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Sunday, July 31, 2011

I Just Don't Get It....

I have been parusing the interwebz recently and I came across an article which just baffles me.  From the official World Youth Day 2011 website:

It has come to our attention that Michael Voris, a US based media producer, is scheduled to offer independent catechesis sessions out of a hotel in Madrid during World Youth Day 2011. There has been some confusion regarding his affiliation with World Youth Day. Michael Voris, the clergy and the laity associated with him, and their media efforts “Real Catholic TV” and “No Bull in Madrid” are not in any way recognized or approved by World Youth Day 2011.
Catechesis at World Youth Day is offered by Bishops of the Catholic Church in union with Pope Benedict XVI, who has invited the young people of the world to join him in Madrid for this celebration of faith and life. The Vatican's Pontifical Council for the Laity selects and invites Bishops, and only Bishops, from around the world to conduct Catechesis sessions at WYD in various languages.
Participants in the World Youth Day 2011 Cultural Program must be recognized and endorsed by the Bishops and Episcopal Conferences of their respective countries. Participants were selected for Cultural program by the World Youth Day organization in close collaboration with the Pontifical Council for the Laity. Those groups participating in the World Youth Day 2011 Cultural Festival have been selected because, through their various activities, they promote the authentic teaching and unity of the Roman Catholic Church and have been endorsed by their local Bishop and Espiscopal conference. Michael Voris, "Real Catholic TV" and "No Bull in Madrid" did not receive such endorsement from their Bishop or Episcopal Conference.
Michael Voris, “Real Catholic TV” and the program “No Bull in Madrid” are not accredited to or recognized by World Youth Day 2011.
World Youth Day Madrid 2011 invites and encourages all pilgrims attending this celebration of faith to visit the vast array of events that make up the official World Youth Day 2011 Cultural Festival and are endorsed by the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the WYD organization and their respective Bishops conferences.
Two things....

1.  So what?  Michael Voris doesn't need anyone's permission to promote the Catholic faith.  If he chooses to be in Madrid at the same time as WYD 2011, then he is in Madrid at the same time.

2.  It is made to seem that Michael Voris is some sort of heterodox.  Hardly.  Michael Voris is in union with the Catholic Church, just as any baptized Catholic is in union with the Catholic Church.  Michael Voris has at no time asked to be, expected or to my knowlege wanted to be "official."

From Michael Voris:

Interestingly, I think that perhaps the reason is that Michael Voris calls a spade a spade.  I would strongly suggest everyone check out Real Catholic TV.

If you happen to be going to WYD 2011, find him and see his programs.  He's totally worth it.  And I'd be willing to bet that Pope Benedict wouldn't have an issue with him at all.  Don't believe me, ask him.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Robert Cardinal Sarah....Clergy Must Stand Up and Defend the Church

In an address to the Ordinands to the Community of St. Martin, Card. Sarah says:

