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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Cardinal Kasper's Admission....Traddy's Are NOT Wrong

I know I'm a little behind due to Spring planting, but I just came across this and WOW!!!!  Those of you who know me best, know that I've been saying this since at least 1994!  His Eminence says and I quote,

In many places, they had to find compromise formulas, in which, often, the positions of the majority are located immediately next to those of the minority, designed to delimit them.  Thus the conciliar texts themselves have a huge potential for conflict, open the door to a selective reception in either direction. [...] For most Catholics, the developments put in motion by the Council are part of the Church's daily life.  But what they are experiencing is not the great new beginning nor the springtime of the Church, which were expected at that time, but rather a Church which has a wintery look, and shows clear signs of crisis. 
BOOM!  Literally.  This admission by one of the most liberal Catholic Cardinals since the Council itself  has come out and said that compromise and conflict were intentional.  He has admitted that the ambiguity of the Council was built in and that it was intentional.  That there were designs on delimitations (for those who might better understand it in these terms, deregulation).

Now when we read the documents, we find that there is a clear reason why there are no dogmas or doctrines defined, because there was never any intention to do so.  We find that documents like Sacrosanctum Concilium and Nostrae Aetate were intentionally vague and deregulatory.  We see that the leadership of the Church did have an agenda to effect the daily life of the Church in a way which was unclear, but the burning question is why?  What is the reason for the deregulation or delimiting?  If the texts had a huge potential for conflict (which has been realized), why were they ratified?

So, what now?  Those of us who have been calling this out now know that the premise we've been forwarding is correct.  We must go about proving it.

Why is this coming out now?  I think that perhaps (and this is my own opinion) that the baby boomer generation is starting to feel it's mortality, whereas before they had an air of invincibility.  I think that they are trying to set their legacy as really being proponents for change and this is a way to do it.  They've gone so long lying about the reality of what the documents of Vatican Council II actually said that now it has come time to say the truth and defend their actions so that they can put their mark firmly into history.  The Boomers lived their lives saying, "Don't trust anyone over 30...."  Now they are in their 60's and 70's and the truth is coming out...they didn't.  They were changing for the sake of change, not only in society, but as it has been admitted, in the leadership's actions surrounding the Church.

This is a sad commentary on a generation that didn't trust.  They didn't trust society, they didn't trust the Church.  They didn't trust in God.  And this is what we are left with, a false premise which defined two generations of Catholics.

The reality is that my generation didn't buy it, and those of us that are left (or are coming back) are those who will have to fix it.  And the first step is proving our premise.  A premise which was just spelled out by His Eminence.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Redundancy and Noble Simplicity?

In my ongoing dialogue with friends, peers, and sometimes adversaries, the conversation has continued.  Here is some of the latest which I would like to share with you and ask for your views and feedback.  This conversation is based upon a priest sharing with us that he used parts of the TLM in the Novus Ordo.  And the fact that he continues to offer both the Sacred Host and Precious Blood at every Mass, regardless the solemnity and offers kneelers for reception of the Sacred Host (which is laudable).

ME:  I find there something problematic about substituting EF propers for OF propers. While the feast may be the same, the liturgical action is not. The TLM should remain with the TLM and the Novus Ordo should remain with the Novus Ordo.

Here is a logistical question, which is not intended to be malicious, but one that I have been pondering....IF the precious blood is also the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, just as the Sacred Host is, should not kneelers be present for reception from the cup, as well? Why must we (the faithful) be forced to receive from the cup standing? It seems to be a major inconsistency.

Response #1:  Receiving the Blessed Sacrament under the species of Wine is not something any Catholic should need or desire.

Why? Because it was introduced to facilitate and justify the Laity standing to receive, since receipt kneeling (unless by intinction) is just too awkward and therefore a risk. The Laity have no need of the Precious Blood as a separate and distinct article.

Response #2:  I agree with both Andy and with [Responder #1]. Holy Communion under either form is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ and kneeling should be done if one chooses to receive under both forms, if offered. 

However, because reception of either form is just as completely Christ as under both forms the reception of both forms separately (as two separate receptions) is redundant, except for the external aspect (sign value?). We should simply go back to receiving the Host only while kneeling and on the tongue (with a paten under the chin) or by intinction while kneeling (and on the tongue only by necessity in this case).

