – a sweeping change that not only eclipses 40 years of a more moderate and collegial Catholicism, but seeks to reassert the spiritual supremacy of the Vatican and more openly proclaim the authority of the office of pope among all Christians. I believe this could be more accurately described as rectifying a false notion of Catholic theology that has plagued the Church for forty years. And though I believe that the effect of the Holy Father's recent actions will in time be monumental, at the moment I would hardly call them sweeping.

Some two years after taking the reins, say Protestant and Catholic theologians and religious experts, the Bavarian-born pope is moving swiftly to affirm orthodox doctrines and medieval church rituals that undermine the spirit of Vatican II, a period of modernization in which the church appeared to be rethinking its centuries-long insistence that it had exclusive claims to matters of grace, truth, salvation, and church structure in the Christian world. If you mean by "undermining the spirit of Vatican II" that the ancient (far more ancient than "medieval") Mass undermines the effort to toss the constant teaching of the Church into the wastebasket, then yes, it does do that. Part of the problem we face today is that the Church has "appeared to be rethinking" its constant teaching in certain areas, when in reality it did not, and could not.

Liberal Catholics go so far as to characterize Benedict as leading a counterreformation in the church – in which fervent backers of traditional Catholic identity and faith are favored, even at the expense of popularity. Let us fervently pray this is so. "While Vatican II said that the Holy Spirit was in operation among the people, now we are saying, no, the holy spirit is operating in the bishops. This is misleading-- the Holy Ghost operates everywhere, in a sense. He also operates in the Church, which is founded upon Peter. It is an enormous change." says Frank Flinn, author of the "Encyclopedia of Catholicism." Um, no. The "impression [previous Pope] John Paul II gave was to emphasize teaching so that all may be one. But Benedict is turning around and saying to churches, 'you aren't all one.' The Catholic Church is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. It has unity already, and does not need the other Christian denominations to make it whole. This is basic stuff here; read Mortalium Animos. It is destroying the ecumenical movement." If you mean ecumenism at the expense of the truth, then let it burn.

When the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger became pope on April 8, 2005, many Catholics felt he might soften his reputation as a hard-line "enforcer of the faith." Really? Yet his tenure has shown few signs of mellowing. In the space of three days this month, for example, he promoted the old Latin Mass, which contains references to the conversion of the Jews (as does the new Mass, in much more oblique language), then issued a blockbuster doctrinal clarification statement saying that Orthodox and Protestant churches were "lacking" and only authentic through their relationship with Rome.

"Benedict has fought for the same thing for 30 years and now he is putting it to work," says Frederic Lenoir, editor of Le Monde's religious supplement in Paris. "His main aim in being pope is to unify the true believer groups – and he will lose (nominal) members or destroy (illusory) religious dialogues, if that's what it takes." Main aim? A bit oversimplified.

Radical reassertion is necessary

Defenders say that only by a radical reassertion of traditional Catholicism can the church become the body able to bring clarity, order, and moral authority to a troubled world. The various attempts to adapt the church to modernity in the 1960s, they argue, have resulted only in muddled meanings and a lack of proper moral concepts. Beyond that, the opening of the church allowed Jewish, Protestant, atheist, and Islamic ideas to compete against what is seen as God's church, instituted by Christ and the apostle Peter. Note that the Catholic faith as it has always been held is considered radical.

Since Vatican II (1964-1969), the Roman Catholic church in Europe has lost tens of millions of churchgoers at a time when Muslim populations are increasing in Europe. Benedict has stated his central mission is to restore the Catholic church in Europe and to bridge the gap with Eastern Orthodox churches that more closely share a traditional Catholic suspicion of modernity, the Enlightenment, the Reformation, pluralism, and secularism. But don't you see? All those lost Catholics and the cultural decimation are purely coincidental. Isn't that what we are told?

"We think this pope may be starting back on the proper pathway," says a friar at the St. Nicolas du Chardonnet church in Paris, a center of the ultratraditional Lefebvrist Catholic sect. "We think he understands the real faith. What we object to is his visiting of the mosque in Turkey. He shouldn't have done that." A bit of an out-of-context quote, linking the Turkey visit to this particular story. But to call the SSPX a "sect" is out of line. I would also dispute the term "ultraconservative". What is that supposed to mean, anyway?