Very dear brothers of the episcopacy and the presbyterate,
Very dear brothers and sisters,
Very dear ordinands,I do not believe that it is by pure chance or simply a happy coincidence that you have chosen to receive the grace of the diaconate and the presbyterate, on the vigil of the solemnity of the the Holy Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ. To me, it is evidence that divine providence, master of history and events, has itself helped to arrange the circumstances and the times of the sacrament that we celebrate today. God wants in this way to show us, at the end of that long preparation to your sacerdotal and pastoral ministry, that it is not you who give you to him, but it is he who, freely and in his great generosity, gives himself to you. Admittedly, today, in the eyes of the world, you enlist yourself to offer your bodies, your heart, all of your life and all of your ability to love the Lord. This personal and freely consented engagement, you will manifest all the time by the responses that you give to questions that I am going to address to your concerning your willingness to prach the gospel, to consacrate your life to prayer and praise and to live in obedience, celibacy, and poverty, for the love of Christ and as a sign of the gift of yourselves to God. But in reality, it is God himself who gives himself to you, so that in welcoming him in the depths of your heart, he makes of you the instruments of his love.
Saint Paul, identifying himself totally with the Christ who died and was resurrected, had the moving experience of having been loved personally by Jesus.  That experience transformed him from top to bottom, until he shared the same existence, the same life, and the same love as that of Christ.  “I am crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who lives, but Christ who lives in me.  My present life in the flesh, I live in the faith of the Son of God who has loved me and was delivered for me” (Galatians 2, 19-20). Yes, Jesus loves each one of us personally, freely, generously.
In effect, with the Holy Eucharist, sacrament, if one may say, of the divine generosity, God concedes to us his grace, and it is God himself who gives himself to us, in Jesus Christ who is really and always present—and not only during the Holy Mass—with his body, with his soul, with his blood and divinity.  From now on, by the priestly ordination, you will, by vocation, have to perpetuate the eucharistic sacrifice daily, the sacrifice of the gift that Jesus makes of himself and you, the deacons, regularly kneeling for contemplation and adoration, you must give this presence of love to the Christian faithful so that they may be nourished with it. By the imposition of my hands and by a new and ineffable outpouring of the Holy Spirit, you are going to receive an indelible character in your souls that configures you to Christ, renders you completely identical to the Christ-Priest, in associating you with the plenitude of Christ, to act in the name of Jesus Christ, head of the Mystical Body (cf. Cyrill of Jerusalem, Catecheses, 22:3). You must work each day so that, thanks to the Holy Spirit, you perfectly resemble Christ, “a ressemblance similar to that which exists between water and water,” between the water that flows from the Source and that which, from there, has arrived in the jug. In effect, it is by nature the same purity that we have seen in Christ, and with he who participates in Christ.  But with Christ it flows from the Source, and he who participates in Christ draws on that Source and causes the purity and beauty of Christ to pass into life (cf. St. Gregory of Nyssa). Yes, from now on you are not only an “Alter Christus,” but much more, you are “Ipse Christus.” You are Christ himself. An admirable mystery, but how formidible and terrifying at the same time!
With the sacrament of Holy Orders, you will, in pronouncing the very words of Christ, consecrate the bread and wine so that they become the body and blood of Christ.  In this way, you are going to offer to God the Holy Sacrifice, pardon sins in sacramental confession and exercise the ministry of the teaching of doctrine to people, “in iis quae sunt ad Deum,” in all that has reference to God, and only in that. You see that everything you are, all that you do, all that you say, does not belong to you. Everything, absolutely everything, is a gift and manifestation of the love of God in your favor, and without any merit on your part.
This is why the priest should be exclusively a man of God, a saint or a man who aspires to sanctity, daily given to prayer, to thanksgiving and praise, and refusing to shine in the areas where other Christians have no need of him. The priest is not a psychologist, nor a sociologist, nor an anthropologist, nor a researcher in a nuclear reactor, nor a politician. He is another Christ, and I repeat: he is truly “Ipse Christus, Christ himself,” destined to support and iluminate the souls of his brothers and sisters, to guide men to God and open to them the spiritual treasures of which they are terribly deprived today. You are priests to reveal the God of Love who has revealed himself on the cross and to kindle, thanks to your prayers, faith, love, and the return of sinful man to God.
In effect, we live in a world where God is more and more absent and where we don’t know our values are and we don’t know our landmarks.  We no longer have common moral reference points. We no longer know what is evil and what is good. There are a mulitude of points of view.  Today, we call white what we once called black, and vice versa.  What is serious, and make no mistake about it, is the transformation of error into a rule of life.  In this context, as priests, pastors and guides of the People of God, you should be continuously focused on being always loyal to the doctrine of Christ.  It is necessary for you to constantly strive to acquire the sensitivity of conscience, the faithful respect for dogma and morality, which constitute the desposit of faith and the common patrimony of the Church of Christ. It is precisely the advice and the exhortation that Saint Paul addresses to each one of us, today, in the first reading: “Show yourself a model for believers, by word, conduct, charity, faith, purity…Commit yourself to reading, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the spiritual gift that is within you, which has been conferred upon you by a prophetic intervention accompanied by the imposition of the hands of the college of priests…Watch over your person and your teaching; persevere in these dispositions” (1 Timothy 4:12-14, 16).
If we have fear of proclaiming the truth of the Gospel, if we are ashamed of denouncing grave deviations in the area of morality, if we accomodate ourselves to this world of moral laxity and religious and ethical relativism, if we are afraid to energetically denounce the abominable laws regarding the new global ethos, regarding marriage, the family in all of its forms, abortion, laws in total opposition to the laws of nature and of God, and that the western nations and cultures are promoting and imposing thanks to the mass media and their economic power, then the prophetic words of Ezechiel will fall on us as a grave divine reproach. “Son of man, prophetize against the pastors of Israel to pastor themselves.  Should not the pastors feed the flock? You have been fed with milk, you have dressed yourselves with wool.  You have not strengthened the weak lambs, cared for those who were sick, healed those who were injured.  You have not restored those who have strayed, searched for those who were lost.  But you have governed them with violence and hardness.” (Ez. 34: 2-4)
These reproaches are serious, but more important is the offense that we have committed against God when, having received the responsibility of caring for the spiritual good of all, we mistreat souls by depriving them of the true teaching of the doctrine of regarding God, regarding man, and the fundamental values of human existence, or we deprive them of the clear water of baptism that regenerates the soul, of the sanctifying oil of Confirmation which reinforces it, of the tribunal of pardon and of the eucharistic food that gives eternal life.
You, beloved friends well-loved servants of God, love to sit in the confessional to hear the souls who want to confess their sins and desire humbly to return to the paternal House.  Celebrate the Eucharist with dignity, fervor, and faith. He who does not struggle to preach the Gospel, convert, protect, nourish, and lead the People of God down the road of truth and of life that is Jesus Christ himself, he who is silent in the face of the grave deviations of this world, enchanted by its technology and its scientific successes, exposes himself to one or another to the forms of slavery that can enchain your poor hearts: the slavery to an exclusively human vision of things, the slavery of ardently desiring temporal power or prestige, the slavery of vanity, the the slavery of money, the servitude to sensuality.
And there is only way that can liberate us from these forms of slavery and bring us to fully assume our ministry of pastors and of shepherds, and that is the way of love.  Love, agapé, is the key for understanding Christ.  And it is for that reason, he who exercises the pastoral ministry in the Church, connot put his energies in anything but a supreme love of Christ.  To feed the flock is an act of love.  This is because love ties us closely and intimately to Christ such that we are even to shepherd his flock, and this connection of love with Christ is so strong that we cannot go where we want.  We are no longer masters of our time nor of ourselves. And it is precisely because of this that Jesus does not ask Peter if he knows him well, nor if he is content with the miraculous catch of which he was just gratified, to then confer upon him a personal and completely special mission.  Jesus asks Peter: “Do you love me?” The first two times, Peter responds: “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” But the third time, following the insistence of Jesus, Peter becomes more humble, smaller, profoundly hurt by the remembrance of his betrayal and his sin. He no longer uses the verb “love” alone, with all that which its meaning carries of purity, of clarity of strength, of truth, and of commitment. Remembering the painful experience of his wrechedness and his human weaknesses during the passion, he nuances his response in making it more humble and in attenuating it with a phrase that is like an expression of abandonment of self to the knowledge and the merciful love of God.  Saint John recalls that “Peter was pained by being asked a third time “Do you love me” and he said to him “Lord, you know everything, you know well that I love you.” Jesus said to him: “Feed my lambs” (John 21:17).
Like the heart of Peter and like that of John the Baptist, whose birth we celebrated yesterday, the heart of the priest must be full of love and seek humility.  For humility renders us more like Christ, who said: “I am meek and humble of heart” (Matthew 11:29).  Yes, humility and love bring us closer to and make us resemble God who “humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to death on a cross” (Philippians 3:8).
The duty and the mission of being a shepherd, of witnessing to Christ, is understood as nothing more than the love of Christ, than the love of the Crucified One. And the cross is the greatest school where we learn to love.  When we do not love, we have terrible fear in the face of the powers of this world, and we seek to compromise.  When, to the contrary, we love, there is no power that can close our mouths, and the lashes of the whip, the threats, the calumnies, or even stonings do nothing more than purify us of fear and fill our hearts “with joy for having being judged worthy of suffering outrages for the name of Jesus” (Acts 5:41).
It seems to me that, if there is today a true crisis in the world, that crisis is that of the love of Christ and of the pope, the Vicar of Christ, among many, and even among certain Christians, priests, and bishops.  They consider the pope and Christ as an idea or an institution or a power or a myth and not as they modestly and divinely are, to wit: a God that, in the man Jesus, has defeated death so that man can experience liberation, and a brother (the pope), who guides men liberated by the blood of Jesus and who are called, for their part, to lead others to the fullness of liberation that is nothing else than the plenitude of love.  It is only in loving that the world, which does not know, will understand the meaning of belief, and will discover love, that love which is not a vague sentiment nor an egotistical quest for pleasure, but rather a friendly face, a brother who has died for each one of us, so that the world will discover love.  This, then, will be the Passover, forever and for all, that Passover that the ordination of priests gives us to celebrate each day for the glory of God, the sanctification and the salvation of the world. I entrust you to the Virgin Mary and St. John the Baptist. Amen.
 There really isn't a whole lot more to say...Cardinal Sarah, AD MULTOS ANNOS!!!!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Antonio Card. Canizares Recommends Catholics Receive on the Tongue, While Kneeling.

From CNA:

Spanish Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera recently recommended that Catholics receive Communion on the tongue, while kneeling.