ME:  I am absolutely on board with the continuation of this thought.  Redundancy is the key.  IF the Novus Ordo is to be "nobly simple" as has been preached, and teached, and kicked down our throats for the last 50 years, then why are we making it so much more complex in everything that is done?  A couple of key thoughts;

1.  The priest was the main minister.  Now he presides over a veritable cornucopia of so-called lay ministers.

a.  Lay song leaders
b.  Lay readers
c.  Lay gift bearers
d.  Lay Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion
e.  Lay greeters
f.  Altar girls or boys, or both

2.  The Lectionary cycle has become invariably complex, to the point where the average layman is so confused by it that he must rely on a hand missal for the readings, EVEN though it is in his native tongue.

3.  The introduction of multiple options for the various "Rites" of the Mass itself.

a.  Multiple forms of antiphons
b.  Multiple forms of introductory rites
c.  Multiple forms of the Eucharistic Prayers
d.  Hundreds of songs

There is nothing "simple" about the Mass.  There is only complexity on a scale which is very hard to catechize, because there is no consistency in how the Mass will be presented.  From parish to parish; or even priest to priest inside the parish, there are differences which make the "experience" of Mass so different that trying to teach it requires....well, Redundancy.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

An Excellent Take on a View of Pope Francis And How We Must Look At Catholicism Today

This is a good way for priests to self-evaluate and this is a GREAT way for us to self-evaluate.  

How are we approaching Catholicism?
[There are] similar dioceses [which] are only missionary dioceses when its priests exercise their missionary charism. The missionary charism is fueled by a love of humanity and recognizes the need for conversion. The urgency of the missionary charism has no room for comfort. As [Father] notes, the wise priest knows his limitations. Some priests, however, are graced to go beyond those limitations. 
The careerist priest is defined by his limitations. He knows there are only so many hours in the day, so he rigidly sets his schedule and will not deviate from it. Daily Mass is not always possible. If people cannot make it to Confession during the narrow window it is offered they can try to make an appointment, or just make a good Act of Contrition. If the parish is not too demanding, it might be a good place to stay for a while, so it's important to make friends with the families that can make the largest donations. Seeking and accepting public honors and private flattery will cement the parish's perception that the careerist is an exceptional priest and the steady support of the parish and the steady flow of weekly tithes will impress the bishop that the careerist is doing well. The career priest in a missionary diocese is sharp enough to know that most of the people he encounters are not going to be Catholics and he is not going to rock the boat. Converting Protestants is not nearly as high a priority as coexistence.
Now let's contrast the careerist with the patron saint of parish priests, John Vianney. John Vianney recognized his limitations too and he transcended them by his complete dependence on God. Instead of a half-hour on Saturday afternoons for Confessions, he lived in his confessional. He shunned honors and distrusted all praise. His best friend was Jesus Christ and his parish was moved by the profound love He showed Christ in his manner of saying Mass. His homilies were simple, clear and never pandering. He did not come to Ars to "get along" with everyone. He came to transform a flock indifferent to God and fish for more souls. His net was wide and his catch was incredible.
The choice for the parish priests parallels the choice the laity must make. The priest must ask himself: Do I want a nice retirement dinner with lavish testimonials about what a wonderful guy I am? or do I want to retire into the welcoming arms of God who gave his last ounce of energy for me when He took on human flesh? Am I more committed to keeping my honored place in the community than I am willing to be vilified, misunderstood and persevere? Am I willing to preach the truth and the whole of it, even when it's unpopular? Am I willing to risk having people walk out on my homilies? When powerful people who support homosexuality and abortion tighten their pressure on me, will I smile and look the other way or will I have the courage to speak the truth in love and, if necessary, lose their support? 
So too must the layman ask himself: Do I want a priest who can be my buddy or do I want a priest who will help me become Holy? Do I want a priest who will challenge me or do I want a priest who will let me stay comfortable? Will I support my priest, pray for my priest and make sacrifices for my parish to be a place that draws all people to Christ or will I complain to my bishop if my priest starts acting "too Catholic"?
The Catholic Church needs saints in collars and saints in the pews and all of us are called to become saints. We're not going to become saints by conducting business as usual and staying in our comfort zones. Careerist priests will no doubt earn human praise and have some nice plaques and honors at the end of their careers, but they will not help many people become saints or, for that matter, ever become saints themselves.
We're Catholics. Whether we are priests or laity, we do not have careers. We have vocations. 

I would argue that the confession mentioned must be perfect if one is in mortal sin, but I digress....This is a very important view that we must see...especially here in Iowa, where our charism is becoming more and more missionary with the continual clustering.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

What a Spring!!!

As many of you know, I work in the agriculture industry.  More precisely, I work in agronomy in Iowa.  This season has been a challenge, because of all things too much water!  Last year, we faced a drought and we still could this summer if the water turns off, but for now at least, we have too much.