Last September, the pope stirred the Muslim world following an academic talk that made reference to Islamic teachings as inherently violent. This is a bit of an overstatement. It was the kind of religious assertion, described later by the Vatican as a "misunderstanding," that was rarely if ever heard under Pope John Paul II.

"The previous pope was friendly, down-to-earth, and a good pastor," says Daniele Garrone, a Rome-based theologian of the Waldensian church, a reformed faith. "But Benedict is emphasizing theological clarity, and I think he is painting himself into a corner. If you believe the church is the sole authority, and you teach this, you have to pay the consequences. And Just what would these consequences be? Is this a threat? Benedict takes it seriously, so I really feel he is suffering right now. He doesn't take this lightly, but feels it is his duty. I wouldn't want to be pope at this point." I want to be charitable here, but though perhaps it is not a conscious choice of any particular person, it is a necessary consequence of rejecting Peter, or the Church, or Church teachings, that we seek to make ourselves our own Pope.

Pope Benedict was a German academic and prolific theologian. In the early years of his career, he studied with Hans Kung, a highly influential liberal Catholic theologian whom Benedict would one day reprimand for questioning the concept of papal infallibility.

Pope Benedict also contributed to Vatican II, a period when the church was engaging Martin Luther's concept of the "priesthood of all believers" and vesting more authority in and pastoral attention to ordinary churchgoers.

Yet during the German student riots of 1968, a chaotic time when many young Germans were demanding that their parents face up to the Nazi past, Ratzinger felt deeply that the Vatican II project was coming unhinged. I agree that he felt around this time that the "reform" was coming unhinged. But the article, despicably, sees the student riots at being anti-Nazi, and thus subtly accuses the Pope of starting to turn against Vatican II only when the Nazis were targeted for repudiation. This is truly outrageous.

He became archbishop, then cardinal in 1977, and in 1981 was made prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith at the Vatican – a meteoric rise. Ratzinger began to pursue and censure liberal theologians favorable to Vatican II. Note the absolutely false notion that a theologian who holds heterodox beliefs is equated with being favorable to Vatican II. This is the crux of the problem. He issued a paper, "Instruction Concerning Certain Aspects of the 'Theology of Liberation'" that started to quash liberation-theology movements, particularly in Latin America. Good. Keep it going.

His tenure as prefect became synonymous with a host of conservative (just go ahead and substitute "Catholic" here) positions on abortion, homosexuality, and birth control, earning him the informal nickname of "the enforcer." By whom? In 2002, he was made dean of the College of Cardinals, the pope's right-hand man. In the first year, he issued "Some Questions Regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life" that requested bishops not to allow communion to politicians that did not uphold the church teachings on abortion.

An end to 'confusion'

Pope Benedict's press officer, Fr. Federico Lombardi, told the Monitor that the church is not changing its theological positions but is simply clarifying them and seeking to "end the confusion" inside Catholic seminaries about church beliefs. He felt the main difference is a stronger emphasis on "Catholic identity," however.

Mr. Garrone argues that the church must appear to have continuity and can't admit it is changing. See! It is all done for appearances! There is no continuity. War is peace!

"Many nuns, priests, sisters, theologians, and Catholics felt that Vatican II was a new beginning in the history of the church. But by emphasizing 'continuity,' Benedict is saying the second Vatican council was not a new beginning." Correct.

The new papal favoring of Latin Mass is an example. Also known as the "Tridentine" mass, it is performed by priests who turn their back to the congregation and speak in Latin. Man, that really sounds rude! Turn back around-- look at me! Speak to me! It's all about me! Me! Me! Me! This mass was largely abandoned after Vatican II, partly because it was incomprehensible to lay Catholics and because it contained negative references to Jews. Probably my favorite line in the whole story. "Largely" abandoned because it was incomprehensible to lay Catholics and because it contained negative references to the Jews. Wow. We lay Catholics are so stupid that the form of the Mass for over 1500 years was totally incomprehensible. What were we thinking? And all those negative references to the Jews, like... well, um.... hold on-- wait! They were incomprehensible to lay Catholics, right? Only the Jews could understand them. Like a dog whistle, apparently, these subtle digs at the Jewish people could not be "comprehended" by just anyone. I think I know why, though. Because there aren't any such negative references. Unless praying for them, like we do for us, or Protestants, or anyone else, to come to believe in Christ is negative.