“It is to simply know that we are before God himself and that He came to us and that we are undeserving,” the prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments said in an interview with CNA during his visit to Lima, Peru.

The cardinal’s remarks came in response to a question on whether Catholics should receive Communion in the hand or on the tongue. He recommended that Catholics “receive Communion on the tongue and while kneeling.”

Receiving Communion in this way, the cardinal continued, “is the sign of adoration that needs to be recovered. I think the entire Church needs to receive Communion while kneeling.”

“In fact,” he added, “if one receives while standing, a genuflection or profound bow should be made, and this is not happening.”

“If we trivialize Communion, we trivialize everything, and we cannot lose a moment as important as that of receiving Communion, of recognizing the real presence of Christ there, of the God who is the love above all loves, as we sing in a hymn in Spanish.”

In response to a question about the liturgical abuses that often occur, Cardinal Canizares said they must be “corrected, especially through proper formation: formation for seminarians, for priests, for catechists, for all the Christian faithful.”

Such a formation should ensure that liturgical celebrations take place “in accord with the demands and dignity of the celebration, in accord with the norms of the Church, which is the only way we can authentically celebrate the Eucharist,” he added.

“Bishops have a unique responsibility” in the task of liturgical formation and the correction of abuses, the cardinal said, “and we must not fail to fulfill it, because everything we do to ensure that the Eucharist is celebrated properly will ensure proper participation in the Eucharist.”
The question now becomes, will Catholics embrace this or will they simply ignore it?  This isn't just some obscure theologian, after all.  Card. Canizares is pretty important.  He's the current Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments.  I think that his view is pretty important, no?

With the amount of money parishes will spend on "art," there is no justification for not putting the altar rails back into the parish church.  They are not as expensive as one might imagine....well, compared to "art."

Kudos to Card. Canizares!

Reflection on Vatican Council II...

Over the years I've written and talked a lot about Vatican Council II.  Some of my notes are coherent, some are not.  I came across some correspondence I had with a peer some years back.  I thought I would share it with you.  It speaks to why the Novus Ordo will be seen in history "as the great experiment that failed."  It also speaks to the timeless truth of the TLM.

The statement was made:

Liturgy is about the work and prayer of the people - not rubrics. Anyone can read. A really good liturgist cares about how the faithful prayer through the liturgical action, not about crossing t's and dotting i's just becuase they're there.

My response follows:
If a "really good liturgist" cares about how the faithful pray through the liturgical action, then it is about crossing the t's and dotting the i's. The liturgical action is about participatio actuosa. You are making the classic error that most "liturgists" make.

The error is that there is a separation between participatio actuosa and particiaptio activa. One cannot exist without the other. Participatio actuosa is the full, conscious, and active participation of the faithful. That understanding of the liturgy includes knowing and accepting of the rubrics as well.

One of the glories of the Tridentine Mass is that it has prescribed actions for almost everything. The intention of the Council Fathers was that Sacrosanctum Concilium would streamline those moves. The Church never intended the rubrical actions to be completely eliminated, in favor of the new, but rather streamlined from the orginal. The Ordo Missae was intended to be a revision of the previous rite, not a wholesale abandonment of it. This has been made very clear since 1984, starting with the document Quattuor Abhinc Annos. I have also had the privilege of being able to read the peritti notes of Msgr. Rudolph Bandas.

However, the "liturgists" got in the way and rewrote the Mass in their own image, after the Council. Does this mean that I don't accept the Ordo Missae? Hardly, but I do see the errors of the "liturgists."

Here are some notable changes, listed by Msgr. Bandas in 1968 of which are not helpful to the liturigical life of the Church and nowhere does the Council say these things should be adopted (certain issues have been dealt with and corrected, but all have happened at some point or another):

Msgr. Bandas' notes from the first session of Vatican Council II said:
That infant baptism is to be abolished;

That children's confessions are to be omitted before first Holy Communion and postponed several years beyond the age of reason;

That general confessions and general absolutions are to replace private individual confessions; Vatican II urges the frequent reception of the sacrament, points out the great value of the Sacrament of Penance for the religious life, urges priests to make themselves easily available for confessions, and orders pastors to call in outside priests who can hear confessions in the language of the people;

That preaching should be concerned exclusively with social problems and the brotherhood of man; on the contrary, bishops and priests should "point out the divinely revealed way to give glory to God and thereby to attain to eternal happiness;"

That main altars are to be dismantled or removed; the pastor is only the administrator, not the owner, of parish property;

That the altar railing and pulpit are to be removed from churches;

That statues and the Stations of the Cross are to be eliminated;

That daily Mass is to be abolished and replaced by a bible service;

That a plain table is to replace the main altar;

That the laity may recite the whole canon of the Mass with the celebrant; this was forbidden by the commission on the liturgy in April 1968;

That provisional, temporary, movable altars, facing the people, are to be set up in front of the main altar; on January 25, 1966, the commission on the liturgy ordered these removed;

That the Latin Mass, high Mass, and choirs have been abolished;

That the laity may crowd around the altar inside the sanctuary; the directions for the participated Mass presupposed that the lay people are in the body of the church;

That the priest may say Mass without the prescribed vestments, or without candles and a crucifix;

That selections from secular writing may be read at Mass;

That the celebrant is to leave the altar after the "Lamb of God" and shake hands with the people;

That women may assist at the divine services without a head covering;

That all Canon Law has been temporarily suspended;

That a priest may leave out or change or add any word to tell Mass prayers;

That a priest may smile while saying Mass and consecrating; that communicants may smile at the priest before receiving Holy Communion; that the celebrant may add the first name of the communicant to the communion formula;

That we must receive Holy Communion standing; we may receive kneeling or standing, but if we receive standing we must come in procession and make a "reverence" to the Blessed Sacrament before receiving the Eucharist;

That the celebrant may place the Sacred Host in the hands of the communicant who then communicates himself;

That Holy Communion may be given to non-Catholics;

That the celebrant may give the chalice at Holy Communion to whomever he wishes;

That in the Latin rite the celebrant may consecrate a whole loaf of bread or a bun;

That you may have hootenanny and rock rebellion Masses;

That priests and ministers may exchange places during divine services;

That we should stop making converts;

That devotion to Our Lady should be downgraded and de-emphasized;

That the Mass is a mere "meal;"

That Holy Communion is merely "holy Food;"

That Sisters and women may act as Rectors;

That private devotions, especially the Rosary, Holy Hour, Benediction and 40 Hours Devotion are no longer to be fostered;

That at the end of Mass the priest may say: "The Mass goes on forever; carry it with you into the world."

A "spirit of the council" is genuine when it flows organically from, or is intrinsically connected with, a council decree or an official interpretation of the decree by the Holy See. A "spirit of the council" is spurious when it is opposed to a council decree or in no wise derives from it or is based upon it.