It has been a spring of stop and go.  We would get a good run on spraying and planting and then we would have to stop due to weather.  This is somewhat normal, but not for weeks at a time.  Normally getting a day off, or two is welcome, but it gets very trying patience wise when we cannot run for weeks at a time.

There are roughly 1000 acres of corn left to spray and 99% of beans.  As we progress, we must continue to pray that we have a good end to the planting season.

This brings me to a point.  We used to have Rogation days.  These were days set aside to pray for bountiful crops.  Since the advent of the new calendar, these have been largely forgotten.  I do believe that when we stop praying for something, God stops granting it.  Maybe we need to start begging our pastors to celebrate Rogation days again, so that we might have good seasons.

I will start ramping my posting again, because we're essentially done.  I appreciate your prayers.  I appreciate your readership.  May God keep all of you close!


Friday, April 26, 2013

Spring Has Begun...Finally!

Hello Everyone,

Things will be a little slow on the blog for the month of May.  My job as a commercial applicator is ramping up and I will be spending the next month or so in the fields spraying Nitrogen and first shots of pre emergent herbicide.

Please pray for a safe planting season and a fruitful year for the farmers, not only here in Iowa, but worldwide.  These happen to be the major Rogation Days, so it is apropos....

I'll see you as soon as I can and possibly on a rainy day!


Andy Milam

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Church's Duty

I recently came across this blog post and was moved enough by it that I wish to share it.  Here it is, in it's entirety.

IN MY LAST BLOG, I talked about the phenomenon, quite common today, of those who would delay or oppose the correction of liturgical abuses or imperfections because they feel that people’s feelings will be hurt or that they will be confused by “more change.” 
While I grant that too much change too fast would be a bad thing, and that all change should be accompanied by explanations, I maintain that it is morally necessary to change from bad practices to good ones and, to the extent possible, from inferior practices to superior ones. That is, it would be sinful to refuse to make such changes. (For example, if you currently have no one in the parish who knows how to sing Gregorian chant, you can’t very well insist that the next Mass will be a full-blown Missa Cantata; but you can send a couple of talented singers to a chant workshop, or invite a schola director to come and give a workshop. There are always steps that can be taken to improve the liturgical life of the community.) 
Sometimes one finds even orthodox bishops voicing a certain despair: “Well, you are right, in principle—it would be better to discontinue the habitual use of extraordinary ministers of holy communion, and to have more chant, as Vatican II called for. But what’s the cost? Most of our people are trying their best to be good, many are involved in our parish ministries . . . I don’t want to discourage them by insisting too much on a severe liturgical regimen. After all, the Vatican permits X, Y, and Z, and who am I to change what even the Vatican isn’t changing? Are we supposed to be more Catholic than the pope?” 
The serious problem with this kind of mentality is that it overlooks the serious long-term damage that is done by poor liturgy and poor custom; it does not recognize that reform has to come from all sides, not just from the top down (which is usually ineffective anyway, as the consistent and yet consistently ignored legislation on extraordinary ministers of holy communion shows); and it fails to acknowledge that each and every bishop has the grave responsibility to take charge and take action when the Holy of Holies is at stake. Lex orandi, lex credendi: the way people worship determines what they believe. The lack of a spirit of reverent adoration at so many liturgies, together with the countless ways we have abandoned our holy tradition, is the root cause of why Catholics believe so little nowadays, have so little reverence for the Eucharist, and dissent so blithely from Church teaching, especially in matters of morality. Indeed, what we have done to our Church in the past five decades deserves to be punished with loss of faith, desecration, scandal, and moral confusion. The Lord will not be mocked: those who repudiate His gifts will be repudiated, until and unless they repent. 
A bishop might also be tempted to think: “Summorum Pontificum is a nice idea, in and of itself, and the enthusiasm among some young people for Latin, chant, and what have you is all fine and good, but we have to concentrate on the basics of faith and morals—we can’t waste precious time and energy promoting such exotic causes.” But this is exactly wrong. The liturgy is the tip of the spear. If you sharpen it, you succeed in your hunting. Once the right priorities are set in the sanctuary, the right priorities begin to be set elsewhere, too. First things first. The Church is mainly about the business of worshiping God and sanctifying souls, and this takes place above all in the sacred liturgy. 
As we know from the luminous teaching and example of Pope Benedict XVI, many treasures of our faith, particularly in the liturgy, were not supposed to vanish from the Church’s life after the Council. They did vanish in most places—but their absence is in no way normative! It’s as if everyone in a family decided to stop paying attention to Grandma. Grandma does not disappear as a result; she just rocks in her chair in the corner, waiting until someone will talk to her again, will love her and show her due respect. The Tradition does not lose its normativity just because ungrateful revolutionaries turn their backs to it. 
Against the argument that “we don’t want to make the same mistake as before, by too suddenly changing things and so risking alienating good people,” it should be said that in the church, as in one’s personal moral life, certain mistakes deserve to be undone, the sooner the better. Pastors owe it to their flocks to lead them into the truth that sets us free, even when it is painful, even when some will walk away (cf. John 6). The main problem is that the longer the abuses and the spirit of rupture prevail, the more quasi-normativity they acquire—so much so that Catholics today frequently see the aberrations and experiments of the past forty years as “tradition,” when in fact they are pure innovation, novelty, and rupture. You cannot make a lion into a tiger, no matter how much you paint stripes onto it. Similarly, a defective stance vis-à-vis tradition can never be rendered legitimate, no matter how many decades it lasts. If the papacy had remained in Avignon for centuries, it would be no less an embarrassment, abnormality, and scandal, no less immune to the critique of whatever Saint Catherines the Lord in His mercy would raise up. In fact, it would be more scandalous the longer it lasted. The same is true with liturgical abuses and rupture. They are not normalized and regularized by their continuation; they are rendered all the more displeasing to the Lord and harmful to the faithful. 
The longer the hermeneutic of rupture and its expressions are allowed to continue as practical norms, the longer a “Great Schism” between the preconciliar and postconciliar periods will be perpetuated. A house divided against itself cannot stand; neither can the Church be the leaven of the world unless she brings order to her own household. We can pretend all we want, but the naked truth is that the Catholic Church as now embodied in most parishes and their manner of worship is something that could not be recognized as being in continuity with her traditional doctrine and practice. In other words, there is a Great Divorce. To the extent that this is true, there is a real, pressing, desperate need for healing, reconciliation, and reunification. 
The only way to achieve reform is to have the courage to begin it, and to continue it in a consistent and principled way, as did the great saints of the Counter-Reformation. Though it may sound simplistic, it is nonetheless true: where there is a will, there is a way. Some Catholics will make a fuss and threaten to quit, but ultimately, it is the Catholic’s duty to stick with the Church, not the Church’s duty to adapt herself to the whims and tantrums of the people. There must be true leadership that leads the way along the path of Tradition, and does so with consistency, fervor, and vision. 
Doing the right thing can mean standing against many. Doing the right thing is the only way of setting up a counter-example that inspires others by its integrity. It is like soldiers making a stand: behind them more and more gather until the tide of battle turns.