The Latin mass has long been hated by Jews (like St. Peter? St. Paul?) for its emphasis on the Jewish role in turning Jesus over to the Romans for crucifixion (that is just a blatant lie) and for its call for Jews to come into the church. Abraham Foxman, director of the Anti-Defamation League, described the Latin mass initiative as "a theological setback in the religious life of Catholics and a body blow to Catholic-Jewish relations." Why is he competent to analyze what is or is not a theological setback in the religious life of Catholics? The arrogance is staggering.

While the Vatican is not forcing local Catholic churches to say the Latin mass (Is that accurate? I think not), it is encouraging local members who want it to lobby their parishes. Some priests argue that this may create further strains on their resources and possibly bring contention. Some priests think it is really great.

On July 10, the Vatican issued "Regarding Certain Aspects of Church Doctrine." It argued that churches emerging from the Reformation outside the direct authority of Rome "cannot be called 'churches' in the proper sense." Protestants, in particular, "suffer from defects," are properly called communities, not churches, and must one day recognize "the Catholic church, governed by the successor of Peter and the bishops in communion with him" – a major affirmation of papal authority. While Catholics may engage in ecumenical activities, they must do so through a stronger sense of Catholicism as the true church.

Not surprisingly, the July 10 statement brought a mixture of anger and irritation in other churches.

The Rev. David Phillips, an Anglican official, described it as "ludicrous" to "accept the idea that the pope is in some special way the successor of the apostle Peter," and added: "We are grateful (Are you really? Be honest.) that the Vatican has once again been honest in declaring their view that the Church of England is not a proper church…. We would wish to be equally open; unity will only be possible when the papacy renounces its errors and pretensions." Although he derides the Pope here, it is actually a very good thing that this person is now under no illusion that his denomination is sufficient. Now he knows the Church teaches that he must accept the Church Christ Himself founded. The truth shall set him, just like all of us, free.

The Vatican said it was surprised Protestants would feel anger at being described as less than churches in hundreds of stories in English-language papers around the world and asked them not to "overreact."

"This isn't about Protestants, it is an internal theological document for purposes of clarity," Father Lombardi stated.

Some analysts say that, as with the September controversy over Islam, the Vatican sought to downplay the issue even as the hard-line message was amplified in the world media, putting Rome in the position of defining the issue.

"Benedict wants to say that Vatican II is not threatened, but the document on July 10 shows a very different reading," says Christian Mercier, religion editor of the Paris-based Catholic magazine, La Vie. Benedict is saying that anyone who interprets Vatican II to support a belief that Catholic doctrine is changed is wrong. A correct reading of Vatican II is not threatened. But error is threatened indeed.

Not just tidying up doctrine

In the past year, the pope has visited the mosque in Turkey, met with Eastern Orthodox prelates, written to Catholics in China, visited Brazil, and authored a best-selling book about Jesus.

Many theologians say the shifts under Pope Benedict aren't simply a small matter of rules, rituals, clarifications, and a tidying up of doctrine. Perhaps one of the most significant, though little noticed, changes has to do with the changing concept of the meaning of the kingdom of heaven. The current pope has a different vision of time and eschatology. Under Vatican II, it was accepted that the coming of the kingdom is possible to experience on Earth and not simply in the afterlife. Vatican II stressed concepts like "becoming," "change," and "newness," and championed social justice and liberty as linked to ideas of grace. Reaching for pepto-bismol...

Pope Benedict has begun to roll back such ideas, says Mr. Flinn, the Catholic theologian at Washington University in St. Louis, and his theology is "pessimistic, in the sense that heaven and earth are separate concepts, and that Christ's kingdom can't be experienced here." If this world were the fulfillment of Christ's kingdom, THAT would be depressing and would make me pessimistic.