You go on about the "spirit of the liturgy," but the reality is that this "spirit of the liturgy" is found in the law of the liturgy. The law of the liturgy (or the rubrics) are very important. They provide a structure and a bridge to 2000 years of SACRED TRADITION. To simply consider that as second fiddle to the "inspriation" of the Mass is to separate the participatio activa from the pariticipatio actuosa and that nullifies both of them and it causes disunity.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Three Dimensional Rendering of the Sanctuary of the Constantinian Basilica of St. Peter's

From our Friends over at New Liturgical Movement via Traditio Liturgica.

A reader points out that the author of the Italian blog Traditio Liturgica has created a computerized, three-dimensional recreation of the ordering of the sanctuary of the Constantinian basilica of St. Peter's in Rome.

For cross-reference, here is an image of this sanctuary as painted by Raphael in his Donation of Constantine:

One will note the hanging lamps and candlesticks on top of the balustrade. For more on this see our December 2009 article on Standards, Funalia or Candelabra Magna

I commented in an earlier post about the Standards, Funalia and Candelabra Magna.  However, this is a great  rendition of a very rare sight indeed.  I don't think that this is intended to do any more than convey the spirit of the former St. Peter's, but it does seem to match up pretty closely...If you've got google translate or some other reputable translator, the webisite is in Italian.  But I can tell you, the stuff on the site is worth
 a parousal.

The SSPX Talks Are Not a Failure

From The Eponymous Flower:

It is a "judgement afflicted with error", to characterize the talks of the SSPX with the Vatican as broken.

This was explained by the District Superior of the Society of Pius X, Father Davide Pagliarani, on the 26th of July in an interview with the famous website ''.

This Danger Never Came to Pass

This impression could only be had by someone whose expectations of the event, were not part of its intent in the first place:

This Dossier is reserved for the Pope and the General Superior of the Society.

"In view of the fact that both commissions worked patiently and essentially touched all of the daily points of order, I don't view that one could hold that the talks were a failure" -- said Father Pagliarani.

For him, the talks would have been a failure, if the representatives of the Society had prepared a proposal, "which didn't exactly express, what the Society believed, for example, if they had said that Collegiality or Religious Freedom which are in the modern world, can be joined completely with Tradition."

Father believes, however, that this fear did not come to pass.

Still A Few Years?

On the contrary Father Pagliarani stressed the importance of the witness of the Society and its mission for the health of the Church and Tradition during its talks with the Vatican.

As related the integration of the Socieety with the Conciliar Church he thinks:

"The canonical situation, in which the Society presently finds itself, is a consequence of its resistance against the errors, which are overflowing the Church."

For that reason the Society depends on the possibility, to reach a regular Canonical situation, not from that in itself, "but rather upon that which the hierarchy accepts the mission, with which it can accept the contribution to Tradition for the renewal of the Church."

If one succeeds at canonical regularization, then it only means "that the Hierarchy it still not sufficiently convinced of the necessity and importance of this contribution."

In this case, one must still wait for a few years.

Crossing the Tiber...

Recently, I had the great honor of having lunch with Fr. Chori Jonathin Seraiah.  He is an Anglican priest who is preparing to bring his parish and his family into the Catholic Church.  The timetable isn't exactly crystal clear yet, but "this fall" seems to be the buzzword on that.  And it cannot come too soon.  For you see, Fr. Seraiah is going to be part of the Ordinariate in the United States created by Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus.

Fr. Seraiah and his parish will be swimming the Tiber.  And they are in Des Moines, Iowa.  This is not going to be some far off happening where we, Catholics will simply sit back and watch from afar.  No, sir.  We will be front and center.  We have the opportunity to be front and center to a happening in the Church which is rare.  By rare, I mean really rare.  This happens so infrequently, that one can count on one hand how many times it happened in the last century.

As I was reading his blog, The Maccabean; I was noticing a great story of conversion and self-actualization with regard to religion.  Fr. Seraiah's story is one of a pure and movement through the Protestant mindset to the  realization that the Catholic Church is the answer.  Praise God.

In these next days and weeks, we must pray for the swift movement of Rome with regard to our brethren at St. Aidan's.  They want to be in full communion.  They want the patrimony of Holy Mother Church.  They are willing and want to submit and be obedient.  Finally, the already view themselves as Catholic, not just catholic.  As I am able, I will be updating this blog with the goings on.  It is soon to be another branch of Traditional Catholicism in Iowa.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Conversation about John Paul II....

I am a contributor at another site and I am in a discussion about the liturgical action there.  I thought I would share part of the conversation today.  In reviewing the thread, I think that it is appropos.

When I was a neophyte traddy, all my friends would say to me...oh, you're just trying to be too Catholic this...or oh, you're view of the Church is medieval, or oh, you don't have the proper "perspective." This nonsense went on for years and years and years. I know that my friend Jim doesn't come around here at all, but he witnessed all of the arguments and the fights that I had to endure during this time. Ironically, almost everything that I was "bitching and complaining" (my former director of liturgy's description of me) about has come to pass.

I was a firm believer at that time that the TLM and the NOM could exist together in a homogenous way, but as I look at things more and more, I don't necessarily believe that. I think that as time passes the NOM will pass into history as "the great experiment that failed." I'm not doubting the validity of the Mass, just the relevance with regard to history.

With regard to John Paul II, I think that I have to disagree. He was firmly ensconced in the post-Vatican Council II mentality with regard to liturgy. If he were not, he would not have had Bugnini's protege as his MC for 20 years. John Paul II ONLY allowed the wider application of the TLM as a concession to Archbishop Lefevbre. Nothing more, nothing less. Had Lefevbre not held so hard to Sacred Tradition, then the TLM would have simply faded away. As it is, that simply isn't the case. Because of Archbishop Lefevbre and the SSPX, John Paul II had to deal with Traditionalism in a way that he didn't want to. From a liturgical point of view, John Paul II was as liberal and progressive as Cardinal Mahoney. Go back and see if there is any major criticism of his Papal Masses from the left. There is none. Not like you're getting with Pope Benedict.

Pope John Paul II was no friend of Tradition. He was theologically conservative and even that is a bit of a stretch to assert, because of his philosophical leanings.

Fringe wackos....I think that the two ships are passing in the night....the NOM will become more and more marginalized and the TLM will continue to grab hold. If I am a fringe wacko, then I embrace being a fringe wacko. At least I can be certain that by being said wacko, I am getting a sound Mass.

I got the following response from my friend Sean:

That makes me sad and I want to give Pope John Paul II the benefit of the doubt (he's a blessed now for crying out loud), but it sounds like you know more about it than I do. I've never really sat down and researched his views on the liturgy. I saw his name in the back of Bugnini's book as a member of the congregation of rites under Bugnini's watch in the early '70s so I suppose it's safe to say he was initiated into that inner circle, and yes, his choice of MC is telling and disturbing. On the other hand I've heard bits and pieces over the years that are at least somewhat encouraging. Cardinal Ratzinger was his boy for example. Also, the pastor of the trad parish in Columbus has a plaque given to him by John Paul II as a kind of award for standing up for tradition. fwiw.