I think that Dr. Kwasniewski makes some very salient points and that if we are serious to return to a more proper form of liturgical celebration, then it is imperative that we understand his points.  I think that his statement about the hermeneutic of rupture is a key idea.  He's right, the longer the schism remains the longer there will not be harmony in Holy Mother Church.

Where there is a will, there is a way.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Laity?

I came across this article regarding the role of the laity in the Vatican.  Obviously, I have some thoughts on it, but my thoughts have to do with something I have been advocating for years, since my days in college.

Cardinal Pell has said;
Professional men and women with expertise in areas such as finance, for example, could have a lot to offer in overseeing some Vatican departments, perhaps under the leadership of a cardinal.
This is a vocational issue.  I have long advocated (as a way to bolster vocations to the priesthood) that men either minor or double major in Philosophy and Business or some Business related degrees.  If priests would also hold professional degrees, I firmly believe that the priesthood would be more attractive to men who have talents for math, science, business, marketing, and the like.  There is no reason why we must come to rely on the laity and why the priesthood should be pigeon-holed into academic degrees only.

I fully understand and support what the PRIMARY functions of priests are, namely, to pray, to provide the sacraments and to pastor.  Those are all very important (vitally, IMHO), but there can be room in the life of the priest to have the knowledge to run a business.  We have long been sending men to get JCDs, why can't we also send men to MBAs?

I do believe that if we encouraged this mode of action, an interdisciplinary mode of being with regard to academic formation, the Church would be in a much better place and the running of the Church can remain in the hands of those who are supposed to be running it.  In thinking of it another way, many pastors today run parishes with budgets which range from $300,000 to $1-5 million +.   It would be very beneficial for these men to have finance or business backgrounds.

Even moreso, though, I do believe that there are a good number of men today who are interested in the priesthood who pass it by, because they think that they can "do better" with a professional degree.  I think that if diocese's would pay closer attention to this, there would be more vocations and there would be better run parishes, dioceses and the Church at large.  And we wouldn't have to explore the use of the laity.  They should not be burdened with running the Church, but rather, they should simply let the Church be managed by those who are supposed to manage it.