"It is the old (by "old" he means "bad") vertical eschatology," Flinn says. "Liberal Catholics read the scriptures as saying the kingdom is already here, but not yet. The Vatican seems to be saying the kingdom is not yet, not yet, until the end of time, when Jesus returns. Meanwhile, the church is in charge, the pope is the vicar of Christ, and the church has the full truth."
I hope you enjoyed this piece as much as I did.
Viva il papa!

17 July 2007

Summorum Pontificum Database and the St. Louis Need

Jacob Michael over at Lumen Gentleman is compiling an international database of those persons who wish to help in the implementation of Summorum Pontificum. How so? By providing a central information resource for all of the following persons:

Priests who want training to celebrate the traditional use.

Priests who can train priests to celebrate the traditional use.

Altar servers (laymen and seminarians).

Those who can train altar servers.

Those who want altar server training.

And more.

Now, it is not the goal of this blog to step on whatever plans His Grace has for the implementation of Summorum Pontificum, but at the very least those priests who would like to celebrate the use privately need servers, and there may not be many available. Or he may need training. Or those who would like to serve need training.

So, I suggest that we all follow whatever guidelines the Archbishop provides. But in lieu of any such guidelines, or merely to provide an altar server pool for priests in need, this database may be useful. You can reach it at the link above.

15 July 2007

Story from Pittsburgh Featuring Newly Ordained ICRSP Priest

An article on the traditional Mass in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, featuring Fr. Matthew Talarico of the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest. For those of you lucky enough to have attended, Fr. Talarico is one of the two priests of the ICRSP ordained by Archbishop Burke in St. Louis on June 15.

Demand may rise with Pope's approval of Latin Mass
Some view traditional liturgy as divisive, others attracted by reverence
Sunday, July 15, 2007

By Ann Rodgers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

At 11 a.m. today, Latin chant will fill St. Boniface Church, as veiled young women kneel with their husbands and children to hear the Rev. Matthew Talarico offer his first High Mass for Pittsburgh Latin Mass Community.

The 26-year-old from Cecil was ordained last month by Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis for a community whose call is to offer the traditional Latin, or Tridentine, Mass. Demand is expected to rise now that Pope Benedict XVI has said that the 1962 Mass -- the last approved Latin Mass before the changes of Vatican II -- no longer requires special permission from the bishop.

"Latin is the mother tongue of all Catholics," said Father Talarico, who will serve in the Archdiocese of Newark, N.J.

"Modern languages are always changing. In order to express a timeless liturgy and eternal truths, we use a language with a venerable tradition, a language which does not change, a language which unites us with all of our ancestors in the faith and which serves as a bridge to the future in bringing all Catholics the unity of faith."

[...] After this paragraph there follows an unfortunately typical collection of misunderstandings, real or feigned, about what the Motu Proprio actually says. It quotes some persons who state that the traditional Mass is "banned" during the Triduum and more pablum about how "Jewish leaders" are concerned, and how the priests of the diocese won't be "required" to say it, etc. Blah, blah, blah. It is all just so depressingly predictable and sad. I could go on, but I wanted to post this nice article about Fr. Talarico's first Mass in his hometown, so, without further ado, back to our regularly scheduled article.[...]

Father Talarico first attended Latin Mass at 13. He had already sensed a call to priesthood.

The Latin Mass "was mysterious, but very attractive," he said. "There was a real sense of reverence. I wanted to learn more, and became an altar boy."

Yesterday he celebrated low Mass -- without chant, or the Bible readings and sermon that would otherwise be in English. Vested in a lace alb and ornate chasuble, he prayed facing the same direction as the people, so they saw only his back.

The 50 worshipers could follow in a Latin-English missal, which explained every gesture. But they never spoke. Only the altar boys -- they have no altar girls -- answered in Latin.

Jim Cardelini, 41, of Munhall, has attended for about five years.

"At first we came because of an invitation. But then we started to come more. My wife and I were attracted by the reverence," he said.

"In the silence and the meditation, there is a mystical experience."

Lack of speech doesn't mean lack of participation, Father Talarico said.

"Participation is interior. It comes from the heart," he said. "People love that beauty. They can pray very simply to God."