Then there were statements like the following, but I guess you'd read them as concessions that he only made because of people like Lefebvre. On the other hand he could have been worse and said screw you to trads.
To which I have responded:

It makes me sad too. Sean go back to and look up some of my old threads where I talk about traditionalism, assuming they haven't been deleted and you'll see what I am talking about. As far as John Paul II being a blessed, he wasn't beatified because of his undying love of the liturgy. He was beatified because he was Pope for so long. That's the bottom line on that. Harsh, yes. But he wasn't a great theologian, that has been proven. He was a good philosopher and a better politician. I think that he had to be, but that has no bearing on the discussion at hand. He also was no friend to the liturgy. What was his big contribution to the liturgy? Ecclesia Dei? That was a reaction which started a movement. It wasn't started on his own impotice.

It has been said that John Paul II was the first real Pope of Vatican Council II. What does that tell you? Why should we be talking like Vatican Council II is a defining scenario. It is 1/21 of the Ecumenical Councils in the history of the Catholic Church. Why does Vatican Council II have so much more influence, especially when it didn't define anything new? Yet, John Paul II is the first Pope of Vatican Council II? It almost does make it sound like there is a different Church when it is put that way doesn't it?

Ok. Like I said, he was theologically conservative. That puts him in line with Papa Ratzinger. As for the trad parish in Columbus, I would suspect that his name was put forth by Card. Mayer from Ecclesia Dei and John Paul II signed off on it. That is how things worked in his pontificate. He was very detached from the day to day operation. An example. My college choir (of which I was privleged enough to belong) is the only American Choir to sing at Midnight Mass at St. Peter's. We've done it twice. We were given plaques (well, they were pewter plates, kinda like Wimbeldon style) for the honor, in an audience with His Holiness. This wasn't thought up by John Paul II, as a personal gift....but he did what any leader does....see my point. I'm not downplaying either award, but rather putting it into perspective.

Not just concessions. They were steps in the right direction. But we need to understand what precipitated the steps. It wasn't out of any real devotion to Traditionalism and the TLM. It was done to stop a perceived (albeit incorrect) notion that a schism was taking place. He was being a pastor. He was putting the needs of the flock above his own. That is the real legacy of John Paul II. That he didn't push his own agenda when it wasn't advantageous to do so. He was a pastor. I think that if other pastors would see that model, then perhaps we would be in a better place today in the Church.

My point in all of this?  The Traditional movement is a movement which is a reaction to liberalism and Modernism.  Had these things not infiltrated the Church leadership, then we wouldn't be having this conversation.  The influence of man OVER the good of the Church has brought us to this point.  What we're fighting over isn't anything God has ordained, but rather we are fighting over an ideology which man has put forth.

And I don't think that is right.

All the traddys want is to have the Church be like she always has been.  The liberals want to reimage her in their own likeness.  That is not their place.  The Church doesn't have to change with the times or die.  The Church won't.  Christ assured us of that.  The Church is timeless and this knee jerk reaction about being "relevant" has caused more damage than can possibly be imagined.  The true mark of a traddy isn't that he is trying to turn back the clock, no....the true mark of a traddy is that he is trying to keep the Church on the same path that she has been on for 2011 years.  The traddy is trying to be a conservator.  And that is the true definition of being conservative. 

Monday, July 25, 2011


About two years ago, my friend Louie introduced me to a faith sharing group called BASIC.  It is an acronym for Brothers And Sisters In Christ.  At that time I was looking for a group of Catholics who were young and in love with being Catholic.  I found it to be a great source of comfort in a time where I was looking for it.

The group is split between men and women pretty evenly and I've made some really good friendships out of it.  I have also been challenged in a way that I thought I was kinda past in my life, which is the reason for my blog post today.

I've been away from BASIC for a couple of meetings now, mainly due to some life circumstances, but I can tell you that I am excited to go to the next meeting.  Not because anything special is going on, but rather because I will be able to connect with some people that don't think exactly the same way I do.  For those of you who know me, you know that I am very traddy.  For those of you who read me, understand that to the letter.  In this group, though I'm the only real traddy there.  I'm the only one who assists at the TLM on a regular basis.  A couple of them go from time to time, but by and large they are all Novus Ordo Catholics and that is ok.  Actually, that is what challenges me.  It's very easy for me to stay in my traddy box and isolate myself from what I call the mainstream Church.  I do this because there isn't really much that I find good going on in it right now, but BASIC gives me perspective.  The people there are not traddy, but they are traditional.  They love the Church and all she has to offer, but they don't worry and immerse themselves in the things that I do on a regular basis.  And for that I love each and every one of them.

Christ gives us an example that I lose sight of and that is that we should sometimes look at the world (and the Church) as little children do.  I don't do that very well.  I have a very "old" (that isn't the right word) view of the Church and I tend to look at it as "old is better" because "old isn't Modernist."  My friends at BASIC don't look at the Church that way.  They just love the Church.  I envy them for that and I love them for that, because that is something I cannot do.  As the old saying goes, "you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube;" well that goes for my understanding of the Church.  But I can see my friends at BASIC and I can see a love for the Church in a way that is totally different from mine.

They love the Church, for the spiritual side.  They love the Church for the fellowship.  They love the Church because they love the Church.  That is a wonderful example for me, because I don't.  I love the Church because it gives me a place of stability and a place of tradition.  I love the Church because I know that as long as I adhere to her, I can find my way to heaven.  Our ends are the same, but our paths are very different.

This weekend I am going to go to BASIC.  This weekend I am going to see my friends and I am going to pray.  I pray anyhow, but my prayer is very structured, as opposed to free flowing.  My prayer is the Breviary, my prayer is the rosary, my prayer is a holy hour....but this weekend, I will witness and be a part of prayer that is communal in a different way.  I will see people witness to one another and I will see people who love the Church for loving the Church.  While this isn't necessarily "traditional," (in the traddy sense, but it is ancient) it is Catholic. And it is something that I am coming to miss.  Does it mean that I am going to change my view of the Church, probably not, but what it will do is remind me that the Church is really universal and the application of love and friendship can be expressed in many different ways.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Follow Up: Social Justice issues...

Yesterday, I opined on social justice being unduly important by way of the pro-life movement.  In perusing the blogosphere, I came across this from The Deacon's Bench:

A meeting between President Obama and Christian clergy — including Catholics — didn’t get much attention earlier this week.  But while Washington wrestles with ways to raise the debt ceiling, and cut funding, this meeting helped give a voice to those who are not being heard from in the debate, the poor.