Father Talarico joined the Institute of Christ the King because it is not divisive, he said. Its priests serve at the request of bishops, who often lack priests able to offer the Latin Mass.

"Our mission is to teach the truth of the Catholic Church, but to teach it with charity. We want to show that the faith is attractive for people today, that it has answers for all of the problems of today's world. But ultimately, it is about love," he said.

"We are not about going back to something, we are looking ahead to the future. The Mass is timeless. The church is always young."

Strong Words from Scotland-- the Mass Will Outlive the Revolutionaries

A strong opinion piece from the Scotsman.com site.

The Mass of All Time will outlive the Sixties revolutionaries

'AND then how shall I lie through centuries,/And hear the blessed mutter of the Mass," exulted Browning's bishop ordering his tomb at Saint Praxed's church, in the well-known poem. His repose would have come to a raucous end in 1969, when the New Mass was imposed on the Catholic faithful; but he might have relapsed into contentment from next September 14, when the motu proprio of Benedict XVI restoring the Latin 'Tridentine' Mass comes into effect.

Not since 1850, when Nicholas Cardinal Wiseman hurled his pastoral letter 'From Out the Flaminian Gate' like a grenade into the heart of the British establishment, proclaiming the restoration of the Catholic hierarchy in England and Wales, has a Roman document provoked such consternation among the ungodly.

[...] On the other hand, the motu proprio may be a modest step, but it has significance far beyond its actual contents - beyond even the Catholic Church. For the first time in living memory, a major institution is reforming itself by turning back to earlier precepts: David Cameron might profitably take note.


As for turning the clock back throughout the Church, it is the only possible remedy for the crisis that has afflicted it since the Second Vatican Catastrophe. The Novus Ordo (New Order of Mass) was invented by Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, assisted by six Protestant pastors, after the Vatican Council. When this appalling confection was presented to the 1967 Synod of Bishops it was indignantly rejected. Yet two years later it was universally imposed. Bugnini described it in 1974 as "a major conquest of the Catholic Church".


For decades now, the assorted Lollards, Shakers and Fifth Monarchy Men who have capered in Catholic sanctuaries have used the Bugnini Mass as their plaything. It is at its bleakest when, on high days and holidays, it attempts to mimic past solemnities, the concelebrants in minimalist vestments fronted by a communion table rather than an altar - three dentists behind an ironing-board. It is the New Mass that is now on the danger list. The Vatican talks about "reform of the reform"; but the "reform" is beyond reformation.

For 40 years frenzied efforts have been made to stamp out the Traditional Mass and yet it has flourished. It is now past the point where there is the remotest prospect of extinguishing it. As Pope Benedict said in his explanatory letter accompanying the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum ("Of Supreme Pontiffs"), one of his reasons for freeing the Old Mass was the number of young people now flocking to it.

That is what the faded 1960s trendies who are now bishops and seminary rectors fear: the impossibility of maintaining a revolution that has burned itself out. The Second Vatican Council means as little to today's youth as the Council of Chalcedon. Its elderly adherents are like dads dancing at the school disco. Many young people are seeking the mystical and the numinous. The Mass of All Time answers that need.

Within the past month the Vatican has issued two other documents: one restoring the requirement for a two-thirds majority at Papal conclaves, which rules out the future election of an extreme radical; and a reassertion of the doctrine that the Protestant sects cannot be recognised as 'churches'. It will not damage ecumenism, because that died long ago. Its premise was that Rome must endlessly divest, while Canterbury ordained priestesses and moved ever further from Catholicism. When you see a Church of Scotland congregation praying the rosary you may believe ecumenism is a two-way process.

The task facing traditionalists is to claw back, inch by inch, everything that was lost in the 1960s, until the Church is restored to its full integrity. It will mean trench warfare for decades, probably generations; but, for the first time, the heretics are on the defensive and they will be defeated.

There is a revived spirit infusing the Church, a spirit once defined by GK Chesterton: "I am very proud of my religion; I am especially proud of those parts of it that are most commonly called superstition. I am proud of being fettered by antiquated dogmas and enslaved by dead creeds (as my journalistic friends repeat with so much pertinacity)... I am very proud of being orthodox about the mysteries of the Trinity or the Mass; I am proud of believing in the Confessional; I am proud of believing in the Papacy."