From Huffington Post:
As President Barack Obama and members of Congress continue heated negotiations over the debt ceiling and deficit reduction, a coalition of Christian clergy that has campaigned to keep cuts to social safety net programs off the table met with the president and senior members of his staff on Wednesday to make a plea for the nation’s poor and vulnerable.
The 40-minute meeting, which did not appear on the president’s public schedule, included representatives from some of the nation’s largest religious denominations and organizations, including the Roman Catholic Church, the National Council of Churches, the National Association of Evangelicals and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, as well as representatives from social service groups such as the Salvation Army and Bread for the World.
The meeting came after more than 5,000 pastors sent the president and congressional leaders a letter last week telling them the “moral measure of the debate is how the most poor and vulnerable fare.” Held in the White House’s Roosevelt Room, it included a prayer session and a discussion of ways in which Biblical scripture is relevant to the budget debate.
Barbara Williams-Skinner, co-facilitator of the National African American Clergy Network, opened the meeting by holding Obama’s hand and saying a “prayer for God’s wisdom for his team on the decisions they make,” she said Thursday morning. “I told him there are over 2,000 verses of scripture [that apply to the fiscal debate],” Williams-Skinner said. “As a Christian, he, too, knows that is the word of God.”
During the meeting, Obama said he supported the group’s desire for “a bipartisan commitment to protect vulnerable people,” said the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners, a Washington, D.C.-based network of Christians focused on social justice issues, who attended the meeting. The president also said he was concerned about potential cuts to Medicaid, changes to tax credits for low-income Americans and changes to foreign aid programs, according to Wallis.
Yet despite the fact that Obama voiced support for the group’s goals, any deal between Democrats and Republicans to raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit will likely include significant budget cuts to entitlement and social service programs.
“We came here not to advance a particular plan, but a fundamental moral principle: put the needs of the poor first in allocating scarce resources,” said Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of La Cruces, New Mexico, speaking on behalf of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “As religious leaders, our concern is not which party wins the current political battles. But we know if we don’t speak up who is likely to lose: the families trying to feed their kids, the jobless looking for work, the children who need health care, the hungry and sick and hopeless around the world.”

This is more community building nonsense.  However, we're seeing some Catholic leadership in the US buying into this as being of utmost importance.  The Church should not be reduced to a social justice organization.  While Obama won't support the Church's stance on pro-life issues, there are many in the Church who simply are not pro-life.  It also fits in with his message here.  Part of community building is population control.

While it is important to minister to the poor, it should not be the end.  The end should be salvation of souls.  By ministering to the poor, Catholics certainly can obtain graces, but it should not be paramount.  Paramount must be bringing people into the Church and saving their souls in that manner.  It should not be finding jobs and homes and food and healthcare and gas money and shopping sprees and any number of things for the poor and homeless.

To throw one's hat in with Obama over this issue is not a compatible issue for Catholics, because Obama's end is not compatible with Catholic teaching, social or otherwise.  To paraphrase a controversial bishop from the 1980s, "Mr. President, We Resist You To Your Face."

Socialism is not compatible with Catholicism.  Obama is Socialist.  You finish the syllogism.....


I think that the liberal leadership in the Church has put an inordinate amount of emphasis on discernment.  They have almost made it seem as though it is the genesis, the continuation and the end of a vocation.  That simply isn't the case, the Church has never taught that.  The Church has traditionally taught that discernment is the first step in a three part process of the Christian life.  First is discernment, second is the decision to act upon that vocation, and third is to live out the life one has chosen.  By understanding the Christian vocation under this model, it is easy to see that there is stability and normalcy to the vocation which is chosen.  If the idea of discernment is "constantly going on" as many people like to say, then there is the built in out.  At any point, someone can say, "I've discerned that I don't want to be married any longer;"  or "I've discerned that I don't have a vocation to the priesthood any longer;" and the list can go on and on and on....

If you want the brass tacks behind the vocation crisis, whether it be religious life or marriage, there is the answer right there.  If we're constantly "discerning"  then there is never a decision and without a decision, there can never be any stability of life.  Perhaps that is a bit harsh, but how can you take a priest seriously who is still discerning his vocation 6 years into his priesthood?  I don't think that it can be done.  The same holds true for a married couple.  If I were married to a woman who was constantly "discerning" whether or not she should be married, I would have a huge issue...but that is what we're taught from the pulpit.  That is what we're taught in documents.  And that is why we have a vocation crisis in the Church today!!! 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What's More Important? Being Catholic or Being Pro-Life?

You say you're pro-life because you're Catholic. What if you weren't Catholic? Would you still be pro-life? That's kinda my point. Ok, let's assume that the majority of the people in the pews, who are Catholic are not pro-life. That's kinda what you're alluding to...why are they not? The Church has been clear on life issues since the beginning of the Church. Who do we hold accountable? Do we hold the people in the pews accountable? Yep. They should know better. Ok, let's assume they don't. Then who do we hold accountable? Well, we have to hold the priests and bishops accountable, because they are the pastors of the Church. If they don't catechize properly, then it can be assumed that the faithful don't know better. Getting back to the faithful though, if they do know better and are not being held accountable, then they will gravitate toward the path of least resistance, right? So, then who do we hold accountable for that? Back to the priests and bishops. They are the pastors of the Church. This all revolves around proper catechesis, but it also revolves around culpability. The faithful do know better and those who are pro-choice choose to be so...and it then becomes a matter of catechesis. If the catechesis isn't strong enough to sway them, then the culpability is shared by those who are not being clear enough in their teaching. The Church is clear, the Church is right. The presentation is what is at issue....

You ask what is most immediate for the bishops? Getting people to understand their faith. We have lost that, by and large today. So, it becomes imperative that we know our Faith. For 99% of Catholics, we come to understand our Faith through the Sacraments. If we are to drill it down, we are most exposed to Salvation through the Mass. That is what is most immediate for the bishops. The harsh reality is that since Vatican Council II attendance at Mass has dropped drastically. Why is that? Is it because of a sheer lack of faith? No, I don't think so. I think that it is a lack of catechesis. Again, this falls on the priests and bishops. They are the principal teachers and they are to pastor to us.

However, since the Council, there has been a paradigm shift in the thinking of the leadership of the Church. It has gone from one of being a Sacramentally driven model to one of Social Justice. Being pro-life has become more important than being Eucharistic and Sacramental. Are both important? Yes, but they are not of equal weight. I cannot save my soul by simply being pro-life. I can save my soul by assisting at Mass and participating in the Sacraments. Since Vatican Council II, this shift has seen things which are encompassed as being "social justice" become much more centric than tending to the needs of the Church. What is the better example for a priest to give...marching on DC with Martin Luther King, Jr. or celebrating Holy Mass and preaching the truth? We know where a good portion of priestly identity lied in the 1960s and 1970s. It wasn't in preaching about the truths of the Church, but rather it was about preaching about the injustice given to man. There is a place for that, to be certain. The responsibility of the priest and bishop was not and is not first to preach about man, but to preach about Christ and proclaim His Gospel.