Triumphalism, so monotonously condemned by the Catholic agnostics, is the only logical response to the glory of the Resurrection. Tremble, all Modernists and you who presumptuously claim We Are Church - the spirit of Trent is abroad once more. Welcome to the Counter-Reformation.

13 July 2007

St. Louis Review on Summorum Pontifcum and the Local Angle

Decree on use of traditional Latin Mass strengthens liturgies, say local priests

by Jennifer Brinker, Review Staff Writer

Local communities with ties to the traditional Latin Mass recently expressed their joy over Pope Benedict XVI’s recent apostolic letter that eased restrictions on the celebration of that Mass.

Above all, the pontiff’s letter, "Summorum Pontificum," issued July 7, expressed a desire to strengthen the continuity of the Catholic liturgy, from the past to the present, according to two priests who celebrate the traditional Latin Mass in the archdiocese.

The long-awaited papal letter was issued "motu proprio," which means "of his own accord."

"This measure is meant to bring about a healing," said Father Daniel Augustine Oppenheimer, prior of the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem, based at the Priory of the Annunciation in Chesterfield. "It is not in any measure somehow a triumph of the traditionalists over those who are not interested in the old order."

Father Karl Lenhardt, rector of St. Francis de Sales Oratory in South St. Louis, who also celebrates Mass using the 1962 missal as a member of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, said the pope’s letter "gives the Church the occasion to think of what we are doing with the liturgy. It’s not something we celebrate ourselves, but what Christ gives to his whole Church."

The letter essentially gives priests the ability to freely celebrate the Latin Mass using the 1962 missal.

Previously, priests needed to request permission from their bishop to celebrate the older form. It also instructs priests to honor requests from the faithful for access to the traditional Latin Mass. However, the letter does not favor one form of the Mass over the other. The norms will take effect Sept. 14.

In a letter to priests last week, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke said the letter will not trigger any noticeable changes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. He is expected to write about the pope’s letter in his column in next week’s Review.

Archbishop Burke has been a clear supporter of celebrating the Mass using the older form. He was one of two U.S. bishops at an international meeting of bishops with the pope in Rome last month on the greater use of the traditional Latin Mass. The archbishop also was instrumental in bringing to the archdiocese the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem and the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest in 2004.

Archbishop Burke wrote that the letter recognizes that the Missale Romanum of 1962 and the Novus Ordo of the Mass from 1970 "represent a twofold use of one and the same rite." The letter defines the older missal as the "extraordinary form" of the celebration of Mass; the Novus Ordo represents the "ordinary form."

"The discipline set forth by ‘Summorum Pontificum’ is aimed at the more worthy celebration of both forms of the same Rite of the Mass," wrote the archbishop. "I share, with the Holy Father, the conviction that the worthy celebration according to both uses will be enriching for all."

The archbishop noted that liturgical formation will be available to all priests of the archdiocese who want to celebrate the Mass according to the 1962 missal.

Kenrick-Glennon Seminary, which already requires the study of the Latin language, will provide seminarians with the liturgical formation required to celebrate the traditional Latin Mass.

"I think it’s a remarkable development in liturgical law," said Father Oppenheimer. "It sets up a clear equality between the two missals that are discussed." The priest added that it is important for clergy who celebrate the older Mass to teach the faithful about the letter in a way that expresses humility.

"It is also necessary that these priests uphold the liturgical principle of an integrated participation in the liturgical action, such as singing the responses and the people’s parts of Mass," he continued. "This is in the very soul of the Church’s authentic liturgical tradition, and in no way constitutes an innovation introduced in the new Mass.

"I believe it imperative that priests who embrace the old rite do so with an educated liturgical understanding and impart it to the faithful."

Father Oppenheimer, who received guidance from the Pope Benedict and Archbishop Burke in founding his community, said the Holy Father has made it clear that the old form should not be reduced to "a manner of a state park, where a special preserve of animals is to be found. He said that would not serve the Church in any way, shape or form."

"The pope is deeply aware of the fact that a fascination for the old liturgy is very high among seminarians and young priests," he continued. "This guarantees that it will have a very widespread reintroduction into the life of the Church."

Father Lenhardt said he agreed with the pope, who said that the norms laid out in "Summorum Pontificum" should serve as as a continuing "interior reconciliation in the Church."

"Many among the faithful have experienced in a painful way ... that changes in the liturgy after the council have may from time to time not have been applied in a way that it was easy for the faithful to accept them," he said.

That led to a division in the Church, for example, with the foundation of the Society of St. Pius X, he said.

Founded by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1970, the society was created because of opposition to the changes in Catholic teaching and practice after the Second Vatican Council.

"We can truly say this is a process," he said. "The effect of this kind of reconciliation can even go further."

"The fact that these misunderstandings have a certain persistence in the Church, even now, shows that the Holy Father wishes a reconciliation," said Father Lenhardt. "It means a deeper understanding of liturgy for the Church."
Some good stuff here. I will add some comments later, after my daughter's birthday party, for which I am late!

12 July 2007

Now This Is Alarming

Contracepting the Environment
Environmentalists Mum on Poisoned Streams
July 15-21, 2007 Issue

BOULDER, Colo. — When EPA-funded scientists at the University of Colorado studied fish in a pristine mountain stream known as Boulder Creek two years ago, they were shocked. Randomly netting 123 trout and other fish downstream from the city’s sewer plant, they found that 101 were female, 12 were male, and 10 were strange “intersex” fish with male and female features.

It’s “the first thing that I’ve seen as a scientist that really scared me,” said then 59-year-old University of Colorado biologist John Woodling, speaking to the Denver Post in 2005.
They studied the fish and decided the main culprits were estrogens and other steroid hormones from birth control pills and patches, excreted in urine into the city’s sewage system and then into the creek.


Doug Myers, wetlands and habitat specialist for Washington State’s Puget Sound Action Team, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that in frogs, river otters and fish, scientists are “finding the presence of female hormones making the male species less male.”

What the Boulder scientists discovered, however, is that few people care.

Or, if they’re worried, they’re in denial.


Says the Catechism: “The regulation of births represents one of the aspects of responsible fatherhood and motherhood. Legitimate intentions on the part of the spouses do not justify recourse to morally unacceptable means (for example, direct sterilization or contraception)” (No. 2399).

But Catholics shouldn’t hold their breath waiting for environmentalists to advocate a boycott of contraceptives, said George Harden, a board member of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists, based in Steubenville, Ohio.

“If you’re killing mosquitoes to save people from the West Nile virus, you can count on secular environmentalists to lay down in front of the vapor truck, claiming some potential side effect that might result from the spray,” Harden said. “But if birth control deforms fish — backed by the proof of an EPA study — and threatens the drinking supply, mum will be the word.”

“Rebecca Goldburg, a New Jersey biologist working with Environmental Defense, told the North Jersey News: “I’m not sure I want even low levels of birth control pills in my daughter’s drinking water.”


Ball said she’s alarmed by the sex-altered fish in Boulder Creek, and worries about the ramifications for humans.

“Unfortunately, it is emerging as a major issue in creeks and waterways all over the earth, and we’re seeing more and more anomalies, not just with fish but with frogs and other aquatic life. I think it’s a precursor to what will happen to humans who drink contaminated water,” Ball said.


Media Takes Notice

“Chemicals in the contraceptive pill and other products are altering the reproductive processes of fish.”
— Metro UK, March 2007

“Many streams, rivers and lakes already bear warning signs that the fish caught within them may also be carrying enough chemicals that mimic the female hormone estrogen to cause breast cancer cells to grow.”
— Scientific American, April, 2007

“In the Potomac River, male smallmouth bass are sprouting eggs, and scientists blame pollution and the Pill.”
— Stanford Daily, July 5, 2007


Have you read "Children of Men", by P.D. James, yet? If not, you should. It deals with a (formerly fantastically unlikely) future scenario when all humans become infertile, and the last human was born more than 25 years ago. Very interesting and cautionary read.