That is what I am getting at.

It is good to be pro-life. It is important, but it isn't what is killing the Church, if we can even rightly say that. What is killing the Church, is a lack of Catholicity within her. Yes, it is on the rebound, but it is being done in spite of an entire generation of priests and bishops. And how sad is it that I have to say that? We have priests and bishops who are fighting tooth and nail to suppress the traditional practices of the Church. They are getting desperate, because they know that they have not won the day. So, the likes of Reese and McBrien; the likes of Mahoney and Clark; and any number of liberal priests are seeing that the next generation isn't buying the social justice-as-definition and they are rebelling. The answer lies in what bishops Bruskewitz and (Arch) Chaput are saying and doing. The answer lies in Bishops Sample and Sirba. The answer is that we must regain our Catholicity. Then things like being pro-life make sense. Otherwise all we are is a secular organ which happens to be pro-life. And being pro-life doesn't grant us salvation. The Church and her Sacraments do.

It is only through Christ and His Church that we attain heaven. The Sacraments are the signs that get us there, the Mass is the vehicle and everything else, including being pro-life is secondary.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Former Bishop of Sioux City Slams Planned Parenthood....

It is wonderful and I mean WONDERFUL that the bishops are making a clear statement about the sanctity of life.  No doubt about it, they get Catholic teaching on that front, lock stock and barrel.  It is good to see Cardinal DiNardo being courageous enough to speak about it publicly and hold the enemy at bay.

After the Institute of Medicine (IOM) this week publicly backed government-mandated birth control coverage, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is standing in the breach against what would prove a massive victory for abortion giant Planned Parenthood.
The birth control question has sparked a rare spectacle as the two most influential lobbies on sexual health forcefully butt heads over an issue many other interest groups consider secondary.
Planned Parenthood immediately cheered the IOM report Tuesday, the result of a study commissioned by U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) and a critical leg-up for the abortion giant’s campaign.
“We’re so close to a monumental victory that will change the lives of millions of women,” wrote Planned Parenthood on Facebook, where the group simultaneously posted a new video of “Pillamina,” the foam-flanked mascot of the free birth control campaign.
The report recommended that artificial birth control, including the abortifacient morning-after pill and “ella” drug, would be counted as an essential “preventive service” that health insurers would be forced to completely cover under the new federal health care law.
Such a mandate would likely provide a major funding boost to Planned Parenthood, one of the nation’s leading birth control providers, especially as the group struggles against numerous state-level defunding efforts this year.
“Half of all pregnancies that happen in the U.S. every year are unintended, and if we could prevent an epidemic of this proportion, that should be justification enough that contraception is preventive care,” said Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s senior director for medical services in a report on NPR’s health blog.
However, a statement from the leader of the U.S. bishops’ conference strongly challenged Planned Parenthood and the IOM report on the same day, criticizing the notion that sexual activity’s normal result is a malady in need of cure.
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo
“Pregnancy is not a disease, and fertility is not a pathological condition to be suppressed by any means technically possible,” said USCCB president Cardinal Daniel DiNardo Tuesday.
Like other conservative leaders, the USCCB president noted that the mandate would violate the conscience rights of Americans morally opposed to birth control, and objected to coverage of “emergency contraception” such as ella, a chemical functionally identical to the abortion drug RU-486.
But the cardinal’s challenge did not stop there: DiNardo noted that the IOM report was so radical as to have indicated interest in recommending full abortion coverage as well. The report stated that, “despite the health and well-being benefits to some women,” abortion was outside of the project’s scope given federal legal restrictions.
“But most Americans surely see that abortion is not healthy or therapeutic for unborn children, and has physical and mental health risks for women which can be extremely serious,” wrote the cardinal, who noted the celebration of Planned Parenthood, “the single largest abortion provider in the United States,” over the report.
“I can only conclude that there is an ideology at work in these recommendations that goes beyond any objective assessment of the health needs of women and children,” he said.

Now, we just need to get the USCCB and the bishops to realize that there is much more to having a Catholic face than just the pro-life issue. I am not discrediting the stance, I am applauding it, but I am also calling for the bishops to hold to all things Catholic.  Our identity as Catholics is not 100% on the Pro-life movment.  We are 100% pro-life as Catholics, but we are so much more.  This is only one facet of Catholicism in America.  Just think how strong Catholicism would be if the bishops would put this much energy into all things Catholic.  As it is, they don't and the only really traditional value they hold strong to is the pro-life stance.  And even then, it is sometimes suspect, as with giving pro-aborts Holy Communion and honorary doctorates and supporting the CCHD, which is a veil for community building, Alinsky style.

We need to demand that our bishops don't just hang their hats on being pro-life.  They need to hang their hats on being Catholic in all things....

Praise God they took the stand they did, now let's implore them to do this in all things Catholic...from the Sacraments, to the Mass, to the rest of Catholic life.

Imagine That....

For those of you who know me, know that I am thoroughly and completely addicted to golf.  It is a healthy addiction though, as I need a good release from the real world once in a while....

At any rate, I knew this was coming.  I called it when Steve Williams started caddying for Adam Scott.  Tiger Woods has fired his long time caddy Steve Williams....the story from ESPN:

Tiger Woods fired caddie Steve Williams on Wednesday, leaving his good friend stunned and ending a 12-year relationship in which he won 72 times worldwide and 13 majors.

"I want to express my deepest gratitude to Stevie for all his help, but I think it's time for a change," Woods said on his website. "Stevie is an outstanding caddie and a friend and has been instrumental in many of my accomplishments. I wish him great success in the future."
Woods & Williams
Kyle Terada/US PresswireTiger Woods has split from caddie Steve Williams, who was on the former world No. 1's bag since 1999.

Woods did not say who would replace Williams or when he would return to golf.

Williams could not immediately be reached Wednesday afternoon, although he posted a statement on his website confirming he had been fired.

"Needless to say this came as a shock," Williams said. "Given the circumstances of the past 18 months working through Tiger's scandal, a new coach and with it a major swing change and Tiger battling through injuries, I am very disappointed to end our very successful partnership at this time."

Williams, who previously worked for Raymond Floyd and Greg Norman, had worked the last three tournaments with Adam Scott. That included the last two majors, which Woods skipped while trying to recover from injuries to his left leg.

When asked over the weekend at the British Open if he was still working for Woods, Williams grinned and said, "Why would you ask a question like that?" He never answered the question but gave no indication that he would not caddie for Woods when he did return.

Williams said he would continue working for Scott.

More than a caddie, Woods and Williams had been close friends. Both got engaged while on safari after The Presidents Cup in South Africa, and they were in each other's weddings. Woods played the New Zealand Open and even took part in Williams' other job as a race car driver.

Given the circumstances of the past 18 months working through Tiger's scandal, a new coach and with it a major swing change and Tiger battling through injuries, I am very disappointed to end our very successful partnership at this time. -- Steve Williams
The relationship began showing signs of strain after Woods crashed his car on Thanksgiving night, followed by stunning revelations of multiple extramarital affairs that led to Woods getting divorced. Woods' ex-wife and Williams' wife were close friends.

In recent months, Williams was feeling out of touch during Woods' rehabilitation. He was not aware that Woods did not plan to compete in the U.S. Open until after flying to the States from New Zealand, where Williams lives most of the year.

Williams has been labeled a bully over the years while working for Woods amid a constant circus, once tossing a camera into the pond at a Skins Game when the photographer snapped a picture in the middle of Woods' swing on the last hole, another time taking the camera from a fan at the 2004 U.S. Open that belonged to an off-duty policeman.

He also brought Woods' undue attention toward the end of 2008 by making disparaging remarks about Phil Mickelson during a charity dinner in New Zealand, then repeating them when a reporter called for comment the following day.

The only caddies Woods has used in his 14-year career on the PGA Tour are Mike "Fluff" Cowan and Williams. His childhood friend, Byron Bell, caddied for Woods when he won the Buick Invitational in 1999 and 2000, and Billy Foster caddied for Woods at the Presidents Cup in 2005 when Williams was home for the birth of his son. Foster now works for Lee Westwood.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


Weigel on Archbishop Chaput

When Pope Benedict XVI appointed the archbishop of Denver, Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M.Cap., as the new archbishop of Philadelphia on July 19, the usual suspects were trotted out to say the usual things that the usual suspects say.

Thus David Clohessy of SNAP, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, continued his nine-year rant against the Catholic Church by pronouncing Chaput’s record on abuse (which virtually everyone else finds admirable) “dismal.” But then David Clohessy would likely have found St. John Chrysostom, St. Charles Borromeo, or Chaput’s 19th-century predecessor in Philadelphia, St. John Neumann, “dismal,” because if you’re the New York Times’s go-to guy for anti-Catholic-hierarchy sexual-abuse soundbites, that’s what you say. As for Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J., the former editor of America magazine made his own priorities rather clear in fretting to the Philadelphia Inquirer that Chaput would “be a real pain in the neck for the Democratic Party.” (Bob Casey the Less, you have been warned!)

Just about every story on the Chaput appointment identified the archbishop as a “conservative” (because he believes and teaches as true what the Catholic Church believes and teaches to be true); just about every story claimed that Chaput was a tough guy when it came to holding Catholic politicians accountable for their votes on abortion and the nature of marriage (while completely missing the fact that Chaput had consistently made genuinely public arguments, not uniquely Catholic theological claims, about the inalienable right to life and marriage rightly understood); and of course every story emphasized abuse, abuse, abuse (as if this were the only reality of Catholic life in America).

All of this is tiresome, if wholly predictable; both its tediousness and its predictability help explain why it’s the rare discerning reader who turns to the mainstream media for serious reportage about and analysis of the Catholic Church. In this case, however, the same-old-same-old also obscured what is truly important about the Chaput appointment — which is not the archbishop’s Potawatomi ancestry (interesting as that is) but his place as one of the most vigorous exponents of what might be called Evangelical Catholicism.

Archbishop Chaput put it best himself in an exclusive interview with Catholic News Agency: “The biggest challenge, not just in Philadelphia but everywhere, is to preach the Gospel. . . . We need to have confidence in the Gospel, we have to live it faithfully, and to live it without compromise and with great joy.”

That formulation — the Gospel without compromise, joyfully lived — captures the essence of the Evangelical Catholicism that is slowly but steadily replacing Counter-Reformation Catholicism in the United States. The usual suspects are living in an old Catholic paradigm: They’re stuck in the Counter-Reformation Church of institutional maintenance; they simply want an institution they can run with looser rules, closely aligned with the Democratic party on the political left — which is precisely why they’re of interest to their media megaphones. Archbishop Chaput, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, and other rising leaders of the Catholic Church in the United States are operating out of a very different paradigm — and in doing so, they’re the true heirs of both the Second Vatican Council and Pope John Paul II.

The Council put the Gospel and its proclamation at the center of Catholic life. John Paul II, in his apostolic letter published at the end of the Great Jubilee of 2000, challenged the entire Church to leave the stagnant shallows of institutional maintenance and put out into the deep waters of post-modernity, preaching Jesus Christ as the answer to the question that is every human life. In his 1991 encyclical Redemptoris Missio [The Mission of the Redeemer], John Paul insisted that the Church doesn’t have a mission, as if “mission” were one among a dozen things the Catholic Church does. No, John Paul taught, the Church is a mission, such that everything and everyone in the Church ought to be measured by what the management types would call mission-effectiveness.

The old warhorses of the post–Vatican II debates, on either end of the Catholic spectrum, don’t get this; they’re still mud-wrestling within the old paradigm. But Archbishop Charles Chaput gets it, big time. That, and the effective work of his predecessor, Cardinal James Francis Stafford, is what has made the archdiocese of Denver what is arguably the model Evangelical Catholic diocese in the country: a Church brimming with excitement over the adventure of the Gospel, a Church attracting some of the sharpest young Catholics in America to its services, a Church fully engaged in public life while making genuinely public arguments about the first principles of democracy.

This is the vision that Archbishop Chaput is bringing to Philadelphia, and it has virtually nothing to do with “agendas” as the usual suspects understand agendas. Of course that vision includes addressing serious problems of sexual abuse. The old clericalism that protected perpetrators in various dioceses created serious legal problems for the institutional Church; but it was also, and even more importantly from an evangelical point of view, a terrible impediment to preaching the Gospel and attracting people to friendship with Jesus Christ. It’s his palpable commitment to the latter — to the project of unapologetic evangelism — that will give Archbishop Chaput credibility in cleaning up what needs cleaning up and in healing what can be healed in Philadelphia.

And this is something else the usual suspects miss. The usual suspects’ answer to clerical sexual abuse has been, is, and seems likely to remain the transformation of Catholicism into Catholic Lite. But in situation after situation — Phoenix and Denver being two prime examples — it’s been the Gospel without compromise, joyfully lived, that has turned abuse disaster areas into vibrant Catholic centers where public confidence in the Church’s credibility has been restored. Where Catholic Lite has been adopted as the solution to the problems Catholic Lite helped cause — as in Boston — the meltdown that began in 2002 continues.

With the appointment of Charles J. Chaput as archbishop of Philadelphia, the deep reform of the Catholic Church in the United States — the reform that is giving birth to Evangelical Catholicism even as it leaves the old post–Vatican II arguments fading into the rear-view mirror — has been accelerated.